I took a bit of a hiatus from the site to finish this up, but now that I’m completely done I’m excited to announce that my third book is coming out this November!
“After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters” will feature 20 different theaters across the United States, including six exclusive ones, and a foreword written by Tim League, the founder of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain.
If you pre-order it via my site you will get a signed copy with a ticket stub and a 5×7 print of one of the theaters in the book. It should ship around the first week in November.
The streets of small towns and cities across America were filled with the lights and sounds of movie theaters in the early 20th Century. The most opulent were known as “movie palaces,” which were designed to make their patrons feel like royalty; people would dress up to visit. But as time went on, it became harder and harder to fill the 2,000+ seat theaters, and many were forced to close.
Today, these palaces are illuminated only by the flicker of dying lights, and the sound of water dripping from holes in the ceiling echoes through the auditoriums. In “After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters,” internationally-renowned photographer Matt Lambros continues his travels across the United States, documenting these once-elegant buildings. From the supposedly haunted Pacific Warner Theatre in Los Angeles to the Orpheum Theatre in New Bedford, MA, which opened the same day the Titanic sank, Lambros pulls back the curtain to reveal what is left, giving these palaces a chance to shine again.
The Majestic Theatre opened on February 26, 1928 in East St. Louis, Illinois. It was designed by the Boller Brothers for Harry Redmon and Fred Leber. The Boller Brothers were known for the Missouri Theatre in St Joseph, Missouri. The Majestic was nicknamed “The Million Dollar Theatre” due to the high costs of building the theater.
The Uptown Theatre opened as the Majestic Theatre on May 2, 1928 in Racine, Wisconsin. The 1,300 seat theater was designed by local architect B. Wade Denham for owner Ernst Klinkert. The interior was designed in the Gothic style — as many theaters at the time were in the Adamesque style, Gothic, a style usually used in churches, was an unusual choice. Denham was praised for using a hillside location to achieve full stage visibility from any seat in the auditorium. In addition to the theater itself, the building also had eight apartments to house the actors when the theater was showing plays and musicals. The Majestic closed in 1930, two years after it opened.
We travelled 300 miles south to the Majestic Theatre in East St. Louis for the 3rd day of the road trip. The Majestic Theatre opened in February 1928 and was originally part of the Samuel Komm Theatre chain of St. Louis. It closed in 1960, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.