Road Trip 2014 Day 3

View of the auditorium from the main level.
View of the auditorium from the main level.

The Fox Theatre in Fullerton, CA opened in 1925. Designed by Raymond M. Kennedy, it was a sister theater to the Egyptian, and Chinese Theatres. The Fox closed in 1987, and was scheduled for demolition until a campaign to restore the building was launched in 2000.

Read more about the theater at: http://www.foxfullerton.org/w/

Russell Theatre

View of the auditorium from the balcony.
View of the auditorium from the balcony.

The Russell Theatre opened on December 4, 1930 in Maysville, Kentucky. Plans to build the theater were announced in 1929 by Col. J. Barbour Russell, a local businessman. Russell hired the architectural firm of Frankel and Curtis to design the theater. It was built on the site of a grocery warehouse owned by the Russell family at a cost of around $200,000. Russell envisioned the 700 seat theater as a grand movie palace, saying, “what the Roxy is to New York, the Russell will be to Maysville.”

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Franklin Park Theatre Dorchester, MA
Franklin Park Theatre Dorchester, MA

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!

View from the balcony of the Adams Theatre.
View from the balcony of the Adams Theatre.
View from the balcony of the Russell Theatre.
View from the balcony of the Russell Theatre.
Everett Square Theatre Boston, MA
Everett Square Theatre Boston, MA
View from the balcony of the Logan Theatre in Philadelphia, PA
View from the balcony of the Logan Theatre in Philadelphia, PA

Thanks for voting! The Russell Theatre is the winner! 

Theater RePhotographs

 

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.

 

B&W Image of the RKO Keith's Theatre from the Richard L. Hay Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America
RKO Keith’s Theatre Flushing, NY B&W Image of the RKO Keith’s Theatre from the Richard L. Hay Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America

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.

Loew’s Kings Theatre Brooklyn, NY B&W Image from the Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America
Loew’s Kings Theatre Brooklyn, NY B&W Image from the Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America

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.

B&W image of the RKO Hamilton Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America
RKO Hamilton Theatre Manhattan, NY B&W image of the RKO Hamilton Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America

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.

B&W image of the Loew's Palace Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America
Loew’s Palace Theatre Bridgeport, CT B&W image of the Loew’s Palace Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America

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.

B&W image of Proctor's Palace Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America
Proctor’s Palace Theatre Newark, NJ B&W image of Proctor’s Palace Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America

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.

 

Limited Edition Prints of these images are available at http://www.mlambrosphotography.com/rephotographs

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

 

 

 

 

© Matthew Lambros and After the Final Curtain, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Lambros and After the Final Curtain with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kings Theatre – The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Brooklyn’s Wonder Theatre

 

Proscenium arch from the balcony, Loew's Kings Theatre.  B&W Image from the Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America
Proscenium arch from the balcony, Loew’s Kings Theatre.
B&W Image from the Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America

 

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve partnered with the Theatre Historical Society of America for my first book: Kings Theatre, The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Brooklyn’s Wonder Theatre. The book will cover the entire history of the Loew’s Kings Theatre from it’s original construction to the reopening late 2014/early 2015.  I’ve photographed over 75 abandoned theaters over the past 5 years, and being able to document one being restored has been amazing. Every visit to the theater has been awe inspiring and I can’t wait to share what I’ve seen with all of you. 

Thanks to everyone at THS, ACE Theatrical Group, Evergreene Architectural Arts, Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Gilbane Building Company for all the help bringing this project to fruition.

Kings Theatre after renovation.
Kings Theatre after renovation.

For more information check out the Theatre Historical Society of America’s press release on the project :

http://www.historictheatres.org/assets/Press-Release-Announcing-Theatre-Historical-Society-partners-with-Matt-Lambros-for-Kings-Theatre-Book1.pdf

 

The OKLA Theatre – McAlester, Oklahoma

View from the balcony of the auditorium.
View from the balcony of the auditorium.

The OKLA Theatre opened on July 10, 1931 in McAlester, Oklahoma. It was built on the site of the Palace Theatre, which burned down in December of 1930. Wallace Wilkerson, the owner of the theater building, hired architect W. Scott Dunn to build a new theater on a budget of $50,000. Dunn converted the existing cinema walls into a partial atmospheric style theater. It was built for Robb & Rowley Theatres, but the lease was taken over by Howard Hughes’s theater company, Hughes-Franklin Midwest Theatre Corp LTD.

