Showing 151 - 175 of 232 comments
Harmony was indeed a budget line of Columbia records, consisting primarily of reissues of older Columbia product. They didn’t always use the same album artwork throughout the life of the re-release.
Whatever became of Julius LaRosa anyway? I saw him in the stage show at the Chicago theater shortly after his much publicized on-air firing by Godfrey. Other than LaRosa, I can’t recall a single thing about the rest of the stage show now after all this time.
Lyn Larsen has made several recordings performing on the Paramount organ which now resides in the Century II Convention Center in Wichita KS.
Patsy, I think countless cities and towns have (or had) such a landmark clock as a favorite meeting place. In this area it was a giant four dial, mahogany cased clock in the center of the main floor of a department store. A common phrase heard was ‘meet me under the clock at Eaton’s’ and you’d often see people just standing and waiting in that area of the store. I’d love to know whatever happened to it since the store was demolished a couple of years ago for the construction of a new downtown arena. I know many artifacts from the building were salvaged and sold and I’m sure it was too.
The Music Hall could hardly be considered a ‘downtown’ theater. The location on Danforth Av, east of Broadview, is a fair distance east of the center of town and across the Don Valley. Nevertheless, it’s easily accessible from the Broadview subway station on the Bloor-Danforth line.
Laube’s Old Spain was located in a building closer to Shea’s Buffalo theater. It closed a number of years ago. After a fire destroyed the original Swiss Chalet restaurant building across the street, they relocated to the premises once occupied by Laube’s. At last report they were still operating there. The Great Lakes/Paramount building bears no hint that it once had been a theater. It was stripped of every detail when it was converted to other use.
Hmph. Perhaps they should leave the organ alone and relocate the bunch from American Idol to the ‘animal room’ and do everyone a favor.
Patsy, ……..and it is bigger than a bread box too :) One can only hope that it didn’t suffer the fate of the organ from Shea’s Hippodrome in Toronto. That organ was reinstalled in Maple Leaf Gardens. Later, in a fit of pique, Gardens management took a fire axe to the console and destroyed it. The rest of the organ eventually ended up in Casa Loma where it is still in use today, but with a console from yet another theater organ. (see also the damage done to the Garrick theater organ in Winnipeg while it was in storage). Strange how things happen.
There’s as much chance of the original Tiffany fixtures being returned to the North Park as there is of the Frank Lloyd Wright ‘Tree of Life’ windows and original furnishings being returned to the Darwin Martin house, but you never know. Don’t forget you’re talking about a city that didn’t utter a murmur of protest when the Wright signature Larkin headquarters office building was demolished, something they’ll never live down now.
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society might be a place that would have additional information on the film exchange buildings and perhaps even the light fixtures.
Someone recently asked where in Albany the repossessed Wurlitzer organ from the North Park ended up. That’s another question that has yet to be answered.
Now that’s a blast from the past. On my very first trip to Chicago I arrived at that bus terminal and took the long escalator ride up from below street level. The first Chicago streetscape that I encountered was of that strip of Randolph St. It was even more spectacular since it was at night and I was dazzled by all the lights. (OK, so I was an impressionable teen). I can’t recall if my uncle had parked his car in the garage next to the terminal or not, but for some reason the Woods marquee still sticks in my mind even now.
I am happy to report that ‘Cinema Treasures’ has made it as far as the frozen north. I found it sitting prominently on the shelf in the theater arts section of one of this area’s better book stores. None of this “we’ll order it for you” or anything like that. Out of curiosity I will have to see if any of the local Chapters outlets has followed through.
While I realize that USA Today is an American publication I do wish someone would incorporate a few of the remaining Canadian movie palaces on such a list. Frequently they were designed and built by the same architects as those in the US.
Strangely enough there are Tiffany style hanging fixtures at the rear of the North Park (around the concession area) but these are definite fakes. Unless they have been removed quite recently, they are still there.
The Walker/Odeon/Walker/Burton Cummings theater is listed on Cinema Treasures under Burton Cummings Performing Arts Center. See that listing for further comments on that theater.
Thanks for the update PT. Any additional information would be welcome.
