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It’s horrendous in black and white, can you visualize that in ‘living color’?
My sentiments exactly.
Tim, the Garrick is closed and now part of the Ramada Marlborough hotel, currently a conference centre (theatre interior totally gutted for current use). Capitol, 1920, designed by Thomas Lamb, demolished summer 2003 after years of neglect (it could have been saved if someone had paid attention). Metropolitan, 1919, designed by C Howard Crane, closed and boarded up since 1988, under city ownership, but no one has come forward with a practical use for the property. Interior has some of the fittings remaining, (chandeliers, wall sconces and some seats),all other ornamental detail was painted over years ago, as well as any other fittings removed, including
film equipment. It’s in grim condition otherwise and it would take a ton of money to restore. They have, however, repaired the roof and installed electric furnaces as well as a security system.
Currently the city has two other theatres on the books; the 1914 Pantages Playhouse (fully restored as a performing arts centre)and the 1907 Walker aka Odeon, recently renamed Burton Cummings Performing Arts Centre, used primarily for performing arts, rock concerts, etc. All the film equipment was stripped from the premises when Odeon abandoned the theatre in the 1980’s. Ongoing renovations as money permits.
I think SOM played at the Kings for about two years. I was away from the city for a long time. It was playing when I left and it was still playing there when I came back.. Currently the Kings is a flea market. Other than that the exterior looks the same as it did when it was a theatre. The marquee and ‘Kings’ neon signs are still there, along with the poster cases on the front of the building. Only the letters that said ‘theatre’ have been removed. The Colony (aka Gaiety, Eve) disappeared some time ago in a fit of urban renewal when everything on the north side of Portage Avenue was demolished to make way for Investors Syndicate headquarters office building.
A recent comment about another theatre with an auditorium floor that sloped downward as usual, then swept upwards again close to the screen just reminded me that the Lyceum also had the same idiosyncracy.
I recall that the screen seemed to be close to the back wall, with little or no stage house behind it and for that matter no proscenium either, which makes me think that a remodelling had been carried out. The stage, organ chambers and orchestra pit were probably removed in that remodelling, the screen moved back and the orchestra pit filled in. As I recall drapes surrounded the screen including a matching valance above the screen. This extended around to the sides as far as the emergency exit doors on either side of the screen. No proscenium was visible. Even with the more modern seating that was installed allowing for wider seats and more leg room, capacity would have remained almost the same as before by using the extra space that was gained by demolishing the stage area and extending the auditorium floor forward.
I really had to squint to read it, but the vertical does say Park Theatre, rather than Publix.
paulb: Probably the all time tongue-in-cheek coupling of titles on a marquee was ‘Getting Gertie’s Garter’ + ‘Up in Mabel’s Room’. Whether or not those two films were booked together deliberately, just for the shock value of seeing them coupled that way I can’t say, but it was done more than once at a number of theatres.
I credit the marquee changers of days gone by with some very creative work in providing the gist of the attractions, especially on the limited space of some of the end panels. I always thought it would be great to be able to do it until one night in the midst of a howling snow storm when it was almost impossible to stand upright at ground level, seeing some poor soul trying to replace letters some 12 or more feet in the air. At that point I decided there might be better occupations.
Possibly the spelling of ‘Vodvil’ as opposed to vaudeville was a way of being ‘with it’ or somehow current. I think that Variety started the trend with mispellings in the trade paper headlines. It goes along with ‘Burlesk’ rather than burlesque. There are numerous other examples.
With this acquisition Cineplex-Galaxy will control 61% of the Canadian market. You can be assured that the theatres that get dumped will be underperforming venues or older locations in need of updating.
I can’t help wondering if ‘Concerned Taxpayer’ is the an AKA of village trustee Steven D. Sebby who vigorously opposed saving the DuPage. Mere coincidence perhaps, but nevertheless to paraphrase Yul Brynner’s line in ‘The King and I’, “It’s a puzzlement!”
Loew’s maintained a presence in Canada as well, with theatres in Montreal and Toronto. The Winter Garden and Elgin(Loew’s Yonge) theatres in Toronto were Loew’s theatres and have the distinction of being rare ‘stacked’ theatres. The Winter Garden is some seven storeys above the street on top of the Elgin. They were completely restored several years ago and are now under the ownership of the Province of Ontario. I don’t believe there are (or were) any Loew’s theatres elsewhere in Canada, except possibly Vancouver.
Had Alexander Pantages been able to build the theatre on the original site no doubt it would have fronted on Main Street.(the present theatre site is one building lot down from the corner.) When the new lobby and studios were built a few years ago, it was to the side of the original building. The remaining land is now a small park with walkways leading from Main Street to the theatre. There is a pylon at the corner of Market and Main with illuminated Pantages name and attractions panels as part of it, so almost 100 years after the fact, Pantages has visibility on Main Street.
This will be a complete about-face. Many years ago Famous Players was the company that gobbled up all competition (there wasn’t much at the time) in many Canadian cities. Odeon, originally from the UK, made modest inroads into the theatre scene in Canada until it became the monster corporation you see today. I shudder to think of what the future will bring, assuming the Competition Bureau approves the sale.
Patsy: Probably an oversight that the Genesee isn’t listed, possibly for a lack of information. It was already closed when I moved to the area and demolished shortly thereafter. That’s the correct spelling for it too. I believe there’s a picture and perhaps a little information about it on the Buffalo Architectural history site. Whether or not anything other than the chandelier was salvaged before demolition I can’t say. I don’t know what condition the building was in at that time.
The Vidler brothers who operate their namesake five and dime store are colorful local characters not to be missed. Whether intentional or not they come across as a couple of corn fed country boys and that image extends to their occasional hokey tv commercials on local stations. The store itself is a ‘last-of-it’s-kind’ stocked with all those items that one used to be able to find in any 5 and 10, but have totally disappeared in today’s marketplace.
The chandelier in the Riviera is reported as having come from the (now demolished) Genesee theatre in Buffalo and not the Bailey. Another chandelier in the entrance foyer came from the old Park Lane restaurant on Gates Circle.
Carillons, such as the Deagan array in the Roxy, were normally installed in church and clock towers and designed for outdoor use to sound over a large area. Even in the vast space of the Roxy auditorium it must have been overwhelming. I’m not 100% certain but I believe that the carillon in Niagara Falls ON., heard and part of the plot in the film ‘Niagara’ was built by Deagan. In addition to the huge outdoor carillons such as this one, Deagan built chime arrays used by orchestras, as well as xylophones. I recall reading that during demolition the carillon in the Roxy came crashing down with an ear deafening roar and ended up mixed with the general debris. Not a scrap of it was salvaged…what a waste!
Gerald, I can’t think of any other reason why a theatre would be named Galli-Curci, perhaps to give a sense of class to the venue by naming it after an esteemed star of opera houses around the world….unless, of course, the theatre owner’s name happened to be Galli-Curci.
Although I have always been fascinated by movie palaces, probably the two publications that piqued my interest were Ben Hall’s ‘Best Remaining Seats’ and David Naylor’s ‘American Movie Palaces’. I have reread them many times (often enough that I recognized immediately that the captions and the cross sectional floor plan of the Roxy on the site must have been ‘borrowed’ from Hall’s book). I had to wait a long time to get my own copy since it was not available locally, even several years ago. While in California I left an order with a book store in Pasadena which specializes in searching for out of print and hard to find publications. Approximately a year later they contacted me that they had a used copy of the first edition available. I’m sure there are many book stores that offer a similar service.
The big money people have figured out a way to keep their other interests from being involved in land and property tax disputes by establishing blind corporations for their real estate. e.g. XXX Anywhere St. Corp., a company which would only exist for a specific address and the building(s) thereon. If it eventually proves to be a liability, they then can just walk away from it and their other assets cannot be touched. (and the corporation is dissolved, leaving them free to establish yet a new dummy company when they start another venture). Guess who picks up the tab for that every time.
Although I haven’t lived in Montreal in quite some time, I seem to recall that the Capitol theatre was located to the left of Dunn’s restaurant, a couple of doors down. The photo doesn’t show it and either it was already demolished or is out of view. It does clearly show the Cinema de Paris to the right of Dunn’s, so I can only assume that the Cinema de Paris relocated from the location shown in the post card view of the Ste Catherine street scene or it’s a case of artistic licence in the post card rendering.
bd, if you scroll up a few entries back, you’ll see a link to ‘Virtual Heritage Winnipeg’. On that site there is a 360 degree photo tour of the Met. It is in sad shape to say the least, but not a total ruin….yet!….or at least it wasn’t on the date when the photos were taken. Closer inspection might reveal many more deficiencies. It’s difficult to say just looking at the pics. One thing is certain, it needs a lot of TLC. All the original detail has been painted over. Much of the ornamental plasterwork needs restoration. All the draperies and furnishings are gone. Obviously Famous Players or whoever stripped the place of all usable film equipment. In other words it’s going to take a lot of money to bring it back to the way it was, or something approaching it. Assuming that money can be found, then comes the problem of making it a viable operation once again. The city already operates two theatres, the Walker aka Burton Cummings and the Pantages Playhouse. The Pantages seems to be the more successful of the two currently and doesn’t have many ‘dark’ nights. The Walker, on the other hand, is inoperative much of the time and is still searching for money to complete the restoration efforts that were begun in 1991.
I’d like to contact the people who have taken over the Park theatre. It deserves a listing on Cinema Treasures too, but currently there is insufficient information about its past history and future plan to list it yet.
OMG, Bonita Granville. Now there’s a blast from the past. I hadn’t heard anything of her in ages. I had the impression that her show business career just faded away. Whatever became of her anyway?
Address correction….should be 8823 Boul. St Laurent, otherwise MapQuest is stumped. As with everything in the province of Quebec these days only the french spelling is acceptable. Go figure.