The Motion Picture Hall of Fame, more than a century in the making, is projected to open in the Claridge Tower at Bally’s Atlantic City in July. It will be the world’s first facility that pays tribute to all aspects of the motion picture industry, from its inception more than 100 years ago to the present.
Why would this be located in New Jersey and not in California?
Because Thomas Edison invented the motion picture camera in New Jersey, and the first motion picture studios were built in this state and were here for several years. Another reason is that Atlantic City has a history of drawing 30 million visitors each year.
The Motion Picture Hall of Fame has the potential to become the most successful of the world’s various halls of fame. It is estimated by the hall’s developers that 350,000 to 450,000 people are expected to visit it.
The hall will be developed in phases over three years, consisting of more than 100,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, user-friendly displays, themed attractions, screening rooms with 3-D monitors that do not require special eyeglasses, an Internet television studio, a specialized retail center and several dining outlets. It will be contained on multiple levels within the existing 500-room hotel tower.
The Hall of Fame’s board supports the Atlantic City site as opposed to a northern location. The planners have already met with two local construction firms about the project and the phases of construction. A well known and highly regarded local architectural firm has been selected to coordinate the project and is using local construction firms to be a part of the development team.
All of those involved in the project are enthusiastic and think this will have a major impact on Atlantic City tourism.
Items to be included in the Motion Picture Hall of Fame are collections from John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Anthony Quinn, which have been lined up for a rotating exhibit. A “Hollywood and WWII” exhibit has been secured to coincide with the air show in Atlantic City. It features a collection of movie star’s planes and will conclude with a ceremony on Veterans Day honoring several stars who served in the war.
Personal appearances by several stars are being discussed and have been favorably received.
Atlantic Coast Productions, of Northfield, has developed several items concerning the role of New Jersey in the evolution of the movie industry that will be showcased in the Hall of Fame.
Props, costumes and materials from a variety of films, both current and classics, have been secured for display. Interactive attractions involving animation, Internet broadcasting and filming/voice-over studios are being finalized for inclusion in the first phase of the project.
The Titanic exhibition for the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking is on schedule to be open by Jan. 1, 2012. As you know, a state-of-the-art experience involving 3-D movies has become a key component of the hall of fame experiences.
A 600-seat theater will host an ongoing series of themed special events, such as conversations with actors, directors, producers, innovators and others involved in the motion picture industry with personal relationships with the stars.
Specialized celebrations will be developed to pay tribute to a broad cross-section of movie genres, possibly including an African American film festival, an event that pays tribute to Hollywood’s real war heroes to coincide with Veterans Day or Memorial Day, and a celebration of films with sports themes.
The Motion Picture Hall of Fame’s signature event will be an annual nationally televised live broadcast inducting the new members into the Hall, with the public choosing who will be enshrined. The Motion Picture Hall of Fame will be a fluid and living project that will constantly evolve to feature new attractions and exhibits.
Is all this a dream? Will it become a reality? Obviously, the hall of fame’s board of directors believes it will happen. I talked with Caesars Entertainment Eastern Division President Don Marrandino, whose company owns Bally’s Claridge Tower, and he said, “People around the world love movies, and if this evolves in the manner in which it is planned, the Motion Picture Hall of Fame will be a prime attraction that will bring people from all walks of life, from around the world, to Atlantic City.”
Those involved in this project are working diligently to get the funding necessary to make it happen. It is my understanding that half of the revenue has been raised at this point. The budget is $10 million.
If all that is lacking is $5 million, it would seem that would not be an insurmountable amount to raise. This is the type of development we need in Atlantic City.
I urge the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to seriously consider providing the necessary funds to establish the Motion Picture Hall of Fame in Atlantic City. It will be a great addition for the Atlantic City Tourism District.
New CRDA liaison
Susan Kase, who was appointed as a liaison for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority by Gov. Chris Christie, will help aid the progress of the Atlantic City Tourism District.
The deputy attorney general and former assistant U.S. attorney should be a great addition to the CRDA team.
Welcome Susan Kase, on behalf of the people of southern New Jersey, particularly the Atlantic City area. We welcome you with open arms and look forward to aiding and assisting you in any way we can in making the Atlantic City Tourism District and its neighborhood districts a true destination resort.
It is also my understanding that interim executive director of the CRDA, Susan Ney Thompson, will eventually return to her position as chief operating officer once a new executive director is named. If that is so, that is good news.
Pinky’s Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky’s Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, “WMGM Presents Pinky,” airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40. E-mail Pinky at: email@example.com.