Comments from KGordonMurray

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KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Cinemagic Movies at Middletown on Mar 6, 2019 at 1:02 pm

Fond memories. I was the weekend relief projectionist (12 noon-6p) for a couple of years in the late 70s. The primary projectionist for many, many years was James Letts. A nice guy who could fix anything.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about UA Cinema on Mar 6, 2019 at 12:56 pm

markp: Just now saw your reply. How nice to hear Jerry is still with us! Does he still live the area or maybe retired to warmer climates? I haven’t spoken to him in 38 years. markp, I use a pseudonym here so if you mentioned to Jerry that “KGordonMurray” said hello, he wouldn’t have any recollection of that name.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about UA Cinema on Dec 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm

markp: Some 4 years later, I see your question! Yes, I knew Jerry Cunningham. He, like myself, was a member of IATSE Local 536. Jerry was the relief projectionist (for regular projectionist Jerry Spencer) at General Cinema’s Shrewsbury Plaza Cinema http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/12045 … I didn’t know Jerry worked at the Middlebrook later on! As you know, he was a very, very nice man and I always enjoyed his company. We typically saw one another at union meetings and when we worked as stagehands at the PNC Bank Arts Center (then known as the Garden State Arts Center). He was the only African-American member at the time (mid-70s). I presume he’s now deceased?

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Town Theatre on Jul 9, 2017 at 8:04 pm

The address shown here for the Town Theatre is not correct. It should read 851 Ninth Ave.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Cinnaminson Twin Cinemas on Aug 22, 2016 at 8:35 pm

Regarding Rick B’s 2006 comment: Music Makers wasn’t the original owner. MM bought this theatre along with one named the Triangle and one or two others in that area such as the East Windsor. This was around 1976 or so. I worked for the chain then and remember the acquisition/expansion. They were pretty far-flung from where many of the MM screens were…Monmouth and Ocean counties.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Elysee Theatre on Nov 21, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Alas, Mr. Miller, your recollection of what you believe to be the Elysee/ABC Studio TV-15 is mistaken. The structure you cite in your above posts is not, nor was it ever at any time, a part of the Elysee. It’s an adjoining building. Please trust me on this. I’m a former ABC-TV employee…I assure you there isn’t a single remnant of that theatre still standing on 58th St. I saw the deep hole where it had once stood. I have in my possession 14 blueprints of the Elysee from various periods during ABC’s ownership. These include structural changes, dressing room makeovers, seating configurations and so on. The Elysee stood on what is Block 1029/Lot 37. That lot measures 75-feet wide by 100-feet 5-inches deep. It (and the theatre, of course) is a simple rectangle. As you know—having seen Lucy there (what luck!) the theatre’s orientation was north to south (i.e.; the front entrance on 58th St—the back wall of the stage oriented south of 58th). The building to its west (the one you point out) isn’t a part of the lot; the theatre’s west wall adjoined it. Mr. Miller, as I indicated above in Sept 2010, I so wish it were true that the Elysee—or even a piece of—still stood. It doesn’t and hasn’t since 1985. The St. Thomas Choir School now sits on “Block 1029/Lot 37”.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Town Theatre on Jan 13, 2013 at 8:50 am

Alas, our posts are wandering off topic (the Town Theatre) which CT’s guidelines request we not do. Therefore, one last OT mention from yours truly and any further discussion re: the Elysee/ABC Studio TV-15 will be posted at that that theatre’s listing.

Yes, I was aware of that MGM Grand fire story! Fascinating stuff. The Elysee (ABC Studio TV-15) was home to the last season of KIDS ARE PEOPLE TOO! which ended its run in Sept ‘82. I may have misspoken above re: THE $50,000 PYRAMID being the last occupier of the theatre. I worked for ABC at the time and have a ticket for one of the KAPT! tapings. I have to double-check the date as $50K ended its tapings in April '81.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about UA Cinema on Sep 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm

For the record, the original space that the theatre occupied was extended to accommodate store expansion. An addition was attached to the open side of the building that extended further toward the highway. I was a relief projectionist at this theatre. It’s primary projectionist was Arthur Cavallo, Sr. (now deceased).

