Cinema Manhasset

2124 Northern Boulevard,
Manhasset, NY 11030

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RobertR
RobertR on November 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I wonder why the lines “occasionally a first run general release usually from Tri-Star or Paramount would play in-between art films” was removed from the introduction I wrote? After 6 years?

bobpdx
bobpdx on September 5, 2010 at 1:00 am

I started at the Manhasset Cinema in the summer of 1979. Because it was in the shopping center it had to be open for matinees. The first movie I worked was “Tree of the Wooden Clogs”, a three hour movie about Italian peasants. We might get five people in a midweek matinee.
Howard and Mary were the odd couple but it all worked. I used to hide Mary’s cigarettes. I worked through my senior year of high school. Later Mr. Ackley would always find work for me when I came back for college breaks, I later worked for him again when he moved to the Roosevelt Field Theatre.
It was a fun place a work, so many good memories of people there.
It seems odd now to think of movies running for months at a theatre, but they did. Chariots of Fire did run forever! and the theme song drove you crazy after a while. I fondly remember the Laura Antonelli movies and admiring her breasts as she was ravished in a barn or elsewhere. La Cage Aux Folle ran forever too and certain scenes always cracked me up.
I went back for a visit years ago and it was the site of the Met Museum Store. The plug holes for the stands for the ropes were still in the sidewalk.

RandyHintz
RandyHintz on March 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Wow, those names bring back a lot of memories. I worked in the theater in the early 80’s. I split my time between the Garden City Park East, the New Hyde Park Alan, and the Cinema in Manhasset. Lots of great memories. I remember when “The Outsiders” played at the Cinema. I also remember bringing in my homemade mixed tapes to play during intermission. Worked a lot with both George and Mary. George loved his coffee from the diner across the street. Mary was a lot of fun to work with. I remember selling the Toblerone candy bars and Cappuccino at the snack stand. I believe we had the Berzerk video game in the lobby at the time. I wish I saved some of those marquee letters, I had fun putting up the new movie names when I worked there. I still have movie posters somewhere around the house.

jamienow
jamienow on September 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Yes, an elegant gem. Howard Ackely was the manager when I was working there in 80’s. He wore his black tuxedo every Saturday night, greeting patrons at arrival and running a tight ship. His Assistnat manager, Mary, was more of a Janis Joplin character with a big heart. Quite the polar opposites. A friend staged his garage band after hours on the stage one night and that placed rocked. My career was almost ended by the theme to Chariots of Fire that ran for something like 10 months straight. Diva was also a memorable showing. I was fired when the new manager, George, arrived who was probably alright but I hated that he was messing with our clubhouse. I still have my dark red initials that I salvaged from the marquee alphabet.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 1, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Which store currently occupies the former cinema’s space in the mall? My mother worked for Rugoff back in the early ‘70’s. I was quite young at the time and only ever visited their offices once (to get our free passes to see the revival of the Marx Brothers’ “Animal Crackers” at the Sutton Theatre in Manhattan). I wish I had been a bit older and a bit more aware so I could have made sure my mom got her hands on some good memoribilia (like ads, lobby cards, etc.)!

cinepaul
cinepaul on October 1, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Wasn’t this the most elegant little cinema on Long Island? After years of longing to go, I persuaded my Dad to take me – it was a double bill of “Winning” (Paul Newman racing cars, and competing with Robert Wagner for the affections of Joanne Woodward), and “Tell Them Willie Boy is Here” (Robert Redford and Katherine Ross, and Robert Blake in the title role). Only two seats in each of the side aisles (against the wall), and a black-and-silver motif. Of course, it was a Rugoff/Cinema 5 theater – the only one on LI – so it was like a Manhattan theater in the ‘burbs’. After I got a car in ‘74, I came here frequently – for the Lina Wertmuller hits (Love and Anarchy, Swept Away, Seven Beauties); Dona Flor and her Two Husbands (at which a friend of mine discovered that subtitles aren’t so bad!).

Wonderful place to see movies.

efriedmann
efriedmann on June 8, 2007 at 2:02 pm

This theater held a nice position amongst all the stores of the Miracel Mile; just a few stores away from Swensens ice cream parlor (now closed, too). I saw a STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, BEVERLY HILLS COP (twice!), D.A.R.Y.L. and EUROPEAN VACATION before it innevitably closed.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 31, 2006 at 6:26 am

The architect was John J. MacNamara. The Rugoff & Becker theatre first opened on August 6, 1957, with “The Green Man,” a British comedy starring Alastair Sim. News reports claimed a seating capacity of 400, and 1,600 parking spaces in the shopping center in which the theatre was situated. The opening coincided with the 50th anniversary of circuit co-founder Herman Becker’s entry into show business. His first job was as an office boy with vaudeville’s Gus Edwards in 1907.

cheebalicious
cheebalicious on January 21, 2006 at 9:09 am

I recall seeing D.A.R.Y.L. here with my grandparents – possibly the last movie I saw with my grandfather. Also remember I was supposed to see Young Sherlock Holmes with my grandmother – when we got to the theater, the poster was still up but the theater was locked. I think I remember a posting on the door saying they were closed permanently.

RobertR
RobertR on October 16, 2005 at 7:41 pm

In between art films the Cinema Manhasset would play a mainstream movie, but always a top notch film. In later years the policy would become a lot of average commercial things.

DonRosen
DonRosen on October 16, 2005 at 6:10 pm

Kind of an odd booking…“My Fair Lady” at an art house circuit.

