1 Thu May 27 2010 - 15:14:50
Your name: Francesca Blumenthal
Your e-mail address: francescablumenthal@mac.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): New York
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: I'd like to send you a lyric I wrote In 1987 or 1978 when I lived in Queens. I passed the
historical and gorgeous RKO Keith on my way to work, only to see a sign saying it was closed for
DEMOLITION! I immediately wrote "Movie Palaces" during my commute that morning. It has been
performed in my cabaret show "Life Is Not Like The Movies" and in played durin an exhibit at the
Queens Historical Societ. Here are the lyrics. If you'd like a CD of the song or the sheet music, please let me know.


They're tearing down the RKO Keith on Northern Boulevard
And I'm taking it hard.

Remember starlit ceilings, scarlet walls?
Waiting for the matinee in Tudor halls?
Seats of ruby velvet, carpeted aisles,
Luminous tears and flashbulb smiles?

Movie palaces were shining, Shining all over town
There we found the silver lining and spangled gown.

Remember marble statues, Raisinets?
Gold braid on the uniform of usherettes?
In their gilded cages, pretty cashiers,
The thrill when dimmers dimmed the chandeliers?

Movie palaces were glowing, glowing a million nights.
Movie palaces were showing our lives in lights.

Remember tinkling fountains, three-hour shows?
And all those couples necking in the dark back rows?
Moorish balconies and Renaissance doors
And on the screen, their dreams were yours...

The Loews Valencia, the Loew's Alhambra
The Paramount, the Paradise, the Fox
The Capitol, the Avalon, the Rivoli, the Tivoli,
The Strand, the Majestic, the Roxy! Ahh, the Roxy!

Remember angels flying round the dome?
Restrooms reminiscent of the baths of Rome
Satin sofas that belonged at Versailles
Cathedral arches soaring to the sky...
All our castles in the air
Came down to earth for everyone to share.
You didn't have to be a millionaire
Just one tiny ticket--you were there!
And so it's not surprising when you find
Movie palaces keep rising in your mind!

c1988 Francesca Blumenthal & Addy Fieger

2 Fri April 23 2010 - 19:39:51
Your name: Patricia Speer
Your e-mail address: duce9880@yahoo.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Chicago
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: Dear THSA Good day to you all Im doing some researh of my family history you are my last resort for our family link.Both my grandparents have passed before I could remember . My father and his bothers were bourne on gladys Av. Chicago 1916-1920 my grandfather was killed as a cop in Brookfield Il. This is when my Grandmother had to support her boys being a Berlesque dancer in chicago probably 1930-40's. My father would tell us about how he new the Marx brothers and others. this is how grandma suported them. I remember when grandma passed we werent allowed to touch her heavy red velvet robe or her clear high heal shoes and bracelets. I would apprecieate any conformation you could support my efforts. I also read that in the Boheman district in the turn of the century most Germans changed their names also the Marx brothers also were german and changed their last name also. my grandmother's name was Goldine or Helen Maggert grandpa was David Speer She then married a love or Copp. and moved to Paw Paw Michigan.Sincerly Patricia Speer

3 Sun July 05 2009 - 16:01:04
Your name: Haeyong Moon
Your e-mail address: haeyong.moon@gmail.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Los Angeles, CA
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: *** Re-posting with the link to the video. ***

Hello all,

Enjoy a short video about the hidden spaces inside Sid Grauman's Million Dollar Theater.


Feel free to share with anyone who may be interested.

Haeyong Moon

4 Fri June 12 2009 - 18:12:51
Your name: James Huffman
Your e-mail address: jphuf@aol.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Hollywood, FL
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: Usher At The Chicago Theater 1955 Recollections

Plenty of information is a matter of record & readily available for research purposes from other sources, but I believe that my account of the operations during this time frame is unique.

My name is James Huffman and this is about my observation & recollections of the operations, from an Ushers point of view & memory, of The Chicago Theater. I was employed as a part-time Usher from Feb 1955 until Jan 1956.

The Chicago Theater, 1921, was & is the premier movie theater in Chicago and in the large chain then owned by Balaban & Katz (B & K). 4000 seats, six stories high. In addition to the movies, there were also stage shows. Each day started with the movie at 8AM followed by an One-hour stage show, through out the day until the last show ended at 10PM, and the same time that the last movie started, that ended at Midnight. There were 6-movies and 5-shows each day. The stage shows ended in Oct. 1955.

Many big name stars & acts performed there. The large stage was behind the movie screen, which would lift up and the Orchestra would roll out on a moving platform while at the same time playing. There were in the one-hour, four acts, a big name act, and two-known acts and a lessor known act. Some of the performers were Doris Day, The Andrew Singers, Patti Page, Bob Hope, and many others. The Oriental & State-Lake also had Stage Shows but they had ceased by 1950.

