Showing 226 - 246 of 246 comments found
Ahhhh, what I would do to go back in time to check out all these wonderful theatres. The Paradise would be #1 on my list. Anyone have a flux capacitor and a Delorean laying around?
I am getting pretty good at this theatre research thing :).
Well, this answers my question above. Some theatres STILL have kept their old “electric fantastic” marquees. This one is on a theatre in Poukeepsie, NY.
Granted this one is small and probably would never come close to the grandeur of that of the Paradise, Granada, or Marbro. But it is still very 20’s
I found the article by accident when I was at work. Some genius closed the screen and I didn’t find the original article I read but here is another one…
Just to the bottom left of the writing below the picture this site also mentions the 10 different colors.
Yeah, I noticed that many theatres changed their marquees. Most of the more elaborate and larger theatres had the characteristic vertical sign in addition to the front marquee. I found another nice theatre…The Capitol in Wisconsin…which shares a very similar ‘wave’ type marquee like the Granada and Marbro. (See pix)
I am not sure if this theater had a marquee change, but just about all the ‘changed’ marquees were drab in comparison to the originals. Oh Ok, the Granada’s second marquee wasn’t too bad…but still, it doesn’t compare to the original. The wave pattern on a chaser must have looked awesome! Like a carnival ride :).
Speaking of which…I know what you mean about America’s facination with the light bulb. I read much about that in regards to my research on Coney Island. It did seem early Amusement Parks and Theatre’s did share much in common with attracting patrons.
I must say your explanation of the demise of the “electric fantastic” theatre marquees is probably the best reason why they disappeared.
Still I only can imagine what one of these marquees must have looked like. I would love to witness one that is operational on a theatre today. But I would gather that would be a rare find indeed.
Congradulations on your endeavor. I myself am very much interested in theatre and would like to either be a part of a theatre organization or even buy a place for myself. Brenna is right unfortunately. I found out very quickly that movies will not make you much. Luckily my interest lies in the Performing Arts and more can be had going that route.
I am getting the gist that your theatre was/is a performing arts theatre if you are requesting projection equipment. Doing movies is fine, but don’t box yourself into altering the theatre to the point that you can ONLY do movies. Design the theatre in a way that in addition to movies you can do Performing Arts, Town/Company Events, Concerts, and don’t forget schools.
Just my 2 cents. But I know the feeling. I saw the movie “The Majestic” and wanted to fix up an old theatre for myself. But the initial drive was sparked in the 80s by a record album cover…believe it or not.
Good luck with your venture!
Hello all again,
JIM—You are right about the bulbs. I read an article just now stating that the “Paradise Theatre in Chicago was very unique in that it’s marquee had over 10,000 bulbs in 10 different colors”. 10 different colors huh? I sure would think that would keep the maintenance guys on their toes. Could you imagine though…10,000 bulbs??? If each lamp was a standard 11 watt bulb, if all the lamps were steady burning at one time, the sign would pull a staggering 956 amps (at 115volts). Even if they used a standard chase-4 circuit AND 220 volts that would still mean the sign pulled a continuous 120 amps. That is just the sign…rest of the building not included!! OUCH!! No wonder why they replaced the sign.
SCOTT—I was definately seeing double today. You are right, the Granada had an (almost) identical twin! I finally saw a picture of the Marbro…and a good picture it is.
There is another picture I seen of the Marbro but at a distance. The crest on top is very different from that of the Granada. I couldn’t paste the link on that one though.
Absolutely Gorgeous though. It looks like I just became a fan of Levy & Kleins work in additon to J. Eberson’s work.
Wow, you lucked out with having the floor wood. The theatre by me that was converted has a POURED floor. It wasn’t well done either. While you cannot readily see it or feel it, a ball will roll to the back of the store.
Yeah, I am a fanatic of the new digital control systems myself. But the old mechanical/electrical systems still hold their charm though. I would go either way depending on the function. If the theatre was more suited to a nostaligic, or ‘museum’ quality, or even for ‘school’ purposes, then I would try and track down all period correct equipment. But for day to day business functions, the new digital systems make things easier. In my case, for live work, I know for sure, I would have to put in digital mixing consoles as well.
