Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gem

Locale: Panquitch, high plains, one-horse town
in southern Utah.
POV: The Gem, movie-theater,
closed.
Above the marquee
A sign: recent,
neo-psychedelic, illuminated once.
The trim: spare, probably original,
a pathetic attempt at Alhambrian,
a failure at disguising the
bare-essential shoe-box design.

Doors: closed for good now,
though empty frames for posters and lobbies
still stare blank-eyed
into the VistaVision of a classic western sunset.
People watch movies on small screens now,
as RKO and MGM are filtered out of the air
through channels with other initials,
and from which it is easier to walk away.















The time: late October, almost Halloween.
Pan across Main Street to where:
a boy
constructs a spider web of rope
on his front porch
and tiny affable ghosts flutter
in the branches of a scrawny tree
in his front yard,
puppetmoths erratically animated
by the chilly evening winds
rummaging over the plains
from Bryce and the mountains.

His naive solitary quest for fantasy
in a bleak wintry world
tells me he would have loved
The Gem in its prime,
would probably have been seduced by (or in) it.
Now he weaves his own arachnid dreams,
delicate but strong as rope,
and probably more binding,
while the Gem watches with sightless eyes,
casting myriad musical reverberations
into the vast skies over Panquitch,
transiently Technicolored,
wider
even than
CinemaScope.

                                        Ross Care

Poem & Photo COPYRIGHT 2010 by Ross Care 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tony PERKINS Just SINGS




Most people know Tony Perkins, the actor. For better and/or worse, the actor who played Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO.

























But during the 1050s Perkins, like several other young actors of the period, also had a career as a singer (and aspiring teen age heartthrob). 

Though he did not make musical films he appeared on Broadway in Frank Loesser's musical GREENWILLOW. 

He did perform a few songs in his dramatic films, including the title song in  
GREEN MANSIONS.

+++++++++++++++ 

I did a music column for SCARLET STREET, The Magazine of Mystery and Horror, for several years.  Here is a RECORD RACK I wrote on Tony Perkins' secondary career as a singer and recording artist. He recorded mostly for RCA Victor but had one early LP on Epic. The photo on the first page is from this Epic album.

Please CLICK on page graphics to ENLARGE and ZOOM in for easier READING

Thanks. 




Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

CINEMAS of the World: Stony Brook Drive-In
















Old Lincoln Highway,
east of York, Pennsylvania 
(closed/demolished circa 2004)

PHOTOGRAPHS COPYRIGHT 2010 by Ross Care 
For more photos see my FLICKr album:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39527581@N07/sets/72157624231889083/

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

DEEP IN MY HEART: MGM's ROMBERG Story




Composer: SIGMUND ROMBERG (Songs), Various Lyricists

Rhino MGM Download; TT: 24 tracks (stereo) 

Performed: MGM Soloists, Studio Orchestra & Chorus , Conductor/Music Supervisor: Adolph Deutsch Arrangers: Alexander Courage, Hugo Friedhofer, Robert Tucker (vocals).


Deep In My Heart (1954) is one of the last big all-star musicals from MGM, and also the last of their (in)famous musical biographies, in this case one freely adapted from the life of Sigmund Romberg (and a biography of the same title).

Like its predecessors (Words And Music/Rodgers and Hart, Till the Clouds Roll By/Jerome Kern, etc.) it also showcases a broad cross section of the composer’s hits and rarities performed by most of the stars still lingering in the MGM heavens.

The real Romberg was born in Europe and became one of the most successful American operetta composers of the early 20th century. He moved uneasily into musical comedy in the ‘30s and ‘40s, though many of his operetta favorites (such as “Lover, Come Back to Me”) had a contemporary edge which allowed them to remain popular standards into the Big Band era. Like many film composer émigrés, Romberg was able to fuse Old World lyricism and schmaltz with American popular appeal. He also had a long-standing connection with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Several of his operettas (The New Moon, Maytime) provided hit vehicles for Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in the ‘30s, and in the ‘50s MGM remade his most famous work, The Student Prince, in CinemaScope.

Also like many film composers, Romberg had a secondary career as a recording artist. Thus RCA Victor released their own “Deep In My Heart” album with Romberg’s own recordings at the time of the MGM release.

