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Old 06-10-2017, 08:10 PM
Reddy Mercury Reddy Mercury is offline
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What was seeing a movie like in the 1960s-1970s?

What was it like to see a movie in the 1960s or 1970s? I've seen a photograph circa 1958 of my local movie theater and it seems like theaters only played two movies at most at a time - is this true? In the photo I've seen, the billboard only lists two films. How big of an experience was seeing a new movie prior to Jaws? What I mean is, was there anything like the concept of a blockbuster picture prior to Jaws? How wide was the selection at a movie theater say prior to 1975?

How did word travel about new movies? Were trailers a thing - and did movie trailers play on TV at home if so?

Also, a side question but how big were the James Bond films in the 1960s to early 1970s with your parents if you recall. I'm curious if my grandad (who I never met, who was born in 1920 and died in 1975) might have been into them.

My parents do not remember a lot of the 1960s or 1970s at all and so I'm curious about a world I never go to experience.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:27 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Before "Jaws," "The Poseidon Adventure," was the big blockbuster and ushered in the disaster film craze ("Gone With the Wind" had made more money, but had been re-released a bazillion times.).

We had these things called, um, newspapers (?) in the '60s and '70s. Big print ads; charts full of listings--a movie ran longer than 2 weeks. There were theaters that were so huge (and had balconies), you could chop them up into a quad-plex and still have leftover space.

Can't help you with J. Bond, my folks were not movie-goers (occasional drive-in with a back seat full of kids; once was a Matt Helm film--pretty racy.).

Last edited by burpo the wonder mutt; 06-10-2017 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:53 PM
Saintly Loser Saintly Loser is offline
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Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
There were theaters that were so huge (and had balconies), you could chop them up into a quad-plex and still have leftover space.
And they had smoking sections! The good old days. . .
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:59 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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And they had smoking sections! The good old days. . .
Sometimes there was a curtain that was opened at the start of the film and closed at the end. Occasionally, a BIG curtain.

Last edited by burpo the wonder mutt; 06-10-2017 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:05 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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And they had smoking sections! The good old days. . .
Smoking sections? Folks who wanted to smoke just smoked in any old place, back then.

My parents weren't into Bond films, but I was. They were a thing, a popular one.

As others have noted, there were things back then called newspapers, which were widely available, and they had not only ads for coming attractions and lists of showtimes, but also reviews of movies, to help you decide which pic to see. The sunday edition of these newspapers usually carried extra info about the movie situation.

Duplex cinemas were just becoming a thing in the late 60's and early 70's. A movie house would have TWO SEPARATE THEATERS inside. It seemed extravagant, but it gave more choices. Some old move houses were refurbished to provide this same experience. There was some talk about building places with 3 screens, but that just seemed crazy.

Movies had trailers at the beginning, and also some cartoons. Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny were frequently featured. I even recall a few newsreels, but not real often anymore by the time my theater-going experience began.

They also had Drive Ins, but that's a whole separate experience. One I enjoyed a LOT more once I started dating.
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:12 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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How big of an experience was seeing a new movie prior to Jaws? What I mean is, was there anything like the concept of a blockbuster picture prior to Jaws?
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Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
Before "Jaws," "The Poseidon Adventure," was the big blockbuster and ushered in the disaster film craze ("Gone With the Wind" had made more money, but had been re-released a bazillion times.).
There was also The Exorcist. That was a huge hit when it came out in 1973 (two years before Jaws and four years before Star Wars).
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Old 06-11-2017, 12:48 AM
actualliberalnotoneofthose actualliberalnotoneofthose is offline
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We had these things called, um, newspapers (?) in the '60s and '70s. Big print ads; charts full of listings--a movie ran longer than 2 weeks.
Wow. We even had those in the late 1990s! I remember being asked on a date after a co-worker was reading a newspaper and saw that a movie she wanted to see was coming out. And then we went and she didn't even watch the movie!
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:37 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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What was it like to see a movie in the 1960s or 1970s? I've seen a photograph circa 1958 of my local movie theater and it seems like theaters only played two movies at most at a time - is this true? In the photo I've seen, the billboard only lists two films.
If I remember correctly, when I was a kid in the early 70s, all the theaters in town had just one screen (which would have made it confusing if they played two movies at the same time, though there may have been some double features). Eventually, some of them got reconfigured to add another screen(s), while others just closed. (By the way, your question inspired me to check Wikipedia to find out when multiplexes started becoming a thing.)

