Century's Alan Theatre

1614 Hillside Avenue,
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

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Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on January 25, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Century’s Alan had its grand opening on the night of May 15th, 1947. Newspaper advertising neglected to mention the program, but an earlier report claimed “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Step By Step,” both then in wide sub-run engagements.

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SEIPDwcC2utcjydULYa9 on July 25, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Thought of this theater, googled it and found myself here.

This was the theater I saw Star Wars in, back in ‘78 I think they re-released it a year later (this was pre-VCR days for the most part). A few years later I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark there.

I tried googling about it more and couldn’t find any old photos when it was operating or when it closed exactly, I did find that while it was operating as a Century theater in 1978 (https://books.google.com/books?id=OACAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA78&lpg=PA78&dq=%22century+alan%22+%22new+hyde+park%22&source=bl&ots=r6LZcNfbMS&sig=F6R5wBptmdbEf7w0HV7T_8icEEA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CEQQ6AEwCGoVChMImpHHy-n3xgIVC1uICh0CpQjD#v=onepage&q=%22century%20alan%22%20%22new%20hyde%20park%22&f=false), and it was an RKO theater as early as 191 and as late as 1984 (https://books.google.com/books?id=DOYCAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA70&lpg=PA70&dq=%22rko+alan%22+%22new+hyde+park%22&source=bl&ots=R1XvAo-7_t&sig=sTuyeu43X0CjTcVcoABXIKYUPK0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCoQ6AEwBmoVChMIv96eq-n3xgIVAyqICh3OVgR#v=onepage&q=%22rko%20alan%22%20%22new%20hyde%20park%22&f=false)

I am pretty sure it was replaced by a “Consumers Showroom” outlet in the late 1980’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumers_Distributing)

jwood
jwood on December 24, 2013 at 8:33 am

Growing up in North New Hyde Park in the fifties and sixties, I went to the Alan Theater many times. Generally we took our bikes to their Saturday matinees. Cowboy movies, comedies, science fiction. I definitely remember seeing “This Island Earth” there. Losing community theaters such as this one has made our society all the poorer for it.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 1, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Agree with TInseltoes. And the street view and map location are still way off, despite the corrected zip code. The photo I uploaded clearly shows the address of the theater was/is 1614 Hillside Avenue. Not sure what else is needed to get the map corrected. In the meanwhile, please re-set the street view so it might be updated for a proper view.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Both the street view and the map for this theater are way off. The theater was (and building still is) just east of New Hyde Park Rd on Hillside Avenue. The zip code should be corrected to 11040 (not 11004) and the street view re-set so it may be corrected.

RobertR
RobertR on April 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm

A pic of this as a theatre has not turned up yet?

RandyHintz
RandyHintz on March 3, 2010 at 10:21 am

I worked in the Alan in the early 80’s, lots of great memories there. I remember when Valley Girls and Popeye played there. The manager at the time was Fred. He had that small office on the left side as you entered the theater. Sad to hear that there are no remnants of the theater left.

robboehm
robboehm on February 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm

It always seemed to me that the Alan and Franklin had the same design albeit different facades. The Alan had no flashy marquee. The first time I went there I missed it. In later years they added a big signboard attached to the front of the theatre.

Anybody remember when they went single feature for a bit?

Ligg
Ligg on April 13, 2007 at 9:32 am

I am not responsible for the post on here. That guy came and advertised without my knowledge. I have to much going with my own life to complain to the webmaster here. If you feel his post is inappropriate, then you need to go to Cinema Treasures and tell them to delete it.

Zach2973
Zach2973 on April 12, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Hey Ligg – why are you allowing the funny named guy Surendra Gupta to advertise his business on this site – it seems that he should consider some ad-space ? The 1614 Hillside was a great place – but its a dump now !

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 5, 2006 at 3:58 am

Hey Ligg… Not sure if I read your 2nd paragraph above correctly, but just wanted to clarify that the neighborhood theater in Fresh Meadows you’re talking about was never a twin. The Mayfair Theater was always a single screen, to the best of my knowledge, right through its dying days as a porn house and re-birth as the Bombay. I lived near the theater for many years and posted some photos that I took last year (plus an exterior shot from the early ‘90’s) on its CT page.

Another note, the Mayfair had gone porn long before any multiplexes had opened in the area. I think it just eventually succombed to competition from television and the larger Century’s Meadows Theater on Horace Harding Expressway (which opened in the 1940’s). The Meadows didn’t go twin until the Mayfair was already running XXX. It was gutted and turned 7 screen multiplex around 1989 – probably due to competition from the Cinema City 5 screen theater that had opened a few years earlier from converted retail space on the other side of the LIE.

