Book Giveaway

Pantheon Theatre Vincennes, Indiana

Pantheon Theatre Vincennes, Indiana

Hi Everyone! I’m giving away two copies of my book, “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater”, on the After the Final Curtain Facebook page. All you have to do is like, share or comment on any new post in the next week. I’ll announce the winners on Facebook on December 15th.

If you don’t have a Facebook account – just comment on this post to enter!

Snapshot: Hollywood Theatre

Post 4 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.

 

View of the auditorium from the divided balcony.

View of the auditorium from the divided balcony.

Originally billed as the “Pride of the East Side,” the Hollywood Theatre, located in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, opened on March, 11 1926. It was operated by the Mayer and Schneider (M&S) Circuit, and designed by architect Harrison G. Wiseman, who is also known for the nearby Village East Cinemas. According to an account in the Motion Picture News, the crowd on opening night was so large that the police had to cordon the entrance prevent them from storming the theater. The opening was attended by a number of that era’s stars of stage and screen including; George Walsh, Wally Van, Julia Faye, and Edna Purviance.

The balcony level was used as storage after the orchestra level was converted to retail space.

The balcony level was used as storage after the orchestra level was converted to retail space.

The 1,303 seat theater was later managed by RKO and Loew’s Inc. before closing in 1959. After the theater closed, the orchestra level of the auditorium and the lobby were converted into separate retail spaces. The former orchestra level became a series of grocery stores, beginning with a Pioneer Supermarket in 1960. In early 2012, it was announced that the East Farms Supermarket, the latest tenant to occupy the space, would close and the building would be demolished to make way for an eight-story condo building with retail space on the main floor. Demolition began in 2014, and the new building is scheduled to open in the winter of 2016.

A Kimball organ was installed in the theater when it opened, and was removed after it closed.

A Kimball organ was installed in the theater when it opened in 1926, and was removed after it closed.

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After the Final Curtain Anniversary

View from the balcony of the Loew's Kings Theatre.

View from the balcony of the Loew’s Kings Theatre.

Hey Everyone! There are a couple big events coming up – the 5 year anniversary of After the Final Curtain, the release of the Kings Theatre book, the AFtC Facebook page reaching 10,000 (!) followers, and one other announcement I’m going to keep secret the moment. To celebrate, I’m going to give away a signed copy of my upcoming book, Kings Theatre; the Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Brooklyn’s Wonder Theatre when it’s released to one person who shares or likes a post on the AFtC Facebook page from now until the page reaches 10,000 followers.

Thank you for all your support over the years and good luck everyone!

For more on the book visit: https://afterthefinalcurtain.net/book/

Return

Prospect Theatre, Brooklyn, NY

Prospect Theatre, Brooklyn, NY

 

Is this thing on? I’m happy to announce that the hiatus is over! I’ve reached a point with the book (more on that soon, I promise) where I can start making regular updates to the site once again. The first post goes live tomorrow and will be familiar to those of you who follow AtFC on Facebook – The Prospect Theatre in Brooklyn, NY.

Loew’s Canal Theatre

The Canal is one of the 22 theaters in my new book “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater.” Find out more here.

View of the auditorium from the balcony.

View of the auditorium from the balcony.

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

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

The Loew’s Canal Theatre opened in September of 1927 in New York, New York. The Loew’s Corporation contracted with Thomas W. Lamb, one of the foremost theater architects of the 20th century, to design a theater on Canal Street in Manhattan. The 2,314 seat theater was the second largest motion picture theater in the city when it opened. Even though it was a larger theater, it mostly showed “B” movies and serials. Loew’s sold the theater to the Greater M&S Circuit a little over a year after it opened, and bought it back when they went bankrupt in 1929.

Ceiling of the auditorium.

Ceiling of the auditorium.

Auditorium ceiling blueprint

Auditorium ceiling blueprint

On the morning of September 10, 1932, an explosion rocked the front of the Loew’s Canal, throwing the ticket booth into the street and shattering windows on a number of neighboring buildings. No one was injured in the blast, but Edward Brown, the theater’s night watchman, was thrown down a flight of stairs by it. A similar explosion destroyed the entrance of the Loew’s 46th Street Theatre an hour earlier. Both bombings were thought to be connected to the Motion Picture Operators’ Union Local 306, who were on strike at the time and protesting in front of both theaters, but nothing was ever proven.

A close up of the auditorium's chandelier.

A close up of the auditorium’s chandelier.