As I understand it, movie theaters in the old days were more likely to be downtown, and were more likely to be fancy and ornate and seat a lot of people (all in the same auditorium), and going to see a movie had more of the feel of attending live entertainment than it does today. Which I kind of miss.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:23 PM
Reddy Mercury Reddy Mercury is offline
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If I remember correctly, when I was a kid in the early 70s, all the theaters in town had just one screen (which would have made it confusing if they played two movies at the same time, though there may have been some double features). Eventually, some of them got reconfigured to add another screen(s), while others just closed. (By the way, your question inspired me to check Wikipedia to find out when multiplexes started becoming a thing.)

As I understand it, movie theaters in the old days were more likely to be downtown, and were more likely to be fancy and ornate and seat a lot of people (all in the same auditorium), and going to see a movie had more of the feel of attending live entertainment than it does today. Which I kind of miss.
Where I live (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn) we at one time (in the 1950s-1970s) had MANY movie theaters within a just say a two to three mile radius. I can think of three off the top of my head. Of those three, only one exists. There were probably more. For whatever reason, this area was, until the late 1970s, a haven for movie theaters.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:27 PM
Reddy Mercury Reddy Mercury is offline
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I can't find the 57 pic, but this is a circa '70 shot of the one surviving neighborhood theatre:
http://photos.cinematreasures.org/pr...jpg?1316656307

This was another theatre, which closed in 1963:
http://photos.cinematreasures.org/pr...jpg?1313624121

One part of the theater is now Rite Aid Pharmacy, the corner is a McDonalds, and the upper floor is a gym.

Last edited by Reddy Mercury; 06-10-2017 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:41 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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First of all, the stadium seating that's common today was unknown, so the person in front of you was at eye level. So if you were a kid and some basketball player sat in front of you, this was a problem. Second, if you wanted to know what was playing and when, you could check the newspaper (most of the theaters had display ads listing the movies they were showing and the show times) or you could call the theater. I remember that they would have a taped announcement of the movies and show times that you could listen to.
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:38 PM
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First of all, the stadium seating that's common today was unknown, so the person in front of you was at eye level. So if you were a kid and some basketball player sat in front of you, this was a problem. Second, if you wanted to know what was playing and when, you could check the newspaper (most of the theaters had display ads listing the movies they were showing and the show times) or you could call the theater. I remember that they would have a taped announcement of the movies and show times that you could listen to.
That really varies by the theater; as a kid we'd go to an out of the way theater in Sugarland rather than the SW Houston ones (Southway 6, Galleria, Town & Country, Gaylynn Theater (by Sharpstown), Westwood mall) that were often super-full, while our semi-rural one was not.

That old Sugarland theater had nearly stadium seating- it was surprisingly steep, and had an old-timey balcony and everything. It was built in the 1930s, I believe.

Anyway, the biggest difference between being a kid (1975-1985 for me) is that back then, you had to find a theater showing what you wanted to see- most were 4-6 screens, and didn't have every single movie. Second, the refreshment offerings were limited to a handful of candy options and popcorn in large part.

Beyond that, there wasn't much difference until you got into the late 1990s with megaplexes and Fandango/web listings. Until then, you had to look in the newspaper to see what was showing where and when.

(an aside; I think people under about 35 have no idea how dependent we were on newspapers back in the day. Just about everything you'd look up online- movie times, restaurant reviews, events, etc... was in the paper, not online.)
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Old 07-23-2017, 01:13 AM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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Honestly, I do not recall people smoking in the theaters. Maybe they did. But despite what people say about smoking everywhere, there were places it was banned.
I don't, either. This is in Chicago in the 60s and late 50s. I could be wrong, but I think that was covered by fire laws, not for the effects of tobacco smoke on others.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:49 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Movies are movies. Back in the mid-sixties, Mom would drop me off at one of the movie houses downtown (usually the Crest, although the California and Studio houses also got play) for the afternoon and I'd watch movies. Usually two, an A picture followed by a B picture. It kept me busy and out of trouble for 5 hours or so. I remember seeing my first movie boob when The Blue Max came out in '66. I was 11. No ratings back then, so I saw all sorts of stuff that later would be PG-13 at least, maybe soft R. If I recall correctly, the whole afternoon cost me $1.50, plus popcorn and a soda, so maybe another $.50.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:02 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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There were no smoking sections. Like everywhere, apart from open cavity surgery, smoking was accepted EVERYWHERE.

