Comments from stevebob

Showing 1 - 25 of 137 comments

stevebob commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on Jul 18, 2014 at 6:47 am

Regarding the claim that Loew’s Kings “is by far a better location than the Paradise”, I would vigorously disagree. I don’t have crime statistics to compare directly Fordham to Flatbush, but I definitely know where I would feel safer – and it’s not Flatbush.

stevebob commented about Los Angeles Theatre on Apr 19, 2010 at 11:11 am

Interior spaces of the Los Angeles could be seen in the 100th episode of the Fox TV drama Bones. (It’s called “The Parts in the Sum of the Whole”; it first aired April 8, 2010.)

stevebob commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on Dec 31, 2008 at 4:07 pm

“It would appear …” from what? For the benefit of those of us to whom that comes as news, what’s the source of your information?

stevebob commented about Million Dollar Theatre on Dec 30, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Say what you will about political correctness and conformity, but I’m glad the Los Angeles Times hews to higher writing standards nowadays. One could imagine from this piece that there may have been a journalistic race to the bottom back in the good old days when the Herald was a serious competitor.

“Byzantine-Gothic-East Los Angeles architecture”? Give me a break.

Interesting, too, that the Million Dollar is called “old” at the ripe old age of 36.

stevebob commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on May 21, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Though situated in a poor neighborhood, the location of the Paradise has the advantage of proximity to two subway lines plus easy accessibility by car.

The exact same description can be applied to The United Palace (a/k/a Loew’s 175th Street), a venue of similar size and ambiance.

The crowds that have filled the United Palace to see Van Morrison, Annie Lennox and Neil Young weren’t drawn from its immediate vicinity. They traveled! Audiences for shows at the Paradise can, too.

stevebob commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on May 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

The two most recent comments speak for those of us who would like to see variety in the programming at the Paradise. Unfortunately, its description in the introduction on this page as a “Latino theatre and special events venue” is vexingly at odds with such a goal.

I raised an objection to the offending phrase in my comment on February 28 and repeat it nowâ€"unless, that is, management’s booking policy genuinely is specifically to target such a narrow audience.

Otherwise, it’s nonsensical and off-putting. Would anyone seriously describe the Apollo Theatre as a Black theatre just because it’s in Harlem? Or a theatre in Chinatown as an Asian theatre? New York City is all about diversity, and even the Bronx is far more diverse than many realize. That description is exclusionary, rather than inclusive.

Because of that great diversity in audiences easily within the potential reach of the Paradise, limiting its programming to hip-hop, boxing and “the occasional Spanish show that comes in” wouldn’t seem to make much business sense, either.

stevebob commented about Whittwood Theatre on May 11, 2008 at 10:00 am

The first paragraph of the introduction should be edited to remove the reference to a “big balcony,” as there was no such thing. Rather, there was a modest-sized elevated loge section in back, stadium-style.

stevebob commented about Pantages Theatre on Apr 25, 2008 at 8:14 am

I’ve never seen those rear doors before, and can’t even guess where they are located.

I wonder how much of the decorative treatment there is original. In any case, it’s nice to see the consistent use of the Hobo (aka Homeward Bound) typeface for the “Pantages” name.

stevebob commented about Pacific 1-2-3 on Apr 24, 2008 at 9:41 pm

I know that civic and cultural groups responsible for local signage can’t be expected to have expert knowledge of cinematic history or effective usage of punctuation. Nevertheless, the term “Warner Pacific Theatre” in the photos just posted by hollywood90038 strikes me as bizarre.

This venue has had several names over the years, but Warner Pacific wasn’t one of them!

stevebob commented about United Palace of Cultural Arts on Apr 22, 2008 at 8:35 am

But the policy really isn’t consistent — it’s “in most cases.” A case in point is the one-time Loew’s State in downtown Los Angeles.

I suggested previously that the listing for that venue be changed, since the Loew’s part of its name was dropped in the 1950s. It continued showing films as “The State” for many years, and most people living today who knew it as a movie theater knew it as “The State,” not as “Loew’s State.”

Now that it’s a church, the official name is Catedral de la Fe — but since it’s not a part-time concert venue, at least we don’t need to change the listing name to that!

stevebob commented about Loew's Victoria Theatre on Mar 29, 2008 at 7:36 pm

I just noticed “Style: Unknown” in the description. Shouldn’t it be Adam?

stevebob commented about Central Plaza Cinema on Mar 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm

This place wasn’t on my radar at all until now.

