Comments from TheaterBuff1

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TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 21, 2007 at 11:17 pm

The Mayfair Theatre in Northeast Philadelphia, which that photo is of, was a much loved theater in its prime, and always attracted great audiences. Which apparently didn’t sit well with the LorenzoRodriguez types for whatever reason.

For LorenzoRodriguez, Here’s what I drew from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, and you tell me whether or not it was a bad thing: The movie begins with a person being raised in a world of much privilege and luxury who over time becomes conscious of the many forced to toil and suffer in order for that privilege and luxury he enjoys to be. Then, discovering that he is of the same ethnicity as those forced to toil and suffer, he renounces his privilege and luxury to lead Egypt’s oppressed to freedom. And humankind takes a great leap forward as a result of it. For the Egyptians, after 3,000 long years of what had been before, at long last finally get their long awaited just due. And the Israelites finally get theirs. I find that beautiful. You find that “irrational.” Who among the two of us is actually irrational?

As for the number on the theater ticket, that’s just a tracking system having to do with estimating ticket sales and nothing personal to do with me. For when you step up to the box office to buy your ticket, they don’t ask for your name, address, social security number or whatever. And if you pay cash there’s no way they can acquire this data. Oh I know, I know, there’s scanners now, such as they have at some ATMs, that can read your retina and get all the personal info they need from that. But just because somebody has the notion to reduce me to a number doesn’t make me one, except perhaps in the eyes of those who seek to do this. And I’m glad that careful records on people are being kept, because such records will prove invaluable later when payback time comes. The Nazis, for example, kept excellent records of who was processed in their concentration camps — records which proved very valuable later in whopping lawsuits brought against postwar Germany.

Now as for the “parting of the Red Sea” scene in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS in actuality being Jello being blown apart by high-powered fans, get out! Really?! That comes as such a massive shock to me! For all these many years now I could’ve sworn that Cecil B. DeMille had got God to come down from heaven to create that special scene, and God fully complied! So you really opened my eyes with that truth revalation, LorenzoRodriguez! Thank you so kindly for letting me and everyone else at this CT page know! Meantime, now that you’ve shown me what a total fool I’ve been all these many years, you’re absolutely right about the how I need therapy bit. I’m calling my psychologist now. Wonder what number I’ll be on his patient list.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 21, 2007 at 1:14 am

Well put, except that I do think that Charmin, which you’re referring to, is a well-produced product. In making your point for you, there are far more accurate examples I can cite. For personally, I think those commercials are funny. And quite harmlessly so.

Meantime, before you go typecasting me, I would like you to look at this link showing the interior of the movie theater I most frequented in my youth — View link

Today it’s remade over into a really really awful looking bank in an area that’s already overgloated with too many, while let me just add that during my childhood the theater you see depicted here was not a palace by any means but was just a typical neighborhood movie house. And it’s because I was brought up with such theaters that I cannot stomach the multiplexes of today. And I can remember paying as little 35 cents to see magnificent films shown at that theater. It had all been a typical part of the great America that [shhhhh] we’re not supposed to know about today. And I certainly don’t blame the people who ran that theater and others just like it for the way the world is today. And going over the long list of the many movies I saw at that theater in my growing up years, ranging from Alfred Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS, to THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, to the Beatles' HELP!, to THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY, to JASON & THE ARGONAUTS, to Walt Disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY, to PLANET OF THE APES, to THE BLUE MAX, to TO SIR WITH LOVE, to A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, to….on and on goes the list, show me one example from that where I and my family’s tree was ever psychologically sodomized by Hollywood and Washington. For no, all that came later when such theaters as the Mayfair were forced to fold. Yes forced. Not dying a natural death. Those movie theaters of old gave our lives richness and meaning. And the movers and shakers of today don’t want that. So step in line if you will. And don’t look back.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 20, 2007 at 12:18 am