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Old 06-10-2017, 09:06 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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There were no smoking sections. Like everywhere, apart from open cavity surgery, smoking was accepted EVERYWHERE.

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The smoking section was usually in the balcony, wasn't it?
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:09 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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The smoking section was usually in the balcony, wasn't it?
That was the makeout section. Smoking happened everywhere in the theater.
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Old 06-11-2017, 03:11 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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And they had smoking sections!
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There were no smoking sections.
So, which was it?
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Old 06-11-2017, 04:37 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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So, which was it?
There was one smoking section, and it was the whole theater.
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Old 06-11-2017, 11:09 PM
jasg jasg is online now
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And they had smoking sections!
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There were no smoking sections.
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So, which was it?
I think it varied by locale. I moved from Pittsburgh to NorCal in 1974 and was amazed that smoking was allowed in theaters. It was banned in Pittsburgh (or PA?).
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:32 AM
kopek kopek is offline
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I think it varied by locale. I moved from Pittsburgh to NorCal in 1974 and was amazed that smoking was allowed in theaters. It was banned in Pittsburgh (or PA?).
Depended on the theater. The McKee and one whose name escapes me at the present in McKeesport asked you not to smoke during the movie but smoking was allowed at all times in the lobby. It was "by order of the fire department" and not for any health reasons. Some other varied as well from smoking allowed in the balconies to what film was being shown. I saw "Tommy" when it first came out at the theater near Rainbow Gardens (where it had been) and between pot and cigarette smoke it was almost tough to see the screen.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:09 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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TV commercial for "Willard" (1971); scared the living shit out of me. It was actually scarier than the movie.

ETA: Note the rating (GP).

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Old 06-10-2017, 09:42 PM
Periwinkle Periwinkle is offline
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TV commercial for "Willard" (1971); scared the living shit out of me. It was actually scarier than the movie.

ETA: Note the rating (GP).

Here's the one that scared the hell out of me (Beyond The Door)

https://youtu.be/QKqzFb0O_x0

The first movie I remember seeing in a cinema was "Love Story", that was a big hit in 1970. From what I remember the floor sloped up and there were comfortable padded chairs that flipped up, but I don't think there were cup holders. I remember the big velvet curtains that swept open at the beginning. I don't think there was any smoking, I don't remember it anyway.

There were lots of movie trailers on TV, and ads and features in the paper. Similar to today, many actors turned up on talk shows to promote their movies. I think fan magazines were a bigger thing back then too.

Last edited by Periwinkle; 06-10-2017 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Removed space
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:06 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Here's the one that scared the hell out of me (Beyond The Door)

https://youtu.be/QKqzFb0O_x0 <snip>
Didn't need to access the video, that's burned into my memory. Sweet Juliet ("Nanny and the Professor") Mills and her spinning head.

Had an English class in late '70s high school that would show us trailer reels. The whole 50 minutes! So cool! "The House That Dripped Blood, Blood, Blood, Blood..."
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:27 PM
steatopygia steatopygia is offline
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Here are some pics of a local theater that was restored in the '80s. There is a slope to the floor but nothing like in modern theaters.

The Panida was built in the '20s so is more of a multi-purpose building than some.
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:11 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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As far as the 60s went, not nearly as many movies were made when compared with today, there were far fewer distribution channels, and movies were reels of physically moving film that were expensive to reproduce and slow to deliver to theatres (think delivery by Greyhound), whereas new movies today are often digitally delivered and usually digitally displayed (regardless of whether they were filmed on film or filmed digitally), and home theatre has blown apart the distribution channels. This combination has made it far easier to get more movies to the markets and to juggle how long a movie will be shown before it is pulled to make a screen available other movies, particularly at multiplexes and megaplexes. In the 60's it was a heck of a lot easier to have a film come into town, show it for a few weeks (or significantly longer if it had been marketed as a hit), and replace it with another film, than it was to build multiple screens and multiply the delivery issues.

