Showing 1 - 25 of 36 comments
Almost positive that comments I posted in 2007 about the old Warner Theater here in downtown West Chester have been removed. Not happy about that. Will repost old memories later. But as to sendingoutansoso’s inquiry from 2008, yes, I do recall the old Eric West Goshen theaters. By the time I frequented it, in the mid-1970s, it had twinned. Or maybe it was always a twin theater. My guess is that it was a typical strip mall theater of the time – mid to late 1960s – and nothing terribly distinguishing about the theater. Imagine a typical strip mall theater of that era, and you’ve got the Eric Twin West Goshen shopping mall theaters. I recall seeing a second-run engagement of JAWS there in the fall of 1975. Or maybe JAWS had opened there in June or July of that year and had played all those months, as films often did back in those years, but my guess is it was a second-run showing. Not sure when the theater(s) closed. The Eric chain, based in Philly I believe as Sameric, went out of business for good in the 1990s. Anyone confirm that?
This photo of the Idle Hour bears a striking resemblance to what would later be called the Garden, which was later called the Harrison. See theaters in West Chester, PA, the Harrison, to see the still extant facade as of 2007. The semi-circle facade curve above the “Idle Hour” lettering still exists on the old Harrison facade. The Rialto seems to have been another theater (next door?) altogether.
May have seen a Wednesday matinee here of A Bridge Too Far in the late summer/early fall of 1977. Definitely a second-run house, Bridge may have been truncated a little at this point in its run to get more showings in (at night anyway). I doubt it was unspooling at its original length (176 minutes). I recall I was maybe the only one in the theater. Okay, maybe a handful of patrons. Apologies if the Blue Hen wasn’t the theater I saw this at, but it was some theater in lower Delaware between the canal and Rehoboth.
Oh, yes! Recall the Sensurround gimmick for both Earthquake and Rollercoaster here. HUGE subwoofers down in front between the screen & 1st row. Good times!
Frankenheimer’s Black Sunday, one of the best to play at Concord Mall Cinema. I sat through two consecutive showings in March 1977.
Yup, saw that there, too. The 1st Superman also. And Saturday Night Fever.
Saw many films here from 1972 up until some point in the 1980s when I went away to college. My 1st recollection was seeing Mike Nichols' Day of the Dolphin here in 1972. Little did I know I would meet him 40 years later backstage at a theater I was performing in at in NYC. Other memorable films I saw at the Concord Mall Cinema, if I’m remembering correctly: The Doberman Gang, The Odessa File, The Great Gatsby, the Wilmington premiere of Funny Lady (w/ a champagne fountain in the lobby!), The Day of the Locust, Three Days of the Condor, The Bad News Bears, Marathon Man, The Last Tycoon, King Kong, Black Sunday, The Deep, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Days of Heaven, Atlantic City, Ordinary People, Raiders of the Lost Ark (?). I recall Chinatown played here in 1974 but I didn’t see it at the time. My mom took me to see The Godfather Part II here at my insistence — I was 11 years old.
Ohhh, yes. I was an inveterate newspaper film ad clipper, too, during this era, and have many of these ads from the Evening Journal as I grew up in Wilmington in the 1970s. Pretty sure I saw The Black Hole at Concord Mall Cinema, and I absolutely remember seeing Apocalypse Now at the Cinemart, having already seen it before at the Ziegfeld in NYC. The print at the Ziegfeld had no credits, but a nice program was handed out for patrons listing all credits. When the film showed finally at places like the Cinemart, end credits were tacked on against a backdrop of napalm bombs dropping.
Gorgeous. Wonder if any of these original elements still exist inside.
Having recently seen what remains of the interior of the auditorium – the proscenium, balcony, and projection booth remain intact and in remarkably good condition – I wonder if the Mandarin was originally built as a legit playhouse used for Chinese opera and the like?
Caught a matinee showing of the re-release of THE EXORCIST at the St. Francis in the summer of 1977. Maybe timed to prime audiences for the upcoming release of EXORCIST II: The Heretic. I hadn’t seen the film before, having been too young to go when it was initially released in 1973. This was the 1st screening of the re-release run at the St. Francis and I recall being very confused as to the chronology of the story. It seemed to jump forward in its narrative time frame — the climactic exorcism began about 20 minutes into the showing of the film then jumped back in time, then it it jumped inexplicably to another part of the film. Turns out the the projectionist had gotten the reels all mixed up. Despite the confusion, afterwards I was still rattled as hell (and nauseous) and a crowd had gathered in the lobby to bitterly complain to the manager about the reel snafu. I remember a young woman who had brought her infant daughter to the screening being among the most vociferous complainants.
