Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Movie Theater Marquees from the 1950s-1970s

Share this:

147_marquees

We’ve looked at grindhouse and x-rated marquees in 25 Sleazy Movie Marquees From The Golden Age of Smut.  This time let’s widen our focus and have a look at all varieties of marquees from mid-century through the 1980s.  Enjoy!

IMG_0006

Two movies from 1982 that couldn’t be more different.  The family-friendly Annie and the demon possession movie Satan’s Mistress, starring the often-naked Lana Wood.  You often saw this in the 1970s and early 1980s – a 2-plex theater with one room for the kids, and the other to show absurd levels of sleaze.

Sin título-9

Los Indestructibles AKA The Undefeated (1969) starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson

012_Vintage Movie Marquee

Weird Wicked World AKA Mondo Inferno (1964) a shockumentary on mud wrestling, child trafficking, and other exotic and degenerate topics.  Take note of the war protest going on out front.

038_Vintage Movie Marquee

Looks like A View to a Kill (1985) is playing at the Boulevard Cinema.

friday the 13

Friday the 13th, Spanish style.

002_Vintage Movie Marquee

The 1966 film Harper, based on the novel The Moving Target (which was title in the UK).  Frank Sinatra was originally cast for the lead, but it ended up going to Paul Newman.

003

I haven’t seen Time Walker (1982) but based on its plot synopsis, I’m going to have to check it out: “An alien, buried in King Tut’s tomb, terrorizes a college campus.”  Nice.

007_Vintage Movie Marquee

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe

008_Vintage Movie Marquee

The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968) starring Anthony Quinn.  The movie’s tagline: ” In a last desperate effort to prevent World War III, one man is chosen to succeed where all the world’s leaders have failed. That man was once a prisoner in a Russian labor camp. He is now the Pope.”

8-13-2012 12-14-40 PM

(L) A marquee from 1978; (R) A marquee for one of the biggest train-wrecks of the 1970s – the Bee Gee’s ill-fated Sgt. Pepper.

009_Vintage Movie Marquee

A marquee from 1980 featuring an often overlooked Christopher Reeve film, Somewhere in Time.

015_Vintage Movie Marquee

A Farewell to Arms (1957) starring Rock Hudson, who turned down Ben-Hur to play this role.  Hudson stated that he considered that choice the biggest mistake of his career.

017

This marquee photograph for Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) is among my favorites because it illustrates the wonderful showmanship genre movies used to use to bring in the crowds.  Horror movies often had wild gimmicks to lure audiences and it was a lot of fun!

020_Vintage Movie Marquee a

Do you think these guys have any interest in checking out Sometimes a Great Notion  – a film about Oregon loggers starring Henry Fonda and Paul Newman?  The other flick on the marquee is Joe Kidd, starring Clint Eastwood and Robert Duvall (1972).

022

Girl Gang (1954)

026_Vintage Movie Marquee

Valley of the Kings (1954) – Don’t even get me started on my love for drive-in movie theaters; we could be here all night.

075_1986

A couple horror flicks, Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986) and Initiation (1984), on a marquee in 1986.

044_Vintage Movie Marquee

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)  – I remember being really hyped to see this in the theater, as was my father.  But it turned out to be a rather boring letdown.  Much later I can appreciate it more, but in 1979, this seemed like a dud to most moviegoers.

094_1972

The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972) – Shirley MacLaine turned down the lead female role in The Exorcist (1973) in order to make this film.  Big mistake.

148

(L) Dirty Harry (1971); (R) a James Bond clone, The Liquidator (1965); also Dimension 5 (1966)

045_Vintage Movie Marquee

Hellfighters (1968) was an unusual John Wayne film about fighting oil fires.  Also starring Katharine Ross who had starred in The Graduate a year prior.

070_1986

Stallone’s Cobra (1986)

048_Vintage Movie Marquee

Nudes of All Nations (1962), a UK nudist film.

050_1977 Vintage Movie Marquee

A 1977 cineplex showing Pete’s Dragon, Close Encounters, Clint Eastwood’s Gauntlet, Semi-Tough, and another film I can’t quite make out.  Any guesses?

089

A showing of the classic Cat People (1942)

073_1979

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)  and Moonraker (1979)

059

A look down a strip in 1979 – check out Dawn of the Dead and the disco Dracula flick Love at First Bite.  A beautiful sight!

  • RKinRoanoke

    A 1977 cineplex showing Pete’s Dragon, Close Encounters, Clint Eastwood’s Gauntlet, Semi-Tough, and another film I can’t quite make out. Any guesses?

    Is it The Goodbye Girl? RIchard Dreyfus and Marsha Mason?

    Have you done a post on Drive In Theatres?

    Interesting that many of these titles would not get made now. Certainly not shown in “theatres”.

    • Drehcir

      Yes it’s The Goodbye Girl.

    • Yeoman Lowbrow

      Thanks for solving the mystery. And, no, I haven’t done a drive-in post yet, but it will definitely be coming in the months ahead. Cheers!

  • John Garcia

    I grew up in Pomona California. I have a lot of fond memories at the Fox Theater. As I was scrolling down this post I was hoping it see it. You didn’t disappoint. Thanks.

  • AlanOne7

    As I’ve posted here before … major props to the guys who had to climb ladders and redo those signs every freaking week.

    Two things I don’t miss about pre-1990s movies. 1) Everything opened in NY or LA. Only IF those people liked a film would it trickle down to second- and third-level markets, finally arriving in my small town after a month or so. 2) No internet, so if you had a crush on, say, Jacqueline Bisset or Faye Dunaway you had to buy a magazine or stay up and watch them on Johnny Carson. Getting pictures and information on minor celebrities was almost impossible.

  • njguy54

    Many of these pre-1960s movie marquees were true works of art. For the past decade or so, there’s been a movement to preserve the few that are left, particularly in small towns. Unfortunately, many of these theaters are so old and dilapidated that they cannot be saved, and end up on the business end of a wrecking ball.