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I visited the Vue West End again for the 2016 BFI London Film Festival, and the curtains and stage lights were used in Cinemas 5 and 7. It looked very nice. Then I saw a non-festival film in one of the basement cinemas, and curtains and stage lights were not used. I could see that they have the type of curtain that rises because I could see it above the screen. What I don’t understand is, if they have them, why don’t they use them? It makes for a much nicer presentation.
I visited the Monroe Theatre several times. In the picture above, the red doors were the exit doors next to the screen. The screen was at the street end of the theatre. The entrance was on the right. The ticket counter and concession stands were on the right of the long entrance way, which went all the way to the back of the building and was parallel to the auditorium. You would make two left turns there and you would be at the back of the auditorium. The auditorium had green stage curtains flooded in green light. Flat and scope pictures were common width, with masking at the bottom which would be raised for scope pictures. Flat pictures were almost in the scope ratio, which made for too much cropping of the picture. When I used to go there in the middle 60s, they didn’t have tickets. When you paid, they kept track of admissions with tally marks on a sheet of paper. I don’t know what they did if they had to give refunds, since there were no ticket stubs. The theatre was the first theatre I ever attended that had push-back seats.
I saw the 70mm version of GONE WITH THE WIND. It was badly cropped at the top and bottom and a vertical pan-and-scan was used. It was also an abomination.
When I attended the BFI London Film Festival in 2014, the curtains were used, but not at the 2015 festival.
When I worked there from 1969 to 1983, we had two Simplex X-L projectors with Peerless Magnarc Lamps and a carbon-arc spotlight. Great picture!
The Park was in the 800 block of East Broad Street where the Trailways Bus Station used to be. The Grand had once been the Bluebird. It was at 620 East Broad.
I’m currently attending the BFI London Film Festival 2015, and they are not using their curtains. If they have them, then why not use them? It makes for a more polished and professional presentation.
I agree that they need a curtain, or at least flood the screen in colored light.
I went there last week to see ST. VINCENT. They’re STILL not using their curtain.
I was there tonight to see THE GODFATHER. They had an excellent 35mm print but it was very dark and much of the sound was unintelligible due to bad acoustics. They did use the curtain at the beginning and end. I sat in the balcony. There was a very large crowd.
I was there this week and saw ANNABELLE on their Impact screen. I was very impressed.
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