Comments from jimmo531

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jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Elysee Theatre on Aug 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Why was this theater re-named, for the second time from “Cort’s 58th Street Theatre” to “The Elysee Theatre” in the late 1940s? Does anyone know this?

Did the theater owner)s) of that time have some affinity for the Elysee Palace in France and/or did the architecture of the building in any way resemble the French palace? Or did the owner(s) just think that a good name for a venue showing foreign films?

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Filmarte Theatre on Aug 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Why does IMDB.com give 1615-29 North Vine Street as the address for where “The Steve Allen Westinghouse Show,” as well “The Joey Bishop Show,” “The Newlywed Game” and “The Dating Game” were recorded, and not the 1228 N. Vine St. address, formerly known as the La Mirada and Filmarte theaters, then briefly as “The Steve Allen THeater?”

Also, the venue of 1615-29 N. Vine St. is now showing as “The Ricardo Montalbán Theater,"its history noting it was once called "The Vine St. Theater,” which some sources also claim is where “The Steve Allen Westinghouse Show” and these others I mentioned were also produced.

May someone reading this please clear up this discrepancy?

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Embassy Theatre on Aug 14, 2008 at 4:42 am

I had already submitted the following comment on the page for the Embassy Cinemas, before I saw the separate listing for my old hometown theater:

As a resident of Waltham from 1958 to 1979, who attended the old Embassy Theater many times in my formative years, I can attest that the posting by bclarrk on 8/15/2005 is correct.

The former Embassy Theater was located on Moody Street, directly across the street from the block where the former Grover Cronin’s department store once stood. What may be stated correctly, however, is that the parking lot for the current Embassy multiplex theaters shares roughly the same space as the parking lot for the original Embassy. Furthermore, the current Embassy is on the same city block as that of the original Embassy facility.

In fact, I recall many times entering the old Embassy from that back entrance/exit, and it even had posters of coming & current attractions and a ticket-selling area, though it was chiefly used to exit more quickly after a film had ended, and to gain quicker access (& escape) for the theater’s automobile-driven patrons.

What actually exists on the former Embassy lot (or did, at least through the early 1990’s) is/was one of those rather useless municipal monstrosities, marked by a few benches and a mural, I believe done by some students of the Waltham Public Schools on the side of a building—to my recollection anyway. The functional purpose of this site is/was as a cross-over to the parking lot and a recreational area along the banks of the Charles River, adjacent to which is also some public housing, I believe occupied by some of Waltham’s senior citizenry.

The previous comment that the current Embassy is situated where the former Waltham “Daily News-Tribune" once stood, on Pine Street, is likewise correct. The current “Tribune,” which last I heard is on Moody Street after a period operating in the Rte. 128 area, exists in name only; was absorbed by the Johnson family-owned Fidelity Investments group, which operated as “Community Newspapers,” was then was bought up by the current “Boston Herald.” This is not the same “News-Tribune” once owned by the Skakel family and edited by Thomas Murphy and Larry Grady.

Also, bclarkk’s comment about Guy Lombardo’s band being the last, official engagement booked at the original Embassy, rings true. I recall the last film I saw at the old Embassy was “Night of Dark Shadows,” the second theatrical feature based on the cult favorite, ABC-TV horror soap opera, and I believe that was in the summer of 1971.

Quite often after seeing films at the old Embassy Theater (which in those days sometimes included a second feature & usually Three Stooges' or cartoon shorts, all for the vast sum of $0.50-to-$0.75 cents), my family &/or friends would head over to the old Liggett’s Drug Store, located kitty-corner to the Embassy and parallel/perpendicular (depending upon your perspective) to the Grover Cronin’s block, on the corner or Moody & Crescent Streets, for more refreshments if the then-inexpensive candy, popcorn & soda at the Embassy hadn’t been enough! Today, as we all know, the cost of refreshments, even for one person, is about the price of another admission.