Ligg
Ligg on December 4, 2006 at 3:32 pm

Hmm, as much as I do enjoy the once in a while guilty pleasure of Bollywood, that 750 films are made a year in Bollywood, far more than Hollywood produces in years, and the growing South Asian population in and around New Hyde Park, I wonder if the community could support a multiplex of just Bollywood films.

In a single theater like Bombay, or double theater that was in the “old downtown”, such as the neighborhood theater in Fresh Meadows turned porn house when the Multiplex opened there in the 70’s- 90’s to reopen as, “The Bombay” theater a successful Bollywood theater in the late 90’s in Fresh Meadows, 5 or 6 screens of Bollywood all the time might be too much to be financial viable. In addition not all the films are good enough to watch in Mumbai let alone export them.

Look at Italian cinema, and the French, which was popular with Americans at one time, the industry there is on “life support” There are many Italian and French films made each year, think about how many actually make it to the United States?

The same with Bollywood film. When “Bride and Prejudice” came out, Hollywood was buzzing that this film would be huge hit and bring Bollywood into mainstream America and the beautiful woman whose names escapes me was being marketed as the next exotic foreign beauty, the next “Sophia Loren.” I remember even Nightline, which at the time was still, “a gold standard and sophisticated” did a whole show on Bollywood and this beauty. She also made the rounds of all the entertainment shows. Then, nothing, the box office failed, and that was the end of Bollywood. In the US industry, if you flop your first film in a new “genre” you are dead since this film was financed by the Hollywood studios.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, a local theater with one or two screens, with low rent, would be served by the Indian comunity. One would not get rich, but could stay in business. A full on multiplex would be huge gamble and probably unsuccessful, since by not showing at least mainstream art films, you are leaving out a huge majority of your clientele, American teenagers. Also since teenagers are the biggest spenders at the cinema, if Bollywood is not hip or becomes hip for a year and then disappears, without diversification I cannot see an entire multiplex of Bollywood all the time.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 4, 2006 at 10:20 am

Looks like they are going Bollywood.

Ligg
Ligg on December 4, 2006 at 10:10 am

Are they looking for the Bollywood approach to film or are they looking at the indie films like the Malverne.

Right now, the block booking and long term exhibitor/distributor contracts with the big multiplexes, independent theaters need to carve out a niche for themselves. The Blockbusters will not come there way, unless they are happy with second run, weeks after it plays in the multiplexes.

To answer about the Manhasset theater, it is still a Clearview Cinema chain owned by Cablevision. They might play several indie films simply because the are IFC productions and Cablevision owns IFC, the independent film channel which has gone into movie distribution and production finance with foreign partners.

However, the Malverne is a true indie and relies on the indie studios for its output. Is is a marriage of inconvenience something that Manhasset probably will never go down. Remember, now with IFC productions, the Weinsteins, the Miramaxes, the Sony Classics etc, are their competitors.

From a corporate approach, Cablevision is not likely to make Manhasset anymore “arty” than it already is, and uses theaters like Manhasset, the out of the way theater for their own output.

We cannot forget that Clearview is big chain that cablevision did try to unload until it started IFC Productions, and Indie film distribution company. Also, Cablevision and Clearview have the collective bargaining power to bring in the top films, even though on Long Island, they own a handful of theaters, Cablevision does own the Ziegfeld, the Multiplex on 23rd Street in Chelsea and many, many theaters in New Jersey.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 4, 2006 at 9:45 am

Ligg, part of the reason the Alan fell through was because of the fact that it was gutted. It wasnt known how gutted it was till they were well into the plans. I find it funny that you mentioned the old Pergament store. That is exactly where they are looking into putting a theater. They are a very small group of indian people. They are looking at possibly 5 or 6 screens there. Remember, this is still early in the process.

RobertR
RobertR on December 4, 2006 at 9:22 am

Ligg
The North Shore has the Manhasset which plays the same type of films as Malverne. Clearview has done a nice job cleaning it up and it’s a nice place to catch an art flick.

Ligg
Ligg on December 4, 2006 at 8:13 am

So close to opening, by whom? From what I understand the place was gutted by Consumer Distributors. Who was going to reopen it? Cleaview or AMC or Loews or a smaller chain or indie.

If that is the case, there are other locations near by that were not movie theaters that can be opened as movie theaters.

In today’s world and these old theaters, once they are gone, they are gone. For today’s films, those old theaters were not made for the sound, or the large projection. Renovating a theater to preserve it in order to show these films is a good investment, but to rebuild something like the Alan from scratch after being gutted as an empty space, one would be better off taking an empty space with a lot of parking. That giant Pergament on across from what was the old Park East Theater comes to mind. It has sat empty for years, has a huge parking lot and has no windows. So if you are going to take raw space which the Alan has become, that would be a better location.

