The Hyde Park Picture House, the world’s only surviving gas-lit cinema, opened in 1914.
The owners of the Grade II-listed building have now been granted planning permission for redevelopment, to improve accessibility, restore the gas lights and ornate plasterwork and incorporate a second screen in the basement.
With its nearly 6,000 seats and multi-tiered balconies, the Roxy Theatre was the showplace of New York City and of the nation.
Construction began on March 22, 1926 and it opened on March 11, 1927 with Gloria Swanson in “The Loves of Sonya”.
It was designed by architect Walter W. Ahlschlager of Chicago (who also designed New York’s Beacon Theatre), with interior decoration by Harold W. Rambusch of New York.
Its rather modest entrance at the corner of the Taft Hotel building disguised one of the most cavernous lobbies ever built and a magnificent auditorium that has lived on in its patrons’ imagination.
Whatever adjectives can be used for the Roxy Theatre, they all fail to signify the theatre’s achievement.
Sadly, the decline in attendance that had begun in the 1950’s spilled over into the early-1960’s and the Roxy Theatre closed with Dirk Bogarde in “The Wind Cannot Read” which began its run on March 9, 1960.
Despite numerous protests, it was razed in 1961. In its place sits a nondescript and unremarkable office building.
The neighboring Taft Hotel survives to this day (now the Michangelo Hotel) and is the only evidence that this epic structure was ever here. A TGI Friday’s restaurant occupies the theatres’ original entrance.
The legacy of the Roxy Theatre is almost as impressive as the theater itself once was.
The name ‘Roxy’ has since adorned movie theaters, nightclubs, restaurants and a host of other establishments around the world all attempting to give to their patrons what Roxy always brought to its own: entertainment.
The end of the Roxy Theatre signified the beginning of the end for thousands of movie palaces across the country.
With its destruction, New York City began to destroy its past for urban renewal and the city, and movie palaces, have never been the same.
The Capri Theatre was opened in 1941 as the New Goodwood Star Theatre. It was built by RJ Nurse and designed by architect Mr Chris Smith (Architect). The Theatre’s architectural style is art deco/modern.
This style is highlighted by the curvaceous lines, circles and semi-circles, a feature of the Capri and of the 1940’s architectural era. The Capri originally had a seating capacity of 1,472.
The Capri Theatre opened its doors for its first night of trade in October 1941, to a double feature from MGM of ‘Florian’ which starred Robert Young and Helen Gilbert, as well as ‘Dr. Kildare Goes Home’, starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore.
Greater Union acquired the Theatre in 1947. In 1964, the Theatre was re-branded the ‘New Cinema Curzon’
In 1967 Greater Union undertook some capital works on the Theatre, and reduced the seating capacity to 851.
1978 was the year that TOSA, (Theatre Organ Society of Australia SA Division) purchased the Theatre and in December re-named it ‘Capri Theatre’.
The inaugural Capri ‘Wurlitzer’ concert was held on 2nd April 1983.
In 1986, Crocodile Dundee played at the Capri Theatre and was hugely successful, playing for almost one full calendar year and helping TOSA (SA Division) complete their loan and thus own the Theatre outright.
The Capri Theatre was added to the South Australia register of state heritage items in 1990.
In 2012, the Capri Theatre upgraded its film technology by purchasing a brand new digital film projector.
On his most recent trip to Greenland, photographer Ciril Jazbec witnessed something magical—a photographic experience that made his “hairs stand on end.”
He was there working on his project, On Thin Ice, a chapter in a larger body of work chronicling the effects of climate change on communities in low-lying regions.
While in Uummannaq, (which is surprisingly the eleventh-largest town in Greenland, even with a population of about 1,200 people) Jazbec came across Children’s Home Uummannaq.
Speaking with the director, he learned that one of the ways the facility helps children is by “involving them in the traditional way of life, connecting them with hunters and fishermen”—the sort of cultural traditions often affected by changing weather patterns and globalization, and right in the crux of Jazbec’s goal of putting a human face on climate change.
One night, Children’s Home arranged to take the kids on a special outing—“We decided to head to the ice—to the frozen-over sea—to project Inuk, a Greenlandic language film, onto an iceberg,” Ciril says.
