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I made a return visit to Royal Oak a few weeks ago (I now live in Charlotte) and figured this theater closed, since I saw a homeless man sleeping by the door outside. Now what I just read here confirms it. Shame.
Among the films I saw at the Main Art were:
“Driving Miss Daisy” (1990; rereleased as part of Warner Bros.‘ 75th anniversary celebration in 1998)
“The Big Chill” (1983; rereleased in 1998 for the film’s 15th anniversary)
“A Hard Day’s Night” (1964; 1999 Miramax rerelease with restored mono soundtrack)
RIP, Main Art. You will be missed
Thank you to whoever made the corrections on my above overview.
I remember seeing “Hoosiers” at the Pix in the summer of 1987. if I remember correctly, they had a curved screen, most likely a holdover from the days of Cinemascope.
Did the original “Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope” play at the Manos for its August 1979 rerelease?
I finally got a subscription to Newspapers.com and discovered something contrary to what I first stated in the overview:
According to the Latrobe Bulletin, the Gem closed (i.e. stopped showing movies regularly) circa March 1970. From what I could gather, the final film shown was the 1970 rerelease of Disney’s “101 Dalmatians.”
After that, the Gem sat idle until approximately one year later, when a local theater group staged some productions there until 1972. Then the Gem became totally inactive.
One other “advent” the Gem experienced was widescreen movies from the late 50’s through the late 60’s; the theater had the ability to screen both Cinemascope and Vista Vision films. It is unknown whether or not there was the ability to play the stereo soundtracks for said films(most likely it was just mono).
(Still once again: Any pictures of the Gem’s interior? Thanks again, though, elmorovivo,for finding the picture of what the Gem looks like now. That supports my findings very well.)
I remember first seeing these films at the Bremen:
“Rocky II” (1979)
“Ordinary People” (1980)
(The original) “Clash of the Titans”(1981)
“The Toy” (1983)
“The Verdict” (1983)
I remember seeing “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with my dad (may he rest in peace) for the very first time ever at this theater in July 1981. We were visiting my grandparents in Vista (may they also rest in peace) for a week; during the middle of that week we went on the Universal Studios Hollywood Tour, and I believe they showed a snippet of “Raiders,” which talked about special effects in the movies. The next day my dad and I went to see “Raiders” at this theater. Every time I see “Raiders” now, I always think of when my dad and I first saw it in California.
Pity it wasn’t shown in 70mm and Dolby Stereo at the Oceanside 8; that was remedied, however, when I got back home to Illinois (my family and I were then living in the Chicago suburb of Glenwood) and I saw “Raiders” three more times at the River Oaks Theaters in Calumet City (which I understand has since been closed and more
recently demolished – shame).
Also verified it with the Motion Picture Herald’s 1943 Yearbook on line:
The Gem does indeed have 300 seats, not 400!
So, moderator, if you could make that correction above, that wouldd be appreciated. Thanks again.
The Gem’s seating capacity is actually 300 seats, not 400 as originally thought. When I first submitted that info,that was only an estimate; I just checked the 1930 Film Daily Yearbook online,which shows the Gem as having 300 seats. So, the above should be changed to read “300 seats.”
One more time: Does anybody have any photos of the Gem’s interior? I’m still curious to see what it looked like! Thanks again!
What was that painting on the ceiling of the auditorium?
It looked like Tom and Jerry (and maybe Little Lulu?).
The green sign that reads “Eaton” vertically above the marquee was taken down about two years ago. I asked one of the managers if it would possibly be replaced and she said no.
After my family and I moved to Saddle River in June 1983 (I now live in Charlotte, Michigan), I remember seeing “Jedi” in the upstairs auditorium on Wednesday, August 10, 1983 (the sixth anniversary of when I first saw the original).
I thought that was really cool how the film was projected from below the bottom row in 70mm (that soon got split up into two different auditoriums – shame!).
Maybe that was the original Cinerama auditorium?
The Henry Winkler and Sally Field movie was called “Heroes” (1977). Sometimes I come across the soundtrack album at record meets.
So I presume “Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope” first played there? (I live in Michigan, by the way. Just curious.)
When I lived in Glenwood, the first movie I saw at the Homewood was “Norma Rae” in March 1980, three months before I graduated from Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights.
But when the theater went to an all-“repertory” format in June of that year, I got to enjoy some “oldies” on the big screen, some of which I only saw on TV before, as well as some encores of some recent favorites.
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
“Gone With the Wind” (1939)
“Time After Time” (1979)
“Love and Death” (1976)
“Yellow Submarine” (1968)
“Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979)
Shortly thereafter, however, the Homewood became entangled in problems with the film distributors, and thus discontinued their “repertory” format. They didn’t show anything I cared for after seeing “Kramer vs. Kramer” again, and I didn’t go back since (especially because within the next few months in 1982 my family was in the process of moving to New Jersey; my father had just taken a managerial position at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. We moved into our new Jersey home in May of 1983).
