Trump Cinema

490 Neptune Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11224

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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.

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.

Coate on March 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm


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 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

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 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."


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 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 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.

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 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 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.

TLSLOEWS on March 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Thanks techman,you sure know your stuff. I worked and managed 3 Loews Theatres in Nashville, Tennessee in the late 70’s early 80’s luckly we had union guys in the booths and Never had a major break down or problem in all those times.Thanks again for you imput.

techman707 on March 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm

It sure is ironic! The film companies are just like other big companies, when they decide to do something, whether it makes sense or not sometimes has no bearing? In the mind of the paper pushers at MGM at the time, the NEW redone “anamorphic” prints they spent so much money on, first restoring the 3 B&W masters that had shrunk differently on each one, which necessitated having to re-register every frame of a nearly 4 hour movie. Then, after that was done they had to optically scan it top to bottom (as opposed to side to side like they used to do for TV prints of Cinemascope movies) in order to keep the action in the “new” widescreen format, while at the same time losing picture information from the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio when converted to 2.35:1.

For “non-purists” it could have been an interesting “modern take” of the original version. However, the color was all washed out and everytime there was a dissolve, the color and grain became even worse. In contrast, the Technicolor IB prints (which are no longer made), that all previous prints of GWTW were made in, have non-fading color and virtually no apparent grain at all.

Warner Brothers, that not only has DVD & Blu-ray rights to WB films, but, also many other company’s films (somehow), have the DVD & Blu-ray rights to GWTW. They claim to have developed software that can take a film that’s been stored as 3 B&W strips and to “perfectly” re-register all these films that have shrunk over the years. Since they can scan these film at 8K, it’s possible to make 35mm release prints from a re-registered and color corrected digital scan, which is how the last release of of the Blu-ray of GWTW was made.

TLSLOEWS on March 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Thats funny techman so the “Dumps” got the better original format,how ironic.

techman707 on March 26, 2011 at 6:27 pm

tisloews-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. 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. Those projectors are VERY rare and the 70mm gates had to hand made by a guy name Howard Streit (I think that’s how he spells it). Personally, I HATED what they did with GWTW, it looked lousy compared to the original Technicolor IB prints. The funny thing is that when GWTW went into wide release they didn’t have enough new anamorphic prints, so they also used Technicolor prints they had for the “dumps”. The people that went to the dumps got to see it in ALL its original glory.

TLSLOEWS on March 26, 2011 at 10:09 am

Thanks techman,there is alot of wrong info on this site, but that happens on these kind of sites.

techman707 on August 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

There seems to be a lot of mis-information about the Trump Cinema. It opened in late 1968 and was the “prototype” 16mm theatre of Automated Theatres Of America. They sold the theatre to the owner of the Card Shop in the shopping center. Because getting a continuous supply of 16mm current features wasn’t reliable
the new owner converted the projection equipment to run standard 35mm films, starting with the re-release of The Ten Commandments. It had absolutely nothing to do with union projectionists, which the theatre had from the day it opened (automated or not) until it closed.

This theatre had NOTHING to do with Jerry Lewis Cinemas. There was a Jerry Lewis Cinema in New York, but in was located in a strip mall in Rockaway. It burned downed and was reopened as a twin, then a third theatre was added shortly later.

TLSLOEWS on June 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Sounds like it was a great little dump.

GaryCohen on January 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

What as tiny horible dump this was. The screen was so small, it was like watching a movie in someone’s living room. I think I was there one time to see a double-feature of “Don’t Look Now” and “Bang the Drum Slowly.” I’m not surprised to hear that is gone, no great loss.

TheGameShowGuy on September 19, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I grew up in Warbasse across from Trump Village and I think this tiny theater -which existed only nine years from 1969-1978, was more a victim of “Pay TV” once Warbasse and Trump got HBO, the Trump Cinema went XXX. Still as a kid growing up…this was sort of our neighborhood’s own,private theater.

HBH on July 15, 2008 at 8:26 am

the toilet was behind the screen, so everybody saw you when you had to go use it

Mitchboo on March 29, 2008 at 6:06 pm

I grew up in (and with) Trump Village from the day I was born in 1964 through the mid-80’s. I look back now from this nice house and “neighborhood” in the suburbs and think, “Man, what a great place to have been a kid.” With all that we have now, I really wish my kids could experience half the adventures and half the spontaneity we had in Brighton Beach/Coney Island and, in particular, in Trump, that Jewish ghetto by the sea. Between the beach, the parks, the street games, the public transportation, the thousands of kids in Trump and in the surrounding neighborhoods, and all the energy and excitement only the streets of New York can offer, it was an amazing place. My clearest memory of the Trump Cinema, aside from the short time it turned into a XXX theater, was as a 7 year old, picketing outside the theater with my older brother (by 2 years) and his (our) friends. We were “protesting” because they wouldn’t let us in to see “Billy Jack.” We went back three days in a row after school and really thought they’d eventually let us in. Never happened. The theater was as small as described in other posts, but for us it was magical, a place our parents could drop us off to see the newest kids' movies and cartoons. Really cool to have found this site. Mitch

kencmcintyre on November 2, 2007 at 3:58 pm

The address should be 490 Neptune, per an old city directory listing as well as the current listing for Radio Shack.

thebeagle on November 22, 2006 at 6:18 pm

I saw my first movie here, The Wilderness Family. The last movie I remember seeing in this theater was The Towering Inferno when I was a kid and all I want to be was a fireman. My grandmother used to sell the popcorn.

MikeRadio on May 13, 2005 at 3:15 am

The screen in this theatre was UP on the wall! Since it was so small and the rows of seats went right up close to the screen, the screen was put up higher on the wall.

You had to look up to see it, and had a pain in the neck by the end of the movie.

The screen also had a really bad curtain that came DOWN over it. You could see the bottom of the screen between the rounded parts of the bottom of the curtain.

I saw PHASE IV at this theatre.

There was a POPCORN machine for snacks.

The theatre doors were CHAINED from the outside when it went XXX. Do not know all the circumstances.

Theaterat on April 17, 2005 at 3:48 pm

The Trump Cinema…named after Donalds father who developed middle class housing was a tiny theater that stood in a strip mall on Neptune AV. in Coney Island. This theater was SMALL< and if it sat 250 people, it was a lot.The average theater on a cruise ship is at least two and a half times bigger!It opened in the spring of 1969. A hardware store once stood there. It was plain to the extreme, and snacks wetre dispensed by vending machine. Even though it resembled an “art house” from NYs Upper West Side, people called it a hole in the wall.Remember seing Bonnie and Clyde here long after it opened. I also saw The Longest Day for the Twenty fifth anniversary of D Day. The last film I saw here was THE Sorrow And The Pity with my friend Jerry D who lived in the housing development. This was in early 1975. They showed porn after that and eventually it closed.