Showing 1 - 25 of 49 comments found
There is a really nice new elementary school at the site of the old Capitan Drive In Theatre now.
I learned how to run projectors at this theatre in 1971. I am delighted it is again open. It was a bit run down then, but was very elegant anyway. It had a very nice operable red curtain in front of the screen.
Back in 1971, the Texas ran R rated pitures, and the Palace down the street ran G and GP (PG) rated fare.
The concession prices are enough to give me a heart attack, not the items being sold!
What make is the projection equipment?
Bowtie needs to be the recipient of a “necktie party”. I say “lynch” them by not patronizing them until they stop running screen ads. What a way to make the moviegoing experience even worse!
$8.50 for a HOT DOG!?!?!
They are NUTS!
With superb presentations on High Definition TV screens, and excellent sound from even the most inexpensive home sound system, and being able to PURCHASE a new DVD for less than the price of tickets, and WAY less to rent, theatres are going to have to do something VERY grand to keep people coming. Running commercials, high prices, and bad film presentations in auditoriums filled with dregs will be the end of the thetre business as we’ve known it.
In San Antonio, there are Regal Cinemas, AMC, Cinemark, and Santikos. Santikos is every bit as greedy, and screws the patrons just as well as the big boys.
After nearly 30 years in the business, I know where the money taken in goes. The theatres have gone WAY OVER THE TOP with their ridiculous prices. I paid $17.50 for ONE large popcorn, and TWO medium drinks on my last visit to a theatre. That is utterly ridiculous, and to also be bombarded by commercial advertisements for 20 minutes before the show, AND have a lousy screen presentation due to a flickering xenon bulb, made me feel nothing but disgust and contempt for that Regal Theatre.
I wouldn’t allow outside food or beverages in my theatre, but never shook anybody down. The theatre concession prices are WAY over the top now. Many customers have been lost over the past 15 years, and now if a patron tries to bring in outside food or beverages and are embarrassed by the shakedown, they will lose even more.
I have NEVER brought in outside food or beverages, and probably never will, but I can tell you one thing, I WILL NEVER pay the prices I had to pay the last time I went. It will be a snack free performance, and THAT ALSO leads to a less than enjoyable movie experience.
It is my wish to see movie theaters thrive and go on forever, however they are up against HUGE competition from the home entertainment industry, and the film industry itself is in the process of making things even harder for them. The theater industry is not taking steps to make their theaters friendly to the average consumer. Gouging prices, badly staffed and operated megaplexes, not policing them for an enjoyable experience by all, and running advertisements ad nauseum on the screen, something that really made them above the television industry, makes for a place that the average citizen is beginning to loathe. I put 100% of the blame on the big chains. They are the ruination of the industry.
People like to go out, and there will be a few centrally located big city theatres to accomodate them, but with today’s home entertainment systems surpassing picture and sound qulaity of the theatre, the exorbitant cost of tickets and concessions, and the low quality clientele that are not policed enough making the movie going experience less than pleasant, and the film companies considering day and date runs with home video, the neighborhood cinema will become as extict as the drive ins that once thrived in small towns and big cities.
Today you pay a lot to get in to a person whose tattoos are bigger works of art than the theatre’s decor. You pay an arm and a leg from concessions from someone that looks like they could NEVER get a food handler’s certification, walk into a shoebox sized auditorium, and there are commercials for anything and everything blaring out at you. When the show hits the screen, it may or may not be in focus or frame, because the projectors start themselves. If it is out of focus or frame, trying to find someone to tell in a 16 or 24 plex is time consuming, and usually futile. The people in the auditorium are often obnoxious, talk and text on the cell phone, and because the modern auditoriums are so small, they ALWAYS seem to be too near. Today’s movies are ALWAYS too loud, and special effects have supplanted good writing and acting to make a movie stand out. If the movie is a stinker, you leave feeling cheated. Teenagers like this scenario. Adults do not.
I miss the theatre business as it was VERY much, but the way it is now, I wouldn’t go back for any reason
I loved the old “suburban” theatres built in the 40s and 50s the best. You would purchase a ticket from a pleasant looking cashier, walk in the door, and have your tickets torn by a clean cut uniformed doorman. If you wanted a snack, there was a well stocked, clean refreshment stand, with smiling attendants, and affordable prices. When you walked into the auditorium, there was usually an usher with a flashlight that would offer to find you a seat. If the lights were up, you saw an ornate auditorium, and a curtained screen. There would usually be soft music from behind the curtain. so you could converse easily before the show. At showtime the lights would dim down, the film company logo would hit the curtain, and it would open. The show would run, and it was usually an enjoyable experience. If it wasn’t that great a show, one didn’t feel cheated, because a big outlay of money wasn’t forked over for mediocrity.
