Milton didn't realize how prophetic his Paradise Lost would be for those of us who grew up in the Bronx. Going to the movies was certainly the most popular form of entertainment for us, and the Paradise, with its opulent lobby, baroque statuary, and unforgettable, star-festooned auditorium was the undisputed favorite movie palace. This poll has taken the lead for the most responses (127) and has certainly shown the neighborhood movie theater to be as important a part of the Bronx culture as any other. In the days before the multiplexes, before the micro-screens and the thundering Dolby® stereo sound, there were the single-screened, second-run local movie houses. These were our escape routes from the hot summer days and nights. For a quarter we got two features, a newsreel, cartoons, and coming attractions. Can you imagine growing up in the Bronx without it? Based on the results, none of us can. However, several folks admitted that they'd have a hard time now sitting through that much movie fare, assuming they'd have that big a block of time to spend anyway.
As usual, I leave it to you to render your own analyses based on the returns. Thanks to everyone who participated.
The total number of unique, usable responses was 127.
When you lived in the Bronx, how frequently did you go to the movies?
|Rarely (less than once/month)||12||9%|
|Regularly (once or twice/month)||68||54%|
|Often (once/week or more)||47||37%|
Where was the theater that you usually went to?
|Right around the corner||28||22%|
|In the neighborhood||84||66%|
|A short ride away||13||10%|
|On the other side of the Bronx||1||1%|
|In another borough||1||1%|
|Out of town||0||0%|
What was the name of the movie theater in the Bronx that you most frequently attended?
We received an enormous number of different responses for this question, so rather than provide counts, I'll just list the theater names. I can't verify that all of these theaters existed or were located in the Bronx, so forgive me if any don't belong here.
|Casino||Loew's Castle Hill||RKO Chester||Circle|
|Dale||David Marcus (formerly Tuxedo)||Earl||Fairmont|
|Loew's Paradise||Park Plaza||Pelham||Loew's Post Road|
|Raymond||Riverdale Cinema||RKO Royal||Savoy|
What was the name of your favorite Bronx movie theater?
In hindsight, I realize that this question could've been phrased "If your favorite theater wasn't The Paradise, what was it?". The results are certainly not surprising.
Did you typically go to a specific movie theater because a particular movie was playing, or did you simply go and see whatever was playing?
|Went because a particular movie was playing||54||43%|
|Went "just to go" and see whatever was playing||66||52%|
|Sometimes one, sometimes the other||5||4%|
Did you typically find out the schedule and arrive for a complete show, or more often arrive "in the middle"?
|Usually went according to the schedule||70||55%|
|Usually went at whatever time was convenient||56||44%|
What features of your favorite Bronx movie theater made you like it so much?
(Multiple answers were allowed, so the sum of percentages will exceed 100.)
|Price of admission||93||73%|
|Ambience and atmosphere||70||55%|
|Variety of movies, shorts, cartoons, etc.||84||66%|
|Proximity to home||101||80%|
|Matrons and Ushers||2||1%|
|Sitting in the balcony||43||34%|
|Comfort of the seats||49||39%|
|Opulence of the interior||65||51%|
Here's a sampling of some "other" favorite attributes:
Do you think local Bronx movie theaters were different from local theaters anywhere?
Here's a few reasons that accompanied the "Yes" responses:
If it were available today, do you think you could sit through two features, coming attractions, shorts, cartoons, and a newsreel?
|Responses||Percentage (of responses)|
How come no one mentioned The Lido? Was it too "artsy" for the Bronx masses? Just kidding. How many of us said "Low-eez" in our inimitable Bronxese, and how many knew the correct pronounciation was "Loze"? There's a question I neglected to include.
I was pleasantly reminded by the one response that mentioned "seeing the movie again if we wanted to". Of course we could see it again! That's where the phrase "This is where we came in" originated, isn't it? I wonder what would happen now if I hung out after the end of Men In Black and told the guy with the Jimmy Fund can that "I missed the first five minutes and I'm waiting for the next show to start"...
Thanks again for participating. Our next survey topic will be Street Games.