Thursday, March 31, 2022

Allen Theatre: Ali vs Foster

 Before cable telly was in viewers homes, major events would be broadcast to select venues via closed-circuit television. The major downtown venues all had permanent television installations in the 1950's, but the one in the Allen was long gone by 1972. A temporary set up was used instead, a sheet of plywood was placed on a couple rows of seats house center, and the projector would be set up on a stand on top. The main picture sheet wasn't used, it was huge, way too big. Instead, a smaller television screen, about 20' x 20', was dropped, and pulled back a bit to prevent keystoning. This like the larger screen, dated back to the Warner years and an earlier television installation. These events usually drew a decent sized crowd, and this was no different, probably around 1,800 - 2,000 of the 2,860 seats were filled. I worked the main floor concession stand and we sold a lot of soda and corn before the fight, and not much once the fight began. This one went 15 rounds with Ali winning by unanimous decision.

From the Plain Dealer, March 31, 1972.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Church Street Cafe

 We stopped by the Church Street Cafe, 319 Church Street, on Saturday, great place for lunch, we'll have to make sure we stop by again soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Von Storch Locomotive Shops

 Haven't been up here in ages. The new Delaware - Lackawanna Locomotive Shops located in the D&H Green Ridge yard, near where the roundhouse once was, off Von Storch Street.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Bernie's Model Railroad Shop

  We made another visit to Bernie's Train Shop, 400 Church Street in Jessup, on Saturday. Such a great store, huge selection of N, O and HO items, always worth a visit. If you like trains, you'll be in heaven the minute you walk through the front door.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Lackawanna 664

 DL&W 664 approaching the west end of Nay Aug Tunnel back in November of 2015.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Allen Theatre: Dave Mason - Jo Jo Gunn

 The second day at the Allen was a little different than the first.

From the Plain Dealer Action Tab, March 17, 1972.

I remember boxing popcorn, lots of popcorn, it came in big bags of prepopped, must have filled 4-500 boxes. I don't remember doing much else, eventually I'd develop an aversion to it, although back then it was a cheap snack, along with copious amounts of Pepsi-Cola. I learned the economics of popcorn here, it was cheaper than the boxes I was putting it in, pretty much the same for the soda, 7 oz cups cost more than the Pepsi it was poured in.

The other things I recall were how loud this was, it was deafening, and there were 2,860 people smoking marihuana. I was a 15-year-old freshman at Central Catholic who'd never been at an event like this, the minute the house lights went out, people would light up. It's illegal to smoke in theatre auditoriums, but no one seemed to be alarmed, even uniformed policemen who provided security for this "concert." I'd never been exposed to anything like that, and I remember talking to a policeman who said, "no big deal kid, and if you tried arresting anyone in here there'd be a riot." This was a very different message than what they were sending in school, or on telly. It would be hard to imagine Pete Malloy saying something like that on Adam-12. But this wasn't telly, it was real life in downtown Cleveland, and quite typical of rock shows in that era as I would soon find out. 

The money raked in at the concessions is what was pretty much funding the Playhouse Square Association during that era. The memberships Bert LeGrande would bring in at $125 each would ebb and flow, making that concession money an important income source. Most of these shows were one-nighters put on by outside promotors, A Friend, Belkin, KDJ, etc., with the theatre rental monies, $800 weekdays, $1,000 weekend going to Millcapp Corp, the building's owners. Providing ushers and use of the marquee along with percentages of ticket sale through the Allen BO were other sources of revenue. The Playhouse Square Association was pretty much leading a hand to mouth existence at this point, with two of the four theatres facing demolition. Most people at the time thinking it was sheer folly to think these decrepit old buildings would ever be entertainment venues again.

From Scene, March 9 - 15, 1972.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Allen Theatre: Richard Harris

 Fifty years ago tonight, Richard Harris appeared on the Allen Theatre stage.

From the Plain Dealer Action Tab, March 17, 1972.

The previous afternoon I had walked in off the street looking for a job, after talking to Ceil Hartman she told me to come tomorrow at 10 AM. So the following morning I made my way to Playhouse Square, as best as I can recall I dusted seats in the balcony, and filled popcorn boxes in the afternoon. The main cast of characters were: Ray Shepardson, founder of the Playhouse Square Association; Ceil Hartman, business manager; Smitty - Ralph Smith, a general handyman; Veralynne Bosko, Smitty's friend and volunteer; Bert LeGrande, memberships: Victor Villimas, tickets, publicity, etc.; Bugs - Solomon Alexander, maintenance; and a girl named Cinnamon who was in charge of the volunteers, there weren't many, in fact some of only ones were a group of Garfield Heights HS seniors that called themselves "The Next Generation." A group of Veralynne's friends would also be around to assist: Poe - Ken Plocica, Kevin McAndrew, Chuck Fleming. and Pete Webber, and possibly a couple others. I didn't meet all these people the first day, and a couple didn't stick around too long, while I stuck around for the next eight years.