I believe what you intended to say is that Hollywood is the pimp, the theaters are the prostitutes, and we the theater patrons are the johns. And clearly a better alignment would be preferable: A source where sincere and genuinely good movies are made; quality theaters where they are exhibited in the best possible way; and theater patrons who are into substance rather than cheap fast food. But how to get that in a deregulatory climate? You tell me. For I’m open to it. Or starved I should say.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 19, 2007 at 10:37 pm

I’m not keen on the idea of theater speakers being part of the over all show. For to me, watching a movie should be a virtual reality experience, the next best thing to actually being there, so to speak. And while we certainly want the theater to have the best speakers and over all sound system possible, what is most critical to the viewer is the sound he or she hears, for that is ALL the viewer should be conscious of. A show of great speakers might be great for live rock concerts, but come on, not in a movie theater. I don’t want to turn my gaze away from the screen and see giant speakers to this side and that. I want to hear them. But not in the sense that I’m hearing great speakers, but rather, that I’m hearing the sounds of a great film.

Think of how it is when we’re out in the real world. Imagine you’re in the middle of a hurricane, earthquake or something. If loud sounds occur in that context, do you think, “Oh I’m going to go complain to management about that! Those sounds were just too loud! I couldn’t hear myself talk just then!”— ??? For that’s the level we want to bring movie theaters up to. That real world level. And as it is with the real world, how is a movie theater supposed to overpower you if you can get up from your seat and go order management to readjust this or that? When watching a movie you shouldn’t even be conscious of that dimension and possibility. It should be just as if you’re really there, or at least the closest the theater can bring you to it.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Fox Theatre on Sep 19, 2007 at 8:48 pm

It’s because those who hijacked the city of Philadelphia and wiped it clean of its once many great movie palaces wanted to do a thorough job of it.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Sep 19, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Not intentionally seeking to drop yet another bombshell here, but if I understand the Boyd story correctly — and please correct me if I’m wrong Howard or anyone else — but when Live Nation first took charge of the Boyd Theatre building with plans to restore and reopen it as a theater, it was still an operational theater at that point. That is, it still was equipped with functional projectors and so forth that could’ve been reactivated once more. But with new plans that Live Nation had in mind regarding its restoration, so much of what made it operational when it first took it over was removed, with implied promises that all new equipment and whatever else necessary would be introduced. But then Live Nation (or Clear Channel or whoever) decided not to follow through with what they originally planned, and its original intentions were fully scrapped. Meaning that it is now seeking to sell off this theater building in its incapacited state in relation to what it was when it first acquired it.

Now my take on this is, had Live Nation followed through with its original plan, no one could fairly complain that the original operational facilities had been removed, given how such facilities would be replaced anew. But Live Nation DIDN’T do that, meaning that in many ways the theater building — so far as its theatrical potential — is now greatly devalued from what it had been when they first acquired it. If what I’ve said is true, it seems only fair that Live Nation should in some way compensate the city of Philadelphia for having greatly devalued one of this city’s very historic properties. At the very least, before selling it, they should bring it back up to the operational level it was when they first acquired it. Otherwise, something is terribly, terribly amiss here.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 18, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Caesar, that’s great! But the specific topic at this particular CT webpage is about what some find to be excessively loud trailers and how to reach an accord so all can feel happy. So please, let’s try to stay on topic here. Thanks!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 18, 2007 at 12:04 am

Where I reside — Northeast Philadelphia, PA — the only thing we have left are multiplexes, unless you want to drag yourself and your loved ones all the way downtown or out into the suburbs, which, in turn, fully cancels out the upside of the moviegoing experience. Quite a contrast to when I was growing up here and Northeast Philadelphia was home to many classic single screen theaters designed by some of the 20th century’s finest theater architects (W.H. Lee, William Groben, David Supowitz, etc.) And while several of those old theater buildings remain, the polutics [intentional typo] and accompanying business climate prohibits them from ever being brought back again as theaters, classy or otherwise. As for the multiplexes, I won’t set foot in them. A lot of it, of course, has to do with who in NE Philly has money to go to movies these days. For it’s take your pick: Either yuppies who’ve acquired all the money they have totally underhandedly, or the abjectly poor who live in constant credit card debt, neither of whom I especially want to hear the conversations of when I’m trying to enjoy trailers and a feature film. The yuppies with their annoying conversations always seek to detract when the film is saying something very important. And the abjectly poor with their conversations detract from the film when it doesn’t jive with how they’ve been brainwashed.

