Trump Cinema

490 Neptune Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11224

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After Trump Village was opened (partly built on the former site of the Tuxedo Theater), a small shopping center went up on Neptune Avenue. In it was a tiny movie house named the Trump Cinema. It showed Hollywood fare for most of its short life.

A side story here was that the theater featured a fully automated projection booth that could be operated by pushing a button in the box office. The red button remained long after the local projectionist union protested and forced the theater to use a union operator for its projection equipment.

With the cost of paying a projectionist, the tiny theater had trouble making a profit. So it attempted to change its fortune by going XXX, only to have the neighborhood stage yet another protest in front of its entrance.

Finally a disgusted owner closed the theater, and it was gutted for Radio Shack, which still occupies the site.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

techman707
techman707 on March 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Things were MUCH different years ago, today anything goes. I still haven’t gotten over the consent decrees that ruined Loews/MGM. A MUCH worse situation exists today with 2 or 3 companies controlling EVERYTHING. AMC, Regal & National Amusements control the majority of theatres in this country and the government sees no problem with that. In the 1960’s I drove around the country and any city or town worth driving through had a Loews theatre. Since in many instances it was the ONLY theatre in town, it didn’t even have a name on the marquee, it just said LOEWS on the big vertical.

Coate
Coate on March 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm

<<< “there is alot of wrong info on this site” (posted by tlsloews on Mar 26, 2011) >>>

<<< “You sure are right about that. I just emailed a website that purportedly listed EVERY 70mm film ever run in New York City along with the theatre it ran in. What caught my eye was it only showed "Gone With The Wind” as running at the Ziegfeld theatre in 1970 as part as a 70mm series. However, they had NO LISTING for the original run when the 70mm version of “Gone With The Wind” first premiered in New York.“ (posted by techman on Mar 26, 2011) >>>

Techman…I can only assume you’re referring to “70mm in New York,” posted on the website FromScriptToDVD.com. Try that article’s 1967 page. As co-author of that article/list, I can assure you that there is indeed an entry for “the original run when the 70mm version of ‘Gone With The Wind’ first premiered in New York” (though you’ll find you’re mistaken about the theater in which it played).

<<< “The special 70mm opening was at Radio City Music Hall in 1969. I know that because "Gone With The Wind” was the reason they installed the Simplex XL 70mm projectors at the Music Hall.“ (posted by techman on Mar 26, 2011) >>>

It would appear the passage of time has created an incorrect memory, techman. There’s plenty of evidence available to support the claim that the 70mm projection system was installed at Radio City Music Hall in 1970 for “Airport.” (“Gone With The Wind” didn’t play a 70mm run at RCMH until 1975.)

techman707
techman707 on March 28, 2011 at 5:21 am

I guess we’re going to have to agree to disagree. Although I’m becoming senile and can’t tell you who I talked to yesterday, I’m certain Airport wasn’t the first 70mm film to run at Radio City. I would have suggested that we ask Bob Endres, but he didn’t start working there until the early 70’s. All the people that I dealt with at the time are all dead now (which I’ll be also shortly), so that just leaves me to argue the point.

As an example other examples of more website mis-information, look at this site:
View link

They say GWTW was released in 1939 and then re-released in 1947, 1954, 1967 and 1969. However, they left a re-release out. I personally ran a NEW Technicolor IB print that had a 4 channel mag track on a 1961 re-release. In my mind it was anamorphic, because I remember changing lenses for trailers, but I can’t see how that could be and wouldn’t swear to it since it was before MGM did the anamorphic hatchett job on the 1967 re-release of GWTW.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Techman, you are right about Howard Strait (sp?) but “Airport” was the first 70mm film at Radio City. I think somewhere in my posts on the Radio City page I chronicalled the story, but as a recap. Ben Olevesky who was Head Projectionist at Radio City had fought against the installation of 70mm for years. I first met Ben in 1964, and spent the next few years visiting him at the Hall and having dinner (and drinks!) with both Ben and Bill Nafash. I think Ben had a smooth running booth and didn’t want anyone to make waves, so he convinced Music Hall management that the only pictures to be released in 70 were “roadshows” too long to accomodate the Music Hall movie/stage show format. MGM wanted to run “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” in 70 at the Hall, but Ben told management that there probably wouldn’t be any more 70mm features available.

