586 George Street,
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Previously operated by: Hoyts Theatres
Architects: Charles Bohringer
Firms: Bohringer, Taylor and Johnson
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Crystal Palace Theatre, Hoyts Century Theatre
Sydney’s Century Theatre was converted from the much larger Crystal Palace Theatre which opened 24th June 1912. The Depression was to see the theatre close down in 1932. After years of closure, a new cinema was built inside the shell. The new cinema was opened on 25th January 1938 with Paul Muni in “The Life of Emile Zola” and was called Hoyts Century Theatre. So named as the opening coincided with the Sesqui-Centenary celebrations being held in Sydney that year.
The Century Theatre was a first run movie house and was converted to 70mm projection on 28th July 1965 for the season of “My Fair Lady”, but the small 30ft curved screen did not do justice to big 70mm blockbusters, other than for the sound and very sharp image.
The theatre once had a nice Art Deco ambience with many features picked out in different colours. The 1966 re-modelling with two tones of purple and cream in the auditorium plus mauve contour curtain changed this atmosphere somewhat. The Century Theatre was vacated by Hoyts in 1977 and was used by another company until closed completely in 1979.
It was converted to an amusment arcade, retaining all of its cinematic features. It was finally demolished in 1983.
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Recent comments (view all 8 comments)
does anybody know anything about the century theatre at broadmeadow in newcastle new south wales australia it was demolished after the earthquake I would love any info or floorplans
Muggo, check your Newcastle City Library for a copy of “Front Stalls or Back: A History of the Newcastle Theatres” by Les Tod (me) and Kevin Cork. Or a 2nd hand bookshop. It covers all the theatres in Newcastle city and suburbs.
Projection equipment in the Century Theatre was Cinemeccanica Victoria 8 35/70mm with Ascraft arcs. The plant was installed for the Sydney season of “MY FAIR LADY” in 1965. However,the long narrow auditorium did not really enhance the 70mm movies. The screen was only 36ft wide. Xebex zenon lamphouse replaced the ashcraft in 1974.
Projectors sold to Campbelltown Dumaresque Street twin in 1980.
The Century theatre was altered for cinemascope in 1954. There was a slight increase in widening the proscenium as a result. In 1938,the theatre posessed an early electroninc Hammond organ. The console was located left side of the stage in a niche column that portuded out in front of the prosecnium. It was demolished in 1954,no one knows what became of the organ. Stanfield Holiday appeared there for the opening,follwed by Penn Hughes.
Hey Ian, do you have any info on the Star at Bondi Junction? Thanks!
I remember the last movie I ever saw featured on the marquee here was the surf title Summer City, starring a very young Mel Gibson. Late 1977 / early 1978. The Arcade next door had the soundtrack specialists Ava and Susans for years as well.
This opened as Crystal Palace on June 24th, 1912 and reopened as Century on January 25th, 1938. Both grand opening ads for these cinemas are in the photo section. My Fair Lady opened on July 28th, 1965.
Site is now an office building.