I do not think prjection is better now. “The Sound Of Music” played at North Star Cinema first run for 88 weeks! There was not one film break, or any snafus during the nearly two year run. The film was scratch-free when returned to Fox. Ashcraft carbon arc lamps put a beautiful light through the 70mm film ruunning through Century JJ projectors. Altec amplifiers powering Voice Of The Theatre speakers added to the enjoyment.
Today’s modern seats ARE better than the Griggs Pushbacks that were in that theatre, though!
The professionalism, and showmanship exhibited in the good old days made for a better presentation. Movies that were well written and acted did not need enhancements like special effects or noise to make people enjoy them.
No one hates the state of the theatre business more than I do. It is a fact, however that the big chains treat the patrons with a “get ‘em in, get 'em out, and soak them for every penny they have with them” attitude. Former good movie patrons have responded in kind by purchasing home entertainment systems, and now enjoy their favorite movies at home.
Many of today’s moviegoers are unkempt slobs with no manners. Few theatres have ushers to keep these unruly patrons from ruining the show for others. I would LOVE to have a single screen theatre in my city that still relied on showmanship, and good screen presentation to patronize. The smallest theatre San Antonio has is a nineplex downtown, owned by one of the Big 3 theatre chains.
I wish I was wrong, but an old showman like me that is totally turned off by, and finds NO magic or enchantment in any theatre now in operation in my city is a downright shame. We have the big chains that have pushed out independents, and small circuits to blame for it.
When I started in the theatre business in 1968, bargain matinee tickets were 60 cents, subsequent shows before 6 PM were $1, and after 6:00 were $1.75, and we had the highest ticket prices in town!
Concession items were: Popcorn 25 cents for a plain box, 30 cents buttered, 50 cent buttered medium, and $1 for a buttered tub. Sodas were 25 cents, 35 cents, and 50 cents. Candy ranged from 5 cents to 40 cents, with the vast majority at 15 cents.
Major oil gasoline was 31.9 regular, and 35.9 premium. Gas wars would see regular gas as low as 18.9
Today’s high definition large screen TVs at more affordable prices, more and more movies being released on DVD earlier all the time, and the film company’s plan on offering films at home day and date with theatres will definitely do the independents in.
Between the rudeness and lack of class of the modern moviegoer, the exorbitant prices of tickets and concessions, the fact that today’s movies cannot stand alone on good writing and acting, but need special effects and gimmicks built in, and theatres have to invest heavily to effectively show the special effects, I see few theatres surviving.
Although I was in the theatre business for a long time, few movies grab my interest anymore, and I seldom go. The last time I went was the summer of 2008 when I took my grandson to see “Indiana Jones. I get passes to theatres from work occasionally, and I use them even less occasionally.
Yesterday I took my six year old grandson to the movies. Thankfully, I used my passes, because the adult price was $9.50! The kid price was $6.00. I went to the snack bar, and no prices were shown on the very nice digital menu board that showed what products were offered in living color and animation. I saw one large popcorn, and two medium drinks offered, and ordered it. It came to $17.50!!!!!!
It has been fifteen years since I last ran a theatre, but this is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous! I certainly can understand high concession prices because the film companies get the lion’s share of the ticket sales, but $17.50 for one large popcorn and two medium drinks is a bit over the line!
We got into the auditorium with our concession about 20 minutes early, and were inundated with commercials we see on TV every day being run on the screen with a cheap digital projector. At showtime, the digital diatribe stopped, and a bunch of previews hit the screen. The xenon bulb in the projector was bad and flickered incessantly throughout the show.
My grandson needed to go to the restroom, so I escorted him there, and there was a bunch of gumball machines with candy in them in the lobby near the restroom door. When he came out, I put in FIFTY CENTS, and got FOUR Cherry Sours. I used to sell Cherry Sours for 50 cents a bag in my theatre’s concession stand, and THAT was twice as much as the stores sold them for!
My grandson did like the movie, but I was too shocked and broke to think about much else!
The business I loved for nearly 30 years has gotten out of hand. I for one do not like stadium seating, digital sound, digital projection, or shoebox sized auditoriums, and I certainly don’t want to pay for that crap with the best part of a $20 dollar bill at the concession stand for a popcorn and a couple of Cokes!
I, and my grandson would have enjoyed that movie just as much in a nice large auditorium with mono sound on a big screen that is CURTAINED before the show, instead of commercials run before showtime. Maybe if all the unneeded extras were eliminated, a new xenon bulb would have been in order, and we could have seen a flicker free show
The Northwest was originally a sixplex built in 1976. They added four screens in the early 80s, and built the four screen annex in the late 80s.