The game changer came when Ross Hunter insisted that “Airport” be shown in 70mm. Universal had four-walled the Hall for the picture, so it was their theatre to do with what they wanted. That led to a scramble to even find 70mm machines for the opening. Howard Strait had been head of the camera department for MGM, and the studio had modified the first Simplex XL’s to 65mm for “Raintree County”. They had offered to modify the XL’s for Radio City at the studio camera department, but by the time “Airport” came along Howard was no longer at MGM, and reportedly had been frozen out of his own company. This set up a really awkward situation. The “new” Paramount Theatre in the basement of the G&W building on Columbus Circle had eight of the machines on order. Three for the theatre, and four for the two screening rooms in the Paramount offices. Bill Nafash was to do the installation, so he arranged to divert three of the machines to the Hall for “Airport”. He then went to Japan for a project.

I was told that the machines that the Hall got were modified under the supervision of Howard Strait’s accountant who wasn’t a technical person. The whole project was pretty much a disaster. Eventually, “Airport” did run most of the shows in 70, although the second run of the first day was in 35. The Hall also ran “The Cowboys” and “Scrooge” in 70. (I found shredded pieces of “The Cowboys” in the drawer in the rewind bench, and was in the booth during “Scrooge” because I had come to take the first part of the New York projectionist’s exam while it was running.)

When I started there in 1974, the first 70mm picture I ran was “Gone With The Wind” in 70. It was part of what MGM called “the Fabulous Four” and we also ran “2001” and “Dr. Zhivago” in 70. When I announced to the crew that we were going to be running 70, one of them put his hands around my throat and said, “We DON’T want to run 70! Warren Jenkins who was technical director at the Hall and associated with National Theatre Supply, arranged for us to take the mech heads out to the NTS factory in Paramus and have them rebuilt. In addition we had Andy Margolin of Kelmar come in and modify the projectors with a 70/35mm version of his reel arms.

The revamp of the Simplex 35/70’s at Paramus was obviously successful — those machines are still running the opening film for the Christmas Show in two projector 3-D to this day!

(As another quick note: the original modifications for “Raintree County” and “Ben Hur” for dailies at MGM were for 65mm sprockets — the MGM proprietary process was known as “Camera 65”. The projectors as the Hall, and the ones I have here in my screening room, made much later still have 65mm rather than 70mm sprockets!)

techman707
techman707 on March 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm

“When I started there in 1974, the first 70mm picture I ran was "Gone With The Wind” in 70."

Bob,

You are absolutely correct about the 1974 run of GWTW, I remember it was part of a series. Around that time the Warner and Zigfield also scrambled to run 70mm series. I can’t remember if it was the Warner or Zigfield that ran a musical series that included West Side Story and at the time I was thinking that was the first time I saw a 70mm print of West Side Story since it originally played at the Rivoli.

However, when you ran GWTW it was the SECOND time it ran at the Music Hall. In fact, Bill Nafash had a bunch of XL 35/70 sprockets that the inner 35mm teeth got sheared off. Howard himself machines hand filed and finished the 70mm traps & gates specifically for that run. When you ran it, it wasn’t an official re-release, it was just a special run for that 70mm series. The 1969 was an actual re-release that went into regular theatres afterward.

Warren Jenkins, who worked with Bill, sent me a letter at the time, which I’m looking for. Do you know if Warren is still alive? He can certainly confirm the ‘69 run.

It’s interesting that you mention Rain Tree County (a picture that was razor sharp even in 35mm), they should re-release it in honor of Elizabeth Taylor, if they can find the negatives and they are still in one piece. Speaking of 65mm, the opening of Ben-Hur at Loews State was run in 65mm on Bauer U2 projectors that were specially installed for the opening and the sound was interlocked to a dubber.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm

There’s something odd going on. I know the Hall didn’t have the 70mm machines until “Airport” at least in the main booth, and Howard wasn’t able to work on the ones they had. On the other hand, Bill had a lot of outside jobs going, and Warren was involved with him. They might have set up a Howard modified projector in another area of the theatre. I don’t think “GWTW” was ever shown to the public at the Hall until the 1974 70mm series. I also remember attending the opening of the MGM office building Screening Room with Ben Olevsky. That was for a SMPTE meeting and a product reel was shown in 70mm showing a flyover of the new building and scenes from the “Fabulous Four” series (the one we didn’t show at the Hall was “Ryan’s Daughter”.) At that time the Hall was about to screen “GWTW” in one of the Screening Rooms for Nelson Rockefeller’s daughter’s birthday party. When MGM heard about it they offered to make the as yet unreleased 70mm version avaiable for screening in their new Screening Room. The Rockefeller response was appreciative, but the Hall was their “home” theatre. It was screened in Preview A for the party. We also did the projection when used at the Rockefeller estate in Pocantico, and Bill or Ben would go up there to set up the screenings. I wonder if that’s the project Bill was working on while at the Hall? If you find the letter I’d be most interested.

Warren died a few years ago. The last time I saw him was at a pressentation for the SMPTE New York chapter at the Hall. He and Bill had a million outside projects going, and things were tried at the Hall on an experimental basis, but I don’t remember ever hearing about a full-fledged screening of “GWTW” for the public before 1974.

(I apologize for getting off the Trump Theatre thread, this really belongs on the RCMH page.)

techman707
techman707 on March 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Warren was also involved with Omar Freeman, but, Omar who once did a lot of work for RKO became a projector butcher later on. Warren was making those automation systems under the name “Raven Laboratories” that Omar installed in so many theatres he installed….along with those RGM sound systems.

Ryan’s Daughter opened at the Zeigfeld.

Maybe I’ll be able to find the letter Warren sent to me. Bill Nafash was involved in so many different projects it’s no wonder he burned out. Theatre installation and service isn’t for the faint of heart, since when a theatre has a problem they think that they’re the ONLY theatre in the world and you’re just waiting for their problem.-LOL

Coate
Coate on March 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm

techman…

Is it possible you are confusing a Radio City run of “Gone With The Wind” with that of the Rivoli? (The Rivoli is where the film had its initial 70mm roadshow re-issue run beginning in autumn 1967 and running more than a year.)

I don’t think “Gone With The Wind” is considered to have been re-issued in 1969. Any engagements in 1968/69 were simply general-release bookings that followed the reserved-seat bookings that had begun in 1967.

Among the evidence discounting a 70mm run of “GWTW” at Radio City in 1969 is the fact that for “Airport,” in 1970, the NYC newspaper ads boasted “The first 70mm film in the history of Radio City Music Hall.”

This alleged second Radio City engagement of “GWTW” (and the one Bob Endres is recalling) was actually held during 1975 (April 24-30).

techman707
techman707 on March 30, 2011 at 7:16 am

Yes, I was well aware of the 1967 Rivoli run (I can still see the GWTW marquee transparency at the Rivoli in my mind), however, it was re-released again in 1969. I remember the series that Bob recalls in 1975.

I can’t account for a newspaper ad any more than I can account for the head of MGM’s technical department doing any work for the “first” 70mm opening of a Universal picture.

In the end, it’s not worth aguing about since all the people that would back me up are, unfotunately, dead.

techman707
techman707 on January 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Anyway (it took me long enough), getting back to the Trump. The entire introduction is wrong. The Trump Cinema was opened in 1968 with Zeiss Ikon 16mm projectors as a prototype for its owner, Automated Theatres of America. They, like Jerry Lewis, sold “turn key” theatre packages. The main difference between them and Jerry Lewis theatres is that ATA franchises were all equipped with Zeiss Ikon 16mm projectors and NOT 35mm.

Obviously, there wasn’t room for ONE theatre franchise company, let alone two and sometime in 1970 they sold the theatre to Ted Morse, whose brother in-law managed the theatre. Realizing they couldn’t get many current pictures in 16mm, I installed 35mm projection equipment for them in 1971. The “red” automation “start” button referred to was NEVER used from day one and I disconnected it when I installed the 35mm projectors, but it remained on the wall of the box office. They had union projectionists from the day the theatre opened, until the day it closed, which I believe was some time around 1977. In addition, it was nowhere near the site of the old Tuxedo Theatre.

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