Lafayette Theatre

4 Broadway,
Buffalo, NY 14203

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 39 of 39 comments

Patsy on April 21, 2008 at 9:53 am

LAF: Thanks for the opus 501 link which led me back to the organ tracking site that I have viewed to learn about the Opus 1616 travels once it left the demolished Paramount/Buffalo.

Patsy on April 21, 2008 at 9:43 am

Lost: Your Feb. 2, 2008 photo link doesn’t work and would love to see more photos, if possible. From what I’ve read this was a major theatre in Buffalo that is now gone to the ages! A shame!

railroad on April 8, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Located at 2 Broadway, phone number 1960: WAshington 5650

larryfenner on April 6, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Another picture of the Lafayette Theatre and additional information about the WutliTzer organ are available at under the “History” section of the website.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on February 8, 2008 at 8:06 am

LAF-Thanks for the info. I let Peter Beames in Australia know and he has updated the master WurliTzer Opus List see

“Gee Dad, it’s "STILL” a WurliTzer!"

larryfenner on February 6, 2008 at 8:00 am

WurliTzer Opus 501 is still intact, but was moved from Connecticut in 2007 and is currently being rebuilt and installed in a residence in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on February 2, 2008 at 7:43 am

If you look at the photo posted on July 1, 2005 by Lost Memory it looks to me like one of the names of the theater that should be listed at the top should be “BASIL’S LAFAYETTE”.
The seating should be changed to 3542.
The Mighty WurliTzer Theater Pipe Organ was/is Opus 501 and as of April 7, 2000 was still “OK” in a residence it was installed in 1973 in Stratford, Connecticut.

“Gee Dad, it "IS” a WurliTzer"

LouB on July 27, 2006 at 3:50 pm

The marquee of the Lafayette looked a lot like the LaSalle Theatre in Niagara Falls,NY

JohnBasil on December 15, 2005 at 8:32 am

Correction of above:
The Lafayette opened in 1922 with 4,234 seats and in 1946 it had 3,542 of the most comfortable seats

JohnBasil on December 9, 2005 at 8:03 am

Style – Art Moderne Function – Movies, Stage & Off Broadway Plays
Seating – 4234 on opening to 3542
Chain – Basil Theaters, Inc.
Basil’s Lafayette Theater was the largest theater in Buffalo and Western New York. In 1922, it opened with precisely 4,234 seats. Basil’s Lafayette was the only theater in Downtown Buffalo completely remodeled inside and out in the Art Moderne style in the 1940’s including a larger and more comfortable seating bringing the number of seats down to 3542, maintaning it as the largest theater in WNY, at the time. The most beautiful theater and new marquee was adjoined to the 10-story Basil’s Lafayette Building of 100 offices. The Lafayette had the only stage large enough for off-Broadway plays and 3 floors of dressing rooms. The largest screen, the best acoustics, the largest mezzanine and the lobby with a total of 3 box offices. It was the most record breaking and profitable theater downtown. It was the only theater successfully SOLD just before all downtown theaters collapsed in Buffalo. Newspaper headline read, “LARGEST REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION IN DOWNTOWN BUFFALO HISTORY”. All other theaters were walk aways or given-up. Contrary to all false stories, ALL theaters on Main St suffered financially, especially the Shea’s Buffalo which never made a profit after “Talkies” arrived. It is now a Welfare theater.
The Lafayette was always known as “Lafayette Theater” as shown on original vertical and marquee in 1922. I will post several photos of the building interior and exterior as soon as it becomes possible. Within a year my book on true theater history will be released. The factual nationwide tragedy of “Illegal Schemes”. All the false stories coming from “Shea’s” Buffalo history, including the mythical Michael Shea who never actually owned or built a “Shea’s” theater. The United States Supreme Court ordered Paramount Pictures' illegal Shea operation to vacate, not sell, all their theaters.
For questions or comments I can be reached at 716-834-0348

movieresearch on June 19, 2005 at 3:23 pm

During the early 1960s the Lafayette hosted many legitimate theatre road-show companies in the manner now associated with the Shea’s Buffalo. Among these productions were J.B. and Once Upon A Mattress (starring Imogene Coca and Edward Everette Horton). The theatre had a professional level fly gallery as well as a proper backstage area and dressing rooms.

It is tragic indeed that a theatre elegantly suited for stage productions was torn down and that the Shea’s Buffalo (an extraordinarily beautiful motion picture theatre) had to have it’s backstage area completely rebuilt in order to accomodate stage shows.

ddbord on February 9, 2005 at 10:27 am

I bought and removed the organ in 1962 with the help of Harry Radloff who now lives in Williamsville, NY. It was a Wurlitzer Style 260, 3-manual, 15 rank unit orchestra built in North Tonawanda in 1920. Harry and I removed the last part of the instrument as the theatre was being knocked down!

The organ was installed in my residence in Mentor, Ohio. In 1977, the organ was sold, moved, and installed in the residence of Ernie Boda of Stratford, CT.

The Brass Trumpet, which went to Temple Beth Congregation, was replaced with a Post Horn which was built by Roger Mumbrue of Bloomfield Hills, MI.

This organ was the first Wurlitzer to have Tibia Clausa and Quintadena stops. The organ was used by the Wurlitzer Co. as a demonstration instrument and was ofren played by the legendary organist, C. Sharpe Minor. One of the unusual things about this instrument was that the Tibia Clausa and the Tuba did not have a tremulant! Of course, the first thing I did when the organ was installed in my home was to add these two tremulants! The 32' Diaphone (12 pipes) could not be used in my home, and I watched them go down with a 600# wrecking ball! These huge pipes were a real match for the 600# ball!

The organ was completely rebuilt. The zypher skin pneumatics were redone with tan leather, except for the relays which were redone with zypher skin. In one weekend, all of the pipechests were releathered with the wonderful help of a great crew which included Harry Radloff, Dennis Unks (Erie PA), Rog Mumbrue, Bob Kagy (Mentor, OH), Jim Widdis (Detroit), and others.

The organ was played by many artists including Johnny Seng, Lee Erwin, Ashley Miller, and Leonard MacClain. It was used for ATOE gatherings, and was always available to anyone that loved Theater Organs. This Wurlitzer was a wonderful part of my life, as well as my family’s!

Donald D. Borden
Landrum, SC

opus1280 on May 21, 2004 at 7:08 pm

If im not mistaken, only the Brass Trumpet was harvested from the Lafayette Wurlitzer for the Temple Beth. It serves as the Trumpet Enchamade in its current state.

roberttoplin on April 17, 2004 at 8:40 pm

When the Lafayette Square opened on Feb.27,1922, the “Morning Express” gave the seating capacity of 4,200. The Interior Designer was Gustave A.Brand of Chicago. It showed the First Vitaphone on opening day, “The Summer Bachelors”.