Showing 26 - 50 of 72 open comments
The organ was taken out in the early sixties and it is my understanding that the theater was torn down shortly afterwards
The organ went into storage for a number of years and was at one time owned by Joe Patten of the Atlanta Fox theater.
The organ is now installed in the Rylander Theatre in Americus Georgia. The organ was a Moller style 70 which was 3 manuals and 7 ranks, the Style 70 organs however where prepared in the console and relay for an addition 4 ranks. When the organ was installed in Americus the additional ranks were added making it a 3/11
also the tuba was extended to 16' pitch. The blue prints of the organ do not reveal very much about the theater
Actually there were two Strand Theaters. The first one opened on Peachtree Street Just north of Five points in the mid 19teens and remained open sometime to the early 1920’s Still researching this one.
Of course this was the “white Strand”.
The “colored Strand” opened on Decatur Street much later and was named something else before that, I am not sure when but this Strand was destroyed by fire and never was rebuilt.
Tracking down the history of many of the black movie theaters has been rather difficult in that many of the black newspapers from that era do not survive and even in the ones that do there is not that much information. Hopefully further research will uncover more about these theaters
In reference to an earlier posting by Ken Clarke Sept.18, 2006, Yes there was another theater in Atlanta going by the name “Paramount"
On Monday Feb. 11, 1924 The Paramount Theater opened at 92 ½ Auburn Avenue and was a "colored” theater, this was a renovation of an earlier theater and renaming. In 1929 the Howard Theater changed its name to the Paramount per decree of the Publix corporation. As to the colored Paramount retaining its name I am not sure since both were showing Paramount pictures
The photo posted appeared in Ben Hall’s “The Best Remaining Seats"
C. Sharpe Minor was engaged for a two week run in April of 1924,
which he played the theatres Robert Morton. Mr. Minor toured all around the country, before coming to
Atlanta he played in St. Louis, Dallas, Philadelphia. Like many of the organist they toured around the country playing at a theatre for several weeks or months then went to thenext theatre. Mr. Minor later became a spokesman for the Link Organ Company.
Althought the address of Woodruff park is 51 Peachtree, construction of the park wiped out all the addresses on that side of the street starting about 35 or 37 all the way up to about 95 Peachtree.
The address of the Tudor was either 81 or 88 Peachtree (I will verify it later) which put it across the street from the FlatIron building. There is a postcard of the FlatIron Building that shows the theatre when it was the Odeon.
During the period from 1908 to 1926 there were almost a dozen theatres just along this section of Peachtree. Of which the Criterion located at 41-43 Peachtree was the largest at 900 seats. The Cameo which was located midway between the Criterion and Tudor, had the longest run.
Actually the Tudor is the 4th theatre to occupy that site.
It originally opened as the Montgomery Theatre on August 1, 1911.
Films such as “Queen Elizabeth” starring Sara Bernhart, and films such a Tillies Punctured Romance starring a young Charlie Chaplin.
IN August of 1915 the theatre became the Georgian Theatre, On December 17,1916 it closed and reopened on the 25th as the Odeon,
In June of 1918 the Odeon closed and was remodeled, The Tudor opened on July 4th 1918 with the film “Smashing Through” and featuring the $10,000 Unified Pipe Organ.
The Tudor remained in business until the late 1920’s when the theatre closed and became the site of the Zackery Men’s Store, which it remained until the site was cleared in the 70’s for Central City park, now known as Woodriff Park.
The Criterion opened at 41-43 Peachtree Street on July 3,1916 by theatre Promoter Sig Samuels. Architect for the theatre was A. Ten Eyck Brown and was done in the Adams Style. The theatre seat 900 with a balcony for 300. During this period this was one of Atlanta’s major movie theatres usually getting the second run of most of the early major silent films after they had made their reserve seat run at the Atlanta theatre.
The theatre was equiped with a Style V Seeburg Motion Picture Orchestrion with the orchestra under the direction of David Love
In March of 1919 a contract was signed with the Austin Organ
Company for a 3 manual 17 rank organ that was installed above the stage. In June of 1920 a contract was signed to add two more ranks to the organ. This was basically a straight organ very much like what you would find in the areas churches. The Organ was pplayed by Ben Potter “Unquestionably the South’s Greatest Organist”
The Life of the Criterion theatre was short lived however, In 1920 when the much larger Howard theatre open it raised the bar to new heights of motion picture presentation. Sig Samuels not to be out done opened the Metropolitan Theatre (1700 seats) just up the street from the Criterion, the theatre now became a second run house and by 1922 Sig Samuels could not secure enough product for both houses.
In December of 1922 the property was leased to a drug store and a shoe store. the theatre disappeared, the organ went to a church in Alabama, Sig Samuels moved to the Metropolitan, and the Criterion was only a memory.
