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Does anyone know when the Parkway is to be fixed up? I heard now that they have worked things out on a lease they can start with some touch up. Please put in a good Dolby unit downstairs and up. I don’t want to see a movie I missed first run in Mono sound at the Parkway. They the owners did a great job at the El Cerito. Curtains that work and a great stereo sound system. Check it out. Now it’s time the do the same at Oakland’s Parkway. A former manager friend of mine told me the old owner Mr Foster didn’t have enough plastic letters so he had to go to the Piedmont or the Albany all the time and borrow some letters he was missing. They also oversold the house when it was a first class art house. Lucky the Oakland Fire dept didn’t come in and see many people on the floor blocking exits. If you complained you lost your job. This was in the 60’s. Things are better know at the Parkway. Strange thing the owners don’t advertise what is playing in the Oakland Tribune. But they advertise in the Contra Costa paper many miles away. Did they get mad at the Tribune for a bad review? They miss boxoffice customers by not running a small ad in the Tribune.
Went in a few weeks ago. A real mess. The old projection guy was living in the projection booth. He is no longer the projection guy. The sound is the worst in any theatre. They advertise Dolby Stereo but it is so bad with a hum and scrathy sound. The light on the screen is about 30%. A long wire hangs from the uper left part of the screen. The same guy has been in the little boxoffice booth for years. The manager is very bad news. I complained about the sound and screen. He told me it was his theatre and if I didn’t like it I can leave. To bad with a little clean up and screen cleaning and some color lights they can make this into a tourist grindhouse and show films from the 50’s and 60’s. They don’t even light the neon stars under the marquee any more. The worst thing when you go in on the right ramp you are greated with a mop and bucket with Clorox smell. Mr Tarintino needs to by this place, as he goes to the Vine from time to time. Clean it up and bring back the action, horror Grindhouse only with a clean picture and sound. This theatres days are numbered. It will be another night club with no parking. Like what is going into the Fox Hollywood and they tried to put into the Vogue Hollywood. The film people need to check this place out before they book the second run prints. The movie is so dim you can’t tell anything on a dark scene. Enter at your own risk. Check it out and see all what goes on before it is closed. Behind the candy counter (drinks are all carbon) you will see the old boat wheel from the Admiral days long gone. All this going on near The Broadway Hollywood fancy new condos about to open. PS If it’s hot outside in Hollywood wait till you feel the heat at the Vine. The air is not working or they won’t turn on. Take a look at the big curtains above the screen. Looked great at one time when they worked, they are the waterfall type. Now covered in so mutch dust. Go and check it out and have some fun. You won’t find another place like it in California.
The gift store in the lobby of the Pacific Arclight no longer sells Cinerama shirts. The rude lady told me they took a bath on them.I don’t think so. I have seen many people with them in the last few years. They had many styles with the Cinerama logo. They don’t even sell the new Cinema Treasure book that has the Cinerama Dome in it. I asked about the book she never heard of it. Of all places to sell this book this is the place. the Pacific people don’t care about Cinerama anymore. In the LA Times the theatre is just called the Dome. Why not call it The Cinerama Dome. They can put in the little logo for Cinerama. At one time the Seattle people and the Pacific guys wanted to restore all the 3 proj prints. Is this ever going to happen?
Same thing went on at the Roxie that the Fox Grand Lake was doing. The Blumenfelds booked the Roxie at times like a road show house. had in the adds even 70mm listed. They didn’t have 70mm even had mono sound till many people got upset. Disney made them put in 4 track stereo for Mary Popins.Most people went to San francisco to see Cinerama, Todd-Ao and the other 70mm systems. The poor guys who went to the small Roxie screen missed all the presentation that SF had. It wasn’t till Ray S put in his Dome Century 21/22 big curved 70mm screens in San Jose that the 70mm hold had been let out of the SF theatres.
When Fox West Coast ran it they fooled the people of Oakland thinking they had a road show theatre. All the big 70mm road shows played San Francisco first, later in the run the Grand Lake picked up the prints before they went to the small theatres and booked them like it was the same thing as road show. They didn’t tell the people they only had 35mm. I think later on they did put in 70mm when Allen came on board.
