Somewhere in the deep dark past of this blog–okay, some time earlier this year–I posted a blog about the best movie theatre history books to peruse. I thought it high time to turn to books that cover the history of one particular theater. I will exclude Preston Kaufman’s “Fabulous Fox” as it has been previously mentioned.
1. The Radio City Music Hall: An Affectionate History of the World’s Greatest Theater Hardcover – April 25, 1979
by Charles Francisco (Author). A history of Radio City from it’s ill-fated opening in 1932 under Roxy Rothafel to its near demise in 1978. An interesting book. The basics.
2. The Coronado Theatre: Rockford’s Crown Jewel Unknown Binding – 2001
by Gwendolyn Quirk (Author). A history and pictorial guide to Rockford, Illinois’ atmospheric Spanish-style Coronado Theatre. I bought this book directly from the theatre itself after getting the chance to tour the place. It’s magnificent. So is the book.
3.San Francisco’s fabulous and foolish Fox Unknown Binding – 1961
by Jeff Hershel (Author). Sort of a lesser cousin to the Kaufman book, this books lovingly describes in the Fox in its most desperate hour, just when San Francisco was voting on whether to buy the big theatre and keep it from being demolished. Of course, certain civic forces convinced city voters to decline the offer to buy the glittering movie palace and it was razed two years later.
4. Movie Palace Masterpiece: Saving Syracuse’s Loew’s State/Landmark Theater Hardcover – January, 1999
by Alfred Balk (Editor) A slim volume, but nevertheless some pretty pictures and lessons on how to preserve a historic theatre.
5. VISALIA’S FABULOUS FOX: A Theatre Story. Foreword by Annie R. Mitchell. Hardcover – 2000. A pretty big book for a rather unheralded theatre. It contains a little too much local history and local people to be of general interest, but it’s still worth a look
6. Fox Theatre (Images of America)Nov 12, 2012
by Janice McDonald . Wow! Didn’t even know this one was out there. Arcadia Press always puts out interesting photo books. This one covers the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Should be a hoot.
7. The Ohio Theatre 1928-1978
by Jim Marsico, Alan Woods, Mary Bishop (editor), Fred Coe (editor), Clive David (editor), Carol Ellies (editor), Bill Kight (editor), Guy Salvato (editor). A book commemorating the 50th anniversary of Columbus, Ohio’s elegant Ohio Theatre. Plenty of interesting history and stories.
8. The New Amsterdam: The Biography of a Broadway Theater – October 11, 1997
by Mary Henderson (Author). Okay, strictly speaking, the New Amsterdam on 42nd Street in New York was more of a legit theatre than a movie theatre, it still showed movies so that’s why it’s on the list. This is a GREAT book, detailing the history of the place and its restoration in the 1990’s. The before and after pictures are worth the price and it’s a keeper on my bookshelf.
9, The Oakland Paramount
Author: Susannah Harris Stone. At 82 pages, a very slim volume indeed, but it tells of the rescue and re-use of Oakland’s art deco masterpiece.
10. The Aztec Theater: San Antonio’s Grand Illusion – April 1, 2011. A book commemorating the restoration of San Antonio’s Aztec Theatre, an atmospheric delight.
Of course, these are just a few books. The one I am waiting for is the release, hopefully this year, of Matt Lambros’ volume on the restoration of the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. If done right, that should be a treat. Enjoy the books!