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Does anyone know the whereabouts or what happened to theatre manager Franklin Fergusson?
I smelled both attempts in NY: Mike Todd Jr’s Scent of Mystery and some foreign import travelog that wafted into the DeMille. I think any attempt to revive the experience is a mistake.
Probably the only opening night gala I attended in my pajamas. Opened by the parents of a summer camp bunkmate around 1953, the theatre was always well run and had the added attraction of having a Dairy Queen stand right out front! Passing through several managements the theatre eventually closed, but I had long since moved away and grown beyond the cone with the curl on top. Still, on hot summer nightsâ€¦.
It was the Tivoli, with a beautiful “open air” theatre on the roor.
“Roadshow” events started in 1957 when the theatre, by virtue of ample street parking, was selected for the Southern Ct. engagement of “Around the World in 80 Days.” I think it ran for 26 weeks. We were all very impressed.
But what of the film The Producers? Any comments on the shabby way it was treated by the NY press. And since when does a so called legit film critic (NY Post) get paid for cheap lyrics insted of film criticism? Isn’t that why we read reviews?
Todd-AO? 70mm? Was you there, Charlie? Why isnâ€™t any one talking about or running the two premiere Todd-AO productions; Oklahoma! and Around the World in 80 Days?
I walked that set at Steiner Studios and suddenly I was back in the 50’s. The physical locations of the theatres may have been adjusted for cimematic effect and some of the marquees may not have been exactly accurate, but still, it was magic.
The photo shown is not the theatreâ€™s front, but an entrance on the side of the building which, I believe, was constructed to accommodate the sad transformation from movie theatre to club, to food market. In itâ€™s heyday, the theatre had a traditional facade with a grand three sided marquee suspended over the sidewalk and centered box office kiosk. In the 50s the theatre was â€œmodernizedâ€; the marquee removed, the kiosk gone, and the tiny lobby expanded, ironically absorbing an A&P food market on the right. As a child of the 40s and early 50s the Whalley was my neighborhood theatre and my introduction to the movies. From a traumatized Christmas night in 1947, believing everything about Abbott and Costello meets Frankenstein, to the theatres first-run transformation with Around the World in 80 Days in 1957, I fondly remember countless â€œHey Kids!â€ Saturday matinees, free seasonal showings of MGMâ€™s A Christmas Carol, and of course theatre manager, Franklin Fergusson, entertaining us kids between features with various contests, games and lighting effects on the stage curtain. As noted, some of the theatreâ€™s interior remains. You can find the stage, much smaller than I remembered, and proscenium arch behind the food display cases.