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Those hanging speakers really look bad. I agree about “A Chorus Line.” Miserable screen adaptation. Was a natural for 3D, too. Speaking of 3D: the Music Hall never showed it in the 50s. The theater was too large, and the projectors just couldn’t put out enough light. “Kiss Me, Kate” was shown flat, while it later toured in 3D. (The restoration on Blu-ray is stunning.)
Noting the comments and questions above, I do recall that the wide, curved screen was accommodated within the proscenium/stage area, and not requiring significant modifications to the theater or removal of seats. Of course, some seats may have been removed because they were simply too close to the screen for comfortable viewing.
I saw the first-run of South Pacific in Todd-AO at the Criterion. The screen was mildly curved, not the deeply curved version used at the Rivoli for Oklahoma and Around the World in 80 Days. As I recall (it was long ago) the projection and sound were excellent, although the use of colored filters seemed bizarre to almost everyone who saw the film, including the critics.
Reading about the New York premiere of Sergei Eisenstein’s “October: Ten Days That Shook the World,” Alfred Barr Jr. wrote in The Arts (Volume 13-14, p. 316) that the film opened at the Little Carnegie on November 2, 1928. Barr doesn’t mention whether there was a musical accompaniment to “Ten Days” – one of the last silent films – but one has to assume there was.
The theater was located a few blocks from my grandmother’s apartment in the Bronx, and I went once in 1953 to see “King of the Khyber Rifles” with Tyrone Power. I was obsessed with CinemaScope films and this was an early one. I remember very little about the theater, except that it was a rather small one by Loew’s standards.
The Aaronson article (see Photos) mentions that the Triboro had 3800 seats, making it one of the largest of the “Wonder” theaters. I recall it being very wide, confirmed by the photo showing five sections in the orchestra (six aisles). And it was, indeed, an “atmospheric” theater, with a blue sky and twinkling stars. For a young kid, it was a memorable experience seeing a movie there.
Is there some reason this theater isn’t in the Search database? (I tried “Loew’s State” and nothing came up.) I saw several movies in this great theater, including Fox’s “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Marilyn Monroe. It was the second film in CinemaScope and the wide image – projected on a lightly curved screen – was incredible. The film began with a musical overture, played in multi-channel magnetic stereophonic sound. Once the action began, I remember vividly how the sound followed the actors as they moved around the screen.
I got to see “South Pacific” at the Criterion in 70mm Todd-AO. Unlike Todd-AO screenings at the Rivoli up the street, the Criterion projected this film on their standard, lightly curved CinemaScope screen. Nevertheless, the image was extremely sharp and sound quality excellent. There was controversy at the time for the director using color filters for the musical numbers. If anything, it was distracting.
Saw “This is Cinerama” at the Warner in New York in 1953. Sat way up in the balcony, but it was still a thrilling show. Saw it again during its short run at the New Neon in Dayton, Ohio a few years ago. Most impressive was the 3-strip screening of “How the West Was Won” at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.
On the subject of 3D, I recall that in 1954 (or was it 1953?) the Music Hall decided not to show Kiss Me, Kate in 3D, opting for the flat version for various technical reasons. One was that so many seats in the huge hall were located off-axis and there was significant loss of light when wearing glasses (typical of 3D projection even today). Wonder if that has been resolved in some way …
My Dad took me to see the 1953 Queens premiere of House of Wax, in 3D and WarnerPhonic (stereo) sound. There was a long line to get tickets and the theater was packed. As an 11 year old seeing a 3D movie for the first time, I was enchanted. The Century Meadows was the newest and most modern theater in Queens, located in a shopping center that included a Horn and Hardart restaurant and other upscaled shops.