All this could be changed if Philadelphia’s economics could somehow be turned around. That is, a return to legitimacy. But to put it in “PhillySpeak,” Philadelphia’s current movers and shakers “don’t want that.” Not when Pennsylvania is presided over by a governor who ranks fugitive campaign fundraiser Norman Hsu among the top 10 best men he ever met. So it’s in that context that I would prefer the sound systems in theaters be especially loud. So that moviegoers can hear what needs to be heard instead of themselves speak. But maybe it’s all different where you are.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 17, 2007 at 1:16 am

Not meaning to sound snide or anything, but I believe you meant to say “increased” hearing loss. (Either that or “reduced hearing” with the word “loss” omitted.) And believe me, if you were talking to me, my hearing is fine! It’s just that I’m put off by being subjected to sounds other than I paid money for. So far as my hearing goes, it’s so sensitive that I once moved out of an apartment solely because of the neighbors' stereo system. As for my own thoughts on trailers, if they’re really produced well I see it as a free bonus to the feature film I paid money to see, and I can’t complain about that. It’s almost like getting treated to a triple or quadruple feature for the price of one! The trailers should, though, be in the same genre as the feature film itself.

In your case, as a manager, it sounds to me like you might be in a line of work not best suitable for you, unless all your customers are complaining about the loudness of the trailers as well. In my case, in addition to my love of movie theaters I love movies themselves. So why then, did I once train for but then turn down a projectionist job? It was for that very reason. I realized that by my being subjected to films that ongoingly constantly and intensely, the love I felt could quickly turn to dread. For to be a great projectionist you have to stay on top of what’s happening on screen at all times. But not as a film connoisseur but as a technician. So maybe that’s the same sort of situation in your case, I don’t know.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 16, 2007 at 9:59 pm

Although I go by the screen name “TheaterBuff1” at this website, I have my e-mail address posted at my CT profile page which should pretty much confirm I’m totally on the level with all the comments I post here. And I chose to go with that identity instead of my actual name because to do the other just seems so egotistical to me. Which is just how I feel on my own behalf. I’m not criticizing anyone else for doing that. And I think “TheaterBuff1” sums up very well why I’m motivated to post here. And the “1” part does not mean I love theaters anymore than anyone else does — just in case anyone wants to be quick to say “Aha!” regarding the ego thing — only that movie theaters are “1” of my biggest loves. And I wanted to choose a screen name that went hand in hand with what I wanted the biggest focus to be with regards to my comments posted here. That is, not me, but theaters.

Anyway, getting back on topic, in my younger days I spent many a night standing right next to the P.A. speakers when making the rounds of South Jersey seashore nightclubs where live rock groups performed, having my ears blasted constantly, yet today my hearing is fine. Couldn’t be better. In fact, ofttimes I wish it wasn’t. My eyesight is something else though. But being subjected to high decibels when I was younger certainly can’t be blamed for that. So in terms of loud sounds hurting certain people’s hearing, maybe there’s somthing to it, or maybe it’s just genetics. And I have no problem with loud theater sound systems so long as what’s being blasted over them is all in keeping with what I came to the theater for. For believe me, I sure as heck prefer hearing that than people mindlessly chattering all around me. Don’t you?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Preserving Palaces Film Festival Sept. 14-15 on Sep 16, 2007 at 12:02 am

What drove the success of movie palaces in the past is that they had been the temples of the common man so to speak. There had been the great American ideal to lift the common man up to society’s highest level, spurred on by FDR’s New Deal administration and so on. But all that shifted in reverse when lifting up the common man gave way to trickle down. Suddenly the great palaces of hope became dismal hulks of despair, and most calculatingly so — someone’s twisted concept of what in fact was “better.”

