Princess Shipwrecked Among Cannibals

Motion Picture News, October 16, 1920:

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oct161920_pe-large

“Above is shown how Harry Hart, manager of the Princess theatre of Milwaukee, exploited ‘Shipwrecked Among the Cannibals.’

“The Princess is one of the Saxe string.”

Princess Theatre

Shipwrecked Among the Cannibals

Legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle celebrating 20 years of theatre talks and walks, 1996-2016. Currently accepting bookings for historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

He has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

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Local Expeditions

Theatre Talks has joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

The Yiddish Rialto, Sundays, November 27, December 4, December 11

national

 

The Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, Saturdays December 3, December 10, December 17

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Legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle celebrating 20 years of theatre talks and walks, 1996-2016. Currently accepting bookings for historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.  Details of independent walks will be published this fall.

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

Selling  on Etsy and Amazon

 

Paris Theatre, 4 W. 58th St., New York, NY 10019

Paris Theatre

Excerpts from the Architectural Forum, January 1949:

“Manhattan’s first new postwar motion picture house is, besides an excellent design, an uncharted venue in real estate and movie merchandising.”

“Sponsored by the French Pathe syndicate in an effort to up its U.S. take (now lower than in South America’s pint size Columbia), the cinema restricts its fare to special films, caters to an uptown audience of the cultivated and well-heeled.”

tumblr_lnptzgmm7w1qg5w2e“Fifth Avenue Association, fearful of garish Broadway lights, dictated modest sign front.”

wallpaper“Steinberg mural wallpaper showing scenes of Paris adds interest to simple room.”

auditorium“Series of curves provides top visual and acoustical performance. Upholstered seats are spaced 35-40 in. between rows.”

Paris Theatre

Photograph, Paris Theatre June 8, 2011,  copyright Betty Sword, all rights reserved.

Architectural Forum article part of the Theatre Talks Collection

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

He is available for theatre talks in 2013-2014.

National Theatre, 1317-1325 E Street, N.W., Washington D.C.

My parents were not theatre goers. They much preferred the silver screen or the small black-and-white one at home. It may have been those early television dramas that sparked in me a desire to see a stage show. Every time I mentioned going to the National Theatre, my parents would only nod in blank agreement or make some brief noncommittal comment.

The National was one of two legitimate theatres  in Washington D.C. during the 1950s. The other was the Sam S. Shubert at 513 9th Street, N.W. Designed by William McElfatrick, it had opened as the Gayety in 1907. In those early years, the theatre featured “second or third class vaudeville”, burlesque and an occasional film show. Black audiences regulated to wooden benches in the balcony, an area known by a politically incorrect term.  The playhouse taken over by the Shubert organization in 1950 had its name officially changed two years later.

I  managed to get a ticket to a rock and roll show there in January of 1959, totally mortified by the fact that my father would be accompanying me. The concert never took place. The Shubert closed after a fire on January 28,  with the building torn down soon after.

“The Theatre of Presidents”, the National first opened its doors on December 27, 1835 with the production Man of the World. Destroyed by fire and rebuilt on the same site five times during the 1800’s, part of the theatre’s original foundation can still be seen in the basement. The auditorium’s interior columns removed with the theatre being remodeled in the summer of 1922.

On August 1, 1948, after the last performance of Oklahoma, the National closed as a legitimate theatre when management refused to de-segregate. It opened as a movie house, October 16, 1948, with the American premier of  The Red Shoes starring Moira Shearer. In my childhood, the nation’s capital was very much a segregated city with Leadbelly writing a song about it (The Bourgeois Blues). Stage shows returned with the National becoming integrated under new management in 1952.

The space closed from April 1983 through January 18, 1984 for a $6.3 milllion renovation.  The new National Theatre opening on January 23, 1984 with 42nd Street, starring Dolores Gray and Barry Nelson, chorography by Gower Champion

Surrounded by history and age, it is only natural for the venerable National Theatre to have a ghostly specter. To find out more about John Edward McCullough visit the theatre’s website.