The Jack Alessi Trio

I noticed an obituary in the paper today, for Jack Alessi. The name sounded familiar and when I looked him up, I recalled meeting him at the Monticello between sets when he opened for Jerry Vale, probably in 1972. Ralph Kelton and I would sometimes go to the Monticello after closing the Cinema and sit at the bar, still wearing our tuxes which were the uniform of the time. Here’s what was written about Jack.
“Originally from the Boston area, Jack began his musical career as a drummer in the early sixties working with his father, guitarist, Don Alessi. During the late sixties and early seventies Jack landed the coveted spot of M.C. at the Famous Monticello Night Club in Framingham, MA. Jack has performed with and opened for Tony Bennett, Vicki Carr, Jerry Lewis, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Durante, The Mills Brothers and many others. He has been the featured vocalist and toured with such big bands as Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller, and Stan Kenton. It was Jack Alessi’s concept of the “3 Swinging Tenors” that brought this trio together.”
The times have changed, and I don’t think we’ll ever again see the great shows that Framingham hosted for many year.

Game Machines in the Lobby

Circa 1981, here’s a photo of the Cinema Lobby with the game machines of the day.

I’m sure there’s a Pac Man there, and an Asteroids, as well as Donkey Kong. There were experts who were regulars, that knew the patterns on all these games, and would come in every day to play. There was a game called Defender, which was pretty hard, but I remember someone who could play it for hours on one quarter.

I’m sure there’s someone out there who remembers the red carpet, and the glass chandeliers in the Cinema Lobby. The photo is bright, but if you could see outside, you’d be looking out on the stairs that went up to the Jordan’s Basement Store, or the Roundup which was just outside the back exit from the theatre lobby.

The Cinema, Balcony Closed

The Cinema at Shoppers World, with the Balcony Closed. Wasn’t it always that way? I don’t know how many times on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon we had to chase some kids from the balcony. And yet nearly every Saturday night back in the mid to late 1970s the balcony would be open to sell out crowds. From American Graffiti to Saturday Night Fever, Poltergeist, Animal House, and so many others, the Cinema I and II auditoriums which were to my immediate right in this view, would sell out every week.

Originally the big auditorium had 1432 seats. It was split in half in the early 1970′s. The large chandeliers were made from imported glass. The hanging lights over the concession stand were also imported and nearly impossible to replace, I was told.

Upstairs, to the end of the aisle, and through a door, was the popcorn room. The exhaust was high outside above the front, and you could smell the popcorn as you approached from the parking lot.

I took this picture around 1983.  I’m sure there are still lots of folks around who remember this scene, whether they worked there then, or went to the movies.