Large movie palaces require large audiences to be successful. But when all wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small and relatively worthless few, what is to drive the great movie palaces in the face of that? What do the small select few who’ve lost sight of so much and who wish to keep things that way care if the great movie palaces are sagging or not? Empowerment has to be given over to those who do care if they’re ever to rise up once more. But short of that, what we’re seeing now is what is to be expected.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 15, 2007 at 10:51 pm

Clarification: My above post was in reference to Kram Sacul and LorenzoRodriguez seemingly getting off topic. For the points you make, JodarMovieFan are excellent. Your comment was interjected right before I had a chance to post mine. But just to respond, I know exactly what you’re talking about regarding the chatterbugs who don’t know to shut up right before the feature begins. Maybe if they bring back the draft that will change…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 15, 2007 at 10:31 pm

…As I was saying, either that, or new technology being created that could automatically adjust the sound volumes the same way a human would [Sigh].

TheaterBuff1 commented about Market Harborough England bids to save cinema on Sep 15, 2007 at 12:22 am

It certainly is hoped that it can be saved/restored as a movie theater, and even better still if it can possibly get in on the digital cinema wave now oversweeping Europe —

TheaterBuff1 commented about Strand Theatre on Sep 14, 2007 at 9:50 pm

With THE UNTOUCHABLES being the last movie I saw at the Strand Theatre, which was at the end of the 1987 summer, I can attest that it was still being managed very well even as late as that. For so much else about Ocean City, NJ by that point, at least so far as legacies go, was clearly over by then, done in and then followed up by silence as it were — a silence which for the most part has held firmly ever since. And it’s a silence, one backed up by a great deal of hostility, not to mention big money and highly corrupt government, that makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to glean good ideas from Ocean City at this very late point in time. Not only is every possible mechanism in place to prevent Ocean City from ever being a great legacy again, but also to prevent the truth of what actually happened there from ever being fully told, and even to prevent what once existed there from being replicated anywhere else.

Shy of a massive miracle, Ocean City never can be great again, and that much is clearly understood. But that’s far from saying that Ocean City is completely irrelevant at this point in time. From the historic accounts of Jim_L and others, my own memories and that of others, a great deal of that which is very valuable with regards to the future can still be acquired from there. But acquiring this information is very much like walking through a mine field. For instance, you obviously cannot approach the Frank Company and say you’d like to learn as much as you can about the Strand Theatre before they ruined it and expect them to be in any way helpful, as those currently trying to restore Cape May, NJ’s historic Beach 4 Theatre know firsthand. It’s like trying to get a straight answer from Cain about what became of his brother Abel. Not only does the Frank Company not want this information known, but it will use every ruse at its disposal to prevent this information from being acquired and built upon anew, whether in Ocean City, Cape May, or anywhere else it can prevent such from happening. That’s not to say acquiring such information is impossible in light of the formidable obstacles the Frank Company imposes. Rather, it’s just to point out what’s entailed. In brief, when walking through the mine field, if getting to the other side in one piece is the goal, it helps to know where the mines are planted and where and where not to step enroute.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Loud previews disturb patrons, hurt exhibitors on Sep 14, 2007 at 1:19 am

The worst case scenario I’ve heard about to date is how certain theaters in the Vicksburg, Mississippi area run trailers for films that never later come to those theaters! I’ve not been to Vicksburg to find out if this is actually true, but I assume it’s correct. So talk about a double kick in the face in that instance — loud trailers for movies that will never be shown there!

Now as a solution to the loud trailer problem, I was thinking a compressor could be added to the theater’s sound system. But if I understand Jay D. Paska correctly, because the loud sounds contained in the trailer are a constant, it’s only an illusion that the sound levels for those are higher than the feature film. If that’s true than a compressor wouldn’t really work there, somebody would have to control the sound level manually, leading back to calling on Hollywood to fix the problem. Either that, or new technology being created that could automatically adjust the sound volumes the same way a human would.

