Theatre Talks Returns to WordPress

After a brief hiatus, Theatre Talks returns to WordPress with news and updates since our last posting of November 20, 2014.

Amusing the Zillion reviews The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III

 

2015-01-19_145002_peSunday, December 14, 2014
Book Launch and Talk: The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III
440 Gallery, 440 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Review: Travalanche
Photograph: copyright Betty Sword, all rights reserved

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Saturday, January 10. 2015
Book Reading and Signing: The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III
Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Review: Coney Island Blog
Photograph: Karen Seiger

New Required Coney Island Reading
The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III is now available at the Coney Island USA Gift Shop.
Their website has not been updated but the book is available. Please ask.

Cezar 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.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.

 

 

 

 

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Theatre Talks 2014-15

Need a special presentation for your organization? Cezar Del Valle has created a series of popular illustrated talks ideal for historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Digital Projector is Needed

Mindful of the budgetary constraints facing most non-profits, Del Valle is willing to discuss fees.

Chatting with the audience before his talk at the Brooklyn Collection, Central library.

Chatting with the audience before his talk at the Brooklyn Collection, Central Library.

Matinée Memories:
The most popular and requested talk covers not only the historical and architectural development of the “neighborhood” movie house, but also the role it played during the Great Depression, World War II and the Cold War. Various stage novelties such as Bank Night, Dish Night, Crooner Contests, dance competitions and beauty pageants are also discussed.

This talk  customized to feature a particular region.

Movie Palace Grandeur:
During the “Golden Age of Hollywood”, the major studios constructed large-scale movie palaces of extraordinary architectural beauty. Audiences could escape into a fantasy world beyond their wildest dreams of luxury and gilded glamor.
This presentation highlights the largest and most opulent of these theatres.

The talk customized to feature Art Deco.

Times Square:
The world-renowned center of New York entertainment, from the summit of its celebrity to the district’s eventual decline and current controversial “revitalization.”
Featuring a colorful cast of characters, the talk showcases the famous sites that were once part of the “Great White Way.”

Coney Island:
Del Valle invites you to Brooklyn’s “Sodom by the Sea” where Gary Grant walked on stilts, Harpo Marx made his stage début and where the music halls ran early & late.

Other talks are available on legitimate theatres and  vaudeville.

For more information and reviews visit our Theatre Talks website.

Photo copyright Betty Sword, all rights reserved.

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

The Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume III

Update April 2014

Integrative Ink is now formatting for publication:

The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III
Coney Island Including Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach

The book will be available in June 2014, just in time for the summer at Coney Island.

Bowery

 

Excerpts from the New York Sun, October 31, 1931:

“In the old days the music halls of the Bowery ran early and late. The girls on a stage at the rear could be seen from the street, but only their legs were visible. A curtain drop shielded the rest of the body. If you wanted to see more you went inside at the earnest solicitation of a barker who would not permit a crowd to block the entrance.”

“If you wanted to see more of the Bowery girls and witness their performance you entered and took a seat to be waited on at a table by a waiter who wore an apron and whose arms were bare. He was a busy fellow working on commission, and if you did not buy his beer fast enough to suit him, he did not hesitate to tell you some persons were waiting to take your seat.

“The show in these places would not satisfy today, but it was the real thing then. There were other places of entertainment outside these girl shows. Motion pictures then a little crude were shown, and Stauch’s dance hall had one of the largest floors in the country, where music was supplied by two bands.”

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 and walks in 2014, historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

The Hippodrome, 100 East Seventh Street, Okmulgee, OK 74447

hippodromeThe Oil and Gas News, September 23, 1920:
“One of the finest hippodromes in the country has just been completed by F. A. Young and John A. Feeney, oil men, in their home town of Okmulgee. The building was constructed at an expense of $516,000 and is called the ‘Hippodrome Amusement Palace.’ It will be formally opened Sept. 30.

“The structure has a seating capacity of 2,200 and is provided with a natatorium, a gymnasium, a dancing pavilion, a roof garden, a large cafe and a soft drink parlor, and is equipped with what is said to be the largest stage in the southwest. It will make Okmulgee a find convention city.

“At the opening, oil men from the Mid Continent will be present, the guests of Messrs. Young and Feeney.”

