Off The Wall Cinema
15 Pearl Street,
15 Pearl Street,Cambridge, MA 02139
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The former owners of Off the Wall are VERY sad to learn of the passing of David Kleiler, a man who was as much of a Boston institution as the Coolidge Corner Theater (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/215), which he saved and maintained. He was a true friend of independent cinema and, we’re proud to say, a friend of ours.
Some random memories of Off The Wall. First time I went there at the original location was for a screening of Between Time And Timbuktu, a film in Boston, PBS production based on some Kurt Vonnegut stories. It seemed to become a fill in film for their schedule for awhile. The famous Betty Boop show was a fill in when a show did not draw well. It was supposed to be in for a week or so but became hugely popular and ended up running for a month or two.
They were also one of the first places to revive the film Head starring The Monkees.
MaxandDave, you know I will! ;–) One other thing I want to say is that the programs prove OTW was every bit as great as we remember it was, if not even greater. I’m looking at “Jazz Women” and “Hot Jazz” (printed on two sides of the same sheet, but IIRC they were separate shows), and this was truly amazing stuff. There was obviously a lot of love involved in planning and bringing together all these short films, not to mention typing up the extensive notes, including full instrument credits for each film. So again, thanks from the bottom of my heart to everyone who did all the hard work.
jonathan_o, thanks for the memories! You’re probably right when you say there’ll never be another place like it, but hold onto your Lifetime Membership, just in case! :–)
Thrilled to find Off the Wall here!!! Hands down my favorite venue, ever – a truly magical place. I moved to Boston in the early ‘70s and found it right away; I came for the Looney Tunes, stayed for the NFBC and experimental animation and so much more. Still have my lifetime membership card and programs from every show I went to (valuable for looking up titles from 40 years ago).
Endless thanks to Michael and his partners and to everyone who brought the magic to Boston. There’ll never be another place like it.
PS: Trivia – the Pearl Street location that had previously housed 100 Flowers Bookstore – that store was a coop where you swapped work for discounts on books. Wordsworth pretty much killed that model. It was co-owned by one of sf author Anne McCaffrey’s sons.
Off th Wall is in the news again, at least in the Boston Globe. First, Names and Faces quoted Casey Affleck as saying that the first movie he saw (at age 6) was at the “dearly departed” OTW. Unfortunately, “The Harder They Come” played at the Orson Welles, not OTW. I sent the Globe an e-mail saying that perhaps he and Ben and Matt went to the Alternative Family Cinema. Mark Shanahan obviously read that Casey interview because today, in a front page story on the Affleck brothers he said that they grew up watching films at OTW. Did they? Most likely, but at least we can boast of actual Oscar winning Patrons! michaelnicholson
Steve Burstein! Wow, I was just thinking about you last week…no joke! How’s by you, Groucho??
Steve Burstein. Hmmm. Didn’t you once do a routine about the Three Stooges performing Shakespeare?
I performed at Off the Wall, during “Comedy Clubhouse at Off the Wall” hosted by Ron Lynch, with local theatre legend Dorothy Dwyer and Burlesque Queen Cyndi Freeman.
Sadly, I don’t. When it reopens I will have to negotiate with Michael. :)
I did work there. I was usually behind the counter doling out cheesecake and congo bars, running the projector or cleaning up between shows. Sometimes all three! I still have my lifetime membership, of course. Hope you have yours!
You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I’m sorry I didn’t post it sooner. Did you work there? If so, God bless you. I absolutely loved that place and it was a privilege to meet Michael and David who were so friendly and helpful. -Rick
rausifer, thank you for holding onto that ancient footage all these years and especially for posting it! It was really fun to see Michael and David and the theatre (and the funky old office). It really brought me back. Looking forward to the finished piece.
OK, it’s up! https://youtu.be/k8ifpsJkjE0 WARNING – I’m using an “evaluation copy” of capture software so don’t turn up your speakers too loud! Working on the “finished” piece now… much shorter so should take less time…
Hey, looking forward!
Thanks, I will. It is still uploading, sorry… I have a very poor connection here. Probably won’t be done till tomorrow morning.
You need to make the video public or else none of us can watch it.
Hi everybody – I have finally gotten around to uploading my student TV project about Off The Wall! I’m uploading 2 videos – the first is the “raw footage” which was better quality because it is 3rd generation (keep in mind this is 30+ yr old ½" open reel tape!). The second is the piece itself which is about 4 minutes long. Here is the link to the first: https://youtu.be/k8ifpsJkjE0 I will put up the second tomorrow if/when the first one finishes uploading tomorrow!
A true classic. RIP George Coe.
Not quite the same as watching it at OTW, but De Duva — one of our all-time favorites for sure — is available here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8X2QmLWWxq4
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?).
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
Yes, I remember Saturday viewings of betty boop. I was about seven, I believe. my mother took more than once.
Hey thestarofmyworld, that’s very cool! Do you remember any particular animations or experiences you had there?
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.