During the Stage Show era, the Chicago was packed from 8AM opening (lines would form as early as 6AM) until the last stage show ended at 10PM. Most came for only the Show and not the low rated movies. Better movies played at other theaters.

But to see the Show you could not get a seat unless you got in line for the movie. Weekends were a mad house, lines going around the block in two directions, waiting to buy tickets and then when you finally got your ticket, you got in the tail end of the "have ticket" line that went around the block in the opposite direction. Ushers were always outside to maintain order and to direct 'traffic'. Meanwhile the Lobby was packed behind the "Ropes". It was not unusual for people to wait six hours prior to "a no choice" seating.

When the Stage let out was the only time the Lobby and the Lines moved. When you finally made it inside, you were directed to the remaining areas that still had seats, starting with the Main Floor, then the Mezz, then to the Lower Balcony, then Mid, then Top at 6-floors above, your ears could pop. All diversion floors were blocked by Ushers. To be assured of a center front seat, you did the six hour thing and when the Show ended three hours later and the people were leaving, you rushed, clawed and fought your way down & forward, total of nine hours and three more until the end of next show. So, for a good seat to see a stage show, a person could spend twelve hours.

At 10PM the last movie started with only about 10% seats filled, the Candy Counter & Box Office would close and the Manager would also leave shortly thereafter. Two-Ushers would remained until the last movie ended at Midnight. One for the Main floor & one for the Balcony/Mezz. They would patrol all the seating, lounge, stairs & hallway areas and do a final check prior to leaving.
When the Box Office closed, the Manager would get the days receipts, and along with an Usher pushing a dolly and the Police Officer, we would ride the elevator down to the Office.

I was a student at Lane Technical High School, seeking part-time work, when I answered an ad. I was interviewed by one of the Asst-Managers, a Mr Raptis. The others were Manager Mr Thompson and Asst Mr Nesbitt. All B & K Managers started out as Ushers. A forth Manager in-training also was on the staff until assignment elsewhere. After a short indoctrination and training period, I went to work. But first we were given a visit upstairs to the Corporate offices to meet Mr. Balaban. Which Balaban, unfortunately I do not remember.

Ushers were issued a uniform consisting of a red "tux" type jacket that went just below the seat, under the jacket was worn a cummerbund & light blue trousers with a red leg stripe, a stiff white cardboard "dickey" & collar, a blue snap-on bow tie and a dicky button pin. The dickey/collar were a throw-aways and replaced daily. We supplied the black shoes. We had to be spick & span & often had to stand inspection.

The Ushers had a room, in the lower floor (basement), consisting of a lounge, locker room, and rest room with showers, sinks and toilets. Also down there were the main Women's & Men's lounges, the Theater Office and the Check Room.

The Ushers were all male, as well as most of the other theater Ushers in the city, an exception was the next door Loop Theater which had an all female Usher staff. My Mother, in 1916, worked as an Usherette, for awhile, at the Covent Gardens movie/vaudeville theater at 2600 N. Clark St. The Covent eventually became a B & K theater.

The Usher staff consisted of about 50 or so, during the last years of the stage show era. A Chief of Service, 7+ Captains, 14+ Lieutenants, 30+ Ushers. A few worked full time, but most were college and high school part-timers. All the Officers were part-timers. Our pay was by rank: $0.75 Usher, $0.85 LT; $0.95 Capt. & $1.05 Chief, per hour. In todays money that would be $10 to $15 per hour. We also received free admission and also for our families & friends, with-in reason, to any B & K theater. Also we could get into other theaters on a special pass when requested from a Manager.

A typical day or evening shift would find Ushers + Officers assigned to the Main Floor (1 for each of the 7 doors + 1-aisle rover + 2-Officers), Lobby Ropes (2 + 1-Lt), Outside Lines & Announcing (2 + 1-Lt), Mezzanine (2 + 1-Officer), Check (best job) Room (1) and Balcony (6 + 3-Officers). The Chief of Service stood by Aisle-3 and directed operations & crowd control via house phone & a lit control panel. When the Chief was off a Sr Captain would be in charge. By the side door employees only door & reception, the Manager on duty would stand, with an off-duty uniformed Police Officer.

There were two-shifts, 8AM to 5PM & 2PM to 10PM/12AM. But this actually varied according to the Ushers class schedules. Only on the weekends/Holidays were the shift hours as stated. My usual work hours were two days during the week from 5PM to 10PM or 12AM and two full shifts on the weekends, about 30-hours total for $30, in todays money $340. We were given a lunch break, but only the Aisle Door Ushers would get additional breaks. Weekday mornings were always short staff, so anybody could work if they could be there.

