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Movie Palaces, Cinemas and Theaters of Yesterday and Today

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movieman1957
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Re: Movie Palaces, Cinemas and Theaters of Yesterday and Today

Postby movieman1957 » June 15th, 2010, 2:17 pm

Since we changed the name I thought bumping it might help.
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Uncle Stevie
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Re: Movie Palaces, Cinemas and Theaters of Yesterday and Today

Postby Uncle Stevie » June 19th, 2010, 7:35 pm

I, like many of you, have expeienced a great many of local movie theaters over the years. I grew up in a small town of 55,000 people in New Jersey, but we had 6 movie theaters and two towns away were 8 movie theaters and in another direction there were 10 movie theaters. So we had our choice of movies and 10 cents for the bus would get us anywhere we wanted. These theaters all were common in they were all ornate inside. Some were big and many small BUT NONE HAD MULTIPLE movie screens such as today. My home town was Passaic, New Jersey and one theater was for Westerns, one was for the "A" movies, and one was for small classic movies but one, the Central Theater, had Big Bands Plus A movie. Just like New York City.

I had a family connection to the great Capitol Theater in New York City. At it's peak it held around 5,000 people. Harry James and Frank Sinatra would play there as well as other big bands. My Grandfather was a projectionist at the Capitol and I got to go in and see the show and watch him work the projectors and spots for the stars. It was thrilling for me. Here are some interesting facts about the Capitol Theater:


Capitol Theatre
New York, NY
1645 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 United States(map)
Status: Closed/Demolished
Screens: Single Screen
Style: Adam
Function: Unknown
Seats: 5230
Chain: Unknown
Architect: Thomas W. Lamb
Firm: Unknown


Exterior view of Loew's Capitol, just before the theater closed.

Photo courtesy of StevePThe Capitol Theatre was located where the Paramount Plaza stands today, directly across from the Winter Garden Theatre.

Opened in 1919, the Capitol Theatre in 1924 was taken over by Loew's and became the flagship movie palace for MGM Films. The Capitol Theatre hosted World Premiere's of many now 'classic' films. The theatre presented movies and stage shows except from 1935 to 1943 when no stage shows were included in the program. The shows were too expensive to produce during the Great Depression and were only revived when World War II brought an economic boom. In 1952 stage shows ceased to be held. A larger, 25 foot x 60 foot wide screen was installed for the June 1953 engagement of "Never Let Me Go" starring Clark Gable.

In 1959 the Capitol Theatre was 'modernized' and re-opened as Loew's Capitol Theatre with "Solomon and Sheba". The movie palace became a Cinerama showplace.

World Premiere's of 70mm films included "Cheyenne Autumn"(December 23, 1964), "Doctor Zhivago"(December 22nd, 1965), "The Dirty Dozen"(June 15, 1967) and "Far From the Madding Crowd"(October 18, 1967).

The Loew's Capitol Theatre was never twinned or divided into more than one theatre. At the conclusion of the Roadshow engagement of "2001:A Space Odyssey" in 1968. the Loew's Capitol Theatre closed, and was demolished.
Uncle Stevie


"Great Marriages Are Made In Heaven,
So Is Thunder and Lightning"

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Uncle Stevie
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Re: Movie Palaces, Cinemas and Theaters of Yesterday and Today

Postby Uncle Stevie » June 19th, 2010, 7:38 pm

For anyone wanting to find out more about old theaters you can go to

"cinematreasures.org"
Uncle Stevie


"Great Marriages Are Made In Heaven,
So Is Thunder and Lightning"

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Uncle Stevie
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Re: Movie Palaces, Cinemas and Theaters of Yesterday and Today

Postby Uncle Stevie » July 8th, 2010, 4:07 pm

Back in the 30-50s New York City movie theaters were magnates for kids playing hookie from school mostly because of the "Big Band" performances during school hours. Truant Officers would roam the theaters to catch the kids. Some theaters even had children's section to restrict the kids. Other theaters had rules that no kid allowed in without an adult, no matter what the movie.
Uncle Stevie


"Great Marriages Are Made In Heaven,
So Is Thunder and Lightning"

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Uncle Stevie
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Re: Movie Palaces, Cinemas and Theaters of Yesterday and Today

Postby Uncle Stevie » August 28th, 2010, 7:26 am

I am shocked at the prices charged for going to a movie theater today. I wonder what the future can be for theaters. I recently went to see the new Julia Roberts movie (Eat Pray Love) with my wife but elected to go at 12:30PM for a matinee and cheaper rate. The theater we chose was a very old but remodeled single movie converted into a small multiplex. It was the Bellevue Theater in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. We got senior citizen rates for the early show of the day and still paid $9.00 per ticket. I think that is absurd. The seats were new so I guess we helped pay for them. I stayed away from the $20.00 popcorn and soda. So the two of us paid $18.00 for a not very good movie at a matinee. GRRRRR!!! I recently bought five classic movies for my collection for the same total price.
Uncle Stevie


"Great Marriages Are Made In Heaven,
So Is Thunder and Lightning"


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