TheaterBuff1 commented about The inevitable theater comeback on Sep 13, 2007 at 1:10 am

I don’t see how this idea could work unless one particular smell is used for the entire showing and no others. Such as filling the theater with the strong scent of chocolate all throughout the screening of WILLY WONKA. That I can see as being workable. But that’s a unique case. In other instances, however, this idea could be a disaster — literally! — such as filling the theater with the strong smell of smoke during the burning of Atlanta scene in GONE WITH THE WIND. Talk about yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater so to speak!

And the big lingering question from the 1950s still remains: If more than one smell is to be used during a screening, how do you quickly clear away one smell to make way for the next? And I can’t ever recall a time sitting watching a movie while thinking, “Gee, if only I could smell what I’m watching”…

But maybe in some cases it could work.

TheaterBuff1 commented about September 11th and the meaning of movies in our lives on Sep 13, 2007 at 12:22 am

The day and night difference between terrorism and natural disasters, we can overcome the dangers of natural disasters by coming to grips with them on their own terms. As FDR once brilliantly put it, “we should work with nature rather than fighting her.” And it was through that understanding that he brought our country out from the Great Depression. Not to mention final victory in WWII. But God help us all if we come to grips with terrorists on their own terms in that same fashion. We know with hurricanes, for instance, or at least we should know, that they occur for good reasons. And if we accept and work with that, nature will reward us a thousandfold. But with terrorists, if we use that same approach with them, what can be expected is the polar opposite. For where did all this terrorism America is wrestling with today originate from, anyway? Answer: By American leaders in the past consenting to things that no one with any sort of wisdom or foresight would’ve done — whether it was the first OPEC agreements back in the late 1950s/early ‘60s, or Nixon’s shaking hands with Chairman Mao in 1971. And when do those leaders of today finally learn?

Now as for the lingering Civil War grudge you refer to, or what many Southerners call “The War of Northern Agression,” there’s hardly a lingering grudge on the North’s part, not when you consider how when GONE WITH THE WIND was exhibited at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall for that film’s 50th anniversary the audience of 6000 mainly New Yorkers went wild and cheered when Vivien Leigh proclaimed, “As God is my witness I’ll never be hungry again!” And last year (2006) when the “Second Battle of Gettysburg” was being waged, that time around to stop a casino from being built right next to the historic battlefield, both the North and South came together to stop it. And though many say racism still lingers in the South, in all my travels I’ve never seen more racism than right here in Philadelphia, PA. And the South has nothing to do with it. It’s purely a Northern thing. And embarrassing I might add.

TheaterBuff1 commented about September 11th and the meaning of movies in our lives on Sep 12, 2007 at 12:13 am

Regarding the side of the 9/11 story as it took place in Washington, D.C., two distinct memories I have of that both had to do with relatives of mine. And to this day it’s a side of the story that remains very upsetting. One of the relatives was a cousin of mine who works for the Library of Congress. When I got in touch with him right afterwards to find out how he was holding up, he said he could see the smoke billowing from the Pentagon from the Library of Congress building where was working, but just seemed very annoyed that he had to walk home from work that day, given how the police had all the streets in and out of Washington blocked off. “Weren’t you afraid at all?” I asked. “No, just displeased with the inconvenience it caused,” was his only reply. As cousins go, he’s the cousin of mine who it seems every other week is taking lavish trips to Europe on your and my taxdollars, rather than working at the Library of Congress, yet getting paid handsomely nonetheless. And these are personal trips he takes, not related in any way to his Library of Congress work. Anyhow, after I saw how he reacted to 9/11, I instantly decided I wanted no more parts of him.

The other relative of mine was an aunt who’s retired from working at the Pentagon. And figuring she had to be upset by it, I got in touch with her as well to check up on her. But to her, living in a beautiful retirement complex across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA — again on our taxdollars — it was as if “nothing bad ever happened.” For what did she possibly care since she was no longer working there? That was her whole attitude.

And it is said in Washington’s case that when the firefighters, police and rescue workers risked their lives to save those working in the Pentagon that day they didn’t even so much as get a thank you afterwards. And today the fact that the attack on the Pentagon was part of the 9/11 story is all but forgotten. And for very good reason I would say. For I don’t know, are we Americans supposed to be impressed by how callously Washington, D.C. reacted to all that happened that day and ever since? For I sure as heck am not. I don’t like such people, whether blood relatives or otherwise. For to me there is a certain obligation that goes with being alive and well.