Liggett’s, which sported one of those familiar “Rexall Drugs” signs on the outside, on the inside had a great, old-fashioned soda fountain, adjacent to its pharmacy and retail area; in the back of the counter seating area were two phone booths—the kind with wooden-encased glass doors & seats inside for comfort & privacy in conducting private telephone conversations—a concept foreign to the cellphone chatterers of today!

Then, maybe after a quick bite to eat at Liggett’s after the film at the Embassy (and a phone call home to see what time to be home for supper), maybe it was across the street and up the block to Discland, to browse for the latest Beatles, Herman’s Hermits or Motown singles. As far as I know, Discland was still in operation as of sometime in the 1990s, though it had bounced around to various locations within that few blocks’ radius on Moody Street. In fact, I bought my first, 45 r.p.m. single at Disclandâ€"it was Patty Duke’s “Don’t Just Stand There” b/w “Everything But Love,” the A-side a rip-off of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” But what did I know any better then? I just loved watching Duke on her ABC-TV sitcomâ€"that one where “cousins are two-of-a- kind.”

Truly, those WERE the days!

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Paramount Theatre on Aug 14, 2008 at 4:03 am

funnydave—Yes, my remembrance of the Paramount is that it was more opulent than even the Embassy in Waltham, though in my mind either could have been a Broadway-type theater with a little sprucing up. I’ve actually never been to a Broadway theater, only an off-Broadway venue in the Village and the Beacon Theater in NY, but I am basing this perspective on my attendance at theaters in Boston’s theater district—the Colonial, Shubert and Wilbur Theaters, also the Orpheum (for concerts). Also, I think I’ve seen enough films and TV video of NYC theaters to have an awareness of their appearances, at least superficially. Suffice to say the Paramount was a classier venue than any of these cineplexes one will find today, all so generic looking.

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Waltham Cinema I & II on Jan 13, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Erik H—If you’d like to communicate about Waltham some more, my e-mail link is on this site for members, so just go to the Member Directory. I didn’t see an e-mail link for you. But I always love to chat by e-mail or IM about old times in Waltham. Thanks!

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about South Station Cinema on Jan 12, 2007 at 8:43 am

I attended screenings at this porno palace back in the 1970s/early ‘80s—and there was defintely more action going on in the lavatories, and in & under the theater’s seating area than on the screen! However, it was what it was—served a purpose in the era before home video reached the masses.

The poster who described where the Cinema was located has it right that it was on the corner on the left-hand side of Summer Street, just after crossing Atlantic Avenue coming away from South Station, or kitty-corner from across Atlantic Avenue where the newer Federal Reserve Bank a/k/a “Washboard Building” is located. Actually, visualizing it in my mind, it might also have been almost just across the street from the noted “Lollipop Building,” also known formally as the headquarters of Blue Cross/Blue Shield. There has been much construction in the downtown area in the last few decades, what with many office locales receiving the geographically-ambiguous addresses of “Pick-A-Number Place.” But according to my recollection, where that previous poster stated the South Station Cinema was located sounds good to me!

Anyway, I think this is defintely the segment of the cinema world which suffered a direct hit with the advent of home video & VCRs, because homosexual men, much more than heterosexual ones who would still go to strip bars, could then arrange their own private liasons and watch adult films in the privacy of their own homes after that—a much more sanitary situation than the A.I.D.S.-breeding grounds that were “gay” bathhouses & “gay” porn moviehouses.

I will share this one personal anecdote: I had an encounter at the South Station Cinema with one similarly-aged young man (we were both in our late teens/early 20s), who was then living with his uncle—a priest—in the rectory of his uncle’s church! Because there was so much action going on in the theater’s men’s room, and after assessing the cleanliness of the scene, and some initial foreplay in the row where we were seated, we drove out to a wooded area in my hometown and liasoned further in some bushes, got eaten alive by mosquitoes in the process!

And, oh yeah—I can’t remember the names of the films we watched at the South Station Cinema that evening!

Ah-to be young & foolish! No thanks—been there, done that.

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Paramount Theatre on Jan 12, 2007 at 7:22 am

This was a great & grand theater, in the tradition of moviehouses that resembled their dramatic-programmed kin; spacious lobby and balcony, elegant and winding staircase, admission & refreshments affordable to children & families, and located in a city center, in the heart of a community—a palace of prodigious projections!