For more on this theatre go to the Atlanta Chapter ATOS website and look in the April 2006 newsletter for a more indepth article.
Actually the the Rialto opened as the Piedmont Theatre on April 2, 1916. And has a Smith Seeburg pipe organ. The theatre was designed by architect A.Ten Eyck Brown. This was the second theatre in Atlanta he designed, He also designed the Forsyth Theatre which was across from the Piedmont and would later design the Criterion which was on Peachtree Street. The Piedmont opened with the film “The Hunted Women”. The Wurlitzer organs were installed in 1920 and 1927.
In July of 1916 vaudeville became a part of the program.
On Dec. 17 1916 the Piedmont changed its name to the Rialto. The newspapers don’t say why the name change however the theatre may have had some pressure from the Piedmont Hotel which was directly across the street.
Anyway for more on the Rialto and its organs and some of the history of the theatre go to the Atlanta Chapter ATOS website and go to the newsletter section and look in the past newsletters for June 2006 for a more indepth article.
Actually it was a 4 rank Kimball, The console and some of the pipework still exist from this organ. I have the string and vox. For a small two manual organ it had a complete toy counter and percussion department. Graham Jackson was the first organist as well as the music director for the 81. He was also organist at the Crystal theatre just up the street which also had a small Kimball organ and that opened a year or so before the 81 was remodeled.
Graham Jackson is best remembered for the photograph of him playing the accordian at the train depot in Warm Springs Georgia when Franklin Roosevelt’s funeral train left for Washington D.C.
Mr. Jackson is also the 1985 inductie in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
To clarify the statement about the House of Eng. What I meant was that when the theatre was torn down, the building that the House of Eng would occupy was now the corner building. The House of Eng building has been since demolished, and the space has been left open to afford a better view of the Margret Mitchell apartment or what she labeled “the Dump”.
Reguarding the demolition of the Roxy and its relationship tothe Capitol theatre. The Roxy was built several years before the Capitol and did not share a common wall although both building where next to each other. The Roxy auditorium was a little strange in its layout. the south was was next to the Capitol/Davison Store. the stage house was free standing and the north wall was common with the Cain street addition to the Henry Grady Hotel (this was a loft and office building). The entrance, lobby, and projection booth were all tucked in under the 13 story back side of the Henry Grady.
When the theatre and hotel where torn down everything from the front of the projection booth all the way to the back of the flyhouse and on each side was torn down with the wrecking ball method.
The only parts of the theatre that where imploded where the lobbies and projection booth area. In may articles for the Atlanta Chapter ATos I have several of the demolition photographs.
One of the photographs shows a large beam running over the projection booth which held up that side of the hotel structure.
For much more on the Roxy google up Atlanta Chapter ATOS and pull up the January and Febuary newslettlers for a more indepth history of the theatre.
The Tenth Street Theatre opened on September 27, 1926 with the film, “Cohens and Kellys” and was billed as the “finest suburban theatre in the south”. The theatre was constructed and operated under the direction of W.K. Jenkins, Arthur Lucus, and R.H. Wilby, with Alpha Fowler as its director.
Of the several theatres this group operated, The Palace, West End, and the Empire, all of which had a Spanish theme. The Tenth Street was the most elaborate. With its tile roofed tower and canopied balconies (which where lighted at night) on the corner of the building to the Moorish arches that framed the two retail spaces, the theatre was quite an imposing sight for someone headed west on 10th street going toward Peachtree.
The theatre seat about 550, newspapers report that a fine concert pipe organ was installed (however type and size has not been determined). The interior was Moorish in design with two small balconies on either side of the stage. The most notable feature in the lobby was the green and red tile fountain. The tiles were funished by the Eubanks Mantel and Tile Company Atlanta)
The demise of the theatre ultimately came due to its location. As one crossed Peachtree heading west on 1Oth drivers had to make a sharp dog leg to continue on 10th which then became a narrow street running down beside the theatre. If drivers were not careful they could end up in the lobby of the theatre. In the mid fifites it was decided to widened the section of 10th street from Peachtree to Northside drive. THe theatre was demolished, and 1oth street was straighten out and now runs were the theatre once stood.
THe House of Eng. later was in the building that was next to the theatre but now is on the corner of 10th and Peachtree.
Jack: The metropolitan article is in the November newsletter. Jay Mitchel is doing some organ work around but don’t run across him very much. Joe Patten is still around but has retired as technical director of the Fox. Bob Van Camp who was the WSB radio announcer and House Organist at the Fox for many years passed away in the early 1990’s
For much more information on this theatre google up Atlanta Chapter ATOS, I have written a series of articles on many of Atlanta’s theatre that are too long to post here. Also you will find articles on the Howard/PAramount, Capitol, Keith’s Georgia (later Roxy) in other months of the newsletters.
Indeed the Metropolitan is not known by many because it closed in 1931.
Don: just type in to Google Atlanta Chapter ATOS and it will come up, go to the newsletters online, and pull up the October newsletter also the may newsletter has part two to the PAramount article.
also pull up the other newsletters for other theatres. the web master is supposed to be fixing it so that the newsletters don’t rotate off so that these article will be available.
Talked with a lady who remembers going to the Palace in its later years. The entrance to the theatre was at the address listed for the theatre, and was very small taking up the center section of the group of stores there now, the auditorium was not that large either. She said that the projection equipment was so old that it would not be unsual for the film to break several time during a show.
As to the above comment I would like to make an addition. During the late 1890’s the programs did list the Grand sometimes as DeGives Grand Opera House other times it was simply listed as “the Grand”
Althought this may sound picky but the Grand Opera house was never listed as the DeGives Opera House it was always from its opening known as the Grand, until Loews took a lease on the building in the mid 19 teens.
However there was a Degives Opera House which he opened in 1880, which was located at Broad and Marietta streets, Some time after the Grand opened the Degives OPera house changed its name to the Columbia, and then around 1900 changed its name to the Bijou which remained in operation until 1920 when the theatre was torn down for an office building. The Degives family owned and operated both houses until The Degives Opera house changed its name to the Columbia.
When Loews first leased the Grand it was only for a year to try things out. They had initially intended on building a new theatre in town, but was convinced by the Degives to try a lease. After a year they renewned the lease until 1932. During this time there were some modifications to the Grand and there ws talk of even building a new theatre on the site but nothing ever happened. With the construction of theatre like the Howard, Capitol, Keith"s Georgia(Roxy) and finally the Fox, the old Victorian Opera house complete with its look around balcony supports. was a theatre that Loews needed to shed itself of. In 1930 Loews gained control of the Capitol and moved it first run films there, shortly afterwards Loews gained control of the Fox, but the situtation at the Fox was so uncertain and with the Depression getting worse, Loews fell back to the Grand. Its was too expensive to build a new theatre on the site so Loews choose to lease the site again and remodel the interior.
Thomas Lamb designed a new ART DECO on a budget interior. The old Victorian interior was gutted out and a new interior was built inside the shell of the 1893 building.
The Wurlitzer organ that was installed in the early twenties had replaced an earlier organ that was installed in 1919.
When Thomas Lamb remodeled the theatre, organ chambers where provided however the organ was not reinstalled. The organ was installed in a local church in the mid 30' and removed in the late 50’s after that the organ was broken up. some parts did end up at the Monestary in Conyers Ga but that organ has since been removed.
That is heading back on Abernathy toward Lee Street from the Fire house.
Jack the photo you posted for the Cascade is not the theatre, it is the old fire station. After looking at the plumbing blue prints of the theatre it shows that the sewer line is to be connected to the line running down White Street which is directly behind the theatre.
Were the theatre was is now a park of some sort. at the Junction of Ralph DAvid Abernathy Blvd (Gordon) and White Street. this is about 100 yds heading back on Abernathy toward Lee Street.
Don, just for information I have just posted opening dates for many of the pre WWII Atlanta theatres, Also check out my recent postings on the Following downtown theatres Paramount, Roxy, and Capitol. You will be directed to another web site for these theatres, since these articles are so long,
lots of exterior and interior photos, let me know what you think.
Speaking of the Tenth Street Theatre I am working on an article about it, Have some nice exterior photo’s and the color rendering from the tile company that provided the fountain that was in the lobby.
One of the things that you learn very quickly in researching the history of theatres is the claims that managers make, have to be taken lightly until further research can verify the claim.
It was very common for a manager to inflate the number of seats or how much something cost, or that it was the latest in heating and cooling. Many times the numbers of seats were inflated by about 50% and the cost of something was usually doubled, Hey these guys had to be promoters and sales peopple along with being a manager. Just from what I remember of the theatre it could not be more than 500, and as it seems it was slightly less.
Jack as soon as I can get a good scan I will see what I can do. Meanwhile I have made a number of postings on many of the pre WW2 Atlanta theatres as to their opening dates and other information. Also check out my recent posting of Atlanta’s large downtown movie theatres, the Capitol, The Roxy, the Paramount. These posting will direct you to another site for those theatres. Let me know what you think.
The Emory Theatre opened Oct 7, 1938. According to Tom Miller the theatres first manager the house woulod seat around 600.
The Rhodes Theatre opened June 10, 1938 with the film “Test Pilot"
Starring Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy.