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DavidZornig, I am sure you posted this photo in good faith, but I highly doubt that it’s of the former Plaza Theatre on Colley Ave. in Norfolk, VA. This photo looks like a much larger metropolitan area. 607 Colley Ave. looks nothing like this at all. It is a residential area, which includes the historic Central Baptist Church. However, thanks for the well-meaning contribution.
This theatre was open as early as 1939, because the Visulite is where “The Wizard of Oz” premiered in Norfolk. (I read that in an old newspaper ad on microfilm.)
Here is another link. According to this link, this drive-in was “purportedly” the first “twin” drive-in theater on the East Coast: http://www.driveins.org/va-virginiabeach-sandandsurf.htm
Here is a link to some information about this drive-in theater at Drive-ins.com – http://www.drive-ins.com/theater/vatsurf
I remember seeing the 1975 film “Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough” at the Bayne Theatre. It was 1976 or ‘77, so by the mid 1970s, it was definitely a second run movie theatre.
I remember a friend told me that he went to see the notorious 1972 underground John Waters film “Pink Flamingos” at the Suburban. He said the woman in front of him leaned to her date and asked about Divine: “Is that a man?” Her date nodded, and soon the couple got up and left! I remember when I first moved to Norfolk in 1974, “American Graffiti” was playing there.
I believe the Boulevard Theatre operated later than 1975. I remember when I was in college in 1978, it was showing adult films. I remember the titles on the marquee, because a group of us drove past it and laughed at the titles – “Hot Date” and “Lively Lover”.
Alfred Hitchcock’s groundbreaking thriller “Psycho” played at the Norva in 1960. I remember browsing through old newspapers on microfilm at the library and finding an ad for that. I am sure the audience screamed a lot. Nothing like it had ever been seen before.
A 2008 photo has been posted in the theatre’s Wikipedia article. Click on this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Rey_Theatre
A March 2010 photo of the theatre has been posted in the Wikipedia article for Reseda. Click on this link: View link
A good daytime photo dated Sept. 2008 has just been posted in the Wikipedia article for Sherman Oaks. See this URL: View link
Check out Wikipedia. There is a new article on this theatre. See: View link
See a great new Wikipedia article about this theatre: View link
Check out the newly revised Wikipedia article on this theatre, especially the part about Carol Burnett’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:
Read this excellent Wikipedia article on the Lyric Theatre: View link)
Read the excellent Wikipedia article about the Mark Hellinger Theatre: View link
This theater is noteworthy as having the longest run on record for any USA theater for the original release of “The Sound of Music” in 1965. That squeaky clean, happy movie came along at just the right time, with the country still recovering from the shock of President Kennedy’s assassination and the growing cynicism about the war in Vietnam. Norfolk couldn’t get enough of that film, with people going to see it again and again. I recall reading that during its initial run, a girl went to see it once a week, and twice on her birthday. (Now that’s a little obsessive by my standards, but hey, if it made her happy, why not?)
I recall that about 1973, “The Sound of Music” was reissued with the tag line “The wait is over! You can thrill again to the happiest sound in all the world!”, and it again played the Riverview Theater. Newspaper ads at the time boasted that the Riverview held the record for the filmâ€™s initial run in 1965.
I had a friend who worked there as an usher in 1969 and saw the initial roadshow presentation of “Hello, Dolly!” hundreds of times. Later, the Riverview fell on tough times and had to show adult films to keep afloat, and my friend who once worked as an usher at the Riverview later saw “Deep Throat” there. Now that’s a contrast â€" going from exhibiting “The Sound of Music” to “Deep Throat”. (My late friend was quite a character. He dressed in a trenchcoat, hat, and dark sunglasses to the screening of “Deep Throat”.)
About 1978, Old Dominion University leased the building and presented live theater. I was in a production of “Man of La Mancha” there in 1979. Since the theater was built as a movie house and never intended to be a live theater with dressing rooms, it was quite cramped backstage.
