Since last week’s post showcased a burlesque act and a juvenile delinquent flick at the Casino Theatre, I thought I’d share this marquee-blazing shot of So Young So Bad at the Bloor Cinema, then the Midtown, in late 1950.
Despite the alluring tagline, the film’s a bit of a doozy, but it does feature an early appearance by fiery Silent Toronto-fave Rita Moreno.
When So Young So Bad opened, similar fare was shown across the street at the Bloor (now Lee’s Palace), which closed in 1957; you could catch the fancier stuff at the Alhambra (demolished), slightly east of Bathurst.
If you’re familiar with the Bloor, which opened in 1913 as the Madison and was entirely rebuilt when it became the Midtown in 1941, you’ll notice that today’s marquee is now flat against the building, but more importantly, the left doorway no longer exists. In its place is a juice bar run by the owners of the shawarma spot on the right side where the hat shop once resided.
Although unsure of the exact date, the Bloor’s Carm Bordonaro thinks the left doorway may have been filled up and rented out around 1987. It was still there in June 1981, when he was photographed in front of the building for a “state of repertory cinemas” feature in the Toronto Sun (The Tin Drum was playing that week). Bordonaro, who now owns the building, says that left to his own devices, he never would have changed a thing.
Taking a closer look, however, you’ll notice the streamlined doors are not the only thing missing from the modern-day picture. Toronto’s subway system was still a few years away, and the Bloor-Danforth line wouldn’t arrive until 1966, hence the character-adding cobblestone-lined streetcar track, which ran from Jane St. all the way to Victoria Park.
Oh, another thing: they no longer go to such lengths to decorate the joint when they play Repo: The Genetic Opera every month.