Probably the most important Usher position was Aisle # 4, the Center aisle. He was the Usher that was the most exposed to the patrons. His demeanor, bearing, appearance, stamina & conduct had to be impecable all day, of course that was also expected from the others, but not always achieved. This was also true of the Ushers for the other aisles, but #4 took the blunt of exposure. Only the best got the Aisles, but it was not a desired position, I hated it. In addition to the mid-shift lunch break, the Aisle Door Ushers would receive additional short breaks. We had to stand at a military "at ease" position in front of the double door, turning to open/close for people and at the end of shows, as well as answering many questions. Very little movement was allowed. I got to know the exact time just from listening.

Throughout the theater were push button panels that conveyed information to the central control panel across from the Aisle #3 door. Each aisle had a button panel as well as at strategic locations in the Mezz & Balcony. In addition there was a House phone system, with phones situated in key locations throughout the Theater, near a post were Officers would be stationed.
Whenever an Officer was missing from a post, the next Sr Usher would be in charge. This happened to me sometimes, I was assigned to the Mezz on an easy morning when it got un-expectedly busy. Three Ushers were sent to help, we were short Officers, so I was in charge for awhile.

There were other miscellaneous Usher duties such as: Check Room (a very choice & coveted job), releaving a Ticket Taker for their breaks (these were very elderly retired gentlemen), Outside seating microphone Announcer (wore a cape & a hat), ("there is immediate seating in the Balcony"), bringing bagged pop corn & candy to the Candy Counter, pushing the money dolly, as well as other chores as requested.

At lunch time we would often go next door to the BEST deli/sandwich shop, 'Bob Elfmanns' for a great Corn Beef on Rye or Hot Pastrami. Now Gone.

We were also "farmed-out" to other B & K Theaters for special reasons when they required additional Ushers. A few times we even hosted Ushers from other neighborhood B & K Theaters. A got to work a few times at the State-Lake, United Artists, Roosevelt and the Uptown.

The Candy Counter was staffed at all times by 3 or 4 girls,from an overall total of at least 12 or so. Like the Ushers, they were also part-time students.

We would often experience or catch "Sneakers", Perverts, Pick Pockets and Thieves. This would be an Adrenalin rush for us, finding, chasing, catching and ejecting these people. Once while manning the Mezz I spotted several huge male sneakers coming in the north side exit door on Lake St. I ran to intercept them coming up a stair case. I yelled halt, but they kept on approaching so I retreated for reasons of sanity and the preservation of my body functions. But we, several ushers, myself, a Manager and the Police Officer, after a search, spotted them sitting near the top of the Balcony by themselves and they were removed. I naturally was threaten with future violence. If they had scattered and sat amongst other people, we would have never found them.

Then there was the fun, comradery and socializing with our Usher colleagues & Candy Girls, after work on the weekends.
Usually this took place after 10PM on Friday & Saturday nights. There was a lot to do in the Loop then.
We had other movies to see and usually were free. The other B & Ks as well as the Oriental, Woods, McVickers, Loop. The Clark & Monroe were dumps, only patronized by bums & perverts.
Bowling and Billiards at Bensingers was always fun, now gone. There were also several arcades, frequented by the younger crowd and sailors and sometimes us. And many restaurants to eat at, Kopper Kettle, Stouffers etc.
Sometimes on warm nights, we would walk home, in a group of guys & gals, along the Lake Front thru Lincoln Park, north to as far as Belmont or so, and then split up to our respected homes. Those who lived south or west were out-of-luck. We (some) even took a swim once off the "rocks" just north of Oak St. beach. And all this took place after dark late at night.

The one big event that occurred was during the World Premier of the movie Guys & Dolls starring Marlon Brando. He and the cast, in person, were part of the Premier. About two hours prior to his arrival, the crowd started to form. Several Ushers, myself included, were sent out front to man the wooden sawhorses, supplemented with several Police Officers. We eventually locked arms in two rows leaving a path down the middle which constantly became narrower. The crowd of mostly women became quite agitated and aroused as the moment grew nearer and the path disappeared entirely when Brando arrived. He had to fight & squeeze his way thru to the door while being grabbed & groped by the fans. The path actually led to the middle of the Box Office and not to a one of the doors to each side. Enough said about poor planning, he did receive some extra bruises & scratches for that mistake. That is the price one has to pay for acquired fame.

It was a great era, little now remains of that time. Most if not all the theaters, restaurants, arcades, bowling and pool tables are now gone from the Loop as well as the small stores. Store front business were demolished for the Banks and the other 'no shops' places.

