Comments from TheaterBuff1

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TheaterBuff1 on Aug 26, 2007 at 8:21 pm

DuPage fiends, just a few questions you should be asking yourself right now, now that the DuPage Theater is gone:

1) Who and what is Lombard, Illinois at this point? What possible draw can it possibly come up with now that that movie palace is gone that could even begin to hold a candle to what the DuPage Theater could’ve represented for Lombard if it had only been handled properly? If that theater had been saved and restored the right way, people would’ve flocked from all over the world to see it. I can fully assure you of that. But now that it’s gone why would anybody want to go to Lombard now? Why?! In fact, why would anybody even want LIVE in Lombard the way it is now for that matter? I mean, this on you, pal, and how long before you and others in Lombard finally see that?

2) Based on what you’ve said of Barack Obama, why would anybody in their right mind want to vote for a candidate who practiced partisan politics in office as senator as you pointed out, and who, when it was clear a town in his district was in trouble, wrote it off as “unimportant” in comparison other “far more important” things “he has to worry about”? Such as, okay, the war. But what the heck is the war for, if we’re going to let the country that it’s supposed to be defending just fall by the wayside as “unimportant” as you put it?

The DuPage Theater is gone, man. And Lombard is a much sorrier place now because of it, or that is to say what it could’ve become like had that matter been handled properly. But it WASN’T handled properly. And as I say, that’s now on you.

But I sure as heck don’t want that to be on the rest of the United States on the road ahead as well. Which I would very much expect to be the case if your Senator Obama becomes our country’s next president.

Finally, let me just point this out to you, DuPage fiends. You wrote: “With every post you lose whatever credibility you have left. Do yourself a favor and stop posting.” Ahem, er, uh, if you don’t mind, I’m not worried about credibility. Rather, my concern is stating the facts, and putting forth that, because ultimately everything all comes down to that. That is the ultimate bottom line. As for credibility, I can give you a loooooong list of people all down through history who held credibility, not to mention many who hold such now. And the ones I can pull up from history proved to be total idiots, while let me remind you that the man who’s sitting in the White House right now got us into the war in Iraq in the first place because of his “credibility” that they had weapons of mass destruction. Or have you forgotten that? And he’s still there in the White House because apparently to folks like you he still does hold credibility after that. So much so that, even though HE conceded later that he was totally wrong about Iraq’s having WMDs, you’re probably one of those who think he was right the first time around. So am I worried about holding credibility with people like you? No, I just want to stick to the truth is all. And if you choose not to, let that be purely on you, pal. That is, don’t try to pull me down with it — the way you and your fellow fiends did the DuPage, and also the town of Lombard, since that was the ONLY good thing it had going for it.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Rare glimpse at Philadelphia movie theaters on Aug 25, 2007 at 8:52 pm

Though I was much too young to see the controversial Swedish film I AM CURIOUS YELLOW when it was showing at Philadelphia area theaters [according to my brother, when they tried showing at the Orleans Theatre in Northeast Philly it drew a huge crowd of angry middle-aged housewives outside with protest signs reading “I Am Furious Red!], many many years later I rented a VHS copy of it from Movies Unlimited, "curious” to find out what all the fuss once was. And surprisingly, it has some really great stock footage of Dr. Martin Luther King, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm roughly 4 years before that movie was released. So on that basis — while the rest of the film I can assure those who haven’t seen it is totally laughable — it remains to this day a well-worthwhile movie to see. Meantime, how the stock footage of King ties to that film’s over all story line is anybody’s guess! But in an odd sort of way I think it captures the crosscurrents going on at that moment.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Aug 25, 2007 at 8:00 pm

I’m really surprised they gave it even that high a rating. For you know a theater’s got to be pretty bad when someone who goes by the user name of “Theaterbuff1” and lives in an area of the city where that’s one of only three theaters around, the AMC Orleans 8 being the closest one, but he wouldn’t even dare consider going to see a movie there, given how it’s been run the past 20 years or so!

Still, although it’s light years away now from how it was when I saw such films as OLIVER! and THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES there in the late 1960s when it was a single screen theater and very classy inside at that, a lot of people love that theater as it is today. And one thing I definitely don’t do is argue with love. Or at least not when it’s love of the only surviving theater from the days of my youth in a part of the city where once there had been so many but now this is the last surviving one.