Deep In My Heart, produced by MGM’s renaissance music man, Rodger Edens, stars Jose Ferrer (who looks nothing like the portly composer) as Romberg, and ex-Wagnerian soprano, Helen Traubel, as his platonic but supportative lady friend, Anna Mueller. There is also the obligatory transfusion of romantic interest, but anything resembling a plot is subsidiary to the on-going musical numbers that provide the substance of both film and this new “download only” Rhino soundtrack.

MGM Records originally released Deep In My Heart as a deluxe boxed LP (MGM E3153), a packaging format later followed by their Ben Hur and Mutiny on the Bounty releases. But like most of the MGM musical STs of the era, numbers were cut and edited to fit the track timing demands of the period. This new Rhino edition provides all the musical numbers in complete versions, plus a few incidental cues and out takes, and all in true stereo.

The angular Ferrer comes off as just rather odd as Romberg, especially in a virtuoso, if bizarre number in which he performs a one-man version of one of his shows (“Jazzadadadoo Medley”) to impress (?) his society sweetheart (Doe Avedon).

However, the still golden-voiced Traubel is appealing and versatile, able to turn “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise”  - is there any other kind? – into a moving art song at one moment, then launch into an obscure bit of ersatz ragtime called “Leg of Mutton” with equal conviction.

But all this still leaves lots of room for a roll call of Romberg show excerpts performed by the likes of Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Ann Miller, Vic Damone, Rosemary Clooney, William Olvis, and Tony Martin, right down to Gene Kelly and his brother, Fred.

Miller has one of her best production numbers with the frantic “It,” a lesser-known Romberg excursion into the Jazz Age. (Note the costumes recycled from Singing in the Rain).


Dancers Cyd Charisse and James Mitchell perform a sensual “One Alone” from the popular Desert Song. While Charisse is voice-doubled by Carole Richards (who dubs Newman’s “Resurrection Song” in The Robe), no vocals are necessary to get the erotic charge emphatically across in this opulently staged and lushly arranged/orchestrated production number.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ydq8Ko5xeIE/SELf9o9_R3I/AAAAAAAABVI/76mNDc4ywEk/s400/Image+2.jpg

 Cyd Charisee in The Desert Song sequence.

But then a spacious stereo mix and composer Adolph Deutsch’s conducting beautifully enhance all the lush orchestrations by Alexander Courage and Hugo Friedhofer. While I miss the detailed, informative liner notes that came with the Rhino CD releases, downloading seems like a convenient and effective process and I hope more new MGM releases will be forthcoming.

And who knows, perhaps the entire catalog of MGM musicals (including such less familiar titles as Deep In My Heart) may eventually be available in this format as well.

Into the future and perhaps bring on Jupiter's Darling!

Ross Care

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jack Giant Killer Whoops It Up

This may be carrying trivia too far, but why not?

I recently unearthed my old VHS tape of JACK THE GIANT KILLER, THE MUSICAL (from the very early days of the Disney Channel back in Lancaster, Pa.) The original GIANT KILLER (1962) is a variation on the popular Ray Harryhausen  stop-motion Dynamation films of the era. Stars Kerwin Mathews, Torin Thatcher, and director Nathan Juran also add to the 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958) ambiance. Jim Danforth helped with stop motion efx in JACK.


     Hung Up: Torin Thatcher and Kerwin Mathews in the original film. The handsome, soft-spoken Mathews was introduced in Columbia's FIVE AGAINST THE HOUSE, a noir classic currently released on DVD.

Leonard Maltin's 2001 Movie & Video Guide comments: "Marvelous Fantascope special efx make this costume adventure yarn (in the SINBAD tradition) great fun. 

"BEWARE reissue which was dubbed into an ersatz musical!"

The "ersatz" musical make-over is credited as
“Music Processes Produced by Edwin Picker and Moose Charlap”

Charlap is also credited with the (new) original score and partial lyrics.

Picker is also credited as Editor, and Sandy Stewart as co-lyricist.


The original (original 1962) score was by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter whose really excellent work on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA was finally released in a previously unheard soundtrack CD version by Film Score Monthly a few years ago.

 The Mirror Cracks as Judi Meredith turns from scarlet temptress back into nice peasant girl.

+++++++ 

Whoop Up! 

Charlap is probably best-known for another cult (and not so ersatz) musical, the notorious WHOOP-UP, the score of which includes “Love Eyes” with the great lyric (by Norman Gimbel):

“Love Eyes (I mean you)
You and them Levis,
You’ve been eyein’ me since you walked in.
Your glances speed my heart and heat my skin.”

