Who killed Name Brand Deals?

Name Brand Deals, the Oneida-owned enterprise that moved in to the spiritual space of the old Genesee Theater (I refuse to talk about Pep Boys any more), shut its doors recently. I’m not surprised. Even for a discount outlet, the place was a real dump. I went in there once and it made a barn sale look like Neiman Marcus.

Anyhow, I’m mentioning this partly to draw attention to a new comment I’ve received on the old Who killed the Genesee? thread. I’ve reprinted the comment below.

While researching for the Kallet Genesee page at Cinema Treasures, I came across a couple of bits of information not mentioned above that might interest you. The April 1, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine published a rendering of the proposed Genesee Theatre by its architect, Michael J. DeAngelis. Construction began later that year. Albanese Brothers built the building, and it was operated under lease by Kallet Theatres.

I’ve been unable to find the exact opening date for the Genesee, but the March 14 issue of Boxoffice said that the theater had recently opened.

Michael DeAngelis was a Rochester architect who designed many theaters from the 1920s into the 1950s, some as far away as Florida, though I’ve been able to track down the names of only a few. His page at Cinema Treasures currently lists a mere dozen.

I’ve been unable to find out anything about Albanese Brothers, but it’s likely that they were a local firm of builders and developers in Syracuse.

Scans of Boxoffice Magazine and its predecessors are currently available at issuu.com, and there are many articles and brief items about upstate New York theaters, some going back to the mid-1920s. If you’re interested in the subject this is a good place to search for information about it. I’ve found it easier to search through Google than through Issuu’s own search box, though.

–Joe Vogel

If I was leader of the free universe and had a zillion dollars, I would buy the Genesee Theater space, rebuild the theater and show nothing but quality sci-fi from all film eras, starting with Forbidden Planet, maybe doing it Alamo Drafthouse style.

10 Replies to “Who killed Name Brand Deals?”

  1. And if I had a zillion dollars, I’d pay you to do it! Some things should be reconstructed block by block, even if the culture’s not there currently to fill it.

  2. Well, you could ask the Eastwood Palace people what they’ve had to do. Of course, I think the zillion dollars is key. I don’t want to have to go through the tiresome tedious process of making the theater actually *profitable* you know.

  3. Forgwyn…interesting question. I wonder if architectural prints for the original Genessee are floating around anywhere?

  4. JStack….part of me thinks that they’d be easy to find, then I realize that could possibly involve heading into governmental bureaucracy. So…easy, not so much.

    Between the Epic Fail of Pep Boys and NBD (I went a couple of times and all I can say is that it was in better shape than their one in Chittenango) I say at this point the Solvay Town Board should just stop and remember what did survive there. So just turn it into (back?) a movie house, and add space for stage performances. I mean the place is large enough to handle both ideas, and it’s something both the Palace and Westcott have embraced. So why not? Off the top of my head we don’t have anything like that on the West Side…and perhaps down the road they can slowly add Genesee elements back to the building.

  5. This San Francisco Chronicle article from last year looks at the shrinking business for repertory cinemas:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/11/MNVVURG40.DTL

    Hm. If you can’t make it work in SF…

    But, part of the problem with the demise of the old Genesee is that nobody actually seemed to have any real ideas for alternatives to knocking it down (business plans and so forth). I don’t see any harm or waste of time in discussing plans and dreams. I may even do a separate blog project about this, but that depends on how much free time I have so I don’t know. At least it could be a virtual Genesee Theater …

  6. Hmmm, maybe true about no real ideas for alternatives to demo, but I’d bet otherwise. With every tragedy around “these parts”, there always seems to be a common sense, workable voice or plan. Since these alternate visions and concepts typically are outside the dominant paradigm, they receive only isolated or passing coverage as “quaint”, “nice but unrealistic dream”, “probably too expensive” or even “interesting but…the economic reality is…”.

    Something that history uncovers after the wrecking ball of progress has already hit…

  7. I remember when it was built. They advertised semi-reclining seats. Very nice and comfortable. I wish it were still here. It was clean, adequate parking and the popcorn was cheap. Not like today.

    Hal…….

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