Remember the one thing about the Alan was that, when it was open, the stores around it flourished and like several theaters, the Bellrose comes to mind, there was just not enough parking for the “car culture” Long Island has become. It is a sad fact, but without enough parking, people will park on the residential street, and then the residents will start complaining about the late night parking, and the noise from people in front of the house.

Then the no parking signs go up, and there is nowhere to park.

As much as I hate the fact that the multiplex killed the neighborhood theater, many people would shy away from a theater if they show up and cannot find a parking space. That is what made theaters like the Alan unique. At the time, when Long Island became a post war suburb, it was THE theater that everyone in the neighborhood would go to, walk to, and support.

I am interested though in who was thinking of reopening the Alan. You say they came so close. Who were these people? Were they looking to open a theater or just the Alan for nostalgia purposes?

Ligg
Ligg on December 4, 2006 at 8:13 am

So close to opening, by whom? From what I understand the place was gutted by Consumer Distributors. Who was going to reopen it? Cleaview or AMC or Loews or a smaller chain or indie.

If that is the case, there are other locations near by that were not movie theaters that can be opened as movie theaters.

In today’s world and these old theaters, once they are gone, they are gone. For today’s films, those old theaters were not made for the sound, or the large projection. Renovating a theater to preserve it in order to show these films is a good investment, but to rebuild something like the Alan from scratch after being gutted as an empty space, one would be better off taking an empty space with a lot of parking. That giant Pergament on across from what was the old Park East Theater comes to mind. It has sat empty for years, has a huge parking lot and has no windows. So if you are going to take raw space which the Alan has become, that would be a better location.

Remember the one thing about the Alan was that, when it was open, the stores around it flourished and like several theaters, the Bellrose comes to mind, there was just not enough parking for the “car culture” Long Island has become. It is a sad fact, but without enough parking, people will park on the residential street, and then the residents will start complaining about the late night parking, and the noise from people in front of the house.

Then the no parking signs go up, and there is nowhere to park.

As much as I hate the fact that the multiplex killed the neighborhood theater, many people would shy away from a theater if they show up and cannot find a parking space. That is what made theaters like the Alan unique. At the time, when Long Island became a post war suburb, it was THE theater that everyone in the neighborhood would go to, walk to, and support.

I am interested though in who was thinking of reopening the Alan. You say they came so close. Who were these people? Were they looking to open a theater or just the Alan for nostalgia purposes?

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 4, 2006 at 7:47 am

The alan had a balcony if I remember. I went there a few times. This theater was SO close to opening again a few years ago. Unfortunately it fell through.

Ligg
Ligg on December 4, 2006 at 3:19 am

I prefer not to talk about what my involvement in entertainment is on here. I will email you are your business email. My email is a derivative of “Ligg” so if you see a name with these initials it is not spam.

suribraha
suribraha on December 4, 2006 at 3:03 am

Hello “Ligg”,
Interesting take on the current state of the movie/art industry. I, too, do not look past the vast offerings of the modern day multiplex. I love them for what they are and offer. But, o' yeah, the artistry of the industry is certainly going to fade away with this current generation. If you want, we can blame rock n' roll, the internet, or acid rain. Not sure, but people have shifted their eyes to the Netflix way of things and gotten away from the art style. Honestly, art has that long lasting quality that pulls communities together. At the very least, gives a quality to life. I’m getting a little sick and tired of Broadway prices for the local hour and a half film filled with garbage and smut. Gone With The Wind? Yep! I would have to agree.
On a separate note, you like Indian films?! Really? I personally think most of them are bordering uselessness. Same story line, same actors, same village, same evil mastermind, same director. Only difference is the movie title and those ridiculous dances they choreograph. They do have the ability to make some great films, but then the locals just don’t shell out to see them. But, there are definitely a few keepers.
What exactly is your involment in the entertainment industry?
Regards,
Surendra M. Gupta, CEO/Pres & Co-Founder
Smart Brain America Franchise Corp.

Ligg
Ligg on December 3, 2006 at 8:17 pm

Well actually, I work in entertainment and honestly, what is needed north of Jericho Turnpike would be an “art house” type theater like the one in Huntington, the Angelica and Sunshine in Manhattan and the Malverne theater.

The theater in Malverne was just like every other theater originally on Long Island, in the center of town, and probably would have closed, had the owner, or the person who bought it quaded the theater and started showing films from Miramax and other indie distributors. It is the only theater of its kind in Nassau County, and actually does not really attract the residents in the surrounding areas, but rather mainly college students and wealthy seniors from the five towns area. Look up what they show in Newsday, and you can see why people travel all the way to Malverne.

