The Stanley Theatre still adorns Journal Square in Jersey City. Jehovah's Witnesses painstakingly saved the theatre from the wrecking ball many years ago and restored it to its original splendor. However, they also removed the screen and projection equipment so the theatre no longer is capable of showing films.
The Star Ledger takes a brief break from covering the current crop of New Jersey political scandals to remind us about the state's rich history of great movie theaters. Click here for a wonderful trip back in time to relish photos of some great theaters, most of which are long gone.
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST FROM THE CINEMA RETRO ARCHIVES
In our never-ending quest to provide gratuitous thrills, Cinema Retro presents rare photos of Hollywood hunks and godesses.
"Take that, Sue Lyon!" Ann-Margaret circa 1964 giving her version of the Lolita look.
David Janssen was riding high in '64 as star of TV's The Fugitive. The dour Richard Kimble never got to strut his stuff like this. Lookin' good, but hey Dave, did you borrow those sandals from Liberace?
The feud between John Sturges and McQueen was tragic...he had made McQueen a star in Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. However, McQueen's long-delayed plans to bring a racing movie to the screen culminated in the ill-conceived Le Mans. The two old friends feuded over the film's concept. After Sturges quit the project, "B" movie director Lee H. Katzen took over. The film was one of the few outright bombs of McQueen's career, consisting mostly of footage of speeding cars and virtually no plot. (Thanks to Cinema Retro contributing writer Steve Saragossi for sharing this rare photo).
Although Natalie Wood was regarded as a "serious" actress, having made the rare successful transition from child star, the custom of the day was for studio actors and actresses to pose for an endless amount of "cheesecake" photos. Wood was no exception as this rare photo for the promotion of "Gypsy" (1962) reveals.
We admit to not being among those who think Caddyshack is up there with the great Charlie Chaplin comedy classics. We might agree that it merits inclusion with the greatest work of nightclub comic/actor Charlie Callas, but there is no denying we're in the minority on this one. We actually prefer the comparative sophistication of Rodney Dangerfield's other starrers, Easy Money and Back to School. Yet, Caddyshack has spawned a fanatical following since its release in 1980 and the fan movement seems to only increase with every year. Count Tiger Woods among those who consider it their favorite comedy. Bill Murray's role as goofy groundskeeper Carl Spackler is probably his most popular screen character -though he is continuously upstaged by Mr. Gopher. The gopher scenes were ironically shot after most of the main photography had been completed. Director Harold Ramis experimented with using a live animal as Murray's on-screen nemesis but opted for a modular critter when the real gopher proved to be too unreliable (you know how actors are!) Special effects wizard John Dykstra built the immortal rodent who has earned his own place in the movie comedy hall of fame.
The story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet had been filmed many times
prior to director Franco Zeffirelli's acclaimed 1968 version. Earlier
versions were hampered by the casting of actors in the title roles who were old enough to be in nursing homes. However, Zeffirelli cast
actual teenagers in the parts: 17 year old Leonard Whiting and 16 year
old Olivia Hussey. Zeffirelli also took advantage of the artistic
freedoms afforded filmmakers in the 1960s and depicted for the first
time the sexual desires of the two lovers.The result was a box-office
hit that appealed not only to critics but also to a younger generation
that could finally identify with the actors cast in the key roles. (For actor Michael York's exclusive interview about co-starring in Romeo and Juliet, see Cinema Retro issue #6)
Remember when glamour and style were commonplace in Hollywood? If not, then revel in this rare photo from the Cinema Retro archives of Audrey Hepburn attending the premiere of My Fair Lady in 1964. America is not supposed to have royalty, but Miss Hepburn never got the memo.
This Canadian Odeon Theatres newspaper display ad dates from 1967 and it shows a wealth of gems playing at the same time: Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome, The Sound of Music, Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon in Fitzwilly and Far From the Madding Crowd. Ah, if we only had a time machine!
The superb web site www.in70mm.com provides a wealth of vintage movie ads including this great vintage advert for the 70mm British presentation of Becket (1964) starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole.
