EV Grieve recently exhumed some old photos of a couple of downtown movie theaters and in both instances linked to an exhaustive database of since-closed playhouses called Cinema Treasures. This almost immediately triggered a long dormant memory of mine involving a similarly long-since-vanished movie house on the Upper East Side. I combed through Cinema Treasures but was unable to spot it, so I thought I'd bring the question here. See if this rings any bells.
As I've mentioned elsewhere here, I was born in Manhattan and grew up on the Upper East Side in the 70's and 80's. In this post of a little over year ago, I detailed my gradual exploration of my hometown, starting with basically a ten block radius during my grade school years. I mentioned back in that other post that the strip of East 86th Street between Park and 2nd Avenues was the real hotbed of entertainment (movie theatres, record stores and fast-food joints), but I still vividly remember a humble little movie house on Madison Avenue (something unheard of today) that was perched – if I recall correctly – between East 85th & East 84th streets on the west side of the avenue (adjacent, if I'm not mistaken, to a restaurant called "The Puffing Billy," also long since closed). The theater itself was ornate and rife with lots of architectural flourish. Inside the main auditorium, the walls were festooned with backlit silhouettes of showgirls. I remember being taken to any number of movies there (Disney films were a regular feature) along with other odd, kid-centric films like "The Magic of the Kite" (see poster above). It was always a special experience.
I can't remember when it disappeared exactly, but I don't imagine it lasted too far into the dawn of the 80's, if that. I later ended up going to high school on East 83rd between Park & Madison, and it was already long-gone by then. The building which originally housed it was torn down, and a large condo now stands in its footprint. Last time I checked, a Banana Republic operated on the ground floor.
I've searched for any information about this movie theater over the Web, but have come up completely empty. Does anyone else remember it? Or did I dream it up completely? Weigh in.