View Full Version : Vintage Theaters

06-08-2006, 03:15 PM
I just stumbled onto this place -

Anyone have examples in their neck of the woods?

06-08-2006, 03:21 PM
Where I work --



Built 1923, restored 2005, and a cornerstone of our revitalized downtown!

J. M. Stovall
06-08-2006, 03:31 PM
The River Oaks Theater. Took my wife on our first date to see "Casablanca", in 1991.

When it opened in 1941

And more recently

I wish I could find a photo of the inside, it's all gold deco. It's changed very little since opening. The biggest change was turning the balcony area into two smaller theaters.

We have several other cool theaters that have been repurposed. This is the only one that still shows movies (art house flicks).

Now a book store, but not changed too much

Now a Hollywood Video, only the exterior is unchanged

06-08-2006, 03:36 PM
We have The Orpheum:

Sadly, The Fox Theater was torn down in 1975:

06-08-2006, 03:47 PM

06-08-2006, 04:02 PM
Our Fox Theatre in Tucson was recently re-opened after a long renovation process. I want to visit it! Itlooks so lovely and art deco.


06-08-2006, 04:05 PM
artdecodame, I saw that when I was searching for a link to the Orpheum. It does look neat!

Zach R.
06-08-2006, 04:21 PM
I cannot find any pictures online, but this one is downtown:


Zach R.
06-08-2006, 04:23 PM
Actually, here is one:

Tony in Tarzana
06-08-2006, 04:34 PM
I went here all the time back in the 1970s. I saw Star Wars there for the first time.

Click on the image for a bigger one:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v228/tonyintarzana/th_MMBD33600pxw.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v228/tonyintarzana/MMBD33600pxw.jpg)

Please visit their website. The theater was essentially abandoned for years. The restoration was lengthy and difficult, but the hard work has paid off.


06-08-2006, 04:47 PM
artdecodame, I saw that when I was searching for a link to the Orpheum. It does look neat!

Indeedy! I love the look of the Orpheum, too, and see they sometimes show old movies. Another historic place I must visit! At least it isn't too far away from me.

06-08-2006, 06:01 PM
This thread makes me want to cry. toronto used to have so many nice old theatres - big ones and the sweet little nabes, but now.... OH WOE!!!

The chain of rep theatres is closing up at the end of June, which means five fewer old theatres and five more parking lots.





06-08-2006, 06:21 PM
The restored 1929 Fox Theatre on Atlanta's Peachtree Street is my favorite spot for date-night.

http://img388.imageshack.us/img388/3324/fox11de.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img330.imageshack.us/img330/6421/fox57rt.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

The Moorish Architecture was wildly popular at the time, following the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb by Howard Carter.

http://img164.imageshack.us/img164/9218/fox28cm.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/6657/fox36wm.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

The 4.900 seat theatre continues the Moorish theme with turrets, spires, and a Bedouin canopy. The domed ceiling is a night sky with twinkling stars and moving clouds.

http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/7233/fox73xi.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img447.imageshack.us/img447/9797/fox68kk.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theatre hosts touring Broadway shows, live music & comedy, and summer movies (with a pre-curtain organ concert and sing-along on the Moeller "Mighty Mo" Pipe Organ - the second largest organ in the country). Dressing to the nines to attend the Atlanta Ballet & the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's production of "The Nutcracker" is an Atlanta Christmas tradition. The Fox's most famous premiere: the 1939 opening of "Gone with the Wind".


Cocktails at Bluepointe, dinner at New York Prime, curtain at the Fox, afterhours jazz at the Intercontinental, and a late dessert at Buckhead Diner - that's a night on the town.

06-08-2006, 06:55 PM
JitterbugDoll... Is that all we have is the Orpheum? I am actually wanting to start a search on Burlesque/Vaudeville History (30's - 50's) in Phoenix (theatres, theatre houses, performers, shows, ect) I don't know where to start. Obviously the library, but I don't know what I would ask for or where to start looking.

06-08-2006, 07:06 PM
Just over the border from northern New Jersey, the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, New York is a vintage 1924 movie palace run by the Galaxy Theatre Corporation of New Jersey. Operating seven days a week as a first-run movie theatre, the Lafayette features a huge capacity of 1000 seats, quality projection and sound equipment and the Ben Hall Memorial Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, which is played every Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday afternoon and before the Big Screen Classics presentations on Saturday morning!

06-08-2006, 10:04 PM
Here's one that has been a wonderful one to grow up with. The Fremont Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo. I love the architecture of this place.





06-09-2006, 09:04 AM
The restored 1929 Fox Theatre on Atlanta's Peachtree Street is my favorite spot for date-night.

That .. is... so... COOL! :eek: :eusa_clap

06-09-2006, 10:01 AM

FIRST OF ALL... ALL ROOT!!! NICE 39 Plymouth!


I have an interesting story of a local deco theatre project called the Suffolk theatre.


I was fortunate enough to make friends with the new owner of the theatre. I met him through the Art Deco Society Of New York World Congress last year. We were given a private tour of the restoration in progress and I was amazed! Very High Art Deco and very moldy! It was great. I was invited to a champagne reception with a live Big Band over the winter. That was swell.. except for my back being out. I could hardly walk! But I made it out anyway.. I made good use of my 1920's mahogany and silver cane. Looked great with my ' 34 tux and Coonskin. Swelloh!