In the 60s and decades preceding it, if you wanted to watch a movie, you usually had to watch it when it was first distributed, for once it had been shown in your town, you might never have the chance to see it again. No downloading it off the internet. No ordering it on a DVD. No renting it from a videotape cassette store. What you had was your parents' or grandparent's memories of the single time they saw their favourite movie, or pictures and articles in magazines, or brief recollections mentioned on TV (and there was not that much TV compared to today either, if you put TV and online video into the same category of "stuff you can watch at home in your skivvies."

Up until 1948, the major studios pretty much controlled the production and distribution of movies, right down to the ownership or control of individual movie theatres. They limited the number of different movies and limited the number and frequency of each movie's run to maximize their profits per movie. This led early on to the building of large movie theatres that were large enough that everyone in town would be able to see a film before the end of it's run.

In the larger theatres, going to the movies was an event. Palace theatres were built, particularly in the 20s, that sat more than a thousand people in front of the big screen (which fostered filming in 70mm, which itself was usually higher resolution than 35mm -- think high definition rather than standard). They were so large and so grand that they were called palaces -- and they were the were palaces. Toronto's University Theatre had a two-story foyer and grand staircase, and it's hall with balcony sat over 1300 people -- and it wasn't even the largest or grandest palace in town, for Toronto's Odon Carleton sat over 2300 people, the main hall of the Elgin seats 1500, and directly on top of it, seven floors up, the Winter Garden seats nearly 1000. If you have not done so, go to an opening at a palace theatre, for the grandeur of the architecture and the excitement, tension, laughter, sobs of the huge crowd adds to an atmosphere in which a good movie will emotionally sweep away the people watching it.

By the 60's, the post-war trust busting, the migration from densely packed cities to moderately populated suburbs, and the nuclear family now being composed of a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a male dog and a TV (usually black and white, but with more and more people being able to afford colour), palace theatres had difficulty putting enough bums in enough seats, so they began to be chopped up. A palace theatre might be divided into two, thee or more theatres to take advantage of the ability to screen major release films from more than one studio.

Having a wider variety of movies and not having as many empty seats at an given screening toward the end of runs, led to making even smaller movie theatres in the 70s. When multiplexes took hold in the 70's in major urban markets, which made it possible to people to have a greater variety of movies to pick from, but greatly limited the ability to become totally immersed in the palace theatre experience.

The nadir was Toronto's Cineplex proto-megaplex. Instead of a royal foyer, palatial main hall, and a huge single screen being watched by an equally huge audience, there were 21 wee little screens tucked away in waste space underneath the Toronto Eaton's Centre 10 story parking lot, in which the size of the screen was dictated by the size of the waste space. The difference between the smallest of these "theatres" and today's home AV rooms is that the resolution was not as good (many more screens in the market resulted in further generations of copies of film, and you lose quality with every generation) and sound was not nearly as good. Rather than a moving communal experience that came with watching a film at a palace theatre, it was much more like a small-box, back-street porn theatre where in a booth with a wee screen and a dozen or so seats there are two or three men enjoying the communal experience of masturbating. Instead of being welcomed into a magnificent palace filled with a thousand fellow travellers, a screen as wide as Lawrence of Arabia's desert filmed in Super Panavision 70mm, and sound that made your bones move, you were now wandering the steam corridors under an urban parking lot to find a room with a wee screen, crappy sound, and a handful of other equally disappointed people. To add insult to injury, the proto-megaplex soon went over to having simultaneous screenings of the same few films rather than screening a different film in each booth. It was a place for incurious pococurantes.

The movie-theatre chains have continued to experiment with megaplexes that collectively seat more bums than palaces seat, and the more recent ones (particularly the 70 mm IMAX grade ones) have excellent projection and sound that would exceed that of the palaces of the 60s, albeit usually lacking the huge screens that do justice to 70mm width and resolution, and stadium seating so you can watch something other than the big American hair of the woman sitting in front of you. This can make for a very good viewing experience that also maximizes profits, but IMHO still does not meet the overall impact of being immersed in the big screen along with a thousand other people. To quote Herbert Morrison: Oh, the humanity! Well, as good as it is today, and it is very good today, by comparison to the palaces in the 60s, we are now left with Les Nessman.