Though I lived in next-door neighbor Waltham, quite often when going to Saturday or Sunday matinees with my sister and aunt(s), we would choose this Newton venue because of its next-best proximity. Also, since my aunts lived in the other-side neighbor of Watertown, which didn’t have as impressive or close-by a theater (and later none at all), but which town’s square was just a few minutes'cab ride to Newton Corner, and because of my father’s family’s roots in Newton (in fact, my Dad’s brother in-law owned Newton Glass Co., a picture-framing store around the corner from this theater), or maybe just because sometimes the films we were choosing weren’t playing at Waltham’s old Embassy, we opted for the Paramount.

Development around the Massachusetts Turnpike resulted in many changes over the years in the retail landscape of the area in which this theater was situated, but it was still a perfect location, right off the Pike and a with bus stop at its front door—so a great spot for children, students & pedestrians dependent upon public transportation! There was also a small-but-adequate municipal parking lot in back of this retail block. And there was a great pizza shop around the corner, on the next block, called Pellegrini’s—one of those real Italian establishments where they threw the pizza dough up in the air, in the window for passers-by to watch. Later, in the early ‘70s came the more atmospheric Boston Seafood Restaurant, and, I believe on the same block as the Paramount was also one of a small chain of donut shops called “Cottage Donuts,” the central products of which had a flavor all their own—somehow crisper and different from the doughy spheres churned out by that Boston-based institution which became the international Dunkin’ Donuts empire, or those produced by the small-but-larger-than-Cottage chain known as “Mister Donut.”

Across the street from the Paramount, hung out over the Pike like a large, festering concrete sore thumb, loomed a real symbol of corporate and financial growthâ€"a complex that included a branch of a large banking institution, a Howard Johnson’s Hotel & Restaurant, and a Red Coach Grill Restaurant (now a Sheraton Hotel and Applebee’s). The era of chains and expanded office and condo development were pushing the smaller retail shops and independent theaters off the map! The Paramount’s place amidst all this “progress” meant its days were numbered!

Actually, I do have a few fond memories of some warm family meals at that Howard Johnson’s, which surprisingly had a pretty good spaghetti & meat sauce dinner on Wednesdays (which in Boston, as many then knew, was “Prince Spaghetti Day”). I even worked washing dishes at that Red Coach Grill, lasting just one school night before I realized its impracticality, since, with busses no longer running, after each shift’s conclusion would necessitate my father having to retrieve me in his car right around the time he would have been heading off to bed himself!

In any event, while the Paramount prevailed, I do recall seeing “Bambi” there, on a double-bill with the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy, “Pardners.” I also remember having seen “Mary Poppins” at the ‘Mount, one of the couple of times I saw it in a theater. I went to the Paramount much more as a child than in adolescence, just took it for granted that it would always be there, just as I had with my hometown theater, the Embassy. If I had known the fate that awaited the single-screen movie theaters, I certainly would have availed myself more of that great movie palace’s grandeur while I had the chance!

Why on earth didn’t we all start a revolt against the coming age of Cineplex’s?

I think there’s a Bertucci’s Pizza chainstore now, where Pelligrini’s once featured the white-aproned Donatello doughboys putting on their window shows, and probably a Dunkin' Donuts and/or Starbucks in place of the Cottage coffee & donut shop, where townie retirees once spent their mornings reading the “Record American” while getting 10-cent Java refills; on the block where formerly flourished fleeting, flickering moments of majesty at a movie palace called The Paramount!

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Waltham Cinema I & II on Jan 12, 2007 at 5:21 am

Actually, in the years of the Waltham Cinemas' existence, it was much easier for me, as a non-driver, and for many others in a similar situation to see films in the theaters of Boston and Cambridge, to where one could more easily travel by virtue of public transporation.