Meantime, regarding many Southerners' reaction (or nonreaction) to 9/11 — as you say, a grudge leftover from the Civil War era — hopefully this feeling changed somewhat with the North’s reaction in the Katrina disaster. For just as 9/11 was devastating to me and many other northerners, I can’t see where our reaction to what took place in New Orleans was any less. I know for me personally it wasn’t. Katrina, just as 9/11 did, hit me like a brick wall. While to me the same ultimate band of culprits was behind both disasters — the Bush administration. For sure, we can keep blaming terrorists for this and that, and continue blaming hurricanes likewise, or whatever else. But at some point we just have to say, “Oh come on!” But sadly, America hasn’t done that yet. Which in turn has both New York and New Orleans still hurting. And that isn’t going to change until we finally face up to who the real enemy is and have a Finest Hour for real accordingly. For if we don’t, and soon, there ain’t gonna be any America by the time all this is through, North, South or otherwise. And yes, I DO think that matters.

TheaterBuff1 commented about September 11th and the meaning of movies in our lives on Sep 10, 2007 at 10:27 pm

I would hope that on this 6th anniversary of 9/11 — it officially being that right now as I’m typing this — that all of us, or at least a large number of us, are much wiser and less gullible then we were on that fateful date six years ago. Some people, of course, are hopeless, as always has been the case since time immemorial. I’m sure when Pearl Harbor was attacked there was probably somebody somewhere having a high stakes card game, and didn’t even so much as blink when news came over the radio of that horrific event.

But the difference between that time and 9/11, such type Americans were not “highly regarded citizens” who all else must get sacrificed for. Today everything in America is geared towards the lowest common denominator. When it comes to saving and restoring a beautiful historic old movie palace or rushing up the next new Wal*Mart or Target Store, guess what prevails? As in who needs terrorists destroying our country when we’re already doing it to ourselves? And the thing is, I wasn’t born into a country like that. It wasn’t always this way. Yes, there were always lowest common denominator people. But they weren’t always on top and the element of Americans most catered to. And when that wasn’t the case that is what made America so great.

There should’ve been a Finest Hour in reaction to 9/11. And there certainly was on the part of America’s police, firefighters, rescue workers and the everyday people who put everything else aside to rush to the aid of New York and Washington. Not to mention the first who lined up — including NFL great Tillman — to go to war in Afghanistan. But in terms of who America had in political leadership I can’t imagine a list of people more trashier and worthless — names including Rumsfeld, Rice, Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft. And now when I look back to 9/11, that comes across as the most sinister aspect of all.

For as for the terrorists, and please don’t misread me when I say this, I feel sorry for them. That is, I feel sorry for anybody so stupid as to lay down their lives for what they’re fighting for. For these aren’t people fighting to be free, but to be oppressed in the worst possible ways imaginable. At the same time they have plenty of company here in the U.S. Classic case in point, what led up to the demolition of the historic DuPage Theater in Lombard, Illinois last winter. In a small Chicago suburb that had nothing else good going for it, at the very least it was home to a movie palace designed by Rapp & Rapp no less, and which major efforts had been underway to restore. But a sizeable and unruly portion of the populace there wanted no parts of it, and of all things they fought tooth and nail to get that theater torn down. And today Lombard is a very dark and creepy place as a result of that. So as I say, given that, who needs the terrorists?

To me, people fighting to be oppressed, whether in Afghanistan or in various places here in the U.S., is so far out there that I can’t even begin to comprehend it. But in the wake of 9/11 I see it ALL the time now. And Philadelphia, where ironically this country’s longing for freedom was born, is far from being the exception now. Interesting to note, the quest away from freedom is the number one thing now driving America’s prison overcrowding crisis. I.e., they can’t build prisons fast enough for the many people who want to get into them.

