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» Cinematour Forum   » Mystery Cinemas   » New Rochelle, NY mystery

Author Topic: New Rochelle, NY mystery
Roger Katz

Posts: 339
From: Thomaston, CT
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted March 13, 2004 05:13 AM      Profile for Roger Katz   Email Roger Katz         Edit/Delete Post 
Anyone know what this theatre at 38 Centre Ave. in New Rochelle was called? It closed in the 1940's.


P.S.: If anyone knows any free software for the Mac that will let me resize photos without printing that stupid TRIAL notice on it, please let me know.

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Jim Rankin
(Jim passed away in December 2006)
Posts: 123
From: Milwaukee, WI
Registered: Oct 2003

 - posted March 15, 2004 04:52 AM      Profile for Jim Rankin   Email Jim Rankin         Edit/Delete Post 
Don't know what theatre it was, but the best way to learn the identity of an old theatre, is to look in local sources first, in this order of preference:

1) City Directory, if the address is known, for the years of suspected operation. Most all public libraries have them.

2) Deeds recorded at the county seat (usually the court house), but these often require that one know the Legal Description of the land as opposed to the street address, though they often have crossover lists between the two. While deeds usually only concern the land, it is surprising just how many buildings are included in them and sometimes they mention the name of the business there.

3) Local newsapers, usually on microfilm. These are cumbersome to look through, since few were indexed aside from the NY TIMES, but are often the only remaining record of a theatre's brief existence. First check out the local builders' news section, sometimes a special Sunday business section; such often mention the date of begining construction or the date of opening. Some papers even used renderings/photos! Secondarily, check the movies listing pages, though they often don't give street addresses. If the microfilm is not able to be printed out there, they may still have the fragile originals in deep storage; ask if you can photograph any pages of interest. Some places will do this for you for a fee; others will require that you bring your own equipment and do it yourself. Ask the librarian-in-charge, not the desk clerk. If you can't get to a library holding a particular paper, ask the Serials Librarian at a library to check the Union List Of Serials to see if any of the publications in the area are on film and if that film can be sent to them for you to view/print from. It's tedious, but often rewarding to search through film or older copies. Sometimes local newspapers will let you look through their 'morgue' (filing cabinets of clippings arranged by title and subject or date), but most big city papers will not even let you into their libraries to see the bound volumes, much less the morgue -- unless you can grease a clerk's palm with silver.

3) National directories of years ago, such as Film Daily Yearbook and others which tried to list every theatre in every market large enought to be called a 'market'. These are at many public and college libraries.

4) Neighbors. It may take a little gumption and sweet talk, but often older residents/business owners/operators will know what a place was called years ago. If you approach them at a time when they are obviously not busy (right after lunch is often good) and start out by introducing yourself as an Historian looking for someone with some knowledge of the area in days past, you might flatter even a grouch into wanting to look like the sage of the age in your eyes. If you carry a notebook or large tape recorder, it might help convince them that you are on the up-and-up, and they won't think that you are something like a 'revenooer' looking for stills or other illegal activity; I carry a slim ring binder with photos of other local theatres to give them the idea. Needless to say, if you are in a bad area of a big city, approaching the neighbors may NOT be a good idea! Civic minded hooligans are rare.

5) Retirement Communities. It is a long shot, but if you happen to be in Florida or Arizona, it may pay to put a snapshot into a local 'Shopper' to ask if anyone remembers this place. Shoppers and other free newspapers will often accept such items as free editorial material, just to have something to put on their pages besides ads (East Coast seniors tend to go to Florida; West Coast to Arizona, of course). You would give a post office box address (for your own protection), as well as E-mail address -- though many oldsters don't know how to use E-mail. You could give a phone number, but expect a few crazzies calling at bar closing time, if you do. Volunteer to come to them to talk about the theatre, since they often do not get out, and most people will not go to the expense of sending photos/mementos by mail. Offer to pay to **COPY** their items, assuring them that they keep their originals (unless you are willing to offer to PAY CASH for their originals, IF they are willing to sell); if you can bring along a camera with a copy lens and a bright light, that may be the only way you will get a copy! Offer to meet them in the lobby or community room of their retirement village (for their safety and peace of mind; a lot of seniors are wary of youths they do not know coming to their home, and the elderly being unable to defend themselves, if it is a scam. Bringing a lady friend along to a woman is often reassuring to an old lady; make clear that you will be bringing the lady friend during your appointment-setting time.) Arrive early and be prepared to wait; the retired elderly often have a vague idea of time. Having some sample 8x10 photos spread out on a table will reassure them that you are all business, and not monkey business. The managements of such places are usually busy, so don't involve them unless you have to, and they are often overly protective of their 'inmates' so may block your contact even if you say you have an appointment (unless there is money in it for them). Dress for the weather, but business-like. T-shirts and cutoffs are often seen as disrespectful by elders, and remember to wear your briefs underneath; having your salami hanging down your pants leg makes you look like a rapist to old ladies, not sexy. The tone to set here is Very Respectful, yet cheery and enthusiastic. And using good English without slang will help a lot, since they may not know most of the slang that you know, anyway. If a guy is the type who could never be mistaken for a gentleman, or a girl for a lady, then send someone else in their place! Best Wishes!

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Mark Escorcia
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Hempstead, NY
Registered: Jan 2005

 - posted March 09, 2005 12:53 AM      Profile for Mark Escorcia   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Escorcia         Edit/Delete Post 
Try asking the old time projectionists in the city (local 306) maybe they would know...

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