Pantages Theater

708 Hennepin Avenue,
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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Redwards1
Redwards1 on September 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Like it or not, the huge silver & lavender tiered curtain Ted Mann installed over the proscenium opening was one of the most spectacular ever created, with color intensity increasing gradually from the pale center to its left & right edges. He followed Boston’s Ben Sack playbook, remodeling old downtown theatres into first-run 70mm roadshows.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on April 1, 2010 at 11:17 am

There is a picture of the theater as the RKO-PAN here: View link
The theater’s official gallery page has many pictures of the theater over the years; it is here: View link

zimmee66
zimmee66 on January 15, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Back in the 80’s I had friends who lived in this building, quite illegally. It was by then a half abandoned third-rate office building.

My friends had to pretend that they were “artists” with “studios” (they were, actually)—but slept there too. The problem was, there were no showers, and only a regular office type bathroom down the hall.

The mann company screening room was still intact, but Mann were simply waiting for the city to buy them out. and didn’t care a whit what happened to any of it.

JohnFaust
JohnFaust on August 2, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Mr. Besse is absolutely correct. Thank heavens for all the theatre owners in so many US cities that “modernized” these theatres in the 50s and 60s so they could be fully restored — and truly upgraded — for our current appreciation and use. Think of the Cutler Majestic (Emerson College) in Boston, for example!

KJB2012
KJB2012 on August 2, 2007 at 1:06 pm

I must come to the defence of Ted Mann. It’s true Mann had no interest in restoring his cinemas back to the world of the 1920s. But one needs to remember the times. The 1950s and 60s were an age when anything old and classy was targeted to be razed.
No where was this more true than in the movie house business. Mann took over the Shubert in 1957 (it was called the Alvin in those days). He renamed it the Academy and equipped it for Todd-AO. Yes he ripped out the old 1910 boxes and all.
He did the same with the Pantages in 1961 (then called the RKO Pan).
But the bottom line was that Mann kept the theatres of downtown Minneapolis alive during a decade when the wrecking ball was just around the corner.
From what I read, there was NO INTEREST in Minneapolis in restoring any buildings in the 1950s and 60s.
Had Mann not done the remodels et al, I expect that the Shubert, Pantages, and Orpheum theatres would have been razed by the end of the 1960s. I haven’t read about any other Minneapolis theatre owners much interested in the downtown scene.
So even though Mann didn’t plan it this way, Minneapolis today has the Orpheum, State, Pantages and Shubert because he kept downtown alive long enough for the houses to survive into the age of restoration.
So I think we should give Ted Mann credit for that.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 11, 2007 at 1:51 am

John Gregory Dunne’s book about 20th Century Fox in the mid-1960’s, “The Studio”, features a long and hilarious account of the first preview of the 1967 “Doctor Dolittle” at this theater. The Fox executives came to realize they had a real stinker on their hands, but so much money had been spent on the picture that no one was about to (or allowed to) admit that.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 10, 2007 at 5:14 pm

I have a feeling that I might get run out of here for saying so, but I think the 1957 lobby is pretty cool. I’m sure the original was as well. But this is not a bad redesign.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 4, 2006 at 5:43 pm

Starring the immortal Tempest Storm as Herself. I miss Russ Meyer. I saw Attack of the Supervixens when I was 12, sitting on the railroad tracks behind my local drive-in (See Absecon Drive-In on this site). It was an educational experience.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 16, 2005 at 11:31 pm

The local Minneapolis architectural firm Kees @ Colburn were responsible for the design of the Pantages Theatre when it first opened in 1916. The style was described as French Renaissance and it had a seating capacity of 1,600.

In 1922 architect B. Marcus Priteca re-designed the theatre and added a large glass dome to the centre of the ceiling in the auditorium. This interior was ‘modernised’ in 1946 when the theatre became the RKO Pan.

budyboy
budyboy on July 16, 2005 at 10:52 am

There is a pix of the downtown Mann in the book Show Houses: Twin Cities Style by Kirk J. Besse. ISBN 1-883141-02-8. I just bought a second hand copy off Amazon.

The photo is on page 118. It shows Ted Mann in front of the theater where The Sound Of Music is showing in its second year.

JohnFaust
JohnFaust on June 4, 2005 at 1:22 pm

Here are some wonderful shots of the newly restored Pantages.
View link
Does anyone have any pix of this theatre when it was the MANN
and where Sound of Music ran for years?

It’s hard to believe it’s the same space

ryan0290
ryan0290 on February 19, 2004 at 9:44 am

1920s pic-
View link This shows the recently replicated vertical. The beaux arts glass and iron marquee was not replicated, rather they opted for a modern one.

A later marquee-
View link

The horrible lobby redesigned by Jack Liebenberg. All of that aluminum in shades of blue and gold-
View link

1957- You can see the whole scope of the Stimson bldg. It does look very odd because it lacks its intended upper floors-
View link

ryan0290
ryan0290 on November 13, 2003 at 9:47 am

Another interesting fact is that the Stimson Building, which houses the theater was intended to be a large office block. It was discovered during the renovation that the 2-story Stimson was way overbuilt with huge columns that poke through the roof. Upon later investigation they found pictures advertising a new 12-story building housing the Pantages from the 1910s. It is still possible that the upper stories could be built, perhaps as a hotel to serve the entertainment district…

-Sean

ryan0290
ryan0290 on November 11, 2003 at 12:21 pm

Ted Mann has quite a legacy of destroying the great movie palaces of Minneapolis. Having worked closely with the architects that refurbished the theater most recently, I know first hand the damage that man could do. He was a fan of updating rather than preserving and the Pantages suffered. During remodeling, anything that protruded from the wall was hacked off to hang drapes. The original lobby was gutted, hence the new ‘modern’ lobby. I beleive he also worked on the Acadamy (Shubert) which is in dire need of restoration.

Kirk
Kirk on October 8, 2003 at 12:06 pm

The Pantages Theatre has reopened for off-broadway type shows. The Auditorium has been restored to its 1922 appearence, while the lobby is modern. A vertical sign of the marquee has been restored to its 1920s look.