Comments from Nick DiMaggio

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Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Florida Theatre on Sep 24, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Thanks rivest266. This is interesting. In your newspaper post for the Alcazar dated 1911 the Bonita Theater is also listed. The address for the Bonita is 710 Franklin which is the same address of the Franklin/Florida. The building shown in the photo appears to be either recently constructed or renovated. I wonder if this building was formerly the Bonita or if a previous building housing the Bonita was demolished. I need to research this.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Palace Theatre on Dec 4, 2016 at 2:48 pm

I saw Grand Prix at the Palace at least twice. I still have the ticket stub along with 7 ticket stubs for Sound of Music. Today it isn’t easy finding someone who remembers Cinerama. The majority of today’s moviegoers have never heard of it nor have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. If they could only experience it…

I was there the day the building was demolished. Before the wrecking ball began pounding the rear wall I entered the building looking for anything I could carry out. Surprisingly the auditorium lights were on. One guy on the main level was attempting to dismantle some seats. I opened the door to the Cinerama projection booth only to find it had been completely stripped to the bare walls. The 70mm projectors and all other equipment had been removed. There was literally nothing at all remaining. I found a “Balcony Closed—Seating on Main Level” sign along with the metal stand still sitting on the balcony stairway.

Running upstairs to check the old 35mm booth only to find it had also been stripped. Groping blindly in the semi-darkness and grabbing at anything movable I found a half gallon of projector oil and two boxes of carbons. The manager’s office was also empty except for a couple of Cinerama Reservation ticket pads on the floor which I grabbed. About this time the wrecking ball was pounding on the rear wall and the building began shaking. Running quickly downstairs and back into the auditorium I pushed the curtain aside and pulled out a couple strips of the Cinerama screen and made it out safely. I miss the Palace.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Tampa Theatre on Oct 3, 2016 at 7:25 pm

The films scheduled for Tampa Theatre’s 4th annual Halloween series, A Nightmare on Franklin Street:

Oct. 21: A Nightmare on Elm Street (7:30 p.m.); Friday the 13th (10 p.m.)

Oct. 22: The Innocents (2 p.m.); Beetlejuice (4:45 p.m.); The Conjuring (7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 23: Hocus Pocus (2 p.m.); Psycho (4:30 p.m.); Scream (7 p.m.); Halloween (10 p.m.).

Oct. 24: The Witch (7:30 p.m.); It Follows (10 p.m.)

Oct. 25: Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (7:30 p.m.); Poltergeist (10 p.m.)

Oct. 26: The Omen (10 p.m.)

Oct. 28: Shock Treatment (7:30 p.m.); The Rocky Horror Picture Show (10 p.m.)

Oct. 29: Ghostbusters (3 p.m.); The Haunting (6 p.m.)

Oct. 31: Hotel Transylvania (10 a.m.); I Drink Your Blood (7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 30: The Nightmare Before Christmas (2:30 p.m.); Carrie (5 p.m.); Misery (7:30 p.m.); Creepshow (10 p.m.)

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Seminole Theatre on Aug 13, 2016 at 11:46 am

I drove by this location yesterday only to find the building was being demolished. All four walls were already down. Piles of debris were being loaded unto dump trucks. The building had been home to the Praise Cathedral Church for nearly 47 years. Pastor Pat Hall was head of the congregation who’s mission included giving clothes and food to people down on their luck.

When a portion of the roof collapsed in 2009 the Tampa City Council condemned the building but gave the church an extension of time to secure funds for repairs and to bring the building up to code. Evidently sufficient funds were raised and the roof was repaired. Then a little more than a year ago a drunk driver lost control and slammed into the front of the building damaging it further. I believe the church has been closed since then. Another city landmark now gone. Please change status to demolished.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Tampa Theatre on May 4, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Here’s the lineup for 2016’s Summer Classics Series:

Fargo (6/5)

The African Queen (6/12)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (6/19)

Forbidden Planet (6/26)

Pretty in Pink (7/3)

Notorious (7/10)

The French Connection (7/17)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (7/24)

Swing Time (7/31)

All the President’s Men (8/7)

M (8/14)

A Raisin in the Sun (8/21)