5 Wed April 08 2009 - 12:35:54
Your name: Chris Kellberg
Your e-mail address: wideimaging@att.net
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): El Segundo, CA
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: Flushing ’s Landmark RKO Keith’s Theatre is once again in the spotlight, an amazing, 23 years after its closure. This is the result of a bursting of the real estate bubble and the formation of a grassroots organization “Friends of the RKO Keith’s Flushing ,” which managed to gather an also amazing 1,000+ membership in the first week of its conception. Formed one short month ago, as a result of the creation of this Facebook group. The group has tapped into a wellspring of interest, extending beyond Flushing ’s boundaries, to include former residents and many others, who have attended graduations, dance classes, concerts or saw classic films at the theatre, in addition to current residents who see the potential of this venue. All this suggesting that the former show palace represents something much more than just another inert landmark. The building located at 135-27 Northern Boulevard , Flushing Queens is now for sale again after the failure by the current owner to develop the site as a 19 story luxury condominium. Faced with the reality of a lasting and depressed real estate market, the survival of any developer is questionable and the sale of this property at a profit is extremely unlikely. Flushing may be left holding a foreclosed property, with little to show for those 23 years of vacancy. Ironically, among Flushing's landmarks: The Bowne House, Quaker Meeting House (being restored), Kingsland Homstead, Latimer House and Town Hall, only the RKO site and shell structure has the location and size as is to become a revenue generating event center. The “Friends of the RKO Keith’s Flushing ” seek to preserve the entire building and give it a purpose in keeping with its storied past. The RKO Keith’s is the only surviving show palace built with the inside designed to look as if one were outside in a courtyard, with an almost planetarium like ceiling, making Thomas Lamb's design not only a landmark, but an architecturally unique structure.

6 Wed July 02 2008 - 18:04:37
Your name: Kay Presson
Your e-mail address: kentuckay@yahoo.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Bardwell, KY
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: June, 1996, I founded Carlisle Weekly in the former Farm Bureau office. The building is two story, built in 1897. Next to the building stood Milwain Theatre, now marked by a monument. While cleaning several years ago, I went into a closet under the stairs. There at the very back was a projector, a huge, heavy piece of equipment. I contacted one of my former employers, Jack Keiler, owner of Paducah's Columbia and Arcade Theaters. I asked Mr. Keiler about the old projector, giving him the name and serial number, manufactured by Devry Sound Equipment Company in Chicago. Mr. Keiler told me all the older theaters used this equipment and that it had belonged to Milwain at one time. Friday, July 4, I am donating this projector to our newly opened Carlisle County Museum here in Bardwell. Milwain Theatre was a vital part of not only Bardwell, but also Carlisle County. Its history is our history. If you would like a copy of Carlisle Weekly with this feature, please let me know.

7 Sat June 14 2008 - 17:31:03
Your e-mail address: quinnieyml@aol.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: Historic Sattler Theatre (1914) to be Restored by The Western New York Minority Media Professionals Inc

(Buffalo, New York)
On February 1, 2008 the Western New York Minority Media Professionals, Inc. (WNYMMP), a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity, purchased the historic 1914 Sattler Theatre located at 512 Broadway in the city of Buffalo, New York. The building has stood derelict for years with a city demolition order in effect.

Since Buffalo is the home of the first purpose-built movie theater in the world (Vitascope Theatre, 1896), the preservation and restoration of The Sattler Theatre a 1914 terra-cotta treasure, is an important part of the fabric of the historic architectural history of the Western New York region. It stands in a neighborhood with two other important theatres: The Savoy (1906) and The Michigan (1909) both of which need reconstruction and preservation. All the theatres are part of the New York State Movie Theatre Corridor, and important new statewide initiative to preserve historic theatres and bring cultural tourism to the state.

When restored, the theatre building will house the annual professionals of color in Media Hall of Fame Awards dinner. It will have a multi-purpose community use including showcasing films, theatrical productions, hosting concerts, live events, business conferences and a dining hall.

WNYMMP plans the construction of a new facility, The Bob Coles Institute for the Media Arts and Technology, directly behind the theatre. This will also be the home of The Minorities in Media Museum.

Both the Sattler Theatre and the Minority Media Museum will bring thousands of tourists to the Downtown-East Michigan Avenue Historical Preservation District along Broadway.

The Buffalo Film Society and Buffalo Cinematheque (activities of the not-for-profit Buffalo International Film Festival) has committed to providing special programming once the theatre has been approved for public use.

The mission of WNYMMP INC is founding a professional media organization committed to promoting social and educational opportunities within the Western New York Community.

WNYMMP INC are the producers and devlopers of UPFRONT TV AND OFFICIAL HEAT, both programs air on WKBW-TV ABC CH. 7

8 Tue May 27 2008 - 20:17:45
Your name: Gary Yantis
Your e-mail address: jackharris@att.net
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Seguin Texas (outside San Antonio)
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: [Originally posted 9-10-07].
My favorite theatre is a neighborhood theatre called the Hi-Ho in San Antonio. It was a quonset hut building with a facade for the entrance. I enjoyed kid shows back in 1951 and 1952 when I was in the second and third grades. During the summers I spent from 10 am until 6 pm at the theatre for only a dime. Over the years I became a theatre historian and I have produced a website from my histories of the theatres in San Antonio, Texas. I now have 192 theatres on my site and all but 25 are from the past. Long gone. Visit the site at http://www.satheatres.com The site is called San Antonio Theatres: Now and Then

