Sunday, November 19, 2017

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"Wild Bill"

The State Theatre at 7th and Broadway is briefly seen in Walter Hill's "Wild Bill" (United Artists, 1995). The film stars Jeff Bridges as Wild Bill Hickok, Ellen Barkin as Calamity Jane and Keith Carradine as Buffalo Bill. Also featured are Diane Lane and John Hurt.

Approximately 15 minutes into the movie, telling the epic story of James Butler Hickok (better known as Wild Bill Hickok), we see him drift east from Abilene, KS, to New York, and accept his friend Buffalo Bill Cody’s invitation to join his theatrical production titled "Scouts of the Plains."



The front drop for "Scouts of the Plains," a play by Hiram Robbins. The actual premiere of the show was in Buffalo in October 1873.  We're up in the balcony at the State Theatre. Note that we can see a bit of the auditorium's paint job at the time. The word is that the valance we see was created for the production. It was then left up in the theatre.



A wider shot telling us the production is playing the Bowery Theatre in New York. Evidently the show toured in different versions for about ten years. On the right just outside the proscenium note the speaker cabinet on the wall, quite unusual for the time period.



Carradine and Bridges onstage in the production. Wild Bill was seemingly quite dreadful as an actor, missing cues and fluffing lines, at least from the evidence of this recreated performance. Note the smoking footlights atop the State Theatre's real footlights.



Another shot from the brief sequence at the State.

Thanks to Mike Hume for investigating the film, doing the research, and taking the screenshots. Visit his Historic Theatre Photography site for photos and data about the many theatres he's explored. He, of course, has a page devoted to the State Theatre

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages on the State Theatre for a history of the 1921 vintage vaudeville / film house and many, many photos.

On IMDb: "Wild Bill"

More information: The World History Project has a page on the play "Scouts of the Plains."  The show is also discussed on a Buffalo Bill Center for the West page about Wild Bill and Buffalo Bill.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

"The Kentucky Fried Movie"


"The Kentucky Fried Movie" (United Film Distribution Co., 1977) is described as "A series of short, highly irreverent, and often tasteless skits." They are joined together very loosely with a fairly unbelievable and ridiculous narrative.

Joe Pinney comments: "'See You Next Wednesday' is a running gag in most of John Landis’ films, including the 'Thriller' video."



The premise for the skit filmed at the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena is the guy, our hero of the piece, who is going to see a movie at the Rialto "Feel-O-Rama" Movie Theatre where movies are presented in "Feel-Around."




Our hero approaches the marquee, buys his ticket at the ticket booth, then proceeds into the theatre where the ticket-taker tears his ticket and reminds him that the movie is being presented in "Feel-Around."




After buying a dollar's worth of popcorn at the concession stand he enters the auditorium.



As he walks down the aisle we see each audience member has an usher standing directly behind them - it’s not clear why. Our chap then takes his seat and an usher comes to stand behind him. Without seeing any action on the screen, but hearing the dialogue from it, "Feel-Around" is then revealed in all its glory: the usher enhances the audience member’s movie experience by using props appropriate to the action taking place in the movie.



It starts off fairly benign, with a cigarette being lit when one of the on-screen characters lights a cigarette and some perfume being sprayed for the heroine’s entrance. Then a drink is spilled in the movie, resulting in a glass of water being poured over our hero. Things progress with increasing comic effect until the on-screen action escalates into a threat with a kitchen knife, seeing our hero being held at knifepoint by the usher!



At this point - and as the movie ends, he decides to leave, with the announcer reminding patrons to return for next week’s screening of "Deep Throat."

Thanks to Mike Hume for the text and the screenshots. Visit his Historic Theatre Photography site for hundreds of great photos he's taken of theatres in the Los Angeles Area and elsewhere. He's also included lots of tech information and many floorplans. The site, of course, has a page he's done on the Rialto.

See the Los Angeles Theatres page about the Rialto Theatre. It's a 1925 design by Lewis A. Smith. Since late 2017 it has been used as a church. 

On IMDb: "Kentucky Fried Movie"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"The Exiles"


A look north on Broadway at the Arcade, Cameo and Roxie theatres from Kent MacKenzie's "The Exiles." The film, about 24 hours in the life of a group of Native Americans in downtown Los Angeles, was shot in 1958-59 and released in 1961. At the Arcade it's "Escape to Burma" with Barbary Stanwyck and Robert Ryan.

