Showing 11 comments
Built in 1897 by Oneonta resident Willard E. Yager, the theater was host to a range of entertainers, including humorist Will Rogers in 1927. Movie screenings began in 1913, FOTOT officials said.
The Oneonta Theatre has 675 seats, plus about 200 in a balcony, an orchestra pit, a 60-foot fly space and three floors of dressing rooms.
113th Birthday Party held on Sunday, October 18, 2009 from 3-5pm in the atrium of Ellicott Square Building. After a brief history of the Vitascope Theater was given by Edward Summer, President of Buffalo International Film Festival, “The Living Nickelodeon” was performed live by Rick Altman. This wonderful presentation gives the history of early film from the late 1890s to about 1913 when “sing along slide shows” were largely discontinued.
This was an official event of Buffalo Film Festival 2009 and Doors Open Niagara 2009.
Birthday cake was served. It was chocolate with strawberry filling.
Some sensed the spirits of Mitchel and Moe Mark on the premises. Others thought it was the two cats that live in the space formerly occupied by the theater.
The Buffalo Film Festival still has limited edition posters available. www.BuffaloFilmFest.com
In Spring of 2006, the theaters located below ground in the Virgin Mega Store and still named “Loew’s State” were closed. The theaters remain, but nothing is being shown (August 2006). Apparently, despite the addition of foreign films (mostly Hindi language) to the regularly scheduled attractions, there was not enough business to merit keeping them open. A visitor to the site is met with a cloth-ribbon barrier and a darkened boxoffice.
During the early 1960s the Lafayette hosted many legitimate theatre road-show companies in the manner now associated with the Shea’s Buffalo. Among these productions were J.B. and Once Upon A Mattress (starring Imogene Coca and Edward Everette Horton). The theatre had a professional level fly gallery as well as a proper backstage area and dressing rooms.
It is tragic indeed that a theatre elegantly suited for stage productions was torn down and that the Shea’s Buffalo (an extraordinarily beautiful motion picture theatre) had to have it’s backstage area completely rebuilt in order to accomodate stage shows.
Thanks for the corrections. The theater was demolished during the construction of the ill-famed “subway” down Main Street.
Buffalo New York as a film community: While this is probably not the optimal place to put this information, it seems relevant to the informed discussion which is occurring. It’s not well known, but Buffalo, New York was extremely important as a motion picture distribution center dating back to the early 20th Century. Every major distribution company (Warner Brothers, Fox, Paramount, Universal, Republic, et al) had their own building grouped for the most part along Franklin Street in close proximity to West Tupper. Several of the buildings remain intact but are used for different purposes: The Univesal exchange, the Warner Brothers Exchange (now a restaurant closer to Chippewa Street), the Warner Brothers shipping facility (diagonally across the street from the Exchange), the Paramount Exchange, and perhaps others.
If someone knows of a better place in this website to post such information, please let me know, or we can continue the dialog here.
Tiffany Lights: While I have no idea about Tiffany lamps in general (someone might do some research), I am aware that both the Shea’s Buffalo and North Park had actual, Louis Comfort Tiffany lighting. In both cases, the original lighting was sold. The whereabouts of the North Park’s fixtures remains unknown as of this writing. The Sheas Buffalo lights were in the Museum of the City of New York, but (as I recall) returned to Buffalo under some special arrangmeent. Any details regarding this would certainly be interesting!
Where, exactly, in Albary, NY is the North Park Theatre organ?
The prototype lenses developed for those tests ultimately came to reside at the Granada Theatre farther down Main Street in Buffalo, NY. They were used to screen virtually all of the important roadshow movies of the 1950’s and 1960’s: Lawrence of Arabia, Ryan’s Daughter, Doctor Zhivago, West Side Story.
A projectionist once confided that these lenses were so perfect and so perfectly mounted that they required virtually no “touch-up” focus once they were set for a given film. He did not refocus the lenses once during an extended run of “Funny Girl.”
The Regent is currently used as a church and early in 2004 had its original marquee removed and replaced by a garish, digital screen marquee that blasts messages about the mission of the church.
The North Park is, supposedly, currently (12/2004) owned by the Dipson Theatre chain.
They would surely benefit from a restoration of the theatre by increased audience interest and attendance.
Anyone know where they are located and who is in charge?
1) The North Park has the majority of its original lights, but putportedly, it originally had hanging Tiffany Lamps at the rear of the theater. These lamps were removed and sold at one time as were those in the Shea’s Buffalo Theater (those flanked the proscenium). The lamps should be found and replaced.
2) There is a circular oil painting surrounding the “dome” of the theaer. In 2004, the bulbs illuminating it were replaced, revealing more of the detail in the paintings. However, restoration and preservation work should be done on the paintings.
3) The original proscenium around the original (Academy Aperature, 1.33:1) screen is intact, but it is totally obscured by the current screen which stands in front of it on a jerry-rigged wooden stage. This screen should be available for special, classic film screenings.