Given all the controversy about the movie poster for the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only that depicted Agent 007 as seen through the open legs of a bikini-clad model, you would think it was the first time that concept had been used for an ad campaign. In fact, there are plenty of precedents including this Australian daybill poster for Dean Martin's first Matt Helm film, The Silencers (1966).
On December 21, 1961 the Merced Theatre in Merced, California hosted a Christmas party for 2,000 local children who got to see John Wayne's latest flick, The Comancheros, along with Misty starring David Ladd. (Photo: Merced County Sun-Star)
Joan Collins has been a sex symbol for so long, we think they found provocative sketches of her on cave walls. Here she is in early sex kitten mode from the 1958 Paul Newman comedy Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys.
Elvis in beefcake mode for the 1962 version of Kid Galahad (the film was made previously in 1937 starring Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart)
Here's a bizarre double feature that opened in England in 1968: the would-be epic WWII movie The Battle of Anzio starring Robert Mitchum and Peter Falk on the same bill as Jerry Lewis' Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River. Note: in the USA, the Mitchum film was released under the title Anzio.
Cinema Retro reader and contributor Kev Wilkinson was kind enough to provide these rare photos of the British sexploitation film The Pleasure Girls playing at London theaters in 1965. For Adrian Smith's extensive articles on the British sex film industry in the 60s and 70s, see Cinema Retro issues #23 and #24.
Cinema Retro contributor David Dorward found this interesting photo of young Steve McQueen and his wife posing with his Ferrari Lusso. The license plate number reads 007! We think this may be just a coincidence that one of real-life coolest guys on the planet had a license plate pertaining to the one of the coolest fictional characters, as the Bond phenomenon hadn't totally kicked in yet...unless McQueen was so smitten by the Ian Fleming novels and the release of Dr. No on screen that he was inspired to request "007". Either way, it makes for a fascinating photo.
British actress Linda Hayden was only 15 years-old when she made her big screen debut in the 1968 film Baby Love. The movie cast her as a teenage vixen who uses her sexual prowess to wreak havoc on the family she is living with. The film, which has been little-seen in America, caused a sensation in the UK with some critics decrying the blatant use of such a young girl in role that was so sexually-driven. (Hope they never see Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver!) Ironically, the film was deemed so provocative that Hayden was not legally of age to see it when it opened in England. (For full report on the movie, see Cinema Retro issue #11)
Here's a regrettably grainy but ultra-rare shot from the Cinema Retro archive, circa June 1966. It depicts a chance meeting of two major spy movie stars of that year, as Michael Caine bumped into George Segal on location in Berlin. Caine was reprising his Harry Palmer in Funeral in Berlin while Segal was shooting The Quiller Memorandum. Remember, every issue of our magazine edition is packed with rare photos and production ads you've never seen, so subscribe today!
The year was 1957 when rising sex symbol Sophia Loren fell victim to notorious up-stager Jayne Mansfield at a Beverly Hills dinner event. Mansfield was a camera hog who didn't let her limited talents discourage her from trying to steal the limelight from every other female sex symbol. Sophia's expression speaks volumes.
Click here for rare images of Steve Mcqueen taken in 1963 for magazine by photographer John Dominis. They show the moody star relaxing at home with his wife and son. McQueen right at the cusp of major stardom with the release that year of The Great Escape.
Click here to check out some very rare candids of actress Sean Young on the set of Ridley Scott's 1980s sci-fi classic Blade Runner. They are quite remarkable and give the impression the cast and crew might have actually enjoyed the grueling experience of making the film. Certainly Harrison Ford did not, despite the amusing photo shown here. Ford locked horns with Scott during filming and considered the movie to be a very unpleasant experience.
Reader William Burge kindly provided these two rare photos from the 1965 premiere of The Greatest Story Ever Told, produced and directed by George Stevens. The photo shows the Warner Cinerama Theatre as well as Charlton Heston and his wife Lydia, arriving at the premiere on February 15. Heston portrayed John the Baptist in the film.
Cinema Retro contributor Sheldon Hall recently found this original ad for the 1960 London opening of The Magnificent Seven. Curiously, with all the star power and up-and-coming stars, the ad doesn't depict any of the actors! James Coburn and Brad Dexter don't even rate being mentioned in the credits!
