Comments from 60lark

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60lark commented about Bergenfield Cinema 5 on Mar 21, 2006 at 10:21 pm

I worked at the palace from ‘73 to '76 as an usher while in high school. I had a lot of good times, ate a lot of popcorn, and saw “The Trial OF Billy Jack” 65 times! During my time there, the dressing rooms were still mostly intact below the stage, and behind the screen, aside from the huge refrigerater size “voice of the theater” speakers, it looked as though not much had changed since the vaudeville days. The organ was long gone but the loft where I’m told the organist played was there and so was the ladder that he used to get up to his perch. I remember having to run down to the screen and pull open the curtains on either side of the screen for movies that were in “scope” and pulling the curtains in close to the screen for “flat” movies. For me, working in the balcony was the best, the projectionists, Sam and Earl were always fun to hang around with, although they were my fathers age, we usually had a good laugh at someone elses expense while I always grubbed one of Sams unfiltered Chesterfield cigarettes a cup of coke from the candy stand and filled the pocket of my red ushers jacket with popcorn. From the balcony, you could go out onto the roof, and when there was snow, we would wing snowballs down on unsuspecting Bergenfield shoppers, but we had to be careful not to be seen doing that as it would have meant sudden termination. The manager, Mr Mezzy, an old Hungarian, accent and all, was a funny guy, during Saturday Matinees, while the mothers dropped off their little little brats so that they could spend a few hours shopping in downtown Bergenfield, old Mezzy would be at the door ripping tickets, and telling the kids how cute they were, such little darlings! he would say, but once the picture was over, and we were trying to empty out the theater, he would be thundering “get out!! get out you little @#$!!&*% ’s GET OUT!!! There were a lot of good times and some scary times too, there was a local group of youth that would frequent the Palace, chipping in their undoubted drug money to buy one ticket, while the rest of the gang went around to the fire door nearest the bathrooms and waited for their buddy to let them in. There wasn’t much that 2 130 Lb ushers could do, there were usually 8-10 of them and they were members of the Bergenfield Football, Wrestling, or just plain tear your head off from your shoulders team, we didn’t stand much of a chance. My coworkers from Bergenfield High wouldn’t get involved because they saw these goons on a regular basis in school, so long as they were quiet, did their drugs in the far corner of the auditorium and didn’t bother anyone, we didn’t call Bergenfields finest. A few cops used to frequent the Palace, mainly to stay warm and eat some popcorn during the winter while walking a beat on Washington Ave. one cop that I remember, we called him Le vitche, I never knew his first name, at the time, he was a rookie, for all I know he’s probably chief of police now! well, I could go on and on, but for now I’ll leave, and say that I’ve been in the 5 plex and sure do miss the "one plex” palace