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A few other movies with “drive-in” scenes (not the Olympic) are “Lolita” (1961) and “Lonelyhearts” (1958) with Montgomery Clift.
I just watched “The Facts of Life” (UA, 1960) which shows the Olympic Drive-In Theatre. The b&w movie is available on a 2007 MGM/UA DVD. The segment starts at the 56:59 point and ends at 1:00:10. Bob Hope and Lucille Ball are driving, nervously looking for some place to go, and Hope says, “Hey, there’s an idea. Wanna see a movie?” Ball replies, “Sure” and they enter the Olympic Drive-In Theatre. There are great shots of the Olympic exterior, showing the name in neon and a mural showing a couple on surfboards, sailboats in the water and a beach/coastline. The theater entrance is shown, then a long-shot of the Drive-In lot, showing the screen and the car entering and pulling into a spot. At the end of the scene, the car exits the Olympic, showing the street side of the screen. Is this the Olympic Drive-In shown in the “interior” shots? I assume it is, but you never know with “movie magic”…
Chuck: what is the address of the Canadian theater website you mentioned? I’m not familiar with it. Thanks.
The Windsor and the Rex are the same theater. There was probably ten-to-fifteen years between the time the Windsor closed and the Rex opened. As to the difference in the seating numbers, I assume the Rex seating may have been refigured or the seats may have been removed when the Windsor closed. Both the Windsor and the Kenilworth were smaller neighborhood theaters. The Kenilworth has been a Ukranian Community Center since the l970’s and still retains a lot of the original interior decor. The floor has been levelelled and some apartments have been added to the south side of the building.
I recall walking up Kenilworth Avenue in the mid-1980’s and the Kenilworth Theatre building was open for a “casino” afternoon (cards, crown & anchor, etc.) and I was able to have a look inside. I entered the Windsor one time (a long time ago) and an AA meeting or some kind of encounter group was in session…oops!
The comment by Chuck1231 got me wondering. I called the Concession Street Business Association and asked about the Mountain Theatre. The theater is now officially called the Music Palace. It is under new management and is still being used as a live performance venue. Their web site is: musicpalace.ca. I was told they have been operating as the Music Palace for six months. The web site advertises future performances as well as a brief history, technical stats of the equipment and venue and a gallery of performance photos. Check it out.
There is no listing on this site for the Windsor/Rex Theatre. There were at least 32 movie theaters (separate and individual) in Hamilton over the years. There may be a few other early movie theaters or nickelodeons that existed and are not accounted for. There was a storefront movie theater opposite the old City Hall. A theater on King Street (near James St.) had a vertical VAUDEVILLE sign, but I have not been able to find any information on it. As movies developed, many early theaters or cinemas didn’t last long and are probably forgotten.
The building on Kenilworth, just north of Main Street, is being converted and has been under construction for over a year now. It appears work has been halted (because of the season or otherwise?). This structure appears to be one building, but it is two distinct buildings. The Windsor Theatre existed in the building on the left (or the North side). There is a photo of the Windsor in one of the Hamilton picture books. The original wall between the two buildings exists, but the outer walls seem to have been rebuilt inside the former outer walls/shell. The original Northern brick wall of the Windsor Theatre still exists. The original exit doors (along the North wall) are bricked up and can be currently seen. There is nothing left of the original Windsor interior. It has been through many changes since it was last used as a movie theater. I was told (by a worker, I think) that the buildings will be of mixed use: a banquet hall, stores and offices. Nothing was mentioned to me about apartments or housing. I have not heard of the “Cinderella”, and I doubt that this building dates back to the late “teens”. More research will tell…
The Gregory was noted as a former name of the Cinema Theatre. There may have been some confusion because Gregory was the name of the family that ran this theater (and others, possibly). The Cinema had other former names, but the Gregory may not have been one. The theater nearby on Kenilworth Street, just north of Main Street, was not called the Gregory. It was the Windsor Theatre. After being closed for a number of years, it was reopened as the Rex Theatre (late 1970’s?). It had a “family” film policy, but it was not successful and I recall it didn’t last long. And it was the last time this building was used as a theater.
I have a postcard showing the Bijou Theatre. The main focus of the card is the First Congregational Church on the corner of Main Street and Elm Street. A card on another site shows 1914 as a postmarked date. Another 1906 postmarked card shows the church, but the Bijou is not signed. The church has been demolished, but the building next to it and the Bijou entrance beyond that still exist.
I have a postcard showing a theater on Fourth Street (north from Broadway). Matching the windows on this building and identifying the building on the corner of Chestnut Street (still existing), this is probably the Mary Anderson. This card only shows a partial view of the marquee, but there is a large sign that advertises B.F. KEITH’S VAUDEVILLE.
I have a postcard of “The Boulevard, Hollywood, Florida” which shows the Ritz Theatre located in the middle of the block. In the foreground, near the corner, is Lovett’s, and next door is a two-storey building which has a sign that reads “BOWLING”.
Yo, Joe: The Aug. 5, 2009 comment has a link to the North Richmond News, which states that HCM “designed” the theatre and that it was built in 1932.
The Hamilton Spectator (our city newspaper) reported on Friday, February 15 that Bella Diamante has finally found a developer to buy the Tivoli…HER HUSBAND!!