The beauty of the original & current Embassy theaters were & are their central locations within Waltham, very walkable from many residential parts of the city, but also accessible by bus and commuter rail for those coming from longer distances, with ample free parking—venues convenient for all variations of the movie-going public. The Waltham Cinemas' patrons were almost exclusively automobile drivers, or else children dependent upon parents & older friends & siblings, & adult non-drivers dependent upon driving companions, for rides to & fro.

The evolution that returned an Embassy Theater to Waltham is one of more than mere nominal re-emergence, for it also brought back the concept of a community theater accessible to more of its citizenry, as well to those from nearby and out-lying communities.

The new Embassy’s design, with state-of-the art screening rooms, sporting both cavernous and roomy ambience, and digital projection, plus a more abundant and varied refreshment menu, make it far superior to the sterile atmosphere and conditions of the Waltham Cinemas, which was a cinema experience in an age of transition, a duplex versus a multi-plex. Though none of the screens at the new Embassy are as large as that of the original location’s, there is more the spirit of the original present there than ever existed for movie-goers at the Waltham Cinemas.

I can understand that previous poster’s nostalgia for Waltham Cinemas based solely upon personal and inter-personal experiences involving that facility, which, after all, are what lend us our fond memories in life anyway. But based solely upon aesthetics, location and technological advancement, as well its spiritual connection to its nominal antecedent, there is no contest between the current Embassy Theaters and the now-defunct Waltham Cinemas, the latter to which I bid a hearty good riddance!

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Waltham Cinema I & II on Jan 12, 2007 at 4:31 am

I grew up & lived in Waltham till I was 18, then off & on for a few years after my family moved following my father’s re-marriage, and went to see films at the original Embassy Theater until it was demolished in 1972, and have no memory of there having ever been a Waltham Cinemas I & II until after the Embassy was gone, which probably discounts the late 1960s theory posited by the previous poster. But it is possible I could be mistaken & I will research the matter further.

I can tell you also that I remember no shopping plaza in the Waltham Cinemas location, at least while it was a small General Cinemas facility, only really recall there being one other business located on its premises, and not a retail business at that—looked more like some manufacturing entity or something like that. It was just off an exit on Rte. 128, so not very conducive to retail traffic. The only two shopping plazas located in that northern part of Waltham were the one already mentioned, at which the Wal-Lex recreational facilities (it also included a roller rink, miniature golf course & snack bar in its glory days) and a Stop & Shop were located, and one further north toward Lexington, at which there was a Star Market, Brigham’s and Turnstyle department store (later Osco Drug, also owned by the Jewel Companies, which owned Star, Turnstyle, Brigham’s, Dorothy Muriel’s bakeries and later Cal-dor’s).

As for the bowling alleys mystery posed—the theory involving Wal-Lex makes sense, geographically, but I also wonder why someone who worked there would offer that bit about the Holiday Lanes if it were not based on some inside information? But as I was a bowler in the years just before & during the Waltham Cinema’s existence, was especially mindful of candlepin alleys, since I didn’t bowl ten-pin, and my only recollection of alleys in the surounding area were Wal-Lex and also Riverside, located on the Watertown-Newton border, near the Nonantum section of Newton, parallel to California Street and also now gone.

I didn’t seee very many films at the Waltham Cinemas, was too emotionally attached to the memory of the much better, vintage Embassy Theater, where I saw many films as a child. But I do recall seeing “Fiddler on the Roof” there, perhaps also “Rocky,” and also a special Saturday midnight showing of The Rolling Stones' documentary “Gimme Shelter,” in the summer of 1979, to which I had walked from my residence in a rooming house just off of Moody Street (ironically, closer to the old Embassy Theater location). Although I had grown up in the solid middle class section of Warrendale, for a few summers in between college terms I returned to my hometown and lived in quarters that my then-low income would afford. I remember that screening of “Gimme Shelter” in particular, as I had been given a ride part of the way home by these very good-looking twin brothers who had seen me at the film and given me a ride home because they said I reminded them of Mick Jagger. As it turned out, they had just gotten off duty from their jobs as cooks at The Chateau Restaurant and wanted to party with me after the film. I regret to this day not having had any beer at my place, and as a Gemini can truly appreciate the myth of twin gods!

