November 16, 2007
A Wall Street Journal article(link to close to non-subscribers soon) discusses the hopes for Los Angeles' Broadway.
Along Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, the Tower Theater helped usher in the era of “talking pictures” in 1927, and the Los Angeles Theatre hosted the 1931 premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s classic film “City Lights.” Albert Einstein accompanied the star to the gala, while Great Depression victims stood in line for bread across the street.
But unlike the Broadway of New York City, where — when stagehands aren’t on strike — throngs arrive in tour buses to see “Mamma Mia” or “A Chorus Line,” the 12 theaters in L.A.’s version of the Great White Way have long been neglected and sit mostly unused.
The baroque and gothic venues, built between 1910 and 1931 for vaudeville acts and movies, line a six-block stretch that today is a melange of retail marts, check-cashing outlets and bridal shops. Two theaters serve as churches, and another has become a flea market. This street teems with activity by day but largely empties at dusk.
For the first time in decades, though, there is hope that the city’s faded theater district can be revived — as a broader renaissance of downtown Los Angeles takes hold.
November 14, 2007
PAXTON, IL — A fire Tuesday morning completely destroyed the historic Paxton Majestic Theatre building, which included the theater space and apartments on the upper floor. Firefighters from six area departments fought the blaze, and were able to save nearby buildings from destruction. No one was injured in the fire. By later Tuesday afternoon, firefighters were still on the scene, as the remains of the theater continued to smoke. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to the state fire marshal’s office.
The Paxton Majestic, also known as the New Paxton, Paxtonian and Majestic Theatre, originally opened in 1913, in a building dating to the 19th century. It was last used in 2005 for live theatrical stage productions.
Paxtonians are shocked and mourning the loss of a Paxton landmark. Says Rhonda Blackford, who works across the street from the theater building at a florist, “It was just so sad to see something so historical go up so fast”.
For more information (and a photo of the burning theater), see this story in the News-Gazette.
November 13, 2007
PORTSMOUTH, OH — Fire destroyed the 1912 Columbia Theatre in Portsmouth, Ohio, early Sunday morning. The theatre had been renovated as a music venue and was operating as the Columbia Music Hall. Although the owners have vowed to rebuild, the entire roof has been destroyed. The ATF will be investigating, although the fire has not yet been labeled suspicious.
A large portion of the last remaining former single screen downtown movie theatre burned early Sunday morning, Nov. 11. Four fire departments battled flames starting around 3 a.m.
The Columbia Theatre, 832 Gallia Street, which had been renovated over the course of five years at a cost in the millions, became the Columbia Music Hall in 2006. The Music Hall suffered extensive damage particularly to the stage area, according to Robert Forrey, a retired Shawnee State University professor, who compiled a documentary on the showplace. The professor’s evaluation came from a drive around the structure early Sunday evening. He said the rear roof has collapsed and most of the renovated and “finer” portions have been gutted. He has not been inside the remains of the structure.
Read the full story at Huntington News.
PITTSBURGH, PA — The currently closed Garden Theater in Pittsburgh’s historic North Side is a step closer to being designated a historic landmark. This means the former adult theater will not be torn down. No one yet knows what its use will be.
The designation now must go before the city planning commission for a vote. If approved, City Council will conduct a public hearing and then vote on whether the designation should receive final approval.
A historic designation would require developers to preserve the 92-year-old building’s beaux arts terra cotta exterior. Historic status does not regulate what can be done to the interior.
More info in this article from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
November 12, 2007
JERSEY CITY, NJ – The Loew’s Jersey Morton Wonder Organ was removed nearly 40 years ago and has been restored after 10 years of dedicated effort by the volunteers and members of the Garden State Theatre Organ Society. The magic of live organ music returned to The Loew’s Jersey on November 3, 2007.
The Bob Balfour Memorial Robert Morton Wonder Organ, named in memory of the GSTOS member who was instrumental in acquiring and leading the effort to restore an organ to The Loew’s Jersey, was celebrated during a Garden State Theatre Organ Society members event at the classic “wonder palace.” This organ, originally installed at the Loew’s Paradise (Bronx, NY), is a twin to the organ that was removed from The Loew’s Jersey and is currently installed at The Arlington Theatre (Santa Barbara, CA).
This Robert Morton Wonder Organ was only one of five ever built from among the over 6,000 organs the Robert Morton Company produced. It consists of 4 ranks, 23 banks and 1,774 pipes. The console, which rises and rotates from a position on the house left side of the orchestra pit, features 228 stops.
The Paradise Theatre in North Kansas City Missouri has been purchased by Butch Rigby and will become part of his Screenland Theatres operation. It will be completely restored and will be re-named the “Screenland Armour”. The theatre was built in 1928 as the “Armour” and will reopen in 2008. It will seat approximately 320 patrons.
The website is www.screenland.com.
November 9, 2007
BALTIMORE, MD — Deals are being made that could compromise the building of the Mayfair Theater.
The Mayfair Theater site on North Howard Street headlines a list of long-vacant properties set to be redeveloped on the west side of downtown, as the city announced Monday that it has selected developers to help improve the area.
The intersection of Howard and Franklin streets, once at the heart of Baltimore’s retail district, could see more than 30,000 square feet of new retail space and nearly 80 apartments in buildings that are now city-owned, according to the Baltimore Development Corp. This amounts to an estimated $27.5 million in spending between two developers announced Monday by the BDC. Both companies will now have the exclusive right to cut a deal with the city for the properties.
Here is the article on the development plans from the Maryland Daily Record. The article does not clarify if the Mayfair will be restored or used as part of the development plans to add 80,000 square feet of retail and apartments spaces.
GOODWOOD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA — It’s not often on this site that you hear of a theatre in Australia(South Australia), especially suburban, that has survived the onslaught of TV, Multiplexes, DVD’s, Home Theatre and the list goes on.
Check out the Capri in Adelaide South Australia. Truly loved by many, supported by Volunteers and owned by TOSA. If you are visiting S.A., have a peek you will always be made welcome.
November 7, 2007
REGO PARK, QUEENS, NY — The Theater Historical Society of America’s publication, Marquee (2nd quarter 2007) features a detailed history, architectural analysis, and narrative on the Trylon Theater (98-81 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills, NY). It also features interviews with the son of architect Joseph Unger, patrons, community residents, and historians. The author is Michael Perlman, Chairman of the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater.
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*/ Exec. Dir. Richard Sklenar , or call (630) 782-1800 with a credit card, and order directly from the THSA office. Copies are not available online yet.
Now’s your opportunity to own a piece of history for a theater paying homage to the 1939 World’s Fair, which was referred to as “The Theater of Tomorrow.”
Any further questions, .
November 5, 2007
VICKSBURG, MS — Something is going on within the city of Vicksburg all of sudden. During the summer, the talk of a new cinema died down. Now the talk around town has started again. I’ve been trying to track down what it’s all about but so far—nothing. I had two sources who verified the talk part. But something is going on.
Second former Alderwoman Gertrude Young who frequently adds her commentary on the Live local talk show, “Live from the Klondike,” has frequently been bragging the fact that she has been in touch with new cinema investors. On the last one I heard, she spoke of cinema subsidiary Viacom Inc. I found out that would be Odeon Cinemas in the Northeast. I learned too that Odeon Cinemas wouldn’t open a cinema in this part of the country.
All of sudden she’s dropped off the radar screen on the subject. One more thing: people and I suspect tourists as well are wondering why the city of Vicksburg, with a population of 25,000 doesn’t have a cinema. But talk is increasing and growing.