Not to mention:
“My lipstick’s wet
And waitin’ for your smear....”

Aside from the definitive Connie Francis delivery of this hot number, the Polydor CD  re-issue of the original MGM Records Original Cast album (circa 1988) has nine other bonus tracks. These include Charlap and Gimbel’s virtuoso performance of “Men,” the style of which seems have inspired most of Robert Preston’s numbers in THE MUSIC MAN. Curious.

Charlap also contributed a few songs to the Mary Martin PETER PAN.

There’s probably a lot more to say about WHOOP UP and JACK THE GIANT KILLER, but never mind. 

Ross Care 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

LINK: 


HOME
Whoop-Up SEARCHSearch Page
Music:  Moose Charlap
 Lyrics:  Norman Gimbel
Book:  Dan Cushman, Cy Feuer, Ernest H. Martin
Premiere:   Monday, December 22, 1958
Shubert Theatre, (New York)      Performances:  56


Original Broadway Cast (CD)
 
Recording year:  1958
Language:  English
Label:  Polydor 837196
Length:  74:51
Tracks:  28
Conductor:  Stanley Lebowsky
show Singer List
show Song List
Album Cover

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Unsinkable Maybe, But Not Quite Titanic

 The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Rhino MGM Musical Scores:
THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN: Songs: Meredith Willson
Arrangements/Orchestrations:  Leo Arnaud, with Alexander Courage, Leo Shuken, Jack Hayes
CD released Nov. 21, 2000 

Rhino Handmade R 2 72465, 28 tracks (stereo)  Excellent production, so so songs.
Producer: George Feltenstein, Performed: MGM Soloists, Studio Orchestra & Chorus, Conductor: Robert Armbruster

The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) is based on the musical by Meredith Willson.  The Broadway version was the follow-up to Willson’s The Music Man, and, though it had a respectable run, was considered something of a letdown after the phenomenal 1957 success  of Willson’s first show.

Nonetheless Molly Brown became one of the last of the big MGM musicals, directed by veteran  Charles Walters and arranged by several surviving members of the studio’s celebrated  musical unit.

The lengthy film is also a product of the shift in Broadway musical adaptations that came with the end of the studio era and the emergence of  what I call the “behemoth” Broadway movie musical, a genre launched by such films as West Side Story (1961)  in which every grace note and fermata of the original score was transferred to film, overloading the movie versions to epic, but often tedious proportions.

Amazingly, MGM did not follow this trend with Molly Brown. As they did with On the Town, Brigadoon, and other adaptations, the studio blithely tossed out much of the Broadway score  and produced a movie that actually moves. (The spectacular location shooting is the way Seven Brides for Seven Brothers should have been filmed!)

The fact-inspired script is based on the life of Molly Brown, a poor Colorado backwoods girl who got rich and fought her way into wealthy (and snobbish) Denver society.  (Her story is also hinted at in James Cameron’s Titanic, the “unsinkable” Molly becoming the determined heroine of one of the doomed ship’s lifeboats).

Debbie Reynolds aggressively tears into the role of Molly, replacing Broadway’s more elfin Tammy Grimes. Harve Presnell was maintained from the Broadway original. Many of Willson’s songs were also dropped, with “I Ain’t Down Yet,” and “Belly Up To The Bar, Boys” and "I'll Never Say No To You" the main survivors. Reynolds gives  her all to these numbers, but also has the annoying habit of half-speaking the opening phrases, which somewhat negates  the melodic impact of the two best tunes in the score. 

Big Voice, Big Man 
Not so with Presnell, a power baritone who can still be heard on the CD reissue of  Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Philadelphia Orchestra (and who was recently seen in Fargo). MGM obviously considered Presnell a successor  to Nelson Eddy and Howard Keel in the studio’s roster of leading music men. And indeed he could have been if the classic movie musical had not been on the way out about the time of Molly Brown. (Presnell’s  next film co-starred Herman’s Hermits and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs!)

FILE - In this 1969 file photo, Harve Presnell is shown at the ...

Harve in 1969 at the premiere of the film of Paint Your Wagon.