Oh, man…sorry to hear about the drive in theatre. Nothing is more disheartening when all your good work goes to waste on people that don’t care.
I will follow your work on the Opera Pacifica as that seems more along the lines of what I would be looking for. You managed to get all 1000 seats for free? Oh man, if I should fall into a deal like that.
I do admit I am not up on movie projection equipment. I have only done sound and stage lighting in the past. Good luck on fixing the leak. Flat roof buildings can be a REAL pain in that aspect. I knew one guy that was so teed off with his building always leaking that he actually built an entirely new pitched roof (like on a house) over the old roof. While it was expensive, his problem was solved and now he even has a nice storage space as well.
Well, I am off!
Like Kristen, I too am interested in a theatre project. For a while now I was thinking about getting a small to medium sized theatre but not for movies. Unlike Kristen, I would rather go more into catered events and the performing arts. I have done quite a bit of sound and lighting work with Performing Arts and Dance Companies in the past. Many times these companies would like to use a real theatre rather than a high school auditorium. I am also good with computer systems both business and control systems.
While I don’t mind a restoration project, I would rather get something that can be used. Or at least can be used while slowly being restored. In terms of size I found something between 700 and 1000 seats would do fine. As for style I am leaning towards Art Deco myself…but will go with anything from that era and prior.
While I do have a good idea of how a theatre is run and I have put on shows before…I really do not know too much about restoring one. I will admit I most definately will need help here, even though I am good with my hands and have restored antiques before. Still, I have not restored an entire building before.
KEN—I am very happy for you that you have successfully restored a movie theatre and business is good. I saw pictures of it and am amazed at what you accomplished. How did you take care of the floor problem? Was the floor of the video store temporary and could be easily removed? Ironically, this same exact thing happened to a theatre in my neighborhood. It first was a single theatre, then it became a twin miniplex. When it went out of business a video store moved in. They did a nasty though, they filled the floor in with concrete. I am curious if you have done work on other theatres as well, specifically performing arts theatres.
Yes, I put that Annual in my order. I definately want to do more research on the Granada Theatre now. It is too closely linked to Album Art.
Speaking of which…I knew the concept behind the album already, I knew that by heart when I was kid and it was back then I first researched the Paradise Theatre. So there is no confusion there. Perhaps I just worded something poorly up there and I apologise for that. What I was doing now was trying to dig deeper as to why the actual Paradise Theatre was not accurately represented in the cover art of the album. I knew for a long time already that the real Paradise Theatre didn’t look like the art work on the Album cover. But, I let it go thinking the cover art was fictious and was “an original design” and left it at that. But I also know how artists are…especially when it comes to period based material and designs. They are usually always inspired by something, so I knew I was going to revisit this to investigate further and that is what I am doing here and now. In a way you have actually provided much of the information I was looking for. So based on what I seen it is very clear to me now that Robert Addison seen that picture of the Granada with it’s old Marquee and worked off that. The details in both his work and the Granada are far too similar to be conincidence. I am wondering now if both ideas came together at around the same time. Perhaps Addison really intended to create a rendition of the Granada theatre. Somehow Dennis from Styx got wind of it, loved the drawing, commissioned Addison and the drawing was adapted for the Album cover art. Of course that is just speculating, and it is just a hypothesis. So now I am interested in finding out the facts. While Robert Addison has passed away…Dennis would logically be the next person to try and ask. Wish me luck on this one!
I am off.
JIM—Thanx for the tip on Annual #27. But it will have to wait for now. I just put my money order in at lunch time. I guess I will poke around on the net for now to see what other creations J. Eberson did.
As for theater work…I have not anything etched in stone in terms of planning. But it would be cool to hook up with someone who is restoring a theatre with intentions of running it as a Performing Arts Theatre. As I mentioned I have done mixing and sound work before in this field, so I would fit right in. As for risks…well, isn’t it like that with any self made business? I figured I was either go into the amusement or theatre industry. It is just in the cards right now to plan something as my current line of work is winding down and my wife’s office just closed down. Ironically, she worked for Loews Theatre’s AP department in Manhattan, but AMC, the new owners, decided to close the Manhattan office down
Anyway, I will check out that link/story you provided. Oh, so that is how the email thing works. Ha! Didn’t know. Learn something new everyday. Thanx for that info.
