Showing 126 - 150 of 217 comments
I finally saw the inside of the Rockne for the first time on May 23,2004. The Rev. A.J. Griffin, I felt, found it difficult to believe anyone could be interested in old theatres but he eventually tried to understand my passion. The inside of the Rockne today looks nothing like a movie theatre. The seats have been removed and church pews installed. A lowered false ceiling completely hides the balcony. I believe a false wall was installed along one side of the auditorium. The wall separates the church kitchen from the sanctuary. The Rockne showed its last movie in 1979 and remained vacant until taken over by the church in 1985.
I had the pleasure of seeing the inside of the Avalon when it was The Miracle Temple Church. I would guess it was in around 1980, and on a Palm Sunday. The then church was nearly full and although my wife and I were the the only non blacks in attendance, the congregation made us feel extremely welcome. I revisited the theatre on May 23, 2004, only to find it completly boarded up and displaying a for sale sign. Anyone interested? The phone number is 773 721-9640.
I drove by the Portage theatre on May 22,2004 and it’s definitely not open for business.
One of the few northside B&K theatres in which I never saw a movie, but about ten years ago I saw the inside and it’s a typical spectacular B&K movie palace. Unfortuately the marquee and huge vertical have been removed but the auditorium and lobby remain intact. The staff were very friendly and let me look around even though nothing was scheduled that day. The Gateway is definitely worth a visit and probably in the best shape of any of the former B&K theatres in Chicago except for perhaps the Chicago theatre
Sheer luck got me inside this theatre. Some people were rehearsing for a performance on Saturday May 15, 2004, so I walked inside. A lovely art deco theatre with a nice balcony and a seating capacity of about 1200. The theatre was built in 1938. The art deco chandalier in the foyer area is very impressive. Although some staff members were present during my self tour, most seemed to know very little about this lovely theatre which makes their employment and their productions possible.
I just saw this theatre on May l6, 2004. The funding for the restoration came from city funds. Much of the restoration monies were spent to widen the theatre to provide access to the additional multi-functional facilty built behind the theatre. The addition can be used for a variety of functions including movies. A removable platform which is used when movies are shown provides stadium style seating for 100. When the platform is removed the floor is level and options are unlimited. A wedding reception has already been booked for September.
The theatre was formerly owned by Great Easten Theatres ( they also own the Paramount in Fremont, Ohio) who operated the theatre until 1996. It stood empty from then until its grand opening on May 8, 2004.
The lobby, exterior and the marquee were all beautifully restored and while the auditorium is nice, there’s not a lot of visable features to remind you you’re in a 55 year old theatre. The walls have all been covered with pleated sound curtains. The six or seven beautiful deco sconces on each side of the auditorium, however, help to beautify the uninspiring sound curtains.
The Maumee has a chance of survival because of the city ownership. The 12 screen multiplex a mile down the road would, unfortuantely, make private ownership impossible. Not too many miles down the road from the first multiplex is an even bigger multiplex.
Yes, It’s true the Music Hall is open again. I talked to a staff member who informed me the theatre re-opened about 5 weeks ago. It’s still part of the Festival group. Closure was due to the ceiling being in need of some major repair. Anyway, the repairs have been completed and Toronto’s largest single screen theatre is back in operation. Unlike the Bloor these owners didn’t wait for the ceiling actually fall.
If any of the theatre enthusiasts decide to visit the Music Hall, arrive in the area hungry. The theatre is located in the heart of Toronto’s Greek Town which is loaded with many terrific restaurants.
I saw this theatre as well as the other two theatres operated by BCRAC all in the same weekend about 4 years ago. Saw movies in two of them. The Sayre (click on the above web site for pictures of all three) is the largest and most impressive of the three. Someday soon I’ll submit some details.
I tried to see the inside of the Oak during a visit to Chicago during the early 1980’s. Unfortunately, the ticket person wouldn’t let me inside without purchasing a ticket even though I assured him I’d be only five minutes and was only interested in seeing the theatre. I then asked if I could just see the foyer area. This request was also met with a “No tickie, no lookie.” I finally asked if I bought a ticket would I be able to see any of the theatre’s architecture while the movie was showing. He informed me it was very dark and that I probably wouldn’t see anything. I gave up and never did get to see the inside of the Oak before its demolition.
I remember there was a great old fashioned ice cream parlour less than a block away. Anyone know if it’s still there?
I first saw this theatre’s exterior a few years ago and again drove by it in April, 2004. I got all excited that I’d finally see the inside of the theatre because according to the marquee a Sunday matinee was playing. No such luck, either the matinee had just finished or no one showed up and the matinee was cancelled. I can, however, state that the exterior looks exactly like the picture. If the inside is as nice as the outside, it will definitely be worth another try to see the inside.
One of the additional joys of visiting theatres is meeting the owners or managers. Without fail, they have many colorful and amusing tales to pass along. I’ll share this one with you.
When the Mattla’s took over the theatre they “inherited” an elderly very hard of hearing gentleman who serviced the candy counter. Before the Mattla’s recently enclosed the auditorium, there was simply a half wall between the candy counter and the auditorium. It seemed when “little Johnny or Billy” took too long choosing a candy selection, the elderly gentleman would bellow out, “What Do You Want” This famous line, “What Do You Want” was heard many times throughout every movie. I’m not sure if this line was appropiate dialogue in all the situations in the movie, but I’ll bet many time it fit well.
The story was a source of amusement for me and no doubt many of the patrons. I wonder if the patron bet each other who was at the candy couter when, What Do You Want" roared through the auditorium.
My memory could be wrong but when I talked to the owner of the Riviera in the l980’s, I believe he said the chandelier came from the Shea’s Bailey Theatre. If I wrong, please let me know.