9 Mon May 26 2008 - 10:39:37
Your name: Kathleen M. Lesko
Your e-mail address: kmlesko@yahoo.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Pasadena, CA
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: I am writing a biography of Jeanne Devereaux Perkins, who was a prima ballerina in vaudeville and on Broadway in the 1920s-40s. She performed at the Roxy Theatre, the Palace Theatre,Radio City Music Hall, all the vaudeville circuits across the country, and in Europe (1935-39) since she came to New York City in 1925 at the age of thirteen with her mother. She retired in 1951 and moved to Pasadena, CA, where she currently lives an active life at the age of ninety-five. She performed under the name of Jeanne Devereaux. If anyone has any knowledge of her as a performer, I would be most grateful if you could contact me.

10 Mon January 28 2008 - 11:42:20
Your name: Irv Lipscomb
Your e-mail address: irv_l@earthlink.net
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Winter Garden, Florida
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: WINTER GARDEN, FL: The 1935 Garden Theatre, located at 160 W. Plant Street, is reopening on February 1, with the Jester Theatre production of THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS. The Art Deco exterior and Mediterranean Revival interior have been completely restored and improved from the original. The theatre was restored by the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, with help from the City of Winter Garden along with state, county and individual grants. Closed since 1963, the theatre is equipped for both live productions and film projection. The gala opening weekend begins on February 29. Call 407-877-GRDN for reservations and information. The website is www.wgtheatre.org

11 Sat December 01 2007 - 15:35:08
Your name: Jim Rowe
Your e-mail address: elvis58@cinci.rr.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Goshen, Ohio
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: My Grandfather, Jean W. Klossner, was a foreman for the Meyer-Holler Company and worked on construction of the Grauman's Chinese Theater (and others) in Hollywood.

For over 30 years, my Grandfather performed the famous footprint ceremonies at the Chinese ... I was allowed to help as a teenager in the 50's and until his death in the early 60's ...

I remember only one star is upside-down from the rest (At the Star's insistance, that he be "different" from all the others ...

Here is a website ...


Thank You

12 Tue October 09 2007 - 08:15:48
Your name: Michael Caraba
Your e-mail address: mike@sotis.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): new york new york
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: Before The Beatles performed on natl T.V. with Ed Sullivan.
Their very first show!
There was a special afternoon performance in Brooklyn somewhere,
where they played for a select group of people.
Mostly for a Press viewing.
The N.Y. Times Posted a record of that event in their weelky paper.
The reason for my remembering of this event was that there was a group that had preformed before the Beatles actually came on, There was a sort of a warm up group.
The Group was called * The Visions, They were noted in this article
as a really good group,
Stating that they even sounded better than The BEATLES
The Fact that their Hair was sprayed with
different colors made them quite unique.
If possible can you affirm this bit of trivia.......
I was not sure as it could have been the Paramount theatre, Brooklyn, NY
I am still wondering when this could have taken place.nine twoeight one

13 Mon September 10 2007 - 17:19:23
Your name:
Your e-mail address:
Where do you live? (City and State or Country):
Are you a THS member?: (null)

14 Sun September 02 2007 - 12:46:01
Your name: charles sedgwick
Your e-mail address: chas42@verizon.net
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): St. Petersburg Fla.
Are you a THS member?: (null)
Iam a retired; professional,licensed projectionist,orig. from Massachusetts.

I have always loved movies,and projection, of such.
It all started in the 4th grade, where I first started showing 16MM films,tru jr high, tru high school. and finely working at a local movie theatre.as in the old days starting in the movie theatre business, you started as a usher, then head usher,then door-man,asst. mgr., manager.

Being a manager for a few years,doing everything,6 days a week.
I decited to get my state projection license, to show movies professionaly.
I passed the test, and joined the motion picture union,and started showing movies within a 50 mile area. I worked in-door and drive-ins. I liked drive -ins best because, you could see, and meet the people comming to the show, and get free food from the snack-bar.

When showing films in a in door theatre, the booth was usually way in the back in the balcony. or just out-side the back wall of the theatre.
The booths were mostly small,with no air cond.,hot in the summer and cold in the winter,and you worked sat.,sun,& holidays for the same pay.

If you would like some of my experances, and /or storys of my projection
days, starting in 1953 with cinemascope& mag. stereo. sound, tru the end of the drive-ins in my area. Let me know by E mail Thanks.
Charlie S

15 Wed August 08 2007 - 03:14:11
Your name: Dr. Russell Rowan
Your e-mail address: paramount10@gmail.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Albion, MI
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: While travelling in Arizona this summer, I ventured to Tombstone. There I found a Theater which was built in the 1880s and which is mostly as it was at that time. It is open for viewing and has in it many artifacts of the era. I am sure some of our members have seen it, but I am wondering if it shouldnt be a part of our History? I talked to the manager and she gave me a brochure listing the history of the Theater and her card, which I will gladly send to anyone who would like to follow up on this story. The name of the Theater is "Bird Cage Theater" The manager sounded very interested in the THSA.