And sometimes….well, you just have to put aside your own outlook and see things as Joel McCrea came to see them in that classic 1941 movie, SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS. For that’s the whole point of movies, after all, isn’t it?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Rare glimpse at Philadelphia movie theaters on Aug 24, 2007 at 11:52 pm

Howard, if the countless pharmacies throughout all Philadelphia survive and prosper — and you’re right, Philadelphia does have an abundance of these now — it means that the pharmacy market in Philadelphia has not been oversaturated, and it could possibly withstand even more pharmacies being introduced before such happens. And if demand for such is that high, then yes, more pharmacies = more prosperity. Just so long as supply does not outweigh demand. And the same with shoe stores, antique row and so on.

And all those things you cite did reduce demand for Center City Philadelphia movie houses. Oversaturation simply means too much supply in proportion to existing demand. And such oversaturation can be arrived at in two ways: One way is to increase supply beyond existing demand. And the other way is to fail to decrease supply in proportion to existing demand.

Another thing that some Center City Philadelphia theaters failed to do — such as the Earle — was to upgrade so as to be competitive with the advent of television. And even there oversaturation was a factor. For in terms of non-televion owners, which constituted the demand for theaters that were competitive before television came along, that demand dramatically shrank as television ownership became more common.

As for the Mastbaum, though, from what I can determine, its shutting down was purely political. Television had nothing to do with that. Totally separate from Philadelphia’s other theaters, in a totally different league architecturally, I don’t classify the Mastbaum as having been a movie theater per se. Though it was used for that purpose, its architecture far exceeded this use being the most fitting. For those who aren’t familiar, the Mastbaum for the most part was a major city building — in league with Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, the American Academy of Music, and even Philadelphia City Hall for that matter. With the high steps leading up to its front entrance, it’s tall pillars and so on, architecturally it was far removed from what anyone conceives when they think of a movie theater, or even a movie palace for that matter. It wasn’t designed for the in and out flow that a movie theater requires. And interior-wise, it was far more like a grand opera house. And it appears, more grand than what Philadelphia politically was willing to tolerate. To survive, it tried to make it as a movie theater for a time, but it was like expecting people to want to go to City Hall to see movies. And for that, needless to say, there wasn’t much demand. And why it was never put to the use that it was designed for, that I would say was political. Created as a memorial to a one time leading Philadelphia political figure and named in his honor, apparently that clashed with many Philadelphia politicians in that politician’s wake. The Mastbaum was like France’s Versailles Palace, put in place one minute, gone the next.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 24, 2007 at 10:57 pm

Caesar, if you have a good plan put together and if you’re in a place that you feel will be fully supportive of it, you don’t need in-pocket money to get a start in the theater operation business. Not at all! Just the strong desire to do so, a willingness to work hard, and a certainty that your plan is a good one, so much so that you can convince others to invest in you. Maybe a good start would be for you to land a job in an existing theater to learn the inside ropes a bit and to compile a long list of what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos. For instance, you can learn an awful lot from observing a bad manager how to be a good one. So think on this more, and let me know how it goes.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Rare glimpse at Philadelphia movie theaters on Aug 24, 2007 at 1:06 am

Truly all great theaters, but I wonder how much oversaturation itself caused their demise. For with each movie palace operating daily, and each having a very large number of seats, and many such theaters located in a concentrated area all told, how likely was it that all could operate daily at full capacity, or that any of them could as a result of this? Truly each theater must’ve siphoned patrons away from the others so that not a one could hope to have a packed house on any given day. If I’m wrong about that, it must’ve been a remarkable era in Philadelphia’s history when so many people loved attending Philadelphia’s countless downtown movie theaters in droves daily that way. So much so that every theater was running at full capacity daily.

But odds are, one movie palace rose up and proved highly successful, another quickly followed and both theaters did well. Then came a third and a fourth to replicate the succcesses of the first two, at which point oversaturation began setting in. With theater patrons having far more theaters to choose from, theaters that normally had been packed began seeing declines as a result of this increased distribution. Drop-offs in attendance per theater began causing many of them to fold — the whole fallacy side of Say’s Law kicking in (Say being the 19th century French economist who’s attributed with theorizing that demand would always rise to meet supply.)

