Regent Theatre

1365 Main Street,
Buffalo, NY 14209

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Regent Theatre

The Regent Theatre was opened in September 1914. On August 8, 1953 the first screening of prototype Todd-AO took place in this theatre. American Opitical Company rented this theatre to use it as a “test” cinema for the new wide screen technology. It was at this theatre that Rogers and Hammerstein decided Todd-AO had the visual scope and depth they needed and finally gave in and sold the movie rights to their stage play, “Oklahoma!”.

The Regent Theatre now houses a church.

Contributed by Bob Jensen

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

movieresearch on December 10, 2004 at 4:49 pm

The prototype lenses developed for those tests ultimately came to reside at the Granada Theatre farther down Main Street in Buffalo, NY. They were used to screen virtually all of the important roadshow movies of the 1950’s and 1960’s: Lawrence of Arabia, Ryan’s Daughter, Doctor Zhivago, West Side Story.

A projectionist once confided that these lenses were so perfect and so perfectly mounted that they required virtually no “touch-up” focus once they were set for a given film. He did not refocus the lenses once during an extended run of “Funny Girl.”

The Regent is currently used as a church and early in 2004 had its original marquee removed and replaced by a garish, digital screen marquee that blasts messages about the mission of the church.

roberttoplin on May 20, 2007 at 6:29 pm

The Regent Theatre opened on Sept.27,1914 and was designed by Gustavus A. Mang with 1,300 seats. Interior Designer was Edward Murnane of Syracuse,N.Y.

savemypass on July 30, 2007 at 7:38 am

There is some aural evidence that the projectors in the Granada theater were also the hand-made prototype projectors from the Todd-AO testing.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 14, 2007 at 1:37 pm

TODD-AO Concept Tests
On June 23, 1953 TODD-AO tests were done at the Regent in both 20 and 30 frames per second. Photographic equipment was Thomascolar 65mm cameras rebuilt by American Optical Corporation and Mitchell Camera Corporation. More tests were done on August 14, 1953 with 30 frames per second. (More 30 frames per second were done on June 23, 1954 on MGM Stage 2 in Los Angeles.)

Ladies and Gentlemen, This is TODD-AO!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

A small photo of the interior of this theatre can be seen in an ad in Boxoffice magazine, September 19, 1936. Left side of page.
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2011 at 3:29 am

Gustavus A. Mang must have been the local associate architect for this theater. The Regent Theatre in Buffalo is listed among the works of Detroit architect C. Howard Crane in the thesis of Lisa Maria DiChiera, “The Theater Designs of C. Howard Crane,” which can be read on line at the Internet Archive.

Like the Majestic Theatre (1915) in Detroit, also a Crane design, the Regent featured a section of stadium seating which had considerably greater capacity than the orchestra floor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm

The Regent Theatre was drastically altered by the mid-1930s, when the original stadium seating section was removed and replaced with a conventional orchestra floor. A cross section of the Regent’s auditorium as originally designed can be seen on this page of Lisa Maria DiChiera’s The Theatre Designs of C. Howard Crane.

Contrast that with this photo of the remodeled Regent that was featured in a Heywood-Wakefield ad in Boxoffice of September 19, 1936.

I’ve been unable to find a photo of the Regent’s auditorium before its remodeling, but DeChiera’s thesis includes these photos of the Majestic Theatre in Detroit, built the year after the Regent and designed by Crane with a very similar seating configuration.

LouB on March 24, 2012 at 9:35 am


The link above is the obituary for the former owner of this theatre.

salssss on December 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm

I was a projectionist at the Granada in the 1980’s and remember the projectors as Norelco AA’s, not AA-ll’s…I was new at projection and heard that the parts ordered for them would sometimes not fit correctly. They had a double motor on them, one for 30fps. Built like tanks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 5, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Linkrot repair: The Heywood-Wakefield ad with the photo of the Regent’s remodeled auditorium, from the September 19, 1936, issue of Boxoffice, can now be seen at this link.

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