Showing 76 - 100 of 272 comments
On the west facing brickwall—toward the State House—used to say:
A Publix Theatre
That wall is now covered by the modern structure built in the last 15-20 years. Somewhere I have a photo of this.
That photo is interesting. It is from probably about 1934 or so.
The bank building on the right (still standing) does not have all its windows in it yet. That bank building has some woderfully preserved high art deco features including light fixtures and plaster
bas relief panels that would have looked right at home in the Oakland Paramount.
That F-O-X vertical sign is from 1927 and is still on the building.
As is probably mentioned above, the present “skin” over the original facade was added in 1948 or 49. The original A.W. Cornelius facade is still under that “skin”. However, the top of the facade was built of brick and was largely demolished. This includes the urns and ornamentation along the original facade’s top. The columns, arched windows, and probably the statues are still there.
A photo in the local newspaper morgue shows the statues still in-place as the “skin” was being applied over the original facade.
Here is a great example of an operating American Photoplayer style 20. The owner is Joe ??? in Southern California. Joe runs a business of expertly crafted reproduction light fixtures and other 1920s era hardware. Perhaps another viewer/contributor can come up with Joe’s last name.
This is a style 20 2-rank American Photoplayer. Thousands of these things were in small theatres across the country. Now there are probably less than 2 dozen of them left. The Wurlitzer versions were much easier to play using electricity or pneumatic power to runnthe effects. Here, the piano and organ parts are played by the roll, it is up to the human “operator” to work the sound effects for the silent films.
This guy is NOT putting on an act. It takes that much work to play one of these things!
You can also see the roof of the Metropolitan/Paramount roof above Pershing Square to the right (South East?) in the 1924 photo.
Thanks for the address. Even though the building no longer exists
(judging by the aerial photos of the corner), it would be nice to know where this once was. I am just about to get startd on the construction of the chamber here at my home for the Kinema’s Wurlitzer.
Does anyone know what became of this organ?
As can be seen in the photo, it was very similar to the Loyola in LA.
When the building was redone for its retail use, the “skate” above the entrance was removed. It was a very nice art modern theatre on the inside. Except above the drop ceiling, none of the interior remains.
I have, many times, including this last posting and it still comes through. Arrgggg!
I keep getting notification of entries about this theatre. Please remove my name from this theatre’s list. Thank you.
Go to www.goldenstatetheatre.com and look in the historic photos section. There are a few shots of the original rectangular marquee with the leaded glass corners. I remember the original marquee and always felt the place looked cheapened with that triangular abortion adapted from the original marquee. I have had no reason to change my opinion about this truncated marquee since it was first used in 1967.
The City of Watsonville did not express much interest in preserving this magnisicent theatre. It is too bad. While the Mello Center is a decent performing arts facility, the FOX was intact and ready to go.
I hope some saviour can pull into town and save the Fox such as has happened in Salinas with the Fox-California Theatre and in Monterey at the Golden State Theatre. The Watsonville Fox is the ONLY remaining 1920s movie palace in Santa Cruz County (the Santa Cruz Del Mar was much later—around 1936 or so.)
We had looked into the possibility of moving the Wurlitzer organ from the Fox California in Salinas to the Fox Watsonville, but with the closure of the Watsonville Fox, that hope was dashed and the organ given to another organ preservation group in Indiana.
Geeze. Thinking ahead and writing behind. This quote from above is NOT complete:
>Regarding the posting above by Pat Molinari, you were looking in >the wrong place. When the present facade was built circa 1948-49, >the ornate top cornice work (built on brick) was chipped away. >Below that, that cast concrete columns and window arches are in >place—but you can only see the main center arched window and >Corinthian comlumns on each side of the central window.
The only place these items can be seen is from on top of the marquee.
The original facade is quite spectacular. A 1930s deco bas relief panel occupies this former arched window space in the upstairs lobby.
BTW, I was lucky enough to be in the FOX a week or so ago. The bars that are being added upstairs are great! They are in the style of the theatre and do not look out of place at all. Good job Tim and company!
Here is a link to a photo of the auditorium of the Sac'to Crest.
While not exactly the same, it bears a striking similarity to the Salinas Fox-California.
Regarding the posting above by Pat Molinari, you were looking in the wrong place. When the present facade was built circa 1948-49, the ornate top cornice work (built on brick) was chipped away. Below that, that cast concrete columns and window arches are in place—but you can only see the main center arched window and Corinthian comlumns on each side of the central window.
A photo in the Steinbeck Library newspaper morgue shows the new facade was built right over the original from 1921. All that can be seen from the attic above the projection booth is the chipped away brick.
I would expect if some exploration cameras were lowered into the spaces, the rest of the remaining facade is probably intact. The photo at the library shows the statues being covered over!