I just checked out the links to the Pabst Theatre. Pretty nice place…it looks pretty big that is for sure. I see they went the concert route like the Loews Paradise. It is a shame that one cannot support a place like this with movies like they were initially designed to do. But pretty much my interests lie in the performing arts anyway. But it is nice that you helped to save a classic theatre…and that is the main thing. I am surprised that you were not involved with theatre directly. You sound like a seasoned vet on the topic :).
As for bulbs, I honestly don’t know their history but it just seemed like most marquees used white bulbs. Even in amusement parks of the period, they had a tendency to stick with white or clear bulbs. It is funny how you mention the ‘shading’ of bulbs in B&W pictures. When I receive the THSA paperwork, that was the exact thing I was going to look for to verify what Scott was saying. However, it seems like you have done that already. Yep, color photography would have been a plus. Too bad there wasn’t anyone that created artwork on the theatre, then you would have an idea of what it would look like in color. Like a postcard or something. I have some old postcard pictures of Coney Island in the 20’s and most of them are in color..but they are obviously all artist renderings and not photographs. They are really well done though.
Well thank you for the information. I will check out those links you provided in detail.
SCOTT—Thank You that link now works. I am so shocked that the Granada was around into the 90’s and nothing was done to save this theatre. But the thing that would make me send a 1000 thank you’s to you for pointing this link out to me is this picture right here.%20%3cbr%3eHABS%20ILL,16-CHIG,109-30&displayProfile=0)
What I am pointing out here is the marquee. I didn’t know that the Marquee was changed on the Granada. THIS IS the elusive marquee I was looking for. There is my wave. So apparently the artist, Robert Addison, based the concept art of the Paradise Theatre almost entirely on the Granada Theatre. I did some more digging and found out that the concept art for the Paradise Theatre album was done WAY before the album came out. Styx Paradise Theatre was released in 1981 and the concept art was done in 1977. More then likely it was a pre-existing drawing, or one in the works. So last question is…Why was the name Paradise slapped on a drawing which was supposed to be the Granada Theatre? Legalities does come to mind as the Granada was still open during this time. Perhaps it was Addison’s initial purpose to capture the essence of the Granada as it existed. He could have been commissioned by Styx’s graphic artists to come up with a concept drawing based on the Paradise Theatre. I guess this answer I will never know anytime soon.
Once again, Scott, 1000 thank you’s for that link. That one picture alone answers a bunch of questions.
SCOTT—Thanx for that tidbit of info. I was trying to look up the Granada by NAME and never thought twice of searching by the designer. I will probably add those to my list. The link you provided is not working for some reason. Either something is missing or there is not enough there.
Wow, so the Paradise DID have multi-color bulbs? I guess that could be one of the reasons why they changed the sign. Even nowadays there is a price difference between white and colored bulbs. Back in the day colored bulbs were not common, the price difference (by ratio comparing to todays cost) was probably greater. Then again, they could have changed them all to white if that were the case…certainly easier than replacing the entire marquee. But I guess too probably it was the operating costs in terms of power requirements that could have did the marquee in. I remember a while back I did a power calculation for someone that was restoring an antique carousel that had almost 1000 bulbs. It used 11 watt bulbs and pulled about 90 amps. NINTY AMPS!!! The lighting pulled more power then the actual carousel drive itself. The owner of the carousel almost dropped dead after we figured that out! We came up with a lower power solution that dropped the current below 60 amps, so as the carousel would not put that much of a dent in the power budget. I could only imagine what the Paradise Theatre sign pulled…even if it was on a chaser control.
Yes, I would agree. Even the B&W photos of the Paradise are awesome. But it probably wouldn’t compare to color. Seeing the color photos of the newly renovated Loew’s Paradise (Bronx) really got me fixated on these theatres. I saw the color pictures of the Akron Loews theatre (also a John Eberson creation), and again I had to scrape my jaw off the floor.
Yes it was I that asked if you witnessed the demolition of the Paradise. It must have been awful to have memories of that especially if you have an interest in theatre history.
