Comments from Bartstar

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Bartstar commented about Cheswick Theatre on Mar 2, 2020 at 2:38 pm

I remember seeing movies at the Cheswick Cinemas. It was unusual in that it had screens in two separate buildings across the street from each other. Each building had their own ticket and concession counter. The Malones kept their theatres clean. The restrooms were spotless, unlike so many theatres these days. I think the last movie we saw there was the Coen brothers “No Country For Old Men”

Bartstar commented about Egyptian Theatre on Nov 15, 2014 at 10:05 am

When did the street facade remodeling from the 50’s occur?
Maybe I missed something, but I can’t find the exact dates of its existence. Just that it was around from the 50’s to the 80’s.

It seems that this information should be included in the overview.

Bartstar commented about Great Lakes Stadium 16 on Jul 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I remember when this was a single screen theatre. When the movie “Airport” first opened it played here for over 3 months. My cousins and I took to calling it the “Airport” Cinema.

It was a large theatre, but the quoted “Parking for 3,000 cars” referred to the entire parking capacity of the lots at the Great Lakes Mall.

I was actually at the Great Lakes Mall a couple of weeks ago for the first time in over 20 years. Things certainly have changed. But everything seemed smaller, less grand and glamorous. I just know that the present theatres can’t hold a candle to the original theatre!

Bartstar commented about Detroit In Ruins: Photograph Slideshow from The Guardian on Jan 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm

There are many more photos at “The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit.

The photo of the United Artists Theatre is haunting and incredibly sad.

The Michigan Theatre was gutted and turned into a parking garage in 1976.

The images are staggering, it’s hard to believe that such a thing could be allowed to happen.
I don’t know what more to say, just go the above mentioned site.

Bartstar commented about Happy 25th, 'Blade Runner'! on Jun 25, 2007 at 6:07 pm

I remember when “Blade Runner” first opened, I had seen some coming attractions for it and I said to myself, “ I MUST see this movie”. A friend and I had made plans to see it on Sat. night. I felt it in my bones that I would “really' like this film and I also knew that probably most other people would not.

I just wanted to lose myself in the visual experience of the film and I didn’t want to have anyone else’s “vibes” or “restlessness” disturbing my complete immersion in the film. Rememeber, I hadn’t heard that much about the film. I just knew it was something I had to experience alone. So, on Fri. night I went to see “Blade Runner” all alone.

I was overwhelmed by the visuals and the sound. I remember later reading a review that talked about “…images of such staggering beauty that they verge on the hurtful”. That, I believe, says it all.

The next night I met my friend Carlos for a drink before going to see “Blade Runner” as we had planned. I wasn’t sure if I should tell him that I went to see it the night before, because I would have to explain the reason why; that I didn’t want his “vibes” to distract me from my enjoyment of the movie. (I was right, he didn’t like it as much as I did.) I finally admitted that I had seen it the night before, but I downplayed the real reason why.

I gave him my impression of the movie. The script was a bit weak and didn’t completely explore intriguing philosophical questions about “what does it mean to be human?”, “where are the dividing lines and who decides who goes in which category?” I also told him about the amazing visuals and sound, which for me at least, trumps any weakness in the story.

Amazingly, quite a few of my friends had a negative reaction the first time they saw “Blade Runner”. Although most of them eventually came around and later appreciated the multilayered experience of the film. People that have only seen it on TV or videotape can only get a fraction of the experience of seeing it on the big screen. For years, I watched my videotape copy in VHS Hi-F connected to my stereo system, which was supposed to have such great sound reproduction. But then, I watched it on DVD. It was the first movie I ever bought on DVD, long before I had a DVD player (yes, they were still expensive at the time, not the $29.95 player you can pick up at the corner drugstore nowadays). I was blown away again by the sound quality. I was hearing things that I hadn’t heard since I saw it on the big screen in 1982. Certain things that sounded muddled on VHS Hi-Fi were now crystal clear on DVD.

I don’t believe in having a strict list of rating movies as “ my favorite movie ever” , “my second favorite”, etc. Film has such great variety and there so many different elements that come together to create a cherished unforgettable experience. I’m too eclectic to only like certain type of movies. Although, I must admit that “Blade Runner” is one of my favorites and is way up there on that list in my head that I refuse to make up and set in stone.

Bartstar commented about Happy 30th, Star Wars! on May 25, 2007 at 4:31 pm

I saw “Star Wars” at the Showcase Cinemas in Monroeville, PA soon after it came out. I don’t remember the exact day and I didn’t realize that at the time it was one of the original 32 theatres showing the movie. I remember being blown away by the opening shot of the star cruiser entering the screen directly overhead; it went on and on and I thought to myself “What an incredible opening shot for a movie” (I was a film major at the time, so you tend to think these things while watching movies). When I got back home to Penn State U. I had to tell everyone about it and when it opened at the Garden Theatre in State College, PA, we had a large group waiting in line for tickets.

