Colonial Theatre 24 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601

From Motography,  September 1, 1917

“Selig’s ‘The Garden of Allah,’ at the Colonial Theater, one of the most beautiful houses in the ‘Loop,’ recently had its Chicago première. Despite the heat, the drama gained in popularity day by day and the Edmund M. Allen Company, owners of the territorial rights for eight states, cashed in on the run.

“No time nor expense were spared in staging and exploiting the production. Twenty sheets and eight sheets were used almost exclusively in billing Chicago, and seven hundred twenty sheet stands alone were used.

“The lobby display in front of the theater was particularly attractive. The pictures and lettering were in oil colors and two sets of lobby display easel frames were utilized. There was also an illuminated cutout of a scene in ‘The Garden of Allah.’

“A camel driven by an Arab attracted a crowd before the theater in Randolph street and the young lady ushers were garbed after the mysterious  manner of the Orient.

“The special musical score supplied by William N. Selig was used at the four performances daily, afternoons 1 to 5, evenings 7 to 11. Before the performance a dozen or more Arabs appeared and while one sang a song of the desert the others bowed toward the east. The lights were finally dimmed on the desert set and the song died out and the film drama began.

“The Chicago newspaper critics were requested to review the picture at the first night’s showing, cards of invitation being sent to them, each card being good for two choice seats. It was an improvement from the usual review for the press in some dark projection room and without music.”

 

“The Garden of Allah”  at Quinn’s Rialto in Los Angeles

The Garden of Allah, Theatre Talks Posterous

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

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