But that night’s very long walk to & halfway back from the Waltham Cinema illustrated very clearly why it never succeeded as long as either Embassies had—because it was located off a very busy highway not convenient to public transportation or pedestrian-friendly, much too far away from other retail and dining establishments for after-film socializing. I quite agree with the poster who said the current Embassy multiplex is a much better facility than the very bare-bones Waltham Cinemas, but also take into context the earler times of multiplexes. In any case, although the current Landmark-owned Embassy may be better technologically, the aesthetics of the older Embassy, with its balcony, grand staircases & Spanish art-deco design and glass ticket booth, the moon projected on the ceiling during the films' screenings, and the films, events and memories associated with that legendary theater make that, for true Walthamites & vintage theater afficionados, the best Waltham, Mass. moviehouse of them all!

jimmo531
jimmo531 commented about Embassy Cinema on Jan 11, 2007 at 5:50 pm

As a resident of Waltham from 1958 to 1979, who attended the old Embassy Theater many times in my formative years, I can attest that the posting by bclarrk on 8/15/2005 is correct.

The former Embassy Theater was located on Moody Street, directly across the street from the block where the former Grover Cronin’s department store once stood. What may be stated correctly, however, is that the parking lot for the current Embassy multiplex theaters shares roughly the same space as the parking lot for the orignal Embassy. Furthermore, the current Embassy is on the same city block as that of the original Embassy facility.

In fact, I recall many times entering the old Embassy from that back entrance/exit, and even it had posters of coming & current attractions and a ticket-selling area, though it was chiefly used to exit more quickly after a film had ended, and to gain quicker access (& escape) for the theater’s automobile-driven patrons.

What actually exits on the former Embassy lot is one of those rather useless municipal monstrosities, marked by a few benches and a mural, I believe done by some students of the Waltham Public Schhools on the side of a building—to my recollection anyway. The functional purpose of this site is as a cross-over to the parking lot and a recreational area along the banks of the Charles River, adjacent to which is also some public housing, I believe occupied by some of Waltham’s senior citizenry.

The previous comment that the current Embassy is situated where the former “Waltham Daily News-Tribune” once stood, on Pine Street, is likewise correct. The current “Tribune,” which last I heard is on Moody Street after a period operating in the Rte. 128 area, exists in name only; was aborbed by the Johnson family-owned Fidelity Investments group, which operated as “Community Newspapers,” was then was bought up by the current “Boston Herald.”

Also, bclarkk’s comment about Guy Lombardo’s band being the last official engagement booked at the original Embassy, rings true. I recall that the last film I saw at the old Embassy was “Night of Dark Shadows,” the second theatrical feature based on the cult favorite ABC-TV horror soap opera, and I believe that was in the summer of 1971.

Quite often after seeing films at the old Embassy Theater (which in those days included a second feature & usually Three Stooges' or cartoon shorts, all for the vast sum of $0.50-to-$0.75 cents), my family &/or friends would head over to the old Liggett’s Drug Store, located kitty-corner to the Embassy and parallel to the Grover Cronin’s block, on the corner or Moody & Crescent Streets, for more refreshments if the then-inexpensive candy, popcorn & soda at the Embassy hadn’t been enough!

Liggett’s, which sported one of those familiar “Rexall Drugs” signs on the outside, on the inside had a great, old-fashioned soda fountain, adjacent to its pharmacy and retail area; in the back of the counter seating area were two phone booths—the kind with wooden-encased glass doors & seats inside for comfort & privacy in conducting private telephone conversations—a concept foreign to the cell phone chatterers of today!

Then, maybe after a quick bite to eat at Liggett’s after the film at the Embassy (and a phone call home to see what time to be home for supper), maybe it was across the street and up the block to Discland, to browse for the latest Beatles, Herman’s Hermits or Motown singles. As far as I know, Discland was still in operation as of sometime in the 1990s, though it had bounced around to various locations within that few-blocks radius on Moody Street.

Truly, those WERE the days!