16 Mon July 16 2007 - 18:05:44
Your name: Deborah Clements
Your e-mail address: deborah5227@sbcglobal.net
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Fairway, Kansas, USA
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: The reason of my writing: The burning of the Isis Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, January 24, 1928.

Mom consistently brings me various family artifacts, etc., and recently brought me a very sad looking scrapbook which had belonged to her uncle, Bill Ganz. Wilhelm Ganz had studied music, first violin and then piano, at the Conservatory of Mannheim, Germany (instructing there also as an assistant teacher), and had come to Kansas City in 1922 to appear regularly with the chamber music society known as the Little Symphony and also with Fritz Hanlein’s Trianon Ensemble, both followed the vaudeville circuit. Over the years Bill also secured a variety of work at radio stations in Kansas City (WDAF, WHB and KMBC), at one point he had a Victor Borge type radio show.

Back to January 25, 1928:

From The Kansas City Star
“Shower Praise upon Organist”
“Heroism of Billy Ganz in Fire Credited for Orderly Exit”

“Patrons of the Isis Theater, who last night suddenly found themselves acting the role of players instead of spectators in a fire drama, today were lauding a new star. He is Billy Ganz, organist of the theater, who played a stirring military march on the theater organ with the flames leaping about him, while the audience marched out to safety in an orderly manner.

Billy was cast in the lead role when he saw flames break out in the left wing of the stage as the feature picture, “That’s My Daddy”, was being shown. Continuing to play a lively tune with one hand, he pressed the buzzer which brought an usher. “Get the manager,” he whispered. “The place is on fire.”

Mickey Gross, manager, mounted the stage and drew the attention of the audience from the world of make believe to one of grime reality, when he said: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the theater is on fire. Please march out slowly and do not rush the exists.’ Meanwhile the organist struck up a marching air and remained at his post while the burning pieces of curtains and draperies fell around him.

Ganz, who lives with relatives at 8222 Flora Avenue, was at the theater early today and before the fire swept stage had cooled, was crawling through the stage loft with a flashlight examining the brass pipes of the organ to learn the extent of the damage to them. He was attired in the same suit he wore last night. The holes burned in it and his singed hair told more plainly than words how he had remained at his post. “When those red curtains began to flame I played on because I believed it would keep the crowd from becoming panic stricken,” he said. “That was all.”

He did not tell what others related of how he played a march while the burning curtain was hanging over his head threatening to drop on him at every instant; or how he struggled from the theater the last one out, with his music, some if it afire, clutched in his arms, his eyes red from the smoke which almost choked him before he escaped.

“I don’t know how long I played after the fire started,” he said. “The smoke got so thick I couldn’t see anything. So I just played as long as I could and then ran.”

Mr. Gross and Joseph C. Wirthman, owners of the building, praised the presence of mind of the organist. Mr. Gross said he could not account for the cause of the fire, but did not believe it could have been due to defective wiring as the wiring was new, placed there when the building was remodeled last summer. He estimated the damage at about $50,000. Mr. Gross, who also came in for praise for his cool handling of the crowd, said he believed the damage to the theatre alone would exceed $50,000 as the $30,000 organ virtually was destroyed. Mr. Wirthman said he would confer with representatives of insurance.” [article ends]

Other news articles detailed how elevator operator, Mrs. Allene Clopton, remained on the job, going floor to floor calling persons from offices (eight responded to her alarm); how ten music pupils studying violin at the First National Institute of Violin (in room 123 of the building) were carried down ladders by firemen; how their instructor, Leon Garber, was directing the class through “Massa’s in the Cold, Cold Ground” and who had smelled smoke several minutes previous to the alarm; how people in a meeting on the fifth floor shouted for aid, but by the time the firemen placed an 85-foot ladder up the side of the building, those people had been able to grope their way through the smoky halls to the ground floor; how my Uncle Bill sat at the organ and continued playing even when the velvet knot used to loop the curtain back had fallen burning within his reach on the top of the organ, but he did not leave his seat at the organ until the fire leaped the footlights to the theater seats (twenty rows of seats were burned).

Another article displayed a picture of the destroyed organ, which appears melted and charred. This article also details how Uncle Bill had been an organist at the Sedalia Theater (Sedalia, Missouri) when a fire had started and had deserted his organ and rushed to the basement to assist others in an attempt to extinguish the fire, but the attempt was unsuccessful (which also destroyed $200 of his music). However, he made the decision to profit from that experience and stay by his organ at the Isis, which in turn averted a panic.

