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Was the Thalia Soho that ran in the early 1990s on Varick Street at all linked to the Thalia? It had an ever-changing program. Frankly, a terrible theater, but always wondered if there was a link.
I live right behind where the theater was and watched it getting ripped down. It was such a sad thing.
In Harpo Marx’s “Harpo Speaks” Marx mentions that he came up with his nonspeaking act while performing on 13th Street, because he had difficulty remembering his lines. It would make sense that he thought it up at the Jefferson.
I think the porn theater mentioned above was Variety Photoplays, which had an amazing old marquee that can also be seen in “Taxi Driver.”
Sad loss. I used to walk there, all the way from downtown Charleston, to see first-run films.
It was just an ordinary place, but with dowdy charm. For the special effect films, you went to the Ultravision—THAT was a theater.
I saw old movies there on a regular basis in the late 70s, so a bit of information is missing, I think. Previous to that, my mother went there to see art house films such as “Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea,” that I was too young for.
I fell in love with old movies there. Many of the old ladies who worked at the Gloria also worked there. A nasty group of bitter old women who I miss these days.
I woldn’t call the club, “gay,” either. It was a new wave, “alt” place.
When I was a child, it showed art house films. At some point in the late seventies, it switched over to old movies. The other Pastime Amusement theaters downtown were for first and second run films. The Arcade showed Marx Brothers and Bogart and the like. It was a fairly small place; the auditorium had beige curtains, so you couldn’t see what was originally on the walls. The club: it was called The Arcade, then Spanky’s Arcade, then simply Spanky’s. I wouldn’t call it a gay club, so much as a new wave one. I believe it was a restaurant after that, too.
The Lincoln was torn down in the 1980s. It was a theater for blacks in the Jim Crow era. It was a tiny place, relatively speaking. I never went inside, though. It had been abandoned for years.
The Gloria was the big, nice theater of downtown Charleston during the 1970s, when I went there regularly. It had long red curtains down the sides of the auditorium, probably hiding whatever was underneath. The stars in the ceiling are still there, from what I hear. It’s a bigger theater than the Riviera, so there is something wrong about the seating capacity; it had to have been more than seven hundred. That may not include the smoking gallery, which had been closed for years.
If you look at the “august 2008” pic, you’ll see a plaque on the left-hand side of the building. It’s about a theater that was on the site earlier, a vaudeville house I believe was called the Academy of Music.
Also, you’ll see a side entrance. That’s where the blacks would enter during the Jim Crow era. I happened to walk by that theater in the early 80s when someone had left the door unlocked. I walked around the empty theater. The Jim Crow box office was still there, along with advertising from the 1950s. The smoking gallery had an intricate pattern rug that appeared to be from the 1930s. I locked up when I left.
The smoking gallery had been closed for years. I used to go there quite often as a child. It was part of a chain called Pastime Amusement Company, which also owned the larger Gloria and the smaller and older Garden. They also had a tiny theater called the Arcade. At one point a church operated out of there, I believe. It was also a rep house in the mid-80s.
New York Times has this description of the theater from 1968:
“Loew’s Delancey is an interesting theater with purple pink dÃ©cor and tiers of seats steeply banked so that it is easy to see. When I was there, two old men, one of whom had apparently sat accidentally on the other in the dark, were having a long, vicious argument that the rest of the audience, rather sparse and lost in the large theater, seemed to enjoy.”