As a society, we lost our innocence in the 60's, and when it comes to movie-going, we lost our humanity in the 70s. The cavalry's last stand was a charge led by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in 1979, when Apocopalyse Now opened simultaneously in movie palaces in Toronto, L.A. and N.Y. I was at the Toronto University Theatre opening. It was a moving experience: a truly great, multifaceted movie arising out of a equally great and multifaceted book (Conrad's Heart of Darkness), presented in one of the few venues capable of transmitting its scope and power, ripping through us visually, aurally, thematically, emotionally, and forcing us to face our conflicting feelings and our society's koyaanisqatsi, as more than 1300 of us sharing the experience together.

That film played there at Toronto's University Theatre for about a year, and the grand old palace closed with a whimper in 1986. It had originally opened with a film that made audiences and critics whimper: Ingrid Bergman's Joan of Arc, in 1948, the same year that the studios lost their control over the theatres. The 1948 roots of Toronto's University Theatre's demise were set in its own foundation that depended on the studio system that controlled both film distribution and individual theatres, but for the decades in between it was a grand palace that made a far better venue for screening grand movies than the boxes of today. Today, blockbusters knock you back in your seat with their wall of sound, one explosion after another, and motion too fast to follow. In the 60s in the palaces, you and the hundreds of other viewers fell into the truly big screen, into a world of imagination and wonder and laughter and heartbreak, leaving you exhausted and satiated.
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:10 PM
Evan Drake Evan Drake is offline
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As far as the 60s went, not nearly as many movies were made when compared with...

Magnifique !
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:11 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Having watched quite a few older movies, I get the impression that double features used to be more common and that many films were scripted to be shorter, so that a double feature would have kept silenus off the streets for only about three and a half hours.

Again with the smoking theme, I'm sure a major reason for the intermission, or the break between two halves of a double feature, was to give audience members the chance to go out to the lobby and light up.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:30 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Again with the smoking theme, I'm sure a major reason for the intermission, or the break between two halves of a double feature, was to give audience members the chance to go out to the lobby and light up.
I don't know why you keep saying this. Smoking was a thing in theaters all over the US and Europe, and prohibitions on smoking at the movies did not start until the 1970's, nor become widespread until the 1980's.

Intermissions were always about bathroom breaks and selling snacks/drinks (and yes, cigarettes, which would be smoked then AND during the 2nd half of the movie).
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:31 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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I went to movies a lot in the 70s-- not so much in the 60s. I was born in 1967. By the time I was going to PG movies in 1977, most theaters had banned smoking except in the lobby, because theaters were firetraps, and their insurance companies had made them ban it. Live show theaters had banned it even earlier, for the same reason. Drop a cigarette in those wooden seats and flammable cushions, and "FOOM!"

It was normal for theaters to regularly sell close to capacity, and for lines at the box office to be long. You still usually got to sit with your friends, but it was normal to be in close proximity to strangers.

They played previews, movies advertised on TV, and there were ads in the paper. As a courtesy, the paper also published a grid of all the theaters, and all the titles and times.

Malls a lot of times had duplexes, or even quadruplexes. A few large theaters had converted their balcony areas to second run houses, or lower demand movies ("art" or foreign films) but still showed the big films on the big screen.

Candy and soda was more expensive there than anywhere else, but it wasn't as outrageous as it is now.

If you put your feet on the back of the seat in front of you, an usher would come around and tell you to put them down. You'd do it, then put them right back up as soon as he left.

The floor was always sticky.

Going to a movie was glorious. It was so fun. We had B&W TV and got 7 channels. The movies were so much better than TV.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:33 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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We had B&W TV and got 7 channels. The movies were so much better than TV.


You had 7 channels! We only had 4, and had to have someone stand by the TV to hold the antenna just right to get two of those!
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:02 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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You had 7 channels! We only had 4, and had to have someone stand by the TV to hold the antenna just right to get two of those!
We had seven - Ch. 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 - well, 13 was educational and didn't count, so six (this was N.Y.C.). I was almost electrocuted changing the channel on our Admiral portable B&W with a pair of pliers (the shock instead knocked me partway across the dining room).