Saw JAWS there twice in the summer of 1975. I was 12. It may have been the East Bay’s exclusive run of the movie at the time. Not sure where JAWS was playing in San Francisco at the time. 1st time I saw it was a matinee maybe the the 1st or second week of release. Loved it, of course. Not a lot of folks in the theater. I recall sitting in the balcony the 2nd time I saw it, an evening show, a packed house. The balcony was the smoking section at the time. My dad had decided to indulge and taken taken me, and went for a pee break before the film started. He told me to find a seat down front in the orchestra. I found a couple of free seats while he went to the bathroom, but upon sitting, I soon saw why the crowded theater had two choice free seats: some drunk bastard had just puked on the floor next to his seat, and was ranting incoherently. I hightailed it outta there and intercepted my old man coming back from the bathroom, imploring him to find us seats in the smoking section (the balcony). He couldn’t understand; he knew I hated the smell of cigarette smoke (he himself was a pipe smoker), but I was insistent, because I thought my father would have 86ed the whole excursion had he found out some drunk had puked in the theater (my dad was reluctant to take me to some dopey movie about a shark in the first place). I suffered through the viewing in a haze of cigarette smoke for my old man’s sake so we could enjoy the movie. We get home, he recounts the experience to his wife (my stepmother), with the conclusively derisive putdown, “And then at the end, the shark jumps out of the water ON TO THE BOAT! Can you believe it?!?!” He couldn’t even suspend his disbelief for that plot contrivance in order to enjoy the pleasure the movie would have brought him. I’ve since learned one can underestimate a driven animal at one’s peril.
There we go. It must have run forever at the Edgemoor that summer. I 1st saw it at the Piedmont in Oakland, CA and then at a 2nd-run house in West Goshen, PA shopping Mall in the early fall of 1975.
Christiana Mall’s Cinemas opened in the late ‘70s as I recall and went down there from the suburbs of northern Wilmington many times to catch bargain matinees. I saw countless movies at the Tri-State Mall Cinemas. Initially it was only a twin theater. It eventually became a triplex in the late 1970s.
Thanks for this. The movie page from Wilmington’s Evening Journal, or The Morning News, probably spring or early summer of 1975. I saw Funny Lady at a champagne reception with my mother at the Concord Mall Cinema when it opened. Towering Inferno would have been playing 2nd run at Chestnut Hill by that point. I think the exclusive initial run for TI was at Eric’s Concordville in Concordville, PA. Makes sense that King of Hearts was playing the State in Newark, DE as that was that college town’s rep/revival house. Saw many older flicks there over the years. I saw films at Cinema 141, Cinemart, & 202 Drive-In. All gone now. Surprised that the Edgemoor & 141 were playing x-rated fare – they usually played respectable 1st or 2nd-run films. Can’t recall if Cinema 273 was exclusively an adult-only house. It, too, may have played 1st-run films at one time, too.
Anyone know of a former small theater that may have been located on the north side of West 187th St. between Cabrini Blvd. & Fort Washington Ave.? A deli is now in that space. Looks like it could have been a former theater. Just curious.
Clearly no movement to do anything with this property in the past 3 three years or more. A very old hand-painted sign on the facade reads “Hall for hire” and lists a phone number.
Okay, let’s reflect a moment here: looking at an old Strand schedule from Nov. of ‘78… one Sunday Nov. 25 showed a QUADRUPLE feature of Deliverance, Sorcerer, Marathon Man, and Bite the Bullet. What!?!?! AND, Lana Turner & Jane Fonda made appearances at 2 separate events at the theater!?!! Beyond incredible.
Hmmm. That photo from ‘72 is of course the theater ( I remember the sign w/ Chinese characters so well), so my recollection of someone shouting down to 'Johnny" from an upper window to open the theater must be wrong. Or the person could have been shouting down from a window in the apt. building 2 doors to the right. At any rate, the mid-week matinee unspooling of Black Sunday was sparsely attended to be sure, but probably cost a buck & change and it was one of my favorite movies at the time so I had a great time. 'A Moment in Time’ sounds really cool. I spent a lot of time roaming the streets of Chinatown as a kid and remember some Chinese theaters, one on Grant Ave. (Sun SIng?) and Great Star on Jackson. Also the Grandview & the Palace. Never saw a movie inside these theaters but wish I had.