The following info was gleaned from a book on pipe organs in the province, with a brief section on theater organs.
The Garrick opened Sept 8, 1928, with an address by the mayor which was broadcast on a local radio station. The Wicks organ was reported as having 3 manuals and 150 stops (actually 12 ranks with a lot of unification) plus percussion and chimes. It took 3 months to build at the factory and another six weeks to install in the Garrick. Extensive structural changes to the theater were necessary to accomodate the organ.The console was finished in ivory, decorated in gold and shaded with brown. Visiting organist Margaret Earl accompanied the premiere film ‘Passion’ starring Emil Jannings and Pola Negri. It then goes on claiming “no conception of it’s powers is possible from the previous hearing of organs in this city as nothing like it has been installed before….” Finally it says that the organ was dismantled by inexperienced people in 1953, suffering considerable pipe damage and then placed in storage. It makes sense that the organ was stored at the Walker as there was far more room under that stage than at the Garrick and they were both owned by Odeon. Also the theater was about to be divided and they would have needed the room.
Any additonal info is much appreciated.
I’ll have to check on the theater organ broadcasts from Australia on the internet. There is nothing on the air locally. Occasionally ‘Pipe Dreams’ features theater organs on their program, but I can only get that off the net, since we’re too far away from any NPR station here… unless I want to hike it to Minneapolis, about 450 miles away.
It would seem that Cineplex Odeon took better care of the Garrick than they did with the Odeon-Walker nearby. Much of the interior decor, seats and carpeting is exactly the same as it was when they remodelled that theater in the late 40’s, and it has a definite down-at-the-heels look to it. I’m sure that the Walker was a money loser for them in later years being such a large single screen theater, hence the lack of maintenance and updating.
Visualize the Garrick 1 & 2 as a single screen house with deep flamingo pink walls and ceiling, teal blue accents and upholstered seats in a dark plum color. It sounds as if they salvaged those yard spotlights from out of the cabinets on either side of the organ console to focus on the screen, since that’s what was in them.
Had to run back and check the pics on that site again. Yes, it looks similar to what I recall. The ceiling was divided into bays with shallow beams spanning the auditorium. There were matching shallow square pillars along the side walls with a wall fixture on each pillar. The overhead beams had indirect lighting concealed in a trough on each ceiling beam. It was one of those ceiling bays that collapsed shortly after the early 50’s remodelling. After it was repaired, if you looked closely you could see where it had been replastered. I never sat under that section after that.
HMcK. Agnes Forsythe was indeed an accomplished musician. She was well known locally as a performing artist, appearing at the Garrick and other theaters, on radio and in recital, as well as an accompanist. I believe that she was also a church organist. Unfortunately, the people that I knew who would have known her closely are no longer around, so I can’t give you more details than that. If I find out more I’ll post the info.
The Garrick, post 1950’s remodelling, didn’t have a particularly spectacular interior. In fact it was fairly plain. The predominant colors were painted flamingo pink and teal blue. If there was a stage house, it wasn’t apparent since the screen was fairly close to the front of the stage apron immediately behind the curtain. The organ console was ivory with gold accents, along with the silly boxes with colored lights inside on either side of it. The console was on the floor in the center below the screen. It was always in plain sight so I don’t believe it was ever on a lift. The organ grilles on either side of the proscenium were fairly plain also. Wall lights and trough fixtures provided the lighting. There was no chandelier.
Because of the layout, you walked up ramps and arrived at the cross aisle. From there you could walk down aisles to the orchestra seats or up to the loge/mezzanine seats. I can’t recall how many aisles there were up and down..at least two, maybe more. A short flight of stairs went from the lobby down to the restrooms. The current photos of the lobby/concession area look vaguely like the layout as it was then, although it was better looking than that.
The virtual heritage site is great (in fact I spent a lot of time scrolling through it…easy to get side tracked), but I couldn’t get it to download the 360 either. Certainly the view of the Met auditorium is a vintage one.
What function is CentreVenture supposed to serve anyway, or is it one of those bodies that lives in name only, doing little else?
