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The Playhouse had a beautiful curved CinemaScope screen, but it had no movable masking. When a flat picture (1.85:1) was shown, the whole width of the screen was exposed. It had a curtain which was manually operated. It opened in a jerky manner, as if someone was using just one hand on the rope.
They did use the gold curtains during the BFI London Film Festival and it made for a nice presentation. I have never seen them used during regular performances. What a shame!
Yes, ghostman59, you are correct about the Trans-Lux. Rhonda Carter is now married and living in Florida. I worked there as assistant manager and projectionist. Jim Robison, his wife Linda, his daughter Laurie, his step-daughters Janet and Jean, and his step-son Wesley all worked there. I have many happy memories of working there.
There was another theater in D.C. named the Capitol Hill. It was a twin, two auditoriums back to back. I saw YANKEE DOODLE DANDY there sometime in the early eighties. It was across the street and a block or two from the Penn.
I sure hope not. It is one of the few remaining beautiful cinema auditoriums in London.
This theater opened in 1970 as the Trans-Lux Theatre. Trans-Lux sold it to the manager in 1984 and it became the Gemini Twin. Later it became the Southgate Dollar Cinemas. Each auditorium originally seated 408. One was blue and the other was gold. The curtain and wall-coverings were in these colors. They had Century projectors and ORC xenon lamps.
The 2-screen theater inside the mall was opened by District Theatres.
I worked at the Ashland in the late eighties as a projectionist when it was a dollar theatre. They had Brenkert projectors with 6000-foot reels and Brenkert arc lamps that had been converted to xenon. The screen was curved. There was no curtain and the masking was opened and closed manually. The flat picture (1.85:1) was beautiful, but the scope picture was barely wider than the flat picture and a lot was cut off on both sides. Getting a sharp focus was impossible. The house lights along the upper side walls didn’t work, so a couple of amber spotlights on the back wall lit the theater. The reason it closed is that the landlord raised the rent to where the theater couldn’t be profitable. The outside front of the building was beautiful at night when the colored neon inside the glass bricks was turned on.
I visited this theater in the summers of 1964 and 1965. I saw ENSIGN PULVER and THE ART OF LOVE there.
They had a curved, suspended CinemaScope screen with no adjustable masking, just like the one at the Center. It was backlighted in blue.
The Center Theatre had a curved Cinemascope screen. It was a floating, or suspended screen, similar to the one at the State Theatre, and it was backlighted with pink light. There was no curtain and no adjustable masking. Flat and Scope had a common height, and flat didn’t take up the full width of the screen. Since there was no moveable masking, the unused part of the screen was exposed.
I went to this theater in 1966 to see “Spencer’s Mountain”, which was a ‘scope picture. This theater didn’t have a CinemaScope screen, so they made razor blade scratches from the cue marks into the picture so they could make changeovers. The original cue marks were completely cut off.
Credited to the Dimenti Family of Photographers
The Bluebird was a long, narrow theatre and it played first-run movies. It had two aisles with three seats on each side section and six across the middle. The fire exit was on the right side at the front of the auditorium and there was a blue neon clock at the back. It had stage curtains, a curved CinemaScope screen in the correct aspect ratio, and a balcony. The concession stand was on the left side of the lobby as you entered. The box office was out in front and not attached. The theater did a very good business, but it closed because Neighborhood Theatres, Inc. lost the lease on the building. The Palace Theatre down the street took over its role as a first-run theatre and was renamed the New Bluebird.
This is wonderful news! I have visited the Crest many times on my trips to Los Angeles, and it is one of my favorite theaters. I hope the moviegoing public will support it this time. I know I will.
This was the shape of the CinemaScope screen at the Rex Theatre. The two bottom corners were cut out to make room for the fire exit doors. When a flat picture was shown, panels were closed to mask the picture, and you got the whole image. But on a scope picture, the panels were opened and the two bottom corners were missing. The Grand Theatre in Richmond also had this type of screen.
I visited this theater the other day and was quite impressed. I was in Cinema 1, which I thought might have been an old single-screen theatre until I read otherwise on this site. Then I saw another movie, in Cinema 6. It was so nice to see the gold curtains with red footlights, rare for a multiplex today.
I visited this theater yesterday in my quest to visit single-screen theaters around the country. It is a very nice theater with excellent projection, and I enjoyed my visit. My only complaint is that the curtain was already open and there were no stage lights. The front of the auditorium was just dark. I feel that if a theater has a curtain, they should use it, along with stage lights. It would make the place much more attractive and inviting. Too many of the single-screen theaters I visit are so dark that you can’t appreciate the decor and ornamentation of the place. It’s always disappointing.
I visited this theater yesterday and was a little disappointed. I was in the larger cinema, which is largely intact from its single-screen days. It was quite dark in there before the show. There was no curtain, or else it was open. There was some interesting decoration around the procenium, but with lack of stage lights, you could hardly see it. If a theater has no curtain, at least they could flood the screen with colored light to make the place more attractive.
The new theatre was the Walnut Mall, which was built to replace the aging Century, but the Century soldiered on for about three more years and closed because they were afraid the roof would cave in if there was a heavy snow. The Walnut Mall Theatre was later twinned. Then after it closed, it became a church, which it is to this day.
I worked with Tom Connell at the Willow Lawn, and with Jerry Norwood at the Colonial. I worked many of Ray’s midnight shows at the Towne and Colonial, and a couple at the Ridge.
I worked there as a projectionist quite a few times when you were there. I also liked Cecil Burroughs and I remember Dan. My regular job was at the Towne and Trans-Lux, but I pulled quite a few shifts at the Westover. It was a beautiful theatre. I really liked the waterfall curtain.
I took this picture on Jan. 3, 1964.
Why doesn’t the Regent use their curtain any more? For 15 minutes before the show started, I just stared at a white screen. I know they have a curtain, so why don’t they use it? It adds to the atmosphere of going to the movies.