Here's sexy Beverly Adams in the little-remembered 1966 comedy Birds Do It starring Soupy Sales. Adams' career was short-lived. She married Vidal Sassoon in 1967 and went on to use the Sassoon name to launch a line of pet care products and books. Adams, a Canadian native, appeared in a number of 60s movies, playing the role of sexy Lovely Kravezit in the first three Matt Helm films starring Dean Martin. She also appeared in Winter-A-Go-Go and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini before going into self-imposed retirement to raise her family.
There is no greater evidence of how clueless major studio executives were in the late 1960s when it came to recognizing the potential of young talent. In the same year that Jack Nicholson emerged from B movies and scored universal praise (and an Oscar nomination) in Easy Rider, Paramount could think of nothing else to do with him but to cast him in a supporting role in the big budget musical disaster On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, starring Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand. Making matters worse, the studio was so unimpressed with Nicholson, that they cut all but one of his scenes - including his musical number. (Hmmm...the thought of Nicholson warbling in anything other than a comic mode, makes us think that somebody at Paramount exercised some good judgment!)
Another gem from the limitless files of the Cinema Retro Archive! If you think its a fairly new trend for anxious movie fans to go to extremes to get opening day tickets to a specific movie, think again. This student from Southern Methodist University in Dallas decided to camp overnight to ensure his fraternity brothers were able to get the first tickets to go on sale for the Burton-Taylor epic Cleopatra in 1963. The irony of the film's fate is that it was one of the highest grossing movies in history and should have been a blockbuster, but it was compromised by horrendous cost over-runs. (Note the posters on the wall for Jackie Gleason's Pappa's Delicate Condition.)
It's one of the all time great comedies, and certainly the biggest in scope. Stanley Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was the first Cinerama production to use a single lens format instead of three separate cameras. The star-packed comedy epic was a world wide hit. Here is a rare ad from its opening engagement in London.
This is old-fashioned marketing from 1963. The Fine Arts Theatre in Los Angeles hired two young women to ride around on scooters in front of the theater to promote Jessica, a new film starring up-and-coming starlet Angie Dickinson as a free spirited girl with a penchant for driving a scooter. If you're old enough to remember these types of promotional techniques, you probably also remember "Ladies Nights" where female patrons were given free dish ware (we're not kidding!)
Here are two golden oldie lobby cards from the superb 1964 British film Zulu starring Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson. (If you're a Cinema Retro regular, we won't insult you by discussing what the main plot of the film is about!).
thought you might like the attached picture of a classic drive-in movie
marquee from the early 60s. The beautiful lady is actress Jan
Shepard, posing with her classic 50s sports car. As best as I've ever
been able to tell, Third of a Man appears to be a lost film. Neither
Jan Shepard nor James Drury have any idea what happened to the film, and
apparently the now-deceased director had no idea either.
Retro responds: Thanks so much, Martin.....great photo. It was obviously taken at the drive-in located in Van Nuys, California in 1962. Our research shows that Third of a Man is indeed a little-known film, created for the bottom of double-bills. However, it was released by a major studio, United Artists and afforded a rare starring role for the great character actor Simon Oakland, which makes us want to see it even more.
Wende Wagner was 23 years old when she got the role of an Indian maiden in the 1964 western Rio Conchos. Wagner dabbled in acting for several years, married and divorced Robert Mitchum's son James and made her last big screen appearance in Guns of the Magnificent Seven in 1969. Oh, her measurements came in at 36-22-35 - not that we took any notice.
Football superstar Jim Brown made his screen debut co-starring with Wende Wagner, Stuart Whitman, Richard Boone and Tony Franciosa in Rio Conchos. Did you know the film was a semi-remake of the 1961 John Wayne western The Comancheros, which also starred Whitman? For our tribute to Jim Brown ("The First Black Action Hero") see Cinema Retro issue #4. For full coverage of Rio Conchos, see Nicholas Anez' extensive article in Cinema Retro issue #20.
RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST FEATURES FROM THE CINEMA RETRO ARCHIVE
This feature puts the spotlight on those glorious old movie marquees. This one depicts the
Loew's Capitol theater on the evening of the New York premiere of The Dirty Dozen in June 1967 at the Loews Capitol.
