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Re: In olden days...

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  • jimor2
    ... this spelling) I had the pleasure of going to in my hometown of New ... theatres that housed the big important movies. Those movies, like a ... these
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 29, 2004
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      --- In historicmoviepalaces@yahoogroups.com, "donnyc_astoria"
      <overit@n...> wrote:
      > Reading Mira's post I began thinking about the theatres (I prefer
      this spelling) I had the pleasure of going to in my hometown of New
      > York City. What I recall with the most affection are the movie
      theatres that housed the "big" important movies. Those movies, like a
      > stage show, required you to buy your tickets in advance. Many of
      these were movie versions of Broadway musicals such as "West
      > Side Story," "My Fair Lady," "The Sound of Music" and "Hello,
      Dolly." But also movies like "Cleopatra" fell into this category.
      >
      > This practice turned going to the movies into an event, not only
      because the move was special, but also because the theatres were
      > nothing like the ones we attended on a regular basis. These theatres
      were huge, with columns, large, imposing screens, balconies
      > and seating room for a small country! Two of these theatres were The
      Rivoli, The Criterion, both long gone. The closest thing we have
      > left here in NYC is Radio City Music Hall and they don't run movies
      like they used to.
      >
      > It's very sad to me that young people today won't know what this
      experience was like, although in the age of cell phones that take
      > photographs, they'd probably just be bored. Well we weren't bored.
      Not by a long shot.
      >
      > I'd like to say one thing regarding my interest in Classic Theatres,
      movie and legit. I notice that most people here are interested in the
      > exterior and marquees. My interest lies inside. In the auditoriums.
      I go to the theatre to see a show, but before going in I stand on the
      > sidewalk and examine the facades just like I've done a thousand
      times before. Once inside I do the same thing. A theatre is a holy
      > place to me and I'm so happy to know others feel the same way.
      ****************
      Well, Don, I'm not sure that theatres are "holy" but like you, I too
      look primarily for the ornate interiors to see the beauty that once
      made up the thrill of going to the movies. When I grew up as a child
      in Milwaukee we had some 20 movie palaces to choose from (and some 40
      other lesser show houses), and I recall especially the mystic aura of
      the EGYPTIAN ( http://www.cinematreasures.org/theater/2375/ ) under
      its star-studded sky, as the 18-foot-tall figures of Egyptians in gold
      leaf looked down on us, and later I reveled in the graceful interior
      of the ornate RIVERSIDE ( http://www.cinematreasures.org/theater/2260/
      ) when the five enormous chandeliers dimmed and the feature "20,000
      Leagues Under The Sea" started upon the closed house curtain, and as
      it opened with the titles having a rippling-reflections-of-the-sea
      backdrop which was accentuated by the velour folds of the opening
      draperies. The magic of that filled auditorium was palpable in 1956 as
      was the last time I had the privilege of experiencing a sold-out house
      in 1970 when the former WARNER (
      http://www.cinematreasures.org/theater/1903/ ), the most ornate
      theatre (possibly aside from the historic PABST of 1895) in the city,
      showed the movie "Airport" and all 2500 people gasped and laughed as
      one in that gilded auditorium. They hadn't replaced all the light
      bulbs in the twin chandeliers nor in the ten coves of tri-color lights
      above the grillework, but it was still something special to see the
      golden-tasseled burgundy velour draperies around the six huge murals
      "after Fragonard" and know that all that glamour was just for us. I
      didn't know it then, but three years later the place would be split in
      two and renamed the CENTRE; and that in '82 it would be renamed the
      GRAND and then closed for good in '95. These may not have been of the
      size and grandeur of NYC's palaces, but they were jewels in their own
      right, and I miss them! Jim R.
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