I lived in the Norfolk, VA area from 1974 until 1997. During that time, I never knew of the building to be open as a theater exhibiting films. It was a former neighborhood theater near the middle class suburb of Colonial Place. The 35th Street area was once a bustling region of Norfolk, but the area declined in the 1960s. For as long as I remember, the Newport Theater building was used as retail space, and since the impressive marquee of the theater was still intact, the area was known as Newport Plaza. It was at the corner of 35th Street and Newport Ave., with the box office entrance on Newport Ave., just around the corner from the ROSNA Theater, owned by the same management, Levine Enterprises. The Newport and Rosna theaters were so close to each other that they may have been adjacent and possibly connected at some time, which may explain why some historic records list the address for both of these theaters as 363 W. 35th Street, Norfolk, VA.
With my interest in movie theatre history, I remember driving past it on several occasions just to look at its marquee. Someone told me that in the 1960s, an attempt was made to revive the theater as a first class movie venue. It was renovated and the roadshow of â€œThe Blue Maxâ€ (1966) starring George Peppard played at there. That may have been the last gasp of the buildingâ€™s use as a movie theater.
TRIVIA ITEM The name of this theater was derived from the first names of the owners, Nathan and Rose Levine. Many of the names of Levine Theaters in Norfolk were coined from first names of the Levines and their children. Naro, Memrose, and Rosele Theaters are other examples.
A reissue of D.W. Griffith’s classic “The Birth of a Nation” (1915) played at the Criterion about 1926, as evidenced by a Los Angeles Times ad (see link below). Unfortunately, I do not have the exact date of the ad, but I am guessing 1926 since the ad says that Rudolph Valentino in “The Son of the Sheik” (1926) is ending. And yes, that is a picture of a Klansman in the ad for “The Birth of a Nation”. That film was based on a novel called “The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan”. Hmmm … I am so glad times have changed.
Here is the link to the LA Times Ad for “The Birth of a Nation” at the Criterion, probably 1926:
Here is a June 8, 1908 ad from the Los Angeles Times for a comedy “The Wrong Mr. Wright” at Morosco’s Burbank Theater:
OOPS! That was my very, VERY first attempt at making a comment on CinemaTreasures.org … I think something went askew with copying and pasting the URL. Sorry about that. Try the one immediately below. I just know the world is waiting with baited breath to see the blurb for burlesque babes “Betty Rowland, the Red Headed Ball of Fire” and “Carrie Finnell the Great” in the show at the New Follies starting on July 30, 1938, “She Had To Give Up”. I won’t give up on copying and pasting my first URL into a CinemaTreasures.org comment until the world has the chance to see this gem. Click this link to try to see it:
P.S. – Ken Mc, for some reason, the direct link you copied and pasted …
… leads to an ad for a double feature of “Marihuana – Weed With Roots in Hell” and “How to Undress In Front of Your Husband”. That’s not what I intended to link. Now how in the devil did THAT happen?!? Do you think the spirits of those burlesque queens are having a little fun with me on my first comment on CinemaTreasures.org?!? Are those burlesque queens currently in the hereafter smoking joints and bending double laughing about that little prank they just pulled? After all, if anyone should know how to undress … and the tag line in the ad for that Carrie Finnell says “She’s a riot!” I’ll just BET she is. :)
Here are 2 links to excellent LATimes.com blog entries made in Nov. 2007 with photos and explanations that confirm exactly what happened with the Hippodrome. According to this information, the theatre opened on Aug. 31, 1913. The auditorium was demolished first, on or around Oct. 26, 1952, and only the facade and a small portion of the building remained for many years, part of which was used for retail space and the Main Street Gym. Finally, everything was demolished around 1984.
First, see this link for (1) a photo of the exterior of the Hippodrome and marquee, and (2) a photo of the Hippodrome’s proscenium being demolished on Oct. 26, 1952:
Now see this link for pictures of the facade that remained for many years as entries to stores and the Main Street Gym, and a photo of the interior of the Gym:
Here is a link to an ad for a burlesque show at the New Follies that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on July 30, 1938. I always enjoy the ballyhoo that goes into the selling of any show. In this ad, Betty Rowland is billed as “the Red Headed Ball of Fire”. Enjoy.