Bartstar commented about Mr. JIM RANKIN, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. on Jan 10, 2007 at 5:57 pm

Some of Jim Rankin’s comments are at “America’s Stunning Theatres – Photo Gallery by Noah Kern.

The photos are truly amazing. They may be the best theatre photos I’ve ever seen on the web. They have a choice of multiple sizes, camera data including EXIF data, and of course, people’s comments. Obviously Jim didn’t write comments for every photo, but the ones he did are very informative.

Bartstar commented about Mr. JIM RANKIN, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. on Jan 10, 2007 at 4:26 pm

While I had never talked with him personally, I was always aware that Jim Rankin was one of the outstanding members of Cinema Treasures. He freely shared his theatre knowledge with everyone here and on other theatre buff sites.

I recently stumbled across a site of theatre photographs and Jim Rankin has already been there and had written extensive comments about the architectural details shown in the photos. It was like unexpectedly running into an old acquaintance.

This community of ours that has gathered together online with our shared memories and dreams is now smaller by one. He will be missed.

Bartstar commented about Warner Theatre on Jul 21, 2006 at 6:21 pm

I was in Morgantown, WV this afternoon and walked past this theatre. I was on the sidwalk trying to look into the lobby when a woman who was outside smoking a cigarette asked if she could help me. I said I was a long time movie palace fan and it turns out she was the manager talking a break before opening the theatre for the 5:00 show. She invited my roommate and me into the theatre to look around. We talked for a few minutes and she gave us a brief history of the theatre and she talked about the trials of running a movie palace when most moviegoers are going the the new multiplex on the outskirts of town.

She said that since the new multiplex opened up their business has fallen off alot. They had done a survery of their customers both in person and on line to find out what they could do to improve their business. She was happy that they had gotten over 500 replies.

As of today they instituted a new lower price of $4.00 for all shows at all times to help drum up more customers. They are also applying for a beer and liquor license since they think the college students (Morgantown is the home of West Virginia University) will be attracted to the theatre by the chance to drink beer while watching a movie. Apparently the former owners has tried the beer and wine policy but only allowed drinking in the lobby. The current owners are hoping to be able to serve drinks that the customers can take into the auditoriums.

The theatre is actually only a triplex. The main floor was divided in half and a third screen was added in the closed off balcony. The balcony uses the old projection booth and since the “throw” from the projector to the screen is very short, the manager admitted that sometimes it is hard to watch a movie up there. She also said that some people believe the theatre is haunted, specifically the balcony. She herself had never seen anything unusual but some people believe the stories.

I had just gotten a new digital camera two days ago and took some pictures but I’m still trying out the different features and some of the pictures came out a bit blurry. Oh well, considering that I just was hoping to get a peak of the lobby from the sidewalk and ended up in the theatre and a change to take with the manager about the history of the Warner Theatre it was pleasant surprise for the day.

Bartstar commented about Gillioz Theatre on Apr 25, 2006 at 2:54 am

If you click on the official Gillioz Theatre web site listed in the description, you’ll see that the front entrance was recessed with a free-standing ticket booth. The photo above is obviously a temporary wall with a utilitarian door. Like the type of thing you’d see at a construction site.

Bartstar commented about Shea's Theatre on Apr 18, 2006 at 6:04 pm

I grew up in Conneaut, OH which is about 14 miles east of Ashtabula. I went to the Shea’s Theatre several times while growing up. In fact, the first movie I ever saw, or at least the first movie I ever remember seeing in a theatre was “Lawrence of Arabia” at the Shea’s.

A lady from our church took my mother and me to see the movie and it was something I will never forget. I was very young but I remember lots of sand and camels and trains blowing up. I sat on the edge of my seat drinking it all in and I have to say that my lifelong love of movies and of grand old movie palaces started right then and there after seeing “Lawrence of Arabia” in the Shea’s Theatre in Ashtabula, OH.

After the movie we went to her house, or as she called it “my crackerbox”, and had strawberry shortcake. The fact that I remember so clearly that evening in 1962 just goes to show what an impression it made on me. Through the years I have felt that I should thank her for stirring two lifelong passions in such a young child. Since I’m sure she is no longer with us, this remembrance will have to do. Thank you Mrs. Hiram Lynch!

Bartstar commented about Eastland Mall Theatre on Apr 17, 2006 at 6:38 pm

I remember going there once on a rainy weeknight in about 1973-74. I believe at that time they were branded as a “Jerry Lewis cinema” but don’t hold me to it. It was a pretty bleak theatre as I remember, but then again the Eastland Mall was also pretty bleak. The mall was originally an open air shopping center that was enclosed after a fire in 1972-73? The three story Gimbels was the only thing worth going to, but by then the Monroeville Mall had been open for about 3 years and was much bigger and newer.
The whole complex is essentially abandoned and should be torn down.

