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The Circle Theatre was Philadelphia’s only ‘Atmospheric’ styled theatre (the Circle was Spanish atmospheric). It closed as a movie house in the 1950’s and the area under the balcony and all the lobbies were converted into retail use, with the rest of the theatre sealed off intact. Sadly all is now gone with the subsequent demolition of the building.
The Theatre Historical Society of America visited Philadelphia in June 1985 and in their published guide book for the visit, the final demise of the Carman Theatre began when;
‘pipes in the ceiling of the closed theatre froze and burst in 1978. It rained in the Carman for nearly a week washing off the stuccoed walls, but the tiles remained. For six weeks the wrecking ball hit the house in 1978’
The Broadway Theater was South Philadelphia’s largest theatre. It opened as a Keith Vaudeville house and movies
(Stanley Photoplays) were added later, when eventually it became a full time movie house by the 1940’s. The architect was A.E. Westover.
The architect of the Lincoln Theatre was William Henry Gruen.
The Film Daily Yearbook 1941 gives the seating capacity for the Tivoli Theater as 1,440.
First a correction to my Nov 26th posting; I stated at the end of paragraph 3 that ‘the EMD closed in 2001’, this should have read 2003. The EMD Cinema actually closed on Friday 3rd January 2003 with a special gala charity screening of the film “The Smallest Show on Earth” plus organ interlude, and live music on stage. The EMD Cinema had been purchased by the Brazilian based Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) for Â£2.8million.
My resume of the Granada/EMD wasn’t meant to be a full history of the building but just a brief insight into what has happened there over the years. Of course much can be writen about recent events that have paved the way for the future of the theatre and I will deal with some of them right now.
Within a few days of closing, the theatre was broken into by a group of illegal ‘ravers’ (police numbers estimate around 500). Despite press reports that much damage was done to the interior of the building, it was inspected a few days after the ‘rave’ by the local Waltham Forest Council, Conservation Officer accompanied by the chairman of the Cinema Theatre Association who found damage to be ‘minimal’ in the main auditorium and broken seats, a slashed screen and damage to a couple of mirrors and projection equipment in the smallers screens.
The Conservation Officer and the Cinema Theatre Association are working together to promote a re-use of the building and it is to the credit of Waltham Forrest Council that they insist that the building is retained for entertainment use and not as a church. (The London Borough of Waltham Forest is one of two London Boroughs which currently do not have a cinema operation within their boundries (Lewisham is the other Borough). The UCKG appealed against the Council’s decision to alter change of use and they lost the appeal, a decision which was backed by the Parliamentary Secretary of State for the Arts & Culture.
Being a Grade II Listed building, the current owners (UCKG) are not allowed to remove any fixtures and fittings from the building and as far as is known this has not happened. It was recently reported that the owners had actually made repairs to the building, following concerns after it was put on the ‘buildings at risk’ register by English Heritage and of course they were more than anxious to make the building more secure from intruders after the ‘rave’ had happened.
Waltham Forrest Borough Council have for a while been taking advise on planning an Arts Centre of the Borough and recently favour has swung in the direction of the former Granada/EMD Cinema to be used for this purpose. A few weeks ago, the Council decided to ditch plans for the new Arts Centra and concentrate its attention on buying and refurbishing the existing Granada/EMD. The Council have stated that they would like to come to a mutual agreement for the purchase of the building from UCKG, but might have to resort to a compulsory purchase order. Negotiations are continuing but it could take a long time before the Granada re-opens.
Fact: The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God own many former theatre and cinema buildings around the world. In Los Angeles, CA they operate the former Loews State and the Tower Theater on Broadway, the Granada at Wilmington, CA and the Bay Theater, National City, CA. to name just a few.
Here in the UK they has done a splendid job of restoring the former Astoria Theatre, Finsbury Park in North London. /theaters/1423/
The Film Daily Yearbook 1941 gives a seating capacity of 650. The address given in the 1952 F.D.Y. is given as 200 E. Florida Avenue, Hemet, CA. Seating capacity 632.
The Avo Theatre opened on 11th December 1948 with the movie “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” staring Edward G. Robinson. The owner of the Avo was Mr Aberahiam Shelhoup who owned and operated a shop in Vista (His son is still alive and works in the store today).
The lobby of the theatre is in the shape of an avocado and being the town of Vista had many avocado groves, hence the name of the theatre. Although the exterior and lobby area still exist as first built, the auditorium has been stripped of any decoration it may have had (including the removal of the proscenium opening) and is now painted a dark blue/green colour. It continues in use as a small town community theatre producing small scale stage productions.
Above details sourced from the Vista Historical Society.
The Art Deco styled Tepeyac Teatro opened on 21st August 1943. The street address was; Fortuna 79, Villa De Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico.
It had a seating capacity given as; 2,305. Its current status is Closed/Abandoned
The Chapultepec Teatro opened on 24th August 1944. The street address was Paseo de la Reforma 503-505, Mexico City, Mexico.
The seating capacity given in 1945 was 2,000. By 1955 it was listed as having 2,390 seats and in 1971; 2,340. The Chapultepec Teatro has now been demolished.
The Teatro Linda Vista opened on 25th December 1942, the same day as Lee’s; Cine Lido.
In a locally published book on the cinemas of Mexico City ‘Espacios Distantes…Aun Vivos’ the seating capacity of the Linda Vista is given as 1,310 in 1945 & 1955 and 1,294 in 1971. So maybe the 2,500 seat capacity given in the Maggie Valentine book is incorrect?
Built on a corner site of Tamaulipas Avenue and Benjamin Hill Avenue, the entrance facade is very similar to Lee’s; Bruin Theatre, Westwood, Los Angeles (1937) but with the addition of a 120 foot tall tower on the right hand side. The style of the theatre is Art Deco and a feature of the auditorium were the coves of concealed neon lighting in the ceiling, which also had ‘black lighting’ effects that played on the graphic designs on the walls and the patterned carpet
The Cine Lido is listed as having a seating capacity of 1,310 and it opened on 25th December 1942 with the MGM production “A Caza De Nova”(Her Cardboard Lover) staring Norma Shearer and Robert Taylor.
Thank you for the posting Francisco and thank you lostmemory for the translation.
According to Maggie Valentine’s book “The Show Starts on the Sidewalk” the Linda Vista Theatre had a seating capacity of 2,500. The Lido is listed as having 1,400 seats. There are 3 pages of photo’s of the Linda Vista in the book.
Seating capacity for the Hayward Theatre is given as 1,235.
The Film Daily Yearbook 1941 lists the seating capacity of the State Theatre as 600. The F.D.Y.1951 gives a street address of the State Theatre, 626 Castro Street, Hayward. CA Seating capacity 719.
The Granada Theatre opened on 15th September 1930 (built on the site of the Victoria Picture Theatre (1907-1928). It was designed by architect Cecil Masey (who created a Spanish styled entrance facade, behind which was a Spanish Baroque styled foyer lined with mirrors on the walls. The auditorium had a Moorish styled interior designed by theatre stage set designer Theodore Komisarjevsky, with a seating capacity of 2,697. It was equipped for stage shows as well as movies and had a twin console Christie theatre organ and there was a large car park and a cafe-restaurant attached.
The Granada was converted into a triple screen theatre in October 1973 using the balcony and original proscenium and projection booth for screen 1 and two small screen were constructed under the balcony. The 558 seats in the front stalls were later removed and this area became unused. The seating capacity was reduced to 944 (balcony) and 181 x 2 (in the mini’s). The Granada was given a Grade II listed building consent from 24th February 1987.
It was taken over by and re-named Cannon Cinemas in January 1989 and in July 1995 Virgin Cinemas took control and it took their name. Taken over by ABC Cinemas and re-named ABC on 28th June 1996, they were taken over by Odeon Theatre who closed the cinema in 2000. A condition of anyone wanting to re-open the theatre would be that they could not show any film in the English language. A local Asian businesman took out a lease of the theatre and re-named it EMD Cinemas, initially showing Bollywood movies until plea’s by local cinemagoers and petitions finally got the embargo lifted on showing general release films. However in the short time that it had ben screening Bollywood films, but it had lost its main audience and the EMD closed in 2001.
The Brazilian based church La Iglisia Universal purchased the building, but were prevented from using it as a church by the local Waltham Forrest Council who objected to a change of use from cinema to church. Negotiations are currently in progress with the Council prepared to purchase the theatre and lease it out to cinema operators, several having shown an interest to re-open the cinema. Meanwhile the building remains shuttered and sealed, awaiting its fate.
The Christie theatre organ is the only one left of this make in its original installation in the UK. It was still played on regual concerts until the EMD closed. (only the onstage console is in working order, the orchestra pit console was boarded over many years ago during a live performance of the Count Basie Band at the theatre).
I have a small photo of the original Franke Meline designed formal Romanesque brick facade of the Iris Theater from a trade magazine of the early 1920’s. The current building was errected in 1918. E-mail me and I will send you a copy.
I will talk with friends who may know the answer, when I am in LA in January.
The Harold Lloyd film “Safety Last” was filmed downtown and the Majestic Theatre can be briefly spotted if you know where to look, as can the roof sign on the California Theatre. The famous Zig-Zag Moderne styled Eastern-Columbia Building was built in 1930 on the site of the Majestic Theater.
Following the link above by lostmemory, it seems the upper parts of this former cinema is used mainly as a dance hall, with shops at ground level. When first opened the Savoy was equipped with a Compton theatre organ.
Congratulations on your most informative introduction to the Alhambra Theater. All the Film Daily Yearbooks I have (1941, 1950 & 1952) give a seating capacity of 600.
It certainly didn’t ‘remain long’, as the Orpheum Theatre opened on 15th February 1926 and I presume it must have taken at least a year to demolish the Mission Theater and construct the new Orpheum.
The 600 seat Comfort Theater was being used as a tavern by 1986. Any update on that information please? Thanks
The architects of the Climax Theater were Duggan & Huff. It was built by Otto Meister and John Freuler who had formed the Central Amusement Company. It seated 867 and has been demolished.
The architects of the Maxine Theater were McFarlane, Maul & Lenz.
The Film Daily Yearbook 1941 lists the Park Theatre as having 790 seats.