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A truly lovely cinema: sophisticated yet cozy and comfortable.
This is definitely not Toronto’s long-gone Allenby/Roxy theatre. I should know: I used to run the place during the Rocky Horror years.
The Roxy’s auditorium was definitely demolished, only the lobby area and the restored exterior remain.
The deeply curved Todd-AO screen was replaced by a flat one at the demand of film director Otto Preminger. He saw a 70mm print of his movie The Cardinal projected onto the curve at a preview screening and was horrified by the distortions.
Looks like this will be a wonderful place for viewing movies the way they were meant to be seen: on a big screen with great sound in a beautiful theatre. Beats the pants off seeing it on your iPhone… that’s for sure!
Dave, I agree about your students in the lobby comment. Cineplex shouldn’t open the cinema to the moviegoing public until the students have vacated the premises.
Curious to see what the renovations will look like since I’ve always liked it just the way it is. And do you think they’ll figure out how to cope with that strange escalator setup? Newbies to this cinema often can’t figure out how to get up to the theatre, and afterwards, on how to get out. Except for that little problem: I really enjoy going to this complex.
The description of Cinecity as having Italian renaissance elements in the lobby and auditorium is totally inaccurate. And it’s also not now, and never was, a “high class Italian restaurant.” I should know: I worked for Filmcanada presentations (located directly across the street from Cinecity) the company that owned and operated this cinema.
Dave, yes I do remember you. Bye the way, I’m still in touch with Don Beelik who was a theatre manager at Famous. If I’m not mistaken, you knew Don. I still have fond memories of working at the Lakeside and it helped prepare me for running the Roxy theatre in Toronto a few years later. And as much as I enjoyed working at the Lakeside, I really loved seeing movies at the massive Uptown theatre which was located just a few blocks away from us. What an astounding theatre! I can’t believe that it’s still sitting there abandoned and slowly disintegrating… one of the most spectacular theatres ever built.
A similar plaque can be found in Toronto’s beautiful double-decker Elgin/Wintergarden theatre.
The theatre chains in England really had their act together in those long ago days.
This video made me think back to my days of running a rep cinema in Toronto: lugging those heavy canisters of 35mm film up to the booth, making sure we had enough supplies at the candy counter, making sure we had enough staff for the evening, booking movies, making up the newspaper ads, etc. And if the projectionist didn’t show up… guess who ran the projectors? I still miss it all, but without a real projection booth, it’s just not the same business anymore. But I must confess that now I’m simply a regular moviegoer, I really prefer watching a digital presentation. There are no dusty, scratched, misframed or out of focus images or even missing frames to mar one’s enjoyment. But on the other hand, I don’t think I’d enjoy running a cinema again. Selling candy and popcorn doesn’t excite me and projecting a movie in a cinema isn’t anymore exciting or challenging than plunking a Blu-ray disc into a player.
When Cinerama departed the Teck theatre standard 35mm and 70mm movies such as West Side Story and Ben-Hur were definitely shown on a flat screen. I was also fortunate enough to get to see genuine Cinerama films before the equipment was removed from the theatre.
During the time that I ran this theatre (mid 70’s to mid 80’s) the Roxy had approximately 680 seats. We had to reduce the seating capacity somewhat when we renovated the auditorium to make room for a much larger screen.
I hadn’t heard about Walter Senior’s demise. Of course I remember him. One of my staff (female) in the art dept. commented on how good looking he was… I always thought he looked like a gangster. When he took over as CEO morale went downhill and the company was never the same again. There was the executive suite and then there were the thousands of others across the country who were responsible for running the theatres – two poles apart.
All of us who worked for the company wondered about these things too. No one in the advertising or art dept. was ever consulted about the new Famous Players logo. We were just told to use it. Apparently the head honchos had friends in an ad agency that were paid way too much for their contribution. Sounds like sour grapes doesn’t it? Well, I admit it… it is.
As a former employee of Famous Players (ran the art dept.) I’m quite happy to see the end of that logo. What began as a happy working environment turned into a nightmare. Each successive CEO turned out to be even less interested, or knowledgeable, about the movie theatre business than the last. The last straw was walking into the Plaza Cinema one afternoon just before the picture began and seeing the beginning of the new era of “showmanship.” The management was instructed not to use the curtains and instead of soft lighting for a bit of atmosphere: the glaring cleaning lights were the only source of illumination. I won’t mention the name of the CEO at the time – don’t wish to be sued. But I certainly have no respect for the man.
I’m in total agreement. Let’s go to the Paramount sounds like fun. Let’s go to the Scotiabank: not so much so.
On the other hand, I know a number of people who hate that long escalator at the Scotiabank. Just goes to show: you can’t please everyone. But I do agree with your comment.
Last I heard they were to have changed the signs for the first of the year… obviously it didn’t happen. How do first time patrons find the entrance? And speaking of signs, if one is not familiar with the building how do you get to the theatre in that confusing complex? And worse yet, there’s an elevator just a few feet away from the boxoffice, but there isn’t a sign informing patrons that they can simply take the elevator directly to the cinema up on the 4th floor?
I checked out this theatre’s new UltraAVX installation in the former ETX cinema. It’s similar to a digital IMAX auditorium with it’s huge screen. I especially like the decor: dark sky blue carpeting throughout with a sprinkling of white stars, nicely designed dark blue sound baffles on the walls with a large white star in the centre and plush rocker seats with reserved seating in addition to the mind-boggling new Dolby Atmos sound system. There are speakers everywhere… even on the ceiling. Great fun! I really have to give Cineplex/Odeon credit for these super upgrades.
I think it was fortunate that Perspecta Sound was short-lived. It had the same limited frequency range as the standard optical track of the time and didn’t reproduce audio in three dimensional stereo. So what was the point?
When I saw Ben-Hur in 70mm projection at the Michael Todd in 1960 the curtains opened horizontally to reveal a very wide flat screen. Meanwhile, Exodus at the Cinestage was shown on a slightly curved standard screen. The Cinerama strip screen was installed a few years later.
This theatre has just been equipped with a Cineplex/Odeon UltraAVX installation. I haven’t seen it yet, but I presume that it’s been installed in what was AMC’s ETX auditorium. I like the AVX upgrades: the seats are extremely comfortable, the presentation is excellent and they’ve even put a bit of thought into the decor which is somewhat unusual in this day and age. I’m reserving a seat this weekend to check it out.
What a stunning looking auditorium!