Comments from MDaurora

Showing 25 comments

MDaurora commented about Strand Theatre on Mar 10, 2011 at 6:47 am

Joe: You are correct about the address. I thought about that after I posted. I was counting in the wrong direction. The building with the Rite-Aid store was originally the G.C.Murphy Five and Dime. When the new Strand was built in 1948, the old one on State was totally demolished and replaced with Murphys. It is built in the Art Moderne style, which was popular in the late 40’s. It could not have been built in 1925. The Pulakos candy store remained until redevelopment took it in 1964.

MDaurora commented about Strand Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 8:07 am

Google “Erie County Historical Society” and click on “Photo Archives”. On page 1 of the thumbnails, the 10th picture is of an end of war parade on State St, that shows the original Strand theater. Two doors left of the theater is the original Pulako’s 926 candy store, which would maybe make the original Strand theater address 928 or 930 State St?

MDaurora commented about Shea's Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 7:54 am

Google “Erie County Historical Society” and click on “Photo Archives”. Pictures #2 and #16 on page 2 are of Shea’s. Picture #7 is of 10th St and on the far left is Shea’s which was then known as the Perry.

MDaurora commented about Aris Theater on Mar 7, 2011 at 7:15 am

This theater was demolished during the downtown revitalization of the late 1950’s. The redevelopment authority leveled everything from the NYC railroad tracks north to 19th St and Sassafras east to State St. The Aris was right in the middle, so this theater is long gone. Any pictures out there?

MDaurora commented about American Theater on Mar 7, 2011 at 6:58 am

This was a small neighborhood theater in the “Little Italy” section of Erie. It was one of three movie houses in a two block stretch of 18th St. Not sure when the American was built, but it closed in 1953. It sat vacant until it was demolished January 1974. Today, the site is a parking lot. At the time it was demolished, the owner Bob Lee, who bought the theater in 1947, said it closed due to the impact of television and the economics of converting to Cinemascope. The address given in the newspaper account of its demolition was 504 W 18th St.

MDaurora commented about Shea's Theatre on Mar 4, 2011 at 8:36 am

I remember the Shea as having a small lobby and projection booth so high that “keystoning” was a problem. Cinemascope made it’s Erie debut at Shea’s. As a nine year old kid in 1954, I saw The Robe and was impressed with the big screen, which was curved and tilted to minimize the keystone effect. When this block was demolished in the 60’s, it also removed the site of the original Strand Theater which was next to Pulako’s. That theater was removed years before. Pulako’s was indeed located at 926 State Street.

MDaurora commented about Regent Theatre on Mar 4, 2011 at 8:01 am

This theater was demolished years ago. At the end it was showing “Art” films and was really in a deplorable condition. The story goes that a patron had a heart attack during a show and the fire department was called, this was before paramedics. When the house light went on, the fire chief looked around and immediately shut the place down, it was that bad. This was sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s and it was demolished soon after.

MDaurora commented about BRIC Arts Media House on Jul 19, 2010 at 6:35 am


My name is Jeff D'Aurora from Erie PA. I knew your Great Grandfather. The theater in Erie that he owned was the 18th St. My father held the lease and your Great Grandfather owned the building. In November 1955, my father, Nick D'Aurora purchased the building from Mr. Lorence. If I remember correctly he moved to California. If I can be of any help in your research let me know.

Jeff D'Aurora/

MDaurora commented about New Amsterdam Theatre on May 26, 2010 at 10:03 am

I seem to recall a 1988 movie, “Shakedown” with Peter Weller and Sam Elliot, that had a sequence shot at the Amsterdam. At the end of the sequence there was spectacular shot involving the marquee and the blade sign. The interior shots may have or may not have been shot there. In the movie, the theater was showing XXX and the interior was a graffiti covered mess. Anybody out there remember this movie?

MDaurora commented about Municipal Theatre on Apr 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Roy Bang closed the Municipal Theater, Apopka on June 30 and began booking and managing Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Theater in Winter Park.

Boxoffice Magazine, July 8,, 1963, Page SE-7

MDaurora commented about Astor Theatre on Apr 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm

For those who are wondering, “doggiest” is defined as stylish or showy according to Websters.

MDaurora commented about Astor Theatre on Apr 18, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Grand in Orlando is Renamed the Astor

Orlando Fla – The old Grand Theater, which has run the cycle of motion picture advancement from the old hand-operated crank-turned projector to the present wide-screen process has been sold by the Florida State Theaters for $120,000 to the B.S. Moss Theater Corporation of New York. The Moss corporation operates a chain of theaters in New York and New Jersey, and has now acquired four in Florida, the Ritz in Hollywood, the Ritz in Ocala, the State in Gainesville and the Grand in Orlando.

The name of the Grand has been changed to the Astor.

According to Charles B. Moss, president of the purchasing corporation, the Astor, when the renovation program is completed, will be the “doggiest thing in town”. There will be new upholstered seats, a new sound system, a new wide-screen, new carpeting, restrooms and air-conditioning. A refreshment bar will be built in the lobby and the walls of the auditorium will be covered with a cushion-tone acoustical tile.

William J. Carroll has been appointed manager.

Source: Boxoffice Magazine, October 3, 1953, page 66

MDaurora commented about 20th Century Drive-In on Feb 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm

The “knick knack paddy whack, give the dog a bone” song was from “The Inn of Sixth Happiness”, with Ingrid Bergman, Curt Jurgens and Robert Donat. Released in 1958 from 20th Century-Fox. As I recall, it was a pretty good movie. Thanks for sharing your walk down memory lane with us.