From the Plain Dealer Action Tab, March 17, 1972.

It was probably around six when Ray appeared and shoved a cash box into my hands and said "you're in charge" indicating the mezzanine concession stand, it was the second brief encounter I had with Ray that day, it would be a few days later when he explained what the overall goal was, restoring the theatres, and the nightlife in that grim section of downtown, where the streetlights didn't even work. I had no idea what anything cost, fortunately Ray's longtime friend Gorden Bell appeared to take charge. Everything, popcorn and soda, cost 25¢ in that long ago era. I seem to remember biz was slow early, but brisk at intermission. The mezzanine concession stand didn't last past that spring. The main stand downstairs where the Tea Room once was raked in the big biz, 5-600 boxes of popcorn and over 1,000 sodas. That concession revenue was the slim lifeline that kept the Association afloat during this time.

From the Plain Dealer, March 27, 1972. The 2,860 seat Allen was filled to capacity that chilly spring night, another step in trying to revive a theatre district that few thought would ever live again.
Marquee, November 1971, Larry Nighswander photo.
Rotunda, October 1971, Bill Gesten/Foto Arts Inc.
Elliptical Dome, October 1971, Bill Gesten/Foto Arts Inc.
Auditorium, October 1971, Bill Gesten/Foto Arts Inc.

Thursday, March 24, 2022


 A short-lived nightclub at 1748 East 22nd Street, which had formally been the Plato, and previously a bowling alley.

A premature opening ad, Canned Heat was rescheduled, from the Plain Dealer Action Tab, March 3, 1972.
1748 E 22nd in 1965, from the Cleveland Memory Project.
From Scene, March 9 - 15, 1972.
From the Plain Dealer, March 17, 1972. Some up and coming acts were booked, Malo were quite good.
From the Plain Dealer Action Tab, March 24, 1972. Ironically by the time this article ran, the Threshold was no more, destroyed by fire early that morning.
From the Plain Dealer, March 24, 1972.
From Scene, March 30 - April 5, 1972.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Nickel Plate 514

 NKP 514 in Steamtown Yard last October, unusual view with the access panels opened.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Delaware - Lackawanna 2461

 DL 2461 in Steamtown Yard a couple weeks ago.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Crossing Shanty

 D&H crossing shanty on Wyoming Avenue, not many of these around anymore.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Illinois Central 790

 IC 790 at Steamtown, February 2017.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Playhouse Square

 Fifty years ago, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 19, 1972.

I started working at the Allen a week later, it was pretty bleak down there at the time.
From the Plain Dealer, February 7, 1972.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Lackawanna Transit Center

 A nearly deserted Lackawanna Transit Center last month.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Delaware & Hudson Freight Station

 Delaware & Hudson freight station on Wyoming Avenue last Thursday. Walther's makes a model of this building in N and HO under the name, Water Street Freight Station.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Lackawanna Avenue Clock

 The clock on Lackawanna Avenue is still out of commission, at least eight years and counting... Really effective use of our tax dollars.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Delaware - Lackawanna 3007

 DL 3007 on Bridge 60 last Thursday morning.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Commonwealth Coffee

 We stopped by Commonwealth Coffee the other day, at 101 Penn Avenue, at Lackawanna, across from the Steamtown Mall, in the Samter's Building, great little spot.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Royal Way

 Royal Way on the U of S campus, March 2017, haven't been able to go through here in years. A shame considering how much money we spent here. We used to like to walk over for coffee on Sunday afternoon, almost wonder if we'll ever be able to do that again.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Allen Theatre

 A pair of Allen Theatre shows from spring 1976, by this time, I avoided a lot of them for obvious reasons.

From the Plain Dealer Action Tab, March 12, 1976.

Ohio Bell Building

 The Ohio Bell building at 750 Huron Road, constructed 1925 - 1927, from October 2018.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Delaware - Lackawanna 2452

 DL 2452 basking in the afternoon sun behind the new bus station, from last month.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Speeder Shed

 The speeder shed at the east end of Bridge 60 last week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Track Equipment

 Track equipment along Ridge Row on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Delaware - Lackawanna 211

 DL 211 in the Steamtown yard on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Scranton Skyline

 View from the new Harrison Avenue Bridge on Saturday afternoon.