The Maltese Falcon (8/28)

The Wizard of Oz (9/4)

Gone with the Wind (9/11)

Casablanca (9/18)

Screenings are on Sunday Afternoons at 3:00, and are preceded by a mini-concert on the Mighty Wurlitzer. Admission is $10, or $8 for Tampa Theatre members.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Britton Cinema 8 on Apr 23, 2016 at 11:26 am

I just checked today’s schedule. Four features are listed: Jungle Book, The Huntsman, Barbershop, and Batman vs. Superman. So only 4 auditoriums are active. There are 67 reviews on Google for the Britton. Surprisingly the good reviews far outweigh the bad. Maybe they’ve made some improvements. Regardless I still have no desire to visit.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Dale Mabry Drive-In on Apr 19, 2016 at 6:37 pm

I can’t say that I remember a young girl with a German Shepard. Probably either before or after my time. I was there from around August ‘69 to February '70. Although I didn’t stay very long I enjoyed the work and especially the people. Wages were not good but there were a few perks. Free movies, free passes for family and friends, free popcorn, and all the soda you could drink.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Dale Mabry Drive-In on Apr 19, 2016 at 3:46 pm

KRULMS54: I worked with Rosie and Mrs. Thom back in 1969 and have fond memories of both ladies. They were the nicest sweetest ladies and a real pleasure to work with. Nice to hear from someone who was close to them. I still think about the time I worked at the Dale Mabry. We ran the cleanest most efficient refreshment stand of all the drive-ins in town. Hard to believe 47 years have since passed.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Feb 11, 2016 at 7:13 am

Correction to my comment above: Palace screen was 28' high not 28' wide.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Good lord on Feb 10, 2016 at 7:58 pm

This is terrible. Nearly all single screeners have suffered the same fate. Either this or being sliced into small screening rooms.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Feb 10, 2016 at 7:49 pm

This is nearly identical to the ad published in the Tampa Tribune when “2001” played at the Palace in Tampa during its return engagement in 1970. The difference are the names of the musical compositions (not advertised at the Palace) and screen measurements. The screen at the Palace was 58' across and 28' wide. Evidently the standard ad for theatres presenting the film in 70mm.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Ritz Theatre on Dec 31, 2015 at 9:00 am

50 years ago today was the final day of operation for the Ritz as a standard movie house. On January 1st 1966 the theatre reopened as the Ritz Adult featuring triple-X films and live burlesque stage shows.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Fun-Lan Drive-In on May 7, 2015 at 6:25 pm

Mike, I haven’t been to the Fun-Lan in 6 or 7 years so I can’t say for certain if they’ve gone digital on all 4 screens. But according to an article published in the summer of 2013, they had recently installed one digital projector (more than likely for the original large screen) and were considering adding a second one. At that time the manager was quoted as saying, “there’s no alternative. You either are going to have to do it or you’re out of business. I’d hate to see the drive-in go out of business.” So by now I suspect they’ve gone digital on all screens.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Tampa Theatre on May 6, 2015 at 9:39 am

This years Summer Classic Film Series was just announced. Showings are Sunday afternoon at 3:00 with extra showing of Casablanca on Saturday at 7:30.

The Wizard of Oz (June 7th)

Key Largo (June 14th)

Caddyshack (June 21st)

Vertigo (June 28th)

Back to the Future (July 5th)

Top Hat (July 12th)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (July 19th)

The Sound of Music Sing-Along (July 26th)

Gone With the Wind (August 2nd)

West Side Story (August 9th)

Goodfellas (August 16th)

Casablanca (August 22nd & 23rd)

Phantom of the Opera 1925 (August 30th)

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Fun-Lan Drive-In on May 6, 2015 at 8:53 am

Burkeview: The State has a page on CT with several photos. Search “Tampa FL” and click on all or demolished. I never made it to the State but I remember the building. It became a fabric store, and later sat empty a few years before being demolished.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Palace Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Mike, I felt it was a must to note the record run of the film on its 50th anniversary at the Palace. I’ve watched for comments on other anniversary dates but have seen practically none. I have also noted your various postings in March drawing attention to the anniversary dates, and am fairly shocked and surprised at the seemingly lack of interest and/or comments. This is sad to say the least.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 40th Street Drive-In on Apr 7, 2015 at 5:46 am

Thanks Anthony. CT contains a wealth of information and is such an invaluable site for us avid theatre lovers. I’ve been with CT for several years now and have noticed a few former daily posters who had provided much information are no longer with us. I often wonder if the site will still be here 50 years from now providing the wealth of information and stories for future generations. Luckily a retired projectionist who worked many of Tampa’s older theatres and drive-ins has provided me with much information and stories which I’ve eagerly posted on the site.

