Author Topic: Any Movie Memories?  (Read 4834 times)

Offline Nagelberg

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Any Movie Memories?
« on: March 28, 2012, 06:35:14 PM »
There were four great movie theaters in my Jackson Heights of yesteryear: The Earle, Colony, Jackson, and Boulevard.  Each one of them had a distinct personality, and all of them figured in to
the way we grew up.  The Earle was a perfect little art deco jewel box.  It had the worst concession stand of the four, but it was only two blocks away from where I lived.  On Summer Saturdays in  the 1940s and 50s, the Earle and the Jackson and the Boulevard had kiddy matinees and for a quarter you got to see 15 color cartoons, a chapter of a serial, and a double feature that was likely to be a low budget western and a pirate picture.  We kids were penned up in a kiddy section ruled by a grim, flashlight bearing matron in a nurse's costume. We could make all the noise we wanted, but running around and throwing things at the screen was out.  The Boulevard was the most opulent of the neighborhood movie palaces.  It was built in 1926 and was the only movie house that could double as a legitimate theater.  Bela Lugosi played Count Dracula live on stage at the Boulevard. In the 1950s, it was the theater that ran most of the great horror and science fiction films such as The Curse of Frankenstein, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and The House On Haunted Hill.  It was also the place to take your girl on a Saturday night because it had the best balcony for making out.  The Jackson was a fine, big theater with a good concession stand and arena-like seating. I will always remember that it had a handsome bronze statue of Caesar Augustus in it's lobby.  I saw The Third Man there, which remains my favorite movie to this day.  The Colony on 82nd Street was tiny -- a little art house by today's standards.  It had big framed blowups of movie stars like Clark Gable, and it was the theater we went to the least.  I saw Gone With The Wind there in revival.  The movie theaters in Jackson Heights witnessed our progressions from children, to teenagers, to young adults.  They provided the darkness for the metamorphoses to occur, and I am grateful that they were were a backdrop for our transformations. What are your memories of these marvelous picture palaces?

Offline mitchtv

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2012, 03:40:32 PM »
I remember seeing "Wizard of Oz" with my mother at the Corona Theater on Junction Blvd. I was quite an ornate old jewel, It was the first to go. I found a picture of the Polk Theater in all its Deco glory before the XXX days,I don't know how to post it yet .The entire school was taken to the Polk to see "Song of Bernadette".I remember the free popcorn to the first kids on Saturdays double and triple features with cartoons, and the matrons with the flashlights earning their salaries as baby sitters for hundreds of abusive brats... :)

Offline E train

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2012, 06:32:42 PM »

I had a gentle reminder of a thread about the old bars of Jackson Heights none of which I really knew as a school boy in the 50's. An exception was the Blue Haven on 37Th and 73rd. which I passed on my home from Boy Scout meetings at PS69. The Blue Haven was I guess a bar but we thought of it as nightclub and latterly I heard that Lennie Bruce played there in his early days.

Still it was the thread about the quartet of movie houses that piqued my interest . Many thanks to Nagelberg(how many of us left who get the reference?) who reminded me of the old matrons dressed in white with their flashlights in the children's sections. The Saturday mornings were exactly as described with the endless cartoons, the serial and the cowboy film. The Earle was the best of the bunch particularly its superb deco interior which I have rhapsodized about in previous posts. I had forgotten about the movie star pictures in the Colony and the Boulevard's association with science fiction films resonated with me. I think it was also the theatre that played House of Wax in 3-D. Or was it Creature from the Black Lagoon?The Colony's only real association for me was that I first tried smoking there while watching an old forgotten Tyrone Power film called Abandon Ship.The movie centered around a a life boat in a rolling sea.Why my first fumbling attempts to get through a pack of L&Ms  didn't make me a nonsmoker i will never understand as I was thoroughly sea sick by the end of the movie. A fringe benefit of both the Colony and the Jackson was a deli not very far from the Jackson which sold Kosher hot dogs with as much sauerkraut as you wanted for 15 cents.
The Polk (named after an underappreciated President?) was a last resort,rarely used and a bridge too far for anyone I knew.
There is one remaining movie house that still maintains the 50's feel at least in its exterior and that is the Fair on Astoria Boulevard. It only shows Bollywood films now. The 49 bus takes you right to it.

With that can we move on to stickball in the PS69 playground?


 

Offline mitchtv

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2012, 06:58:58 PM »
 The Polk was named for Polk Avenue, the original name of 37th avenue. 34th was Hayes, and I can't remember who had 35th right now .

Offline E train

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2012, 07:20:46 PM »


I didn't know that the names Polk and Hayes were the origin for 37th and 35th Avenues. I still would suggest that they are plausibly the names of two former presidents. What either name has to do with Jackson Heights or Queens or even New York is the open question if my theory is correct.

Offline mitchtv

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2012, 07:34:58 PM »
of course Roosevelt, Hayes,  Polk were as you say tributes to former presidents, Why ? who knows . My Father told me that all of J Hts belonged to theQueensboro Corp  when they first moved there in 1931. I will add the name for 35th when my older brother calls me later, he knows

Offline mitchtv

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2012, 08:12:35 PM »
talk about unappreciated presidents, 35th was named Fillmore, and that name persisted because we had the Fillmore pharmacy on Junction and 35th

Offline suebe

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2013, 11:17:51 AM »
Found this among some of my late uncle's belongings. Appears to be from 1937.





Offline bob1954

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2013, 08:25:26 PM »
I remember the Earle started showing so called 'art films'. The most amusing film was 'The Moon is Blue'... forget if I really ever saw it. However it did get the attention of the flock at St Joan's where the priests told folks at mass to boycott the movie. This of course sent crowds to go see it. I think you had to be 17 at the time. I always liked the Colony... small with the best air conditioning. Loved sitting in the balcony on those hot summer days. Someone mentioned the Blue Haven on 37th and 76th
I remember it was closed after a raid.. when 26 phones were found in the basement.

Offline dssjh

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2013, 10:28:06 PM »
thank you all so much for sharing these great stories. i'm in my mid 40s, so my earliest memories of moviegoing date back to, say, 1973 or so. there were still stand-alone, single screen theaters, but nothing like this. one of many things i'm sorry I missed out on. :)

Offline Fdthird

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Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 04:11:03 AM »
I remember attending kids stage shows at the Boulevard in the 50s. I believe there was a show and a movie...kind of a local version of Radio City.

Jackson Heights Life

Re: Any Movie Memories?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 04:11:03 AM »