For I don’t think it was the movies these theaters exhibited in their last days that caused them to fall. It was just too many theaters concentrated in a single place in relation to existing demand. Had there been fewer, and that number restricted, I don’t think the story of Center City Philadelphia’s movie palaces would’ve played out the same way. To me it was oversaturation that wound up killing them all off.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Digital cinema widebreak on Aug 24, 2007 at 12:05 am

That’s a very odd way of looking at it, Craig Adams 11. For I view the advent of digital cinema as a means by which theaters on their last leg can come roaring back again. For suddenly they’ll have tremendous all new flexibility. And in looking back, how many silent movie houses were forced to close down when talkies came along, when widescreen came into being, and so on? Meantime, what movie theater of today is designed in such way that it cannot switch over to accommodating all new digital cinema projectors?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 23, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Absolutely digital cinema is the wave of the future. And once theaters have it, there should be no excuses for theaters running trailers of films that never come to that theater where the trailers are shown. For you still have me shaking my head over that!

Meantime, have you ever thought of starting up your own theater to take full advantage of that other theater’s incompetence? For there’s the old saying, if you want something done right, dyi. Unless in that instance politics itself is the big problem. In that case, run for office. But then maybe the electorate in that area is the problem. In that case I would then say just step out of the way and let them drop the bombs.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Digital cinema widebreak on Aug 23, 2007 at 12:05 am

At this late stage digital cinema is the only smart direction to go in in my opinion, as a wise business strategy if nothing else. In today’s world a theater’s survivability relies on a high degree of flexibility, and certainly digital cinema technology opens the door to that.

Meantime, I have little doubt that fellow Cinema Treasures member Ken Layton will be commenting at this page soon, while Ken, if you do comment here, I want you to know that I have the deepest admiration for your love of traditional film and conventional film projection. So much so that I think that anybody who gets to see a movie exhibited in a theater where you’re the projectionist can regard themselves as experiencing a very special honor. But the unique gift you possess is far from being a common one, and this is true moreso today than ever before because of the way that times have changed. I wish it weren’t so.

But in terms of the digital cinema technology that’s now about to oversweep Europe in a big way I see it only to be a good thing with regards to theaters repositioning to meet future demands. If not for the so many uncertainties, traditional film and conventional film projection could readily hang in there a bit longer. But there are many big waves ahead, and maximum flexibility is a must accordingly. And that is where digital cinema in my opinion has suddenly come of age.

TheaterBuff1 on Aug 22, 2007 at 11:15 pm

No, you’re forgetting one thing, DuPage fiends, and also Life’s too short. And that is that Barack Obama, who’s now in the running for the presidency of the United States, allowed this to happen the way it did while as U.S. senator of the very Illinois district that includes Lombard. And we can’t “let that go” because that much of the story is still going on!

And in terms of what I support at this point, DuPage fiends, the ONLY thing I support at this late stage, now that the movie palace itself is gone, is justice itself. Already we know Obama to be guilty. Back when the theater was still standing, and when it was partially still standing, the ONLY thing I supported at that time was saving the theater itself. I have no ties to these Trustees that you speak of, or whatever politics they were a part of. If they were doing anything to help save the theater than good for them. If that was the case, then yeah, I supported them in that indirect way. But having nothing to do with them, but the theater itself. On the other hand if they were responsible for the theater’s coming down then they should be brought to justice rather than awarded and privileged with failing upwards. I’ll certainly say yes to that — if you can prove it.

But my biggest concern right now, now that the movie palace is gone, is this Obama guy who’s coming up in the world. That speaks to the here and now and the future. So in that way, what happened with the DuPage Theater remains very relevant. Even though it is gone. But what isn’t gone is the CAUSE of its being gone. That part is still getting started.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 22, 2007 at 10:47 pm

Caesar, that’s an all new low I’ve not heard of till now, running trailers of films the theater which is running them has absolutely no plans to exhibit. As in, how does that happen?! Sounds like an awful lot of incompetence going on there more so than anything. For is it so difficult for them to grasp? Don’t run trailers of films you have no intentions of showing? And you’re absolutely right! That is false and misleading advertising — which is illegal, by the way. But, who’s upholding the laws right now? Who?