Architect W. Scott Dunn called it a "revised moderne, semi atmospheric" theater.
Architect W. Scott Dunn called it a “revised moderne, semi atmospheric” theater.

The opening day film was “The Man in Possession,” starring Robert Montgomery. Admission prices were 25 cents for the balcony and 35 cents for main level seats. The day after opening, the McAlester News Capital said that, “the theater, in the opinion of patrons, is on a par with the very best found in larger cities.” Hughes-Franklin only ran the 800-seat theater for one year before leasing it back to Robb & Rowley Theatres. In 1950, the premiere of “Rock Island Trail,” starring Forrest Tucker, was held at the theater. The movie was released on the 100th anniversary of the Rock Island Railroad line, part of which runs through McAlester.

View of the auditorium from the stage.
View of the auditorium from the stage.

Wilkinson’s heirs sold the building to United Artists Theatres in December of 1983. UA operated the theater for six years before closing on September 4, 1989 due to declining ticket sales. When it closed, the OKLA was the last surviving single screen movie theater in McAlester. A year later, the OKLA was bought by Kiamichi Actors Studio Theatre, Inc., a local performing arts group. KAST intended to restore the theater, but was unable to raise the funds and surrendered the deed to the bank. It was then purchased from the bank by the Ardeneum of Oklahoma Charitable and Educational Foundation, Inc.

The remains of the projector room.
The remains of the projector room.


Pride in McAlester, a local community improvement non-profit organization, leased the theater from the Ardeneum in June of 2010 with the intent to restore the theater. They’ve since held several events to raise money for the restoration. In 2012, Pride in McAlester applied for and received a $200,000 grant from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, to be used to remove the lead paint and asbestos in the theater. The current plan is for the theater to be used as a non-profit multi-use community center. It will host concerts, recitals, lectures, movie screenings, community theater, award ceremonies and business meetings. According to a 2010 interview with a Pride in McAlester representative, the renovations will be at least 50% complete by 2015. Donations can be made at the OKLA Theatre’s website. 

The atmospheric blue paint, concealed by a subsequent paint job , is beginning to show through.
The atmospheric blue paint, concealed by a subsequent paint job, is beginning to show through.
The lobby is currently used for storage.
The lobby is currently used for storage.
When the original marquee was replaced in 1948,  two of the windows on the front of the building were bricked over.
When the original marquee was replaced in 1948, two of the windows on the front of the building were bricked over.
View of the auditorium from the side of the balcony.
View of the auditorium from the side of the balcony.
A close-up of some of the details on the wall of the main level.
A close-up of some of the details on the wall of the main level.
When it opened the OKLA was dubbed "the finest talking picture theater in all of eastern Oklahoma.”
When it opened the OKLA was dubbed “the finest talking picture theater in all of eastern Oklahoma.”

The information in this post was obtained with the help of the Theatre Historical Society of America, for more information including how to join – check out their website at www.historictheatres.org

© Matthew Lambros and After the Final Curtain, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Lambros and After the Final Curtain with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Holiday Print Sale

Ceiling, Uptown Theatre Philadelphia, PA
Ceiling, Uptown Theatre Philadelphia, PA

The annual Holiday print sale is here! Beginning December 9 and ending on December 24, all prints will be 20% off. Place an order by December 19 to get it in time for Christmas!

Quite a few of the images haven’t been offered as prints before so check out the new print page and enter the coupon code holidaysale2013 to get 20% off your order.

If there’s an image you’d like a print of but do not see it on the page,  send me an email and I’ll add it for you.

Snapshot: Empress Theatre

Post 3 in the Snapshot Series  – Occasionally in my travels I come across a theater that I can’t find a lot of information on, or that I only have a chance to photograph for an hour or two. They’re still beautiful and fascinating, so they definitely have a place on After the Final Curtain

The remains of the Empress Theatre's proscenium arch.
The remains of the Empress Theatre’s proscenium arch.

The Empress Theatre opened in 1927 in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The 1,595 seat theater was built by architect Charles A. Sandblom, who is also known for the Gramercy Theater in Manhattan. Originally part of the Century Circuit, the theater became part of the RKO circuit in 1929.

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