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Speaking for myself, the reporter asked first about the Senator Theater, then conversationally asked what I would consider to be the 10 best movie theaters in America. Not understanding that this would become the focus of the article, I started talking about more obscure theaters – ones that don’t automatically comes to mind – which is how the Smith Opera House/Schine Geneva theater ended up mentioned. And why Radio City Music Hall was not mentioned.
As i explained to the reporter, everyone automatically thinks of RCMH, or the Pantages, the Chicago, etc. The “10 Best” designation can be broken up into a million sub-categories which is probably why THS has never released an official list.
In my mind each historic theater is special in its own way. Each adds a thread to the great tapestry of American history. Each deserves to be cherished, treasured, preserved and proteted by their community.
I invite everyone reading this to submit their OWN personal favorites! What a debate that would be!!
Karen Colizzi Noonan, President
Theatre Historical Society
Jodar – if you google the Senator Theatre you will see tons of articles about the current situation there.
Chris, Could you please contact me through my email link? I am looking at theaters which have been purchased by colleges or universities. Thanks. Karen
Well it certainly is PINK! Thanks so much for sharing.
Oh very cute! Thanks LM – i’d love to see one of the interior if anyone has one.
The two links posted by Lost Memory go to a “private” page. Does anyone have current interior and exterior photos of this theater? THS is looking at a possible future conclave in the Albany/Berkshire area and i’d like to know if this theater merits a stop.
Complete rules are available on the THS website www.historictheatres.org or by emailing Lowell Angell at the address shown above.
I vote for a new construction as long as John Eberson can be the lead architect. That seems like a reasonable compromise, hunh?
Yes, and one of the graduating classes donated the money for a new marquee as their reunion gift.
It seems like quite a few of these theaters are being saved by colleges and universities. I can think of the Strand in Delaware OH, the Hamilton in Hamilton NY which was purchased by Colgate. I know there are others. Then we need to hope and pray that the new owners can respect the history and design of the theater while using it for today’s needs.
Oberlin College Alumni and Friends Group Funds Purchase of Oberlin’s
Historic Apollo Theater
Oberlin, Ohio â€" Acting to preserve a cherished local institution,
Oberlin College announced today that it has reached tentative agreement
to purchase Oberlin' s historic Apollo Theater, one of the few
single-screen movie houses still operating in the United States.
College Properties of Oberlin, a wholly owned subsidiary of the College,
has agreed to purchase the theater, located at 19 East College St, from
twin brothers William and Sandy Steel. College Properties of Oberlin
will continue the operation of the 840-seat venue as a movie theater.
Because it is being purchased by a College subsidiary, the theater will
remain on the City of Oberlin’s tax rolls.
Funding for the purchase and renovation of the Apollo was provided by
generous support from Oberlin alumni, friends of the College and local
community members. Donors include the Steel family, famed television
director and Cheers creator James Burrows ‘62, and his wife Debbie
Burrows, the Goldring Family Foundation, Oberlin College Board Chairman
Robert Lemle '75, the Nord Family Foundation, and an anonymous Oberlin
High School graduate.
Known for its distinctive ambiance, eclectic selection of motion
pictures, and reasonable ticket and concession stand prices, the Apollo
Theater is beloved by generations of Oberlinians. The brick theater was
built by William Hobbs in 1914. Its first show featured Thor, Lord of
the Jungles, a three-reel, silent thriller starring silver screen
pioneers Kathlyn Williams and Tom Santschi. In the Apollo’s early days,
live musical and vaudeville acts were presented on its spacious stage.
Jerry Steel, a film distributor from Cleveland and father of the current
owners, purchased the Apollo Theater complex, which includes commercial
and residential space adjacent to the theater, in 1928. That year, the
Apollo screened the first “talkie,” or sound film in local history.
The theater was remodeled in 1950 in “Zig-Zag Moderne” style. Its
distinctive triangular marquee with traveling neon lights was added,
along with a faÃ§ade of gleaming black and red Vitrolite tile, and
interior walls of padded vinyl and glossy crimson velveteen.
“The Apollo adds so much to our quality of life. Going to the movies at
the Apollo is a great Oberlin and Lorain County tradition,” said Marvin
Krislov, president of Oberlin College. Mr. Krislov said that as a member
of the Oberlin community, the College has an obligation to preserve
important cultural assets and enhance the town’s quality of life.
“Our hope is that the Apollo will become more than just a movie
theater,” Mr. Krislov said. “We would like to see it become a venue for
showcasing the wealth of theatrical, artistic and musical talent that
thrives in Oberlin. We also see it offering exciting new opportunities
to students and faculty in our Cinema Studies and theater programs.”
A number of Oberlin College alumni have gone on to outstanding careers
in theater, motion pictures and television including John Kander ‘51,
William Goldman '52, Avery Brooks ’ 70, Julie Taymor ‘73, Eric Bogosian
'76, James McBride '79, Bill Irwin '73, John Scheinfeld '75, Ed Helms
'96, and the late John Cazale.
The first phase of renovations bringing the theater in line with
building codes will be done this summer in partnership with local
businesses and other interested parties. The Apollo’s grand re-opening
is expected to take place in fall 2009.
While the Apollo will continue to be a working movie theater, the second
phase of the project includes transforming the theater into a new
performance space as well as a venue for community events.
To support the second phase of the project, a Friends of the Apollo
organization with local and national members has been formed. It
fund-raising activities will benefit the theater’s ongoing and future
programming and educational outreach activities.
The Friends steering committee members include actors Rhea Perlman and
Danny DeVito, filmmaker Jonathan Demme, local arts advocates Kevin
Flanigan and Jaqui Willis, and Oberlin alums Elizabeth Ignat-Bausch ‘91,
and Justin Ignat-Bausch '90. For more information regarding Friends of
the Apollo, contact Zach Pretzer, associate director of The Oberlin
“The Apollo is a truly vital part of the Oberlin area’s history and
contemporary life, and the case for preserving it was compelling,” said
Robert Lemle. “It is important given the difficult economic times that
the College was able to fund the purchase of the Apollo and its initial
operating expenses entirely through private gifts. That reflects how
important the theater is to the greater Oberlin community.”
“The theater is a key part of the Downtown Oberlin National Register
Historic District,” said Pat Murphy, executive director of the Oberlin
Heritage Center, the local historic society and historic preservation
organization. “It’s amazing we still have such a wonderful, historic
movie theater that has been the centerpiece of our downtown,” Murphy said.
Office of Communications
Oberlin, Ohio 44074
P.S. My comment was certainly not meant to minimalize the wonderful outreach and education that the Cinema Treasures site provides.
THS is proud to work cooperatively with Ross, Patrick and everyone else associated with Cinema Treasures – in fact their stunning book was the recipient of THS’s first ever Book of the Year Award. I was only addressing the difficulty of monitoring discussion forums and the tangents that can result from spirited discussion.
Theatre Historical Society of America –
Celbrating our 40th year in 2009!
THS is a membership organization for everyone who LOVES the architecture, history and people associated with theaters in America. We publish 5 magazines and 4 newsletters a year (as a benefit of membership), offer a yearly “Conclave” to a different region of the country where we spend 5 days traveling together to visit all kinds of historic theaters (last summer we were in the San Francisco Bay area, this year we will be in the Philadelphia area, next year we will be in and around Indianapolis. We also administer the yearly Weiss Literary Competition with cash prizes. Members also get discounts on theater related publications, including the upcoming re-release of American Theatres of Today.
THE REST OF THE STORY……
THSA is the only organization in the U.S. which exclusively records and preserves the rich architectural, cultural and social history of America’s theatres. Through its collections and publications, THSA makes available information on more than 15,000 theatres, primarily in the United States, and encourages further research in these areas.
Located in Elmhurst, Illinois, approximately 16 miles west of Chicago’s loop, THSA is on the second floor of the York Theatre building. The Society also operates The American Theatre Architecture Archives, an extensive collection of photographs, slides, negatives, books, blueprints, clippings, videos, printed programs, and other material on historic theatres, primarily in the U.S., The American Movie Palace Museum, featuring exhibits of photographs, artworks, antiques, artifacts, and other memorabilia relating primarily to the “golden age of the movie palace.”
Thanks for asking! : )
So, the next time someone asks me “why doesn’t THS have a discussion forum on their website”….. ‘nuf said.
A fair and balanced assessment of the National from a 1 year perspective, Cliff.
Was The National unnecessarily demolished?
And nothing can bring it back.
Does anyone know what the INSIDE of this theater looks like? I am heading for New Orleans this weekend and would not mind a little jaunt to Crowley if it is worth seeing. Having a tough time finding info on the internet.
One of my “favorite” photos of the Cinema. Couldn’t resist!
But this is the way i prefer to remember it!
Yes, it was one of the great heartbreaks when the reigning board of directors chose not to replace the marquee. The argument was made that it was Schine’s Geneva Theater for FAR longer than it was Smith’s Opera House – but at that time they were enthralled with the concept of an “opera house” – choosing to ignore the fact that the designation was more properly “vaudeville house”.
But for those of us who celebrate the Schine days, the interior is virtually unchanged from the 1931 opening night design and splendor. Some may argue that it is “the best of both worlds”…. i don’t… But some may! ; )
Tolover – i can assure you that Steve not only maintained his outrageousness, he diligently honed his skills to even higher levels of outrageous absurdity!
What a huge loss this is on so many levels- Steve’s death leaves a void that can hardly be filled. But while we grieve together at the loss of a great guy and an incomparable theater historian, we all smile together at the memories of the loyal friend and colleague that we had in Steve Levin.
Thank you both. And thank you David for admitting to your confusion as well, at least i wasn’t the only one! : )
??? Please forgive me if i am being dense here….!! Maybe it’s just me. So we have established that the address in the header is incorrect? If so, then has the building been demolished? (We went by the address listed here and found what appeared to be a vacant lot. But if the address is wrong, then we wasted an opportunity to check it out.)
I made out most of it but am still confused… is the building demolished or not? Is the address at the top of this page wrong?
Limited number of copies available, guys. Get ‘em while they last!
Thank you Phil. We visited the Tioga – great little theater! My nephew goes to school in Cobleskill and he is a big fan of the Park. We did not get over to Endicott but will certainly put that on our list for a future visit!