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Since Salinas St. is a relatively minor, off the main stream street parallel to Cannery Row in Monterey, the El Rey Theatre must have been a proposed, but never-built theatre.
However, on Cannery Row, there was the Steinbeck Cinema/Theatre that was quite nice for a 1950s conversion of a cannery. Nice lobby with couches and a real working fireplace. Very Monterey-living-room-like. As an 11 year old kid, I remember going to the Steinbeck for the first time in 1965. Used to the 1926 Golden State, I was disappointed that there weren’t any niches, organ screens, curtains and the like in the Steinbeck. Still years later, recognizing it for what it was, it was a nifty little theatre. And yes, it was a UA in its last days.
Local human-lightning took it and the rest of the businesses in the building out 20 or more years ago. There was a hole-in-the-wall theatre on Cannery Row that owed some later parentage to the Dream Theatre on Lighthouse Ave. That CR theatre was essentially a place for local potheads to go, sit on pillows and think/hallucinate that they were watching a film. Seems to me it was something like 1812 or 812 Cinema or some such. Needless to say I was never in it (or the Dream for that matter.)
I wonder if there is not some confusion over the El Monterey Theatre (aka Elmo Theatre) in San Luis Obispo 150 miles from Monterey?
I quite agree with Gary. First of all, there is no Salinas Street in Monterey that is anywhere near the downtown, if there is one at all. Strangely enough in Salinas, there is a Salinas St. that runs parallel to Main Street but it never had a theatre on it, unless one wants to count the Armory as a theatre. The Salinas El Rey Theatre is still standing, internally raped on Main St. Opened in 1938 (right Gary?) and originally had magnificent murals on the walls. These were all painted out by a misguided church that tried to move in to the Salinas El Rey.
The Downtown Monterey Theatres were, at one time or another, the T. A. Work Opera House later the Monterey Theatre, the Strand Theatre later the Rio and Regency, The Star Theatre, The Bagby Opera House, The Golden State Theatre later State Theatre/State Theatre IV and now back to Golden State. Way out of downtown up on spaghetti hill was the Hill Theatre on Soledad Dr. Building still stands but long since converted to other uses.
The Del Rey in Seaside stood on the corner of Broadway and Fremont Sts. It is long gone. It was built in the 1940s sometime.
Warnors Fresno was originally Pantages, then Stanley Warner, Warner, and finally Warnors. The original Robert Morton pipe organ remains playable in the theatre. When the theatre was purchased by Frank Caglia in 1973, every remaining part of the Cinerama days was removed and the auditorium restored to its original 1928 configuration.
The pipe organ was a Wurlitzer Style D Special of 3 manuals and 8 ranks. It was sold in 1962 to Bob and Laura Burke in Portland. The organ is still in the Portland area.
Here is a You Tube featuring the Philipps 14-ranks pipe organ.
Rumor is out on Alvarado Street that the theatre is in escrow (to close in April) to a Santa Cruz, CA based theatre group “looking to expand.”
Time will tell. If so, this can only be considerd a good thing.
Still for sale —$8m—in 2009.
As of last week, The Cove is still standing.
At least before the flood, the organ was playable, even if it was not “perfect.”. With the flood, the console was soaked in “water” up to the manuals, and the blower sat in the muck for days and days.
The pipes and chests were relatively untouched. Let’s hope the organ has not been vandalized in the meantime.
The 1913 Kimball was replaced with a Wurlitzer style D-X (divided)
in August 1926. It was opus 874.
The Wurlitzer is second in size to the RCMH Wurlitzer—in New York City.
Outside of New York City, there are still a few original theatre instruments larger than the LIU/Brooklyn Paramount organ, notably the Fox theatres in Detroit, St. Louis, and Atlanta. Still, the LIU Wurlitzer has a sound that has to be heard live to be believed. Incredible does not do it justice.
The author should have said “…In New York City, this theatre organ is second in size to the Radio City Music Hall instrument.” That would have been true…at least in New York City.
Here is a website showing various stages of the gutting of the original Damm Theatre and its replacement with a modern, non-historic interior.
The original circa 1914 Damm Theatre and Bakery were across the street from the present Damm Theatre where a mini-park now sits. The present Damm Theatre was originally called the Columbia and was purchased by the Damms when they closed their early theatre.