I live by the NHP station, and I travel there to see films. I always thought there would be a market for a similar theater in the area north of Jericho Turnpike, for the “gold coast” residents who are the audience for that type of films, plus the residents of Northeast Queens.

Of course a theater like the Malverne in New Hyde Park North, would HAVE TO reserve at least one screen for Bollywood films which are lacking on Long Island. I myself am not Indian, but I love the Bollywood films and try to watch them whenever I get a chance to. At my apartment in Brooklyn, for some reason, the Indian network that is usually you need to pay the ridiculous charge of $12.95 a month, but it is free for some reason on Sunday mornings. Damn, those movies are great, and being in the biz, it is amazing for what they do on a budget so small. They for the most part recreate an entire MGM musical for less than one non A-List star here.

Chicago was considered a lower budget film when it was made and went on to win the Oscar at $20 million and it did not have the large cast of the old MGM movie. Imagine how much it would cost in India, with a huge huge cast? Probably $500,000.

Anyway, I feel that the many theaters along Jericho and Hillside area that were local theaters “missed the boat.” and could not see the future showing more alternative films the multiplex.

But then again, around this time, Ted Turner bought MGM and could only afford to own it for nine months, before selling it back to Kirk Kevorkian at a huge loss. The only thing he held on to was the MGM library which also included all the Warner Brothers films pre-1948. Unless a movie was a big hit and famous, no one had any need for “old black and white movies.” Who would of thought 5 years later an entire network was launched with this library and over ten years later, is one of the most watched basic cable network.

Is only someone could see past the “multiplex mentality” some of these theaters could have been saved!

suribraha
suribraha on December 3, 2006 at 3:21 pm

Hello Ligg,
I thought of one day making it a theater again, but is something easier said than done. Not to mention, it’s not my business nor do I have a clue. Consumers Distributers? Man, haven’t heard that name in a long time. Also, I don’t have to worry about renting in that strip as the space is leased. And, NO, we are nothing like a Sylvan, Huntington, Kumon, etc. They are tutoring centers and we are quite the opposite in Abacus training and brain development.

Not a single remnant of any kind. I suppose when Consumers Distributers gutted it out, they did a pretty good job. Just before I took it over, there was some sort of food preperation and marketing company there. I really, really was hoping to stumble upon something great there. Go by and say hello to the place one day. A few locals already have. What was it about the Alan that everyone loved so dearly, anyhow?
Thanks for visiting our website and your thoughts of luck to us. Much appreciated.
Regards,
Surendra M. Gupta, CEO/Pres & Co-Founder
Smart Brain America Franchise Corp.

Ligg
Ligg on December 3, 2006 at 2:52 pm

Any chance for Nostalgia reasons in converting it back to a theater, at least part of it. In its hey day, I remember it to be pretty big. But then Consumers Distributors moved in and gutted the place. From what I remember, it was most recently a dollar type store.

If not a theater, I do have to wish you luck renting in that strip, as most of the stores seem to change hands or go out of business every few years, from Bella and several other restuarants, to Fabric Bonanza.

The only thing that seemed to have lasted the longest is the Indian grocery store. However, I see from your website you are like a Sylvan learning center, a destination, not a retail location to drive by, so I wish you luck.

Can I ask if any remnants of the theater remains? An artifacts etc?

suribraha
suribraha on December 3, 2006 at 6:33 am

I was doing a search on google for my business purpose when I ran across this blog(?) for the Alan theater. I remember as a child always asking my parent, “come on, let’s go to the Alan Theater. All my friends go there!” Well, I never really did get a chance to go to the Alan before it closed. Actually, I never remember even seeing it as a child. At present, I am the Pres. & Co-Founder of Smart Brain America Franchise Corp, a children’s after school program dealing in Right Brain Enhancement and Abacus Arithmetic. A few months ago I was expanding our franchise operations and found this great spot that for some reason attracted me. It was a New Hyde Park spot on Hillside Avenue. I liked the space and signed the lease. I later found out that I just leased the space to the old Alan Theater!! I was absolutely beside myself. I never had a chance to come here a kid, but I now run a children’s program here after all these years. I still love going to visit my franchisee there – just to give me the excuse of being in the Alan. And, yes, I did check high and low for left over reminants of the glory days, but there was not a negative, spool, or screen to be found. That did sadden me a bit. But, I thought you guys and gals may want to at least know that it didn’t go to waste by renting it to someone who said, “Alan what?”, “Theater? Who cares.” Thought you may find this interesting.
Regards,
Surendra M. Gupta, CEO/Pres. & Co-Founder
Smart Brain America Franchise Corp.
www.SmartBrainAmerica.com