I was so thrilled with this project I offered a FREE Identity Package-logo and everything. I was too late though, they already had someone doing it. And I am happy they did a great job.

Now for the best part....... they were tossing the original seats!!!:eek: :D :eek: :eek::D :eek: I got 'em! Not all of them but between my friends and I we nabbed about 40 of 'em. Lighted sides and all. They were piled high out back like mounds of scrap metal...because that's what they thought of 'em. I couldn't believe it! WHY?!
They were all in great shape. Oh well, I hope they will replace them with something correct.

Talks of a grand opening gala event were for this past Memorial day. Didn't happen. Can't wait for this one.. I might not want to move after it opens... maybe.

Doctor Strange
06-09-2006, 10:10 AM
I've got a great one right near me, the old Peekskill Paramount that dates to 1930. It was saved from wreckers in the 80s and is now the Paramount Center for the Arts. It's been extensively refurbished and is a wonderful venue for concerts, plays, dance, and has a first-rate art-house film program too.


06-09-2006, 10:13 AM
I remember the Fremont! I saw a Japanese animated movie about the Monkey King called Alakazam the Great there when I was about 4 years old. Is the FOX still there is San Luis Obispo as well? Thats where I saw 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

We are pretty well blessed here in San Francisco and the Peninsula.

First and foremost in the City is the Castro Movie Theater. It is a churrigueresque cathedral of a place built in 1922 for both movies and vaudeville. It still has the Wurlitzer in the pit and an organist who plays between shows. You always know when the film is about to start as he segues into "San Francisco" from the movie of the same name. The Castro today runs a varied program of movies and live events. Web site is:

The Balboa out in the Richmond is not really a palace of a place, although it is of that era. It does, however, show more vintage movies than does the Castro. Most recently it has been showing a Boris Karlov film festival.

My favourite, however, for both venue and films, is the Stanford in Palo Alto. They always have a double feature of pre-1960 movies. Currently they are running a Ronald Colman festival. Inside, it is a walled garden out of the Arabian Nights. You can sit in the balcony and the Wurlitzer in the pit is played. The theatre is backed by the Packard Foundation, (of Hewlett-Packard fame), and a serious film restoration lab. For me it is the best place to see old movies. It will often be packed, and to watch and hear a classic comedy like the Palm Beach Story in the company of a couple hundred people makes it even funnier.

The one place I regret never having seen a movie while it still existed was the Alhambra in Sacramento. It was so lavish that it even had a walled forecourt and garden with fountains in the style of its namesake. It so dominated the part of town it stood in that was called the Alhambra District and a major street, Alhambra Boulevard was named for it. A Safeway now sits there.


06-09-2006, 10:23 AM
Yes STORY, Atlanta's Fox Theatre is one of those rare venues that gives me goosebumps.

The whole Fox experience is grand - in a way that only the 1920's could be grand. Patrons debark at the curb to walk a 150 foot covered tiled arcade. At the main doors, period costumed docents take your ticket and point you to the full bar in the main lobby. Champagne in hand, you ascend the Grand Staircase, up through the Mezzanine, opening onto the Loge - surrounded by crenulated Moorish fortifications and capped with a starry sky - well it's just breathtaking. Taking your seat, you see the massive Moeller "Mighty Mo" Pipeorgan rise hydraulically from the orchestra pit. The Mighty Mo commands 3,622 pipes - ranging in size from the diameter of a pencil to a behemoth 32 feet tall and wide enough for a man to stand inside. It is the second largest pipe organ in the country - second only to the Wurlitzer installed at Radio City Music Hall. Thirty minutes of Bach later, with the final bars of the pre-curtain organ concert, the Mighty Mo lowers into the pit, and the orchestra begins to tune up.

http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/2348/foxorgan7on.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/9862/foxorgan26jw.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/3914/foxorgan30aj.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Look at the Fox's 75th Anniversary website - centered on the webpage is a color photo of the marquis and an American Flag.
This is a Macromedia Flash Player slide show. Click past the old photos, past the cheesy cakes, past the slimy politicians - and you'll find color photos of the interior of the Fox as it appears today. Even the Gentlemen's & Ladies' Lounges are opulent.

06-09-2006, 03:30 PM
The Moorish Architecture was wildly popular at the time, following the discovery of Tutankhamené─˘s tomb by Howard Carter.

Great looking cinema, but what does Moorish architecture have to do with Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb?

06-09-2006, 07:09 PM
Evening Jake - I'm not an architect or a historian,and perhaps degreed professionals will weigh in here. The story told by the Fox docents goes something like this. Carter first entered the staircase of Tutenkhamen's tomb in 1922, and spent the next ten years excavating the artifacts. Initially financed by Lord Carnavon, Carter and his patron became estranged, and Lord Carnavon died in late 1922. After Lord Carnavon's death, Carter financed the excavation himself, with help from the Egyptian government. When in England, he gave frequent lectures detailing his finds and discussing the past & present culture of the region. Those lectures sparked a populist interest in Islamic culture, art, and architecture - including the Moorish architecture of Spain and North Africa. Atlanta's Fox Theatre was originally constructed by Yaarab Temple Shriners as headquarters for their 5,000 member organization. The Shriner's architects drew on the fashionable interest in Islamic art and architecture, as well as the foundational stories of the Shriner's organization. But following the 1929 stock market crash, the Shriners were unable to retain control of the building, which passed first to the City of Atlanta, then to several movie house chains, and then into bankruptcy. Rescued from the wrecking ball and restored by a private group, Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theatre is one of the grandest working auditoriums in the South.