Like many new Century Theatres they don’t have a full scope screen. They just drop black masking down from the big flat screen and make it look like Cinemascope. To fit in as many shoebox’s as possible they made the screens not able to expand. Gone are the days that curtains closed and the masking went out for a wide screen show.
Like Bruce says It is a sad thing about the front of The RKO Golden Gate. The Shorensteins have so much money, they can’t even put some in the fix up of the front of the RKO Golden Gate. When they took over they got rid of the nice neon marquee and painted everying brown out front. Can’t they buy some blue,green and golden red paint and redue the signs. The part of the block It is on is one of worst parts of downtown SF. If you park in the area your car will get broken into. Most people take Bart and rush in the door. I remember at one time SF had this as a second Super 70mm Cinerama Theatre. They did the worst job, they put the big Cinerama curved screen back on the stage. So they had flat curtains and it opened to a small size poor mans Cinerama show. The up stairs balcony had road show 70mm but the keystone was so bad I got my money back.
It was strange, they got many 70mm roadshow films in the 70’s. even played ‘The Bible’ a D-150 movie and played it on a flat screen. It was in 70mm/Stereo but I was looking to seeing it in D-150. Even the Todd-Ao print of Sound of Music played not on a Todd-Ao curved screen but the flat one they used both for cinemascope and 70mm. They charged road show prices with reserved seats but not the full road show style.
This was great road show house at a time. Many 70mm prints played, I went to see Sweat Charity in 70mm. They had a flat screen to bad It didn’t have a curve to it. Today someone thinks they can put condos on the site. Good Luck this is still one of the worst sections of Market St. I don’t see change coming.
I remember seeing Thank God It’s Friday at the Fox Warfield in 4 track mag stero. The place turned into a huge disco when it played. Gary needed to add a mirror ball when Donna Summer sang.
This Theatre after UA made a mess out of trying to use every inch to put in more screens was the worst theatre I have ever been in.
On a trip to Hollywood a few weeks ago to see Harry Pot at the Chinese I was shocked to go into the this great theatre and see bright orange lights on the screen with a digiatl add pre show thing going on the huge curved cinemascope screen. If adds have to be run so, so but to have all the orange lights on the screen Iam glad I did'nt pay to play my adds on the screen, the lights cut out the image. The biggest shock they didn’t close the great Chinese curtains after the spots or between the previews. Gone Is this last bit of showmanship at the Chinese. I asked for a Coke at the candy counter they gave me a Pepsi full of Ice! When you go Mann Theatres needs to help pay for the remodel job so they fill your cup all with ice and don’t even tell you they have have Pepsi. The Coke people need to check this problem out at the Chinese. The Mann people (Paramount/Warner Bros) Owners of the what is left of the great Fox West Coast Circuit need to get on track with what is going on across the street at Disney’s El Capitain Theatre, with long lines to get in across the street a stage show sometimes with live organ, many sets of curtains the poor Chinese sits almost empty after the second week of a movie? With all the Warner Cartoon people why can’t they do someting like the guys across the street, Charge a little more, with certain engagements have some pre show entertainment. The kids outside just looking at the footprints and tourists will line up like at the El Capitian.I saw a preview at the Chinese of a new Xmass movie, this is a great time to pull something together to bring people back into the Chinese. And please if you go to the Chinese complain to the manager about bringing the curtains back and put in some blue or red lights in the inside of the theatre during the movie. To see just white lights in the place just doesn’t work. Bring back some showmanship. Does anyone know why they don’t use the full curve screen for scope prints or digital? Seems like they can go up and out more in the masking.
The problem with the lack of people knowing what is playing at the New Egyptian. When I visit Hollywood I walk past the front gates, many out of town tourists go by don’t even have a clue of the inside. The last time a few weeks ago the main neon was only part on. The fountain long shut off because of leaks and the dirty courtyard was bad news, now the ice cream place on the left is gone. When they did the bad remodel why did’t someone put a old type marquee on the front to let people know what is going on at the theatre? The inside has no showmanship. No curtains on the screen (someone from our group THS offered the Egyptian a set of curtains,they refused) I look up today at the ceiling, and always tell the candy manager why don’t you put some blue or red lights up in the only art left up on the ceiling, he just shrugs. I'ts sad with a little color lights during the film or a nice waterfall curtain and slite curve of the screen they can bring back some showmanship. The place is going broke. Bring in some new blood into management.
