Metro Theatre

Smith Street,
Durban

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Metro Theatre

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Located alongside the Playhouse Theatre and the Prince’s Theatre on Smith Street, this was the main Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Loew’s) theatre in Durban. The Metro Theatre was opened on August 13, 1937, and was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3Manual/13Rank organ.

The auditorium has been demolished, and a section of the Art Deco style front of the building retained as part of the Albany Hotel, together with an office tower which replaced the theatre.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on February 9, 2008 at 9:36 pm

I think this theatre was at one time also called the Loews.
More details on the Mighty WurliTzer Theater Pipe Organ. It was Opus 2209, WuliTzer’s last Opus is roughly 2238 so this is getting near the end of the long line of WurliTzer Organs. It was a 3 Manual/13Rank shipped on 27 March 1937.
I hope the following saga is fairly correct.
In 1963 it was taken out of the theatre by someone in Durban.
By 1980 it was shipped to Europe and was meant to installed in a public venue in Central Europe, but this never happened.
The instrument was sold again and was stored in Liechenstein and/or Switzerland. Probably because of bad crating, the pipe crates stored beneath other parts, shipment on the ocean and humidity it was believed the components were by then not in the best of shape. There seemed to be no silent movie effects.
In 2004, sadly Opus 2009 is broken up for parts and scattered to the four winds. However the Colsole was rescued and is in Worcester in the Midlands of England. It has traveled and had an interesting life. Ten months was spent restoring the Conlsole and with all original internal components having been retained i.e. Pnuematic piston action and setters etc. so the future is bright for this particular Console.
Work is well under way on connection to the relays, and all pipework, chests, regulators, percussions etc. are WurliTzer being made up of parts from the Embassy Chicago, New Victoria Edinburgh, George Wright’s Philharmonic Organ, Embassy Pittsburg, and many others, in fact from many different organs, but they all started out in North Tonawanda, New York many years ago.
So now you have a Console from South Africa, with parts from Europe and North America and who knows where else? Those WurliTzer do get around!
Anymore updates on any other parts of the organ?

Gee Dad, it “IS” a WurliTzer!"

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on April 7, 2009 at 9:45 am

Bob,

These theaters, although operated by Loew’s International, were given the “Metro” name, rather than “Loew’s,” to more closely align them with the company’s longtime producing unit, Metro-Goldwyn(-Mayer), part of Loew’s, Inc. from 1924 to 1959. Metro Theatres/Cine Metros could, at one time, be found in South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Other theaters, like the Empire in London, were also operated by Loew’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm

The August 14, 1937, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Metro Theatre in Durban had been opened on Friday. As August 14 was a Saturday, the house would have opened on the 13th. The item also said that Metro houses had recently opened in Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, and Lima, and that the Metro Theatre in Brisbane was slated to open on October 1. All these houses were part of an international expansion program by MGM’s theater division.

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