As for taxation itself, I’m not opposed to that per se. ONLY when it’s taxation that’s not paying for anything — such as a responsible government which taxation is supposed to be paying for, but isn’t. Which most clearly seems to be the case where you are. I thought the North up here was starting to get pretty bad, but it sounds like the South is getting hit pretty hard, too, when it comes to real government.

In terms of employees fighting with one another, that’s not just a black thing. People are people no matter what color. And if they’re put under bad circumstances where they’re forced to resolve things for themselves while management just looks the other way, they’ll fight. Whether black, white, red, yellow or whatever. For I have worked at places where grown whites fought with one another like little children, and places where black employees got along with one another like peas in a pod. And it all comes down to one thing: the level of the management’s competence. That plus competent planning over all.

Meantime, always stay focused on the obvious. For when people are pushing for the obvious, but they are coming up against a wall of being denied what is obvious, it’s only a shear fool who gets swept up in arguing on behalf of the obvious when that point comes. Obviousness is a line in the sand. And if that line is disregarded, then it’s time to fight and overthrow that which is denying the obvious rather than argue. For OBVIOUSLY you don’t show people trailers of films you don’t plan to show. And OBVIOUSLY you don’t let employees fight out disputes among themselves. And all these other things you’ve been telling me.

Running a theater the right way is all very simple really. But not when the obvious gets chucked in the trashcan. Then running a theater the right way becomes the hardest thing in the world. And that sounds like what you’re describing to me.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 22, 2007 at 12:46 am

What we need to have put in place — nationwide — is legislation that declares movie theaters as the exception to the rule when it comes to how they are treated governmentally. But we can’t hope to see such legislation until great government in the U.S. rises up once more. Had movie theaters been around back when America was founded and the U.S. Constitution was being drawn up, the case of American movie theaters would be a totally different story today.

And unnecessary complexities such as you list, caesar, are what so threaten American movie theaters today. It should be a case that no matter what, the theaters we have left at this point in time still get to stand — AS theaters. If I’m a theater operator, I want my only concern to be running the the theater in the best possible way. That’s it, and all the unnecessary crap be damned. For running a theater well is a form of artistic creativity. It’s above all that other garbage. And if the law doesn’t see it that way, then the law is flawed. We once had slavery in this country. It was legal. But it was also wrong. And it’s the same principle needs to be applied here, really. But little good is my saying that here and now when we have such a crappy government all around. And kiss-ups like schmadrian saying yes yes yes to it in their shear blindness, stupidity and jealousy of others better than themselves.

But when it comes to theaters and assessing them, just look at them straight on. Is the theater in question being run well or isn’t it? If it isn’t, what is causing it not to be? But when we determine what’s causing it not to be, if that is the case, let’s not get too swept up in that diagnosing that cause, but rather keep the matter — and the solution — very simple. For instance, is the theater getting taxed too high? Solution: Do away with the stupid taxes. Let the theater operate tax exempt if need be. Is the theater being patronized by schmadrian types who are abusing it, ruining the experience for the respectful theatergoers? Solution: Blackball the schmadrian types from patronizing the theater. And if the theater operator is running the theater in a ruinous way, similar to how it was when Chicago’s Edgewater Hotel became when it fell under new management, the law should be able to step in on the theater’s and patrons' behalf and put an instant stop to that.

But all told, think in terms of running a theater the best possible way. That’s all. The rest, don’t worry about. It has nothing to do with it. If the theater is being run well but patrons are abusive, the law should bear down on those patrons. If the theater is being run poorly, much to the outcry of the patrons, then the law should bear down on the theater operator. What’s so hard to understand about that?