If one looks at the photos of the theatre when it was near new, you can clearly see the urns and cornices at the roof line. All that is gone. It can also be seen that the roof structure was lowered to meet the new 1948 facade. If you look at the top of the concrete on the front of the north wall, you can see where concrete has been filled in to meet this new facade.
The California Theatre was remodeled in the early 1930s—Probably about 1935. That was when the organ chambers were scooped out and fire exits for the balcony run through them. The remains of the 1935 redecoration remains, hidden from view, behind the gold-leaf bands that run up each side of the auditorium front and across the ceiling. Only seen from behind, the covered over pattern appears to be the same as the various grills above the balcony and at the rear of the main floor under the balcony.
We videotaped an exploration of this long covered over area and these grills from 1935 are clearly in view. There was another large star shaped decoration above the present ceiling.
I understand the decorative neon lighting circuits in the coves of the 1949 auditorium are being restored. This will be great! This theatre is very much like a smaller scale version of the Crest in Sacramento. If one wants to see what the California auditorium could look like, check out the website for the Sac'to Crest Theatre.
Employee Zero above mentions the 1938 El Rey Theatre. That theatre was really quite nice until a church took over and painted out the murals on the theatre’s walls. There was never a stage, other than a small thrust stage and enough space to house the speakers. The place has been closed so long, that I am sure any grandfather clauses that might have applied to the building have run out. That means the place needs to be 100% brought up to code.
I remember the interior quite vividly. It was a very nicely decorated theatre. The murals on the side walls were quite something. Apparently the erstwhile church (that never even used the El Rey) painted out the murals because they felt they were too racey. What a waste.
Point of fact, the organ from the Cal Theatre Pittsburg has been purchased by a determined organ preservationist. This person has a proven track record for quality restoration work. It would be great if the original Morton organ could go back to the Cal someday—but that is a long way off.
According to the information I have, the style F Wurlitzer (2 manuals 8 ranks)from the Venetian Theatre has been sold from the Catholic church where it was installed for many years. The organ is supposedly in the home of the residence of Lou Knudson in Apple Valley, MN.
Here is the Cinema Treasures link to the Capitol:
and the Capitol Theatre itself:
I recall that there was a fire in the City-owned Capitol Theatre ij Yakima, WA. That huge fire was started by a welder’s torch who was actually working on the theatre’s restoration.
The damage to that theatre was very similar to the Lebowsky. There was a slide show for the Yakima theatre showing the damage and the restoration. From the photos, you would never know that magnificent Priteca-designed theatre had ever been destroyed.
The 19 rank style 260 Special Wurlitzer was removed by Rod Yarbough of Dallas. A sad, quadraplegic accident prevented Rod from installing the organ. In the late 1980s, the organ saw a short rebirth installed in the Schubert/World/Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul, MN. The organ was used during some broadcasts of A Prarie Home Companion. Recently the film version of APHC showed the console of the former Texas Wurlitzer stored backstage.
From what I understand, the organ needs a major amout of work to get it playing again.
Yes, once again it wounds like the city “leaders” are in bed with developers. They are the best politicians money can buy! One look no farther than San Francisco in 1963 where the city “leaders” were in bed with the developers and lost the Fox Theatre. If the destruction of the San Francisco Fox had any positive effort come from it, it was the END of the political career of thankfully ex-mayor George Christopher. Corvallis politicians need to take notice of this.
Damn the Corvallis City Council for this choice! I saw the Whiteside a number of years ago. Other than the organ, moved to a local university, the theatre was intact.
Go ahead Corvallis City Council, doom the theatre—from a downtown business standpoint, you will all live to regret this destruction! What a waste.
The organ was originally a 3/10 when installed in the Cal. When the church bought the organ for their then downtown Oakland church, they added a small 4-rank Wurlitzer style 135 to the Morton. When the new mega church was built out by Highway 580, the church saw fit to add a 4th manual to the original 3/10 console. At this same time, the church also saw fit to install the organ in a concrete bunker and, via microphone, pick up the sound of the organ and amplify it to various depts. of the worship center. The organ was b'cast on radio by the late David Von Rotz.
The organ is very tired and needs a total restoration.
Doea anyone know what became of the 5-rank Robert Morton pipe organ that was once in this theatre? I was in Gallup a couple years ago and the exterior of the El Morro looks great!
It is my understanding the original 3 manual 8 rank Kimball organ was broken up for parts. We heard the organ played by the late Lowell Ayers at the 1976 ATOS Convention. Gads, that’s 30 years ago!
Did this theatre ever have a pipe organ? If so, what was it?
The website claims a chapel has been added to the Empire complex and that the chapel has a pipe organ. I am just curious about the
theatre auditorium itself.