Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
RN: Do you love the Riverview Theater as much as I do?
CP: More. Why?
RN: Because I am a highly competitive person, even in my affections.
CP: Besides having cheap tickets and cheap popcorn, the Riv screams “midcentury moviehouse.” I’d love to have seen “Some Like It Hot” there, or “Rear Window,” or “Ben-Hur.”
RN: That the Riverview’s 1949 gorgeousness is still standing in the city I think of as Teardownapolis is a miracle. Mayor Hodges needs to hand owner Loren Williams the key to the city, pronto.
CP: Another great old movie theater, the Suburban World (née Granada), in the heart of Uptown, has been mothballed for years. I miss going there. It has one of those starry-night ceilings, just like Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom.
RN: Two weeks ago, I saw “Singin’ in the Rain” at the dipped-in-nostalgia Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, and the experience was as magical as ever. Try finding a Wurlitzer organ — the perch of the indomitable Harvey Gustafson — playing the movie’s “You Are My Lucky Star” at the AMC Southdale.
CP: The superheroes at the Heights are Tom Letness and David Holmgren, who bought it in the late ’90s and gave it a much-needed buff and shine.
RN: Letness became sole owner 11 years ago, and he programs the heck out of the place. One of my favorite Twin Cities sights is a long line of movie lovers queued up outside his box office. Letness makes moviegoing an event. It helps that he owns the DQ next door and the theater has an open-door Blizzard policy.
CP: I miss the Cooper, with its 800-seat circular screening room, and giant curved Cinerama screen. At the Cooper, a dang movie got seen. Communally. I remember watching the Talking Heads movie “Stop Making Sense” there, with David Byrne on hand post-show. Did you ever go there?
RN: Oh, yes, the “Mad Men”-iest theater, ever. One of the most lamented teardowns of my lifetime. Although the Southtown was pretty spectacular, too.
CP: Isn’t that the theater where you saw “Grease” 14 times?
RN: Among many films. It was a pink-and-white stucco Modernist colossus, and glorious, until the auditorium was ignobly spliced in half.
CP: It looked like it leapt right out of a Candyland board.
RN: It disappeared in the mid-1990s. My impressionable pre-teen movie years were spent at the Terrace in Robbinsdale, a stunner from the same owners and architects as the Riverview. My father’s first job was parking cars at the theater’s opening in 1951.
CP: Sounds like a young man’s dream job.
RN: I wish the Hennepin Theatre Trust would program movies into the State. I love seeing films there. Maybe a “Valley of the Dolls”/“Burlesque”/“Barbarella” trash-fest, during the bleak winter months when we all need a reason to get out of the house?
CP: Great idea. We could get Jane Fonda to emcee.
Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib