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Unless this thread is intended to stay exclusively about the old place, the theatre address is now 120 East Green St., and it is now five screens.
Closed as of 2/21/16.
Theater now closed.
To be fair Mike, Craig O'Connor of Clearview DID try to do what you suggested. If you go back to your own list and check the spring of 2008 and 2009, and various other days in 2010, there were classic films played at the Zieg, under the “Hollywood Classics” banner. I remember revivals of things like “Back To The Future”, “Grease”, “The Sound of Music” (both regular and sing-a-long versions), and other titles. They did OK, but did they make back the house expenses?
I loved the theatre as much as anyone here, but it is pointless to try to second-guess what should and shouldn’t have been booked there. At the end of the day, the place was too big and expensive to operate as a single screen, and while some big screen classics may have brought in some business during off weeks, none of us here can conclusively say that they would have made enough money to keep the place afloat, even at a break-even level.
BowTie is NOT a particularly big chain. AMC is a big chain, they have a new Dolby Vision PLF screen at the Empire and locations all over the city and the tristate area. Regal is a big chain, with large screens in Midtown and the Village. My bet is that Star Wars goes to AMC and the Ziegfeld gets Hateful 8.
SDDS was a film-only sound format. There is no digital projection version. It is no longer supported by Sony, although theaters that are still equipped with readers and who still receive 35mm prints that support the format can still play it.
This place has been advertised as reopening in “late 2014 or early 2015” but I walked past it today and it is totally gutted inside, with the roof opened in spots. I don’t see this opening much before late spring or summer. Wonder what the holdup is?
Belay that last post. Showtimes now up, but “theatre outage” note still there. Hmmm.
Does anyone have any idea what is happening at this place? There are no showtimes scheduled after tonight, and there is a cryptic note on their website about a “theatre outage” but no further information. I know this place isn’t getting the business it once did, but could it finally be over, or just another bedbug fumigation?
Please supply some substantiation for your claim that “To this day it’s still the busiest theater in America …” That MAY have been true at one time, but in recent days has fallen back to booking a few hits and some arthouse titles, along with a great deal of Bollywood and some obscure films no-one has ever of heard of that are booked on a four-wall basis. They are renting out auditoriums to church groups every Sunday morning due to lack of business. On a recent visit on a Sunday afternoon, the theater was deserted, filthy and understaffed, with only one concession stand open. This USED to be a busy place, but those days appear to be long gone.
Been wracking my brains for years trying to recall the name of this place, where I remember seeing “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” on the first of many visits I’ve made to Toronto. I remember the projectionist was a young man with longish hair, mustache and wire-rim glasses, as befits the era. He let me look into the booth, which was down at mezzanine level. Is it true that this theatre is still there, behind locked doors?
The State Theatre was opened in 1937 as part of the Kallet Theatres chain. It has been operating continuously since then, except of a one year closure from September 1994 due to fire damage, after which the interior was almost completely rebuilt. There was also a brief closure in 2006 due to flood damage. The theatre’s status was changed to non-profit in March of 1987, and it is now owned by the Town of Deposit. The theatre held a successful fund drive for a digital projection upgrade, this was installed in September 2013. As of 10/13 there are still funds left over that will be used for audio/visual upgrades and marquee renovation. 10/13 exterior shot added to the photo page.
Sad to report that screenwriter Michael France, the owner of the Beach Theatre, passed away on April 12, 2013. I wonder what will happen now to this great and nostalgic venue.
That photo was taken from a vantage point way in the back of the house with a wide angle lens. I’ve seen 70mm presentations here, the screen is more than adequate for the job.
So … . any firm dates for the three-strip Cinerama shows in September? I mean, travel plans have to be made …
ETX has a 50,000 watt sound system, compared to the 12,000 watt system of IMAX? Here’s the thing about that: the 12,000 watt system is already ear-splitting loud. The presentation of *TRON: Legacy * in the AMC Garden State IMAX theater #2 is deafening as it is, the auditorium sound bleed is severe and the structural rumble and vibration is intrusive and annoying. Why on earth do you need another 38,000 watts of sound?
Just to clarify some things from my original description … John is correct, the newer “replacement” theater was originally a Hoyts operation, it was they who first built the cinema on the second floor, with he box office on the first near the escalator. Regal took over after Hoyts ran into their difficulties. The original GCC Cinema On The Mall (the one that this article refers to) was on the first floor in the space that is now occupied by the Gap and the Hallmark store.
I’ll tell you a great classics line up for the spring, something I would only love to see: all the great Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals back to back: We’re talkin':
[i] South Pacific
The King and I
Oklahoma! [/i] (I know for a fact that there is still a TODD-AO print in good condition available)
State Fair (both versions), and
* The Sound of Music* (but please, not the lame-o “sing-a-long” version).
In fact, double up Carousel and Oklahoma! and make it a Shirley Jones tribute. Huge business, I tell ya. Huge!
This is a rare still existing example of the â€œshooting galleryâ€ style of theatre construction occasionally seen in the late 1920s. The Manlius has a long narrow auditorium with a fixed size screen that is barely 1:1.85. At one time, scope films were shown thru a Magnacom and â€œletterboxedâ€ on the screen, although quite often the film spilled over on the walls. I donâ€™t know if this is still the practice.
The theatre was very popular in the mid-to-late seventies and early eighties, during the last great art film era. It was at the Manlius that I was introduced to films like The Tin Drum, Eraserhead, Wifemistress, Return of the Secaucus Seven, Tree of Wooden Clogs and many others. By the late 80â€™s, owner Nat Tobin sold the screen to a local grocery store owner who switched the programming to sub-run. He couldnâ€™t make a go of it, though, and attempted to auction the theatre off in 1990. I attended the auction hoping to buy it. However, it was obvious that none of the few bids submitted would be sufficient, so he wound up buying it back himself for a bid of $90,000.