Last night I found more pictures of the Granada, including the demolition. It is an un-nerving thought that some many beautiful theatres were destroyed like this.
JIM—Off topic. Would you happen to have a list of John Eberson theatres. I would like to check out more of this Architect’s work. Moreover I would like to know more of his theatres that are still standing.
Also, I am interested in seeking a career in theatre…perhaps help restore an old theatre and stay on for sound work. However, I feel that discussion would be out of place here since that is a topic not related to the Chicago Paradise. Would you have a direct email where I can reach you to discuss this further?
JIM—Just was double checking again, that was all. I already had the letter (order) made up for the two items, but would have had to redo it if the one was not in stock. I would have added the Granada Theatre as well, but didn’t find one on the THSA website. There IS a Granada Theatre, but it was for the San Franciso one.
Wow, that was a nice bit of info to learn that the Paradise intended to have a revolving “lighthouse” sign, but I do like the original Marquee and how it turned out. But the Styx album cover is still my favorite. My next favorite Marquee was the one featured in the movie, “The Majestic”. Not so much so in the day time, but lit up at night, it was awesome! I could only imagine what the original Paradise’s Marquee looked like at night. More then likely it was all white lights…I don’t think colored bulbs were that much in vogue in the 20’s.
Sorry about the double post again, but I had a recollection…
BAM! It finally came to me after I banged my head against the wall a couple of times. It was Robert Addison that created the artwork for the Styx Album. I tried to track him down but I came across a website that said he died in 1988 :(.
I did find a teeny tiny picture of his original concept art for the album, which is the full drawing of the theatre. It is definately Granada inspired without a doubt. Damn, and come to think of it back in the 80’s I should have asked the record store for the promotional display for the Paradise Theatre album when they were through with it. The thing was 6 feet tall!!
SCOTT—Good to know that the Bronx Paradise publication was reprinted. Are you a member of the THSA as well? I am surprised that if it went back to print that Jim didn’t mention it. But I am definately going to get both Annuals without a doubt. I have to see if they have one on the Granada Theatre since it appears that it too was some inspiration in the creation of the Styx album cover.
It is a shame that the Paradise had to destroy that beautiful marquee because of darn taxes. Well, I guess the thousands of light bulbs didn’t help the issue any either.
Sorry, but I have not seen any later pictures of the Paradise…just those when it was in it’s full glory. Must have been awful with all that black crap on it. Worse, it sounds like you must have witnessed the demolition as well, huh?
BRYAN—I have dug up that picture myself about an hour ago…but the Marquee is at a bad angle and the picture dark…so I really cannot make anything of it. What I would need is a good head on shot of the Marquee.
Well, I am off. I am gawk over some pictures I found of the restored Bronx Loews Paradise.
BEARDBEAR31—I am interested in seeing this picture of the Paradise with State Street Sadie on the Marquee, however your links do not work. Yes, you are correct, that is also the name of a song on the album.
However, I do have to disagree with you in terms of the album art. Here is why.
Here is a picture of the REAL paradise theatre:
Here is a picture of the Styx Paradise Theatre Album:
Finally here is a picture of the Granada Theatre:
NOW everyone compare the facades (NOT the marquees). Yes, the album art is closer to the Granada than the Paradise. The Paradise didn’t have the three window layout. Has anyone ever seen the full art layout for the Paradise Theatre album? I have. It shows the crest on top of the theatre and it clearly is just about identical to that of the Granada Theatre.
PAUL—I finally dug up a good picture of the Granada Theatre.
So you are RIGHT! This is it! I compared this closely to my Paradise Theatre Album and the facade clearly resembles the Granada more than the actual Paradise. The three window layout and the top arch are just about identical. I wonder why the artist chose to do this? I do understand the fancier marquee, but he still could have used the original Paradise facade. Why did he choose a different theatre altogether? Hmmmm, I guess one may never know. Paul, I was wondering if you have a scanner if you could scan that picture of the Tivoli marquee for me and post it here. It would be the last element I need to complete this puzzle.
BRYAN—Eeewwww! That second marquee is horrible. If that was the choice back then…I would have NEVER replaced the original.