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Elysee Theatre on Sep 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Regarding Mr. Wilson’s post: my recollection of the Elysee’s site was one of complete demolition. I worked for ABC-TV at the time and curiously passed by one afternoon to ‘say good-bye’ to what was our stalwart Studio TV-15. There was nothing left. I would love to believe there is extant Elysee architecture still occupying 202 W 58 St., but I think it unlikely. Oh! How I would love to be proved wrong! I also attended Mr. Cavett’s show there and later on made many visits during “The $20,000 Pyramid” era. How lucky you were to have worked with Mr. Cavett!! A brilliant writer.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Music Makers Plaza Theater on May 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Barry M! By golly, I do believe you’re right. It was indeed Golden Skillet. I got the main menu item (chicken) messed up with the name and I’m deeply grateful you corrected me. Thanks. As an addendum to my initial, lengthier posting I’ve since learned that the Plaza Theater’s long time manager, Lillian Pyburn, died April 8, 2010. She was 89. I knew her well. Lovely woman. And FWIW, I was working at the Plaza during the time of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (5-6 nights a week). Quite possibly tore your ticket! I just “loved” wearing those goofy red and white-striped usher jackets and red bow ties.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Colonial Theater on May 10, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Jimmy T’s initial entry is not correct. I was projectionist at the Colonial Theater from 1977-1980. It had heat and was open year-round. The owner at the time was Jim Corbett who also owned the Jackson Cinemas in Jackson, NJ (which is not listed in CT.org yet). The Corbetts tried running 7 nights a week year round when they first bought the place. It was overseen by Jim’s son (I believe his name was Skip) who made occasional visits. The second story had living quarters and offices that were unoccupied. I was told at the time that the mayor of Keansburg was once headquartered up there for several years. The building was nestled amongst the attractions of the Keansburg Amusement Park on Beachway which was open during the warm weather. Once the park closed for the season, the theater attendance suffered and the owners went to a Thursday-Sunday policy. It was an ancient and unkempt theater with terrible acoustics and many useless seats that had no cushions. The Corbett’s got their heads caved in on this investment. I once had a $75 payroll check bounce. Mr. Corbett was mortified and took care of it out of his personal account. A very nice man who I believe may have wished he never got involved with the place. I knew every inch of that theater … it was old, deteriorating and smelled. But it was “my theater” and I enjoyed every second of working there! BTW, I took over as projectionist from a man named Val Straub whose son also did occasional fill-in. The co-managers at the time were Jim Woods and John Coffey, two wonderful characters who made working under such crippled circumstances a lot of fun. A small condominium now occupies the site.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Interstate Theatre on Apr 25, 2009 at 12:10 am

Just realized I misspoke above when stating,“If you’re from central NJ and remember the “Chicken Skillet” fast food restaurants, they were owned by Music Makers. I know of at least one structure that still exists in Eatontown on Route 35.” This is incorrect, no structure survives.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Music Makers Plaza Theater on Apr 25, 2009 at 12:09 am

Just realized I misspoke above when stating,“If you’re from central NJ and remember the “Chicken Skillet” fast food restaurants, they were owned by Music Makers. I know of at least one structure that still exists in Eatontown on Route 35.” This is incorrect, no structure survives.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Music Makers Plaza Theater on Apr 13, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Oh, “Movie Man Bill” above is correct in stating nothing still exists of the original building. I know exactly when the Plaza was demolished. In February 2000 I had left for a 10 day trip to Los Angeles and the theatre was still standing. When I returned, it was completely gone. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t get to witness it.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Music Makers Plaza Theater on Apr 13, 2009 at 9:42 pm

The Plaza Theatre was, best to my recollection, originally built as part of a small chain of theatres by a company called A.I.T. I can still “see” the logo on the marquee when I saw THUNDERBALL there in 1965. It changed hands until the Music Makers Theatre circuit bought it. Music Makers was founded by composer Mitch Leigh (Man of La Mancha, and the jingle “Nobody Doesn’t Like Sara Lee”) in 1957 as a music and radio commercial production house. The Music Makers chain was comprised of acquiring single theatres and small chains throughout NY, NJ and DE. It also built new houses, one of which is not listed in Cinema Treasures (I have to fix that). I worked for this chain (1974-75) and there’s simply not enough room here to go into grand details. An interesting aside is that MM shrewdly owned the wholesale company that supplied the candy, soda and popcorn for all their theatres. A brilliant move in maximizing the profit stream. It was called the Andy Candy Company and managed by a very nice guy named Dan Frank for many years. I was told that “Andy” was Leigh’s son. It was, though, during this period that the company expanded pretty quickly as we were adding new screens and twining large single houses … the first of which was the Brick Plaza Theatre, Bricktown (long gone). The Plaza in Hazlet had a “twin sister” 55 miles away, the Interstate Theatre in Ramsey, NJ (also gone). Lobbies were laid out differently, but the auditoriums were identical. I remember laying new linoleum tiles around the candy stand in 1975! (I’ve cross-posted this missive in Interstate’s listing). Music Makers was also diversifying into new areas. If you’re from central NJ and remember the “Chicken Skillet” fast food restaurants, they were owned by Music Makers. I know of at least one structure that still exists in Eatontown on Route 35. Another was located in Neptune. “Chicken Skillet” never caught on, though. The company also owned Sunny Day coin-op laundry on Rte 9 in Howell. The MM folks were good people and if you showed an interest in their interests, it was recognized. The company’s booker was David Tuckerman, an incredibly smart man with a clever sense of humor, who later became head of theatrical distribution at New Line Cinema. Milton Herson, (such class, extremely smart) was the president. Locally, the Plaza was managed by Lillian Pyburn for many, many years. A genuinely wonderful woman.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Interstate Theatre on Apr 13, 2009 at 9:38 pm