Yes, E. 7th Avenue and Broadway are the same street. This street is the main business district running east and west. The address on the program is the correct location of the 40th Street Drive-In.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Palace Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 3:35 am

Fifty years ago today “The Sound of Music” premiered at the Palace and ran for a phenomenal 77 weeks. Presented in TODD-AO and 6-track stereophonic sound on the curved 58-foot wide screen, the reserved seat engagement played to capacity audiences for months with thousands seeing it over and over again, myself included. The 70MM print was later exchanged for a 35MM print for the duration of the run. An article published in the Tampa Tribune during the film’s final week noted the long run as being “unprecedented in Tampa history.”

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 40th Street Drive-In on Apr 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Sorry, I didn’t realize the program was two-sided. As I recall the Auto Park was built & operated by S.E. Britton who also owned the 40th Street and possibly others as well. Many drive-ins in Tampa were originally independently owned and were later acquired by Floyd Theatres. Thanks for posting the programs!

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 40th Street Drive-In on Apr 6, 2015 at 10:25 am

Anthony, The program above is from the Auto Park Drive-In which was located on the 22nd St. Causeway. The 40th Street Drive-In was located on Broadway (E. 7th Ave.) at 40th Street. The Auto Park is on CT. I’m not sure I think you may be able to remove the program from this page and post it on the Auto Park page.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 20th Century Drive-In, 1969 on Feb 25, 2015 at 10:08 am

Finally! A very rare shot showing the 20th Century. Photos of this drive-in are practically non-existent. This really brings back the memories. How well I remember the checkerboard water tank which is still standing today. Thanks Dan(Tampapix)!

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 1976 photo courtesy of Todd Keil. on Feb 20, 2015 at 10:15 am

This photo was taken on the evening of Tampa Theatre’s grand reopening on January 22, 1977. Most of the sold-out crowd of 1,500 had already dispersed leaving these few patrons probably discussing the evening’s event, and the rebirth of the beautiful Tampa Theatre.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Studio Movie Grill University Mall 14 on Oct 23, 2014 at 7:34 am

Dallas based Studio Movie Grill has just opened an upscale 14-screen dinner-with-a-movie theatre in the former Frank Theatres space that has remained vacant since closing in January 2013. Although the location is questionable here’s hoping they can make it work.

Link to article with photo:

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Tampa Theatre on May 6, 2014 at 7:29 am

A new professional theatre screen with adjustable top and side masking was installed around 4 years ago. I don’t believe this screen was replaced for the digital conversion last year since it was still relatively new. The digital conversion includes a Christie CP-2220 Digital Cinema System and 5.1 Surround Sound with new laser driven speakers behind the screen. The image and audio are now greatly enhanced.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Tampa Theatre on May 4, 2014 at 9:38 am

Mike, They don’t use any slides at all. The curtains are closed before each showing begins. 30 minutes prior to the showing the Wurlitzer organ rises up on stage and the organist treats the audience to several tunes. At showtime the organ recedes down into the stage (usually to thunderous audience applause) and the lights are dimmed. When the image hits the screen the curtains begin opening. At the end of the showing they are closed again.

The proper screen masking is also used for each showing. For Scope presentations, following the previews, the top masking drops down slightly and the side maskings open fully once the “Feature Presentation” title card appears onscreen. For last Sunday’s showing of “Wizard of Oz” (filmed in the old 1.33 ratio) the side maskings closed a few extra feet inward to the edges of the image once the film began.

True showmanship is alive and well at the Tampa Theatre! And I’m happy to say the Sunday afternoon showings are near sell-outs every week so arriving early for a good seat is a must.