The Fox Theatre in Inglewood, CA opened on March 31, 1949. It was built on the site of the Granada Theatre which had been destroyed by a fire five years earlier. Fox West Coast Theatres (FWCT) purchased the site for $376,375.45 soon after the fire. Charles Skouras, the president of FWCT, requested that the theater be designed in a neo-baroque style instead of the more modern style which was typical of the late 1940s. To achieve they hired architect S. Charles Lee to design the building and Carl G. Moeller to design the interior. Newly low cost aluminium sheeting was used to create ornamentation that would have been much more expensive and harder to mass produce if created with plaster. Moeller went on to redesign a number of Fox’s pre-war theaters this way, which came to be known as “Skouras Style.”
The 1008 seat Fox was the last theater to be constructed by 20th Century Fox before the Supreme Court Case the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. The case, also known as the Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948, decreed that movie studios were no longer allowed to own theaters and hold exclusive rights on where the films they produced were shown. Even though they no longer owned the theater, 20th Century Fox often held sneak previews of upcoming films at the Fox so they could observe people’s reactions to the movies. The Fox also had a soundproof room dubbed the “cry room” so that people could bring babies to the movies without disturbing the other patrons.
“Mr. Belvedere Goes to College” starring Clifton Webb and Shirley Temple was the first film shown at the Fox. Webb and Temple both made appearances at the premiere along with an estimated 10,000 people crowding the streets around the building. The Fox changed hands and formats a few times, switching to exploitation, and finally spanish language films before closing in 1988.
Hi Everyone! The blog is still technically on hiatus, but I wanted to announce that I’ll be co-hosting another photo workshop at the Victory Theatre in Holyoke, MA on June 27 with Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America. We’ve raised over $1,600 so far this year for the theater’s restoration effort.
The first session will run from 9am to 1pm, and the second from 2pm to 6pm. The last two workshops we held at the theater sold out pretty quickly so get your tickets soon.
Hi Everyone – Just wanted to let you all know that I’m taking a short hiatus from posting while I finish my book on the Loew’s Kings Theatre. Don’t worry though – the site isn’t going anywhere. I have a backlog of 16 theaters that I haven’t posted yet and plans to photograph many more. For updates during the hiatus check out the After the Final Curtain Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Afterthefinalcurtain
Here’s a quick look at some of the upcoming theaters that will be featured on AFtC later this year:
I’m very excited to announce that I’ll once again be partnering with photographer/founder of Abandoned America, Matthew Christopher for some photo workshops in 2015!
First, we will be returning to the Victory Theatre in Holyoke, MA on March 28, 2015. The Victory Theatre opened on December 30, 1920 and closed 58 years late on December 15, 1978. It is currently owned by the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, who plan to renovate the theater and reopen it as a performing arts center. A portion of the proceeds raised from the workshop will go to MIFA to help with maintenance and restoration.
Then we’ll be heading eight hours west to the Variety Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio on April 11, 2015. The Variety opened on November 24, 1927 and after a number of different uses (including a wrestling gym called the Cleveland Wrestleplex) closed in the late 1980s. The building was purchased by the Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre on June 12, 2009, and they plan to restore the theater as a multi-use venue. A portion of the proceeds from the workshop will go to the Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre to help with the maintenance of the theater.
As always Matthew Christopher and I will be on hand during workshops to answer any questions you may have regarding lighting, composition in these spaces. We have a combined 20 years experience photographing abandoned buildings and welcome any questions. Both locations have lights that can be turned on, but are minimally lit so we recommend that you bring your own lights if possible.
Help me pick the next blog post on After the Final Curtain! Cast a vote for the theater you’d like to see next on the site, and whichever has the most votes by Thursday 6/19 will be featured in a blog post on Friday 6/20!
Over the years, I’ve come across a number of vintage photographs while researching blog posts for After the Final Curtain. One resource is the Theatre Historical Society of America‘s American Theatre Architecture Archive. With their permission I was able to combine our photographs to create these “rephotographs” showcasing a glimpse of what I have seen over the years. The composite of these images illustrates the rise and fall of these buildings and the potential for what they could become again, if restored.
The before photograph of the RKO Keith’s Theatre was taken in 1955, and the after was taken in 2011, twenty-five years after the theater closed.
The before photograph of the Loew’s Kings Theatre was taken in 1929, and the after was taken in 2010, thirty-three years after it closed.
The before photograph of the RKO Hamilton Theatre was taken in the 1930s, and the after was taken in 2011, fifty-three years after the theater closed.
The before photograph of the Loew’s Palace Theatre was taken in the 1930s, and the after was taken in 2011, thirty-six years after the theater closed.
The before photograph of the Proctor’s Palace Theatre was taken in 1955, and the after was taken in 2010, forty-two years after the theater closed.
A portion of sales from this limited edition print run will benefit the Theatre Historical Society of America and support their mission to document and celebrate the history of America’s theatres. For more information — check out their website at www.historictheatres.org