Cinema #12: Movie Theater Marquees
I can't help it. I'm oddly fascinated by pictures of old movie theater marquees. As you know, I'm not real into the gilded age of cinema - those 20s-30s movie houses that looked like Liberace's boudoir. I'm more of a drive-in or 42nd Street kind of guy.... and any vintage photo of these places is right up my alley. Most of them are long since abandoned or converted into flea markets or evangelical churches - which makes these images all the more interesting.
In the early 80s, NYC began its clean up of Times Square and 42nd Street. The grindhouse was vanquished in favor of The Gap and The Lion King on Broadway. Indeed, a once unique, if not seedy, cinematic hub has been officially Starbucked. It's a pity, but, to be fair, most of these NYC movie theaters had converted to hard core porn before the renovation started - thus, they were on their way out without the help of the city planners.
Whether it's a grindhouse or a main street cineplex, what made them special was they each had character. Each town had a connection to their movie house. Whereas, nowadays, we just want them big and prepared to play loud, obnoxious THX sound, preferably in 3-D.... and when that theater gets "super sized" by another down the street, just cast it aside like yesterday's news.
But this gallery isn't about the architecture as much as it is about the marquee. There's something cool about finding an old picture with Death Wish II or Twins of Evil up in lights. It's a brilliant snapshot of the times. It does my heart good to see Soylent Green and Skyjacked together on a drive-in marquee.
Granted, a lot of these images feature movies that were of the X rated variety. But, then, many of these photos are from the 1970s- so, what else would you expect? So, sit back and enjoy 143 (!) images of movie theater marquees from yesteryear.
(Don't forget you can view images full screen by clicking the "4 arrow" icon in the bottom right (hit "escape" to return).