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According to an article in the New York Post, Comedian Jerry Stiller grew up going to the theater. Stiller says, “we used to go on Saturday morning at the Loew’s Canal. At nine in the morning, they’d show things like the “Fitzpatrick Traveltalk,” cartoons and serials like “Flash Gordon.” By the time you got to 10:30, they’d get to the double-header, two pictures in a row. What happened was, your mother or father would drop you off at nine, and they didn’t have to pick you up until three. That’s where we got our education.

The lobby has been empty since the store that was occupying it closed in the late 2000s.

The lobby was decorated with ornate terracotta ornamentation.

 

Ceiling of the lobby.

Ceiling of the vestibule.

Blueprints of the vestibule and lobby areas.

Blueprints of the vestibule and lobby areas.

Eddie Cantor, who also grew up in the Lower East Side, had the world premiere of his film, “Forty Little Mothers” at the Loew’s Canal in April of 1940. The theater closed in the late 1950s, and by the early 1960s the lobby was converted to retail space, while the auditorium was used as a warehouse. The last occupant of the lobby space was an appliance store and repair shop that closed in the late 2000s.

Parts of the mezzanine were blocked off and used for storage while the lobby was occupied by a retail store.

Parts of the mezzanine were blocked off and used for storage while the lobby was occupied by a retail store.

There are ornate water fountains on both sides of the mezzanine balcony entrances.

There are ornate water fountains on both sides of the mezzanine balcony entrances.

The terracotta façade of the theater was designated a New York City Landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Committee in 2010. Later that year, the Committee to Revitalize and Enrich the Arts and Tomorrow’s Economy (CREATE) teamed up with the building’s owners to conduct a feasibility study to convert the space into a performing arts center. They received a $150,000 grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., but ultimately the project never came to fruition. The building’s owners planned on converting the space into an 11-story condo complex, but the plan was rejected by the NYC Department of Buildings. Currently, the former auditorium is still used as a warehouse, while the lobby space is empty.

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Lamb designed the interior of the theater in the Spanish Baroque style of architecture.

The fire escapes were closed off when the auditorium was converted into a warehouse.

The fire escapes were closed off when the auditorium was converted into a warehouse.

The theater was only mentioned in the news for minor incidents, such as fires or movie premieres.

The theater was only mentioned in the news for minor incidents, such as fires or movie premieres.

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Lions were included in the design of many Loew's theaters.

Lions were included in the design of many Loew’s theaters.

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A close up of the theater’s proscenium arch.

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Another view of the auditorium ceiling.

Another view of the auditorium ceiling.

A look back at the projection booth.

A look back at the projection booth.

The chandeliers still hang in the theater's inner lobby.

The chandeliers still hang in the theater’s inner lobby.

A close up of one of the chandeliers.

A close up of one of the chandeliers.

Ornate plaster-work on the wall of the inner lobby.

Ornate plaster-work on the wall of the inner lobby.

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The contracting firm M. Shapiro & Son began construction on the theater in the fall of 1926.

If you’d like to help with my exploring/research efforts, please consider purchasing a print, all support is very appreciated.

 

© 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.

 

Embassy Theatre

The Embassy is one of the 22 theaters in my new book “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater.” Find out more here.

auditorium from balcony level.

View of the auditorium from the side of the balcony.

The Embassy Theatre opened August 12, 1926 in Port Chester, NY. Designed by prominent theater architect Thomas W. Lamb, the 1,591 seat theater was built on the grounds of an old Elk Lodge. Lamb also designed the nearby Capitol Theatre, which opened just a few days after the Embassy.

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Shore Theatre (Loew’s Coney Island Theatre)

The Shore is one of the 22 theaters in my new book “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater.” Find out more here.

View of the auditorium from the balcony.

The Shore Theatre opened as the Loew’s Coney Island Theatre on June 17, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York. The 2,387 seat theater was built by the Chanin Construction Company, which was also known for the construction of the now demolished Roxy Theatre in Manhattan. Before opening, the theater was leased to the Loew’s theater chain for an annual cost of $150,000. The Shore was designed in a Renaissance revival style by the Reilly & Hall architecture firm, who were proteges of famed theater architect Thomas W. Lamb. Reilly & Hall included a nautical theme in the theater’s design, due to the building’s proximity to the ocean. According to an article in the New York Times, construction of the theater cost over $2,000,000, ( $27,000,000 when adjusted for inflation.) The cost of construction was quite high for a theater of the Coney Island’s size, and that was due to the ground beneath the building being largely made up of sand.

