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In the early 1980s the Plaza had been long closed, most of the former lobby was a retail store (no original details remained), and the rest of the lobby was an entrance corridor going back to the former inner foyer running along the back of the auditorium. At the north end (the right), was the original staircase upstairs. In front I saw an empty large room with a ceiling that curved downward (the ceiling under the balcony), and a new floor had been put in order the seating area. The staircase went up to the former balcony area which had been converted to offices. Behind the “curbed cailing room” was the rest of the auditorium fairly intact. Windows on either side had been uncovered and you could still see the ornate balcony front with a solid wall about 6 inches behind the balcony railing. The auditorium walls were plain (very old looking) plaster, and the front still showed the proscenium which was made out of fairly restrained ornemanetal pressed tin. The stage was walled off, both of these spaces had been a former dance studio. The cailing was very fancy ornamental plaster in a square classical design. The upper floors (former hotel space) was run-down single-room-occupancy spaces. Around 1983 or 1984, the entire building was renovated with the stage and auditorium being concerted into offices – the main auditorium portion is the law office and the ornamental ceiling was beautifully restored. An oldtimer remembered this as the 2nd run house which also featured saturday matinees, the Calvin being the ritzy place for major movies.
The restoration of the auditorium was very well done. Unusual color scheme (yellow & gold primarily with various muted shades of green & white trim, but a whole lot better than the original appearance, and the color scheme extended to the formerly all dark brown ceiling. The place is certainly brightened up! The first thing i saw entering the outer lobby was they removed the drop ceiling of the 1960s, revealing the former two-story lobby ceiling which had been hidden for decades.
Nathan Goldstein had renovated the lobby areas in the early 1980s, and actually did a very good job – the walls were painted with cream color paint that must have had mica mixed in because the walls literally sparkeled (it was muted and tasteful, not ostentatious) – it really looked nice and I wish they had kept that effect in the latest renovation. But they still did a great job.
The Calvin showed 2nd run movies as far back as I could remember (1970s – of course all theatres in Amherst/Northampton were 2nd run in those days), and remained 2nd run when the Hadley malls finally became 1st run. Although they did get a 1st run of Star Trek: the Motion picture in 1979 (originally was to be the exclusive booking in the area but the malls got it too). This drew some good crowds – in the 600-700 range – but still not enough for them to open the balcony. I had to wait until 1980 and an arlo guthrie concert to get upstairs (still had seats from the 1930s up there!) When they started showing occasional concerts in the early 1980s it was reported that until the end stage had been unused since the 1920s.
Before ther renovation, it was mostly cream color and the wall columns had blue background with dingy gold paint sloppily applied over the decorative motifs (vines and fruit, a simpler version of some decorations at the wonderful Wang (nee Metropolitan) theatre in Boston, MA. ) The ceiling was a dark marblized brown color. The areas between the columns had square accoustic tiling in a nice harlqeuin (read tilted 45 degrees) pattern going up about a third of the way, which I (in my architectural ignorance of 20 years ago) assumed had been original with possibly damask fabric above (which actually wouldn’t look that bad – the walls are a little bare now).
They didn’t actually add a third auditorium to the complex, they split one of the original auditoria down the middle. The original theatres seated approx. 300 each. They didn’t even bother to remodel the remaining “large” auditorium during the split; when I visited in the 1980s, the decor was noticably different in the larger one (older, but oddly, in better shape! – the original walls with minimal decoration were still there, the other two just had curtains down all the walls.
The Poli Palace was designed by Thomas W. Lamb
Saw a movie there in the 1980’s – interesting design – probably 700 seats all on one level, a flat wooden floor. Building had exposed slamnted wooden beams in the ceiling looked like it had been fairly recently renovated. I can see why it became a church later.
