238 Bourke Street,
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The De Luxe Theatre opened on 27 March 1915 and only showed films, and like many other Melbourne Cinemas had a wurlitzer organ. The architect was William Pitt. The lobby had a floor of mosaic tiles and the walls to a height of 8 feet were covered in silver-blue tiles. A marble staircase leads up to the Dress Circle foyer. The auditorium walls had a 10 foot high golden brown tiled dado, relieved with cream and blue inlaid panels. The upper part of these walls featured hand painted panels of simple landscapes. These were covered over in the late 1920’s for talkies.
The theater was called the Esquire Theatre from 1946. The cinema’s policy was changed in 1957 with the movie, “Around the World in 80 Days”, and among the other classic films screened were “South Pacific”, “Can Can”, “West Side Story”, “Tom Jones”, “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines” and “The Graduate”.
It closed on 31 March 1976 and was demolished. The seating was quoted when it opened as 2,200 but this seems most unlikely with around 1,500 more believable. It seated 1,125 when it closed. The chandelier that used to hang in the lobby is now hanging in the foyer of the Regent Theatre in Ballarat.
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