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The thing I remember most was that if you were there during the day watching the movie, if anyone came into the lobby from outside the light through the doors would reflect onto the screen.
Uh, I meant east, not north. Sorry.
Just to add a note on the Hanna. The Great Lakes Theater Festival took it over and renovated it in 2008, adding a thrust stage and taking out quite a few seats. Reportedly you can now hear the actors without the need for the loudspeakers that used to be considered essential.
I remember the pool hall under the Hipp, with the entrance on Euclid. I think the Prospect entrance was probably closer to 685-705. I lived in a little apartment building at 725 and that was north of the Hipp entrance, on the same side of the street.
I’m not sure, but it seems likely. Most of the downtown buildings used steam purchased from Muni Light for heat, and I remember a mad scramble to install boilers when the sales were cut off. Adding a steam plant to an old office building that was constructed without provision for a boiler room was obviously pretty expensive, presuming you could find a place to put it, and were willing to spend the money. Sometimes they just closed the building and sold the land.
The steam pipes ran in a vault just under the sidewalks, which had a side benefit of keeping the sidewalks warm enough in the winter that the snow tended to melt off them.
I did wonder if at least part of the reason for shutting down the office buildings, and then the theater, was the need to install a heating plant after Muni Light stopped selling steam. For a time I lived in the little apartment building on Prospect behind the theater and I believe that came down at the same time as the theater. The last time I was there was a couple years ago and the place was still a parking lot. At the time I lived there (early ‘70s), it was one of only a couple places you could live downtown. Most of what are apartments now still had stores and offices in them back then.
A far better fate for the Hipp would have been conversion to an opera house. An acquaintance in New York (I can’t remember his name, but he ran the Palace) once mentioned that the American Society of Architects once included the Hipp on a list of the ten most acoustically perfect theatres in the world, and some old accounts suggest that Caruso, who appeared there with the Met, absolutely loved the place. One problem they had, aside from not being on Playhouse Square, was that the stage was too big for most straight plays or even musicals, even after it was cut back. I did a number of shows for Dennis Zack back in the ‘70s, and he used one of the big rehearsal halls built over the auditorium to prepare his shows (he presented them at the Little Theatre in Public Auditorium), and you could look down onto the stage from the rehearsal halls. The rehearsal halls were the same size as the original stage; we used a little space in the middle of one to rehearse.
As a child in the ‘50s, I remember stories about the old Bedford Theatre, most of which suggested that on any given night the rats were likely to outnumber the patrons. We never went there that I can recall, though we frequently went to the Stillwell, usually on Friday night, when we could preceed the show with the all-you-can-eat fish deal across the street at Howard Johnson’s. I’m fairly sure that the Bedford was located next door to DeLuca Chrysler-Plymouth (though at the time it was probably still DeLuca Plymouth-DeSoto), and eventually DeLuca bought the building, gutted it, and, if I remember right, turned it into part of his shop area. If I’m getting the right feedback from Google maps, I think that would make the remains of the building part of what’s now Target Automotive Group, though I could be off a couple hundred feet and it’s a rental place at 580 Broadway (or maybe the parking lot in between them).