Thursday, January 16, 2014

The “Grand Dame of Movie Theaters"

Over the course of our travels, we have visited a number of theaters from the 1920s and 1930s that have been restored to their former beauty. And in almost every case it took a handful of people with a vision and a zeal to save these beauties from destruction and another group of people (or a community) with the financial resources to make the dream of restoration a reality.

Our most recent example is the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix.

As we approached the marquee, we passed the stucco façade that was detailed to simulate stone,
with an ornate cornice containing statues of Pan with musical instruments
and masques of comedy and tragedy.
The new marquee is based on the original architect’s drawings.
Entry to the Orpheum is marked by an octagonal tower, surmounted by a belvedere and beacon light.
On the plaza side, the Balcony of the Dons is adorned with conquistadors who entered Arizona from Mexico.

The Orpheum Theatre was built by Joe E. Rickards and Harry Nace, at a cost of $750,000. When it opened on January 5, 1929, it was the pride of Phoenix.

When vaudeville faded, the Orpheum became the best place in town to see a movie, earning the reputation as the “Grand Dame of Movie Theaters.”

In 1949, the Orpheum was sold to a national movie theater chain and was renamed the Paramount. Although it was still the people’s choice for seeing a movie, over the next 20 years there was a gradual decline in patronage as new theaters opened.

A brief period serving as one of James Nederlander's string of playhouses for touring Broadway companies (1969-1977) was followed by another few years as a theater showing Spanish language films.

In the early 1980’s, Jim Kaufman purchased the Orpheum and turned it over to the City of Phoenix at no cost. Shortly thereafter, the Junior League of Phoenix began planning the theater's restoration. After 10 years and 14.5 million dollars, the Orpheum re-opened in 1997.

Prior to renovation, the Orpheum had retail stores fronting Adams Street with offices above. The restoration program required expanding the lobby. This was accomplished by annexing the retail/office space and combining it into a two story space accessible from the theatre and historic lobbies.
Ornate plaster work inside and out exhibited the Spanish Medieval and Baroque architecture style.
The beams in the photo are plaster made to look like wood.
Detailed arches, niches and columns were complimented by zodiac designs in the lobby door panels. This door and other similar doors led outside.

This door and other similar ones led into the theater.
There were two stairways that led up the Balcony. One had ornate work under the stairway
and on the ceiling at the top of the stairs.
The other had a peacock design on the circular staircase.



This area leading to the Balcony had equally stunning work on the ceiling and lighting fixtures.


Tomorrow: the view from the Balcony.

3 comments:

eyad ammar said...


اهم شركات كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذكل شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة وتنظيف بجدة ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر وكشف تسربات المياه بالجبيل والقطيف والخبر والدمام
شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام

eyad ammar said...


اهم شركات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
شركة نقل عفش بالطائف
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل عفش بجدة
شركة نقل عفش بمكة
شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
شركة نقل عفش بينبع
شركة نقل عفش بالخرج
شركة نقل عفش بالقصيم

eyad ammar said...


شركة نقل عفش بخميس مشيط
شركة نقل عفش بتبوك
شركة نقل عفش بابها
شركة نقل عفش ببريدة
شركة نقل عفش بنجران
شركة نقل عفش بحائل
شركة نقل عفش بالظهران
شركة نقل عفش واثاث
شركة نقل عفش