The Plaza Theatre was, best to my recollection, originally built as part of a small chain of theatres by a company called A.I.T. I can still “see” the logo on the marquee when I saw THUNDERBALL there in 1965. It changed hands until the Music Makers Theatre circuit bought it. Music Makers was founded by composer Mitch Leigh (Man of La Mancha, and the jingle “Nobody Doesn’t Like Sara Lee”) in 1957 as a music and radio commercial production house. The Music Makers chain was comprised of acquiring single theatres and small chains throughout NY, NJ and DE. It also built new houses, one of which is not listed in Cinema Treasures (I have to fix that). I worked for this chain (1974-75) and there’s simply not enough room here to go into grand details. An interesting aside is that MM shrewdly owned the wholesale company that supplied the candy, soda and popcorn for all their theatres. A brilliant move in maximizing the profit stream. It was called the Andy Candy Company and managed by a very nice guy named Dan Frank for many years. I was told that “Andy” was Leigh’s son. It was, though, during this period that the company expanded pretty quickly as we were adding new screens and twining large single houses … the first of which was the Brick Plaza Theatre, Bricktown (long gone). The Plaza in Hazlet had a “twin sister” 55 miles away, the Interstate Theatre in Ramsey, NJ (also gone). Lobbies were laid out differently, but the auditoriums were identical. I remember laying new linoleum tiles around the candy stand in 1975! Music Makers was also diversifying into new areas. If you’re from central NJ and remember the “Chicken Skillet” fast food restaurants, they were owned by Music Makers. I know of at least one structure that still exists in Eatontown on Route 35. Another was located in Neptune. “Chicken Skillet” never caught on, though. The company also owned Sunny Day coin-op laundry on Rte 9 in Howell. The MM folks were good people and if you showed an interest in their interests, it was recognized. The company’s booker was David Tuckerman, an incredibly smart man with a clever sense of humor, who later became head of theatrical distribution at New Line Cinema. Milton Herson, (such class, extremely smart) was the president. Locally, the Plaza was managed by Lillian Pyburn for many, many years. A genuinely wonderful woman.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Elysee Theatre on Apr 11, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Yes, Blankety Blanks was taped at the Elysee Theatre, more correctly referred to as ABC Studio TV-15 by that time. The pilot was shot Monday Feb 10, 1975. The series itself only lasted 10 weeks though.

KGordonMurray
KGordonMurray commented about Town Theatre on Apr 11, 2009 at 9:24 pm

CBS designated the Town Theatre as Studio 58. Studio 59 was the Mansfield Theatre @ 256 W 47th (now called Brooks Atkinson).

Also, to confirm “Benjamin’s” 2007 entry above re: Merv Griffin being taped @ the Little Theatre — he’s correct. I have a ticket for Merv Griffin dated October 12, 1965 at the Little Theatre. Griffin also had a short tenure at the Cort Theatre (138 W 48th St) which CBS occupied. It was designated as CBS Studio 54!

As for his recollection of Dick Clark having a one a week show in the Little Theatre, I recall seeing documentation to that effect.My memory isn’t clear enough to say 100% absolutely though. I can say for sure, however, that Beech-Nut Spearmint Gum presented “The Dick Clark Beech-Nut Show” from ABC’s studio center on 67th Street. Again referencing a ticket, this one dated Aug 11, 1960. Clark also taped “Dick Clark’s World of Talent” at the same studio (26 W 67th St. – likely ABC’s TV-2) on Oct. 6, 1959.

Warren Harris' mention of Cavett at a 58th Street “ex-theatre”: that was ABC Studio TV-15 @ 202 W. 58th St. a.k.a. the Elysee Theatre. ABC owned the theatre for over 30 years. Demolished in 1985, it was home to countless ABC shows, notably Dick Cavett and “The $20,000 Pyramid.” The last tapings to take place there were “Kids Are People Too” in the summer of 1980 after “Pyramid” was canceled in May 1980. And after “Kids” wrapped its season, the syndicated “The $50,000 Pyramid” utilized TV-15 in early 1981. After that, I know of no other shows. There was, though, an ABC Stockholders Meeting held there one morning sometime after the theare went dark for good. I happened to attend it!

Warren, thank you for your Feb 2004 entry re: the Town Theatre. I always wondered about its early history.