06-09-2006, 08:08 PM
I'm sure one of the ladies can weigh in with supporting documentation on the Art Deco jewelry designs that show heavy Egyptian influence.

Hannigan Reilly
06-09-2006, 08:47 PM

3-d tour of the Virginia theater, downtown Champaign, Illinois (http://www.thevirginia.org/tour/data/tour.htm)

06-12-2006, 10:47 AM
I don't have a photo, but in Loveland Colorado a small downtown theater was preserved and turned into a live performing venue. I saw Eric Burden and the New Animals there a couple of years ago, and Leo Kottke is a regular. This theater had enough stage area behind the proscenium that it makes a very nice small performanc theater. Probably seats about 300.

06-12-2006, 11:16 AM
The Mayan in Denverhttp://www.agilitynut.com/p/mayan904.jpg

06-12-2006, 12:44 PM
Here in Sacramento we have the beautiful art deco Crest Theatre. There are pics at www.thecrest.com/pictures

06-12-2006, 01:04 PM
There are a few interesting photography books on this subject, by the way:


06-12-2006, 01:43 PM
Hey there, DancingSweetie! I grew up in Sacramento, and I always loved The Crest Theatre! Do they still have concerts there as well as old movies?

In San Francisco we have The Castro.



06-12-2006, 05:30 PM
Hi Deco Doll! They still show movies but they are of the independent film/artsy type. They did show The Notorious Bettie Page but I didn't get around to seeing it there. They don't have concerts there anymore but the children's theater company performs plays on the stage.
My mom talks about the old Alhambra Theatre that was around before my time, it's too bad they demolished it.

06-12-2006, 07:13 PM
That's too bad. We used to see old movies there all the time. I saw Gone With the Wind there. And tons of concerts.

My mom always talks about the Alhambra too! Stupid Safeway!! Ya know the water tower next to it that is next to the bloodbank? Or at least it used to be. My mom said as a kid she always thought it was filled with blood! lol

06-13-2006, 06:58 AM
How funny, I think everyone thought it was filled with blood.

06-13-2006, 04:08 PM

Municipal Auditorium "haunted," drawing more ghost hunters
June 13, 2006
By Raechal Leone

The question is no longer whether Shreveport's legendary Municipal Auditorium is haunted, but how many spirits live there. Todd Weaver, case manager for ghost-hunting group Louisiana Spirits, said Monday the results of a June 5 investigation show "there's definitely activity" at the auditorium.


06-13-2006, 10:33 PM
I remember the Fremont! I saw a Japanese animated movie about the Monkey King called Alakazam the Great there when I was about 4 years old. Is the FOX still there is San Luis Obispo as well? Thats where I saw 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Sorry to say the Fox is long gone, as well as the Madona Theatre down at the Madona Plaza. The Fremons is the only classic left in San Luis Obispo. But I'm happy to say that the Palm Theatre in the old China Town section of town is still going strong.




Atomic Glee
06-14-2006, 07:56 AM
While downtown Fort Worth is home to two beautifully done retro modern theatres (one, the Sundance, is Art Deco revival, while the other, the Palace, is Streamline Moderne revival), all the grand '30s movie houses - the Worth, the Hollywood, and the Palace - fell to the wrecking ball in the '70s.

Or, did they?


First, a little backstory.

That's the building I live in - the Electric Building, a 1929 skyscraper that was originally the home of the Texas Electric Service Company. From 1930 to about 1976, it also housed the Hollywood Theatre, one of the grand Art Deco movie houses on 7th Street in downtown Fort Worth.

Those of us who are Fort Worth architecture/history geeks know that the Hollywood Theatre isn't technically *gone* gone - rather, it was gutted for use as a bank, then as a parking garage. We've all read how bits and pieces of the theater are still there in the garage. As it turns out, though, there's far, far more of the Hollywood left than we know.

In fact, a huge part of the Hollywood is *still intact.*

It's sealed away in the innards of the Electric Building, locked off from human contact. Somehow, between the remodelings, the bank, the apartments, and the garage, a big chunk of the grand old movie house escaped virtually untouched. Now, it rests. The projector no longer hums and clatters, the screen is no longer filled with images of movie stars. Nobody comes around anymore. It's in disrepair, covered in dust thick enough to swim in, slumbering in an endless night as black as pitch.

It is, however, still there.

Friend and fellow Electric Building fan Mary Bess (she works for an architectural firm whose office is in the old theatre lobby) had the rare opportunity to see these ruins, and was allowed to take photos. She had no way to host them, and she has very graciously allowed me to host them for her, and now I present them to you. Get ready for a time warp.

Let us begin in one of the restrooms. Here, you see one of the vanity areas. For those of us who have only ever seen black & white photos of the place, enjoy the sight of color. Again, it's pitch black and the air is clouded with thick dust. We only see this because of the flash of the camera.


Here, another angle of the vanity. Note the graffiti on the wall, sealed away for so many years. Imagine how long those names have been there, and what those people might be doing now.


Next, an aside. I cropped out the graffiti, and ran it through a wonderful Photoshop filter known as "Mr. Contrast," capable of abilities far beyond the scope of Photoshop's normal Contrast tool. The names popped out at me.


Next, the toilets in this same restroom.


While we're up in this area, check out this former water fountain. The detailing and trim is all still intact.