Whether it originally seated 1300-1400 or 1900, that’s big in any case for a theater built during this time period — larger than Westwood Village’s National, Pasadena’s Hastings and Manhattan’s “new” Ziegfeld, and rivaling Manhattan’s Astor Plaza and National.

The recently demolished National in Westwood Village was frequently cited as one of the last theaters of its size to be built. I wonder just how many single-screen cinemas with 1000+ seats were built in the Sixties and Seventies, after all.

Can anyone think of other examples? (There’s no seating capacity info given for the Totowa Cinema mentioned above. Was it really this large?)

stevebob commented about State Theatre on Mar 24, 2008 at 8:29 am

ken mc’s photo of 3/23 seems to show a grey metal vertical sign, apparently blank, hanging on the very edge of the building at Seventh and Broadway. I don’t recall seeing that before, and am guessing that it’s connected with the “Catedral” in some way.

What does it — or did it — say?

stevebob commented about Regency Village Theatre on Mar 23, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Thanks for the correction, Michael. I saw Days of Heaven at the Village based entirely on the outstanding review it received contemporaneously in the L.A. Times; I had always assumed that was the film’s opening engagement.

stevebob commented about Regency Village Theatre on Mar 23, 2008 at 8:08 am

Days of Heaven definitely opened at the Village in 1978.

Where was Tower Records located? In the mid-70s, the Wherehouse at the corner of Broxton and Kinross was Westwood’s major record store; the nearest Tower was the original location on the Sunset Strip.

stevebob commented about Pacific 1-2-3 on Mar 19, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Perhaps the difference in hospitality is rooted in whether a building’s original intended function was as a house of worship.

In a theater-cum-church, the architecture is overtly secular, after all. Maybe the operators think it’s profane to admire “godless” decoration for its own sake in a place they now consider to be their sacred space.

In places like St. Pats, on the other hand, even camera-toting atheists are immersed in images and symbols of religious belief. Even if visitors don’t share that faith, it’s inescapable that the objects of their interest and admiration were inspired by religious devotion and embody it — and this scenario is apparently far less threatening.

stevebob commented about Pacific 1-2-3 on Mar 19, 2008 at 1:56 pm

“This is a church, not a tourist attraction!” I knew that statement rang a bell, and I’d read it right on this site — on the page for the Los Angeles Theater, attributed to Dr. Gene Scott’s widow concerning the United Artists Theatre on Broadway.

Sheesh. Well, what about when a church is in fact a tourist attraction? What’s wrong with that, and why can’t it be accommodated? Magnificent houses of worship all over the world welcome tourists, sometimes even when religious services are being held. And yet the operators of churches within converted movie palaces seem peculiarly protective. I don’t really understand why.

stevebob commented about Fisher Theatre on Mar 18, 2008 at 5:42 pm

The destruction of the original 1928 auditorium was a significant and sad loss, especially considering the rarity of Mayan Revival movie palaces. But as much as I love the architecture typical of the 1920s and 1930s, I appreciate mid-century modern, too. The “new” Fisher is a strikingly high quality example of that esthetic.

I would be greatly relieved to know that nothing will significantly alter Rapp and Rapp’s 1961 redesign. Fortunately, LuisV is probably correct that a budget of $3.5 million is too low to inflict serious damage.

stevebob commented about Fisher Theatre on Mar 18, 2008 at 11:59 am

This Detroit message board suggests (in the message dated December 23, 2007 – 2:06 am) that Rapp and Rapp (i.e., Rapp & Rapp) had already dissolved and somehow regrouped for this project.

Rapp & Rapp had disbanded by the time the 1960-61 Fisher commission was established. They got enough of the old employees together to do the modernized rehab of the Fisher.

Does anyone know when the firm officially disbanded, and whether its official name was “Rapp and Rapp” or “Rapp & Rapp”? (My references have been to the firm, not the individual named partners. I knew that they had died long before the Fisher project; sorry for the confusion.)

stevebob commented about Fisher Theatre on Mar 18, 2008 at 10:06 am

After finding that Detroit News article â€" and seeing that the Nederlander site for the Fisher was silent as to any renovation plans even though a decision was to have been reached in January â€" I searched for updated information. I didn’t find anything.

This story is definitely something to keep an eye on. Rapp and Rapp’s final architectural commission is inherently interesting, even if (or perhaps because) it is antithetical to that firm’s movie palace pedigree. It’s quite an ironic twist that their swan song should be removing all the ornate ornamentation from a movie palace and transforming it into a modernistic, relatively austere performance space.

