Today’s Newsreel

posted by Ross Melnick on August 26, 2004 at 8:05 am

Comments (9)

JimRankin on August 26, 2004 at 9:19 am

It was wonderful to read the Buffalo News story about the Shea’s BUFFALO Theatre restoring its vertical sign, even if the reporter did use that vile term “blade” for the handsome Vertical Sign, as any true theatre person would know it. I envy them having the funds to bring back to the streetscape this source of animation and glitter that so enlivened our streets in the early days. Notice from the story and from the photo of the man holding a special type of ‘light bulb’ that this was not deemed possible had they had to use the standard incandescent bulb; no, here it is a new type of clustered LEDs as shown in the photo (more easily seen if you click on the enlargement magnifier icon above the photo). The actual life span of the LEDs is limitless if they were made correctly and if they are suitably protected from electrical surges, thus the cost-out of the life span of the lamps is very low since they may well remain shining for beyond 50 years, though the steel of the sign may be a bit too rusty for safety by then. You will also notice their mention of an “elevator” formerly on the edge of the sign that allowed access for relamping; if this was as they say, it must have been the only one such in the nation since I have never elsewhere heard of such a wonderful contraption on a sign! A note of distinction for the BUFFALO!

“A missing 18-foot-tall facade pediment of ornate baroque design was re-created from photographs by sculptor Leo Lysy of Buffalo Plastering. The terra cotta’s weight had forced its removal in 1933 out of concerns for public safety, so a lighter material – glass fiber reinforced concrete – has been used to mimic its look.” — It is also wonderful to see this ornate and integral portion of the parapet (not the “pediment”) of the facade replaced with a more workable material. Terra cotta would have lasted almost forever if it had been maintained, but too often the owner’s people are remiss in sealing cracks and especially in keeping water off of the steel supporting the terra cotta, which then rusts, and thus much such is lost to us.

“Two rows of lights that outline the grand, curved window above the marquee have been returned to operation for the first time since the ‘40s.” — These Stud Lights, if also of the LED type used on the Vertical and Marquee, will also last almost indefinitely if they installed them in new, stainless sockets that will not rapidly expand and contract as does brass along with its corrosion. Let’s hope that the BUFFALO is also a trend setter in this innovation too.

All in all, a wonderful example for the rest of us of how it can be done (assuming we all could also come up with $4 million for the exterior alone!) {The photo of that crane lifting the sign reminds me of a news photo that THSA has of a crane toppling over as it detached and tried to lift a similar sign from the face of a theatre in Portland, Oregon; seems they are heavier than they look!}

srk1 on August 26, 2004 at 10:33 pm

Any news out there about the Metro Twin on 100th/Broadway? The marquee suddenly has “Sorry We’re Closed” posted (was showing something even this past weekend). I fear it’s doomed for good this time.

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