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Imagine finding a neighborhood treasure that fits Mr. DeLuca’s description of the original uptown Thalia (entered under Symphony Space): “For many decades they had daily changes of double bills: they showed virtually everything: foreign films, recent American movies, classic revivals, silents, educational film programs, cartoon programs, films from private collections, films forgotten, films dumped, films rarely or never programmed. I submit that, from the viewpoint of programming alone, this paradise for film lovers was the greatest commercial movie theatre in the history of the United States, if not the world.”
I stand corrected: I see you’ve included it with the Symphony Space. Neverheless, this historic gem deserves its own entry.
How about running an entry on an all-time great: the legendary uptown Thalia?
A less appetizing footnote to the declining condition of the Guild in its final days: On my last visit — and I do mean LAST — the audience was additionally entertained by the silhouettes of rats climbing up the side of the screen. When the action, and scrambling, moved to the floor, everyone sat with their legs pulled up, knees under their chins. On mentioning this to the manager, we were told that they had never received a complaint on that subject!
Yes, those stairways for years led below the RCMH areas to the Museum of Science & Industry, which, during WWII, contained a vast and fabulous array of military and patriotic displays, aircraft, etc. Nothing like it!
In the 1940’s and early 50’s, it was single auditorium with single 86th Street entrance.
When I was a regular customer in the early ‘50s, they changed the program twice a week (to run current news in that pre-TV era). Since the change-over came in the middle of the day, and if you timed it right, you could catch two programs (a two-hour show) for a single admission ($1).