View of the auditorium from the side of the balcony.

The Shore opening was presided over by Loew’s theater chain founder Marcus Loew, and included many of that era’s stars of stage and screen. Some of the many celebrities at the opening included; Johnny Hines, Barbara LaMarr, Mae Busch, Virginia Lee Corbin, and Teddy Sampson. Nine bands from various nightclubs around the city performed and the opening feature was the movie “The Sporting Venus” starring silent film star Blanche Sweet. According to an account by the Brooklyn Citizen, the crowd at the opening was so large it had to be cordoned by police. The theater was designed to be a combination house, showing both vaudeville and motion pictures, but eventually largely phased out the vaudeville performances, only bringing them back on special occasions.

A water fountain in the theater’s lobby.

On February 15, 1941, David Dolinsky, the manager of the Loew’s Coney Island, was being escorted to a local bank to deposit the day’s receipts by NYPD officer Leon Fox. A car pulled up alongside them and opened fire killing Fox. The robbers were eventually caught and sentenced to death, but the sentence was overturned after they appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Much of the proscenium arch has collapsed due to leaks in the roof.

Evro Theatre Corporation acquired the theater from Loew’s Inc. in September 1964. Sam Kantor, the president of Evro, had worked for Brandt Theatres for almost 30 years, and continued to do so with his new company. Brandt handled the booking and advertising for the theater, which was renamed Brandt’s Shore Theatre. A little over a year later on January 1, 1966 the Brandt Co. switched the theater to a live performance venue beginning with a production of “Let’s Dance.” They attempted to appeal to Brooklyn’s large Jewish population by presenting stage shows such as “Bagels & Yox.” but that failed to catch on. On May 16, 1966, the Shore joined Leroy Griffith’s burlesque circuit with a show titled “Stars ‘n’ Strips Forever.” The burlesque shows were eventually phased out and the theater resumed showing motion pictures.

The orchestra level was used to store kitchen equipment.

By the early 1970’s, the Shore had turned to exploitation and eventually adult films. The theater closed permanently in March of 1973. Horace Bullard, owner of the Kansas Fried Chicken chain, purchased the building in 1978, and began to convert it into a casino. The seats on the main level were removed and the main floor was leveled before the state decided not to allow gambling on Coney Island. The Shore Theatre building was declared a historical landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on December 10, 2010. It was sold to Pye Properties for $20 million dollars in January 2016. In June 2018, Pye Properties announced that they plan on turning the building into a hotel with a a spa, banquet hall, and a bathhouse. They did not specify how much, if anything, of the theater will remain.

A compass in the center of the auditorium ceiling.

More of the nautical plaster work that covers the auditorium ceiling.

The foyer of the Shore Theatre.

 

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Proctor’s Troy Theatre

Proctor's Troy Theatre - Troy, NY

View of the Proctor’s Troy Theatre from the side of the upper balcony.

The Proctor’s Troy Theatre opened as the Proctor’s Fourth Street Theatre on November 23, 1914 in Troy, NY. It was designed by architect Arlard Johnson and built by the Charles P. Boland Company for F. F. Proctor. The 2,283 seat theater cost $325,000 to build and was the largest of Proctor’s theaters in New York State when it opened. The building is five stories tall and in addition to the theater, contains space for offices and retail.

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Loew’s 46th Street Theatre

Balcony level - Loew's 46th Street Theater

The main floor of the auditorium is now used as storage for a furniture store.

The Loew’s 46th Street Theatre opened on October 9, 1927 as the Universal Theatre. It was designed by John Eberson, a famous theater architect known for his atmospheric style auditoriums. According to an account in the Brooklyn Eagle, 25,000 people were present for the opening of the theater. The 2,675 seat theater was acquired by the Loew’s Corporation in August 1928, and closed so renovations could be made to the sound equipment. It reopened on September 10, 1928 as the Loew’s 46th Street Theatre.

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The Ridgewood Theatre

Proscenium Arch - Ridgewood Theatre

The top of the Ridgewood Theatre’s proscenium arch.

The Ridgewood Theatre opened on December 23, 1916. Located in the Ridgewood neighborhood in Queens, New York, the 2,500 seat theater was built by the Levy Brothers Real Estate firm. The Ridgewood was designed by famed theater architect Thomas W. Lamb, who is known for the design of many New York area theaters. The Ridgewood was modeled after the now demolished Mark Strand Theatre, which was the first ever motion picture palace.

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