A closeup of the water fountain. This sort of ornate trim used to be the standard, not the exception. Even in its state of disrepair, the beauty of this place puts modern movie houses to absolute shame. Imagine what the Hollywood was like in person in her golden era.


Moving right along, this old wall safe is still in place. I think somebody made off with the money a long time ago, though.


The outer door of the wall safe.


Here, we have a storage area.


Atomic Glee
06-14-2006, 07:57 AM
This little room is a janitor's closet.


Here is the area underneath the balcony.


Another angle.


Here, a small spiral staircase.


Now, we're heading up the staircase into the balcony lobby.


This is the balcony lobby, amazingly still intact after all these years.


Let's head to the balcony, shall we? Yes, it's still there. Here, we're looking at the ceiling detail in the balcony. The great black dust-filled void beyond?

The theater.


Wanting to bring out some of the details in the blackness beyond, I ran a section of that photo through the Mr. Contrast filter, fiddled with the settings, and got this. You can see the wall & ceiling better in this. Yes, that's the theatre. It's still there. This image reminds me of something you'd see in a documentary about filming the wreckage of the Titanic.


Looking back up the balcony, we see that, yes, the projection room is still there.


Here, a staircase that I believe we saw in the balcony lobby pic that leads to the projection room.


Atomic Glee
06-14-2006, 07:58 AM
Finally, another amazing detail. Fans of the book "Cowtown Moderne" by Judith Singer Cohen will recognize these light fixtures in the photo looking towards the seating and balcony in the book.


Another shot of the theater light. Even in this condition, it's still a stunningly beautiful thing.


Finally, a closeup of the light.


So, there you have it. Fort Worth's very own lost ruins. The Hollywood hasn't left us - it's just been hiding. This Art Deco gem is just sleeping, deep inside the Electric Building. Perhaps one day it will get to see light once more.

Massive, massive thanks to my friend Mary Bess for letting me share her amazing photos.

It's so cool, living mere feet from these ruins.

06-14-2006, 12:57 PM
Now that's cool! Will it ever be brought back to it's former glory?



Atomic Glee
06-19-2006, 10:20 PM
Now that's cool! Will it ever be brought back to it's former glory?



Anything's possible, but I doubt it will get really restored for the time being. The lower level of seats is now used as a parking garage for the residential redevelopment of the office tower. That's where I park, in fact, and the ceiling above the parking is the ornate underside of the balcony!

What I'd love to see is at least the remaining portions cleaned up and used for tours, which doesn't seem too unrealistic. At least they survived. The old theatre lobby *has* been beautifully restored, grand staircase and all, and is used for office space for a local architectural firm (the old office lobby has been restored and reused for offices as well, and the elevator lobby has been restored for use of the residents of the tower).

J. M. Stovall
06-20-2006, 07:16 AM
The old theatre lobby *has* been beautifully restored, grand staircase and all, and is used for office space for a local architectural firm (the old office lobby has been restored and reused for offices as well, and the elevator lobby has been restored for use of the residents of the tower).

Can we see some shots of those too?

Atomic Glee
06-20-2006, 08:16 AM
Can we see some shots of those too?

I'll do my best! The lady who took the pics of the theatre ruins works for said architectural firm, so I'm sure I can pay her a visit and snap a couple of pics of the old lobby - and of course, the elevator lobby is doable, since I go through it every day. The office lobby I'll try to get a pic of, and I do have one small pic of it from back when the building was being restored. The original ornate ceiling was found intact, hidden by a generic dropped ceiling installed by the bank in the '70s:


06-20-2006, 08:37 AM
Fascinating shots! Thanks for for sharing them!

And I'm EXTREMELY impressed by the image of the main theater area that the "Mr. Contrast" filter pulled out of that drk shot. That's amazing!

Atomic Glee
09-11-2006, 03:47 PM
Been a while, but I promised to get some more shots of the old Hollywood. Thus far, I have this - a quick shot through the doors of the old Hollywood lobby, now used as an office for a local architectural firm. The back part of the lobby is even more beautiful, and still features the old staircase to the balcony lobby - but I haven't had a chance to get back in there yet.


Atomic Glee
09-11-2006, 03:50 PM
And here are shots of our two operating theatres in downtown - both are fairly new, but very, very old-school style. There's the Sundance, which is all Art Deco-y, and built amongst several historic buildings on either side of it and a new highrise apartment building behind it (a bit of it can be seen in the back right - it's not the big glass tower in the back left, which is a condo tower):




and the Palace (on the left side of the first pic), which is done in the Streamline Moderne style and built alongside a Streamline Moderne Barnes & Noble/office building:




Downtown Fort Worth is an amazing success story of revitalization, and the place is absolutely PACKED with people, especially on the weekends. There are usually lines stretching down the block in front of both these theatres. Yes, that's right - our two downtown theatres have actually thrived in the face of competition from the big suburban megaplexes.

09-12-2006, 11:20 AM
The Crest In Long Beach was around a long time http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics34/00036923.jpg I grew up in this ornate theater in St. Louis http://cinematreasures.org/theater/934/ http://www.buildingmuseum.org/recovery/project_granada.asp

09-12-2006, 11:35 AM
http://www.renaissancerialto.com/images/grandlake.jpg This theater has been around since 1926 and has been beautifully restored. One of the theaters inside has an Egyptian theme with Hieroglyphics on the walls!