JIM—Thank you for verifying that about the Chicago Paradise Annual, however you tossed me another curve ball on the Bronx Paradise Annual. On the THSA website it shows 1972 – No. 2 Paradise (Bronx, NY). There is nothing showing the Annual is out of print. If it is out of print then someone is not keeping up the website. That annual doesn’t even have a LOW COUNT warning next to it either. Are you sure it is out of stock? Reason I ask is because I was going to put that one on the order as well. If you could double check that for me I would appreciate it. I was almost ready to go to the post office now and cut a money order and send it out to THSA, but I will wait until I hear from you.
PAUL—Ahhh, so I see you got the information from a book. I was going nuts trying to find pictures of the Chicago Tivoli on line…kept getting pictures of the Downer’s Grove one :(. So far I have not found pictures on the Granada either…but honestly I have not been actively looking for that one. I will give it a whirl.
But real or not I just fell in love with that Marquee on the Styx album. Should I eventually ever own a theatre you bet the Marquee will look very much like that one…that is if the building had no historic significance, of course.
Sorry for the double post guys…
JIM, I looked on the THSA site and found the area you were referring to. I believe I am in the right area. However It says “1977 No 4. Paradise (Chicago)”. I am assuming this is the right one correct? Only making sure because you mentioned 1973 above.
PAUL—Yes, that was what I did hear story about, that it was based on the Granada Theatre. But if that isn’t the case, then there still remains the question if Marquee, as pictured on the Styx album cover, really did exist on a theatre.
As for the Tivoli theatre you mentioned, I only can find pictures on the Downers Grove one. Where can I see a picture of the theatre you mentioned? I did try to look it up here, but the caption for the Chicago Tivoli has no picture attached to it.
JIM—Thank you for the tip on that paper on the Paradise. I believe I will head over there get a copy. I will definately keep it with my original Styx Paradise Theatre album.
Yes it is facinating how they did the lighting mechanically back then. I am very much familiar with the old cam set ups. You can get them still made like that nowadays…especially for very high current applications. Contact blocks are too slow for that application.
Nice to hear you are with the THSA. I guess you have been following the progress on the sister theatre to the Chicago Paradise, the Bronx Lowes Paradise. I live just a little over an hour away from that one. I am happy to see that it was restored. It is a very beautiful theatre and I am happy to see that it was saved. Now that they are using it for concerts…the icing on the cake would be to have Styx have a concert there. Kind of like a ‘Paradise Reborn’ concert…or something like that. I would be there in a heartbeat.
Thanx for the info guys.
Wow! Apparently this particular theatre causes quite a stir! I guess primarily because of the Styx album. Back in the early 80’s Styx was my favorite group and of course I had to get the Paradise Theatre album when it came out. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the album cover. I was like WOW this is one beautiful theatre. I read the small newspaper clipping that was within the album and found that the theatre actually existed. From then on I began a long research project on the Chicago Paradise Theatre. At first I was a bit disappointed when I first saw a picture of the REAL Paradise as it looks nothing like the one on the Styx album cover. True, the artwork is true to the period and design, but the marquee is totally different. The real marquee was vertical and perpendicular to the theatre. It had some what of a starburst design rather than the ‘wave’ depicted on the Styx Album. Someone mentioned at one time that the marquee on the Styx Album was from another theatre. So now I am confused at the what the truth is. Is the Styx marquee and facade depicting the Chicago Paradise just an inspired drawing or was it a borrowed idea from an actual theatre? Did the Paradise have at one time a Marquee that looked like that? I find the Paradise marquee depicted on the Styx album to be the most beautiful I have seen to date…and that is a long time since I had the album since the 80’s. Much can be said about this album as it DID trigger an interest within me to getting into the theatre industry and possibly even owning a theatre someday. But my interest does lie more with a Performing Arts Theatre in that aspect. On a final note, I have noticed that most of the links to pictures of the Chicago Paradise are broken. I would appreciate it if someone could direct me to a good source of pictures of this theatre from it’s beginnings to its demolition.
Thanks in advance and keep this thread going…it is an interesting one and I enjoyed reading everyone’s posts.