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When I was a schoolboy, we used to go to the Humber or the Runnymede for our Saturday afternoon entertainment—much to the relief of our mothers. The Humber was closest to us and it had an air of elegance fitting for the early ‘50s. The uniformed ushers and the air conditioning and the plush carpeting and air of dignity subtly hinted that we should be on our best behaviour.
Odeon had a Birthday Club and once a year, I’d receive a pass for 2(!) and free popcorn and soft drink. I believe I aged out at twelve.
The film 2001 A Space Odyssey had a more than 4-year run at the Glendale. One evening, the film started coming out of the projection booth and into the last row of the audience! Perhaps a projectionist could explain how that occurs, particularly with the take-up reel. Shouldn’t there have been a warning that the film isn’t being taken up in the proper manner?
The Eglinton was also, for several years, a Cinerama
movie house. The Cinerama technology required adjustments to the house and removal of several rows of seats but it did successfully in showing Cinerama product.
The Seville is in demolition as of today. (Oct 5, 2010).
The website spacingmontreal.ca has an article about the
demolition. A browse under the “category” may reveal
more about other cinemas and theatres.
Spacing Montreal’s site is: http://spacingmontreal.ca/
There are other Spacing links for Toronto, Ottawa and
The Carlton took in about $10 to 15,000 per week during the Oliver
run. During most other weeks with other films the take was in
the $40,000 range. The Bond films were in excess of $50,000.
The Carlton’s house nut was $25,000.
Other theatre managers of the day like H Taylor, C Bolton and
B Goodwin all agree that the pricing structure was a great
The Odeon Danforth is a much smaller venue and the house nut
is reduced to about 12,500 per week (in those days).
I was in several projection rooms of large cinemas in Toronto
and they usually go enough of the width of the hall that two additional projectors could be added for the two side screens.
The problem is geometric distortion which is overcome by
specially created lenses for those projectors which are sending
their picture partly obliquely to the target screen.
The Odeon Carlton was managed by Victor Neow and he was a
three-time Quigley award winner. One time he had the
technical students at Ryerson Institute build a scale
model of the bridge featured in the film Bridge on the
River Kwai. It filled half the lobby!
Another time, Victor had James Bond’s Aston Martin for
several weeks in the lobby. That really drew in the
The beginning of the end of the Carlton was when Victor
Neow disagreed about the ticket pricing of Oliver by
Sir Carol Reed. He wanted it to be priced like Disney
movies of the day (children $.50, anytime). Odeon
thought differently. It wanted reserved seats at
$2.00 and $2.50. The film didn’t do well probably
because if it were a birthday treat for a child, it
could be a financial burden.
Victor Neow resigned soon after that affair and went
on to write a book about the films of Joan Crawford.
From that time onward, the Carlton died a slow death
showing less than first-run box office smash hits.
I remember seeing This is Cinerama in 1952 or ‘53. It was
an impressive cinema and the film bowled over this 9-year-old
schoolboy. We saw the film on a Saturday matinee and
afterwards, we drove to a residential area where a house
had been converted to a dining room. It was called the
Marigold Restaurant. I thought it odd that a dining room
would be located in a house and on a residential side
It was an enjoyable day despite the long drive from Toronto
and the maximum highway speed of 50 mph.