TheaterBuff1 on Aug 22, 2007 at 12:01 am

Just to show that DuPage fiends is lying, though I didn’t learn of the DuPage story until after the Cinema Treasures' DuPage Theater webpage was shut down, my posts at the follow-up Cinema Treasures page that Brian Krefft created — — confirm that I was very much onboard with this issue while the theater was still standing. Meantime, DuPage fiends, I must commend you on selecting the user name “DuPage fiends” instead of “DuPage friends,” for that is very fitting. And you’re right, I didn’t cough up the the protection money that you and your fellow fiends sought to extort so as to “save” the theater, and I’m damn proud to report here at this webpage that I didn’t. Thanks for giving me that opportunity. Now crawl back in your rat hole, why don’t you? — the big gash in the earth that was created when the DuPage got demolished…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Ritz 5 Theatres on Aug 20, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Ah yes, I’d know those three egg cartons in the sky anywhere! Very third world-ish. The Ritz 5 provides a saving grace to the landscape though.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Thank you, schmadrian, while I’m glad to see you’re not all bad, in that you give someone in my age group, who your age group normally looks down upon, at least a little credit where credit is greatly due. But beyond that one small break in your otherwise normal behavior, let me just say that as a general rule you very much reflect your age group, too, though sorry to say that is not a compliment.

Moving on from there and getting onto caesar’s latest commentary, yes, caesar, you’ve picked up on how the media creates its own reality, and far more so today I believe than ever before, except perhaps the time of the Third Reich. And with the schmadrian-types forcing the theaters to shut down, it creates a situation where people are exposed to the media individually rather than collectively (where people can compare notes), and there ARE political reasons for that. Attendance is down because it was FORCED down.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 19, 2007 at 2:46 am

No, those meds are for you to take, schmadrian, and please, feel free to them all at once. And just tying that to this Cinema Treasures' webpage, while it’s sad that over all that movie theater attendance is down, you’re suuuuure one consumer the theaters won’t miss! So regarding the meds, please feel free to swallow the whole bottle all at once. Classy theater operators everywhere will thank you for it!

And as for my age, in your delirium you must be getting me mixed up with someone else, for in terms of the age I’ve put myself across as being at this webpage and elsewhere, I’m consistent on that throughout this entire website.

Meantime, one last thing I need to ask you here, what the heck are “espectially cinemas”?!

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Aug 18, 2007 at 11:34 pm

Yep, just like we did the last time, Eddie.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Aug 18, 2007 at 12:58 am

Oh, here we go again. You really have it in for this theater, don’t you, Eddie? But despite your noise, that theater’s staying put, just like Burholme Park up Cottman Avenue from there is. Live with it.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 17, 2007 at 11:10 pm

One of the best “regular” theaters I can remember was located in a mall — meaning that a mall theater CAN still qualify as having high artistic merit and thus worthy of protection accordingly. The “regular theater” of the past I’m referring to was the Premiere, located in the Neshaminy Mall here in Pennsylvania just outside of Philadelphia. I saw DR. ZHIVAGO there sometime back in the late ‘60s. And at that time it was run impeccably. And although it was all new at the time, already it had a lot of class to it. It was DESIGNED with class. Add to this that it had just about the best theater sound system I’ve ever experienced, anywhere — before or since.

But then the great tsunami of the know-nothing schmadrians came along to override it with their bubblegum, graffiti and public urination, snobbishly treating it as a “business,” nothing more. And in today’s world as a result of this shear stupidity on the part of people like that that once great theater is no more. And the same holds true of countless many others. Meantime, you would think that maybe, maybe, just once, that the schmadrian types would look back on ALL the destruction they caused so as to see themselves for who they really are, and how all that hideous destruction they left behind in their wake is the REAL them. For that’s what I see, looking at this matter accurately. And straight on. And so, too, is caesar, as you can see.

Meanwhile, despite the wall that you, schmadrian, and all the other schmadrians now constitute in your shear arrogance, there IS a future seeking to push through it all. And that future that’s now lining up at your big sealed gates isn’t going away. And no, schmadrian, what I speak of in terms of what’s currently lining up outside those gates of yours isn’t people per se. But rather, it’s the truth itself. And it’s a truth that you don’t want to be exhibited in well-run neighborhood movie theaters and big city movie palaces so that many can know about it other than just you and I. And yes, I get that, in terms of what it is you don’t want; you don’t have to keep repeating yourself. But you seem to think that suppressing the truth in that way as well as by other methods somehow makes truth disappear into thin air. But all I can say is, tsk tsk, schmadrian. I’m so glad I’m not riding on that train you are, the one that’s going to be crashing up really big time soon — while you keep comforting yourself, looking to the past, and smugly saying, “Well, it hasn’t happened yet.” Well of course it hasn’t. Because crashes are what happen ahead of the fact, not behind it. You’re looking back, I’m looking forward, and from a totally different train. The one called truth. And that’s right outside your big sealed gates.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 15, 2007 at 11:53 pm

