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Hi, my name is Jerry Littenberg, retired and residing in Mexico. I’m sorry to hear of the closing of the Cedar Lane Cinemas… From the late 50s throughout the 60s I managed the then called Teaneck Theatre (the usual spelling of theaters across the nation until the 70s), operated by the Skouros Theatre Corporation of W. 48th St. in NYC.
This was my first theater as a manager. I was the assistant manager at the Fox theater in Hackensack when the Teaneck manager died suddenly, and my district manager, Curtis Mees appointed me the new manager to this cute theater with 1000 seats, and great air conditioning.
I remember some of the great films that I played there: “Some Like It Hot”, “Auntie Mame”, “The Ten Commandments” (this one after making its rounds in NYC)… The theater staff was great too: Kay O'Donnell as my assistant manager/cashier. Joe Forti, in the projection booth, Jane Shalowitz in the concession stand, and Jane and Ernie June in maintenance, just to name a few…
I had the opportunity to change policy at the Teaneck, from second run double feature after Hackensack to single feature: The Queen Ann Theatre in Bogota had as its policy to show foreign productions, mostly from France and Italy, when the opportunity arose for us to pick a French film to play at the Teaneck because of full booking at the Queen Ann. So “And God Created Woman”, with the French kitten Brigitte Bardot ended up at the Teaneck, with lines around the corner coughing up $2.50 each to see the sexy Bardot in her early years.
But this one was a huge hit: My grosses were so high that my bosses had to telephone me to confirm them. Its success was due, in part, to the Catholic church’s dislike of the movie, which the Vatican openly condemned. To advertise the movie, I made two banners that said “Condemned by the Catholic Church – Theater manager gives it FOUR STARS!”, and hang them from the marquee. The Diocese of Teaneck called me to assure me how displeased they were at my advertising methods, so I altered the sign so it would read : “condemned by you know who”… The phones lit up the next day!
Since then I have managed many theaters in New York, California and Northern New Jersey. I hope someone comes along and, impressed by the pedigree of this nice little theater, renovates it and updates it to modern day standards.
Jerry Littenberg (