Showing 16 comments
That’s very interesting because I recall another theater showing Superman in 70mm for $1 at the same time; Parkwood Theater in the Parkwood Manor Shopping Center (Far Northeast, Phila, Pa.). However, the Parkwood’s newspaper ad made reference to its 70mm presentation (i.e. in the ad itself), and the Stadium’s ad made no reference to it (at least to my recollection). The Parkwood’s marquee also said 70mm. I viewed the film at the Fox in center city in four (4) track Dolby Stereo, presumably in 35mm (film was shot in 35mm Panavision). The Parkwood and Stadium’s showings were probably anamorphic “blow-ups streched to fit 70mm projection.
The first 70mm 6-track Stereophonic Sound presentation at the Orleans (in 1963) was “55 Days At Peking”. The next was “Mutiny On The Bounty”. The ads commonly made a reference to “On Philadelphia’s largest screen”. Others (when it was still a full-sized theater) were “It’s A Mad Mad, Mad, Mad, World”, “Doctor Zhivago” “The Dirty Dozen”, “West Side Story”, “Spartacus”, “Oklahoma”, “Can-Can”, “Cheyenne Autumn”, “My Fair Lady”, “Finian’s Rainbow”, “Grand Prix”, “Gone With The Wind”, and “2001: A Space Odyessy”.
Of all the theaters to feature 70mm capabilities, including center city theaters, the Orleans (“hands-down”) used it the most! …even after twinning(“Indiana Jones and The Last Crusades”, “Cocoon”, and “Dick Tracy”).
“The Godfather” premiered at the Towne Theater’s sister theater (also in Levittown, PA.). This theater was known as the Fox Theater. Both theaters were first-run theaters meaning compatible and competitive with Center City Philadelphia’s theaters in that they premiered film before they went wide in the neighborhood theaters (in Philadelphia). In one case, the Towne beat the Stanley Theater (owned by the mighty Stanley Warner theaters) in Philadelphia with the premiere of “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” to the tune of three (3) weeks. It was advertised in the Philadelphia Bulletin and Inquirer in their A-B-C listings, and not with as much fanfare as one would imagine. That was incredible!! The Towne also opened with the Dean Martin (Matt Helm) movie “The Silencers” and the science fiction blockbuster “Fantastic Voyage” on the same day as their respective openings at the Fox Theater ( no connection with the Levittown theaters; it was owned and operated by
the Milgram brothers… i.e. Milgram theaters). By 1972, true first run presentations were spotty at best. Although, as a twin, they showed Lina Wertmuller’s “Swept Away” in 1974. I only saw one film there and it was not first run and the sound system was less than satisfactory. The film was “Time Bandits” ( a 1981 film). The Fox Theater in Levittown’s Country Club Shopping Center (now known as Langhorne Square) was also amazing with a great first run history of its own. of their own. Both cinemas are no longer!
The Stadium Theater was still in operation in the late 1970s/early 1980s. In 1979, the theater was still full-sized and showing films @ $1 at all times. Example – “The Champ” (Jon Voight; Ricky Schroeder), and “The China Syndrome” (Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda, and Michael Douglas). In the early 1980s, the theater was closed, twinned, changed management, and renamed as Cinema South (i.e. twin theater). After a short stint as the Cinema South, the theater closed permanently. In both cases, feature presentations were limited to nightly performances only.
The Stadium Theater was located just across the street from another George A. Hamid enterprise; namely, Aquarama, Theater of the Sea (Philly’s own big-time aquarium showplace), right on South Btroad St. It opened in the Summer of 1967 with “Casino Royale” (the other James Bond movie which was released by Columbia Pictures). That same year, a reissue of “Spartacus” was later presented there. The Grand Opening ads heralded that this theater featured symphonic seats and 70mm projection. To the best of my recollection, the ads never mentioned a 70mm presentation, unless the “Spartacus” showing was one which did not specifically advertise it as such. It may have been a 70mm showing. However, I truly doubt it; neighborhood theaters such as the Cheltenham and Orleans took pride in such less-than regular endeavors. Yes, ultimately it was reduced to a two shows, nightly, $1 at all times theater. The older, more ornate theater at Broad and Snyder, known as the Broadway, reigned supreme. I was never at this theater, and my entry is based on my “pretty darn good” memory; this info is accurate to the best of my memories. I’d love to hear from other who regularly attended this theater; it would be enlightening, informative, and very interesting!