Never heard of the Damm Good Pizza Parlor, but it must have come along a long time after the original Louis and Viola Damm ran the new Damm/Columbia Theatre.
The entirely new interior of the Damm today has nothing of the original interior. The exterior is largely as it was with a magnifcently restored marquee.
The Crystal Theatre (nee T & D before the new T & D/“Fox” Theatre was built in the 200 block in 1921)was on the north side of the Maya complex. On the south side of the Maya stood the nickelodeon White Theatre which had long since been coverted into a men’s clothing store. The theatre was virtually intact whne demolished. Even the proscenium opening, though borded up, was still there. The small stage had been converted into an office for the store.
The Crystal, as noted by Gary, was originally the Brown’s Opera House and then the T & D enterprises took over the building. When the new T & D was opened, the old theatre was closed for a period of time. It eventually reopened as the Crystal.
It is known that the organ was a B & B. According to Junchen Vol. I the organ was a 3/14. The ATOS Journal in the early 1970s claimed the organ was a 3/10 “Duke’s Mixture” in an article that was full of errors. That is a known given. What is not known is where in the theatre the instrument was installed. A 14-rank unit organ takes up a bit of space. The demolition photos do not show any organ screens or chambers. Either the chambers were scooped out in a remodel, the organ was installed in a place other than the usual side chambers (over the stage or under the stage), or like so many theatres from the ‘20s, the original interior was scooped out and a 1930s or '40s interior put in the original’s place. Hopefully Scott B. can answer the question.
The organ was supposedly broken up for parts after serving time in a local church.
Does anyone know where in the theatre the organ was installed? From the demolition photos, it looks like balcony exits were cut through the “normal” chamber locations to exit out behind the stage. Were the chambers scooped out in a remodel? I have seen the photo of John DeMello at the organ that was once in this theatre.
The California was not an atmospheric. It was a rather plain, early ‘20s theatre. The theatre with the “sleepy town” on its walls was the Bakersfield Fox which got the Skouras treatment after the big quake of 1952. The shell of the massively remodeled California still resides on Chester Ave. The 2/9 Wurlitzer organ from the Bakersfield Fox was transplanted by Louis A. Maas, added to (English Horn and couplers)and installed in the late Fox Theatre in Phoenix.
Was there ever a stage? Perhaps a thrust stage or a stage for the speakers, but that would be about it if it is even still there. There certainly never was a fly.
If the exterior is any indication, the inside must be grim. I was in PR last week and the Fox is pretty much as it has been for years and years—uncared for and boarded-up.
The old Park Theatre/T & D was further downtown and actually had a small Wurlitzer. That organ was given to the local Methodist church who trashed the organ…several decades ago.
I am aware of that instrument, opus 1616. Does Dennis have it for sale?
As to the organ being removed from the Palace in the mid ‘60s…it takes no brains to figure out why it was sold: $$$$$.$$
It was sold right out from under the folks who put in gobs of hard work to get the organ playable again.
The original 4/20 (non Publix) Wurlitzer was removed in the mid 1960s. It was playable when removed.
It was sold to an organ broker by the name of Doug Erdman. He sold the organ to Carsten Hennigsen who was going to install the organ in a new “Pizza Joynt” restaurant in Northern CA that never came to pass.
When Carsten passed away several years ago, the organ was sold to David Packard and is gradually being installed in the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto to replace the 3/20 assembled (parts) Wurlitzer that was installed in 1986 or so for the theatre’s reopening.
It will be a superb installation when completed. Most of the pipework and percussions are already up and playing from the present 3 manual console (from Graumann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywierd.) The 4 manual console from the Palace is the next phase so the entire organ will be playing as a complete unit. All this work was done in stages as the Stanford organ is used just about every time the theatre is open.
This next Sunday, April 13, veteran theatre organist Bob Mitchell is going to play the Robert Morton theatre organ in concert starting at 3pm. Bob is one of the two oldest/longest surviving theatre organists from the silent era.
The organ was sold to a third party and is supposedly going to go into a winery somewhere in CA. Hopefully the organ will not be changed into some huge, cancerous neo theatre organ.