schmadrian, uh, let me guess: That staring at my comment you speak of is a carry-over from how you once stared at the big movie screen — not being able to make any sense of it while all those around you were greatly inspired by what they saw.

Anyway [ahem] getting on with discussing caesar’s intelligent commentary at this CT page, it’s very encouraging to hear that the folks of Vicksburg are outraged over the closing of the big movie theater there. I just hope Vicksburg’s movers and shakers hold that same outlook, and don’t try to come across like they know better. At this late stage, we continue to think of movie theaters strictly as businesses, forgetting that they’re also major artistic outlets, in that movies have long come of age as an art form. That is, do we go and shut down the local art museum because it isn’t making enough money? Or the local library? So why the differentiation when it comes to movie theaters? It’s crazy! And whether movie theater attendance is up or down shouldn’t make a difference. Like if a church’s congregation suddenly drops off sharply, do we all say, “Oh, well that’s it. Let’s bring on the bulldozers and knock that sucker down!”? With the exception of what I witnessed in Atlantic City, NJ when the big casinos rose up to be the new rule of law there, the answer is of course not, that just isn’t done! Or at least not in an actual democracy it isn’t.

My whole take on this survey business is that whether theater attendance is up or down, we still want to keep the beautiful threaters around either way, because movie theaters just in themselves — at least the really well-designed ones — are special. Far too special to let surveys — which can be doctored — determine their future, and whether they should remain or be demolished. But see, that’s life in a democracy thinking. And maybe America’s just this big third world now…ruled over by backwards-minded folks like schmadrian.

TheaterBuff1 commented about The new concert venue or the new television? on Aug 14, 2007 at 9:48 pm

My take on this is that simulcasting operas to theaters — so that as many Americans as possible can see them — goes hand in hand with the spirit of bringing about true democracy in America….if anyone at this stage is still thinking in those terms.

I, for one, am always amazed at how readily the abjectly poor take to and greatly appreciate things of high culture when such is thoughtfully presented to them. It is truly a besutiful thing to behold, or at least for those of us who haven’t forgotten what this country of ours is ultimately supposed to be about.

I’m actually astonished, in fact, that opera being simulcast in theaters is faring so well, belying all the myths we’ve been constantly told throughout our lives about the American people at large. But in the face of its happening, I’m certainly not going to be critical of it. Rather, I say let’s fan these flames for all their worth!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Aug 14, 2007 at 9:25 pm

What should be kept in mind with these surveys is that when movie theaters were at their height and attendance was high likewise, they had represented a fundamental part of American democracy — which for the most part I don’t feel exists in the U.S. right now. And not just limited to Pennsylvania, where it just so happens I currently reside, and did when this survey was conducted back in January 2007, but in many parts (if not all) of the U.S. right now.

Movie theaters, when operated right, inspire people to do really meaningful things with their lives. I know that certainly was the case when I attended movie theaters during the 1950s and ‘60s. In those years of my growing up, we would go to movies and then actually do what the movies would inspire us to. To give a good for instance, I believe it can be fairly said that when many young people in 1967 saw Sidney Poitier in TO SIR WITH LOVE, it inspired them to go into the teaching field. And no doubt many a traveling cross-country motorcyclist got his inspiration to do this from EASY RIDER when it made the rounds of theaters in 1969.

In brief, when movie theaters were at their height, we so often found ourselves (who we wanted to be) when we went to the movies. We discovered what our true likes and dislikes are. I know that in my case, for instance, it was no coincidence that after I saw THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY in 1965 I suddenly became very heavily into art. And I believe it can be fairly said that many an athlete was born from having seen BRIAN’S SONG at a well-run theater.