I hope someone found this interesting. I had always heard the story of how he had played at the organ calm the audience and how his clothing had been burned, so these articles were very interesting to me. I wish I had known him. It is my pleasure to share this story with you -- Deborah

17 Sun May 27 2007 - 16:39:00
Your name: Richard Holden
Your e-mail address: Petrushka@cox.net
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Tucson, Arizona
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: I have posted an entry earlier on this site, about a few experiences when I worked as a young man at the Roxy Theater's candy stand from 1949 to 1951. Since I made that posting I've been contacted by others who worked at the Roxy during the same time period, so people DO actually read this site. It brings back many memories of that time of so long ago.
On another site: http://cinematreasures.org/theater/556/ there are many other postings from people interested in this marvelous theater that unfortunately was demolished in 1961.
Looking at pictures now of that magnificent structure, I only regret that at the time I worked there I never got a chance to explore the building. I was a student during the day, and after 5 or 6 hours on the candy stand serving demanding and often rude patrons, all I wanted to do was to go home. Now, so many years later, all I can see are pictures of the exterior, and a few of the interior, and not many at that.
Does anyone know what eventually happened to the magnificent circular carpet that was spread out in the rotunda? And what about the paintings and sculptures? The dancer's costumes and props? The massive stage scenery, and the magnificent chandelier that hung in the rotunda? Was all of this sold at auction, like the costumes and furniture at the MGM Studio? Does anyone knows about this, or where I could find more detailed information about this theater. For example, the original architectual designs, costume sketches, music scores, etc.Please send me an email. Thanx.

18 Tue March 06 2007 - 16:11:24
Your name: Earle Kittleman
Your e-mail address: kittleman@amigo.net
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Salida, Colorado
Are you a THS member?: (null)
(1888 Salida Opera House)

The City of Salida, Colorado will loan as much as $125,000 for two years to the new owner of the Unique Theater to stabilize the walls of the historic landmark by March 16 and remove the damaged roof by March 23, according to an agreement ratified last night (Mar 6) by city council. The theater at 129 West First Street is one of the largest buidings ever built in this turn-of-the-century railroad town.

The back portion of the building, which contains the 650-seat theater, was condemned Feb. 8 when City officials and a structural engineer inspected and reported it was in “imminent danger of collapse.” Adjacent property owners and businesses were warned and several have closed until the threat is lifted.

Meanwhile citizens interested in saving the historic building have called a second meeting for 7 p.m. tonight (Mar 6) at Victoria Tavern, another 19th Century building within the City’s downtown national historic district. If the community will help raise money, the new owner said he would wait until August 15 to exercise his option to demolish.

The City’s Historic Preservation Commission gave permission for partial demolition of the affected building following a well-attended public hearing Feb. 22.

The front portion of the building appears structurally sound with potential for adaptive reuse. It includes the lobby flanked by storefronts and a large second floor meeting room that has been sealed off and unused for perhaps 50 years. A coat of stucco applied sometime during the 1960s conceals all the original brick on the front façade and the tall, arched windows in the second floor. Ironically, the stucco job that was meant to beautify the structure now prevents the building from contributing to the downtown historic district and from competing successfully for public funds for its rehabilitation.

The building opened in 1889 as the Salida Opera House with the upstairs meeting hall used by the local Masonic order. Built of brick, it replaced the wood opera house consumed by fire the year before. Local preservationists hope to find photographs of the front façade. Only one historic illustration of the front is known to exist at the Denver Public Library. It shows a wide-arched entrance flanked with storefronts and the tall second floor windows. The original cornice and pediment at the roofline are the only remaining visual elements of the original theater on the exterior.

Unfortunately, decades of deferred maintenance have rendered the interior of the theater unlovely, and now, unsafe. Most original detail has been lost because it was modernized several times as a movie theater under the name Empress, Osnos, Salida Theater and finally, the Unique. Triangular steel brackets were installed sometime in 1980s to buttress the roof and ceiling where it meets the walls.

19 Fri February 23 2007 - 10:47:17
Your name: Gene C. Molitor
Your e-mail address: genemolitor@vistarvsa.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Woodridge, Il
Are you a THS member?: (null)
One of my fondest memories as a child is of the fabulous Southtown Theatre at 63rd & Halsted. My Mother took me there to see an Esther Williams underwater extravaganza. I've yet to determine the actual name of the movie but they all had the same plot. This was in the mid 50's and I was 7 or 8. A young black boy was weeping tremendously (at the movie) as he walked backwards up the aisle (not wanting to miss a single frame)as poor Esther was drowning. He cried "Oh Esther, please don't die."
Later as a teenager I worked at Wieboldt's at 63rd & Green. I walked down to see the theatre which, by then, was Carr's Department Store. The fish pond was still there, sans fish, as as were the statues, semi hidden by racks of clothes thrown everywhere. It was very sad to see this beautiful place come to that demise.

