Calle 11, entre 6 y 8,
Santiago de las Vegas
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This theatre belonged to the Casino Espanol, and was known as “el Casino”. It had a metal folding double gate. The lobby had a ticket booth, once manned by Florentino (Floro) Gonzalez and for a long time by Roberto Fina. Tickets were taken by ‘the Mute’. The walls were covered with still photographs of the coming movies, and two portable frames held pictures of films which were being shown that day. There were heavy navy blue velvet drapes behind the two entrance doors to block the light. The seats in the orchestra section were wooden. It had a mezzanine – called the ‘turkey coop’ – in a horseshoe shape, reached by a wide staircase to the right of the lobby. The rest-rooms were on either side of the ample stage, and the auditorium had two large floor fans. The projectionists were Fogote and Elpidio. Roberto Fina chose the movies and designed the signs, painted by Pubillones. The programs were printed by Balbi and delivered by Ovidio. A pig or turkey was raffled on Christmas Eve, toys were given out to children at the Three Kings Day matinee and school plays were presented where the children performed with their piano teacher.
The old Cine Minerva was demolished to build a new movie theatre. the architect was Ricardo Franklin. The design was good, the floor slanted to minimize obstruction of a view of the screen. There was no mezzanine, only the orchestra section, and the stage was narrow. The roof was built by Alvarez de la Campa’s company from Mulgoba. It was managed by the Club Atletico Santiago and inaugurated by its president, Eduardo Gonzalez. The screen, seats, cinematographic and other equipment were bought second-hand from a Havana dealer named Vazquez, and included everything necessary to start showing movie in CinemaScope.
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