Charles Aidikoff, Who Ran Popular LA Screening Room, Dies

Dec 22, 2016
Originally published on December 23, 2016 11:07 am
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A dearly loved 101-year-old Hollywood insider has died. Charles Aidikoff ran a private screening room on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. There, movie stars, producers, critics and members of the Motion Picture Academy saw new films. NPR's Susan Stamberg met Aidikoff a few years ago.

SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: Directors like to screen early versions or works in progress in Charles Aidikoff's 57-seat auditorium. The owner greeted them personally with a big smile and something to nosh.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

CHARLES AIDIKOFF: People have asked me, why didn't you have popcorn? So you know what I tell them? I'll get popcorn on one condition - that you stay after when this is over and you clean up. Suddenly they don't want popcorn (laughter).

STAMBERG: He gave audiences little packages of Mars Bars, Milky Ways and Red Vines. He said he spent $700 every two and a half weeks on candy. He also offered audiences gentle instructions on behavior.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

AIDIKOFF: This is what is known as a cell phone. It would be very nice if you all pushed the little button and turned it off. It's the only way I get paid for this screening.

(LAUGHTER)

AIDIKOFF: And I'm sure you people would like to see me get paid, right?

STAMBERG: Charles Aidikoff estimated he had seen more than 50,000 films in the half century he operated his projection room. He said his favorite was "Citizen Kane." He'd gotten the film bug from his father, Max, who ran silent movies in Coney Island. Charles' grandson Josh kept the Los Angeles operation going until it closed in 2015. Josh said he'd learned everything from his grandfather, Charles Aidikoff, dead at 101. I'm Susan Stamberg, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.