THS Members in the News – Joan O’Sullivan Lengyel

Magic of Main Street Movies – arts and entertaintment – 3/9/2010
Joan O’Sullivan Lengyel

Last week at the Sayville Library an adult program, “Magic of Main Street Movies” was presented by me, Joan O’Sullivan Lengyel.

I opened the program by showing how “Magic of Main Street Movies” came into being. I mentioned being a member of the Theatre Historical Society of America and the UK counter-part Cinema Theatre Association. The attendees were able to view my theatre renderings from Maine to California. As I showed the paintings, I gave the history of each movie house. A question was asked about the medium I was using. In the beginning it was pen and pencil (as a sidebar I made mention of collecting my “tools” in my travels). I would incorporate pencils especially from the USA and perhaps some twenty odd countries around the world.

Next on the agenda was a slide presentation by fellow THSOA member, Orlando Lopes. In this show you saw the following theatres. Roxy, Radio City Music Hall, Valencia, Paradise, Loews Jersey, Paramount-Brooklyn and NYC, the Fox also Brooklyn, Loews 175th street and the Loews Kings and of course our beloved Patchogue and Bay Shore houses. There was room for some of the “neighborhood” houses also. ” I remember it was a nickel to get in, I paid ten cents”. Do you remember “dish night” and the talent contests?” The audience was becoming animated with their memories and busting with glee to recall “the good old days”. The banter could have continued but there was one more item.

As mentioned above, past Director NYC/ Metro Area member of THSOA Orlando Lopes, had one more contribution to make. The audiance was shown a film that was made over forty years ago that he had joyously restored. The film was documented by an 89 year old projectionist. His last job being at the “Kings”. Breaking into sobs the elderly gentleman brought us face to face with the vacated, water damaged, vandalized hulk that was once Brooklyn’s largest indoor theatre. We filled up with what we were viewing and asking, “how could this be allowed to happen?” BUT, hot off the press, the “Kings” is set for a 70 million restoration.

We are fortunate in Sayville to have our own main street, family run theatre, yes the Sayville Theatre. The magic is being removed from many main streets in America. Lindenhurst lost the battle to keep their theatre. Islip theatre went to the eleventh hour before it was saved from the wrecking ball.

Last call was being announced and we got out of the Library just under the wire. We were all teenagers that night with our individual and shared memories of the “Magic of Main Street Movies”.

via Magic of Main Street Movies.

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