Bartstar commented about Looking for info on past Pittsburgh Theaters on Apr 17, 2006 at 6:25 pm

The Fiesta theatre was directly across from Heinz Hall (former Loews Penn). It was in the lower level of the parking garage with first floor retail on Sixth Street. This structure sits on the site of the old Rosenbaums department store. The entrance to the theatre was on Sixth Street. You entered a small foyer and there were escalators that took you down to the lower level where the theatre entrance was located. You could also enter this lower level entrance lobby directly from the parking garage.

I saw many films there but the first one that comes to mind is seeing “Murder on the Orient Express”. Not sure when the theatre closed, but it was probably in the 80’s.

The Forum theatre in Squirrel Hill was on the north side of Forbes Avenue between Murray avenue and Shady Avenue. I’m not exactly sure of the address. There is a terra cotta facade on one buiding that looks suspicously like a theatre facade, but I’ve also been told that it was torn down and replaced by several one story shops closer to Shady Avenue.

I remember seeing Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation ” there. If you’ve never seem the movie, it’s about wiretapping and the beginning of the movie has distored sound like a poor quality wiretap.
Well, several patrons, not realizing this was a sound effect from the movie, jumped up and ran into the lobby to complain about the poor sound!

I believe the Airport theatre was actually in the old PIttsburgh airport. I was never there but I’ve been told that it ran full length films for people who were waiting for their connecting flights. This is back when Pittsburgh was a major hub for the former Allegheny Airlines (now known as USAIR). Of course, back then everybody referred to them as Agony Airlines.

Bartstar commented about State Theatre on Feb 17, 2006 at 6:30 pm

As soon as I saw the photo of the State in the featured theatre of the day, I recognized it as the State Theatre in State College, PA. Back in the 70’s it was running porn and was still a single screen theatre. It was cleaned up in the 80’s and twinned and ran conventional Hollywood fare.

The great thing about the theatre was that it still has a balcony, even after it was twinned and unlike so many theatres you could actually sit up there without having to sneak up there and hope an employee wouldn’t tell you that you couldn’t sit there.

The theatre was a great place to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon eating popcorn and watching a movie.

Bartstar commented about Sebastian Theater on Aug 31, 2005 at 6:42 pm

The Strand Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA was also a “reverse theatre”. I saw a movie there once but can’t remember much about it except that you faced the audience when you entered the theatre. Since I was running late and didn’t enter the theatre until the movie had started I was a bit shocked by the arrangement.

Bartstar commented about Heaven's Gate Memories And Theater Info on Aug 18, 2005 at 6:31 am

When I was writing the above recommendation about “Final Cut” I started to write “– Dreams and Disaster etc.” but I couldn’t find my copy of the book so I went to Amazon to check the title. I was surprised when it came up with “Final Cut – Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, the Film That Sank United Artists”. This is a revised edition from Sept 1999. After looking closer I see that Amazon also has copies of the earlier editions, June 1985 & June 1994 reissues. I’m not sure how different the revised edition can be since it has the same number of pages (432) as the original.
It seems that the title was changed to sound more sensational.

Bartstar commented about Heaven's Gate Memories And Theater Info on Aug 17, 2005 at 4:49 pm

There are at least two indispensible sources of information about “Heaven’s Gate”.

One is “Final Cut – Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, the Film That Sank United Artists” by Steven Bach.

The other is the magazine “American Cinematographer”; at the time they produced an issue that had numerous articles about “Heaven’s Gate”. The issue is no longer available from the magazine. I’ve been kicking myself for not ordering this back issue when I had the chance!

Bartstar commented about Beaver Valley Cinemas on Aug 13, 2004 at 8:27 pm

This multiplex was just off of Rt 35 east of Dayton, OH. I was there once or twice from 1998 till closing. It was in an old strip center that had long been superceded by newer shopping centers and a new mall just a couple of miles north of there.The opening of a new multiplex at the mall was it’s death knell. Some of the auditoriums were huge! Ultimately its poor location is what doomed it.

Bartstar commented about Old Theaters on Aug 13, 2004 at 8:24 pm

I don’t remember the South Park drive-in, but I did go to the Rt.30 Twin Drive-In in North Versailles when I first started college in the 70’s. The site is now the Wal-Mart in North Versailles.
The drive-in was on top of a hill overlooking Rt. 30 and the Turtle Creek valley. Sometimes the most interesting thing was not what was going on on-screen but rather in the steel mills in Braddock and rest of the Mon valley. Whenever they would do a “burn” at what I assume was E.T. (Edgar Thompson Works of U.S. Steel) the whole sky would glow orange for maybe 20 minutes. It certainly dragged your attention away from the screen, but I never seemed to mind because the unearthly glow lighting up the sky was beautiful. Well, the steel mills are all torn down or operating as mere ghosts of their former selves but that wonderful orange glow in the sky is something I’ll never forget.