Anyway, movies don't seem very different to me now compared to the period the OP is asking about. I think the first movie I saw on my own was The French Connection in a small theater in Times Square which had a brief but exciting glimpse of female nudity.* Also stimulating was the fact that some of the action took place in the same area where I went to high school.

*On screen, though nudity in the audience would not have been a shocker.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 06-10-2017 at 10:03 PM.
  #33  
Old 06-10-2017, 09:34 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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No. One could smoke anywhere. There were no restrictions. Maybe an operating room and possibly church.
When I started working in the mid-1980s I could smoke in my cubicle, and I did.

I got better.

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Yeah. When I was a little kid, you could smoke while shopping at the A&P. You could also go barefoot there.
  #34  
Old 06-10-2017, 09:22 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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By the way films were shown on actual film back then. (Today virtually all theaters are projecting films that are transmitted and stored digitally.) For one thing, this meant that there was a signal on the screen (usually a small object that briefly appeared in the image) that told the projectionist to change the reels. If you were in a secondary market, the print you were viewing might have been projected many times and not be in the best condition.
  #35  
Old 06-10-2017, 09:24 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
The smoking section was usually in the balcony, wasn't it?
No. One could smoke anywhere. There were no restrictions. Maybe an operating room and possibly church.
When I started working in the mid-1980s I could smoke in my cubicle, and I did.

I got better.

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  #36  
Old 06-10-2017, 09:30 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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I don't think you see this any more but, the line for, "The Exorcist," usually ran down the block, around the corner, off into the distance, summer, winter, whenever. First run of, "Deep Throat," same thing.
  #37  
Old 06-10-2017, 09:37 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Don't get me started on A&P; I miss the pickle barrel.
  #38  
Old 07-11-2017, 10:25 PM
betterlifethroughchemistry betterlifethroughchemistry is offline
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Don't get me started on A&P; I miss the pickle barrel.
NOOO!!! One of my older cousins worked at an A&P in Baltimore County in the mid-to-late '70's and always told us to never get a pickle out of the pickle barrel...
  #39  
Old 06-10-2017, 09:48 PM
Knowed Out Knowed Out is offline
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We had to crank the films by hand over a 120 watt bulb. Only cost a quarter.
  #40  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:53 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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We had to crank the films by hand over a 120 watt bulb. Only cost a quarter.
I saw movies on my GAF* View Master. One stereo frame at a time.

* You have to say it like Henry Fonda.
  #41  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:02 PM
OldGuy OldGuy is online now
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In no particular order.

Bond films were very big in the 60s and 70s.

Smoking was allowed in every theater I recall into the 70s. They might have no-smoking sections. Later they had smoking sections with no smoking the default. Finally it was banned. As I recall it was banned in theaters before it became generally not allowed indoors.

In the late 50s you could go to a Saturday afternoon movie that had coming attractions, a short, a cartoon, and episode of a serial and possibly a double feature.

Most theaters had only one screen. A movie might be popular enough that there were four showings back to back (possibly with some of the fillers listed above in between). While each theater had only one screen, there were many more theaters. There were four I cold ride my bike to all within a mile of my home, and I lived in a suburb not a city.
  #42  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:04 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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They played the national anthem before the movie began.

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  #43  
Old 06-12-2017, 10:14 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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They played the national anthem before the movie began.
I don't remember this, even back in the early 1960s. Maybe it was a regional thing.
  #44  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:05 PM
blondebear blondebear is online now
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You could often buy movie programs in the lobby for major releases. They were pretty cool souvenirs. I still have the ones I got for 2001, Apocalypse Now, Close Encounters and Ice Station Zebra.

Last edited by blondebear; 06-10-2017 at 10:07 PM.
  #45  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:28 PM
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Where I lived in the 50s & 60s, the big downtown theaters played only one film at a time on a single screen, but it was preceded by trailers, shorts (cartoons), newsreels, and rarely -- ads. You saw one show and left, since a matinee had several hours before the evening show started. Some of the ads were for stuff sold in the lobby; talk about a captive audience. Sometimes you bought tickets early, to be sure of getting a seat, then went for a bite or window-shopping and came back at curtain time. If there was more than one showing that day, the curtain closed and the theater cleared out completely before the next one.