The last time I was in the theatre, which was many years ago, it was in deplorable condition with a large puddle of water covering the carpet in the first few rows of seats (but it was still open nonetheless). I believe Nat Tobin has the house back now; he also had the Westcott until a few years ago.
After hearing a great deal about this theatre, I finally drove over from Passaic County last night to see a movie. I had high hopes because they are running a great deal of art-house and independent fare on a sub-run basis of late, and also because the theatre is run by the same folks behind the wonderful Lafayette.
As has been mentioned, this is a former large single screen now cut up into four. Multiplexing a house like this is always regrettable, but in this case it seems to have been done with a modicum of taste. The downstairs center screen retains a good deal of the original theatre; at least you can get a sense from it what the place looked like before it was cut up. To me, this is always better than boxing off the original walls to create more screens. The place was immaculately clean as well. I bought a ticket for the 7:30 show in the large downstairs theatre, sat down in one of the original seats and was so far happy with the experience.
Then the movie started.
I can say, without exaggeration or hyperbole, that itâ€™s been a long time since Iâ€™ve experienced a more inept projection of a movie. The daters, trailers and feature were all filthy and horribly scratched, the booming, bottom heavy sound brought new meaning to the words â€œwowâ€ and â€œflutterâ€, the picture drifted in and out of focus several times accompanied by a horrible grinding noise in the soundtrack, as if the film were trying to weave its way out of the gate and soundhead. Again, I am saying this without any overstatement whatsoever. I walked out after about twenty minutes, went home, and put what seemed like a funny film (â€œIn Brugesâ€) into my Netflix queue.
I have a feeling that had I confronted the young manager about all this, I would have gotten the old â€œWhat do you want for $4.50?â€ line. Well, I want decent projection. I want a clean, scratch-free print and intelligible sound. I donâ€™t want to see any leader on the screen, and I donâ€™t want to have to plug my ears every time a poorly made splice goes thru because of the thud.
I have been, am now, and will remain a supporter of classic cinemas. But at the end of the day, I go to see the movie, and I’d rather see them with some degree of technical proficiency. Thatâ€™s the shame about this place; if they keep up with their current film selection policy I would have been a steady customer. Now, never again.
Nelson Page gets a lot of happyjoy on this site because of the Lafayette. He should pay attention to his other screens.
Some shots I’ve taken in upstate NY are here.
I’m right there with you on that, BradE41. Possibly the finest single screen theatre still in existence, IMHO.
I suppose that at some point in the future we will see the closing or multiplexing of this theatre, given the unfavorable economics of operating a large single screen (does any one have any idea when the current lease expires?). I’m sad that the National closed, but for the Village to give it up would be devastating, a true “end of an era”. I hope the day is far into the future, but when it comes, this is the one theatre that I would seriously consider chaining myself to the doors to as the backhoes approach. Anyone with me? ;)
I am in NY for the foreseeable future, but you are welcome to get in touch with me. Be advised, though, that the part of my brain that holds my memories of this period has pretty much shut down for good. But I’ll remember what I can for you. My e-mail is mcogdenAToptonline.net.
I was the relief projectionist in this theatre (as well as the Genesse, the East, the Westvale, and the North and Dewitt D.I.s) for a few years in the early eighties, while a fine old gent named Gary Bender was the head, and it was a delight to work in. The booth had two Simplex E-7 projectors that Gary kept in immaculate shape, older carbon-arc lamps, mono sound and an eight-track player for non-sync music. In the room down the hall from the projection booth was a huge popcorn popper that was used by CinemaNational to pop the corn for all the theatres in town. Whenever I went upstairs, there were large garbage bags full of popped corn in the hallway. About 1981, when the 3-D film craze re-emerged for awhile, the screen was painted silver to accommodate the process. I remember I ran * Parasite, Cominâ€™ At Ya, House of Wax * and a few other 3-D pictures here. I wish I could remember the managerâ€™s name from this era, I recall that he was another fine old veteran.
CinemaNational folded and the theatre changed hands several times after I left. At the end, it was leased from Northern Lights by a local contractor named Dan (I canâ€™t remember his last name) who also leased the Genesse and the Auburn Twin and still kept them running for awhile. Eventually he wanted out, and I had a brief conversation with him about buying the business and assuming the leases, but it didnâ€™t pan out. Shortly after that the end came, the building was cleaned out, and a giant R/C slot-car track took over, which folded quickly.
Sadly, the Westcott must now be listed as closed. Nat finally thru in the towel on the 18th of this month, the last feature was In The Shadow Of The Moon. It was hard for the theatre to get films protected from the Carousel Mall screens, even arthouse programming. Also, the building is getting pretty old, needed new HVAC and other improvements.
The theatre first opened in 1928 as the Harvard, then changed its name to the Studio sometime in the seventies, and was part of the CinemaNational chain for a while. After they pulled out, it ran porn as an independent for much of the late seventies, then sub-run fare in the early eighties after changing its name to the Westcott. They finally switched to art/alternative sometime in the nineties under leaseholder Nat Tobin, who also runs the Manlius Cinema. Russ Percival was Natâ€™s manager/operator here for much of this era, he was the only union projectionist left in Syracuse after the closing of the cityâ€™s older single screens and multiâ€™s.
Sad to see this one go after so long.