There is also the Paramount Theater which no longer shows movies, but still has show/concerts. It is stunning as well.


Mike in Seattle
09-12-2006, 01:53 PM
[QUOTE=Twitch]The Crest In Long Beach was around a long time http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics34/00036923.jpg

Oh my God! That's the neighborhood theatre we always went to. But big theatres were already on the way out - Lakewood Center remodeled from one theatre into several in the 1970's. In the early-to-mid 70's, Cerritos Mall was built and with it, the first "multiplex" around. The Crest was already scheduled for demolition long before Cerritos opened. Across the street and down a bit from Russell's, which had the best burgers and potato salad in town. I understand, sadly, Russell's is gone as well. Not sure about Hamburger Henry's and Polly's Pies.

The last thing I saw at the Crest was Gone with the Wind in high school in 1977 - up on the big screen and they still had ushers. But the Crest was the theatre that had the Saturday kid's matinees we all flocked to. The Towne, about two blocks north, was newer and flashier, and right across from Bixby Knolls Shopping Center. But the Towne came down about the same time as the Crest. An office complex replaced the Towne, and a strip center replaced the Crest. I'm sure a few years later, there would've been a big outcry to save it and designate it as historic. I knew at the time I should've grabbed one or two of the short rows of seats (4-6 seats) - everything was just ripped out and thrown away.

Thanks for sharing the picture - brought back more than a few memories!

Girl Friday
09-13-2006, 07:22 AM

I love this place they need to start showing classic movies again, we've seen African Queen, White Christmas and Goldfinger. :eusa_clap

A friend of ours grandparents met there in the 30's? I think. They mostly have concerts there currently. And a great bar connected to it, the Balcony Club: http://www.igougo.com/travelcontent/photoViewer.aspx?Sort=Top&Caption=Dallas&BusinessCardID=6161&PhotoID=76561&From=1&To=2

Quigley Brown
09-13-2006, 08:01 AM
Any of you UK members ever been here?


Michael Palin's 'East of Ipswich' is a very sweet film.

Mr. Lucky
09-13-2006, 08:20 AM
From my hometown, Buffalo -


Where I was married -


The inside of same said -


A couple of my other favs -




09-13-2006, 08:31 AM
Really enjoying all these pics -- thanks, everyone, for sharing them!

Those of you who read Architectural Digest magazine might want to take a look back at the March 2006 issue -- there's a very nice illustrated article about the Rockland Strand (where I work), and its restoration. Some lovely interior shots too!!

The Wingnut
09-13-2006, 11:09 AM
http://www.renaissancerialto.com/images/grandlake.jpg This theater has been around since 1926 and has been beautifully restored. One of the theaters inside has an Egyptian theme with Hieroglyphics on the walls!

There is also the Paramount Theater which no longer shows movies, but still has show/concerts. It is stunning as well.


Went there on New Year's Eve, saw Chronicles of Narnia. Best date I've been on.

09-23-2006, 10:54 AM
Gala Marks Reopening of Historic NJ Theatre
by KYW’s Ed Kasuba

A “Bring Back Broadway" gala is being held in Pitman, NJ on Saturday to mark the reopening of the Broadway Theatre.

The 80-year-old former Vaudeville house closed a year and a half ago. It’s been restored to its former glory with a six-show subscription theatre season kicking off in January.

Artistic director Charles Gill says he first looked the place over five months ago:

“It was not in the best of condition, yet there was a certain heart that you could feel beating there. I stood center stage and looked out, and you could -- if you listened really carefully -- you could hear the applause and hear the laughter.”

Among those who appeared at the Broadway during its early days were Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Sally Rand. As recently as 20 years ago, Johnny Cash performed there.

Gill says the theatre still has its original pipe organ:

“We have one of the few three-eighths Kimball organs left -- it’s a theatrical organ that has all kinds of bells and whistles and birds. It’s amazing. It has several hundred pipes.”

The organ will be featured on October 29th when the silent film version of “Phantom of the Opera” will be featured at the Broadway.

More information at:

Tony in Tarzana
09-23-2006, 02:04 PM
Hey, this is just up the street from where I work!


Air Boss
09-23-2006, 02:47 PM
Massive, massive thanks to my friend Mary Bess for letting me share her amazing photos.

Kevin -

Our thanks too.

09-25-2006, 04:58 PM
The Perot Theater in Texarkana


Girl Friday
10-03-2006, 08:57 AM
This is in my hometown Greenville, Texas. I am glad at least they are using the building, I remember seeing movies there when I was a little kid.



10-03-2006, 11:23 AM
Haven't checked if anyone has mentioned this one yet, but if you're ever in Tampa, be sure to check the Tampa Theatre (http://www.tampatheatre.org/). It's beautiful, and HAUNTED too. :eek:

Marc Chevalier
10-03-2006, 11:27 AM
I reckon that all old theaters are haunted. Really!


Girl Friday
10-03-2006, 12:45 PM
I reckon that all old theaters are haunted. Really!


I'd like to think so! :D

That reminds me one of my favorite things about Halloween is when the Travel Channel shows all the Most Haunted Places! I remember there being at least one theatre, I think the same one was on Ghost Hunters.