And see, this is precisely what made the movie theaters so powerfully alluring to us back when they were at their height. They woke up wonderful things within us; enabled us to “discover ourselves” as it were. Who we were. And who we wanted to be. What we really wanted to do. Which is exactly what is desired in the context of a true democracy. But in an anti-democracy? Well that’s something else entirely.

I stopped going to movie theaters, well, first and foremost, because the ones in my area started getting shut down left and right as a new sort of politics began taking hold. But not only that, but because the ones that did remain open started being operated totally differently. In place of championing American democracy, suddenly they were all about money money money, and if you don’t like it, don’t bother coming. So okay, we said, and we stopped bothered going. So that’s my survey on it.

TheaterBuff1 on Aug 11, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Very good points, Life’s too short. Excellent, in fact. And mp775, you made very some excellent points as well.

But what’s unique in Lombard’s case is that this was a situation where an all-out and most deliberate campaign was conducted to get the movie palace in question torn down. That is, it wasn’t a case where everything was tried in efforts to save it, but the building was just so far gone physically that it couldn’t be salvaged — as some say was the case with the Yeadon Theatre in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, designed by John Eberson no less. Or, in terms of social priority, a building that paled to that for which there was a far more pressing need — such as New York City’s Beekman getting torn down to make way for a badly needed cancer center in a city where the land availability for such is in great scarcity. Rather, in Lombard’s very unique situation a sizeable number of people hostily ganged up on getting the DuPage movie palace torn down for no other reason than a deep-seated prejudice they felt against something of major historic significance, not to mention something of both an aesthetic and intellectual nature, and those who require such for their livelihoods. In brief, it was a case of unfettered thugocracy at its purist; of one social sector turning on the other, and the other left totally unprotected — via senatorial negligence, among other things.

And the senatorial negligence is very critical in this case because the senator in question is currently running for president of the United States….of all things. And that senatorial candidate in question, is he one who had very little in the way of formal education, and thus could be said to be simply ignorant on such matters, and therefore excusable likewise? Hardly. Rather, Barack Obama is a Harvard graduate. And he knew about the Lombard situation, the pure hate crime nature of it, and yet he did nothing. Using the excuse that it was a “local matter.”

Yet that theater, not only because of the architectural firm it was designed by, but also because of the very specialness of its design — something which the Yeadon Theatre could not lay claim to, even though it held the pedigree of having been designed by John Eberson (which many rank as the greatest individual movie theater architect of all time) — was such that it could have attracted movie palace enthusiasts, star acts, plus affluent audiences from all over the world, bolstering little Lombard’s economy beyond its wildest dreams. So through Obama’s negligence he hardly did Lombard any favors. To the thugs of Lombard, who through his negligence had acquired the upper hand, we can now all say in hindsight, well it serves them right. And sure, I’ll agree with that. I’ll be the first in line to. But to those who made an all-out sincere effort to save that theater, well they sure didn’t deserve this. And what now does Obama have to say to them? If the answer is nothing, then that should tell you right there whether or not you want that man as this country’s next president. And has he commented on this matter in the wake of it? Yes or no?

I rest my case.

TheaterBuff1 commented about The new concert venue or the new television? on Aug 11, 2007 at 1:31 am

What I like about the whole idea of operas being simulcast in movie theaters is that it re-establishes movie theaters as being things of class, or that they can be. I would like to think this trend could open the way to the return of movies of the highest order exhibited in theaters well designed for them. When I went with my family to see the premiere of BEN HUR at Philadelphia, PA’s Boyd movie palace in 1959, all the formalities surrounding it were much like going to see an opera.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Author Seeks Info RE: 1977 theater operation on Aug 11, 2007 at 12:21 am

One thing I would like to interject, and it’s where the plot really gets intense, the 1970s era differed dramatically from that of the ‘60s due to what all was going on in the American backdrop politically. It helps to understand that the idealistic '60s ended with two major assassinations — that of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. And the whole first half of the 1970s era was overshadowed by the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration. Finally, by the 1970s there was the tremendous disillusionment over the Vietnam War and the not-too-clear way it finally ended up, only bittersweet relief that it finally did.