Saw several movies at the CineMart when I was living in Wilmington as a kid. The only one I can recall off-hand is Apocalypse Now, playing some time after it had opened exclusively in New York & LA. Coppola’s film had played the Zeigfeld in New York. This print had no titles or credits at beginning or end. A printed program was handed out to patrons detailing all credits. The print I saw at CineMart had added end credits. No program was given to patrons. Hard to believe that as of June 2011 the theater (what’s left of it) still stands.
Okay. Warning: personal indulgent comment about to begin. Blame the Branmar Cinema’s months-long booking of The Poseidon Adventure in 1973 for my wanting to become an actor. My brothers took me to see it early on in its run. I was so viscerally traumatized by it but excited by the film’s thrills & suspense (I was 10) I went back to see it on 9 successive Saturday matinees. Admission fee each Saturday matinee: $1. About the 8th time, the manager/usher did not tear my ticket and cautioned me not to lose my ticket. If no more than half a dozen people showed up, they wouldn’t be unspooling the film and I’d get my money back. Enough patrons attended and I got my weekly fix of the S.S. Poseidon capsizing and following once again “the combined talents of 15 Academy Award winners” in “Who will survive…?”
I remember standing on line to get in to the Branmar in those years and enjoying the sweet odors emanating from a neighboring bakery. Paul McCartney’s “My Love” often played from another business' outdoor speaker that spring/summer of 1973. No atmosphere at this suburban strip mall theater; just memories of fun moviegoing. Believe I saw Blazing Saddles here and the immensely disappointing Jaws 2 on opening night with a huge crowd in attendance. Felt so awful that Roy Scheider had gotten himself caught up in that one. But when I was 10 I wanted to be Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure! Inspiring everyone and leading them all to safety! I did become an actor. Still making a living at it, knock wood.
Almost 4 years after I posted my original comment, the facade still stands, the front entrance boarded up, window poster niches boarded up as well. The chain pharmacy is now closed; it’s space, which had occupied the auditorium of the Harrison stands empty for now. I may be wrong about having seen White Wilderness there. It may have been another Disney, or G-rated film about wild animals in the arctic.
Lived a couple blocks away in the early-mid ‘80s. Think I recall seeing DAYS OF HEAVEN there just before the St Marks’ demise around 1984 or ‘85. TAXI DRIVER was a midnight perennial on the weekends, as was A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, for the NYU crowd. I remember an old-fashioned somewhat roccoco water fountain in the back of the auditorium. We who lived in the 'hood were very sorry to see this theater go to be ignominiously replaced by a GAP (which justly died about 10 or 12 years ago).
I made the drive several times down from Wilmington as a high-school student in the late-‘70s, early '80s to catch revival fare. I believe I saw A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and CASABLANCA there, as well as several midnight showings of Rocky Horror. Yeah, I remember seeing preview after preview for THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, typical college student fare for a revival house. Was there an oculus in the facade of the theater or the interior? Maybe I’m just remembering a round art-deco mirror in the interior. I believe the State was the sole revival house in Delaware at the time ('70s-'80s).
Nice to hear people in Delaware are still attending the movies, however limited their options are. When i was growing up in Wilmington in the ‘70s we had several places to catch 1st-run films, theaters that started out as single huge houses seating at least 1500 to 2000 patrons, but were then multiplexed as the decade wore on. Anyone out there recall Concord Mall Cinema, Branmar Cinema, the Eric Concordville on Rte.1, Tri-State Mall twin cinemas, the West Goshen twin cinemas, the old Warner downtown, Cinemart, the theaters in Price’s Corners, the Edgemoor? Further afield were the State in Newark, the old Warner in West Chester, and a few drive-ins like the 202 in West Chester, Price’s Corners, and Newark. Most of my movie-going was confined to the Concord Mall cinema, Branmar Plaza cinema, and Tri-State Mall twins. I watched THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE on 10 successive Saturday afternoons at the Branmar Cinema when I was 10 years old. I would sit through back-to-back showings of films like THE GREAT GATSBY, THE DEEP, KING KONG ('76 version), and BLACK SUNDAY at the Concord Mall cinema. Hey, I was kid with not much to do in the suburbs of Wilmington, DE.