Recent developments posted on the Mohawk Theatre’s web site (link above) from spring 2007:
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts committeed $500,000 of state funding to the North Adams Office of Community Development towards restoration of the Mohawk – the funding to go towards architectural design and engineering work, with the city providing matching funds. The OCD put out a request for proposals and received a big response with 7 quality proposals, the firm of Finegold Alexander and Associates being chosen for the project. An open house was held on March 16, and the project was to begin sometime after May, taking 1 year to complete. Accordiny to a previous study the building was considered basically sound.
In it’s last years, it was known simply as “Chicopee Cinema” and was closed by 1984.
The Senator was remodeled by S. Charles Lee in 1936 in an art-moderne style.
This theatre was opened in 1949. According to “The Show Starts on the Sidewalk”, it seated 852.
This theatre is now owned by Hollywood Theatres. The theatres include stadium-style seating
Address should be changed to: 11801 E Sam Houston Pkwy S, Houston, TX 77089
From the aerial google photo they’ve got a pretty spectacular circular outdoor entry court; building has three main wings, back left and right. Wonder how big the largest auditoriums are?
From the Google Map, it looks like the Rite Aid is a new building.
Lots happening at the Keith-Albee! The Hyman family, which had owned the theatre for the past 80 years gifted it to the Marshall University Foundation in 2006, which in turn gifted it to a new non-profit foundation, Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, Inc, which now runs it as a performing arts center. Their new web page is at http://www.keithalbeearts.org/ Function above should be changed to “performing arts”. Much of its current schedule is performances as part of the Marshall Arts series. Keith Hyman, whose grandfather built the Keith-Albee serves on the board of directors.
The foundation is conducting studies to plan a series of renovations. the first of these commenced late 2006; the removal of the downstairs mini-theatres to restore the auditorium to its original configuration. From their renovation info I see the proscenium is 47.6 feet wide and 25 feet high.
The website above has photo galleries both past and present. The auditorium looks in very good condition; the balcony was never separated from orchestra – the photos are the first I’ve seen of an atmospheric theatre with green sky lighting! Interesting effect. The webpage doesn’t have any recent news about renovations but it has been having performances all spring.
Seating capacity is 2,514 according to the FilmTV Daily Yearbook of 1936. A lot of photos of the RKO Keith’s are on a page in the Empire State Theatre and Musical Instruments Museum’s web page- the Keith’s page is at: http://www.jrjunction.com/keiths.htm It’s quite a beautiful classically designed ornate palace. Two level lobby with oval balcony looking out over the lower lobby. Another inner promenade has a circular balcony looking out over the back section of the orchestra seats. It’s a shame this place was demolished!
Seating capacity for the Landmark was 2,908 in 1936 according to the FilmTV Daily Yearbook of Motion Pictures and Television. The interior is a virtual duplicate (slightly smaller) of the Loew’s 175th St. Theatre in New York City.
Th went to the Cinema X in the mid 1980s. At that time it did not show porn films, it was all 2nd run movies. As you entered, you’d go down a short entrance corridor; then the concession stand to the left, the balcony stairs to the right, and straight ahead you’d enter the inner foyer at the back of the auditorium, which went off to the left. The decor was fairly classical, appeared to date from the 1920s. Balcony was closed, the proscenium was hidden behind a screen which had obviously been installed recently. It wasn’t in bad shape, and I’m sorry that it didn’t survive – by the early 1980s it was closed.
Should be listed as demolished. There is nothing left of the original cinemas – that section of the mall was converted into a food court.
In the 1980’s occasional live performances and/or outdoor movies in the parking lot on the site of the theatre. They actually had a marque with twinkling lights, and when you walk through the entrance and into the parking lot, there was a large screen off to the right just about where the back wall of the stage would have been. Every time I saw it, I regretted I wasn’t around when the building still stood.
The Brooklyn tabernacle has reorganized their website; the link at the top no longer works. The following will take you to a set of photos taken during their restoration of the theatre. http://www.brooklyntabernacle.org/history.cfm# It looks like they were doing a fantastic job restoring the venue to its original appearance! I just wish they would put up a set of post-restoration photos so we can see the end result.
The seating capacity should be changed to 3,600.
The Paramount had fairly restrained, classical type decorations in its long, narrow auditorium, columns down the sides with brown curtains in betwen. Decorations were fairly attractive. There was a shallow balcony at the back, which seemed unusual for a theater this narrow. Was sad that it was destroyed, it continued showing first run movies right to the end. The front has had the red facing and marque removed showing the original beige stone front, and the Paramount sign is removed from the cornice. The main shell of the building is otherwise intact, but the interior is all new.
The Garden Cinema was an unusual atmospheric theater with idyllic scenes of new england countyside painted on the walls and a greek pediment style proscenium arch. When i first checked out area theatres it was quite a sight, even though my the early 1980s the walls had darkened so you could barely see the murals. There was a large aquarium in the back of the orchestra section. I don’t know if they changed the ceiling or not, but when i went in, instead of the traditional twinkling stars and blue ceiling with clouds, there were a myriad of star-shaped recessed light fixtures shining bright light down into the auditorium Interesting effect but not traditional atmospheric.
The ceilings were very darkened like the walls. There were virtually no plaster ornamental features on the walls as almost all of the decorations were the painted scenery although a few portions of buildings were cleverly shaped and meshed to the paintings. When I went in early 1980s they still played the organ before the feature!
When it was multiplexed, the lobbies all got modern wall coverings and decorations (although otherwise unchanged) and the balcony was sealed off and split down the middle. The railing at the top back is original but all walls and seats are modern.
The orchestra section is split into three spaces, all modern furniture and walls, and two more screens in the stagehouse area. I hope all the original walls are preserved behind the new auditorium walls but I don’t know if they are.
The showplace appeared to have been built in the early 1920s. I went in one time – you’d walk straight back and turn right to enter the auditorium – fairly straightforward classical architecture, kind of like a smaller simplified version of the Calvin in Northampton. Greenfield’s downtown theatres survived doing first run right up into the mid 80s' due to the lack of any competition. Finally the Greenfield Cinemas opened in a strip mall off Route 2. Soon the Showplace closed and the Garden Cinema was split into seven screens. Then the Greenfield Cinemas closed. One rare case of the old palace (albeit multiplexed) driving the modern strip mall venue out of business!
This cinema actually had eight screens. They were opened in 1980 with the mall. Absolutely the nadir of theater construction – eight identical shoeboxes, narrow, approx 250 seats each, cheap vinyl seats. Plain red and purple curtains on the walls, and small screens. It was all done on the cheap.
The biggest problem is this was part of the “cafe square” section which for some reason was in the basement level one floor below all of the stores. the whole cafe square was out of the way for shoppers as a result and the cinemas were really tucked out of sight, so they really never had a chance. They started with a mix of 1st and 2nd run films and quickly dropped to all 2nd run. Only thing they accomplished was to run the remaining downtown theatres out of business. But they couldn’t compete with Showcase Cinemas in west springfield and barely lasted ten years before being gutted and converted into a mini-golf establishment. That lasted less than two years and it is now a Filene’s basement store.
For many years there were two other venues in Amherst showing movies. the Town Hall Auditorium showed movies until 1955 when town offices were built in that space. The ceiling remained intact as attic space and when the 2nd floor rooms were removed in a 1980’s renovation, they were revealed again and restored. Unfortunately they built a new 2nd and third floor in the building and once again, the old ceiling is attic space. The proscenium is sadly gone. This space must have seated close to 1,000.
The other venue was an auditorium built as part of the Jones Library in 1926. That seated about 300 and showed films for many years. In 1968 when the library was renovated, a 2nd floor sliced the auditorium horizontally, with book stacks going into the stagehouse area. The ceilings curved close down over patrons in the new room, curving to the floor on the sides. I believe it was called the Burnett Room.
In the late 80s or rearly 90s the library was renovated again and the floor removed and stage area walled off, and the room restored as the main adult meeting room. The curved deiling still remains but it’s all modern white walls in the room now.