The film is especially relevant because of its cast of “nonprofessional Inuit actors”—seal hunters and youth from a local children’s home—and its narrative highlighting the tension between tradition and modernity present in contemporary Greenland.
Robocop, tiny urban alleys, and gremlins are all just a part of the fascinating prop and miniature set collection held at the Musée Miniature et Cinéma.
Founded by miniature setting artist Dan Ohlmann, the museum holds over a thousand pieces of down-scaled locations such as a school room and a fully-furnished dining room which are so detailed that they could pass for their full-size inspirations.
The site also includes such tiny tchotchkes as carved matchsticks, chiseled egg shells, and micro-origami.
In addition to all of the tiny pieces of sculpture the museum’s other focus is on special effects and creatures from the movies.
In this section of the museum visitors can see props and costumes from such films as I, Robot, Stuart Little, and Hellboy.
Even with all of the micro amazements, the excitement the Musée Miniature et Cinéma is immense.
A wonderful example of a fantastic Edwardian period picture house.
It opened on 15 April 1911 as a multi-purpose entertainment centre known as the Kursaal (which included use as a roller skating rink), and it also contained a 120 seat cinema located upstairs that was known as the Electric Theatre which opened on 7th October 1911.
The name of the theatre was changed from Kursaal at the outbreak of World War I as the name was considered to be too germanic.
The main hall (former roller rink) was converted into the Dome Cinema by 1921 and it originally contained 875 seats. The former Electric Theatre then became a restaurant.
The building underwent a full heritage Lottery funded restoration/renovation, closing in June 2005 and re-opening on 6 July 2007 with 580 seats in the original auditorium and a second 118 seat cinema in another part of the building.
Photographer Franck Bohbot is a master of interior and exterior spaces.
Whether it’s his attention-grabbing photographs of French pools, grand libraries, or humble basketball courts, for me, it was hard to decide which photo series to interview him about.
In the end, I gravitated toward his pictures of American movie theaters because they seemed to evoke a familiar narrative—old Hollywood and the golden days of film.
The Crest, Westwood, Lobby, Los Angeles, California, 2014
The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre, Los Angeles, California
It’s no easy feat to take an empty space—devoid of people, animals, or weather—and make it shine, but every theater comes to life in Bohbot’s imagination. He originally became interested in the visual arts through cinema before his interests turned to photography, which is now one of his great passions.
While working on a project on French theaters, Bohbot stumbled on the Max Linder Panorama, which he calls “a famous venue and a beautiful Parisian movie theater.
I told myself that one day I would travel to the U.S. and photograph the movie theaters built during the golden age of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s.
The auditorium at Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds. Photograph: Tom Joy/Heritage Lottery Fund
A tiny cinema that opened in Leeds within months of the outbreak of the first world war, now believed to be the only one in the world still lit by gas, has won a £2.4m heritage lottery grant to restore historic features and open up its archives.
The Hyde Park Picture House is among a dozen sites receiving major grants, including William Morris’s beautiful Oxfordshire country home, Kelmscott Manor, where the flowers and wildlife inspired many of his designs.
Now owned by the local authority, the Grade II-listed Hyde Park still has 11 working gas lamps, though the imposing lantern on the facade, which is separately listed, was converted to electricity.
Its single-screen auditorium shows films every day, having seen off the competition of the giant jazz-age cinemas with their thousands of seats and luxurious facilities, the coming of television, and the more recent rise of out-of-town multiplexes.
The restored Alexandra Palace Theatre seen from within the projection room.
Originally Opened in 1875, the Theatre was a place of spectacle and delight where audiences of up to 3,000 people were entertained by pantomime, opera, drama and ballet.
A feat of Victorian engineering, the impressive stage machinery was designed so that performers could appear, fly into the air and disappear through the stage.
However, it struggled to compete with the might of the West End and the theatre went on to be used as a cinema, a chapel and the home of music hall stars before a spell as a BBC prop store and workshop.
For 80 years it has been closed to the public, but now a full restoration brings this hidden gem back to its original glory.