New History Channel Series Seeks Active Theater Restoration Projects

posted by Barbara on December 1, 2004 at 2:35 pm

Back to the Blueprint, a new restoration program now airing on The History Channel is looking for current theater restoration projects for an upcoming episode. Entire program will be filmed over the course of a week in either January or February.

The program is a hands-on, interactive look at the hard work involved in restoring historic homes and properties. We try to give background into why homes and structures were built as they were, the materials and tools used, and what we can do to restore and renew these structures for the future.

Our host, Marty Dunham, himself comes from a contracting background, and we have him work side-by-side taking 2-3 projects, or portions of, from start to finish. Prior episodes have focused mainly on residential styles including NY Brownstones, Chicago Bungalows, Sears Catalog Homes and Shotgun Homes. We’re very interested in expanding the scope of the show with an episode on theaters.

I would love to speak with any owners, architects or contractors who are working on projects that might fit in with our format and filming schedule. I can be reached , and I look forward to speaking with you all.

Also, the series airs Saturdays at 5:00 PM ET/PT, 4:00PM CT & 3:00 MT, if you’d like to get a visual idea of the format!

Thank you,

Barbara Maranzani
Researcher
A & E Television Networks/HTV Productions

Comments (27)

JimRankin
JimRankin on December 1, 2004 at 5:57 pm

It would have been very helpful if Miss Maranzani had left at least her E-mail address or her business phone number for us to contact her. Otherwise, if she does not get sufficient responses from this site, she may do well to phone the Ex. Director of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA, Richard Sklenar, at their phone number given on the main page of their web site at: www.HistoricTheatres.org The “Back To The Blueprint” link above only takes one to the show’s web site, but no specific contact information is given there.
It is also possible that Adam Martin of the www.CinemaTour.com site may know of projects in the works. He is at:

Barbara
Barbara on December 1, 2004 at 7:31 pm

Jim-

Hi. I had initially posted my e-mail address, which I think Ross & Patrick shortened to a highlighted link “via e-mail” in the text, which leads right to my e-mail address. I would imagine that’s their general policy regarding privacy! I will definitely look into both of the suggestions you listed, and I appreciate your interest and help.

Thanks,
Barbara

petechristy
petechristy on December 1, 2004 at 11:34 pm

Barbara,

We at the Kenosha Theatre Restoration Project are VERY interested. Please email me at .com with any questions you may have.

JimRankin
JimRankin on December 2, 2004 at 2:33 pm

Sorry about missing that E-mail link, but while I have the utmost respect for both Ross and Patrick, I do not like their practice of using the pale blue to indicate a link. These eyes are not as sharp as they once were, especially on small screen size text, so sometimes I miss such faint color in a body of text. I know that many web masters do not like the look of underlining for links, but I hope they do something to make links stand out more.

Divinity
Divinity on December 3, 2004 at 9:37 pm

Barbara,
I have recently told my contact who is a developer at the Loews Paradise theatre in the Bronx NYC. This lavish nearly 4000 seat movie palace closed in the nineties after being divided into four auditoriums and the restoration work is truly breathtaking. We would like to contact you so that your producers may consider visiting this atmospheric theatre. If we call A&E will someone put us through?

NewRiver
NewRiver on December 13, 2004 at 7:54 pm

Hello Barbara,

We are a church in Franklin,TN and are about to renovate the abandoned Williamson Eight theater here in town.

Our number is (615)771-0978 and we’d love to have you film the entire process which begins in January.

Thanks,

R a p h a e l

constance
constance on December 14, 2004 at 8:49 pm

Dear Barbara:

Your story was forwarded to me by Karen Noonan, President of the Theatre Historical Society of America. She feels our restoration project might be a perfect candidate for your show. My boss, Bob Ohmann, purchased the Ohmann Theater in Lyons, NY earlier this spring. The theater was originally built in 1915 by his grandfather, Burt Ohmann. Bob is in the beginning stages of a major restoration. I have tons of details I can forward to you if you can provide your email address or fax #. Thank you in advance. or 919-676-8980 ext22

Best regards,
Connie Phillips

billgjones
billgjones on December 15, 2004 at 9:31 pm

Dear Ms. Maranzani

I would like to offer the Capitol Theater located in Laurens, SC as a possible project for your team. The brick building was built on the South Side of the court house square around 1880. It served as a textitle mill until around the mid 1920’s. At that time it was converted into a vaudeville theater and around 1926 a movie screen was added to show motion pictures. There are people still living in the area that can remember the theater having both live acts occasionaly and motion picture. After vaudeville went out of business, the theater remained as a motion picture house until 1963. It closed then and the building has been used as various retail shops. Today it is own by Ronnie, and Debbie Campbell. Debbie operates a dress and shoe shop in part of the building, but both of them want to restore the theater for live productions, and maybe a move or two every now and then. My wife Bonnie and I became acquanted with them this past summer and have offered to help them as much as we can. Both Bonnie and I have a great many years of experience in theater work, and we serve more or less as technical advisors, however we do as much of the physical work as we can do. (Which isn’t much. We are both in our mid seventies.) We would love to have you take a look at the project, (which is big) We realize that time constrants would not allow you do the entire project, but if you could do a segment on repairing the roof, or repairing the stage, I think that it would be a subject that would be interesting to you viewers.

