Image credit: 1970s Times Square New York City…by Christian Montone
The Temple of Schlock blog has a great archive feature they do regularly, they simply find out what was playing at various theaters on NYC’s 42nd Street back-in-the-day. And here is the latest from 1983—28 years ago.
NORTH SIDE OF THE STEET
Victory: “3 Adult Hits”
Lyric: EAGLE’S SHADOW / THE REAL BRUCE LEE
Times Square: ONE-ARMED EXECUTIONER / EXIT THE DRAGON, ENTER THE TIGER / SYNDICATE SADISTS
Selwyn: 10 TO MIDNIGHT / SAVAGE WEEKEND
SOUTH SIDE OF THE STREET
Theater I: BAD BOYS / THE SOLDIER
Theater II: 10 TIGERS OF SHAOLIN / NINJA EXTERMINATOR / UNFORGIVEN OF SHAOLIN
Harris: LOSING IT / VICE SQUAD
Liberty: THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER / CLASH OF THE TITANS
Empire: DUEL OF THE IRON FIST / DIRTY HO / EDGE OF FURY
Anco: THE OUTSIDERS / SUPER FLY
I was 12 years old when these films were playing in Times Square, and I remember a lot of these films when they were in the theate. Hell, I even saw a few of them in the theater—like Bad Boys, The Outisiders, The Sword and the Sorcerer, and Clash of the Titans. I love the blog series “This Week on 42nd Street,” it is a simple and powerful way to reboot the nostalgia through a quick glance through any NYC newspaper’s archive of the time. I had wanted to do an entire series on films that I saw when they played at Long Island’s long gone Baldwin Century theater back in the late 70s and early 80s. One day I will do that series, but after seeing this list from Times Square, I am feeling a little cheated. We never had all those awesome Shaolin and martial arts billings—what gives? How cool would it be if you took any one of these “This Week on 42nd Street” posts and turned it into an ongoing film festival? One day I will have my own theater and do just that.
You do have a theater, you just don’t own it!
Come to me, Jimmy…. come to me…
What you describe, with small theatres showing different movies, is something we just don’t see now. We have Giant 30-Screen-Megaplexes. Homogeneous lists of movies available at each (but maybe one is in Super3D or VibratoVision or something schlocky). I miss the days where a small theatre ran their own set of movies, aimed at the people who frequented the theatre.
When I was a kid, the Grand Theatre was right next to my Dad’s office, so my sister and I occasionally got to watch a movie there (IIRC, alone, downtown, as kids, watching a movie in the late 70s/early 80s – unheard of today!) There were a handful of other small movie houses (The Plaza is still there, showing “alternative” movies) but everything else is all Big Hollywood Dull Homogeneity.
I do own the internet, haven’t you gotten the memo? I bought it from Google for an undisclosed amount.
Exactly, I miss that sense of a movie theater with an identity. it still exists, but increasingly a rarity. My biggest dream is to run one in some small town, a treasure that no one recognizes, but still exists. In my mind it simply being there is enough. I am lucky though, we live 40 minutes of country road from the biggest archive of American film in the world. The Packard campus of the Library of Congress, and this Friday it is featuring Blade Runner!