Off The Wall Cinema

15 Pearl Street,
Cambridge, MA 02139

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Showing 1 - 25 of 88 comments

MaxAndDave on July 31, 2015 at 12:00 am

A true classic. RIP George Coe.

mae10 on July 30, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Not quite the same as watching it at OTW, but De Duva — one of our all-time favorites for sure — is available here:

michaelnicholson on July 30, 2015 at 2:08 pm

George Coe passed away on July 18. He was 86. George will always be remembered as the producer, director and star of one of OTW’s favorite films, “De Duva (The Dove), an Oscar nominated short in 1968. Quoting lines of dialogue became a favorite passtime among OTW staff and patrons. The film was also notable for the film debut of Madeline Kahn ("Phallican symbol?).

michaelnicholson on July 13, 2015 at 7:58 pm

I’m sorry to say that animator Jane Aaron died on June 27. The cause was cancer. She was 67. Jane’s film “Remains of the Day” was in the last “Magic Movies” show at OTW. Like Karen Aqua, Jane worked for Sesame Street, completing almost 200 shorts: the letter X, numbers 1-20, and many Elmo’s World segments. michaelnicholson

thestarofmyworld on June 28, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Yes, I remember Saturday viewings of betty boop. I was about seven, I believe. my mother took more than once.

MaxAndDave on June 24, 2015 at 1:13 am

Hey thestarofmyworld, that’s very cool! Do you remember any particular animations or experiences you had there?

thestarofmyworld on June 23, 2015 at 11:49 pm

I have many fond memories of this erstwhile theater. The animation viewings were an integral part of my childhood and interest in film, theater, and writing; and I always enjoyed the cafe ambiance about it.

michaelnicholson on December 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Hard to believe, but this Saturday, December 13, is the 40th anniversary of our opening opening night. International Animation if I remember correctly. The following morning saw the first of our Alternative Family Cinema shows. michaelnicholson

MaxAndDave on August 29, 2014 at 12:21 am

Very cool, thedragonb! What year(s) would that have been? Do you remember any particular shows?

thedragonb on August 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Aaah, I remember Off The Wall cinema on Main Street, Cambridge as a child. I attended one of their animation afternoons one weekend where they showed cartoons and such. :) Very cool time. Grounds roots venue! :) Mad hippyish vibe! Between this Central Sq. Cinema and The Orson Welles, Cambridge had it going on back in the day! :)

DaleTheSmall on April 10, 2014 at 1:31 am

Cool! Thanks! Heh heh.

michaelnicholson on April 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm

You can reach me at .

zanelumelsky on April 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Have been searching for “I Need a Head” but to no avail. Researcher at Library of Congress is currently trying for me. Also, there were more great films that I saw at OTW that I’d like to know about a view again. Can I talk with you directly. How?

michaelnicholson on March 28, 2014 at 11:29 am

Funny, but I was thinking about that one recently. It’s called “I Need a Head” (I think). I’ll check program notes for the exact title and film maker. It certainly was an audience and staff favorite. michaelnicholson

zanelumelsky on March 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

A question for Michael Nicholson: I saw a short claymation film at OTW in the 1970s that I’m trying to get the name of. The subject was a grunting, ogre-like character with only a head and torso on a table who mistakenly cuts off his own head, squeezes his shoulders, then pops out a new, but smaller head. Does that film ring a bell with you? Zane Lumelsky

MaxAndDave on January 14, 2014 at 4:28 am

YOW! Really looking forward, rausifer!

rausifer on January 14, 2014 at 4:13 am

UPDATE: I have found my DVD with the interview with Mike Nicholson. I am now in the process of figuring out how to convert and upload this to YouTube. It has some interesting footage, including my little news story (about 7 minutes) and about 7 minutes raw footage with Mike. Please don’t get your hopes too high, because this was done in 1979 with ½" B&W tape. The edited stuff is very glitchy, but the raw stuff is pretty decent quality. I hope to post it tomorrow…