In contrast, the suburban theaters, which were also single-screen boxes, would show a double feature, cartoons and newsreels, continuously. Weekdays, this might start at 4PM and go to midnight, but on Saturdays, there was a show from early in the morning to late at night, no intermissions at all. If you came in late for the start of one show, you just stayed until it repeated to see what you missed -- "this is where we came in, let's go". One ticket got you in for as long as you wanted to stay.

Then there were driveins, oh, the driveins! Not usually first-run films, but double or triple features, lots of cartoons, lots of ads for the Salmonella Snack Bar, lots of necking in the front rows and fucking in the back rows. Playgrounds below the screen for kids before dusk. Strangely, family and fun-friendly.

For the technically-minded, the suburban houses were 35mm dual projectors with mono optical sound, but the downtown theaters often had 70, 95 or 120mm projectors with multi-track, magnetic sound. Theaters tried to compete with what marginal advantages they had over TV -- wider, bigger screens, sharper pictures, color, and better sound.
  #46  
Old 06-11-2017, 08:00 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
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Then there were driveins, oh, the driveins! Not usually first-run films, but double or triple features, lots of cartoons, lots of ads for the Salmonella Snack Bar, lots of necking in the front rows and fucking in the back rows. Playgrounds below the screen for kids before dusk. Strangely, family and fun-friendly.
Even if a drive-in ran an "A-list" movie, it was after the first-run houses were done with them. This was for two reasons. First, they didn't want to pay the higher rental price so they could keep their admission prices down. Second, the higher wattage, higher heat of a d-i projector lamp could "pillow" each frame on the print, making distributors reluctant to send a print that might have more life in it.

Absent a big film, they would show Poverty Row fodder or, especially in the late fifties/early sixties, American International releases. There is a reason so many of the latter have become targets of MST3K or RiffTrax. Even as a tyke, I could tell from the previews that an AI movie's quality was not on par from something by, say, Columbia, to say nothing of MGM or WB. Us kids not being teens at the time, we didn't see many AI releases, except for the Corman-Poe ones. I distinctly remember having the bejesuz scared out of me by The Pit and the Pendulum, especially the POV of that pendulum swinging back and forth.

Last edited by DesertDog; 06-11-2017 at 08:04 AM.
  #47  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:35 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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My memories go back to the mid-50s.

The kid next door was my best friend, and every Sunday his father took us to the next town and dropped us off at the movie theater. They always showed a double feature of B movies like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or It Came from Outer Space. Between the movies were newsreels, shorts and of course cartoons. During intermissions we always got more candy or popcorn. The floor was always sticky. After the second movie we'd leave, and my friend's father would be waiting for us.

Sometimes my whole family would go to a movie in a more upscale theater. It was air-conditioned (a really big deal) and had fountains with colored lights and a juke box in the lobby. The one I especially remember was a re-issue of Gone with the Wind, though I think I slept through most of it.
  #48  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:35 PM
Rick Kitchen Rick Kitchen is online now
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They had air conditioning! It was a huge draw. They had a card in the window advertising KOOL cigarettes, "It's KOOL inside." On Saturdays there were two movies, previews, cartoons, newsreels, and sometimes a drawing for dishes. Yes, really.
  #49  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:54 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Here are photos of my childhood theater, which is still standing and used for other purposes. The interior was all art deco. It is presently in danger of being destroyed.

Blockbusters were things like Spartacus, The Ten Commandments, Mad, Mad (etc) World, and a lot of musicals like Oklahoma and West Side Story. 2001 in Cinerama was awesome in 1968.

Bond was huge. I saw every one as it came out.
  #50  
Old 06-11-2017, 11:55 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Here are photos of my childhood theater, which is still standing and used for other purposes. The interior was all art deco. It is presently in danger of being destroyed.

Blockbusters were things like Spartacus, The Ten Commandments, Mad, Mad (etc) World, and a lot of musicals like Oklahoma and West Side Story. 2001 in Cinerama was awesome in 1968.

Bond was huge. I saw every one as it came out.
Damn, forgot the link.
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