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OT: A bit of film history

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David Mathis
OT: A bit of film history
on May 19, 2015 at 6:17:26 pm

Movie theaters have come and gone. My favorite was General Cinema and the best theater, sadly gone, was at Northpark Center in Dallas, Texas. Tim might have been familar with this theater. I remember seeing Titanic in the glorious 70mm format. Not to mention the THX sound system.

What really brings back memories is this:








Thought this a good piece to share. Simple yet effective branding design, with a catchy tune. Back then movies were more fun to watch. People had better manners, ticket prices were reasonable, no annoying teenagers and no 30 minutes of useless commercials.


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Warren Eig
Re: OT: A bit of film history
on May 19, 2015 at 6:38:08 pm

I remember that as a kid. Thanks for posting.

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Mark Suszko
Re: OT: A bit of film history
on May 19, 2015 at 9:29:38 pm

OMG I too remember that, in the Chicago suburbs, 70's era. They also had another one with the same music but it was "classy" tabletop photography of rotating chunks of colored raw glass or crystal, with a lot of bokeh going on. I wish I could see THAT one again - it was like some kind of drug hallucination. Mostly shades of purple, as I recall.

Thanks for the flashback!


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David Mathis
Re: OT: A bit of film history
on May 20, 2015 at 11:12:47 pm

It is on YouTube, forgot how many background variations there were. The song was a bit different in the 1980 version. Later versions and revisions were not as good as the original. The one with the candy band, however, was entertaining. Now nothing but 30 minutes of useless garbage before the movie, not to mention those annoying commercials. * Sigh *


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Tim Wilson
Re: OT: A bit of film history
on May 19, 2015 at 9:32:07 pm

Holy COW, I LOVE that animation. I used to go to GCC theaters just to see it. LOL Just as I went to THX theaters for the original THX opening. (None since have moved me the same way.)

I remember when Northpark was the new kid in town. 1965 I think. One of the ways they distinguished themselves was by incorporating fine art in a way that had never been done in malls before. In fact, Northpark won the American Institute of Architects Award for "Design of the Decade - 1960s."

I don't think Dallas gets as much credit for art as they should...at least by the time I'd left in the 70s. LOL No idea since....

...but the theater I loved the most was the Granada, a deco-inspired gem from the 40s. Classic movie palace. Once I could drive on my own, and my parents felt okay about me driving into The City, this was one of my most frequent stops.

It converted to a concert venue in 1978 I think, although I've heard that movies are back now too....but in the years before they concert, their thing was showing astoundingly eclectic double features. They could be anything -- documentaries, silent pictures, Eraserhead, Belle et le Bete, heck, I went to an Irene Dunne double feature once. The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus double feature sounds almost cliche NOW...but do it some time. It'll blow your mind. From the balcony of a deco movie palace in the mid-70s, I still haven't quite gotten over it. LOL

The fact is that none of this sounds like a big deal now, but in the days of three channels, when you were lucky to get more than a couple of movies a YEAR on TV that were worth remembering, and certainly nothing foreign or obscure -- Documentary? What's that? -- it was a miracle. Not that mainstream American cinema from the 70s wasn't marvelous. It FELT like a Golden Age, even while it was happening. But there was a whole world that the Granada opened for me.

They also printed this broadsheet that had the month's movies, with razor-sharp capsule reviews/blurbs explaining why the hell they were gonna show this movie you may never have heard of, and why you should bother showing up. I'd grab the one for the current month and the next month, and spend many, many days trying to find out everything I could about them.

I'd love to meet some of those old programmers and thank 'em. They're as responsible as any strangers for making me the movie lover I am.

I actually went to college with the intent of becoming a teacher of film and television history, based in meaningful part on my experiences at the Granada...but, and you're going to be shocked by this, I got distracted by any number of shiny things, and showed up to the second semester of my senior year with no major and no idea what I was going to do next. LOL I haven't quite recovered from THAT, either. LOL

Those guys really did have a massive impact on me, and 40 years later, the Granada remains one of the pleasantest places I've ever parked my bottom for these reasons among others.

I've gone pretty far afield of your animation, though, which was awesome. Thanks for sharing that!!!


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David Mathis
Re: OT: A bit of film history
on May 19, 2015 at 9:55:24 pm

Glad you enjoyed it Tim! The mall has expanded a few years ago, two of the three fountains remain. First floor is now a quadrangle, there is an exterior courtyard. Hopefully will visit there again soon and get some photos. That mall is indeed for its art. Downtown is the Nasher Sculpture center which is an unique place to visit.

How times have changed. Hardly go to movies anymore. Ticket prices are insane, people annoy the hell out with me because they are glued to their smart phone, lengthy commercials and crying babies! Now, just enjoy good old stuff on TCM, and go to Netflix on occasion.


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Mark Suszko
Re: OT: A bit of film history
on May 19, 2015 at 9:57:40 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 19, 2015 at 9:59:54 pm

It was a General Cinema theater where I saw "Earthquake!!!" in "senssurrounnnddd" The strip mall where the theater was had a hobby shop next door, and every time the movie played, plaster dust would fall in the aisles of the store and stuff would danced on the shelves and you'd feel that bass note temblor. It was cool. Shop owner didn't care for it.

That General Cinema in Hanover Park's "Tradewinds" mall shifted to showing dollar movies, and I remember how stiff and sore I was from watching a double feature of "Groove Tube" and "Kentucky Fried movie" - twice, for a buck. I only got out of the non-ergonomic movie chair to finally get some dinner, after going in at around 10 AM:-)


*edit update: I JUST now remembered that I smuggled in a cassette recorder once, to capture the General Cinema music, which I used to then play at the start of my super-8 home movies and the title sequences of my early EIAJ B&W half-inch reel to reel videos in junior high.


------ good times.........


:-)


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David Mathis
Re: OT: A bit of film history
on May 19, 2015 at 11:16:53 pm

The theater at Northpark had only two screens but had 1,000 seats are so in each audiotorium, and a balcanoy, which was not open to the public. The screen with THX had sixteen subwoofers, did not even bother to count the surround speakers. You could feel the bass and the THX trailer always sent chills down my spine.

I read a story, at the time the theater was closed for good, where someone from the Las Angelas area flew to Dallas to see Titanic in 70mm presentation. Only theater in the area that had the format, at least that I was aware of. Now it is all now about profit rather then the experience. Everything has pretty much gone digital which is sad. Maybe something will change.


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: OT: A bit of film history
on May 21, 2015 at 7:19:08 pm

I think the theaters need this revenue. They get squat from the box of any film that really sells tickets.

My neighborhood theater just ripped out all of the seats and replaced them with 1/3 of the capacity in easy chairs with swiveling tables.Set in pairs, you can snuggle!

Food and booze is sold too. Ticket prices the same. This is a 16 theater multiplex. Did it to every theater, including the big ones that sat 600 or so. They only seat 150 now. Booze is a real mark up. One drink sold and you make up for 4 tickets from the operator's point of view. They'll put big films in several of the theaters. All reserved seating done online. Don't know if it is working, but hey, they're trying anything! AMC theater.

Still get the commercials. I did some training for the company that does this business. It's actually pretty complicated for 2000 theaters. as some spots are regional etc.. Some are even local to a single theater. Mention this add and get 2 bucks off your haircut at Joe's Barber Shoppe. It works, and for Joe, it was really cheap advertising. Hey, this is America!

Jerry



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