Anyway, just my own thoughts for this 6th anniversary of 9/11. With that said, I wish there was a movie theater around somewhere that I could go see MESSAGE TO LOVE: THE 1970 ISLE OF WIGHT CONCERT in…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Victoria Theatre on Sep 10, 2007 at 9:04 pm

There really is an actual place called “Hometown”? Mention of it at this particular Cinema Treasures' webpage is a bit ironic, since Shamokin, PA was the hometown of William Harold Lee, ranked among the greatest of 20th century theater architects, and designer of the Victoria Theatre this page was created for, no less. And to think given that it somehow got torn down. Alas, I guess as Jesus said, “a prophet is never recognized in his home town.” For as theater architects go, W.H. Lee was a futurist is ever there was one. From what I’ve observed, he masterfully designed his theaters to readily adapt to changing and evolving cinematic trends. For instance, he made so many of them widescreen-ready before anyone was even thinking in terms of widescreen.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Sep 9, 2007 at 9:19 pm

So long as a good person doesn’t actually try to do anything meaningful and worthwhile here, I find Philadelphia to be a great incubator of dreams, to at least give some credit where it’s due. I have learned so many good things that can be done — elsewhere — as an observer of Philadelphia’s mistakes, my compiling a long list of the in-between “what ifs?” if not for Philadelphia’s highly corrupt political machine. One noteworthy thing, how Philadelphia could’ve swiftly become an outfront leader in the digital cinema revolution now starting to take hold in other parts of the world and which rapidly could’ve taken hold here if not for that political machine. But doing exciting things, and keeping those who don’t deserve to be on top, don’t mix. Simply put, you can’t have it both ways. Either one or the other has to be relegated to the world of dreams. And right now in Philadelphia’s case all the good that can be said of this city is relegated to the world of dreams — as is to realistically be expected.

TheaterBuff1 commented about September 11th and the meaning of movies in our lives on Sep 7, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Although I know Philadelphia traditionally shows its best face to outsiders, even in that context I can’t even begin to imagine how it could do this with its airport. For there were instances when I was living away from Philadelphia for such long stretches that when I returned it was like coming to this city as an outsider. But even then I found Philadelphia International in comparison to other airports throughout the world a grave disappointment. You know, for instance, that Philadelphia is the national leader in the sale of illegal arms, don’t you? And how its murder rate is now one of the highest in the country? Add to this that Philadelphia International is about to become one of the first American airports to have nonstop flights between the U.S. and China, compliments of U.S. Airways which you mention. And though I don’t know for a fact yet, I believe one of its main purposes will be to assist in human smuggling. With everything about Philadelphia kept shrouded in such huge mystery, in Philadelphia’s case if the answers to this or that question aren’t clearcut or forthcoming, you can be absolutely sure the information being withheld is bad.

And as I say, the day of 9/11, Philadelphia was little phased by it. It just took it all in a happy-go-lucky ho hum stride. I personally was emotionally devastated by the news surfacing that day. But this city’s reaction as a whole was the polar opposite. Instead of Philadelphia rethinking all its corruption — and that would have been an excellent time to — it just made use of that breaking news as a smokescreen to become corrupter still. And the same with Atlantic City.

At least with Pearl Harbor America was blessed with having a great president in place at the time. But with 9/11 it was the total opposite. Meaning that there really hasn’t come a time yet when we have been able to fully come to grips with what happened on 9/11. That much continues to be kept on hold. It’s like you break your leg and go to a hospital to have it treated, but alas, here it is 6 years later and you’re still waiting in that dang emergency room to have a doctor come look at it. For looking back to 6 years ago, seriously, folks, whatever happened to “Osama Bin Laden dead or alive” and all that good stuff? Remember that? Answer: He’s still out there grinning at all this; nothing’s changed. And Al Quada today is stronger then ever. And is America now much safer than it was 6 years ago? Hah! Given how 9/11 was totally mishandled it’s now such that America these days is one of the corruptest places on the planet. As the saying goes, “The greatest victory you can give your enemy is to become just like them.” Or as Jesus asked, “Can Satan cast out Satan?” And when I look around me at how Philadelphia is right now — aside from the nice, but false, face it shows to outsiders — it’s like, gee, what’s keeping the dang doctor? And oh, silly me, why he’s out playing golf, of course! Looking at that green instead of the gangrene of my leg.

