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This is one of the theaters that Radio City Music Hall is bringing their Christmas Spectacular for the first time ever! Other cities are St. Louis (Fox Theater), Denver (Buell), Boston (Wang), Buffalo (Shea’s) and Detroit (Fox Theater). Go to www.thegarden.com/xs_cities.html
And I’m glad to see that someone has made the correction in the name Gowanda as it isn’t spelled Gowonda! It lists The Hollywood as having 1,000 seats. I recall the theater being very large so perhaps there were that many seats! The story of the wealthy ‘glue tycoon’ and his wife missing the theater in NYC was most interesting. I had heard the theater was built by a local man, but didn’t know the story….until now! BTW, is Farner and Parker still there as I’ll go check it out next summer?
It’s a shame that many of the listed theaters on this site do NOT have photos as it would be great to see them!
Richard Serviss: Yes, The Hollywood was a special theater for its size and grandeur in a small town the size of Gowanda NY. I was there several years ago and saw that the marquee needed to be restored, yet the lobby was finished THEN I walked into the theater and saw what had happened to it due to no heat in the building for many years and a leaking roof! One had to look past what one saw and use his or her imagination so hopefully this theater will someday be restored for all to enjoy again. There is a big Harley Davidson meet there each year to help raise money for the theater and that brings alot of people into the town for that event!
John Lauter: I just read that you “have been associated with the Detroit Fox since 1975, in one way or another” and “have been on the staff since the 1988 re-opening” so I’m quite sure you will be seeing the Radio City Music Halls' grand Christmas Spectacular many times over this holiday season! Lucky you! I wanted to see the show at the Shea’s in Buffalo, but plans changed and I wasn’t able to stay in the Buffalo area during those dates in November! :–(
This Fox theater sounds to be as nice as the Fox in Atlanta and if you are in either Buffalo or Detroit this holiday season the Shea’s in Buffalo and the Fox in Detroit have the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular on their performance schedule! It is also in Columbus OH, Denver CO, St. Louis MO and Boston MA. Check the site www.thegarden.com/xs_cities.html for further details.
Am not familiar with this theater in Erie, but certainly the Erie Playhouse which had another name years ago and the restored Warner Theater on State Street.
David Stear: How do you research any given theater…what is your main source? Thanks.
Henry: THIS is an interesting question as I’ve quickly learned in my research of old movie theaters that many of the old movie houses do not have their pipe organs anymore. There is an organ website which you might enjoy as it also shows photos and history of the Carolina Theater in Charlotte NC where the organization is based. Go to http://theatreorgans.com/nc/metrolina/ My husband’s hometown theater was also called the Columbia, but it doesn’t seem to be included on the Cinema Treasures website. The hometown was Brookville PA.
Warren: Still trying to find the 1957 Film Daily Year Book and yes, Westfield has an historical society so they should be of help, too.
Thanks Warren for this information concerning seat number! How does one find the 1957 Film Daily Year Book that you have mentioned as I’m still trying to find a photo(s)as there are none on the cinema treasures website, but I do have several contacts that may produce something in the coming days? When it was demolished I’m not sure how much was saved or sold off, but I’m fairly sure that much of the structure was buried in the ground and just covered over which is mind boggling to hear so I hope that that fact is incorrect, but will find out through my research sources. Maybe someday someone will unearth it all, but highly unlikely. The location of the theater was on a corner and about 2 miles from the shores of Lake Erie.
I have contacted the Patterson Library in Westfield NY with hopes of finding old Grand Theater photos. I also plan to contact the last theater manager who still lives in the town and meet with him next year so keep your fingers crossed (thanks) that we come up with exterior and interior photos and much more general information. I do recall that a truck was trying to turn at the intersection one winter and hit the marquee on one end and it was never fixed after that incident so I guess that was the beginning of the end for ‘our’ art deco and special Westfield treaure that certain town politicans thought should be demolished for whatever reason! So very sad!
These photos are really something to view and I feel a sadness in my soul. Does anyone know where we can go on the internet to retrieve information, in general about the Grand theaters, the architect, etc.?
And are either you, Ziggy and/or dfbills originally from the Westfield NY area as I know of a Peter Bills. Ziggy, you mentioned Chautauqua so you are familiar with that wonderful piece of property….have been to many a concert in the great outdoors amphiTHEATER over the years!
Who is David Stear? How does one contact him to offer addtional information for any given theater as I know the most about the Grand Theater since Westfield NY was my hometown area for many years. How don’t know how many seats, but I could probably get this information along with other stats after speaking with the last theater manager.
Thanks, Ziggy for your replies to my ‘Grand’ posts. I have been researching other theaters and find that many of them across the country don’t have their pipe organs anymore which is such a shame. My research is most interesting and fulfilling, but with it comes sadness and frustration! I have been inside the Fox Theater in Atlanta which is a must-see for any theater buff!
The theater was demolished in the month of April, but not sure of the exact year. I was not around when the decision was made to demolish this wonderful art deco building, but did get to buy a curved piece from the front facade. I recall the ticket window by the front doors and the posters behind the display case to let those passing by know what movie was playing and the lighted curved marquee. I recall the candy counter and the art deco ladies lounge and bathroom. And yes, I do recall sitting in the back row with one particular boyfriend named David in my high school years! I only wish someone would submit a photo of The Grand! :–)
This theater was in my hometown and is sadly missed to this day. I know the last manager of the theater, Tom Tetrault so I plan to ask him about the theater as it had a bowling alley in the basement though I never saw it. The first movie I saw with my longtime girlfriend was Pillow Talk with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. A local gal makes small wood block area buildings and does the theater with any movie marquee name you wish to have on it so my girlfriend and I each have one. Her theater reads Pillow Talk starring Day and Hudson and mine reads The Long Long Trailer starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. A statue of Abe Lincoln and Grace Bedell now stand where the theater once stood as Grace lived in Westfield NY at the time President Lincoln was in the White House. She wrote him a letter to ask him to grow a beard and he later stopped by train in Westfield enroute to the Nation’s Capitol to meet Ms. Bedell and the rest is history, but all of us still miss the Grand Theater on the corner of Main and N. Portage Streets! :–(