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Old November 4th, 2012, 05:24 PM
AR AR is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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I "collect" theatres, it's a passion of mine.

When I was 14 I broke in as a projectionist at a 700-seater near where I lived. Worked in that booth all through high school and college. It was (and still is) an old vaudeville house called the Darress. One of its claims to fame is that it was the place where Burns and Allen, whose act was bombing badly, decided to switch things around, give George the straight lines and Gracie the gags. The rest is history. I loved running the Saturday matinees there: 10 cartoons, a Stooge reel, and King Kong. Now that's show biz!

A few of the houses that are precious to me: The Detroit Fox, still a legend; Radio City Music Hall, the "Showplace of the Nation," and well beyond a legend--I've been backstage there many times, and in the booth as well; The Chicago; The Atlanta Fox, where a good friend who was the musical director and conductor for High School Musical invited us for opening night of the national tour; the Lido in Newport Beach CA, a medium-size house, and an absolute jewel, where the lobby woodwork is maintained by a local boatyard.

There are many many others in my collection, and I love them all. I rejoice each time one is saved, and I mourn each time one is torn down. No matter how many stadium seats they put in modern "cineboxes" in shopping malls, they'll never have the panache of even the most mediocre of the old houses.

I once wrote an article about my love for them in the magazine of the Theater Historical Society of America. If you pm me with an e-mail address I'll send you the manuscript.
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