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Along with the Seneca Street “Geneva” and the demolished Exchange St. “Temple”, the Regent was one of the 3 Schine Chain theaters in Geneva. This was actually Schine’s first Geneva house and they operated out of it during the renovation of the former Smith’s Opera House into the Schine Geneva Theater. That magnificent Italianate garden atmospheric still stands beautifully restored today.
Sadly, insensitive plexing cost this theater most of its architectural elements and charachter. I recall that in the balcony screen area one can see a lot of decorative plaster and some other elements behind the screen. (Yes, that’s what we theater nuts do when we get into these plexed theaters — peek behind curtains, screens and the like!) Although all are coated with several layers of paint.
Hopefully, some kind of respectful reuse can be found. It is probably too late to return it to its original design and style. But i do hope that those who spearhead this project will at least attempt to research and replace some of the original decor. Just let me know when you need some help, Cara Leigh! : )
Just had a wonderful chat with Donald Buckley who is very involved with the Rescue the Russell efforts. He told me that they are launching on a $3 million capital campaign and they have used a $250,000 state grant to re-do the lobby area. The auditorium still needs MUCH work to address water/moisture damage and it will be a huge undertaking to restore the original paint colors after a horrendous job by the Panther Corp who bought the theater from Schine.
Check out photos and ways to help this outstanding example of atmospheric architecture at http://www.rosemaryclooney.com/russell/
The rainbow is real?? Wow! I thought it was just an artful addition to the Curt Teich postcard. I don’t think i have ever seen an atmospheric with a rainbow. And to think this was a SCHINE theater too! How very special…. Thanks Hank : )
If you send photos to Uptown Adviser, please indicate if you would be willing to have them published in a tribute issue of Theatre Historical Society’s MARQUEE magazine which will be dedicated to Joe DuciBella. We will give line credit to any photo selected for publication. Many thanks,
Karen Colizzi Noonan
Thanks for the current view of this former SCHINE theater in Lima.
Does anyone know the current status of the Russell project? Can anyone suggest a person to contact for more information? The email address on the theater’s website is invalid. Thanks.
We at Theatre Historical Society mourn the loss of Joe DuciBella. In 1973 Joe was named THS MEMBER OF THE YEAR in recognition of his efforts in founding THS and for his leadership in the critical early years. In 2005, Joe received the prestigious “Br. Andrew President’s Award” in recognition of his 36 years commitment and service to THS and its future.
We all share the sadness of his loss – we also share in the joy of the legacy left to us in the form of his encyclopedic knowledge and deep dedication to the organization that he helped Bro. Andrew and others to form.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose “history” Patsy! While none of us would ever consider the first duplex or triplex “historic theaters” – they indeed are part of the evolution of the history of motion picture exhibition. And it really irritates me to see that movies that I saw the FIRST TIME AROUND are now popping up on AMC or being remade! How can they be “movie classics”.. isn’t that reserved for OLD movies??!! If they are “old movies”… then what am I??
His work is truly amazing. One day i will scrape together enough cash to actually purchase one for my very own! In the meantime, i cherish my copy of the Wilhelm/Kinerk book as well as the previous Cone book.
The Colonia is a treat, definitely worth the detour if you find yourself in the proximity, even with the sad twinning. The exterior is certainly a photo op for a any theater buff.
Unfortunately, the balcony area is closed off and the conduit for the HVAC is run over the seating area. The seats are still there and the end caps are very decorative. When in the balcony, you can see much of the original Eberson detail – running bands of color from the procenium to the booth, plaster floral cascades on the walls. Such a shame!
Wow! Email me at
Tom, Please email me at
For years, the Senator has been the “poster child” for single screen historic theaters. And now this?! Something has to be done, the Senator is too important to lose! Hopefully the city of Baltimore recognizes the value and importance of this wonderful theater and steps in with some kind of rescue plan.
I wasn’t aware that the Norwalk Theater is still considered a non profit venture. Is it? If so, it would be a great idea to post your 501c3 status or other IRS info on your site so that people can know the tax advantages of a donation. If you are indeed a for-profit entity, i see little hope of garnering “donations” to your cause.
The Norwalk was an excellent example of Eberson’s grecian deco treatment. Please do all you can to retain the design and flavor of this fabulous theater. It has an important place in the fabric of American Theater History and deserves to be preserved as its designer and architect intended! Town & Country was always very aware of their treasure and the responsibility that it entailed. I do hope that as the new owners you will continue that stewardship.
The Lockport 8 was dingy, dirty, run-down and ill-cared for. The Palace is a GREAT venue to see a movie… just the way a movie SHOULD be seen!
MANY thanks to all who inquired! Most of the records have now found good homes with dedicated collectors who will treasure them as much as their original owners. THANK YOU!
Many thanks! I will check with my friends at RTOS (Rochester NY) and see what they might suggest.
Many thanks Ken. You are a WEALTH of knowledge! Since the Colonia was part of the Fox chain (as mentioned in the first posting), that’s probably where Schine picked it up.
Yes, i’m sure it was a part of the Schine Chain. And to my knowledge the Smalley chain was one of the few that Schine didn’t ever take over. If anyone knows differently, please let me know. It’s hard to keep track of all their acquisitions. I have a great photo in my collection of Hazel Smalley and Sid Kallet (among others) at a 20th Century Fox party. Along with Schine they were all important local chains.
While this is an Eberson original decor, any original scheme has been completely obliterated in the lobby and auditorium. (The facade still shows a lot of it, including the great exterior doors) But if you go to the balcony (which is closed and NOT accessible) you will see much of Eberson’s deco/art moderne work. It was not an atmospheric but one of this “running bands” designs that had color bands running from the stage to the back of the balcony. There were faux side boxes with some rather fancy ornamentation. All of this has been hidden since they put up the false ceiling and ran ductwork for the ventillation all across the balcony area.
Still, the representation of the Colonia in Davis Cone’s book really captures the essence of this cute little deco house.
: D “That’s the most ridiculous ting i’ve ever hoyd!”
This theater was part of the Schine chain at one point. Just FYI
Thanks Erin. I had the pleasure of visiting the Prytania and Mr. Rene Brunet in mid-October and found him to be charming and gracious (as was everyone i encountered in New Orleans!) and so very proud of his theater. I wish we’d had more time to chat, but we did look at the many vintage photos on the lobby walls and he had a great story for almost every one of them. The theater itself has obviously been severely redecorated (inside and out) since it’s inception, but through the photos Mr. Brunet was able to show me the original design. He’s had such a long and storied role with so many other great New Orleans theaters. True Southern treasures: the Prytania AND Mr. Brunet!
What will be the focus of the theater now? Are films still going to be offered? Local shows? National names such as John Berry?
This theater is one of the great existing Eberson deco theaters, so the interior design is really a valuable asset to the theater. There aren’t too many Eberson decos still in operation so it is hoped that the new owners will retain and maintain Eberson’s original idea for this great house!
Best wishes for success!
Patsy: Later in his life and practice, father and son often joined forces to work on projects. There are quite a few theaters that list both John and Drew as the architects of record.
I have visited it as it was part of the Schine Theater Chain and it really is a lovely little place. It has been quite altered inside due to a couple of floodings and to create more servicable areas to meet the theaters needs. But the facade and marquee are still quite nice and they have started a “Walk of Fame” in front of the theater. Of course Ray Evans is the first and biggest star!