Yesterday I found a yellow, dog-eared copy of the November 1979 issue of The Thousand Eyes Cinema Guide. Only three or four issues were published before the wily and colorful Sid Geffen, publisher of this TV Guide-like publication and operator of the then-thriving Bleecker Street and Carnegie Hall Cinemas, pulled the plug.
I served as the tireless managing editor and even, for a brief while, as the advertising guy. It was a great publishing experience while it lasted, but also grueling as hell because all 60 pages had to be written, edited, re-edited, copy-corrected, pasted and re-pasted by hand. With adhesive and Exacto knives. It took two or three days, two all-nighters and 85 cups of shitty coffee to finish the job at a composition-and-print house north of the city.
Yep, there really were 21 repertory cinemas (or venues) operating in Manhattan at the time. And yes, there was a certain musty romance to the analog, 27″ x 41″ display poster, reel-changing celluloid movie world of 1979. But for lovers of classic. indie, foreign or weird cinema, things are much better today in so many respects. Choices, image quality, ease of access…everything.