August 16, 2007
While in need of some goofy “Monty Python And The Holy Grail” British humor, I paid a visit to the Bay Theatre, Seal Beach, Ca., last Sunday. I was sorry to see the Wurlitzer organ had been recently removed and gone to a church. I am glad the final concert was to a turn-away, sell-out crowd.
However, the program presentation was far from being professional; There was no walk-in music, a bare screen with white floods on it, the leader “count-down” was screened plus projection revealed both sides and upper screen with fuzzy edges and a foot of picture bled onto the lower masking.
And they wonder why the attendance is down?
August 7, 2007
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — When the 4/36 formerly of the San Francisco Paramount Theatre (nee Granada) was installed in the refurbished Regent Theatre Melbourne in 1996, hopes were high that we would be able to hear this beautiful instrument on many occasions. However, with the theatre’s many live commitments, this has not been possible.
But as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival, they presented the 1925 Lon Chaney silent classic, Phantom of the Opera last Saturday with local renowned organist David Johnston to accompany the movie. David’s expertise with this form of organ presentation made for an exiting event, and hopefully, management will organize another ‘event’ like this soon !
From Ian W.
August 6, 2007
News from Georgia College & State University
August 2, 2007
MILLEDGEVILLE, GA — Georgia College & State University today announced it is proposing to reopen the historic Campus Theatre on Hancock Street in downtown Milledgeville, adapting the buildings interior into a black box performance theatre and retail book store. The theatre, which is a prominent part of the city’s downtown area, was built in 1935 and closed in 1983.
For several years, I have been looking for opportunities that benefit both Georgia College and the community — and reuse of the Campus Theatre as a performance theatre and bookstore is a great fit for both, said Georgia College President Dorothy Leland. Bringing this beautiful building to life once again will not only reutilize unoccupied space, but also play a significant role in the continued redevelopment of downtown Milledgeville.
August 3, 2007
OAKLAND, CA — With the reopening of the the long closed Fox Theatre next year, many eyes are turned toward the future of the aging Paramount Theatre. In a controversy sure to be envied by many of us, what’s a city to do with two refurbished, large-scale movie palaces?
Still, the Paramount’s future may not be so secure. The aging building is in dire need of a new roof, an exterior paint job, and hazardous materials removal — repairs estimated around $1 million. And there’s discussion about increasing the depth of the stage to accommodate more Broadway-type shows, plays, and musicals. “Our bottom line being near the break-even level, only a few things have to happen and we could see losses again,” says board president Tom Hart.
One thing sure to happen is the opening of the Fox Theater in late 2008. The $58 million renovation of the long-slumbering venue, also a city-owned facility, is raising concerns about competition between the two facilities. The Fox’s maximum capacity of more than 3,000 people will be on par with the Paramount’s 3,040. The non-union Fox will be operated by a successful concert promoter, Another Planet Entertainment.
Read the full story at the East Bay Express.
August 1, 2007
BRISTOL, TN — Thanks to whoever asked about this. I’m House Organist on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ at the Paramount Center for the Arts—over 2,000 pipes plus 27 real instruments, drums, percussions, harps, bells, etc mounted in the chambers — all played from the console. I play concerts, accompany silent comedy films, do sing-alongs, plus private dinners, celebrations, and most anything requested.
You can see the organ and Paramount by searching “House Organist Rex Ward” to bring it all up. We’re in the city of the Bristol International Speedway and the “Birthplace of Country Music” -may God help us all. Theatre Bristol is next door—local performing troupes who do great performances — often in the Paramount Center.
I saw a post asking “what about” the place, so I thought I’d explain things. We do an annual Christmas pilgrimage with it ending at the Paramount for a rousing Christmas community show with the organ and others. A few times a year we normally get in some concerts, silent movies, sing alongs, “star look-a-like contest”, under the seat prizes and a few “water throwing” skits, etc etc. Yeah…corny but great fun with good turn out.
July 30, 2007
CHARLESTON, SC — The Terrace Theater at 1956 Maybank Highway was sold last week to Michael Furlinger. Mr. Furlinger started in the movie business in 1982 as an usher for Century Theaters and later went on to become district manager for Cineplex Odeon. For the past 17 years he has owned a chain of gourmet food shops called The Sweet Gourmet.
The Terrace Theater is Charleston’s premier art house and has been in operation for 10 years.
FAIRFIELD, CT — Just checked, and the Community Theater is back in business quite soon after their close call! Thankfully, hard-working people have done what they could so that the Community did not go the way of the Rialto, Lyric, Globe, Poli, Majestic, Strand, Warner, Rivoli, Beverly, and many, many others who have become just faded memories!
Thankfully, there are people that care that have banded together to continue to preserve an area landmark!
July 25, 2007
FAIRFIELD, CT — Our local paper related the sad news that the Community Theater, a local fixture since it first opened in 1920, and currently run by a volunteer group, suffered an electrical problem this Saturday (7/23/07). A fire alarm sounded, and the article stated that sparks from an electrical panel forced the evacuation of all patrons. The article went on to say that it was not known when the theater would re-open.
July 23, 2007
CAMDEN, NJ — Rumor’s been going around stating that Camden, NJ will be getting a new movie house with IMAX this coming 2009 summer season.
Hope this is true. Camden has been without a movie house for years now. It will be great if it finally happens.
July 12, 2007
ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ — Here’s a link to a story that I read in the Daily Record about the tough movie theater competition between two chains in Morris County, AMC Entertainment and Clearview. It’s a well written article by a young 30-ish guy, Matt Manochio, and I told him why I chose AMC over Clearview due to its close proximity to my hometown in Rockaway, where the chain returned to its roots after a five year absence.
He included some of the people’s opinion about Clearview (which owns most of the theaters in the coutny) and AMC (which owns only two, one of which used to be a Loews/Sony) and put it into today’s article, which is on the front page.