Many stories to tell about the Boulevard. But for beginners, here’s a list of the movies I saw there (in order of which I remembered them:
The King and I
Beneath the 12 Mile Reef
It Came from Outer Space (3D)
A Star is Born
Second Chance (3D)
Phantom of the Rue Morgue (3D)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (3D)
The Best Years of Our Lives (reissue)
Lady and the Tramp
River of No Return
New Faces of 1952
East of Eden
Three Coins in the Fountain
Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
The Glenn Miller Story
I Am Curious Blue
Song of the South
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
The Man Who Fell to Earth
There’s No Business Like Show Business
The Marriage of Maria Braun
Breakfast At Tiffany’s
Hell and High Water
Knife in the Water
Rocco and his Brothers
Marriage Italian Style
Unfortunately, Smilebox is NOT Cinerama
The Marcus Loew plaque from this theater is currently up for auction on ebay, item number 271204780383. the plaque apparently survived the transformation of the building into CBS Studio 60.
Unfortunately, the only ‘art’ house in Knoxville still doesn’t show films in 3D. I had to travel to Asheville to see Wim Wenders' beautiful “Pina” in 3D. Regal’s excuse was that it was “too expensive” to install 3D technology in this theater. That response from Regal, which has its world headquarters in this town.
I also saw the film in its initial run at the Criterion in New York. The image and sound quality were excellent, although the screen used was the regular CinemaScope one, barely curved. There was considerable controversy over the use of colored filters during the musical numbers, which served to remove these numbers from the ‘reality’ of the dramatic action. I didn’t know the film moved to the Rivoli, which had the original curved-screen Todd-AO projection setup from the screening of Oklahoma.
I was trying to recall what movies I saw at the Triboro, and could remember Dangerous When Wet (Esther Williams), The Caddy (Martin and Lewis), War of the Worlds (with great surround stereo sound), Fort Ti (in 3D) and, perhaps, Becket. I know I saw at least one vaudeville show when Loew’s tried to revive live entertainment in the late 50s. The theater was fantastic, always a treat to visit, even though it was a bus ride from my neighborhood in Jackson Heights.
Techman, I watched many movies at the Jackson and Colony as well as the three mentioned. If I recall, I saw both Kiss Me, Kate, and Dial M for Murder in 3D at the Jackson. The Colony screened more ‘art’ fare; I know I saw at least one Ingmar Bergman film there (in a mostly empty room). Used to eat lunch next door at the Woolworth’s.
The Earle was the premier “art” movie house in Jackson Heights, always showing the finest independent and foreign movies. Here’s a list of what I remember seeing there: Hiroshima Mon Amour, And God Created Woman, Medium Cool, Alfie. And God .. featured Brigitte Bardot and you had to be at least 16 to see it. I lied about my age and the eager ticket seller let me in. Not a bad movie, actually, very daring for its time. The theater was a beautiful deco piece and very well maintained. That all changed when it turned into a porn venue; it was probably the raunchiest movie house in the neighborhood, the Fair and Polk running close.
As kids, we used to eat in the great Kosher deli next door, then see a movie at the Jackson. Here’s a list of movies I saw there: The Long Gray Line, Kiss Me, Kate (3D), Dial M for Murder (3D), Ben Hur, Vertigo, Porgy and Bess, Ship of Fools, Judgment at Nuremburg, Freud.
I grew up in Jackson Heights in the 1950s and saw a few movies at the Colony, including High Noon, Disney’s The Living Desert, and at least one of Ingmar Bergman’s films. The Colony was one of two “art houses” in the neighborhood, the other being the Earle on 74th Street.
went to the Polk many times as a kid. They had a good Saturday kid’s matinee, as did the Boulevard and Fair. I think the last time I went to the Polk, it had already been converted into a porn house, the third theater in Jackson Heights so transformed (along with the Earle and Fair). On the next block, also on 37th Avenue, was the fabulous Dragon Seed Restaurant, which had one of the first stereophonic music systems in the city. On Mondays, when the restaurant was closed, the owner opened it to neighborhood audiophiles. Great neighborhood!
The PBS American Masters documentary on Elia Kazan (mentioned above) was shown again tonight. There was a nice exterior view of the Commodore marquee.
Here’s a link to a remembrance and photo of Loew’s State Memphis: http://www.memphistechhigh.com/memphis/memories/state.html
Here’s a remembrance and photo of Loew’s Palace in Memphis: