Comments from Ken Roe

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about T & D Theatre on Oct 25, 2004 at 2:20 pm

I have a copy of Motion Picture News dated April 10, 1920. On the cover is a beautiful photo of the T. & D. Oakland which had just opened. There is also a full page spread of four interior photos and a full page descriptive article on the building. It was billed as the ‘largest theatre west of Chicago’ with a seating capacity of 3,611. The architects named are Cunningham and Politeo of San Francisco and construction was of concrete and steel, the only wood it contains is in the office door! An unusual feature of the building was that ‘there is not a step in the entire house, every elevation is approached by a series of ramps or gradual inclines’. A staff of 90 (including the orchestra) were employed.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on Oct 20, 2004 at 8:21 am

There is a great collection of recent photographs of the Loew’s Paradise showing what is being done in the current restoration. Check out the CinemaTour web site.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Astor Cinema on Oct 17, 2004 at 2:12 pm

The Astor is now used for retail use as a clothing shop. Very little of the internal decorative features remain.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about 'Cinema Treasures' Book Now On Sale! on Oct 6, 2004 at 8:03 am

Just heard from that my copy is winging its way to me. Looking forward to receiving it and adding it to my collection. Congratulations!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Trying To Find "Exit" on Sep 15, 2004 at 10:25 am

Hi Mike, I finally tracked down a copy of ‘Exit’ after searching for it for many years. I live in London, UK so if you would like to make arrangements to come over and take a look at it, please get in touch. Ken

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Cinema Odeon on Aug 19, 2004 at 10:12 am

There is a well illustrated book (with Portugese text) “Cinemas De Portugal” by Jose Manuel Fernandes. Published in 1995 by Edicoes Inapa ISBN 972-9019-78-9

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Gaumont Rose Hill on Aug 17, 2004 at 10:43 am

The Gaumont opened on 17th May 1937, it closed as a cinema on 22nd July 1961, the final films played were “Follow That Man” and “The Boy Who Stole A Million”. It went over to Bingo club use straight away, which continues today. The architect was Harry Weston (a Gaumont circuit architect) and the seating capacity was 1,500.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Cinéma Gaumont Opéra on Aug 9, 2004 at 10:55 am

Sorry Warren, I stand corrected. I took the incorrect spelling of Zukor from the book ‘Guide to Cinemas in Paris’ by Christophe Chenebault and Marie Gaussel, published in 1992. You are correct in your notes about Frank T. Verity regarding the London Plaza and Carlton Theatres. He was the architect, not interior designer and this possibly applies to the Paramount Opera Theatre. It could have been named just ‘Paramount’ when first opened?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Forum Cinema on Jul 5, 2004 at 1:46 pm

The title heading for this former cinema should be updated. This building opened as the Forum and is still fondly remembered by this name. The architects were William Watkins and A.Stuart Gray.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Odeon Covent Garden on Jun 29, 2004 at 3:07 am

While Mr Leslie Scott Slaughter may have worked on the design of the Saville Theatre, official records show that the consulting architect was Bertie Crewe, the builders were Messers Gee, Walker and Slater and it was designed by architects T. P. Bennett & Son.

It opened as the Saville Theatre on 8th October 1931 with 1,426 seats. It closed in 1970 and was converted into a twin screen cinema (architects William Ryder & Associates). It is a Listed Grade II building for its facade which features a sculptured relief frieze by Gilbert Bayes representing ‘Drama Through the Ages’. Nothing remains internally of the original features of this art deco building.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Odeon West End on Jun 26, 2004 at 3:19 pm

This opened on 19th December 1930 as the Leicester Square Theatre, originally conceived as a live theatre for actor Jack Buchanan. However, it opened with combined movie and stage show presentations and was leased out to various companies in its early years. Original seating capacity was 1,760 in stalls, circle and balcony. In 1968 this original highly decorated interior was totally gutted to be replaced by a bland 1,407 seat auditorium wich remained until its recent twinning.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Odeon Marble Arch on Jun 26, 2004 at 3:00 pm

The architect of the Odeon was T. P. Bennett & Son. It opened on 2nd February 1967.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Odeon Covent Garden on Jun 26, 2004 at 2:51 pm

The Odeon is not renovating, it is open as a 4 screen cinema.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Shepherd's Bush Pavilion on Jun 26, 2004 at 2:46 pm

The bingo operation in the former stalls area closed in 2001. As at June 2004, plans have been approved to convert the Grade II listed building into a 182 bedroomed hotel.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Gaumont State Kilburn on Jun 26, 2004 at 2:33 pm

Kilburn is an inner city suburb of London, UK.

The last films in the main auditorium “Jungleburger” & “Inglorious Bastards” were screened on 18th September 1980.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Electric Cinema - Notting Hill on Jun 26, 2004 at 2:19 pm

The Electric Cinema Theatre address is 191 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London. W11. The architect of this 600 seat cinema was Gerald Seymour Valentin. It opened on 24th February 1910 and from 1932 it was re-named Imperial Playhouse until it closed on 12th December 1970. It re-opened as the Electric Cinema Club screening classic Avante Garde movies and since then has had several closing and re-openings. It still survives as one of the UK’s oldest operating purpose built cinemas.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Curzon Soho on Jun 26, 2004 at 2:06 pm

The Columbia was built on the site of the bombed out Shaftesbury Pavilion/Gaumont News Theatre of 1912. The new cinema was originally going to be a sister theatre to the Curzon Mayfair and had the same architectural firm of Sir John Burnet, Tait and Partners. The architect in charge being H.G. Hammond. Columbia Pictures took over the lease during construction and it opened as the Columbia. It was equipped to show 70mm and Todd AO films.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Cineworld Cinema - Haymarket on Jun 26, 2004 at 1:33 pm

The Carlton (as it it still fondly remembered) was designed by architects Frank T. Verity and Samuel Beverley. It was a project of Carlton Theatre Co, a company set up by Paramount Pictures Ltd who owned the nearby Plaza, Regent St. The Carlton opened as a live theatre, but went over to full time film use in May 1929. The original seating capacity was 1,159. After many years being operated by Paramount Pictures it was taken over by Twentieth Century Fox in March 1954 and they installed CinemaScope. In 1960 the stage was brought back into use for the last time when Anthony Newley starred in a special stage show prior to the screenings of his starring movie “Let’s Get Married”.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about O2 Academy Brixton on Jun 26, 2004 at 1:11 pm

The address of the Astoria is Stockwell Road, Brixton, London. SW9.

The opening film in 1929 was “The Singing Fool” starring Al Jolson. In later years of cinema operation it was known as the Odeon Astoria. It closed on 29th July 1972 with “Red Sun” & “The Looking Glass War” For a short while after closing it was converted into a Sundance dance hall, but this was short lived and the building lay empty until 1982 when it was re-opened in its current use today, as a live rock concert venue the Brixton Academy.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Paris Pullman Cinema on Jun 26, 2004 at 12:40 pm

This opened as Bolton’s Picture Playhouse on 24th January 1911. It had 249 seats. In 1914 it was re-named Rendezvous and became the Bolton’s in around 1932. After World War II it bacame a live theatre which opened on 15th January 1947. Known as the Bolton’s Theatre Club, it staged plays which were not passed by the censor of the day and being a theatre club it was not subject to licencing laws. It was reconstructed as the Paris Pullman Cinema, opening on 3rd November 1955. It closed on 8th May 1983 and was demolished.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Adams Theatre on May 26, 2004 at 1:20 pm

The Adams Theatre opened in 1935 and had 626 seats. It closed in 1961 and is currently in retail use as a discount fabrics store.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Mazatlan Theatre on May 21, 2004 at 3:44 pm

There is a brass plaque embedded into the terrazzo floor in the outer lobby which has the logo of the American Legion Lodge. Did this theatre become a lodge after closure? Obviously when renamed Mazatlan in its later operating years it must have played Spanish language films. The building still survives (in 2004) complete with its last name on the marque and is currently used as an electrical contractors storehouse/workshop. It opened pre 1941.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Bryn Mawr Theatre on May 20, 2004 at 3:21 pm

I heard from sources at the Theatre Historical Society of America that the Bryn Mawr Theatre was an early design from the architectual firm of Rapp & Rapp

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Gate Picturehouse on May 20, 2004 at 10:08 am

The Gate was never known as the Imperial Playhouse, that was a name given in 1932 to the nearby 1910 built, Electric Cinema in Portobello Road. It currently operates again as the Electric.

The Gate building dates from 1861 when the ground floor room (currently the cinema) was known as the North End and Harvey Dining Room. In 1879 it became the Golden Bells Hotel and the ground floor became the Golden Bells Coffee Palace and Restaurant. Upstairs, the hotel operated as a brothel.

The ground floor was converted into a cinema, opening in April 1911 as the Electric Palace, seating was for 450. It was re-named Embassy in April 1931 and was primarly a news theatre with 314 seats. The elaberate domed entrance and facade were damaged by bombs during the war, but the cinema remained open and it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the current facade and office block was built. It was re-named Classic Cinema in 1957 screening classic Hollywood films. In September 1974, it was sold to Cinegate and re-named the Gate Cinema, closing in 1985 and re-opening in 1986 with Oasis Cinemas as the operators, currently under control of the PictureHouse Group

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Coronet Printroom on May 20, 2004 at 9:29 am

The Cinema Theatre Association here in the UK welcomes the news that the Coronet will now be retained and run as a cinema. We also welcome proposed plans to restore the historic fabric of the building in the near future (suject to consultation with English Heritage, The Theatre’s Trust and the Cinema Theatre Association I hope)

I regularly attend this cinema in preference to going for the multiplex ‘experience’ as it has an exciting atmosphere and feel to it, rather than sitting in a ‘black box’. Ok. the cinema has been a bit run down over many years, but this is now a great oportunitity to make this cinema the centrepoint of the neighborhood again.

Notting Hill has been for many years a cinemagoers paradise as can be vouched for by the now successful restoration of the Electric Cinema, Portobello Road, (one of England’s oldest cinemas, still in operation since 1910, and the Gate Cinema (operating as a cinema from 1911) almost adjacent to the Coronet in Notting Hill which now operates as a succesful ‘art house’ cinema. To have three cinemas operating in one area just shows the enthusiasm of the locals and cinema buffs who attend them. Could it also be that they are all Listed buildings as well, I wonder?

Anyway, long live the Coronet, and I hope the current owners have a long and successful tenure there.