More details later…
The 1931 Palace facade photo is #26 on page 4 of the search results…just click on the Feb. 12 link and do a “Market Street” search on the Hagley site. You can see the Savoy across the street in the early construction photos.
Joe (& theater fans everywhere…): There are many progress photos of the demolition and the construction of the PSFS Building, on the Hagley site. The Palace facade can be seen, also the East wall with a Palace sign painted on it. Great stuff!
Joe: That’s Greta Garbo’s head on the left side of the Palace, in the 1931 photo. “Inspiration” is playing. Search the site for “Market Street” and there is a great close-up shot of the Palace Theatre, probably taken the same day…
Bingo!, Joe. The Palace is the theater in the postcard I have. The perspective and depth of focus made it look like this theater was the third building from the corner. I looked at some photos on the Philly history site that showed the buildings on the South side of Market Street from 13th Street. But the buildings they showed didn’t go as far as the theater. When I saw the photos, the theater got further down the block from 13th St. One showed the Fairyland, but that wasn’t it. I just checked your link to the Palace 1931 photo, and this is it! The awning is the same and the building next door with the arched windows matched the one in the postcard. Thanks. Another one down.
Hi, Joe. Thanks for the reply (the Crescent, too). I’ve been looking at Philly photos all morning. Great stuff on the sites. I still have not seen a photo of the theater in the postcard I have. The colored photo on the PAB site (could be a postcard) is taken from the same location, but does not show the theater in the foreground/left. And I do not know why this is included with the Palace photos, since it does not show the Palace or any other theater. This view is near 13th Street and the Palace is closer to 12th Street.
Does anybody know anything about the Crescent Theatre on South Salina Street? I have an old postcard of this street showing the Empire Theatre and directly across the street is the Crescent. This card is not dated, but it is very early (c.1920?). The Empire is shown with a horizontal sign, over a canopy which extends to the edge of the sidewalk. Another 1950’s card shows the Empire, but it appears the Crescent building has been replaced.
Does anybody know anything about a theater, probably a nickelodeon, that was on W. High Street (near the corner of North Pitt)? It was almost straight across the street from the current Carlisle Theatre. The Google street view shows that the portion of this building has been demolished. This theater was in the far easterly portion of the Bolen Building. The Bolen Building is at the corner of W. High & N. Pitt. The first three sections of the building are still standing. The next two sections, (the last/easterly housed the theatre) have been demolished. I have a postcard showing this typical nickelodeon-styled facade. There are also photographs of the Bolen Building showing this facade on the Cumberland County Historical Society website: www.historicalsociety.com. It certainly looks like a nickelodeon or theater. One photo caption dates the photo as 1936. I doubt if this facade lasted into the 1930’s, but research will tell. There are also two photos of the Carlisle Theatre, as well.
More Olympic Theatre photos at wnyheritagepress.org/under “DOWNTOWN BUFFALO”/click on “Washington & Broadway – 1920-Present”/see a photo showing the Olympic and the Lafayette Theatre. Click on “Lafayette Square – then & now”/click on view 2/see a postcard of Lafayette Square showing the Lafayette Theatre (pre-Olympic) and the Lyric Theatre on the corner.
Now here is where I’m not clear. It states above that the Lyric Theatre was renamed the Lyceum. When the New Lyric opened, it was a new theater. It seems it existed at the same time as the former Lyric on the corner. Both are shown on the postcard mentioned before. Was the former Lyric renamed the Lyceum and in business at the same time as the New Lyric? This sounds right. Then both the Lyceum/Lyric and the New Lyric were demolished for the Lafayette Theatre and Building.
Photos of the original bank and the converted Lyric Theatre can be seen at wnyheritagepress.org/click on “PICTORIALS”/under “DOWNTOWN BUFFALO” click on “Corner of Washington & Broadway – 1920-present”.
Click on “Lafayette Square – then & now”/see a postcard
of the square showing the Lyric (c. 1908).
Click on “10 Lafayette Square…”/see a photo showing the Lyric in the distance. The upper peak of the theater is seen, but the name is obscured—but the word THEATRE can be seen. Also, the sign on the corner reads “10-20 cent VAUDEVILLE”.
Click on “14 Lafayette Square…”/see the postcard mentioned on Jan. 15-18. The Lyric can be seen on the corner in the right foreground. The sign on the corner now reads “PHOTOPLAYS” (changed from “VAUDEVILLE”).
It appears that there were two Lyric Theatres. The first Lyric opened in the converted bank building located on the corner of Washington and Broadway. This structure was built by the Buffalo Savings Bank in 1866-67. When the bank moved to its new location (Main and Genesee) in 1901, this building was converted to the Lyric Theatre. The main facade and entrance was on Washington Street.
It seems the Peoples Building is at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Walnut Street, and has a Walnut Street address. In the satellite shot, it looks like a building exists where the State was located. This may not be the original structure. Anybody know? Thanks.
Who is J.P. Harris? There apppears to have been two other McKeesport theaters with the “Harris” name. I’ve heard of Sam Harris. On the tubecityonline.com site there is a picture of a theater with a large vertical HARRIS sign. This building looks nothing like the State or the Memorial. This building (the Hippodrome, but only the HARRIS sign identifies it) was partially demolished in 1943 for a Ford car dealership. The basement and part of the first/ground floor were retained and incorporated into the building. It is stated on the site that this building still “survives”.