Imagine watching your favorite classic film in one of the few remaining grand movie palaces of yesteryear, the days before “they took the idols and smashed them, the Fairbanks, the Gilberts, the Valentinos!” Only a relative few can have such an experience and I am one of them.
In celebration of the 85th anniversary of its opening on September 28, 1929, the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater is featuring a weekend line-up of classic films with the theme, “Movies about Movies.” Included in that program is Billy Wilder’s 1950 classic, SUNSET BLVD., one of my all-time favorite movies and the one that features the quote I included above. I’ve seen SUNSET BLVD. countless times but never on the big screen. Today is the day. In a few hours I will be one of those wonderful people out there in the dark staring at the glory of old Hollywood and a magnificent face. But, this post is not about me. It’s about ensuring that future generations can have these experiences too.
In tribute to The Landmark Loews Theater and the Friends of the Loews organization, the group of volunteers that works tirelessly and have restored the screen, seats, projectors and even the Wonder Morgan Pipe Organ, which plays a vital role in the experience of this magnificent theatre, I am asking for your support. Sadly, as is the case with other remaining classic movie palaces, The Loews Jersey is threatened on a continuous basis. Please visit, volunteer and donate what you can. We cannot allow the disappearance of such a place and should do what we can to see that in a hundred years someone else with a love of classics can blog about its 185th anniversary.
I should mention that preceding SUNSET BLVD. on the schedule today is SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, considered by many as the greatest musical of all time. I will be there for that screening as well and am only less excited about it than SUNSET BLVD. because I’ve already seen it on a big screen. The program starts at 6 pm, go here for details.
Happy anniversary to The Loew’s Jersey! Built at what was then the impressive sum of $2 million dollars, the Loew’s was accurately called as “the most lavish temple of entertainment in New Jersey”. – Loews Jersey.
UPDATE: It’s the morning after the events I describe above, what turned out to be one of the greatest movie nights of my life. We sang “Happy Birthday” to the Landmark Loew’s Theatre, were treated to music on the magical organ before the screenings and during intermission and watched two of the greatest movies ever made in their respective genres. The house was packed bringing the 85-year-old palace to life. It was a movie night I will never forget. And Norma Desmond? She didn’t disappoint. Before last night I suspected SUNSET BLVD. was one of the greatest motion pictures ever made. Today I’m sure of it.
My friend Rich attended the first half of the night’s event, the screening of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN and wrote a wonderful piece about the experience on his blog. Check it out.
Images from last evening:
A Landmark Loew’s Jersey gallery from the past: