Re: In olden days...
- --- In email@example.com, "donnyc_astoria"
> Reading Mira's post I began thinking about the theatres (I preferthis spelling) I had the pleasure of going to in my hometown of New
> York City. What I recall with the most affection are the movietheatres that housed the "big" important movies. Those movies, like a
> stage show, required you to buy your tickets in advance. Many ofthese 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.
>because the move was special, but also because the theatres were
> This practice turned going to the movies into an event, not only
> nothing like the ones we attended on a regular basis. These theatreswere huge, with columns, large, imposing screens, balconies
> and seating room for a small country! Two of these theatres were TheRivoli, The Criterion, both long gone. The closest thing we have
> left here in NYC is Radio City Music Hall and they don't run movieslike they used to.
>experience was like, although in the age of cell phones that take
> It's very sad to me that young people today won't know what this
> photographs, they'd probably just be bored. Well we weren't bored.Not by a long shot.
>movie and legit. I notice that most people here are interested in the
> I'd like to say one thing regarding my interest in Classic Theatres,
> 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 thousandtimes 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.