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This letter is informative, as it shows Dodge Manufacturing of Mishawaka trying it’s hand at providing music for theaters via a type of commercial phonograph system, capable of being heard throughout the auditorium. It also indicates that at the time, the theater also possessed a Kimball theater organ, as the Lerner in Elkhart does today.
Unfortunately, the State Theater recently closed again, according to an article in The Preface (I.U.S.B. student newspaper). It may need a group of people with combined resources (or a willing financial donor interested in preserving this facility) to break it out of it’s closed-open-closed cycle it seems trapped in.
Once the restoration project has progressed far enough, the New York Theater Organ Society will begin the process of re-installing a Robert Morton Wonder organ into the Kings. The console used will be the original which was installed the year the theater opened in 1929. With the King’s smaller mezzanine/large main floor seating area, the Morton will have a nicely open area to speak into – it should be a “Wonder” to hear it!
The Avon Theater was demolished in November of 2012. Luckily, the Terra-cotta portion of the from facade were saved for reuse on or in another building.
A lot of the voicing for the Kimball organ was done by Clark Wilson, house organist at the Ohio Theater in Columbus.He is an excellent musician, and last March he played this instrument, accompanying a silent movie presentation. He preceded that with a series of numbers on the organ to show off it’s capabilities. I hope he returns to play it again!
Last night 6/8 the State had it’s first film showing in a number of years. The Rocky Horror Picture show was screened at 9p.m. followed by a second showing at midnight; the midnight show was sold out! There is a story on this at WNDU.com
The State Theater has been cleaned up and the owners are planning to host events as soon as possible. A group called Ignite Michiana held the first event there March 28th. An article in the Preface, I.U. South Bend’s student newspaper, on April 3rd; it gives more details about the State Theater and Ignite Michiana.
In it’s time as the Palace theater, this theater is one of 3 theaters in South Bend which shared the premier of “Knute Rockne All American”. The Granada theater directly across the street from the Palace, and the Colfax theater, located around the corner from the Palace on W. Colfax were the other two. A fourth theater to house the films' premier was the Fox theater in Philadelphia,( as mentioned in the Cinema Treasures article on that theater). The Morris is the only one of the four to survive today.
The architect of the Capitol theater may have been Henry Newhouse of Chicago, as he designed the South Bend State (orig. Blackstone) theater.You can see some period and current photos of the State theater at :dtsbpitch.com
You can pitch any idea you might have for this theater by this website:dtsbpitch.com. Also , on this website it lists the State (Blackstone) architect as Henry Newhouse from Chicago.
WNDU ch 16 in South Bend reported today that the State theater owners are going to have a contest to decide what they will do with the landmark theater. You can view the report on WNDU.com Perhaps they might include a theater organ?? (hint!) :–) == Sam ==
The Sandusky State theater had a Page 3/8 organ installed in 1928. This organ’s main cable was accidentally cut during remodeling work. It was unplayable as of 2005. However, the pipes are being attended to, and the cable is being readied for reconnection. The console is going for restoration to a qualified shop in Indiana. It is expected that the Page will be back in full use sometime later this year.
Oops . I just remembered this! :–)I had visited my mom in a nursing home recently, then went to lunch. I ran into two of her cousins, who also had just been there just before me. One of them recalled being a girl of 15, during WWII, and taking the bus from her small town to South Bend, where they went to the State. While they were in the theatre, they heard a bunch of noise outside the theater. They eventually went outside to see what the noise was. There were hundreds and hundreds of people all up and down Michigan st, cheering and holding up signs— WWII had ended!! They thought they might miss the bus home, but her aunt found her in the crowd, and they stayed there for the celebration in front of the State! She ended up getting a hugs ( and some kisses too!) from quite a few servicemen in uniform! She said that is one memory she will never forget of the State theater!
