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I saw the Pontiac Theatre only once and only the exterior, prior to its demise on December 19, 1978. The week that the Pontiac burned down it was screening the movie, “Foul Play” and even more ironic was that next week it was to screen, “Up In Smoke”.
The theatre was designed by architects Scopes and Fuestmann and was built in 1917. Originally the theatre building was comprised of two storefronts, a bowling alley and a billard room. In 1926, the owners, the Pontiac Theatre Corp. did like most of the independents in that area did— they sold to the Schine chain. After the dismantling of the Schine chain, the theatre was purchased by the Pontiac Entertainment Corp. Their ownership continued until the theatre burned.
I remember the marquee had a painting of an Indian at the top of the triangle. I also thought the theatre was closed when I saw it probably around 1977, but the archives mention no closing prior to its fire. I probably thought it was closed because a huge chandelier was lying on the floor in the foyer. I learned from archive photos that this was not the chandelier being used at the time I saw the theatre. The one on the foyer floor was probably just waiting to be removed by someone.
Another highlight during the Pontiac Theatre’s existence was the world premiere showing of the 1954 release, “The Silver Chalice”. Much of the movie had been filmed on location in Saranac Lake.
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