82 Fourth Street,
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Proctor’s Fourth Street Theatre, as it was originally called when it opened on November 23, 1914, was designed by Arland W. Johnson, and could seat 2,287 in its auditorium. The theater itself was part of a five-story office building, with retail on the first floor.
Proctor’s Theatre has a gleaming terra cotta facade, in Neo-Gothic style, resembles a Medieval cathedral, with details such as gargoyles and masks of drama and comedy.
Though its interior was ornate, the Adamsesque-decor resembled more a late 19th Century opera house than the exotic and extravagant movie palaces of the 1920’s. Still, its towering proscenium arch was framed by gilded plasterwork, and imported crystal chandeliers hung in the lobby and over the auditorium.
Though initially a vaudeville house, movies soon joined the program as well. Many A-list Hollywood entertainers played Proctor’s in its golden age, from the 1920’s to the 1940’s, including Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope.
However, by the 1960’s, it was simply another aging, decrepit movie house, playing double-features to mostly empty houses. On its last day of operation, in 1977, less than 40 people sat in the auditorium. Since it closed, there has been frequent talk of reopening the theater as everything from a dinner theater to a conference center, but nothing has come to fruition.
In the meantime, Proctor’s Theatre continues to slip further into disrepair, with its gilded plasterwork crumbling into dust and birds nesting in the old projection booth.
Since 2000, the Friends of Proctor’s Theater Troy, NY have been attempting to gain support to get the theater restored and reopened for use as a performing arts venue/movie theater.
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