It was once the premier theatre in San Antonio. The annex is usually closed. The ten in the main building are always in operation. The 10 screens were converted (badly) to stadium seating in the late 90s. The annex is still sloped.
Check it out! It’s a great forum for discussion of everything movie!
Are you talking about Powers BRAND projectors? Their value would be determined by the condition they’re in. They would be very old! If you just have power projectors, meaning they run with a motor, it would depend on the brand and condition.
The BX-60 is one of my favorite projectors of all time! I have an immaculate 1951 BX-60, RCA 9030, RCA base, and Brenket Enarc with less than 1000 hours runnig time on it! I have lots of experience with the BX-60. I would be delighted to troubleshoot it or help you out.
movie534, your theater beginnings almost mirror mine. General Cinema was a class act back then. I learned showmanship, and found love for the theater through the manager there. He was a very colorful character, and a showman’s showman! He taught me everything from cleaning an auditorium to merchandising and advertising. I worked my way up quickly to assistant manager. The union projectionists in the booth soon became friends, and my interest went to the projection end. I eventually learned the ART of good projection, and became a working member of the IATSE. North Star had Century JJ2s in Cinema II, and Century SAs in Cinema I. Ashcraft Cinex Specials using 13.6 carbons lit our large “shadowbox” screens VERY well!
When the union fell on hard times, the education I got as an usher and assistant manager years before got me into management, and i manged some very nice independently owned theaters.
Now it looks like only the big chains that may have heard of showmanship, but aren’t sure of what it means have the theatre business hostage. Get ‘em in, and get 'em out quickly and at the highest possible profit has taken the place of showmanship, and all the pride and romance out of the theatre business.
I don’t go to the movies much anymore. The few times I have gone, sometimes there isn’t even a ticket taker, let alone an usher! The person selling tickets with tattoos, piercings and a sneer sell me and tear my ticket. If I can afford to buy concession items, the ticket seller’s siblings seem to wait on me. I find the auditorium I want, and climb up the stadium seating layout, then my ears are assaulted by loud and overly long COMMERCIALS, and then the movie finally starts.
I miss the days of large single screen theatres! The North Star Cinema twin where I worked was the first “multiplex” in San Antonio. They were run as different theatres though, with separate boxoffices, restroom facilities (VERY NICE ONES AT THAT!). snack bar facings, and PLENTY of help to wait on the customer.
Reading about the theatres that have just opened without projection rooms has made me even more nostalgic for the old days.
I became an usher at the North Star Cinema I&II in October 1968 here in San Antonio, TX. FORTY YEARS AGO! I am so old! We wore blue blazers, white shirt with bowtie, and tuxedo pants. We had the roadshow engagement of “2001: A Space Odyssey” playing in 70mm when I started. It was a reserved seat engagement. Our shoes were expected to be shined, our hair clean and short. We were paid a whopping 75 cents an hour when minimum wage was $1.60! We ran reserved seat roadshows at North Star until the autumn of 1969. The final roadshow was “Oliver!” For the regular run features at least one usher was expected to stand in the back of the auditorium monitoring picture, sound, temperature, and the audience. I LOVED every minute of the job, and the era I worked. I have been out of the theater business for 14 years now, and I miss it VERY much, but I would not want to work in today’s theaters, or theatre companies.
I was a union projectionist for 12 years. I put on the finest show possible. Showmanship showed in everything I did, from the cleanliness of the projection room, and equipment to the opening of the curtain, the changeovers were flawlessly made, and the equipment was maintained to the letter. Unfortunately we went by the “seniority system”, and a lot of slackers that had been around for a long time got the better theatres. As automation set in, many could not “get it”, and many shows were lost due to incompetence. There were also MANY archaic items in the union contracts that definitely did not coincide with the times. Attitudes were poor, tension between management was high, dirty tricks abounded at contract time. We were seen more as a liability than an asset. Our local disbanded in the late 80s. What was once an honorable trade has has become a job for the high school kid. Newer automation has made the job easy, and kids that are the age of ushers often run megaplex projection rooms now. I see parllels in the aut industry too. They are running themselves out of their jobs too, just as the projectionist locals did.
I was the city manager for Cinemas Southwest Theatres and opened the Ivy Twin in late October, 1974. We opened with “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein” in 3D in Cinema I and “2001: A Space Odyssey” in Cinema II. Cinema I’s feature was rated X, and the Baylor University police parked in front of the theatre on opening night watching who was going to that show! The auditorioms were done in red soundfold, and had red American Seating chairs. A small stage was in front of each screen. There were separate rest room facilities for each theatre, and the snack bar divided the lobby, so changing screens was not very easy. The projection rooms sported Ballantyne projectors and soundheads and Christie console Xenon lamps.