10-03-2006, 01:30 PM
Savannah Georgia has a few vintage theaters, The Lucas Theater (http://www.scad.edu/venues/lucas/history.html)and The Savannah Theater (http://www.savannahtheatre.com/). The Lucas was built in 1921 and The Savannah Theater in 1818. There was also The Weis Theater, now Trustees Theater (http://www.scad.edu/venues/trustees/history.cfm), which opened in 1946 on Broughton Street. Two, The Lucas and Trustees, are now associated with The Savannah College of Art and Design. I will try and get downtown sometime soon and post take some photos of them to post. There are a few on the links above as well.

olive bleu
12-03-2006, 08:36 PM
I just discovered this thread and i am drooling! I have had a dream for years of suddenly coming into some money(Like an inheritance from some old Auntie that i never knew i had)and buying & refurbishing an old theatre. We never had anything as lovely as any of these in the little fishing village where i grew up. AS a matter of fact, we had no theatre at all.We had a travelling "Movie Guy", named Charlie that travelled around the bay with his reel to reel projector.He always had to stop half-way through the movie to change the reel and that was our opportunity to run to the little table he would have set up by the door, to buy a sandwich bag full of popcorn that he popped & bagged himself @home.The movies would be projected unto a white sheet that he pinned to the wall...I kid you not:) .. I saw "Grease" & "Saturday Night Fever" this way.Oh yeah, and the original"Texas Chainsaw Massacre":D

12-03-2006, 10:27 PM

This is the Virginia Theater in Champaign, IL. I lived there for 4 years until recently. It dates back to 1921. Really nice and still maintains it's historic feel. I was in the show Grease in '04 on this stage, so much more fun than in modern theaters. Before the stage performances there is an old organ that can drop down into the floor that is played, the guy who does that is awesome!

olive bleu
12-04-2006, 07:17 AM
See... you would just never get me out of a place like that:o I would spend every spare dime on movie going:)

12-08-2006, 12:09 PM
These are all marvellous! I am lucky enough to have the following lovely theatre, almost quite literally around the corner. ALRIGHT, 5 minutes by car. Close enough.

[img=http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/4080/converge008gx0.th.jpg] (http://img126.imageshack.us/my.php?image=converge008gx0.jpg)

[img=http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/6926/14lv4.th.jpg] (http://img171.imageshack.us/my.php?image=14lv4.jpg)

[img=http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/9296/carolinarj9.th.jpg] (http://img171.imageshack.us/my.php?image=carolinarj9.jpg)

And the inside, which is just phenomenal:
[img=http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/7563/carolinainteriorbc1.th.jpg] (http://img171.imageshack.us/my.php?image=carolinainteriorbc1.jpg)

They still show classics, usually just one or two a month, but WOW, what an experience every time. My most memorable event was going to see Gone With The Wind, after spending my whole life dreaming of seeing it on the big screen. So emotional! Most recently, I saw It's A Wonderful Life this past Tuesday. Just a beautiful time!!

12-08-2006, 12:22 PM
Welcome, Lady Stardust. Wow, where is that? The interior resembles the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, NY. ps love the song that is your user name.

12-08-2006, 12:41 PM
It's in my small town of Greensboro, N. Carolina, and it really stands out in the cityscape, because the town itself is on the fast track into being almost all modern-futuristic building, which I personally think are hideous, but oh well. It was built in 1927, and has so much character and personality. I have halfway joked that I would love to live there if I could!lol It really is such a wonderful remnant from the past, and I'm so thankful to have it around, and so nearby, too!! :)

P.S.- Thank you! It's my very favorite song ever.

12-10-2006, 06:10 PM
My most of my free weekends as an adolescent were spent at the Uptown Theater in Minneapolis, back before it was renovated. I feel really lucky that my first experience seeing so many of the classics from the 1930s and 40s was on an original big screen, usually up in the balcony. I especially liked the ladies lounge, an oval anteroom before the restroom.

Years ago the Minneapolis Institute of Arts had an exhibit that included the original architects drawings for the theater and I so wish they would have reproduced them for sale, they were marvelous.


12-10-2006, 07:17 PM
I found these retro photos of the local San Pedro theater, the Warner Grand:


The interior isn't bad either:

I tried to find some old photos of the Dancing Waters Club before Guns and Roses and Black Flag trashed it, but no luck. Currently it is a latino dance club, and more run down than ever. Well it is more of a nightclub than a theater anyway.

Brian Sheridan
12-19-2006, 02:27 PM
I am currently finishing a coffee table book on the Warner Theater in Erie. Opened in 1931 and designed by the Rapp Brothers, it is a Art Deco palace! It just underwent restorations and she looks as beautiful as the day it opened.

The book will cover its history and people's reflections on the Theater. The best will be the awesome photos of the theater and reproductions of contracts, ads, old pics and alike.

We are shooting for a early winter of '07 release date.


Check out some of the pix at: www.erieevents.com/warner.html

01-25-2007, 12:55 PM
I just discovered this thread and i am drooling! I have had a dream for years of suddenly coming into some money(Like an inheritance from some old Auntie that i never knew i had)and buying & refurbishing an old theatre. We never had anything as lovely as any of these in the little fishing village where i grew up. AS a matter of fact, we had no theatre at all.We had a travelling "Movie Guy", named Charlie that travelled around the bay with his reel to reel projector.He always had to stop half-way through the movie to change the reel...":D

Wow, how interesting! Well, like you, we'd like to find an old theatre, so like-minded folks and some time to bring it back. We've been searching here --


We have a place in NS and have been looking at theatres there that could be revitalized. Etes-vous pres de Nova Scotia?

