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By accident I saw Farris only once, inside Beverly’s Diner across from the May Theatre. He was sitting in the next booth, telling a guest how Spectro had caused the old May to go under. Theatre history had not yet embraced me, so I did not approach Mr. Shanbour, but that was the spark that ignited my interest in theatre architecture.
Symco, please look at the Morris Star Theatre listing. Do you have any material on this?
Frontier City was once quite an unusual enterprise. It functioned as a thrilling amusement park during summer seasons. When cold winter months arrived; rides, concessions, games, and souviner shops shut down, and the park metamorphosed into a unique bazaar.
In the mid 1980’s Paramount Pictures stepped in and bought the place lock, stock, and barrel. Gladly, Six Flags Frontier City expanded into a first class theme park, but today it operates strictly as an amusement enterprise with an admission fee, those specialty shops are no more.
Wish somebody would post recent pictures of the brick & glass block Agnew Bldg.
I’ll bet ten to one that the Victory Theatre opened around 1918 to honor battles won WWI!
After looking at the interior photos of the Ritz Theatre on the BFC site, I can’t help but wonder if John Eberson had something to do with designing this auditorium. It sure carries his style.
Another reason I suspect this may be an Ebersonian work is that I remember my grandparents mentioning a stuffed parrot suspended from a swing inside the auditorium. They also talked about a colorful stuffed peacock in front of an organ grill. And what about all those stuffed doves?
The PENN Theatre usually presented second run double features. During the late 1960’s it was given a spiffy facelift and renamed TREND, it then began specializing in foreign and vintage silent pictures.
AcademiX was a reverse cinema, meaning; from the lobby one entered the 150 seat auditorium from either side of the movie screen, and faced the projection booth. Restrooms were located beneath the booth, and rear emergency exit (alarmed) doors were located here.
Could they have come up with a more imbecilic theatre name?
Symco, this old movie house sounds fascinating. Do you have snapshots to post?
When Joe Vogel first asked if I had ever seen the Main Theatre my first reaction was that I had not. After reviewing some old notes and devoting some thought to this subject, it turns out that indeed I did visit this little porn house once in 1983.
Flashing neon outlined the Main Theatre. A cinema faded that appeared to date back many decades. Admittance was through a single set of hammered glass doors. The lobby was a long and narrow hall, decorated in 1940’s bright modernist design. An elongated chrome trimmed boxoffice/concession counter guarded the mirrored right wall. At the far end of the lobby were four steps that lead up to the auditorium entrance. Steps necessary to provide a slope the auditorium floor.
One tufted leather door opened onto the one and only auditorium isle that ran along the left sidewall. All chair rows dead ended against the right sidewall. Back rows were of the loge variety. All other rows were typical upholstered metal theatre seats. Walls were veneered in knotty pine. Scalloped plumb velvet covered the worn ceiling. A bunched purple velvet valance dressed up the proscenium arch, but no other stage drapery was apparent.
ken mc; I will rush a copy to you as soon as I can locate my composition.
Jo Vogel; please see my Main Theatre comments.
In 1983 the Art had become quite run down. The lobby was barely big enough to hold a boxoffice and compact concession stand. One center isle seperated a long, narrow auditorium. Back rows held over stuffed loge chairs. Rest rooms were nestled behind the screen. Floors, walls, and ceiling were painted black throughout the interior.
Somewhere in my messy file cabinets I hope a copy of that ancient report still exist. Brother Andrew donated his copy of this (under my real name) paper to THS. Thank goodness I was able to locate some of my yellowed notes on this subject.
My original intent was to document studio back lots, but by the time I got to filmdom most of them had been paved over. I decided to study early silent era theatres instead.
In order to conduct research I was living in downtown LA at the Rainbow Hotel, next door to the public library. Almost twenty-five years have passed since then and my memories have grown vague. After viewing an image of the Main Theatre, I don’t think I ever saw it. Then again, all those S. Main St. porn houses looked so much alike.
It took a lot of effort to get inside the closed down Optic, only to find everything of interest had been removed, or stolen.
Nuf sed …
When I visited the Regent in 1983 the place was shopworn, but didn’t stink. The sound was much too loud.
For my study project I conducted research on early day motion picture theatre architecture. During this program I went inside every existing theatre in downtown Los Angels and Hollywood, large and small, open and closed. Brother Andrew Corsini had requested to read my thesis, and I sent a copy to him. What I wrote then matches what I wrote above.
I also documented that the Pussycat (Nee Town) and Regent interiors were somewhat similar in style.
During the early 1980’s I regularly made trips to NYC, and on my busy itinerary always set aside a date to go see a gay movie at the Circus Big Top. Seems every time I went inside that porn emporium I always fell in love five or six times!
While taking summer courses at UCLA in 1984 I went over to Hollywood to see a movie at the Century Theatre. It had recently been remodeled and looked nice, lots of burnt orange tile, chrome, and orange draperies…
After purchasing a membership the cashier advised that plain clothes vice squad frequently staked out the auditorium and warned against making any type of physical contact with other patrons.
There were no dark back rooms, no gay activity inside rest rooms, and definitely no cruising inside that auditorium. Everyone seemed afraid to even look at each other, sexual tension was thick! I stuck around fifteen minutes or so, then headed toward West Hollywood
I remember the Regent Theatre because it looked as if it dated way back to early silent picture days. A nice size lobby had obviously been modernized with a sleek look, but the seedy auditorium appeared to be of the original Gothic treatment. Gothic style arches lined sidewalls, with an intricate vaulted ceiling. Everything was turquoise, walls, seats, stage drapes, even the carpeting, which was a bit overpowering.
Two XXX hard core porn loops were shown the night I attended the Regent and both of these films were of the cheapest quality. Feature one was quite annoying to watch as the camera angle switched back and forth to always show only the person being talked to. Loop two was even worse with the same awful jazz tune playing over and over and over, underneath an irritating soundtrack of constant, monotone ooh, oooh, aaah moans that repeated about every fifteen seconds.
Older gay men cruised back rows. Bums snored in side sections. Couples snuggled together in center seats.
Cosmic, why don’t you post your 1972 photos?
Symco, I’ve heard over the backyard fence that you have many interior photos of all Okmulgee movie houses. Won’t you please share them with us?
While visiting a close friend who lived on OKC’s Northwest side, we drove down to the Southeast district to go to the Rose Glow Ballroom to hear a nine piece western swing orchestra. During our drive we happened to pass the Dive Inn Theater.
It was a part of a shabby motel unit. The time of day was just past dusk on a Saturday evening and I was surprised to see that there were cars already parked outside every room door.
The Dive Inn marquee was only a flat letterboard sign mounted atop a two wheel trailer, with a flashing light bulb arrow pointing toward the small side cinema.
Since I grew up in Tulsa, OKC geography is mostly unfamiliar to me. Seems I do remember, however, seeing the Dive Inn on the Southeast side of the city, because we passed it both ways coming and going from the Rose Glow. I do know the next night we went Southwest way to the Chieftain Cinema, and am sure I didn’t see the Dive Inn in that area of town. We never ventured into the Northeast sector during my stay, so it couldn’t have been over there.
By the way, the Rose Glow orchestra was fantastic!
Studio One is an adult cinema I had completely forgotten about until this posting popped up. I only went into this porn house once when I was sixteen-years-old, just to see if I could get inside.
Lobby color schemes were crimson and chrome, with scarelt shag carpeting, chrome starburst lighting fixtures, and a lot of chrome framed “cumming attractions” posters.
Auditorium seating was of the theatre rocking chair variety, very roomy and comfortable. Sidewalls had life-sized, blacklight pink silhouettes of naked dancing ladies. Pleated stage drapery were sewn from crimson blacklight material. Intermissions were held between each picture and it was an eerie, strange effect because everything in this chamber was jet black except for the bright blacklight stage drapery, those prancing dancing girls, and millions of lint specks clinging to fabric theatre chairs.
On a cold, snowy, winter weekend during the late 1970’s I drove from Tulsa down to OKC to visit a dear friend. On Sunday night he took me to the Chieftain Cinema.
The Chieftain’s futuristic interior looked like it came right out of a “Jetsons” cartoon.
The first half of the gay entertainment program consisted of a “Laurel & Hardy” short, a mildly erotic, nude male wrestling film, and a Betty Boop cartoon.
Then, a loveable, over weight drag queen, who introduced himself as Miss Rotunda, stepped onstage to emcee the live portion of the show. Miss Rotunda expertly introduced the other drag acts, a magic show, and three brawny male strippers who looked as if they’d come right off a downtown street corner. These guys were dangerously good looking, definately rough trade.
Miss Rotunda’s finale stopped the show with her most amusing, uprouriously funny comedy routine, a first rate performance!
Auditorium-B was decorated with a red/black checkerboard floor, wide striped red/yellow curtains tuffted into large fan shapes, a black ceiling, and seating for around 100.
As mentioned, this theatre showcased films from beefcake producers; AMG, Apollo, Bruce of L.A., and Spectrum. Occasionally an Andy Warhol flick, or product from some other bold independent, would be the second half of the bill.
At this theatre I saw a shock movie entitled “Johnny Got His Gun”, along with an hour long co-feature of gorgeous nude models striking classic poses. One of these muscle men was Billy Joe Carr who moved with the grace of a wild animal. This guy had to be the best looking male I had ever seen before, or since!
During intermissions, slide shows of 1940’s, 1950’s, & 1960’s body builders, with and without posing straps, were flashed across the screen.
The front book store sold copies of the slides and films shown inside their theatres.