I cited this page in my submission to Restorations/Renovations for its pictures of the original Mayan decor and Rapp and Rapp’s mid-century modern treatment. Surely there must be more somewhere (especially of the latter), but I haven’t come up with anything. (And as LuisV points out, the official site is as stingy in this regard as with information about what’s going on.)

stevebob commented about Pantages Theatre on Mar 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm

This picture from UCLA’s collection is the exterior during the 1963 roadshow engagement of Cleopatra.

Of particular interest is the modernization that removed the frou frou art deco neon at the sides and bottom edge of the marquee and completely concealed the elaborate soffit behind a dropped ceiling with recessed lighting. (The ticket booth was also relocated from the center of the outer lobby to a side wall.)

stevebob commented about Warner Beverly Hills Theatre on Mar 13, 2008 at 4:39 pm

This is a 1953 shot from UCLA’s collection, with Joan Crawford’s Torch Song on the marquee. (The location is misidentified in the database as Los Angeles, CA.)

stevebob commented about Regency Village Theatre on Mar 11, 2008 at 4:15 pm

I just remembered that I saw The Day of the Locust here one afternoon in 1975 — a grand setting for a quintessential slice-of-lowlife from L.A.’s golden age. And in that trove of bizarre characters, was any more louche than little Adore Loomis, the child of ambiguous gender whose provocative taunting of Donald Sutherland’s “Homer Simpson” character leads to the bizarre and unforgettable climactic event of the film?

The trigger for my memory of this long-ago moviegoing event was bizarre, too: I was watching Little Children (2006) on television, and one of the characters — a convicted sex offender who’s being harassed by his neighbors — seemed so compellingly odd that I had to look up the actor on IMDB. His name, Jackie Earle Haley, didn’t ring a bell with me, so I checked out his filmography. It was Adore, all growed up and Oscar-nominated, too!

Not having read Nathaniel West’s novella, I had thought that Adore was a homely and spiteful little girl with a deluded mother trying to groom her into the next Shirley Temple. I’m still recovering from the frisson that this startling sequence of events gave me.

stevebob commented about Los Angeles Theatre on Mar 10, 2008 at 2:56 pm

I continue to ponder the purpose of those metal canisters and how they could possibly relate to men’s grooming and toiletry needs of the era. The more I consider uses like spittoon or ashtray, the more skeptical I am of those guesses. The objects just seem too close to the ground, and their openings too small, for such prosaic functions without making a big mess! Rather, I’m convinced that they represented some kind of engineering marvel in the same way that other features of the Los Angeles Theater were groundbreaking and unique.

I recall that one of the first articles I encountered concerning Broadway’s theater district was in Westways magazine (the publication of the Auto Club of Southern California (AAA)) in the early 1970s. (While my childhood memories had included shopping downtown and eating at Clifton’s Cafeteria with family, we never went to a movie there; a lifelong fascination with movie palaces was thus awakened largely by this single article and its accompanying photographs and vivid descriptions of faded elegance.)

That Westways piece mentioned the exotic and avant garde elements of the Los Angeles Theater, including the individual marble rooms in the ladies' restroom, the human hair wigs on the curtain, the periscope device in the downstairs lounge and the lighted strips in the aisle floors. I remember, too, the description of the shoeshine stand in the men’s room â€"– and I’m quite certain that there was a mention of some other feature regarded as quite unusual back in the day. But wrack my memory as I do, I just cannot seem to recall what it was — yet I am pretty sure that those metal canisters are the evidence of it.

Unfortunately, I lost my copy of this article many years (and many moves) ago, and the online archive of Westways doesn’t go back nearly that far. What, oh what, could be the possible function of those cylinders? They aren’t in the ladies' room, so it could only have been useful to men. I believe they must concern something that was a custom of the times, now vanished and therefore not on our radar at all — but what?

stevebob commented about Airport Theatre on Mar 10, 2008 at 2:15 pm

I remember this as a comfortable, quiet and out-of-the-way alternative to the relative bustle of Panorama City’s Americana multiplex in the late 1960s. By “quiet,” I mean uncrowded; air traffic noise from nearby Van Nuys Airport was occasionally audible.

Strictly speaking, though, the Airport Theater’s address wasn’t in Van Nuys. Its location on the north side of Roscoe Boulevard put it in Sepulveda (back then), now rechristened “North Hills.”