Friday, November 28, 2008

We killed a theater AND a bowling alley

VOLUNTEERS (the movie David Isaacs and I wrote) did so poorly it not only closed a movie theater but also the bowling alley next door.

The Pickwood Theater and Bowling Alley were longtime fixtures in West Los Angeles on Pico Blvd. Many major pictures had their exclusive first runs at the Pickwood. There were star studded premieres and klieg lights. And the bowling alley was so popular it was open almost 24 hours a day.

Then VOLUNTEERS opened.

Three weeks later the wrecking ball tore the entire complex to smithereens.

The official word was that both structures were torn down to make way for the Westside Pavilion shopping mall. But we know better.

And the irony is the Pavilion itself has been renovated and what’s in that spot now? The Landmark theatres.

So moviegoers have forgiven us. But bowlers still hate our guts.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but, c'mon...we're talking about bowlers.


Anonymous said...

I first saw Volunteers on HBO in '87, and thought it was very funny; I've seen it two or three times since and always enjoyed it. I don't know why you mock yourself about it.

Now that I think about it, I'll buy a DVD copy of it as part of my next anniversary present for my wife, as it was one of the first movies we ever watched together.

Did you have conflicts with director Nicolas Meyer which spoil your feelings about the film?

Anonymous said...

Ken although the movie isn't on my top ten lists, I have to say I don't regret seeing it at a theater. 90% of the movies out there are not worth the trip let alone the price.But DAM you closed a bowling alley! At that time bowling was a big draw so you are responsible for its fall. What talent!

VP81955 said...

If I ever get a film made, I will plead with my distributors not to run it at that Landmark theaterplex. With the bad vibes that resonate from "Volunteers" and that site, I am taking no chances.

Verification word: "drontler." Once I figure out how one dronts, I'll make an inane joke out of it.

Second verification word: "reangste." How a really pretentious person spells a second attack of angst.

VP81955 said...

I normally don't comment on verification words by themselves, but the one that just came up on this screen demanded my attention: "guestorm." Is it a storm of gues, whatever they may be? A guest orm, whatever it is? Or is it simply an abbreviated way of saying "guest storm," as if the climate had its own guest star (or "guest villain," a la the '60s "Batman" TV series).

This will hang on my mind for a little bit. Then I'll move on to something substantive.

Anea Barer said...

Regardless of the shutdown bowling alley, I always enjoyed "Voluteers" and quoted it often when I was living in Russia teaching English in the mid-nighties. The most quoted line: "It's not that I can't help these people, it's just that I don't want to".

Anonymous said...

"oe said...
Yeah, but, c'mon...we're talking about bowlers."

HEY! I owe my life to bowling. No kidding! My parents met on a bowling team.

Think of all the people Ken killed by closing that bowling ally, and thus preventing those potential parent bowlers from meeting.

Oh the potential humanity.

Anonymous said...

Ken, it might be verification words like mine -- "graphos" -- that earned you that porn rating.

Anonymous said...

d, you're lucky. Most bowling alley conceptions end in back alley abortions.

Roger Owen Green said...

You may have heard on Barbara Walters special that Barack Obama is sparing (no pun intended) the White House bowling alley.

Our national nightmare is over.

Anonymous said...

"jbryant said...
d, you're lucky. Most bowling alley conceptions end in back alley abortions."

I wasn't CONCEIVED in a bowling alley for Heaven's sake. I was born 54 weeks after my parent's wedding. I knew those two repressed souls, and they waited for the wedding. And the wedding was in a church in Westchester, not the El Segundo Bowling alley where they met. And under no conceivable circumstances would my mother ever have had an abortion. Boy oh boy was she opposed to abortion. She was very much a "Life begons at conception" person.

I know you were just making a joke, but my late parents would have been most offended by it.

On the other hand, they never went bowling again.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, by the new Landmark is SOOO swanky! And there's still the bowling alley on Venice - Mar Vista Bowl.

VP81955 said...

BTW, I'm not going to knock bowling. In the early 1980s, I was in a league at an alley in Bethesda, Md., and one of the members was former Carter press secretary Jody Powell and his wife. Nice people.

Verification word: "legiciaz." Living in the Washington area, I presume that's a person who has something to do with legislation, although with that final syllable, I'm not sure I want to find out exactly what.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lord, the Picwood. What a great theater. GIANT screen, 20 feet off the ground, so you don't get that nasty keystoning from down projection. Exquisite sound. High=back chairs, deep foam padding, and they rocked.

Pacific used to park the oddball films there. I remember seeing "Brewster McCloud" there and a 70mm roadshow print of "Apocalypse Now" -- the ultra-spiffy one with no credits, just a copyright at the end in the lower-right corner after the fade-to-black.

You should be proud to be a part of that place's history.

I worked for Landmark Theaters for a few years, at the Sherman in Sherman Oaks, and I have no comment about them due to libel laws.


Doug R said...

Its spelled "Picwood" and was a cross between Pico and Westwood which was the intersection it was near.

Unknown said...

Doug R. said "Its spelled "Picwood" and was a cross between Pico and Westwood which was the intersection it was near."

yes, and there was the Picfair (at Pico and Fairfax. I'd be interested in knowing the names of other Portmanteau theaters in Los Angeles... Anybody have a list of now defunct theaters from the golden years?