Where were Cinemas 3 & 4 located? My days in the Garrick were when it was a single screen house. It had a forerunner of stadium seating with a cross aisle dividing the loges from the orchestra. Loge seating was more expensive. There had been one remodelling back in the early 50’s. New seats were installed and true to the times the organ console was sandwiched between two triangular boxes containg ripple glass and lit with multi colored lights inside. Shortly after the work had been completed the ceiling caved in. I believe the theater was empty at the time, so no injuries were reported, the ceiling was replastered and the theater reopened. You always knew if there was going to be an organ performance during intermission when the organist came down the aisle and disappeared through one of the exit doors next to the screen. Then you’d hear the blower start up. I gather that the blower controls were backstage.
If there was more than the blue and white bulbs in the cove, they were not used. The only colors used were blue or white. There must have been (or still is) a full lighting board for control of the auditorium lighting as well as stage lighting, including dimmers for the house lights. The wall sconces did have several bulbs in each fixture on at least two circuits. Small amber bulbs in the lower part of the fixture remained on during performances. The candle portion of the sconces with clear bulbs lit up during intermissions, etc. I believe the main chandelier was totally dark during performances so I’m not sure if it contained more than one circuit of lamps or not. There were aisle lights on the end rows of seats, spaced out down the length of the aisles.
The seats might have been vintage, but they were replaced at least once as I recall and not original to 1920.
When I mentioned fittings I was referring to projection equipment, screen and sound system. As I mentioned previously there had been a complete set of stage draperies including teasers, legs, etc. It sounds as if these are gone. The stage was used occasionally in the FP years for live presentations so the stage lights were still there at that time. I don’t know if lighting control was moved up to the projection booth or not.
What on earth are those two structures on either side of the auditorium between the stage and the side aisle seats?
Well at least that’s some consolation knowing that the building is secured, heated and the leaking roof replaced (the downfall of many closed theaters). Since unused theaters are notoriously dark all the time, it’s a perfect venue for mold, mildew and even mushrooms to grow as well as plasterwork to deteriorate. The damaged decorative work could be replicated since the matching detail on the opposite side is still there. I’m assuming that FP stripped the place of all equipment before they departed. I’m a little surprised that most other fittings are still inside. Those are usually the first things that magically disappear.
The area where the current ticket lobby is located was once a store front matching the one at the other end under the marquee. Whether or not these areas were always stores or whether they were used by the theater, I do not know. Originally the box office was located dead center under the original marquee with doors into the theater on either side of it. I seem to think they were brass and glass.
It may take a grass roots effort to save the Met, since the city is already heavily involved in owning and maintaining, (they say), the Pantages Playhouse as well as the Walker aka Burton Cummings. Things are moving very slowly at the Walker as far as restoration is concerned, so I’m sure the last thing they want is another house that needs extensive work and could possibly be dark much of the time too. I’m not sure how often the Pantages is booked either. Still, with every other downtown theater now history (and there were quite a few), it just might be worth the effort. Out of curiosity, when was the last time you were in it and what shape is it in?
As I recall there were at least two colors in the cove lighting. White during intermissions and blue (left on) while movies were being shown. The wall sconces were on at least two circuits because they were partially illuminated during movies. The fixtures hanging in the opera boxes had blue lights in them too and were left on during presentations. I believe that there were lights on the floor in the boxes because the draperies covering the organ grilles were lit from below.(like footlights). There was also a set of footlights on the stage apron as well as a complete lighting grid (leftover from the days of live stage presentations). There was (at one time a
full set of stage curtains. The set closest to the screen were opened and closed during presentations. The main (gold?) curtain was rarely used in later years but I recall it being used occasionally. The main curtain would open followed by the curtain covering the screen (that must have been the whitish one. It could take on whatever color lights that shone on it). I’m not sure if there ever
was a fire curtain or not. At one time there was an orchestra pit but I think it had been filled in. The organ console sat in the pit
as well but I don’t know if it was on a lift or not. I don’t ever remember the organ being there. Famous Players abandoned live stage shows early on and the Met was only used as a first run house for movies.
Is Friends of the Met still active? As the last remaining movie palace in the city and with the city dragging it’s feet on anything to do with, maybe it’s time to shake things up again.