Amy Jeanne
01-26-2007, 09:12 AM
The Showboat Theatre, Ocean City, NJ. Later renamed The Surf Theatre because the "Showboat" sign blew down and it cost too much to replace such a long word! Built in 1929, if memory serves me correctly...


Currently known as The Surf Mall. That's the same wall you see in the vintage photo. You can still see the outline of where the screen/stage was.

The Strand, Ocean City, NJ. Opened in 1938.

Opening day. This photo is so lovely it makes me feel all good inside!

Terrible. Unchanged for 50 years until it was sold in 1989 to a chain. The art-deco insides were gutted to make room for 5 bland screens. Gross.

Both these theatres can be found at http://www.moorlyn.com

And two theatres that have remained almost unchanged:

Opened in 1926, the Broadway Theatre in Pitman, NJ hasn't changed a bit (except for the marquee which I think was added in 1939!) and even still has it's original 1927 organ intact! The best part: THIS THEATER IS STILL OPEN!!

The Landis Theatre In Vineland opened in 1937 with the movie Hat's Off!. It's abandoned now, but it's in the National Register Of Historic Places so it's protected from being torn down. Every now and again there's news to revitalize the theatre, but it never goes through. The outside has remained unchanged for 70 years! I saw Annie here when I was a wee gal!

01-26-2007, 03:46 PM
Thanks for posting everybody!!!
:offtopic: Amy Jeanne, is that Ruby Keeler in your avatar ?

01-26-2007, 04:53 PM
The Showboat Theatre, Ocean City, NJ. Later renamed The Surf Theatre because the "Showboat" sign blew down and it cost too much to replace such a long word! Built in 1929, if memory serves me correctly...

Amy Jeanne, you really have a passion for this stuff! Are you working with a group or a theatre up in NJ?


01-26-2007, 05:02 PM
Mahinatakataka (what a mouthfull , wow lol ) Can I tell you that your signature cracks me up??? I really like it!!! as I do Dorothy Parker ;
"Brevity is the soul of lingerie" - Aint that the truth? lol

01-26-2007, 05:09 PM
Mahinatakataka (what a mouthfull , wow lol ) Can I tell you that your signature cracks me up??? I really like it!!! as I do Dorothy Parker ;
"Brevity is the soul of lingerie" - Aint that the truth? lol

Hadley, had I my wits about as much as Ms. Parker did :) I would have thought of another moniker more appropriate to the motif of the lounge!

We've been to Easter Island and loved it. Mahina Taka Taka is Rapa Nuian for "full moon" and my "real" name has something to do with the moon (Cynthia). So, a mouthful about the moon!

Oh, yes, brevity, wit and.....lingerie :D

01-27-2007, 12:41 AM
Please access the virtual tour link and click on to see what's described below

Virtual Tour

The State Theatre has a proud history. For generations, Sydneysiders have enjoyed countless performances ranging from full theatrical productions to solo performances.

As well as a proud working venue, the State Theatre is also a state of the art meeting and function facility. The basement levels of the theatre have been tastefully restored and transformed into a magnificent suite of rooms allowing for the widest range of corporate and social usage.

Over the years a common thread has emerged, the theatre's stately interiors and unique fixtures have long captivated patrons.

By clicking one of the options on the left-hand side of the screen, you are able to take a 360-degree view of some of the theatre's palatial interiors as well as some of our meeting and function rooms.


State Theatre
Sydney, New South Wales
49 Market Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000 Australia(map)
Status: Open
Screens: Single Screen
Style: French Renaissance
Function: Live Theater, Movies
Seats: 2580
Chain: Unknown
Architect: John Eberson, Henry E. White
Firm: Unknown

Stunning interior view of the State Theatre

Photo courtesy of KinoCQ/Australian Cinema and Theatre SocietyThe magnificent State Theatre, located in the heart of downtown Sydney, opened on June 7, 1929 with Emil Jennings in Ernst Lubitsch's 'The Patriot.' It was then known as 'The British Empire's Greatest Theatre'. Paul Dunlavy was the debonir genius of the 4-manual console of the Wurlitzer organ, the largest outside of America. The State Theatre Orchestra was conducted by Will Prior.

Rising ten floors above the theater is the Gothic-style State Theatre Office Building, headquarters of the Greater Union Theatre Circuit. Just as they did with the plans for Sydney's Capitol Theatre in 1927, Union Theatres boss Stuart Doyle and Australian architect Henry White, returned from the USA with sketches for the new $AU800,000 theater.

What wasn't mentioned was that American architect John Eberson did the original plans and sketches for the State in association with Henry White. For all intents and purposes in Australia, it was believed that it was solely designed by White.

During the 1980s, the main auditorium was restored, although the Wurlitzer is still waiting for $AU350,000 in funds for some tender-loving-care. Hanging above the three-tiered auditorium are thirteen chandeliers, surmounted by a three-and-one-half ton crystal chandelier, the second largest cut-crystal chandelier in the world, which is suspended from the theater's Golden Dome.

The Gothic entrance hall has life-size figures of King Arthur and St. George who greet those who enter. The main foyer boasts a grand sweeping marble staircase, with mirrored and tapestry draped walls.

The foyer area is used for filming TV commercials and some feature films have used the magnificent setting. The theater has been classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW Division) for its high architectural quality and its essential heritage to the state of New South Wales.