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 and walks in 2014.

 

 

Savoy Theatre 1515 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216

On October 23, 2012, the city approved an application for the “full demolition of theatre structure” at 1515 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.

The former Savoy Theatre still standing in April 2013

Designed by Thomas Lamb, the 2,750 seat Savoy opened September 1, 1926 with the Fox film Fig Leaves plus six acts of vaudeville.

The Brooklyn Eagle, August 29, 1926:                                                                                                                                                   “The première performance will be attended by stars of the stage and screen as well as well-known executives and number of state and city officials. Following this gala event, the Savoy Theater will open its season the following  matinée  and there after will be devoted to the proper presentation of photoplays and vaudeville and many other screen innovations at popular prices.”

Excerpts from The Brooklyn Eagle, September 3, 1926:                                                                                                                 “The Savoy is apparently one of our leading vaudeville houses for its appointments place it on the list of the most attractive of Brooklyn’s show houses.”

“An exceptionally good vaudeville bill was offered, the favorites of which were the Brown Derby Musicians.”

“…the film proved to be unusually dull.”

After closing in 1964, the Savoy became the Charity Neighborhood Baptist Church.

 

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The author conducting a walking tour for the Cinema Theatre Association

 

Photographs copyright Betty Sword. All rights reserved.

Photo part of the Theatre Talks collection, please ask permission to copy and/or use.
At least give credit to source. We know that some people will not honor this but it would be nice if they did.

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 walks and talks.. 

 

 

 

Capitol Hill Theatre, 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003

The Washington Times, August 14, 1910:

avenue

“Tomorrow night, the first large theatrical enterprise conceived for east Washington patronage will be inaugurated. The Avenue Grand Theater, located at 645 to 649 Pennsylvania avenue southeast, will be opened and its first performances given. The theatre will offer high-class vaudeville, entirely new motion pictures, and a musical attractions.

The Avenue Grand orchestra is to be a permanent musical feature. Eight acts a week are promised for the program.”

Capitol Hill

When I first went to the Avenue Grand as a kid in the 1950s, the theatre seemed run down, a bit seedy and reeking of age. This is where I saw, for the first time, the Universal “B” monster movies including Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

At some point in the mid 50s, the Avenue Grand became the Capitol Hill.  After renovating the space, owner Don King opened on August 17th, 1967 with The King of Hearts. I was an usher that evening but over the next few months served as doorman, cashier, assistant manager and finally manager. Everything being a bit chaotic.

Shortly after I moved on to a theatre in Arlington, Virginia, a “for sale” sign went up on the old Avenue Grand-Capitol Hill. A fire broke out in November 1970, destroying the interior. The last remnants of the burned out theatre razed soon afterwards.

Photo of the Capitol Hill is from the Theatre Talks Collection. Please ask permission to copy and/or re-use.

Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre walks and talks in 2013.

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

Theatres, 63rd Street, Chicago, Illinois, 1921

May 1973 stamped on the back of this reprint of a 1921 photo showing 63rd Street in Englewood, one of the 77 official community areas of Chicago, Illinois.

In the background, advertising “Photo Plays” is the Englewood Theatre:

Variety, August 29, 1913:

“Halsted and Sixty-third streets got a first taste of burlesque in its own bailiwick last Sunday when the new Englewood theatre was opened with a spanking new show on the Progressive Wheel. The house seats more than 1,300 and was packed, matinée and night, with an audience that seemed to take to the house and show. The new theatre is a model of neatness and comfort.”

On the left is the Stratford Theatre:

Billboard, September 18, 1920:

“The owners of the elegant new Stratford Theatre, a movie house, at Sixty-third and Halsted streets, have sent out a rather elaborate program and summary of their opening. The new house seats 3,000 persons, the building is valued at $1,000,000. The main floor seats 2,000 and the mezzanine 1,000.  The mezzanine is reached by a superb marble stairway. The owners claim that decorations and equipment are the best obtainable.”

It is often erroneously stated that Bob Hope made his professional début at the Stratford. A struggling vaudevillian, he worked as an emcee at the theatre  in 1928, introducing the acts and telling jokes. Hope was such a success that his two-week booking  extended to six months.

Dorothy’s Diary

Photo: 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.