To the best of my recollection, the Ventnor did not show any roadshow reserved seat feature attractions. I can definitely state that the Embassy Theater (Atlantic City, NJ) showed at least one roadshow reserved seat attraction, “Doctor Zhivago”. I saw it there, in the summer of 1966. It was presented in 70mm, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It’s ashame that all of AC’s movie palaces are gone; they’re just bygone-memories now!
This theater was closed for some time when it was gutted by fire last summer (2004).
Originally, the Cinema I & II N.E. consisted of two full-sized/sizeable auditoriums on opposite ends of each other, separated by a common lobby and concession stand. It also boasted of having two giant screens and quality projection and sound. It had multi-aspect ratio (including CinemaScope) capabilities. Films were shown in 35mm only. It was not a 70mm-equipped theater, however. It was very popular in its day.
The Cinema I & II N.E. was hailed (back in late 1965) as Pennsylvania’s first twin theater. It was built as a twin (not part of any conversion from a full-sized entitity. Ironically, later, as noted above, it fell too, to that ultimate fate when it became G.C.C. I, II, III, and later yet, in its final “converted” form as G.C.C. I, II, III, IV.).
The Cinema I & II N.E. (located in the Northeast Shopping Center, also referred to, at the time, as the Korvette’s Shopping Center) by General Cinema Corporation, opened in 1965, not 1955, as posted originally, above. If I’m not mistaken, it opened on Christmas Day, 1965, and its opening attractions were “Do Not Disturb” starring Doris Day and Rod Taylor in Cinema I and “Pinnochio In Outer Space” for children shown in the afternoon and late-afternoon in Cinema II. For the two evening shows in Cinema II (app. 7:30 and 9:30 P.M.), a more adult offering (obviously) was presented. That film was Hitchcock’s “Marnie” (Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery).
The Parkwood Theater was the Far Northeast (Phila.)’s answer to the lower Northeast’s Orleans (a William Goldman theater). Unlike another Far Northeast theater, the Leo (operated by real estate developer Leo Posel), the Parkwood delivered more on its 70mm capacity claim than the Leo, although not as much as the Orleans. Opened in 1964 with “What A Way To Go!”. Notable 70mm attractions: “Fall Of The Roman Empire”, “West Side Story” (reissue), “My Fair Lady”, and “The Exorcist”, (reissues; during its later $1 at all times phase). Also: “Superman” (also $1 at all times), and “Outland” ($1@all times; after conversion as a “twin”).
DennisZ is absolutely correct. Please note my Bryn Mawr Theater Cinema Treasures Comment. Rugoff was not the complete name; Rugoff Cinema 5 was the full name…I stand corrected; I read DennisZ’s comment after my Bryn Mawr input. I believe New World (later the Center City Sports Club) was also operated by Rugoff Cinema 5. When I saw “The Wild Bunch” there ($1; revival engagement), I spoke to the head usher, and I distinctly remember him specifically telling me that Rugoff was the name of the chain.
Interestingly enough, The World (at 18th and Market Sts., in Center City Phila.), and the Bryn Mawr shared a common ad in their advertisement. The Bryn Mawr was owned by William Goldman Theaters, and the World was owned by a NYC chain known as Rugoff Theaters which also operated the Cinema 19 (formerly the Aldine, and later renamed the Viking Theater, and later yet Sam’s Place I and II operated by Sameric Corporation). A few years later in the early ‘70s, a New World Theater was constructed at 18th and Market Streets, just a few addresses from its earlier predecessor. It did not enjoy the success of the World; briefly a $1@ all times theater.
The AC theater I am referring to with respect to the roadshow showing of “Doctor Zhivago” in 70mm was the Embassy Theater (New York and Atlantic Aves). I can’t think of any other 70mm showing; mostly a 35mm theater with multi-aspect ratio/‘Scope capacity. The previous year I saw “Operation Crossbow” there (Widescreen—filmed in Panavision—shown that way in 35mm). I remember passing the Embassy over the years (in the summertime), and films like “The Haunting” (original 1963), “Donovan’s Reef”, and “The Maltese Bippy” were showing there. It’s my understanding that it was a bank before it became the Embassy.
In response to HowardB’s inquiry of AC theaters with 70mm capacity: I saw the reserved seat showing of MGM’s “Doctor Zhivago” there during the summer of 1966. On the display poster, next to “Screenplay by Robert Bolt”, an “informational” card was presumably inserted by theater management staff. It read in bold black-and-white letters —– 70MM. I believe that what I saw was a 70mm stereo presentation. The film was shot in (regular) Panavision (i.e. not Super Panavision 70 or Todd-AO or Ultra Panavison 70,etc…..meaning not shot in 70mm, but in 35mm). The print was streched to fit the 70mm projector(commonplace once).