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City of Pittsburg owns the building. Stripped of seats and furnishings, the theatre had the main floor levelled for warehouse use. Proscenium, balcony, lobby and lounge areas are all there—-awaiting reuse. It would make a great dance floor for the younger set, with a parking lot next door. The neon and bulb lit deco ceiling lighting along with side wall murals should be fabulous once restored. The lobby has a circular wall mural replete with the Enea family crest. The city has repaired the roof and painted the exterior in repulsive beige. Anyone got a few million to revive this place…?
I toured the Amazon/Apollo about 1984. Previous operators had shown Indian films, but video tape
ran them out of business. Amazon was surprisingly intact with an original painted stage drape and hanging chandeliers. I don’t believe it had ever been remodeled.
It was a sister house to the Avenue, a few miles away.
Where Avenue suffered a 1938 modernization, the Amazon
was largely original. It is now (2012) a Walgreen’s Pharmacy.
Granada had that old light bulb vertical that really stood out at night. Just before the theatre closed, I recall the vertical was re-bulbed and the Granada glowed out in the night, the only thing you could see in that area of the city. Wish I had taken a photo as it was
magnificent. BTW, there were downtown theatres that weren’t as elegant as the Excelsior District’s Granada.
The Enea brothers and David Solario constructed the Pittsburg Palace Theatre about 1910. Demolished in the early 1970s. The California is now (2012) being refurbished for a May, 2012 re-opening. Due to California’s budget woes, the theatre restoration budget has been reduced to about $6 million. More than $20 million, I was told, was needed for a first rate job.
The 3/10 Robert Morton sits in storage about one mile away. As of January, 2012, the Pittsburg city council and mayor have pushed to have the organ reinstalled. It had been threatened by a HVAC plan that wanted the air handling system placed (you guessed it..!)in the organ chambers. Preservation advocate Tom LaFleur has pushed for the organ installation and costs should be largely
covered thru private donations.BTW—a nephew of the Enea brothers (theatre owners) played the original Smith 2/11 in the Twenties and later did intermissions in the Thirties on the Morton.
The former Vista has been transformed to a Century 21 office. The theatre interior, with seats removed, has been restored to its c. 1940 appearance. The office welcomes visitors to see the former theatre interior.
A real jewel of a theatre! Even before restoration, the Fox Oakland grabbed attention from blocks away. A “little bit of Bagdad” on Telegraph Ave., as Ben Hall might have said. But—-when do we get
an interior tour…? Any hopes of a tour sans the modern loud musick…?
Does the Uptown have a concrete roof? I would guess it would. Seems to be those wood and tar paper theatre roofs that allow water in to destroy interiors. I would hope Uptown would be “land-banked”. Keep a
roof on it with adequate down spouts and try to heat in the winter.
I greatly admire those who are/have been working to keep this outstanding B&K house from total destruction.
Thanx, Roger, for your info on the remodeling. I toured the backstage area of the Chinese 25 years ago—-there was no stage left after the Cinemiracle renovations. It had been gutted right to the rear stage wall. I wanted to be sure the 32' diaphone pipes housed
above the stage, had been removed. They had. The organ went to St. Finbar’s church in Burbank. Console then went to David Packard where it now controls the Stanford Theatre Wurlitzer in Palo Alto, CA. Organ was installed in the Chinese dome—-looks like a steel beam
goes thru that area now. From the outside, you can look up on the roof and I’m guessing that boxed area housed the organ. I suppose owners had to earthquake-proof in that the theatre is brick. That beam thru the roof housing must have been added for bracing.
I’ve been told the old Robert Morton organ console burned in the theatre a few year back. It was gold gilt and jeweled console when I heard organist Lee Erwin in concert in 1971. Any plans to restore
the console…? And, I think this Morton sounds better than many
others. If it’s not working, what’s it take to get the organ
Wasn’t the last part of “Singin' in the Rain” filmed on the Chinese
stage..? And it looks like a lit-up Wurlitzer console is in the pit.
Or it this my fading eyesight and wishful thinking?
In regards to whatever happened to the “big guy” (Rick Marshall),I believe he went to the great projection room in the sky last year. His greatest claim to fame, perhaps, was to be a suspect in the Zodiac murders in San Francisco. Rick and Avenue are mentioned in the film, “Zodiac”—-an unusual epitaph for both.
In my first NYC trip in 1971, I got a tour of the BP from the son of one of the owners. It was closed and lit with only emergency power
as I recall. The owners had not known the Estey organ was in their theatre as two large boxes sat on each side of the pit—-the one on the left was hiding the console. With flashlights, we crawled up to
organ chambers on a steel ladder. There was grill work at the top.
The instrument had been vandalized as had the console. A friend brought one or two ranks out to San Francisco not long after. Still have a “Smoking in Balcony Only” sign from the BP. Loaned my color
interior shots to my host—-and never again saw them. Someone had tried to jazz up the interior by outlining things in bright orange paint which really didn’t help.
The Wurlitzer Opus 482 from the Rivoli did go to Spokane, WA. years ago. The console, featured in a 1924 Wurlitzer sales catalog, is
now stored in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anyone interested in
putting an instrument back into the Newman-Rivoli…? The organ was
separated from the console 30+ years ago.
Does anyone have interior shots of the Missouri Theatre, St. Louis?