RobertR
RobertR on October 16, 2005 at 12:21 pm

This 1957 block ad for the Rugoff Theatres shows Cinema Manhasset playing Vittorio De Sica in “It Happened in the Park"
View link

RobertR
RobertR on July 25, 2005 at 11:49 am

In 1971 after “My Fair Lady” played the Criterion again in 70mm it went out to the nabes.
View link

RobertR
RobertR on June 13, 2005 at 8:06 pm

Christmas of 1974 Ingmar Bergman’s “Scenes From a Marriage” opened in select area theatres outside of Manhattan. It was presented in one of those horrible dubbed versions that were popular at the time when they would wide release foreign films. However the always classy Cinema Manhasset advertised that it was showing it in its original foreign language version with English subtitles.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 11, 2005 at 7:32 am

There were no other theatres on Northern Boulevard between Cinema Manhasset and the Little Neck Theatre. The Cinema Manhasset was not actually on NB; it was set back from the road with parking spaces for the mall in front of and surrounding it. The Little Neck was in the middle of a shopping block of stores and had no parking lot. You had to park on the street or walk (as many local residents did)…The other theatre you might be thinking of is the Manhasset Theatre, which was on Plandome Road and not too far from Northern Boulevard.

RobertR
RobertR on June 11, 2005 at 5:24 am

I don’t remember Little Neck having a parking lot though?

lopez
lopez on June 11, 2005 at 4:55 am

Re. CConnolly’s 12/27 comment – if you head west on Northern Blvd. past the Miracle Mile, the next theatre you would come across would be the long-closed Little Neck. It fits the description aside from the entrance, which was on Northern. I don’t recall there being any other theatre ever on this road between the Cinema Manhasset and the Little Neck.

RobertR
RobertR on June 10, 2005 at 8:00 pm

In June of 1969 Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet” opened here while still playing the Paris in Manhattan. It played here for many months to packed houses.

chconnol
chconnol on December 27, 2004 at 4:56 pm

I hate to do this again on this site but there was a theater in the Manhasset area that I know was on Northern Blvd. I thought this one was it but I don’t think so because the theater I’m thinking of was at least a mile or two west of the Miracle Mile. The theater I’m thinking of was a single screener, small, with a tiny parking lot. The auditorium ran parallel to Northern Blvd with the main entrance/exit right off the small parking lot (the main entrance did not face Northern Blvd which I always thought was interesting. When I was a kid, I saw only a couple of movies there and I remember my Father always dropping us off at the entrance and having to find parking in the neighborhood because the parking lot was so small. The building is still there but I’m not sure what it is now. Does anyone know the theater I’m talking about? Is this one it?

RobertR
RobertR on December 7, 2004 at 11:43 am

This was a class act in every sense.

Orlando
Orlando on February 29, 2004 at 5:05 pm

You are correct, when ALMI Theatres took over Century, they were known as ALMI-Century. When RKO was absorbed by them, the name became RKO-Century. When the Cinema V (Rugoff chain) was taken over which included the Cinema Manhasset, this became the RKO-Century Cinema Manhasset. By that time, a few of the old-timers from both circuits were in the home office, but the circuit of theatres were in name only and had nothing to do with the original chains. I worked for ALMI when they started with 5 UA Theatres. They were the Bayshore, Amityville, Farmingdale, Plaza (Patchogue) and the Brookhaven Theatres.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 29, 2004 at 11:29 am

To the best of my memory, this was never a Century theatre. When it first opened, it was operated by Rugoff Theatres.

Vodhin
Vodhin on February 19, 2004 at 12:19 am

HI there! I was an usher at this theatre back in 1983-84 and can tell you about this little gem. When I worked there, the theatre was run by RKO.

To enter the theatre, you would buy your tickets at the box office on the left side of the main entrance, a curved quarter-round Chrome and glass affair trimmed in art deco style. The front doors were heavy slabs of frameless solid glass, set in one large chrome jamb, their counterweights recessed in the sillplate. On either side, facing the atrium, were two large poster cases- “3 sheet” size, with two narrow cases facing the sidewalk.

All trim in the building was an art deco chrome, like many of the Century Theatres that RKO had taken over.

A short vestibule lead to a second set of glass doors and a small outer lobby where the doorman stood. On your right was a narrow satircase that lead to a small upper lobby where the restrooms, manager’s office and projtion booth were. Behind the doorman was a set of 3 or 4 steps that lead down in to a sunken inner lobby, lowered to accomodate the second floor. A tiny concession stand was located all the way over on the right of this. On the left of the back wall were an equal number of steps leading up into the auditorium itself, open to the inner lobby.

The auditorium was long and narrow, with continental seating- close to 400 perhaps, and – I may be mistaken – a Gold draw style grand curtain. Motorized side masking allowed for three different cinema formats: “Wide” (1:1.35, like TV) “Flat” (1:1.85 Academy Standard) or full ‘Cinema Scope’ (1:2.65 -Anamorphic), all manually controlled from the booth by the projectionist. Frequently, he would “delux” the presentation- showing the coming atractions and house policy snipe in flat format, then closing the curtain and the reopening again in the full wide screen: what an effect that was!

At that time, and up to it’s closing in 1989 (?), the theatre was still running a pair of ‘Simplex’ 35mm projectors on ‘Pearless’ carbon arc lamphouses, with the projectionist performing manual changovers for each 20 minute reel of the films.

The sound system was true ‘Dolby’ stereo, CP50 processors and tube amplifiers, I think. Behind the screen were three ‘Alteck'A1’s AKA “Voice of the Cinema” and 14 surround speakers lined the auditorium walls- 2 in the back and 6 on each wall.

The theatre mostly ran art films, but sometimes picked up the Paramount/Tri-Star first run track.

In 1984, I left the RKO Manhasset Cinema to go to work at the UA Manhasset Tri-plex at the other end of town. I’m sorry to say that I have no pictures of the Cinema, I do have a few from the 17 years I was at the Tri-plex. I hope to add some of these to Cinema Treasures when they get their photo submission back on line.

Mike Anderson