Do you have any photos of vintage movie marquees? If so, E mail them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org Continue reading to see vintage marquees for Steve McQueen's The War Lover and Requiem for a Heavyweight starring Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason.
One of our favorite tough cop movies is John Sturges' 1974 thriller, McQ with John Wayne in the title role as a maverick Seattle P.D. detective who is being framed for drug smuggling. The film is several notches above most of the Dirty Harry clones of the era, thanks to an excellent script and a solid supporting cast for Wayne to spar with. We were intrigued with this publicity still showing McQ rousting the pimp "Rosie", played by Roger. E. Mosley because it doesn't appear in the final cut. The fact that the scene ended up in the press kit photos indicates it must have been cut at the last minute. In the film, Wayne harasses Rosie on a couple of occasions to get confidential information about the corrupt cops who are framing him. In the cut sequence, unless Duke and Mosley are engaging in some unlikely male bonding, McQ appears to have infiltrated Rosie's apartment to lay some heat on him. As with all of our Unseen Scenes, one hopes that this footage still exists in a studio vault and that it may someday see the light of day on DVD.
Here's a 1972 marketing ploy that you have to say is unique: pairing the exploitation horror film Blacula with the appropriately-named Jim Brown action pic Slaughter - and promoting the pair as perfect for the Christmas/New Year's season. After all, what says "Peace on Earth" more than a blood-sucking fiend who rises from the dead and a gut-busting, sex-obsessed private dick who takes no prisoners?
We all know that every blockbuster movie inspires a tidal wave of low rent imitators, but this ad from the Cinema Retro vault illustrates one of the more laughable rip-offs. Released in 1973, The Godchildren attempted to imitate the sheer power of The Godfather - but somehow putting a contract out on a guy who wears flower-decorated muumuu shirts seems more like a public service.
This 1980 trade magazine ad extolled the new technology of Dolby technology which would go on to revolutionize the experience of watching movies. Given George Lucas' creative input into the Dolby sound systems, it shouldn't be surprising that the advertisement features a theater marquee showing the recently-released The Empire Strikes Back, shown here in Dolby sound and in 70mm. Ah, 70mm- those were the days...
In 1964 Clint Eastwood and his Rawhide co-star Paul Brinegar visited the legendary Palisades Amusement Park in Ft. Lee, New Jersey and posed for this publicity photo. The photo is among many artifacts relating to the late, great amusement park that are on display in an exhibit hosted by the Fort Lee Museum through January 2012. Click here for more
Reader Mitch O'Connell sent us this doozy of a shot showing the old Liberty movie theater on 42nd Street in Times Square in 1989. The film was showing Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects a Charles Bronson Xerox of his other trashy cop movies of this era. Sadly at this point in his career, these theaters were about the only venues that still drew enthusiastic audiences for his films. The photo perfectly illustrates Gotham at its dingiest. 42nd Street had always been an addictive place to visit because of its inherent tastelessness but by the mid 80s the explosion of crack cocaine had turned "42 Deuce" into a very dangerous place. The area is not even recognizable today in that the dingy movie palaces have been replaced by state of the art theaters and restaurants. As someone who spent an unhealthy amount of time as a teenager watching old movies and porn flicks in these urine-stained filth pits, I can't say I don't have some fond memories. It was like a Disneyland designed by the Marquis de Sade. The dangerous atmosphere, abundance of perverts, druggies, live sex shows, white supremicists, black supremicists, religious loons, prostitutes and crackpots made for an intoxicating blend that you couldn't find anywhere else. Most kids had to just read about this Forbidden Zone but if you lived in or near the city you could live it. There's no denying New York is a much better place today, but I still have a fondness for that bygone era.That may sound crazy, but anyone who basically grew up on these means streets between the 1960s and 1980s knows exactly what I mean. Nevertheless, even cleaned-up New York is still the greatest city in the world.
The wonderful web site Starlet Showcase ceased to be updated almost a year ago. Fortunately, their treasure trove of wonderful vintage movie photos are still on-line to be enjoyed by all. Click here to check out their photos of sexy female stars on the telephone.