Can Mr Lee fix the neon at the Presidio. It is out on both sides. He also uses different colors for the marquee letters. Please,I think some of the marquee people are still around to sell him all blue, green or red new or used letters? What will he do at the new Marina down the street? The top still has Cinema 21 but the bottom says Marina Theatre. I hope he saves the black light side pictures of San Francisco that graced the walls. Now lets get Mr Lee on board with the marquee problem at his Presisio then he can move on with purchase of the Metro a few blocks away. Turn it into San Francisco’s first movie and dinner theatre.
Yes the Fairfax was my local theatre as a kid. I was between the Laurel and Fairfax. This was a first class big neighborhood house. It had the same laddy in the small ticket booth year after year. We’s sneak in Caspers hot dogs from next door. My friend who was a manager at one time in the 60’s at the Fairfax tells me the east bay rep for Golden State told him not to dump the old hot dogs on Friday night that had been turning all day and night in the candy counter just to put on for the kids on sat afternoon and get rid of them! That’s why I think we bought our own in. Who wants old hard dark over cooked hot dogs. speaking of hot dogs the Fairfax had this great intermission trailer that ran for years showing two hot dogs gettin ready to go on stage with a bun, this was a great visual. When the curtains closed or opened they had blue lights on the bottom of the screen. The union projection people gave you your moneys worth. The church people in the place now need to bring back films from time to time, get the people off the streets and let them see entertainment on a big screen.
The New Fruitvale was run by Golden State Theatres (United California Thetares) then UA My friend Ed Jacklich was the last manager at the Fruitvale. He also managed the Fairfax and many other east bay theates. He has some great storis he tells me about these cinemas in the 1960’s. Late at night he got a call from the Oakland Fire Dept. They told him the Fruitvale was on fire. He rushed over and phoned his head people at Golden State. They told him at least now they got rid of the dump! They near the end didn’t spend a dime on the Fruitvale. Ed had to beg for new seat covers. At one time each row had a few white covers with bad seats. I saw my first 3-D film at the Fruitvale Fox’s ‘Inferno’ Ed tells me when they played the TAMI SHOW film they had a riot in the theatre and the cops came.He also tells me they used the heavy metal marquee letters, one day one blew off and came within 3 inches of someone waiting to buy a ticket. Before he was manager he had to go up on a wooden ladder to change the letters with no help. In those days the managers carried the money to the local bank in a big bag every week. Can you imagine that going on today. After the boxoffice at the Fruitvale got robbed many times the neighborhood went downhill. It was a great house. Played films that the Fox West Coast theatres did'nt play, our second run. Golden State (United CA Theatres) had most local neighborhood theatres in Oakland. Many are still around today but as churches or other use building. One great thing about the Golden State circuit they loved the kids, they new about candy sales on Saturdays. Each Oakland theatre had great kiddie shows in the 1950' and 60’s. With a big Cartoon-O-Scope special from time to time. Old Elmer the last projectionist at the Fruitvale just projected flat prints and showed with a cinemascope lens. Didnt look to bad. Just before the Fruitvale closed my friend tells me how bad the theatre got. He was beat up a few times in the lobby. The Golden State people didn’t care, didn’t even want to hire a private cop.They told Ed just to open and close the doors each day. What is so strange after the fire the theatre sat boarded up for many years. At least the Laurel, Fairfax, Palace, and Elmhurst Theatres are still around.
Thanks Robb for the correct info on the Alameda. The people of Alameda can once again enjoy movies. No more trips out of town to see a movie. I hope they put in a large curved screen in the main theatre. The stereo sound will be awsome in such a large palace.
When Mike Todd died the TODD-AO big curved screen went with him. Like the Alex in SF they did not have the big curved Todd-Ao screen that the Coronet had up the street. Seems it had a small curve? They had in the adds TODD-AO but it was mainly flat. The Coronet removed the great curved Todd-Ao curved screen after Oklahoma and Around the World. Heard the My Fair Lady 70mm people didn’t want the curve look at the Coronet. To bad the curved curtains stayed up till it closed but a smaller scope screen was put in. Maybe they will do at the Sf Alexandria what is being done at the Cinema 21 (Marina) put in a store on the bottom with a theatre upstairs?
I worked as Loge man at the Fox Oakland just before it closed. Still have my letter from the union and the crazy manager Jack Mc Dougal that the Theatre was about to close. When Jack left to go home for dinner we turned all the great neon on outside. The Fox west Coast people in LA loved Jack McDougal. He ran the Fox Oakland cheap. Turned off many lights and watched a tight ship in the candy counter. Even tried to put us kids on the National General Fox West Coast payroll for doing his yard work in his Piedmont home. A class act this manager was. Long passed on Jack did get invited the the grand opening of the Paramount when it re opened in the 70’s. I will never forget the big hits the Fox Oakland had when I worked in this great Theatre. All the american Int'l Beach films played the Fox in the 60’s. Lines around the block formed for Muscle Beach Party. Jack McDougal was also a great showman. He had a live Muscle Man Mr Oakland contest on the huge Fox stage with the showing of Muscle Beach Party. He had John Ashley and the girl Candy on stage for the showing of Bikini Beach Party. The biggest crowd was for little Stevie Wonder when he was in film. The time I watched What A Way To Go over and over I new all the lines. I hope the New people at the Fox Oakland will still show some 35mm movie prints. If the Paramount up the strret is no longer going to do it on some Fridays because they think the little outdoor movie nights in town are going to hurt there business. Go for it at the Fox Oakland put in a big curved cinemascope screen and fly it with a huge Dolby Digital sound system with hidden surround speakers, show classic science fiction, horror, or old musicals have theme nights you will pack them in at the Fox.People want to get out of the DVD world and when first timers see the inside of the new Fox Oakland with It’s huge inside (I hope you replace all the color lights inside) under the balcony lit up blue or other colors during the movies. The ceiling had these great hidden dark blue lights that looked great. When new music bookers come into a old theatre like the Fox many just put in white lights bulbs. Please keep the great color lights the Fox had inside.
The manager of the Rex had a patch over one eye. He saved me movie posters in the mid 1960’s when I was in High School. To go to the Rex, Lux and Broadway seemed like a danger place to be. But know certain streets in San francisco are far worst. To bad the little theatres are not still open in downtown Oakland. They can still show second run films. Kids today go to the Multiplex and miss the Grindhouse feel these Oakland Theatres projected.
The Paramount in Oakalnd Ca has been out of it for years. Now they are crying about the Fox Oakland re opening. At one time they were both run by Fox West Coast Theatres and got along. The Paramount still has many thing going for it. The organ and Its 35mm projectors and large Cinemascope screen. The Fox Oakland can have the rock shows and live events. I’d rather go to the Fox Oakland or Paramount any day then the bad needle area the San Francisco Fox Warfield is located on the worst area of SF’s Market St. When both the New Fox in Oak and the Paramount have shows many people from all over the bay area will just take Bart trains to the doors. The Oakland Paramount needs to put in a main lobby bar and let people drink in the main theatre. Bring first run movies back from time to time. The Oakland area is very undersceened. You watch in a few years with all the condos going up near the Fox Oakland & Paramount you will see a Century -Regal multiplex shoebox going up. I know for a fact real estate people have told me a large circuit is looking in the Grand Ave/Broadway area of Oakland for a big no showmanship multijunk theatre. Both the Paramount and new people at the Fox Oakland need to book events for all the Bay Area. Don’t forget the seniors. They will come in droves to both Theatres to see classic events and memories of these two great movie palaces. As San Francisco does not even have a indoor arena (and please the dumpy Cow Palace is not even in SF) many hunger for different entertainment they are not getting in SF they will go to both Oakland Theatres to see events. For the second year in a row the famed Ringling Bros Circus is not in the Cow Palace but going to a new arena in Stockton Ca.this Sept. So bring on the shows at the Fox Oakland and Paramount and watch downtown Oakland come alive, It’s been sleeping way to long.