Unfortunately, the theater no longer operates as a full-time cinema, but they do screen the occasional film for festivals. At other times it’s used for stage, concert, rock presentations, and as a convention center. The State is a self-working venue and self-guided tours using an Acoustiguide handset are available, except Sunday and Monday, or when the theater is being used.

Contributed by John Adey

And the problem of saving beautiful iconic picture theatres in the Bush (Country Areas)


01-27-2007, 12:54 AM
Napier is an Art Deco wonder - click on the link to find out why.


Amy Jeanne
01-28-2007, 09:00 AM
Amy Jeanne, you really have a passion for this stuff! Are you working with a group or a theatre up in NJ?

Nope, I'm just a lover of all thing 20s and 30s, especially if it involves movies. And super-especially if touches home. Those four theatres are my favourites from the area. With help from this book:


I'm going to one day drive around and take photos of what remains of those once-lovely palaces.

01-29-2007, 10:04 AM
4th Avenue art deco theater gets life support

4TH AVENUE: Assembly votes to spend historic preservation funds.

Anchorage Daily News

Published: January 24, 2007
Last Modified: January 24, 2007 at 02:31 AM

The Anchorage Assembly voted Tuesday night to spend $250,000 in historic preservation money to help launch a proposed $5.4 million deal for the purchase and renovation of the 4th Avenue Theatre.

The Assembly's vote doesn't mean the theater plan -- which was put together by the city but recently tweaked to distance the municipality from actually running or owning the theater -- is a done deal.

"It's a lot closer, but there are no guarantees," Chris Schutte, spokesman for Anchorage Downtown Partnership, said earlier in the day.

The partnership is a nonprofit collaboration of downtown businesses. Under the current plan, it would in the end be the majority owner of a new corporation that would own the 60-year-old theater.

A big part of the deal is a loan from the Rasmuson Foundation. But the foundation's chief administrative officer, Jeff Clarke, told Assembly members that the proposal the foundation agreed to has now changed, and that the foundation will have to re-evaluate its role in the plan.

"As elements change, our willingness to participate ... is subject to change," he said.

The Assembly voted 9-2 to appropriate the money, which originally came in the form of a state historical preservation grant. Assemblymen Paul Bauer and Dan Sullivan voted no.

Sullivan said he wasn't convinced the partnership was ready for its new role and he questioned whether the theater would compete with private business, while Assemblyman Dan Coffey said the art deco theater was a good place to put the historic preservation money.

What else in this town is very historic? he said.

When the 4th Avenue Theatre plan was first announced, the city's goal was to close the deal by the end of March. Supporters, who see a risk-free chance to preserve the historic theater, and critics, who question why the city should get involved at all, have debated the plan for the past month.

Late Tuesday night, about 70 people sat in the Loussac Library as the Assembly began to hear public testimony on the theater deal. Most of the crowd raised their hands when asked who was in favor of the plan.

Malcolm Roberts, a senior fellow at the Institute of the North, read a statement from former Gov. Wally Hickel.

"Of all our architectural treasures, the 4th Avenue Theatre must not be lost," Hickel wrote.

Former state senator, and former Assemblywoman, Arliss Sturgulewski, called the theater deal an innovative plan.

"Cities are more than just concrete and steel," she said. "They're also heart and memories."

Anchorage resident Wayne Curley testified against the plan, citing a citywide vote last year in which a majority of voters defeated a measure that would have used city money to help buy the theater.

"I don't know what we're saving the 4th Avenue Theatre from. I haven't heard that anyone's going to demolish it," Curley said.

The building, purchased by current owner Robert Gottstein in 1991 for about $600,000, would generate cash as a venue for events such as parties, meetings and weddings. It would be marketed alongside the Egan Center and the under-construction Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center through a contract with the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Parts of the theater could also be leased for commercial and even residential space.

Along with agreeing to spend the $250,000 on the theater deal, the Assembly also voted to accept and pass through a $600,000 contribution from Gottstein to the Anchorage Community Development Authority, to use for the 4th Avenue Theatre.

Those are just two pieces of a complicated and delicate financing plan.

All told, the $5.4 million deal ends with a limited liability company, controlled by the Downtown Partnership, owning the theater.

The money is expected to come from a mix of sources: A $2.6 million, low-interest loan from the Rasmuson Foundation, the $250,000 in historical preservation money from the city, the $600,000 contribution from theater owner Robert Gottstein and the proceeds from almost $2 million in tax credits handled by Wells Fargo.

Gottstein's contribution is, at least in part, part of the deal to raise the sale price of the theater and make the entire proposal eligible for more federal income tax credits.

Originally, the Assembly was also going to vote on whether to approve a purchase agreement between the theater's seller and the municipality. The municipality would have been the managing member of the company that owned the theater.

Now the deal is different. The Downtown Partnership announced Monday that it had agreed to take the city's place in the purchase agreement, and would now be the majority owner of the company that would own the theater.

The partnership is funded partly with assessment money, or taxes, collected from downtown property owners. The city also pays the partnership money in lieu of assessments that amounts to about $15,000 a year, Schutte said.

Schutte said no property assessment money would be used toward the theater deal.

01-29-2007, 11:16 AM
The Fox is one of the few places I enjoy visiting down town. The acoustics are great and there isn't a bad seat in the house, and plenty of parking close by. I've seen lots of movies and live shows there. I've also been to a wedding reception in the Egyptian Ball room. That's the place to have a reception.