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The theatre has since been demolished and the town is putting a “park” on the site.
Ken Lehman former customer….
I managed this theatre from 1965 to 1966. Theatre opened slowly but took-off after showing “Zorba The Greek”. we ran an “arty” type schedule including; “Fail Safe”,“A Man For All Seasons”, “The Ipcress File.”
The theatre never had enough parking in those days resulting in gridlock for the second evening showing.
The NJ State Police actually blocked off our entrance because of a traffic back up on Route 46.
Kirk Douglas appeared here in person for the Reserved Seat Engagement of “Cast A Giant Shadow.” I did not get to meet him as I had moved on to another theatre.
Ken Lehman…former manager.
After opening the Squire Cinema across town in New Windsor I opened this theatre in 1967. We did play “Music” but it was not the opening feature. We played it after Poughkeepsie, NY. We played the indoor theatres day-and-date with our Brookside Drive-In in the summer. I also opened the “Quickway Cinema” in Chester, NY.
All were sold to Cinecom Theatres in 1969
Ken Lehman…1st manager.
As manager I opened this theatre in February 1966. We opened with “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machine.” A Bi-Plane was placed on the roof of the lobby, unfortunately the next day was a heavy snow storm which bent the wings down to roof level. We (Spyro Lenas) then opened the Mid-Valley Cinema across town in the (open) mall. Both theatres had 800 seats.
The Mid-Valley was the more successful of the two. We also operated the Brookside Drive-In Theatre in Newburg
and the Plaza Theatre in Poughkeepsie, NY.In the summer we played “day-and-date” indoor and drive-in.
All of the theatres were sold to Cinecom in 1969.
Forgot one thing…the Premier night of “How The West Was Won” was canceled because of the assassination of JFK…Nov. 22, 1963. What a let-down after months of planning.
Ken Lehman, manager
As manager of the Route 59 Theatre from 1963 to 1965 I ran reserved seat performances of “Mutiny On The Bounty”,“Lawrence of Arabia” as well as the 3-strip showing of “How the West Was Won
in "CINERAMA.” We followed “West” with the original “This Is Cinerama” and “Cinerama Holiday.” In addition to the 3 Cinerama projectors we had to install a 4th projector for the Lowell Thomas “introduction” in the old format to “This Is Cinerama.”
These special Cinerama projectors have a 6 sprocket “pull-down” as opposed to the normal 4 sprocket pull-down.
I enjoyed seeing the newspaper ad for “West” in Bill Huelbig’s comments as well as the interior photos from
This was a Skouras Theatre at the time later to become UA Theatres.
The CINERAMA neon sign was later taken down off the front of the building and left on the lobby roof. I wonder if it’s still there?
Ken Lehman, former manager.
I did not manage this theatre but as manager of the Willowbrook Cinema and the Little Cinema in the mall I audited this theatre for the owner Spyro Lenas.
Tragically the manager of this Drive-In was killed in a hold-up. They did make an arrest and conviction in this case.
As manager of the Willowbrook Cinema, and the Little Cinema in the mall I also “opened” this theater for Spyro Lenas but did not manager it. Meyer Ackerman was a “partner” in this theatre. I’m not sure on the seating but I believe it may have been 800.
Joe Vogel has it mostly right, except the original Willowbrook Cinema was 1000 seats. The first “Little Cinema” was around 240 seats and replaced part of Lena’s restaurant in the mall. As manager I opened both of these theatres in 1969.The Anthony Wayne Drive-In Theatre (next door) was sold to Loews Theatres.
I left as manager in 1971
As manager I opened the Willowbrook Cinema in 1969 with 1000 seats. We (Spyro Lenas)later added the “Little Cinema” in a different location. We did show “I AM Curious Yellow” to a large turnout and some complaints.
A better program was the reserved seating showing of “Hello Dolly” which was presented in 70mm. “Patton” was also presented in 70mm and stereo sound.
I left this theatre in 1971 and don’t believe it was ever operated by Loews Theatres. Lenas did sell the Anthony Wayne Drive-In Theatre(next door)to Loews which put a 6 plex on that site.
Ken Lehman, First Manager