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Great news for movie fans in Madison. But a theater apparently named for its telephone area code? Somehow, “Let’s go to the 608” lacks the charm of “Let’s go to the Rialto or the Bijou or the Strand.”
It’s now used primarily as a community arts center. I lived in the Coldwater area from 1970-85, and it always seemed to be in a perpetual state of being renovated. It’s also known for its summer theater season, (but don’t get me started on what I thought of some of those productions). This website:
has a picture of it when it was a movie theater during the period of approximately 1930-1954.
The entry for the Guild Theater at 717 West Sheridan in Chicago shows that it was known as the Essex as well as the Pine Grove, Panorama, and Little.
Especially in the 1950s and 60s, “roadshow” referred to a classy presentation of high profile films on a reserved seat or reserved performance basis. Typically, the film was shown exclusively at one large theater in each metropolitan area. The presentation emphasized real showmanship with overtures, intermission, and exit music, the best sound and projection available, grand curtains opening and closing, and souvenir books. The Cinerama films,and blockbusters such as “The Ten Commandments,” “Ben-Hur,” “My Fair Lady,” “Lawrence of Arabia, ” and many others (especially classic films originally filmed in 70mm) were presented originally in this way. Those were the days!
By the mid-70’s the concept essentially died out for many reasons, especially the growing practice of showcasing at multiple theaters, saturation booking, the growth of multiplexes, the added expense of running a roadshow, and especially toward the end of the era, a number of films that frankly didn’t deserve this kind of deluxe presentation but got it any way such as “Paint Your Wagon”.
The pictures at the link posted by RamBear above are of the Warner Theater in Erie, PA, not the Warner in Torrington, CT.
I had the chance to see this while in Detroit this past weekend; it’s a terrific exhibit. Perhaps one of the saddest things is to see the blow-ups of the movie directory pages from the Detroit newspapers over the years – there is one from each decade from the twenties through the nineties – and realize that one time Detroit had over a hundred single screen theaters and drive-ins.
It would be wonderful if other city museums or local city historical societies would create similar exhibits from time to time focusing on the movie-going experience and theaters over the years in their respective areas.
It actually did not go unused after its last motion picture showings in the 70’s; until its restoration for live theater, it became a mixed-use facility known as the Bismarck Pavilion which was operated by the Bismarck Hotel for both concerts, stage performances, and banquets. A false floor was built over the orchestra level seats. I recall that some time in the 1980’s, part of this false floor collapsed during a concert, fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. I attended a function there in the year just before the restoration began; the projection booth for the 70mm projectors was still in place at that time suspended from the balcony level ceiling; during its Cinerama days, all three booths were suspended from that ceiling.
I am sure that there are others who could give a better or more comprehensive answer, but it is clear that motion picture production and distribution now is nowhere near as vertically integrated as it was prior to 1948. The “studio system” basically died with the Consent Decree; now studios basically serve as production facilities and production managers; they don’t often do not own the finished films; they distribute them pursuant to contracts. Theaters now bid to show films and I am sure that there are procedures in place to keep the bidding process open. A glance at the offerings at any large multiplex will show that films from many studios are on exhibition at any given moment, even if the theater is owned by a chain affiliated with a studio.
The court action that forced the major studios to divest their related theater chains took place in 1948. I am not a lawyer, but I do know that the major theory of the case was that the studios' control of motion picture distribution through their allied theaters amounted to a vertical monopoly. You can read more about the case here:
It sounds like the Oriental was on the site where the East Ohio Gas Building or the former Continental Bank building was later built. I don’t recall the Oriental, but I do remember a penny arcade on Ninth called Jean’s Funny House.
I am beginning to wonder if there might have been two Euclid theaters in Cleveland at different times. Mike Rivest’s list of theaters for Cleveland shows a Euclid Theater at Ivanhoe and Euclid, and I can vouch for a theater having once operated at that location, although it had closed prior to 1958 when my family moved to the area.
As I noted above, the auditorium section was clearly visible to anyone standing on Ivanhoe looking west, behind a block of stores that fronted on Euclid; it may still be there today. It was also probably a movie theater only as the proscenium end had no apparent stagehouse, which would suggest it was purpose-built for movies, whereas a theater built in 1914 would probably have served a variety of uses.