I have some pictures of the theater as it is today. I have not attached them to this E-mail, but I have built a web site that contains them. The link to the site is www.Act2CurtainUp.netfirms.com . Please take a look at it, and if possible please consider this project.

My E-mail address is . My phone number is 864-833-7545. I must tell you that I do screen my calls, so if you call me please ID youself. If I’m home I will answer. If not leave you name, phone number and a convienent time for me to call. (I teach part-time at our local technical college and may be in class when you call.) My mail address is 204 S. Holland St, Clinton, SC 29325.

Thank you for your time.

Bill Jones

billgjones
billgjones on December 17, 2004 at 10:27 pm

Update on the Capitol Theater located in Laurens, SC. We are getting a new roof and the stage is being repaired and new boards are being added. There is still lots of work to be done, and hopefully you will able to take on one of the projects. (Restoring walls, ceiling, and/or seats.

Take a look at our website at www.Act2CurtainUp.netfirms.com . My E-mail address is . My phone number is 864-833-7545. I must tell you that I do screen my calls, so if you call me please ID youself. If I’m home I will answer. If I don’t answer leave you name, phone number and a convienent time for me return your call. (I teach part-time at our local technical college and may be in class when you call.) My mail address is 204 S. Holland St, Clinton, SC 29325.

IVYFOUNDATION
IVYFOUNDATION on December 21, 2004 at 4:45 am

THE IVY FOUNDATION PRESENTS…… THE PARK THEATRE, WE NEED HELP. WE HAVE AN OFFER IN TO PURCHASE THIS HISTORICAL LANDMARK IN WELLAND ONTARIO, THE CAPITOL AND THE COMMUNITY THEATRE ALL GONE…. THE PARK SITTING THERE 23 YEARS EMPTY, WE NEED TO SECURE THIS AND RESTORE IT, WE HAVE 500 SEATS ALREADY, GRANTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR OUR REPAIRS, WE NEED $$$$$ FOR THE DOWN PAYMENT, THE PARK THEATRE OPENED AS A BUSINESS IN 1941. THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FROM WELLAND AND BEYOND HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF THE THEATRE-FIRST DATES, FIRST KISSES AND GREAT MOVIES. THE IVY FOUNDATION WANTS TO REKINDLE THOSE MEMORIES AND MAKE NEW ONES FOR MANY MORE GENERATIONS, WHAT A SHAME TO HAVE A THEATRE SITTING IDLE RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF UPTOWN, WE NEED TO OPEN ITS DOORS!!!!!CAN YOU HELP?

rebaanders
rebaanders on December 22, 2004 at 8:47 pm

Barbara,

We have a wonderful 1930’s Art Deco theatre that we are raising funds to renovate in Burlington Iowa. The facade is original, we are now raising funds to relight the marque which we hope to do this spring/summer. The interior will take much more in fundraising and grants. If you are interested I could Email you some pictures. I think it could be a good program if you want to focus on the marque, though in Jan/Feb the weather is very cold here in Iowa. The theatre is listed on the National Registry.

My email Address is
Thank you,

sngrsongwriter
sngrsongwriter on January 2, 2005 at 5:17 am

Hi Barbara,
Just emailed you about my song “Drive-In Nights” I hope that you will give it a listen. For anyone else that is interested… my song can be heard at: http://www.soundclick.com/robstaffig
Please drop by and give it a listen, also check my main website at:
http://www.robstaffig.com
Thanks!
All The Best!
Rob Staffig

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 19, 2005 at 8:40 am

Hello Barbara,

The Ricardo Montalban Theater on Vine Street in Hollywood, CA. was bought by the Latino theater group “Nosotros” in 2000. They have returned the theater to it’s original 1927 facade, and are CURRENTLY restoring the interior. The management of the theater man are very responsive and quite interested in the theater’s history and returning it as much as possible to its original Beaux Arts appearance. If you wish to contact them, I am sure they would be very thrilled with your project. Let me know if I can help. I write the history of the theater here at cinematreasures.org…

/theaters/9863/

Christian Anderson
Palm Springs, CA

Gena
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MikeCohen
MikeCohen on January 25, 2005 at 3:22 pm

The Tennessee Theater in downtown Knoxville (www.tennesseetheater.com) is just reopening, altough there is still some work to do. It is magnificent, enjoys huge community support and is now a true performing arts center. Plenty of material is available and they would be happy to accomodate you. Knoxville is a major cable TV production center, so if you need crews etc. everything is available.

