Victoria Theater

313 W. Ferry Street,
Buffalo, NY 14213

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Victoria Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally a smaller theater located a block away, this theater opened on February 20, 1915, at a cost of $240,000. Had two Austin organs, and often featured an orchestra through the 1920’s. Became part of the Basil Brothers chain in 1933, showing movies after they ran at Basil’s Lafayette Theater in downtown Buffalo. A $50,000 remodel came with sound in about 1928. (Believed to be the first Buffalo community theater with sound).

Running weekends only at the end, it closed in 1961. There is supermarket on the site.

Contributed by Alan lapp

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on February 5, 2008 at 7:20 am

Does anyone know what happened to those Austin Theater Organs? I don’t know for certain, but I think Opus 476 was a 2/14 installed in 1915 and cost $2,000. I think Opus 546 was a rebuild installed later. The one thing for sure is we don’t know what happened to them. Here’s a hint, they are bigger than a bread box, they might still be around??

“Gee Dad, they were Austins!”

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm

There are two organs listed for a Victoria Theater in Buffalo. The first one is an Austin opus 476 size 2/7 installed in 1913. The second is an Austin opus 546 size 2/14. Note: $2,000; Rebuild opus 476. No status given.

railroad
railroad on April 8, 2008 at 9:31 pm

This was a Basil Bros. theatre, phone number 1960: LIncoln 0411

alknobloch
alknobloch on May 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

I watched the demolition of this theater when I was a kid — went down every day in the summer to see it vanish. It appeared to have a huge water tank – akin to an underground filling station gas tank – on the very top rear of the building. When the wrecking ball hit the wall support that kept in up there, it literally thundered to the ground, bringing everyone from the surrounding buildings outside to see what carnage may have ensued. Luckily, a gigantic dust cloud was the only bad result.

Back in the 50’s, this theater ran the extremely controversial film “Blackboard Jungle” and was picketed by local PTA groups concerned about the “hoodlum” theme of the picture.

alknobloch
alknobloch on September 7, 2009 at 6:56 am

Have to make another comment after reading in the Rialto Theater section that this theater, which was less than a block away from the traditionally roudy Rialto, indeed did have ushers that seemed to be imported from Nazi Germany at the time — hence their booking of “Blackboard Jungle” with the assurances of crowd control to the public.

gasman
gasman on December 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I have 1930s window card posters from the Victoria Theater available. email jerry@countrysideantiquesdotcom

LouB
LouB on February 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/16215519/399197291/name/Victoria+Theater0001.pdf

The website above shows a picture of this theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 18, 2012 at 1:34 am

The New Victoria Theatre was built and originally operated by Mitchell Mark, and was one of several Buffalo houses that he and his brother Moe Mark owned. Mark had opened Buffalo’s first movie theater in the basement of the Ellicott Square Building in 1896, and by the time the Victoria opened the Mark brothers were among the country’s leading movie exhibitors, counting among their houses the Strand Theatre in New York City, considered by some theater historians the first true movie palace ever built. A brief article about Mitchell Mark in the July 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World mentions the Victoria:

“The New Victoria theater, Buffalo, one of the handsomest in the country, is Mr. Mark’s favorite, although he built the New York Strand and other magnificent theaters. It is his idea, cherished largely by himself, and is up to the minute in equipment and construction. The Victoria is located in a fine West Side residential district. In regard to this house Mr. Mark said, ‘The people out here were loyal patrons of my little Victoria theater, my former house in this neighborhood, and I decided to give them one of the handsomest theaters that could be built—the New Victoria.’”
Here is a direct link to the PDF file with a photo of the Victoria mentioned in LouB’s comment.

alknobloch
alknobloch on February 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

Thanks for the info and the link to the photo Joe. As a kid, I used to get my hair cut in one of those store-front houses on the right side of the street across from the theater.

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