There was definitely not a Euclid Theater operating at Ninth and Euclid when I lived in Cleveland (1950-1970). Euclid and Ninth Street is an intersection that is very distinctive and well-remembered by me, as my mother worked in an office nearby. The Bond clothing store was on the NW corner; the huge Union Commerce Building was on the NE. On the SE corner was the classic Cleveland Trust building with its dome, and on the SW corner was an office building with a jewelry store and pharmacy at ground level.
The only theaters that I recall from 1950 and after, at or near the intersection, were the Hippodrome and the Embassy facing each other on Euclid and the Roxy burlesque house on Ninth. The next theater on Euclid would have been Loew’s Stillman further east on Euclid at 12th, closer to Playhouse Square.
I think that it is possible the 1914 Euclid was demolished and that the theater at Euclid and Ivanhoe was built some years after and took the name. Perhaps someone with access to those Film Daily Yearbooks or the archives of the Cleveland Plain Dealer could research the question.
There was definitely, however, a theater on the north side of Euclid at Ivanhoe. I grew up about a mile from there, and the portion of the building that would have housed the auditorium and proscenium was visible and readily identifiable for years when I walked down Ivanhoe to Collinwood High School. The theatre had closed before my family moved to the area, but the neighbors occasionally mentioned it. I don’t think it was called the Euclid or the Ivanhoe, but I can’t, for the life of me, recall what it was called. The lobby and entryway were probably converted to stores.
The correct spelling should be “Severance”. John L. Severance was a longtime Cleveland benefactor and Severance Center was built on the grounds of his former estate. He built Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra.
At the risk of nit-picking a bit, it’s an ad for the first Cinerama showing of this particular Cinerama film at the Palace, which would have been some time after July, 1958 when it was released. It was one of the last of the original travelogue-type Cinerama films. The first Cinerama film shown at the Palace was “This Is Cinerama” in 1956.
This theatre makes an unusual cameo appearance of sorts in “The Return of the Pink Panther” by clearly serving as the inspiration for the theatre setting for the opening animated credits sequence.
Nigel: Yes, I am.
This site has a good picture of the store on Rampart:
It would be easy to mistake the vertical sign for one on a theater. Apparently there was also a Joy’s Furniture Store in Baton Rouge.
The website: http://www.in70mm.com/now_showing/index.htm shows on its current calendar that the Dutch Filmmuseum will be hosting a weekend of 70mm films there October 13-15, 2006 (including “2001” and “Battle of the Bulge”), and the museum’s schedule shows a French film being screened there in September. The map on the museum’s website still shows the theater as one of its venues. Apparently the impending demolition has been at least delayed.
Watching a classic film like this on a video screen attached to the side of a truck before or after an air show is not my idea of a quality cimematic experience.
When this theater opened (late 1960s, I think) it was known as the the Canal Road Indoor/Outdoor Theater because it had an enclosed viewing gallery underneath the projection booth.
Recent photo at this website:
There is a photo of the charming Hamilton Theater at this website:
A rather sad exterior shot of the Lorenzo is at this website:
I hope the prservation effort continues and succeeds.
There is a recent photo of the interior of the Fox Oakland at this website: View link
This theater is, unfortunately, shortly to be demolished for a combination condominium/retail/hotel project, according to this article http://www.record-eagle.com/2005/dec/17hotel.htm Although there was an attempt to save it, Petoskey voters gave the OK to the projet last year, dooming the theater.
Originally called the Temple Theater (the name used to remain visible in the outer lobby tiles before additional screening rooms were added and the entrance and lobby redesigned), the theater had been “modernized” over its lifetime.
In the 1990s, four small, non-descript screening rooms were added adjacent to the original auditorium. The expansion of the theater into a muliplex also included a modern, functional, but bland lobby area and entrance that essentially obliterated any traces of the original.
Little remained though of the original decor in the original auditorium except for some wall lighting fixtures and the stage; Soundfold drapery and a drop ceiling made it look much like hundreds of other cinemas around the country.