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Had the great pleasure of seeing ‘Othello’ here in the mid 1990’s (Laurence
Fishburne / Kenneth Branagh version). The experience was one of the best
blendings of film with venue that I ever had in a movie palace. The opulent,
moorish inspired architecture, classic & brooding, perfectly showcased the
bard’s ‘moor of venice’. Favorite front row center balcony seats only served
to heighten the illusion of being in another place and time. Lucky, lucky
Jacksonville to have this amazing movie palace (and still screening the
flicks that were made to be seen in just such a setting). Bravo!
There was also a Fun-Lan Drive In on US#1 in Edgewater, Fl. They would hand out
Pic on especially buggy nights but the most unusual thing about the place was the
family that ran it actually lived in the cinder block screen! Strange but true.
Funny memory about the RKO Dyker: I lived in Dyker Heights but attended the
H.S. of Art & Design in the city. Anyway, I needed a convenient ‘hideout’ one day,
to kill some time (& school wasn’t it) so as soon as the Dyker opened, I made a
hasty entry, oversized zippered art portfolio in tow. As I passed 2 uniformed
ushers I overheard them saying – “I dunno – maybe he’s got a pizza in that thing."
LOL! I never forgot that & always think of the Dyker when I see one of those
Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the Harbor have an interior mosaic
wall with an undersea theme? Of all things to remember – sheesh!
The mosaic was not in the auditorium… probably between the lobby
and area behind the last row of orchestra seats.
As a teenager I only went to the Benson once. My cousin from Bay Ridge and
his friends thought we could get a few laughs out of ‘Night of the Living Dead’.
It scared the#*@$ out of us! We were unimpressed with the theater. I lived in
Dyker Heights so I was more used to the RKO Dyker. My cousin was more
used to the Loew’s Alpine. We were spoiled and lucky to go into downtown
often to the Brooklyn Paramount (with parents), the Fox and the RKO Albee.
Don’t get me started on Radio City, either. The Loew’s Oriental made the
Benson look like a bare-bones, slipshod mistake!
I lived in Bradenton when I attended Ringling School of Art, Sarasota. Never knew this
Capri – but back in Daytona Beach there was a notorious Capri theater that showed
porn for quite awhile. Why were so many ‘Capri’ theaters ‘dirty movie’ houses? Was
it the ‘art house’ label that somehow morphed into porn? The Capri theater in Daytona
Beach on US 1 is long gone but people still snicker at the mere mention of its name!
As a child, I remember seeing ‘The Snow Queen’ at the Victoria. The house was not
soundproofed very well and whenever a large vehicle went by on Canal street, the
noise was quite a distraction. Today, the facade is basically intact and proudly says
‘Victoria’ above the more modern drugstore entrance. Another theater was built to
replace the Victoria across the street, not listed here – ‘The Smyrna Theater’. That
theater hung on until the 1980’s and has been converted to office space. The current
movie venue in town is a multiplex called the ‘Beacon – 14’, located in the town
shopping center, not on the downtown Canal street. The current shows are either
jam-packed or empty… but aren’t they all nowadays?