114-16 East Seneca Street,
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The Temple Theater opened late in 1928. Designed exclusively for showing movies, it quickly adapted to sound films. It was a two-story, free-standing structure with a red-brick facade in an undistinguished Colonial Revival style. Its triangular marquee with red neon tubing and white-on-black lettering afforded barely enough space for the film’s name.
Without a balcony and with only the most primitive rake and non-staggered seating, the theater accommodated about 700 patrons. The street-side box office led to a small lobby space with a shabby concession stand and even shabbier restrooms. The auditorium was a long narrow box with a central aisle and two banks of seats. Its walls were blue stucco with yellow sidelights, and its small proscenium carried a yellow curtain. The cramped stage apron supported an all-purpose rectangular screen that severely cropped CinemaScope pictures at the sides and widescreen pictures at the top and bottom.
For all its inconveniences, the Temple nonetheless managed to book some of the era’s most important films, rivaling the town’s larger and more comfortable theaters with its programs. Memorable films from the early 1970s include “The Godfather”, “The Godfather II”, “Catch 22”, “Fidder on the Roof”, “The Last Picture Show”, “Day for Night”, “Fellini’s Satyricon”, and umpteen revivals of “The Yellow Submarine”.
The theater closed abruptly in 1976 with the advent of the multiplex at the Pyramid Mall. The building was promptly razed and its site is now occupied by the drive-in facility of the Tompkins Trust Company.
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