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Tarantino Saves a Family's Business

Dan T.

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I'm not much of a Quentin Tarantino fan, but his saving a family business that he liked as a kid was a nice gesture by him.

Quentin Tarantino saves L.A. theater

Thursday, February 18, 2010 11:00:00 AM PT, The Hollywood Reporter

Of those rooting for Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" on Oscar night, the Torgan family might be cheering the loudest. As the proprietors of the New Beverly Cinema, the Torgans operate one of Los Angeles' last havens for classic movies. And, as of recently, Tarantino is their landlord. The New Beverly has been the Torgan family business since 1978. But if not for the intervention of the director with the encyclopedic knowledge of film, it would be just another chain franchise.

"It was going to be turned into a Super Cuts," Tarantino said. "I'd been coming to the New Beverly ever since I was old enough to drive there from the South Bay -- since about 1982. So, I couldn't let that happen."

Built in 1929 as a first-run moviehouse, the Torgan family moved into the property and turned it into a 200-seat venue for classic, independent and foreign films. One glance at a recent New Beverly schedule leaves no doubt about what attracted Tarantino to the place -- John Wayne's "True Grit" one night, Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist" later that week. The "New Bev" hosts animation events, celebrity-programmed fests and a bimonthly, exploitation-fueled Grindhouse.

The theater on Beverly a block west of La Brea hit hard times in the mid-2000s as the DVD market chewed into ticket sales. Sherman Torgan, the family patriarch and the operator of the theater, was facing serious financial troubles. "Since I'm a print collector and I screen movies at my home, I heard from other collectors and projectionists that Sherman might have to close down," Tarantino recalled. The director got in touch and asked Torgan how much money he needed a month to keep up the theater.

"The answer was about $5,000," Tarantino said. "So, I just started paying him that per month. I considered it a contribution to cinema."

Then Torgan passed away unexpectedly in 2007, leaving his family and friends of the New Beverly in mourning -- and the future of the theater in doubt. "Within a week of my father's death, the landlord had a buyer bidding for the theater space," said Michael Torgan, Sherman's son. "Fortunately, I found a copy of our original lease, and it said that the family had the right of first refusal if we could find another buyer." Desperate to prevent the loss of the family business, the Torgans began considering all options.

"My father had just died, so it wasn't a good time for our family," Michael recalled. "Now, we thought we might lose the theater. My mother reached out to Quentin and explained to him that we were in trouble."

Read more at http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/news/463-quentin-tarantino-saves-l-a-theater

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Good for Quentin....$5k ain't nothing to that cat...nice to see

It was $5,000 a month when he was helping with the rent. Then he bought the property. The price he paid wasn't revealed because of a nondisclosure agreement. Probably a decent chunk of change, but you're right, he can afford it.

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