The last time I was in the Riviera was 1980, they’d have an organ recital and then show a movie— all for $2.00. I was smoking in those days and I remember you could smoke in the balcony. In the early eighties comedy clubs abounded everywhere, and the Riviera started having a movie and a comic routine on the same bill.
I passed by the Riviera about 6 months ago and “she” still put forth an impressive exterior
The first time I was in the Music Box was 1961 when I saw “A Rasin In The Sun”. As a young person I was never impressed by the Music Box, but remember, this is Chicago which had neighborhood theatres of 5000 seats (The Uptown) and many neighborhood theatres that sat over 3000. I also found its open vertical like the Covent theatre looking rather unfinished.
However since 1961, I’ve been in a lot of mega-plexes and in comparison The Music Box looks great. I re-visited The Music Box about 15 years ago and it looked terrific. Although I’m still not fond of its open vertical and it’s lack of a balcony, I wish I owned it.
In 196l, The Southport area was certainly not prime Chicago real estate but luckily the neighborhood started to become trendy and The Music Box sucessfully re-opened.
Ah! if we could only predict real estate trends we all be wealthy and own prospering theatres.
Until its re-opening, The Music Box was never a first run house. All major releases premiered at downtown theatres (there were a few exceptions like “B” horror films) and then went to 2nd run movie palaces like the Uptown, Century, Gateway, and other 2000+ seat theatres. Along with the “A” film previously released downtown you got to see a “B” film for one admission. Smaller neighborhood independant theatres like the Music Box got films after they played at the large neighborhood houses for one to two weeks.
Just in case you want a view of the Hollywood’s exterior, its address is; 39 West Main St., Gowanda, N.Y.
Although I first discovered the Campus theatre about eight years ago, I just saw the inside of the Campus theatre on April 10, 2004. The marquee has recently been refurbished and to quote the projectionist, “It shines so bright now that you can see the cracks in the mortar of the building across the street.” A lovely theatre with mostly art deco fixtures and a beautiful stainless steel ticket booth. The two staircases which lead up to the two washrooms (one on each side of the projection booth) have beautiful curved walnut wainscotting. The warmth of the rich walnut offsets the sometime cold appearance that art deco motifs can exhibit.
The Steifel family (the previous owners) also owned the Roxy Theatre in Lock Haven until it was sold to the current owners about ten years ago. I also believe they owned other theatres.
The last 200 or so seats have been removed and an elevated platform installed with table and chair seating and the rear portion and sofa seating at the front portion.
Most of the films shown are I.F.C. or as menioned above vintage Hollywood classics. Dr. Faden, a Bucknell University film professor, is the executive director of the non-profit group which now ownes and operates the Campus Theatre.
Thanks Roger and Patrick for solving the mystery theatre for me. I found a picture of this theatre four years ago while looking around in a closed movie palace in Pennsylvania. It had been sent to the theatre owner in PA. but without any notation as to its location. The photo was taken during the time period when the theatre was showing “King Of The Hill” in the evenings and “The Rocky Horror” on Saturdays at midnight. Anyone know if this was a profitable single screen theatre?
I saw this theatre for the first time in February of 2004. It has a nice art deco exterior and was carved up into 3 small screening auditoriums. The theatre doesn’t have a balcony. It’s owned by the same businessman who ownes the multiplex in Geneseo, N.Y.
Hi Roger, the website you supplied is for the Rutland Paramount which I know is open and have seen. Anyway, now that I’ve confused everyone, I’ll try to summerize without confusion. Rutland Paramount open and beautifully restored; Barre Paramount open, Brattleboro Paramount demolished.
The space occupied by the theatres is now a nightclub. Sorry can’t remember the name. Very close to the former Skyline hotel (now called the International Plaza) was a six or eight plex which is also closed. The entire space of that multi-plex is now occupied by a very popular Montreal based steak house called Le Bifteck
Thanks Roger, too many “B”’s. The demolsihed Paramount I was thinking about was in Brattleboro. I enjoyed seeing the photo’s on the website.
Another theatre website lists this theatre as demolished. I know it was in rough shape in 1989, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it has been torn down. Anyone know for sure? Roger, how about you, this is your part of the country.
I had the pleasure of seeing this theatre in the fall of 2000. Luckily, a Christian singer was performing there that evening so the theatre was open. I owe CheerfulHeart or some other Christian promoter many thanks because the singer’s performance was probably the only reason the theatre was open that Saturday. I also owe many thanks to the couple who got married that same day. Their wedding reception gave me access to the wonderful ballroom. We then walked across the street for a visual tour of the State. The State, though not quite as impreessive as the Paramount, is still an impressive theatre. There’s not many cities the size of Anderson that can boast having two open palaces. A trip to Anderson is well worth while.
I saw theatre in 1989 while looking for a different Paramount which quite another lenghty story. Anyway, this theatre had been twined. Sorry, might notes don’t tell me much else except the person who was telling me all about the theatre said, “It’s the only Paramount in Vermont.” I guess he didn’t travel much because I knew of at least one other in Vermont at that time — it being the Paramount in Brattleboro
The listing of 1100 seats is what the theatre seats today. Several rows of seating have been removed to provide more leg room. When I was there in 1988, the seating capacity was 1500. I was informed that even when the seating was at 1500 some seats had already been removed. The official website does show a nice interior shot.
A newer, even bigger multi-plex with all stadium style seating, (located only about a mile and a half away) was the culprit. I believe, but not positive, both complexes were owned by Cineplex-Odeon. The new multi-plex is called the Queensway and is a free standing structure with its own huge parking lot. It was probably built to save the high rent plus percentage of the gross which malls charge their tennants. Despite its $13.50 admission fee and very overpriced confectionaries, the Queensway is usually very busy.