TheaterBuff1 commented about September 11th and the meaning of movies in our lives on Sep 6, 2007 at 10:58 pm

Caesar, I’ve been airports all over the world, and I’ve never seen any anywhere even near as bad as Philadelphia International! You’re talking about the other Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Mississippi, right? For if you’re talking about the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania International Airport, you’re the first person I ever met who ever liked it!

It had been a great airport way back in the 1960s, and even the early ‘70s. But then it all went downhill and has been downhill ever since. Contrast that to Norfolk, Virginia’s International in your neck of the country which I feel is one of the best airports I’ve ever been to. It’s so great that even a McDonalds I ate at while there was run exceptionally well! But nobody in Philadelphia who’s in the know uses Philadelphia International. We all go up to Newark, New Jersey’s instead, even though the New Jersey Turnpike we use to get up there is really showing its wear for age these days. But, that’s the trade-off. Either the potholes of that or Philadelphia International….and so it all comes down to, “Hello, potholes!”

TheaterBuff1 commented about Strand Theatre on Sep 6, 2007 at 10:14 pm

I applied for a job at Shriver’s Saltwater Taffy in the summer of 1974 and was interviewed by Mr. Shriver himself — a very classy gentleman! — so I can only assume from that that the Shriver family still owned the taffy business, or at least that particular operation at 9th and the Boardwalk, at that point. And the Mr. Shriver I’m referring to was most likely the son based on the great information you’ve given us, Jim-L, although up till now I always assumed he was the original Mr. Shriver. For the man I met was elderly, yet nonetheless he just had that air about him. Like someone who had done it all, and with honesty and integrity — plus humility — every step of the way. And you suuuure don’t find businessmen like that anymore! Meantime, at that time I was very young and naive, and I actually turned the job he offered me down, my not feeling confident I could possibly live up to his high expectations. For just a day or so before I had a terrible run-in with another Ocean City businessman who was the polar opposite of Mr. Shriver — Phil Turner of Phil Turner Displays — who to this very day I continue to regard as the lowliest lowlife I ever met. And I imagine the list is verrrrry long of others who can claim the same! For one sombering thing I can remember about Phil Turner was how he was using these job applications that asked, “Are you now, or were you ever a member of the Communist Party,” which by then was long illegal. Yet Turner was somehow getting away with it for some reason…..along with everything else that could readily be described as crooked.

As for Ocean City and how it changed, what was definitely not grasped or appreciated by the sudden influx of newcomers at the time was that this seaside town had been a longstanding legacy. For a hundred years straight it had been such. And to me legacies are such that standard principles of business as you describe, Jim-L, do not apply. Or should not. But the changes that overswept Ocean City — primarily brought on when Atlantic City went the way of casinoization — were so massive, so swift, so sudden, that there wasn’t even a chance to put protective measures in place to preserve that town in the ways it clearly needed to be. When it came that all of us were totally naive at the time. While we did all expect Atlantic City to change in some fashion — though none of us accurately foresaw how — Ocean City was not supposed to be swept up in that. That was not part of the deal, for Ocean City had been great prior to then. In that, I can’t recall a single person (er, aside from perhaps Phil Turner and maybe one or two really shallow-minded realtors at that time — what we called “idiots”) who looked upon Ocean City as a “problem” that needed to be “corrected.” For to me and countless others it had been the standard-setter that all the other New Jersey resorts needed to catch up to. For it was everything that a seaside resort should be.

And as for the Strand Theatre, the way I remember it, prior to when Ocean City changed it was such a popular boardwalk attraction that I didn’t go to it very often because I was actually fearful that I wouldn’t get a seat! Rather, I always made a special point to go to it during the off times, such as after the season was over, or the last show of the evening during mid-week. And even then it had goodly crowds as I recall.