Mike Cohen

donstachowiak
donstachowiak on January 29, 2005 at 1:18 am

The successful renovation of The 1891 Fredonia Opera House might also be of interest, the theater is listed in this site and also has its own site. Speaking as a moviegoer who saw many films in the theater’s decrepit days in the 50s and 60s, and have now seen the magnificent restoration, I can vouch for the impressiveness of the project.

Patsy
Patsy on February 3, 2005 at 1:59 am

Mike Cohen: I sure hope the History Channel includes the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville as I’ll be watching the theatre show(s) that are planned!

Patsy
Patsy on February 3, 2005 at 2:19 am

Judging from the response I think the History Channel will get all they need and more to put together some great theatre restoration episodes which can’t help but stir up interest in these treasures across the country. One thing for sure is that it will make some of these communities who are thinking about demolishing their threatres to think twice about their decision!

Patsy
Patsy on February 3, 2005 at 2:28 am

My theatre suggestion is the Reg Lenna Theatre in Jamestown NY along the shores of beautiful Chautauqua Lake which was mentioned in several I Love Lucy episodes. It was the Palace Theatre when Lucille Ball first graced that theatre’s stage as a young girl before heading to NYC to model and then onto Hollywood. In 1956, she and her husband, Desi Arnaz returned to her hometown theatre for the debut of Forever Darling! Also, the Warner Theatre in Erie PA which has been restored to its former grandeur and beauty.

Patsy
Patsy on February 3, 2005 at 2:33 am

Don: Thanks for suggesting the 1891 Fredonia Opera House as that would be a wonderful theatre to feature on Blue Print having been there, myself, to see the magnificent restoration in Fredonia NY which is close to Jamestown’s Reg Lenna and Erie’s Warner Theatre.

Patsy
Patsy on February 22, 2005 at 3:50 am

What’s the latest with this History Channel theatre project?

AUBSCHINE
AUBSCHINE on February 25, 2005 at 3:34 pm

The resotration of the Auburn Schines Theater in Auburn NY is moving forward under the Cayuga County Arts Council. This would be a good theater restoration project to feature on “Back to the Blueprint”.

The building will never be destroyed it is under the watchful eye of the State Historic Preservation Organization and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It can only be preserved. It deserves recognition and respect as the architectural treasure that it is. It is a beautiful example of a John Eberson Art Moderne theater.

Restoration of the facade is underway, not including the marquee restoration. The interior of the building requires a large amount of asbestos abatement. Asbestos was released into the building when the roof collapsed. Present projects inside the building include some limited asbestos abatement and the restoration of electrical service to the building.

Information regarding the theater restoration can be found through the official web site of the Cayuga County Arts Council www.cayuganet.com/arts or by contacting the Cayuga County Arts Council through the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce; 36 South St.; Auburn NY or email:

Patsy
Patsy on February 25, 2005 at 3:49 pm

“The building will never be destroyed it is under the watchful eye of the State Historic Preservation Organization….It can only be preserved.” Now that’s what we want to read in regards to all of these vintage cinemas!

Barbara
Barbara on February 25, 2005 at 4:00 pm

UPDATE ON HISTORY CHANNEL PROGRAM

I wanted to thank all of you for your interest & enthusiasm for the restoration project! We wound up filming portions of the program at the Fox Tucson Theatre in Arizona & the Saenger in Mobile, Alabama. The episode is tentatively slated to air on Saturday, March 26th at 2PM ET/PT. Thanks again for your interest & enjoy the show!

Patsy
Patsy on February 25, 2005 at 4:07 pm

Thanks Barbara! I have now put it into memory and written it on my calendar! So myself and many other CT fellow members will be watching!!!!!

JimRankin
JimRankin on February 25, 2005 at 7:00 pm

Miss Barbara: It is good news about the show, but not all of us have cable or cable with the History Channel, so please persuade your people to set up the show as a download on your web site after it is telecast. If they can set it up in more than one format, that will make it available to more people’s computers. Also, ask them to put it out in DVD-R format and most poeple will be able to order it from you and keep it for posterity, which it sounds like they will want to do! You might even ask the Theatre Historical Society if they want to co-sponsor a DVD much as they co-sponsored the 1987 VHS “The Movie Palaces.” Contact their Ex. Director, Rich Sklenar at: and view their history on their site at: www.HistoricTheatrs.org

Oliver
Oliver on March 23, 2005 at 3:17 am

The Boyd Theatre will be under going restoration by Clear Channel. Please check out the web-site at Friends of the Boyd.

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