At any rate, Presnell  is given the movie debut of a lifetime as the camera loving examines every virile, tight jean-clad  inch of him in his opening number, “Colorado My Home”. After seeing this introduction it is perhaps not surprising to learn that director Walters was, for the period, a relatively out-of-the-closet gay man. (See William J. Mann's Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood).

And for a graphic example of how Hollywood could pound anyone into peak shape compare the sexy cinematic Harve to the photos of a rather dumpy Presnell in the Capitol original cast album that was one of a few OCs that also included a copy of the original theatrical program.

 

http://cdn3.ioffer.com/img/item/141/129/311/GerE.jpg

Molly Brown original Shubert Theatre Broadway program. 
The show starred the delightful Tammy Grimes and Presnell.

Willson wrote one new tune for the film, “He’s My Friend,” which, along with “Belly Up,” provide the film’s major production numbers, and some of the last great MGM dance sequences, some of which feature Broadway dancer Grover Dale in one of his few film appearances. Rhino includes all the energetic dance music, as well as the film’s many underscore cues, some adapted from the Broadway score.

Rhino’s 2000 restoration  is a pleasant souvenir of one of the last of the big MGM Silver Age musicals, and the profuse underscoring is an especially appealing reminder of the studio’s brilliant arrangements and orchestral sound.
   
Ross Care

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Raksin/Friedhofer CD ST Double Bill

THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER (1956)

  • Imagen de THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER (1956)
"If you want to see Mamie tonight..."
           Jane Russell as the volatile Ms. Stover.

David Raksin HILDA CRANE / Hugo Friedhofer THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER

Orchestrations: CRANE, Edward Powell, STOVER: Earle Hagen – Intrada Special Collection Volume 31, TT: 72.22, 30 tracks (stereo)  Highest Rating

Producer: Nick Redman Performed: 20th Century-Fox Orchestra  Conductor: CRANE: Alfred Newman, STOVER: Lionel Newman


Here Intrada brings us a double-feature premiere of two lesser-known scores from the middle period (1956) 20th Century-Fox CinemaScope era.  

Hilda Crane is melodrama about a young divorced woman (Jean Simmons) whose return to her college hometown  sets local tongues wagging. The Revolt of Mamie Stover is about an even more liberated heroine who is kicked out of San Francisco on the eve of World War II and, in the wake of Pearl Harbor, makes her fortune in a Honolulu bordello (toned down to a “dance hall” for the film version of the original novel).

Both scores (like many of the era) might be described as populuxe, a term recently coined for the new brand of lush post-war style designed for the newly affluent, eagerly consumerist America of the 1950s. David Raksin is probably best known for his 1940s work at Fox, including his celebrated Laura. After a curiously perky (for a melodrama) Main Title his score for Hilda Crane is a kind of subtle rhapsody for strings and soloists (including reeds, violin/cello, and a silky alto sax). The style is hauntingly melodic, but in an elusive way, and there are no “big” (or obvious) tunes, but lots of beautifully crafted lines and modulations.

Many cues are concentrated and you wish some had more time to develop, but all in all Crane is a score that grows more appealing with each hearing. It’s also a prime example of that seamless fusion of concert and pop modes that only Hollywood and its composers could bring off so effortlessly.

http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/images/cd/large/Hilda_Crane_Intrada_31.jpg

In 2005 I saw a pristine CinemaScope print of The Revolt of Mamie Stover at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood where I enjoyed Hugo Friedhofer’s score in its original theatrical stereophonic mode  (and a personal appearance by star Jane Russell herself).

Friedhofer’s pop-oriented but varied Stover is a fine contrast to Raksin’s more refined Crane. It opens with a bluesy Main Title, the melody of which is developed throughout the film. There’s also a lilting, waltz-like love theme that is sometimes linked to a brief yearning motif in strings for when things get serious.

In keeping with the period and setting much of the score emphasizes an authentic ‘40s big band/jazz sound, and several dance hall numbers are included. “If You Wan’na See Mamie Tonight” (by Hollywood hit makers Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster) is a slyly humorous tune performed in a semi-camp tango mode by a male chorus. (“Fellows who try to resist ought to hire a psy-chi-a-trist.”) It’s also heard in a dynamically authentic period swing arrangement.

