Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Allen Theatre

Today is the 93rd anniversary of the opening of the Allen Theatre.
Allen Theatre rotunda, from Architectural Record, November 1921.
 Allen Theatre stage and procenium, from Architectural Record, November 1921.
The opening attraction.
A couple weeks after the Allen opened S. Barret McCormick was brought in from the Circle in Indianapolis to run the Allen. His slogan at the Allen was "The Dominant Theatre." From Exhibitor's Trade Review, November 26, 1921.
McCormick brought along Philip Spitalny from the Circle as Music Director. Years later Spitalny would rise to fame as the director of the Hour of Charm all girl orchestra. From Exhibitor's Trade Review, November 26, 1921.
Together McCormick and Spitalny staged their own prologues at the Allen. From Exhibitor's Trade Review, September 24, 1921.
The Allen Theatre Orchestra, from Exhibitor's Trade Review, November 4, 1922. 
Some of the early attractions at the Allen, from Exhibitor's Trade Review, December 17, 1921.
Allen projection room, from Exhibitor's Trade Review, June 17, 1922. 

Eventually both McCormick and Spitalny would move on. Their spectacular prologues replaced by Publix prologues. A few years later talking pictures would kill off prologues all together.
From Motion Picture News, July 8, 1927.

Over the years changes to the industry would bring talkers, 3-D, and CinemaScope. The erosion of the market due to television and suburban theatres would spell doom for downtown theatres across the country, including the Allen.
From The Plain Dealer, April 25, 1968.
But a rebirth was around the corner.
The first Playhouse Square Association attraction. From The Plain Dealer, November 19, 1971.
Another early Playhouse Square Association attraction, from the Plain Dealer, December 24, 1971.
First show I worked on, from the Plain Dealer, March 24, 1972.

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