MaxAndDave on June 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Louis C.K. credits Off the Wall with giving him his start — or at least giving him the confidence to become a comedian. Ron Lynch, i hope you see this:

michaelnicholson on May 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Mel, very gratifying to hear your story. Hey, just remembering us is pretty good to me. The Alternative Family Cinema was always central to OTW. We opened on a Friday night and started the AFC the next afternoon. If you were on the floor, it must have been at the original Main St location. Tickets were only 50 cents and we had only 63 seats. We didn’t plan on selling seats on the floor but it was hard to turn parents and kids away. We didn’t have a carpet, though, but I’ll bet it was a chocolate chip cookie. Best of luck to you and please keep us up to date on your progress. michael nicholson

DaleTheSmall on May 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Great idea, Mel! It’s never too late to make your dream happen. Keep us posted. (I have performer friends in Perth — not close to you — but you never know who knows whom here!)

Mel_in_Aus on May 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm

WOW!!! I can’t believe I stumbled on to this thread!!! You cannot believe the profound impact OTW had on my life! One of my earliest memories, of childhood, was laying on the carpet, with a big cookie in my hand, staring up at the screen watching ‘The Red Balloon!’

When I was 13, that memory came back and I was struck with the idea opening up my own OTW. My next thought was “I would teach kids how to make movies in the back of the theater.” I got that idea from being able to the the projector.

When I was 18 I attempted to go to college, and study film, but I wasn’t ready and it wasn’t ready for me. I did however get a job as a film projectionist at West Newton Cinema for a year or two. Then I left for London and got a job at the Richmond Film House.

After that I settled in Australia and established a pretty successful career in IT. But every once in a while that old idea would come back, and then I’d put it away. I was busy working and raising babies.

Almost 40 years after that first memory, I finally decided to follow that idea. I gave up my lucrative career. My children are much older and independent. I am now half-way through completing my degree at university, majoring in film & TV production, and minoring in Festival & Event Management and Australian Indigenous Studies.

Hopefully, if the god’s look favourably, I will recreate my memories of OTW, to kids in the most remote parts of the Queensland outback and the far north tropics.

I’m going to bring them a road-show of the best of children’s cinema (OTW quality), and then teach them to tell their own stories.

I wanted to call my non-profit ‘Red Balloon Productions,’ but that was already taken, so it’s called ‘Big Balloon Productions.’

I hope to launch at the end of 2014. In the meantime, I’ve written up the draft business plan. I am slowly creating a network of educators, Film Professionals and Academics to be involved. It’s a pretty ambitious project. But chasing this idea is the happiest I’ve ever been!

I always wanted to say thank you so much OTW, for that beautiful memory that has inspired my whole life. And now I feel like I have.

michaelnicholson on April 26, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Sad to say that Les Blank has passed away. Les, of course, made a memorable appearance at OTW during our Les Blank film fest. I have very fond memories of introducing the films and telling the audience about our special food offerings, culminating with wipping out from behind my back and consuming a chocolate covered garlic. I still have my “Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers” t-shirt, and both David and I have many of his films on dvd. The world has lost a very special film maker. On another note, Rick, I don’t recall your interview, but I’m sure I’ll remember when I see it again. michaelnicholson

MaxAndDave on March 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Rausifer — Too cool! Let us know when it’s posted!

rausifer on March 3, 2013 at 5:50 am

Everyone and Michael especially – I did a short interview with Michael at Off the Wall as part of a student project back in 1978 or so. My next project is to find it and post it on YouTube – I will do this as soon as possible! Dale – thanks for posting and reminding me!

Rick Usifer

DaleTheSmall on March 2, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Michael Nicholson, as I live and breathe! Long story but I just heard Ken on my radio last night (WNYC in Manhattan) and something about his “late wife.” I googled and discovered the bad news about Karen. So awful.

And don’t be so modest. OTW was a major force in the animation world. You guys created a space for so many filmmakers which was safe as well as comfortable. And didn’t Ron teach classes and/or have his stand-up students do a show at OTW? Such generous and sweet owners you all were!