The State theater has another new owner.A group called Banko Investement intends to announce further plans for the building in about 11 weeks. This will follow the completion of a study of the theater just started today by students from the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago. There is more on this as reported today on WNDU ch.16. ( see WNDU.com) for complete story. This theater is also a near twin to the Capitol theater (1921-1970), in Cincinnati. Will post further updates on this as I become aware of them.
The Cincinnati Enquirer did an article Nov. 13 of last year entitled “Taft theater sole survivor of bygone era. In that article, they included a set of photos which showed many of that cities old palaces, including this one. Also, you can get a good idea of what the exterior of the Capitol looked like, by viewing the South Bend, Ind. State theater, here on Cinema Treasures. The 2 are so similar,they could almost be twins. I Accessed the article by using Cincinnati.com, and then typed in Keith Albee theater in the site’s search engine. If it works o.k., you should find a nice set of historical shots of a number of this city’s lost movie palaces. Happy New Year! == Sam ==
Chris, I wish you and Dixon all the best in bringing this one back to life. With so many of Cincinnati’s theaters facing the wrecking ball with the demise of R.K.O, this venue is a true survivor. Because of this, it becomes all the more valuable. You might check if it had a pipe organ at one time. If so you could check with the American Pipe Organ Society (ATOS), as well as that group’s Ohio chapter. They would be willing to help with research on this. A grand theater organ would make the Regal all the more popular. Again, best wishes for success!! == Sam ==
A great example of what made the grand movie palaces what they were. Too bad this one had to go.Just another case of “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. The color photo at the top of this article is a great shot.
As mentioned on this site’s listing for the South Bend (Ind.) Granada theater, the architect for both theaters was K.M. Vitzhum, who also designed several buildings in Chicago, including a bank, and another building 24 stories tall.
Nice panoramic views of this theater on link listed by cinemaporamas! I can see why you would want to save this one. Some blue lighting along the ceiling edges, and some nice artificial greenery would enhance the courtyard feel that John Eberson was do adept at creating.
The WurliTzer from the Colfax was sold in 1963 to Gunther H. Hille of Canfeild Ohio.He installed it in his home, and played it until he passed away. His family then donated it to the American Organ Institute, of the University Of Oklahoma, Norman,Ok. More information is available on their website
I was surprised today to find some color interior shots of this theater, taken in 1971. They were made during the removal of the 3 manual WurliTzer. I found them on www.theaterorgans.com website. I worked my way through there opus list, the first listing for South Bend is in l921. Once I found that, I clicked on South Bend, and the Granada was shown. Click on Granada (if needed) and you should be able to view these shots. As I said, it was nice to run across these, as interior photos of this this one are hard to find. == Sam ==
The State could make a great home for a theater organ. I believe the stage are would be large enough to accommodate such a unit. I am not sure if there are organ vaults in place, but if so, that much the better. I am thinking along the lines of the Senate theater in Detroit, home to the Fisher theater’s one of a kind Wurlitzer. After being in use in recent years, the State is at least in fair shape.
This theater’s Wurlitzer “Crawford” (or Fox) special is based on the one which was installed in the N.Y. Paramount. That instrument proved so popular that Fox ordered one for the S.F., St. Louis, and Detroit theaters. The one from this theater survives intact at Disney’s El Capitan theater, in Hollywood, Ca. It is played frequently, and receives very good care. ==== Remember the S.F Fox! ====
Not only is the Morris renovation complete, but the adjoining Palais Royale ballroom has been fully restored. It is used frequently, including a New Years Eve. gala every year.
I have seen Bill Swain’s photos online- nice work. They really give you a feel for the grand palace that was, and sadly, was lost. The S.F. Fox is my favorite of all the big movie palaces. It’s loss is on a par with that of the St.Louis Ambassador in the mid 90’s. It’s nice that the Fox’s Wurlitzer is alive and well under the loving care of Disney in southern California. If Donald Trump wanted something to pattern a new casino or hotel lobby from, this theater would be fantastic!