In terms of the youth coming of age during those years, which, of course, I was very much a part of, the ‘60s had been our formulative years. We were still children strictly in learning mode during that period, and that was the most that was expected of us. But when the '70s rolled around and we entered into adulthood, we were suddenly thrust into positions of having to be fully responsible for ourselves, yet with still so very much we had yet to learn. Due to the late '60s assassinations plus the corruption of the Nixon administration that overwhelmed the early '70s (“Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming, we’re finally on our own” — Neil Young), we couldn’t go back to the certainty and sureness of the 1960s, while no one had a clue what the 1970s was supposed to be all about, yet there we were in the midst of it nevertheless, having it upon us to know. And, as adults who are supposed to know what to do, rather than as children still in learning mode. And in the '70s, unlike how it was in the '60s, we had no good leaders we could look to. Zilch. In fact, I find the transition from the 1960s to the '70s comparable to how Rome must’ve become like following Julius Caesar’s assassination. Suddenly in place of great leaders there were only those interested in exploiting our naivete in whatever way they could, and with not a single one of us knowing enough to navigate through it all in the best possible way.

For me, just as it had been for many others of my age group, the movie theaters of the 1950s and ‘60s solidified how we should believe. Major motion pictures such as BEN HUR exhibited in no less than movie palaces that were run impeccably, for instance. So the movie theaters throughout those years were our oracles, and we trusted them wholeheartedly. And it helped considerably the fact that they went all out to honor that trust we placed in them.

But following the two key late-60s assassinations and the rising up of Nixon as the ‘70s got underway all that changed. And almost as if with the snap of the fingers at that. For some, such as those who really went in for the STAR WARS hype, movie theaters continued to be oracles, what with the substanceless message of “Let the force be with you,” and all that, which so many of those in my age group so naively and gullibly embraced. For seriously, what was this “force”? There were no leaders by then. Only a chaotic, roughshod world where suddenly it was every man for himself, the catchphrase among the “winners” being “Looking out for number one.” The “force” was whatever you could pull off getting away with. For example, following Nixon’s forced resignation many said his “only mistake” was getting caught. Which then in many ways defined the second half of the '70s: “Let the force be with you, but don’t caught while you’re doing it.”

In 1979, in my hopelessly trying to recapture the moviegoing experience I had known all throughout my childhood and that I wanted so badly to experience again, that I needed to re-experience, I went to see SUPERMAN at Philadelphia, PA’s Fox Theatre, designed by Thomas Lamb no less and ranked as a bona fide movie palace still in full operation. But it was very old and time-worn by that point. Huge inside, but also greatly discolored and faded by age, all in preliminary to its being demolished not long afterward — all in making way for a new Philadelphia where movie theaters would be irrelevant. And SUPERMAN, as much as it was a good effort, was hardly BEN HUR, which I had seen the premiere of at the Boyd — another major Philadelphia movie palace — back in 1959. For seriously, how much can you do with just a comic book hero? That is, when I went to see SUPERMAN at Philadelphia’s Fox in 1979, talk about a last minute desparation converging from all angles: Mine, the theater operator’s, the rising new star of the film, etc.

But in my looking back at how theaters were in the ‘70s from a 2007 viewpoint, I don’t deny for a second that I’m essentially Monday-morning quarterbacking. For the '70s were chaotic. Nobody knew what the heck was going on back then, only that it was all sink or swim. Whatever worked for the moment. That was all anyone could look to, or do, while hoping it was the right thing. And most times it wasn’t. Rarely was it. But in all fairness there were no great leaders to guide us, to step in and let us know where we were screwing up. And none of us ourselves knew enough to be that. The greatness of Martin Luther King and what he envisioned was shrunk down to blackploitation and SUPERFLY. The great Kennedy legacy was reduced to Chappaquidick. And while many Americans lined up behind Nixon, Nixon was over shaking hands with Chinese mass-murderer Chairman Mao. And we all thought it was such a “good thing” at the time, so totally clueless were we. On occasion we heard the right answers coming at us. But we lacked the wise leaders to confirm it. And we ourselves didn’t know. So the right answers just got pushed aside more often than not. Anyway, that’s my take on how it was.