MDaurora commented about Matanzas Theatre on Feb 5, 2010 at 7:08 am

I was looking at the current street view of where this theater was and compared it with the 1950’s photos posted by ken mc back in 06. There are three kids on the little balcony above the marquee in the 1950’s picture. That balcony is still there. It looks like the facade remained and was incorporated into a new building. Could be wrong, but if it is, may there be some of the lobby, greatly altered, at least still there. The address on the current building is 22.

MDaurora on Jan 24, 2010 at 9:53 am

Fortunately, this theater has not been demolished and is still being used as a theater. It is the home of the Cuillo Centre for the Arts and is located at the intersection of Clemantis St and N Narcissus. If you use the street view on Google, you will see the theater. The Cuillo Centre has a website but, curiously, it has no mention of the Florida Theater or it’s history. It does, however, have photos of its current configuration.

MDaurora commented about Sebastian Theater on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:40 am

The Phiel Theater in St Petersburg FL (1918-1959) was a reverse due to the builder Abram C. Phiel, having survived a theater fire in his youth, wanting the projection booth hanging off the back of the auditorium outside where a fire would not spread to the auditorium.
Interesting guy Phiel was. Self made millionaire, one time mayor of St Petersburg and the first paying passenger ever on a scheduled airline flight.

MDaurora commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 28, 2009 at 7:30 am

Forgot one more comment. When you go to street view on Google maps, go left until you see a black front building with a sign saying “Antigua”. Left of that building, there is a construction site. That is where the Rialto was. BTW, the black front building was the J C Penny store. There was a lot of retail on Church St back in the day.

MDaurora commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 28, 2009 at 7:12 am

The Rialto was a purpose built theater, not converted retail space. Had a chance to go in the building during it’s demolition. The roof was off and the front of the booth was gone. The projectors had been unbolted, pushed out, and lay in a heap on the floor. Needless to say my buddy and me were asked to leave before we got killed by falling debris. Wish I had a camera with me. 54 West, a high rise condo project, now occupies the site. I have a photo in the book “Orlando. More Than a Memory” of the Rialto taken when “Knute Rockne, All American” had it’s Orlando opening, complete with marching band and majorettes. Gone are the days of ballyhoo! I’ll try to scan it in one of these days.

MDaurora commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 27, 2009 at 7:01 am

The Rialto was demolished in the early 1970’s. It was never a part of the now closed Church Street Station complex.

MDaurora commented about Ritz Theater on Aug 24, 2009 at 8:11 am

Address is N Orange Ave and Pine St in Downtown Orlando. Street view on map at that location shows the former theater on the NE corner, The City Art Center.

MDaurora commented about State Theatre on May 20, 2009 at 6:36 am

The State was originally the Rialto and was demolished years ago. In the early to middle 50’s, after being closed for some time, it was reopened but failed and was dark until it was taken down. For a time, you could see part of the auditorium sidewall on the Commerce building next to it as they shared a common wall. That building is also gone.

MDaurora commented about Erie Playhouse on Feb 24, 2009 at 9:58 am

This Strand Theater replaced the original Strand, which was around the corner on State Street. The “new” Strand had a stadium style balcony. The design was art moderne. As you entered the lobby, the concession stand was to your left, which also had the stairs leading to the rest rooms on the lower level. The three strip Cinerama was set up in one booth in the balcony. in 1960, “Ben Hur” opened in 70mm and, if memory serves, played for almost a year. for 70mm they returned to the original booth. Across the street was the Majestic, an old vaudeville house which became Shea’s. There were also the Colonial, Columbia and the State in downtown Erie

MDaurora commented about West Erie Plaza Cinemas on Oct 22, 2008 at 9:04 pm

This theater was originally called Dipson’s Plaza, Dipson’s being a chain out of New York state. It was built in 1950 as a part of the West Erie Plaza Shopping Center right on the city limits line. It was the first theater built outside the downtown. It was a large theater seating at least 1000, I think. May have been more or less. It did have a small balcony that did not extend over the main floor. The grand staircase leading to the balcony is still there, but it now leads to the new projection room which is built in the balcony. The original projection room is still there but unused. The architecture and decor is Deco. Inside the entrance was a small room where patrons waiting for the next show could watch television. This theater served as a roadshow house for Around the World in 80 Days which was shown in a 35mm reduction print. This theater never had 70mm equiptment. Sometime in the 90’s after it had been closed for a while, It was converted into four theaters. The last time I was in the theater, which was some time ago, I talked to the manager/projectionist, and he told me that the Art Deco auditorium is still intact. This was indeed a very beautiful theater. The website for this theater showing some interior shots is

MDaurora commented about Hillcrest Theater on Jul 24, 2008 at 9:28 pm

The Hippodrome became the Hillcrest theater and was still in operation at least into the late 50’s to early 60’s

MDaurora commented about Lyric Theater on Jul 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm

The Lyric was actually one of three theaters in a two block stretch of W 18th St. It was a small theater, seating maybe a few hundred in a very long and narrow auditorium. The building also contained apartments above the theater. In its day, it was known as the “Ranch House” due to all the western movies shown there. Kids got in for 10 cents and you got a penny candy as ‘change". when CinemaScope came along in 1953, the LYric closed because it was too small and it was too expensive to upgrade. The American Theater just down the block closed about the same time for the same reasons. The 18th Street Theater, the largest of the three, continued showing movies until 1961. It is now a warehouse. The other two were torn down years ago.