20 Fri January 26 2007 - 13:35:48
Your name: Richard Holden
Your e-mail address: Petrushka#cox.net
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Tucson, Arizona
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: I am enjoying the many pictures of the New York ROXY THEATER. I worked there as a young man from 1949 to 1952. I began as an usher but then during my 2nd week I was promoted to the candy stand. I was a student of dancing and so had the daytime to take my dance classes and also to audition for Broadway shows. It was no ordinary candy stand, but an elaborate structure. A second candy stand was on the upper balcony with a window overlooking the main rotunda. Some of the ushers were hungry students as I was, and I would often give them a candy bar from my stands. George Maharis was an usher at that time,later to become a movie star.
I felt as if I worked in a palace. And the spiffy uniform was as if fashioned after the palace guards of old St. Petersburg, Russia. Gold buttons and some kind of a case attached to a shoulder strap. What this was for I had no idea. The manager was Mr. Katz who was always greeted even the ushers. Mr. Levy was the manager of the candy stands and I believe he had been there since the opening in 1927, or soon after.
I remember the premiere of "All About Eve" with so many celebreties arriving and the theater closed all day for cleaning. The stage shows had the Roxyettes and their Escorts. I later became a professional dancer and writer, but I always remember those early days at the Roxy with fondness

21 Thu January 18 2007 - 19:57:10
Your name: avisael hernandez
Your e-mail address: elartistico@gmail.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): fort worth tx
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: Hello everyone. I am a filmmaker working on the rose marine theater in fort worth tx. It was build in the 1920's in north fort worth. at one time it showed mexican cinema. tons of history there in the north side community. it is now a cultural center (the latin arts association of fort worth) and i am trying to document stories of the theater in its day and its relationship to the community.

anyway... i am looking for stories of the theater and the north side neighborhood around the theater. if anyone has stories or anything they want to share about the theater shoot me a email at avh@ojostudios.com...thank you for your time

avisael hernandez

22 Wed January 17 2007 - 12:25:48
Your name: Carrie Giauque
Your e-mail address: giauque@mailbox.sc.edu
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Columbia, South Carolina
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: I am an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina, and I have been given the opportunity to do a restoration plan on a movie theater here in Columbia, South Carolina. If any one has information, pictures, memories, etc of the State Theater (AKA Fox Theater) that is on the corner of Main and Taylor, please contact me. In conjunction with the restoration plan the current owners, the Nickelodeon Theater, are also doing a documentary and history of the theater that I am also assisting with.
Thank you.

23 Fri December 08 2006 - 13:40:42
Your name: Charanne Graham
Your e-mail address: charanneg@yahoo.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Gilchrist, Oregon
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: I recently purchased a single screen theater in Gilchrist Oregon, built in 1938. I have all the original equipment including 2 projectors that still work, the screen and other equipment. I am trying to locate information for the possible sale of these items. Have picutres! Does anyone know who I could contact? Thanks.

24 Sat December 02 2006 - 08:01:07
Your name: Barbara Skinner
Your e-mail address: Barbara_skinner@hotmail.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Cape May NJ
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: We Need Your Help. In Cape May on 12/11/06 There is a DEMOLITION APPLICATION FOR THE HISTORIC BEACH THEATRE TO BE HEARD AT 7 P.M. It was built in 1950 and the architect was the very famous W.H. Lee. The owners want to built 6 condos; revamp existing retail. There are NO historic theatres left in Atlantic City. None remain in Wildwood NJ either..Nearly all are gone along the Southern NJ coastline. We need to get word out to oppose this demolition and voice your support to Save the Theatre. Letters can be sent to Jerome Inderweis, Mayor, City of Cape May,
643 Washington St., Cape May NJ 08204 with copies to Skip Loughlin, Chair, Historic Preservation Commission, at the same address, and copies to me:
Barbara Skinner, Committee to Save the Beach Theatre, 30 Congresss St., Capae May, NJ 08204 Tel: 609-884-3951.

Any ideas, suggestions, pro-bono lawyers registered in NJ, would be greatly appreciated.


Barbara Skinner

25 Sat November 04 2006 - 10:13:51
Your name: Robert Corley
Your e-mail address: wmroco@yahoo.com
Where do you live? (City and State or Country): Joplin, Missouri
Are you a THS member?: (null)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR MEMORIES AND STORIES:: In 1941 I went to the Chinese and saw Carmen Marinda and her "banda da Lu" on stage. It was a very rare occurance for stage events at the Chinese then. Can't remember the name of the movie.


1 2
Notice : Phaistos Networks has no responsibility for the content featured in this Guestbook
Report Guestbook Free Pathfinder Guestbooks by Pathfinder - The Greek Portal

©1996-2014 Phaistos Networks S.A.