Thanks to Gerald Sato for posting this screenshot on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. His set included five other views from the film. Ken McIntyre also had a post of this shot on Photos of Los Angeles.



Approaching the boxoffice at the Roxie Theatre, 518 S. Broadway. We actually go inside for a show -- note that we can smoke in the balcony. "The Iron Sheriff"  with Sterling Hayden (1957) is the main feature.



Another look at the front of the Roxie. Thanks to Gerald Sato for the screenshot. 



Another Roxie view as our lead, Mary Donahue, is coming out of the show at the Roxie. We do get an inside view, but it's just of a section of seats.



A grainy look south on Broadway from "The Exiles." In this shot the Roxie is running Douglas Sirk's "Imitation of Life" (1959) with Lana Turner. 

See our pages about the Arcade, Cameo and Roxie theatres for the history of the buildings along with many photos both vintage and recent.

The "The Exiles" can be seen in its entirety on YouTube. Lots of footage from the film appears in Thom Anderson's "Los Angeles Plays Itself" (2003), an epic discussion of how the city has been portrayed in the movies.  

On IMDb: "The Exiles" | "Los Angeles Plays Itself"

Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Peeper"


We get an interesting angle on the Globe marquee in the Peter Hyams film "Peeper" (20th Century Fox, 1976). In the film the Globe is a burlesque theatre. On the right, a bit of the May Co. at 8th & Broadway.



There's a bit of the facade and marquee of the Tower Theatre in this shot as spoiled heiress Natalie Wood and a kidnapper head north on Broadway to go inside the Globe Theatre.



Natalie and her kidnapper getting tickets at the Globe.



We get more of the Tower's vertical in this shot as private eye Michael Caine is down the block running toward the Globe in "Peeper." He's on the trail of the abducted looking for the abducted heiress and her kidnapper.



A Globe entrance view. 



A rare view of the Globe lobby during this period  as Michael Caine dashes in from Broadway.



Caine runs up to the balcony and looks down on a show.



Looking down on the stage. Sadly, we don't get any good auditorium shots in the film. 



Back downstairs, he heads down the house right side aisle to check out the action from the orchestra pit.



In the orchestra pit (still uncovered in 1976!) with Michael Caine and a burlesque show drummer. 



A performer onstage.



A look toward the stage from the first row at Michael Caine and Natalie Wood. The other gentleman is the manager, who has been chasing Caine around the theatre telling him he needs to buy a ticket.

See our pages on the Tower Theatre for a history of the 1927 vintage film palace along with hundreds of photos. The Globe Theatre pages will give you a detailed tour through all the areas of this 1913 vintage legit house.

On IMDb: "Peeper"

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"D.O.A."


Rudolph Maté's "D.O.A" (Cardinal Pictures/United Artists, 1950) starts in San Francisco but about an hour in we come to L.A. and get a ride down Broadway with views of the Orpheum, Tower and Million Dollar. Edmond O'Brien is trying to track down the guy who gave him a lethal dose of radium.

You can see vaudeville is making a comeback at the Orpheum. In the distance note the United Artists building with two lit verticals -- one for the theatre and one for Texaco. This footage also appears as part of the title sequence in Thom Andersen's "Los Angeles Plays Itself" (2004), an epic exploration of how the city has been portrayed in the movies.



A view of the Tower Theatre at 8th & Broadway as we continue north.



A moment later in "D.O.A." we get this slightly better view of the theatre's original center boxoffice. The Tower, at this point known as the Music Hall, is running "Black Magic" with Orson Welles. Gregory Ratoff directed with, evidently, lots of assistance by the uncredited Welles. Note the "Welcome Orpheum Vaudeville" on the marquee.



 Later we pay a visit to the Bradbury Building and get this shot of the Million Dollar. "D.O.A." was produced by Harry Popkin's Cardinal Pictures. Popkin owned the Million Dollar building at the time. The theatre is running "The Big Wheel" starring Mickey Rooney as a race car driver.

Noirish Los Angeles contributor Handsome Stranger has views of Cliftons, the Bradbury building interior and a Wilshire Blvd. shot on his Noirish post #7288.

See our pages on the Tower Theatre for a history of the 1927 vintage film palace along with hundreds of photos. The various pages about the Orpheum Theatre have many photos of different areas of that great 1926 vintage vaudeville house. The Million Dollar pages will give you a detailed photo tour of Sid Grauman's first Los Angeles theatre, opened in 1918.

The entire film is available for viewing on Internet Archive.

On IMDb: "D.O.A." | "Los Angeles Plays Itself"

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"Let's Do It Again"


The Tower, Rialto and Orpheum appear briefly in Sidney Poitier's "Let's Do It Again" (Warner Bros./First Artists, 1975) although we're supposedly cruising around New Orleans.

See our pages on the Tower Theatre for a history of the 1927 vintage film palace along with hundreds of photos. The pages on the Rialto Theatre down the block detail its life from a 1917 film house to its current life as an Urban Outfitters store. The various pages about the Orpheum Theatre have many photos of different areas of that great 1926 vintage vaudeville house.


On IMDb: "Let's Do It Again"

Monday, November 6, 2017

"The Mambo Kings"


Antonio Banderas is in New York City reading a book on the street as his friend passes out flyers for his musical event at the Empire Ballroom in Arne Glimcher's "Mambo Kings" (Warner Bros., 1992). Behind him we get the north side of the marquee of the Rialto Theatre, 812 S. Broadway. 

On the Rialto marquee: Esther Williams in "La Sirena de Millon Dolares" ("Million Dollar Mermaid," 1952). That title is also there for several other films where the theatre appears including "She's So Lovely" (1997) and "The Replacement Killers" (1998).



The Tower is featured prominently as the Empire Ballroom in New York City.  Here we get a look at patrons in the lobby. 



Looking toward the stage from the back of the main floor in "The Mambo Kings."



 A look out into the house.



Antonio Banderas and Armand Assante in front of the stage.



A shot at the back of the Tower's terraced main floor. 

See the pages on the Tower Theatre for a history of the 1927 vintage film palace along with hundreds of photos. The pages on the Rialto Theatre down the block detail its life from a 1917 film palace to its current life as an Urban Outfitters store. 

On IMDB: "The Mambo Kings"

Sunday, November 5, 2017

"She's So Lovely"


It's uncertain what city we're supposed to be in but we end up on Broadway seeing the Rialto Theatre, 812 S. Broadway, in Nick Cassavetes' "She's So Lovely" (Miramax, 1997) with Sean Penn and Robin Wright. That's the marquee of the Orpheum down there on the far right.
 

Not sure who Erin Dignan is, but her retrospective is advertised on the front readerboard. On the end panel is Esther Williams in "Million Dollar Mermaid," the same film that was there for "The Mambo Kings" (1992).



Sean and Robin go dancing at the Tower Theatre, 802 S. Broadway. The theatre is used as a ballroom called the Suenolindo.



At at the boxoffice. 



"Siberian Mist -- make it a double." Sean Penn and Robin Wright dancing at the Suenolindo Ballroom.



A shot from above of the Tower as the Suenolindo. That's the Rialto Theatre over on the right.

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages on the Tower Theatre for a history of the 1927 vintage film palace along with hundreds of photos. The pages on the Rialto Theatre down the block detail its life from a 1917 film house to its current life as an Urban Outfitters store. 

On IMDb: "She's So Lovely"

Friday, November 3, 2017

"Coyote Ugly"


The Tower Theatre at 8th & Broadway is a New York City venue, the Bowery Ballroom, in David McNally's "Coyote Ugly" (Touchstone Pictures, 2000). Here Piper Perabo's coyote friends are at the rear of the main floor coming in to see her perform near the end of the film.



 Piper Perabo performing on stage at the Tower.



Another performance shot at the Tower in "Coyote Ugly."

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages on the Tower Theatre for a history of the 1927 vintage film palace along with hundreds of photos.

On IMDb: "Coyote Ugly"

Thursday, November 2, 2017

"Mulholland Drive"


Naomi Watts and Laura Herring are in the balcony of the Tower Theatre at 8th and Broadway where it appears as a strange nightclub, Club Silencio, in David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" (Universal, 2001).

Tower Theatre General Manager Ed Baney notes that YouTube has a clip of the song "Crying" from this portion of the film.



The proscenium in a blue mood. 



A look at the top of the proscenium in "Mulholland Drive."



Our nightclub MC on the stage.



A look over toward one of the boxes flanking the stage.
 


Another balcony shot. 

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages on the Tower Theatre for a history of the 1927 vintage film palace along with hundreds of photos.

On IMDb: "Mulholland Drive"