Extreme Usher: The Imperial Six

posted by Michael Zoldessy on July 15, 2010 at 7:45 am

TORONTO, CANADA — An usher looks back at his days at the Imperial Six, 70’s incarnation of the Canon Theatre.

Neither one of the grand movie palaces of the pre-tv era (although it had been in its previous incarnation as the 3,000 seat Imperial), nor a megagigaplex of the post-modern era, the Imperial Six sat, uncomfortably but functionally somewhere between the two, as close in time at its birth to WWII as it is to our own. It still evoked the excitement and spectacle of going to the movies, but was, perhaps, one of the first signs that moviegoing was being transformed: fewer theatres, with lots of screens. Tens of thousands of people streamed through its doors during a preview week, just to look around before any movies were screening.

Architect Mandel Sprachman kept some of the old elegance of the past, commissioning original art (hanging sculptures made from metal and found objects, and giant fibreglass figures kissing in the dark), exposed unseen elements of the building (two of the theatres were constructed in the backstage spaces) and saluted the heritage of the building with historical signage and a sensually surrealistic mural.

Read more at Silent Toronto.

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Comments (2)

TLSLOEWS on July 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Interesting to read stories from a onetime theatre employee,that started in 1973 as I did myself.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I think “SHAFT IN AFRICA” was the third in the Richard Roundtree series,“SHAFT’S BIG SCORE ” was the second.I worked a downtown movie Theatre IMPERIAL in Augusta,Ga.I know my black movies unfortunately.But like Tlsloews said it was a good time to work a movie theatre.And a good piece to read.

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