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Motion Picture World, February 2, 1918 page 705 has several paragraphs about the new Majestic, which pushes the construction date back to about 1917. It mentions the white terracotta facade (consistent with the photo above) and lists the seating capacity as 1100 upholstered seats on the main floor and 950 wicker seats in the loges, though, confusingly, it says “there is no balcony.” The owner is listed as J.F. Higgins. The organ is listed as a Barkoff, a company utterly not associated with theatre organs.
Motion Picture World, January 26, 1918, page 556 has several paragraphs describing upcoming, extensive renovations planned for the Palms Theatre 136-138 N Illinois Street.
“Edward G. Sourbier…owner of the Palms, has announced that the new arrangement will increase the seating capacity from 300 to 650…” It describes how the wall behind the screen will be taken down and the building extended by 40 feet.
The article goes on to mention that a new Wurlitzer organ will be installed, but the Wurlitzer lists do not show that they sold an organ in Indianpolis until 1922 and that was for the Circle Theatre.
The People’s Theatre, Portland Oregan is mentioned in Motion Picture World, February 2, 1918, page 714, saying the theatre “will have a new organ, a real one this time, with lots of reeds and everything that a first-class organ should have. It is a Robert-Morton instrument and is being built and installed by the American Foto-Player Company.”
Duplicate entry. See the I.D. 341
Reportedly got a new Kimball pipe organ in 1922 and the name is listed as the “New Plaza Theatre”– which suggests the hall had a facelift that year.
May 12, 2016 article in the Augusta Chronicle reports a $50,000 grant for restoration purposes. http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2016-05-12/miller-theater-project-receives-50000-grant#
The Cody had Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 834, style D, II/6. The most common of all the Wurlitzer organs. The “D” and its variants were their most popular model. #834 was shipped to the Cody on May 27, 1924. This version of the “D” was a single chamber model, as opposed to the “stereo” installations where parts of the organ flanked both sides of the proscenium. Its fate unknown, but likely destroyed.
As of 2016 the building still stands, apparently converted into apartments.
The Madison had a Wurlitzer pipe organ, their opus 1470, II/7 style E-X, meaning there were chambers on either side of the screen for the pipes and effects. The organ, of course, is long gone, reportedly destroyed.
Some scraps of information:
The records from the Kilgen Pipe Organ company show in 1928 they sold a small organ to the Wade Theatre in Morehead City NC for $3,155. It included a double roll player so a trained musician wouldn’t necessarily need to be on staff. The Kilgen records do not give an address and sometimes, the name of the theatre is incorrectly given. Sometimes the theatre owner’s name is used.
A look at the Sanborn Map for Morehead City from 1913 shows a theatre on Arendell Street right across from the train station. It is between 7th and 8th streets, but the addresses given are suspiciously inconsistent. On the same block, but facing the other direction is a business owned by B.D.Wade and Sons.
Could the Palace / City / Morehead theatre have been owned by the Wade family at one point? Or possible have been named Wade? Or was this another theatre entirely?
Looking at the pipe organ records from M.P. Moller it would appear that Claude Robinson bought 2 organs from them in 1915. One was listed for the Grand and one for the Orpheum. The one installed here had 9 ranks of pipes. The Orpheum’s came a little later that year and was slightly smaller at 8 ranks, but Mr. Robinson only saved $50 on the Orpheum’s.
In 1915 the Orpheum got a 2-manual, 8-rank, pipe organ built by M.P. Moller, their opus number 1954, for $3,250. That suggests the possibility that movies were not on the bill when the theatre opened. Orpheum was originally a vaudeville company of course. Or possibly this was an upgrade from a smaller instrument. Who’s to say at this point?
The Loew’s Midland was equipped with a 4/20 Robert Morton pipe organ, sadly long since lost.
The paper trail for the Hook and Hastings pipe organ which was removed from this theatre in the 1960’s implies that the theatre was originally named “Gordon’s Olympia.” The organ had been installed circa 1923.
M P Moller pipe organ records indicate they sold an organ, their opus 1855, to the Colonial Theatre in 1915. That suggests an earlier opening date for this theatre or that there was an earlier theatre of the same name.
Cobra Woman, Universal Pictures, 1944White Savage, Universal Pictures, 1943Maria Montez, John Hall and Sabu were in both films.
The organ at the Palace was Wurlitzer’s opus 1407 installed in 1926, a style 260 Special, meaning a stock 260 design was customized for this installation. It had 3 manuals and 16 ranks. Records show that a single set of pipes, an extra Vox Humana, was installed above the proscenium for an echo effect. The organ was removed intact by the local theatre organ society, but as of this writing, its location is unclear.
Found a reference in the theatre organ database for “Crandall’s Central Theatre” from 1922 when a new Robert Morton organ was installed.
Drove past and stopped to look in the gate on May 24 2015. The Midtown is closed, but all the buildings are standing, appear in good condition, the paint looks crisp, even the grass is mowed. Just no one around. Nothing on the marquee.
WalMmrt has bought the adjacent property. The Parkway’s owners are concerned that light from Walmart’s parking lot and building lights will force them to close.
This is pretty amusing: all the right names in all the wrong places!
Updated post following up from December 9, 2013
drewc – The sign you found is a modern casting made in some quantities for unknown purposes. I bought one on eBay too, thinking it was a unique if regrettable relic of the Jim Crow era. I then discovered that there were dozens of them floating around. Knoxville’s theatres were indeed segregated into the 1950’s, but someone has created these “No Colored, Broadway Theatre, Knoxville Tennessee” signs specifically to sell as outrageous curiosities.
Joe and Ron, I’ll tell a mildly embarrassing story on myself. June 27 2014 I drove over to Greeneville (about a hour and half away) expressly to check out the theatres there. Went to the library, got copies of maps, newspaper clipping etc. Walked around, found the old theatres, took pictures. It was a nice summer day.
When I got home I found an empty folder on the back seat of my car. Driving with the top down, apparently every sheet had blown out and I didn’t notice. Expletives flew.
So I got a load of photos but no notes to make sure which was which or what the names and addresses were.
I have a photo of the 1903 cornerstone for the theatre on the corner of Irish and Depot. There is no name, just that date. Oddly, the cornerstone is on the back, facing the alley.(!?)
It seems that a lot of the buildings on both sides Depot in that block are owned by an antiques dealer who uses them for storage. The buildings appear to be secured, but underutilized.
OCRon, there is another abandoned theatre just a couple of doors to the west at the corner of Depot and Irish. Same side of Depot.
A single line entry in The Motion Picture World, April 24, 1915, page 591, says “The Delft, at Escanaba, has put into use its new $5000 pipe organ.” That certainly gives a timeframe for when movies began to be shown here.
Wurlitzer installed a pipe organ, their opus 54, a style ‘3’ 2 manuals, 7 ranks and percussions in this hall early in 1915.