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Have never been in the Organ Loft. When I was in SLC for a week last April, I drove over to the Organ Loft, but nothing was going on.
Judging by the photos in the Deseret News, I had no idea there was as much of the Utah/Pantages architecture left inside. You would sure never know it from looking at the dreary exterior. The artist’s rendering of a restored Pantages exterior would be wonderful.
Seems to me there are some Morton parts in the Organ Loft instrument as additions to the Wurlitzer there. Thanks for the info.
Anyone have any idea what happened to the original 2/16 Robert Morton pipe organ?
As I stated above, the organ from the El Cap was slated to go into the Indiana Theatre in Terre Haute, IN. The organ is due to be finished and played at this summer’s ATOS convention in Indiana.
Oh, I thought this was about various theatre organ society board room meetings…
Check out this example of a restored Photoplayer:
From the historic standpoint, there was so little left of the old Strand/Rio/Regency/State IV it will not be missed.
If you knew where to look, original wall stencils were still around, a cove lit niche was above a false cieling, and the platform backstage where the organ was installed was about all that was left from the early days.
An outline of the orchestra pit was still in the floor as was the curved acoustic wall under the stage behind the orchestra.
The original proscenium was enlarged by 6' on each side by knocking out whatever the original consisted of. Perhaps had more of the theatre been intact, this would be a different story. Too bad, but I cannot say I am surprised.
Already did it Gary.
Former Alisal Fox Theatre burns
Mutual aid praised in quelling Salinas Swap Meet blaze
The indoor Swap Meet on East Alisal Street was gutted in a morning fire which brought in firefighters from stations throughout the county. Here, Salinas firefighter Dillan Bowman works inside the side entrance to the Indoor Swap Meet.
Fire investigators are expected to reveal tonight the cause of a massive four-alarm blaze that broke out at H & M Jewelry Indoor Swap Meet in Salinas this morning, according to fire Captain Phil Vanderhorst.
Fire broke out at the two-story, 20,000-square-foot building on the 600 block of East Alisal Street sometime overnight and was reported about 8:45 a.m., firefighters said. It took more than three hours to bring it under control, Vanderhorst said.
â€œI saw the smoke billowing right off the top of the building, coming out of the stacks and everything,â€ said Anthony Villafranca, who was on his way to work Friday morning. â€œThere was smoke like crazy, so it had a good start.â€
There were no reported injuries.
The building is still structurally sound but there was quite a bit of damage to its contents. The building housed about 20 separate vendors, according to Vanderhorst.
Firefighters were hauling burned materials out of the building this afternoon, he said.
Because the building was filled with clothing, luggage and other combustible goods, the department called on other fire crews from around Monterey County to help. At least 25 trucks responded, making it the â€œequivalent of a four-alarm fire.â€
Fire teams from the North County Fire Authority, the Monterey Peninsula Airport and Cal Fire helped control the blaze.
â€œFor a big incident, we can swarm down, almost link arms and go stomp (the fire) out,â€ said Chris Orman, chief of the North County Fire Department. â€œThe mutual aid in this county, this state is phenomenal.â€
Witnesses said the sprawling building probably caught fire late last night or early this morning.
Throughout the morning, crews worked in 15- to 20-minute shifts to extinguish smoldering rubble.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. cut the electricity to a small part of East Alisal, but restored power around 10:30 a.m., said PG&Eâ€™s Randy Washington. East Alisal at Hebbron Avenue was temporarily shut down.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire and hope to have an answer within the next few days, as well as an estimate of the damages, Loomis said.
This building burned to the ground early this morning.
I sould sure like to argue with the person who set the obviously arbitrary size of 2500 seats. I know of plenty of 1000-1500 seat house that are, in every sense of the term, a movie palace.
For that matter, there are plenty of very ornate theatres of less than 1000 seats that are also, unquestionably, a movie palace product.
2500 sounds like some term assigned by a newspaper reporter—undoubtedly a person who would also say that anything built before 1930 or after 1910 as “art deco”.
As to Talley’s, there is one fact that cannot be denied of it—the largest silent film accompaniment organ in the LA area. It was larger than the 1921 32-rank Wurlitzer in the Metropolitan/Paramount, and was larger than the 37-rank Kimball organ transplanted into the early 1930s Wiltern. While the Wiltern and Metropolitan instruments were unit organs, Talley’s was not. Doesn’t matter; in shear number of pipes Talley’s Murray Harris won the battle. It is a pity that early instrument did not survive; for that matter the 5 manual Morton in the Kinema as well.
Wasn’t Talley’s Broadway Theatre one of the earliest LA purpose-built movie palace? I don’t think it had a stage and certainly had a large 4m Murray M. Harris organ built in LA. Seems to me the year was around 1910.
Re: The photo posted on 1/14/08
It is too bad that ugly sheet metal “cap” is still sitting atop the original facade. That now rusty crap was added circa 1929 for the new vertical sign that was added to the facade. With a bit of luck, one of these days during a storm the “cap” will blow off and end up in the bay.
The 1929 vertical sign was huge and looked like a giant middle finger welcoming people to Alvarado Street.
That sign was said to have been so bright that you could easily read a newspaper at night under the thing.
And it is a shame the auditorium interior was not preserved as well as the rest of the building.
Good news indeed. The Fox opened as the California Theatre in 1923 and was designed by Lansburgh.
Watsonville Fox Theater reopening
Move comes as other buildings come to downtown
By JENNIFER PITTMAN
Article Last Updated: 12/10/2007 01:31:42 AM PST
WATSONVILLE â€" Signaling renewed hope for the long-awaited revitalization of downtown Watsonville, the owners of the county’s oldest movie house are reopening the historic Fox Theatre after a 2Â½-year dormancy.
The owners, Henry Garcia Jr. and Jim and Doris Andrade, who also own the Green Valley Cinemas in Watsonville, are putting the final touches on the art deco, Spanish Colonial building. If inspections and license renewals go as planned, doors should open in January.
“It’s great news to have the Fox opening again,” said Carlos Palacios, Watsonville city manager. “With the opening of the new Civic Plaza building and some new buildings going up around it, hopefully we will be seeing more activity downtown.”
Nearby, the city’s new council chambers will be open in January and new courts and a library are opening in February and March. Although there haven’t been a lot of new leases signed, there is more commercial interest in downtown generally, Palacios said.
The timing seems to be right, said Dawit Taddese, general manager of the Green Valley Cinema theater who is overseeing the Fox Theatre project. “Downtown is becoming a very different place. There is the commitment from the city, and we want to be part of it.”
Just a few years ago, however, ticket sales weren’t enough to keep the doors open and the owners shuttered the Fox to focus on their newer, more profitable eight-cinema complex, which opened in 1999 on Green Valley Road. Informally on the market, the Fox nearly sold earlier this year to Mark Calvano, a Silicon Valley real estate developer. The plan fell through in escrow.
The 84-year-old, former one-screen theater once held more than 1,000 seats and was eyed as a possible regional performance venue. The 1989 earthquake caused extensive damage, however, and in the interim, the Henry Mello Center was built nearby. Eventually, the Fox was split to accommodate two additional screens in the balconies. Each of the upstairs screens now seats about 100 people while the main screen seats more than 400.
There wasn’t a significant amount of work to be done to reopen this time, Taddese said.
Moviegoers, however, will get a different experience at the old theater, which was once called “The California.” Elaborate ceiling chandeliers, interior gold-painted molding and wall sconces â€" many features that are original to the 1923 structure â€" create a historic milieu.
“Because of the way the lighting is, it definitely gives you a different feel from what you’d see in a normal theater,” Taddese said. “It gives you that feeling like you’re in a different time.”
The owners are still discussing what kind of movies to show at the theater. Before it closed, the Fox often showed Spanish language films. In 2002, it was the only theater in Northern California to run a Spanish version of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” the second film based on the popular children’s books about an apprentice wizard.
In 2001, when it ran the first Harry Potter film in Spanish, the theater sold 3,000 tickets during opening week.
With only eight screens in the city, however, there are plenty of films that need a venue, Taddese said.
“We’re looking at movies that we’d like to run at the Green Valley theater, and there’s just not space for it,” he said.
A manager has been hired but other jobs won’t be filled until the Fox is ready to open. Green Valley Cinemas employs about 25 people; the Fox would need about eight or nine to operate. Some of those jobs may be filled by people already employed at Green Valley, Taddese said.
Have no idea. They were advertising for a manager a few weeks ago.
Does anyone know what became of the American Photoplayer organ that was originally in this theatre? It was still in-place to the mid 1970s.
Just wondering. I knew a Joe Vogel in Monterey. he moved to Modesto some years ago.
BTW way Joe, did you ever live in Monterey and work as a projectionist? Just curious.
The facade of the El Monterey (Obispo) is remarkably similar to the T & D in Salinas, Richmond and the still standing California Theatre in Pittsburg.
OK, so the Obispo, nee El Monterey, was on the same Monterey Street as the Fremont, closer to the center of town. The Elmo was out of the center by a bit, is that to the southeast?
So, if am I following this correctly, the Elmo Theatre (in the old Elks building, demolished in the late 1950s) and the El Monterey (later Obispo, demolished 1975 or so) is the correct chronology of these two theatres?
Comparing the facade of the Elmo with that of the Obispo Theatre, they were, as expected, two distinctly different buildings. As I said earlier, a late theatre historian who lived in Moro Bay, Bob Longfield said the Obispo was owned by the El Monterey Theatre Company. It is congecture that the ElMo name was the shortened name for El Monterey.
As I said earlier above, the organ from the Elmo was enlarged by Louis Maas and moved to the Obispo in the late ‘20s. A much larger organ was moved from LA (Palace Grand Theatre opus 433) to the Elmo, the console of which is on the organ in the Fox Hanford Theatre in Hanford. The balance of the Elmo organ is, greatly added to, in the Fox Visalia Theatre. The remains of the Obispo organ are in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Visalia.
And in its silent film/vaudeville days, the Crystal, then called the T & D, was a very attractive opera house/vaudeville theatre. Just last week I came across a photo of a prize fight on-stage looking out at a filled house. The opera boxes were an interesting contrast to the on-stage fight. The T & D name was carried over to the new theatre (now the Fox) in 1921. The former T & D closed for a few years and reopened as the Crystal in the mid ‘20s.
Great story! Too bad the El Rey sits derelect and unused. The church that misguidedly painted out the magnificent murals took the heart and soul out of the El Rey.