“Keep Your Eyes on the Hands” (by Mary Tobin and Tony Todaro) is performed (in mono) by Jane Russell, a talented and under-rated vocalist who also recorded both numbers on a Capitol single at the time of the film’s release. Another rather camp moment is a tiki lounge version of the old Fox number, “Sing Me A Song of the Islands”. (This score has everything!)

However, Friedhofer’s casually sexy orchestral cues are the main attraction, very coolly performed by the celebrated Fox strings backing up an assortment of slick jazz soloists, just as Raksin’s Hilda Crane soloists weave in and out of a more posh carpet of velvety strings and harp. Both scores represent that unique populuxe sound that nobody did better than Hollywood in the 1950s, and nobody in Hollywood did better than Fox (and MGM). Both are unusual and welcome re-issues, but to me any new Friedhofer release is always special.



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vinyl, Vinyl























Overflowing Record Rack, Ventura, California

Top: Kenyon Hopkins' LILITH soundtrack, original Colpix Records stereo LP.

On Floor: Original green label RCA original cast mono LP of Harold Rome's musical WISH YOU WERE HERE.

Monday, March 29, 2010

GENE KELLY Retrospective, American Cinematheque, Santa Monica













March 25/March 28, 2010,
AERO Theatre,
Santa Monica, CA.
Above Photo by Ross Care 


So great to see those tiles on a real marquee again... 


Patricia Ward Kelly, Kelly's third wife and widow, introduced several of the screenings.

Gene and Judy in The Pirate
I saw: THE PIRATE (1948) & BRIGADOON (1954), Thursday evening;

http://www.themovieness.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/on_the_town_01.jpg
ON THE TOWN (1949) & ANCHORS AWEIGH (1945), Sunday evening.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Disney Symphonic Legacy Concert

 
Photographs by Ross Care

Program for the October 20, 2009 Disney Symphonic Legacy concert,
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

Notes by Ross Care 
Please CLICK on program graphics: PAGES will ENLARGE. 

  

 





Frank Gehry's Lillian Disney Memorial Fountain,
Level Three Terrace 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

CALIFORNIA as Science Fiction 2

Self Portrait in Disney Hall wall, 
Los Angeles, February 21, 2010.

After hearing Ginastera, Ravel, and Stravinsky

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CINEMAS of the World: The Royal, Philadelphia, PA., USA

Marquee of the Royal Theater




I  remember when I used to come into Philly in the '70s I would park my car somewhere down and beyond South St., one of the few areas where you could park overnight in center city.

Thus I used to walk by the Royal Theatre on South Street quite often, on the way downtown in the evening and then staggering back the morning (or afternoon) after.

But always, always noting the black plastic letters gradually disappearing from the "Last of the Mobile Hot Shots" title. This late period (1970) Tennessee Williams film was apparently (and appropriately) the Royal's last film attraction.

Apparently the theater was never sold or rented and letters and words gradually slipped away until only a slight poignant suggestion of the title, only comprehensible to avid movie buffs, was left clinging to the neglected but still impressive marquee.

It seemed incredibly symbolic and touching to me at the time. (And still does).

Also especially meaningful because I had seen the original Tennessee Williams play, "The Seven Descents of Myrtle" with Estelle Parsons and Harry Guardino, during its March 1968 Philadelphia try-out. It played a few blocks over from the Royal at the Walnut Street Theatre.



The Royal also reminded me of Tennessee's audacious short story, "The Mysteries of the Joy Rio".

I never imagined I would ever see that poignant image again. But here it is from the collections of Temple University.

More about the Royal: http://digital.library.temple.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p15037coll3&CISOPTR=342&CISOBOX=1&REC=14

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cinemas of the World: LOEW's REGENT Theatre, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA



Loew’s REGENT Theatre, at 410 Market Street, was the Harrisburg chapter of the national Loew’s chain of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer “flagship” theaters.

These photographs show Loew's after it closed around 1960. Both shots look down Market St. towards Market Square.  

In the above the large building is Pomeroy's department store. Beyond Pomeroy's is Doutrich's, a clothing store (vertical sign), Bowman's, another department store, and beyond Bowman's (not visible) Woolworth's five-and-dime.  The Colonial Theatre (also not visible here) was at 3rd and Market Streets.

The large photo below shows Loew's from the same POV but closer. The theater was housed in a row of old buildings which included a bar, a dry cleaner, a novelty/gag shop (which kids of the era loved), and a photography/art store. There was a parking lot which is partially seen to the far right in the above photo. The Harrisburg train station was (and is) across and set back from this Market St. block.

In its prime Loew's  Regent was the first-run Harrisburg theater for most of MGM’s prolific output of period epics, musicals (such as "Brigadoon") , and melodramas, as well the studio’s series of often well-produced B-movie and noir programmers (such as "Rogue Cop"). 

But Loew's also showed the occasional oddball independent picture. I saw  both Lippert’s unforgettable “Rocketship X-M’’ as well as “Bwana Devil,” the infamous first 3-D feature, at the Regent. 


Otto Preminger's controversial "The Man With the Golden Arm." "An Adult Picture" as the newspaper ad warned, also played there in February, 1956.

Loew's opened in 1920. But, a victim of the 1950s trust busting that forever altered the production/distribution/exhibition system of studio era Hollywood, the Regent was razed in 1961. 

More about Loew's REGENT Theatre: http://cinematreasures.org/theater/31814/ 


Monday, February 15, 2010

Cinemas of the World: The Penway, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA























The Penway Theatre, 18th and State Streets, Harrisburg, PA.
Circa 1946/1947. 
Photo by Ross J. Care

++++++++++++++ 

The Penway was on the corner of 18th & State Streets in Harrisburg, Pa. State Street was the "grand boulevard" of the capitol city and ran from the impressive State Street Memorial Bridge at the capitol buildings complex to the edge of Reservoir Park.

My family lived on Liberty Street, one block down from the theater. It was the first neighborhood I lived in and the first movie theater I attended.

A later screening of ON THE TOWN at the Penway was the start of my lifelong interest in writing about film and vintage movie theaters. My mother, Edithe, and I are seen at the end of the line waiting to see another MGM musical. (Note that, among an all-star cast, Lucille Bremer is given co-star billing).

More about the Penway:
http://cinematreasures.org/theater/31805/ 

I wrote about the Penway and the other Harrisburg theaters I grew up loving (and losing) in my first article for the Library of Congress. The above photograph, circa 1946/1947, by my father, is reproduced on the first page of this article. The article also includes what photos I could find of other downtown and neighborhood Harrisburg theaters and movie stills and graphics from the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound collections of the Library of Congress.

PERFORMING ARTS ANNUAL, 1986, Iris Newsom, editor, The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 1986. ISBN: 0-8444-0533-7

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The RIO: Cinemas of the World But No Longer in This World

The Rio Theater, 
323 Walnut St., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

The Rio began life in 1908 as the Majestic,  a venue for vaudeville, traveling shows, and occasional legitimate theater. It also served as a concert hall. 

Barely surviving during the Depression the Majestic interspersed films with live entertainment until 1938 when it converted to first-run motion pictures. As the Rio it booked quality films until (circa) the late 1940s when it gradually declined into a mecca for double-feature B pictures, serials, and westerns (as illustrated in the photo.

The Rio was razed in 1955 and Harrisburg's Strawberry Square now occupies most of the block across from Capitol Park where this beautiful and historic structure once stood.

You can read more about the Rio at this excellent website:

http://cinematreasures.org/theater/31738/ 

Monday, February 8, 2010

CINEMAS of the World: Drive-In Ads, Harrisburg, PA.

An ad for two drive-ins in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Circa 1954. Even drive-ins had converted to wide-screen CinemaScope by the mid-1950s.
But you didn't get "The Wonder of Stereophonic Sound" as promised in the RIVER OF NO RETURN ad. (But there still were Cartoon Carnivals).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

RIP James Mitchell 1920-2010

  The image “http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2010-01/51826471.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


"All My Children" may have paid the bills but dancer/actor James Mitchell should be most remembered for his on-screen dancing: for his sensitive dancing/acting as Curly in the spectacular dream ballet from OKLAHOMA, and for his erotically charged duo with Cyd Charisse in the MGM Sigmund Romberg bio film DEEP IN MY HEART, to the song "One Alone" from Romberg's THE DESERT SONG.

He also played a mute slave devoted to Edmund Purdom in MGM's THE PRODIGAL.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-james-mitchell25-2010jan25,0,6228341.story


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqs-by5hi2E

Friday, January 1, 2010

Frolic in the New Year




















Frolic Room, Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA.
                         Happy New Year, 2010        

                                                                          Photo COPYRIGHT 2010 by Ross CARE