I’m sorry to hear the Homewood has been demolished (I now live in the small town of Charlotte, Michigan, outside Lansing; I haven’t been back to Illinois since I left in 1983, and don’t have any foreseeable plans to revisit the area, now or in the future). It was a great place to see the “oldies,” and the inside of the auditorium was very unique (there were multicolored shields on the walls, and there were two Greek statues at each of exits at the screen). Too bad the theater wasn’t somehow preserved – shame.
This former theater site is now used for a bank and a furniture store.
One last thing I remember:
During the brief closure mentioned above, the theater placed an ad in the Lansing State Journal that went like this:
“You’ve watched this ad for something blue,Now watch this ad for something new.We know not yet what we can show,When we find out we’ll let you know.
Sorry, closed until further notice"
This is not the same theater as the Mason Twin Cinemas.
The above repro should be moved to the same page as the Farr.
I remember listening to WVIC in Lansing (the local Top 40 station) back then (in 1974 I was only 12), and they carried some commercials for Cinema X. As I’m typing this up, I can still hear that woman’s voice singing the jingle over the soft guitar music:
“At Cinema X….You’re on a rainbow ride.”
One private high school in Lansing (which I will leave nameless and which I had the pleasure of attending from September 1974 until ending 10th grade in June 1978, at which time my father had the brilliant idea – sarcastically speaking – to move us all to Chicago, and I finished at another private high school I didn’t like) was outraged by the fact WVIC was airing the Cinema X commercials that around early 1976 said private school decided not to use the station anymore for school closing announcements (e.g. during bad weather).
One of the administrators said, “I think we are having a hard enough time encouraging our children not to attend Cinema X, etc. We also don’t want incoming students to think this is what older students do during their senior year.” I do agree with all he said. (Admittedly, I did wonder if the seniors did anything like that, but that wasn’t necessarily true. I certainly didn’t!)
Still, it was funny to see this place listed because it made me think of those goofy commercials I heard on the radio when I was a kid.
Sorry to ask again, but it’s been a little over a year now, and I’m hoping somebody will come through this time.
Does anybody have any pictures of the inside of the Gem? I’m curious to see what it looked like!
I meant 1996. I guess I pressed the wrong key on my keyboard.
Thanks very much, moviebuff82.
I understand the original “Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope)” played the Manos when it was rereleased in 1979. My family and I were visiting our aunt and cousins again in 1979 (I was then 17 and my family and I were by that time living in Glenwood, Illinois; my uncle, sadly, had passed around 1973). As fate would have it, however, “Star Wars” was rereleased after we visited in early August 1979, and I had to see it back in Illinois.
Can anybody confirm If “Star Wars” was indeed shown at the Manos in 1979? Any newspaper ads?
In 1970, when I was only 8, my family and I visited our aunt and uncle who lived on Race Street in Uniontown (we were then living in the Detroit suburb of Warren, Michigan). Their next-door neighbor just happened to be the manager of the Manos – I believe his last name was Frankenberry – who gave me and my sister a pressbook of “A Boy Named Charlie Brown (which had just finished playing at the Manos), as well as a vinyl 12-inch record of radio spots for Walt Disney’s "Blackbeard’s Ghost.”
Pity I didn’t keep either of those, considering how valuable those are now. (“Charlie Brown” also has some historical merit to it as that was the very first theatrical film produced by CBS Films, known at that time as Cinema Center Films.)
Pity also I never got to see a film at the Manos while we visited. (I never saw “Blackbeard’s Ghost,” and I didn’t see “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” at the theater; thanks to my folks' laziness, I had to wait until CBS first aired the film on TV around 1973. Now I have the original 1970 Columbia soundtrack album on vinyl, and soon I hope to buy the DVD of that film.)
I remember seeing “Star Wars, Episode IV” along with “The Empire Strikes Back” on the same program (an exclusive to the NYC area) when I moved to Saddle River, New Jersey in June 1983.
Other films I saw at the Route 17 Triplex during my brief time in New Jersey were:
“War Games” (1983)
The 1985 rerelease of “Gremlins” (1984); that would be the last film I would see at this theater.
When I made a return visit to the area in September 1986, I remember the Route 17 had the original “Independence Day” and the rerelease of Walt Disney’s 1988 animated film “Oliver and Company.” I don’t remember what the other film they screened in the other auditorium was.
Sad to see the Route 17 Triplex is gone. But the AMC Garden State Plaza is definitely a worthy successor; when I returned for another visit in September 2014, my best lady friend (who never saw New York City before, but loved it afterward) and I saw “No Good Deed” there. A very pleasant experience.
I forgot – Cinema 35 is listed here on Cinema Treasures as “Paramus Picture Show.”
I understand Music Makers had other interests besides cinemas. They also had their own record label in the early 60’s, but none of their releases were big hits and the label soon folded.