Griffith cemented this new standard with his four-reel Judith of Bethulia , before embarking on his grand vision, the twelve-reel Birth of a Nation The Isis reached its peak in , when it was taken over by the Saenger Amusement Company, with Al Lever as its manager. While other architects focused on design and appearance, Finn developed an uncanny business savvy for communicating with clients about rentable footage, construction costs, and investment returns. The entrance featured a shell walk bordered by benches, swings, and flowers. Managers at other theatres were then sent lists of the deletions. At the end of each reel he would turn on the house lights for a five-minute intermission while he rewound the film.

The Metropolitan the Kirby and Loews State. The new operators, Alvido and Lasserre, renamed the theatre the Standard. All this was of a different time, when movies, along with the places that showed them, were magic—palaces of light that did not stand the test of time. Within two years, a new marquee and electrical display, studded with bulbs and suspended arc lights, were integrated into the theatre exterior. His capital investment came to eighty-five dollars. The building was modernized in the forties, but by the early s it had fallen into abandonment and disrepair. It never got any better, though at the time we had no idea of the radical, sweeping changes to come, not only in theatrical design but also in the shape and form of the major Hollywood studios, whose fortunes and changes I presided over for almost thirty-nine years. Hoblitzelle entered the city by way of the old Grand Theatre, which had been in existence since the turn of the century.

On August 15, Corri bought a fiftyfoot-wide lot in the middle of the block of Congress, between Milam and Travis, opposite Market Square.

The entire performance nickkelodeon be repeated at five, seven, and nine. Hoblitzelle was reportedly saddened by their passing, but felt they had become unnecessary.

Cinema Houston: From Nickelodeon to Megaplex – David Welling – Google Books

Beautifully embossed programs, printed on fine paper with white satin bows, had been prepared in advance for the event. University of Texas Press added it Aug 11, Other pieces included two Louis XIV tables and a massive nine-foot console that held a Dresden vase flanked by two original Meissen urns.


Early childhood recollections are elusive and slippery, not quite tangible in the way of later experiences. Seating structure changed again with the advent of motion pictures, since the optimum viewing area was situated perpendicular to the screen, right down the center of the auditorium.

He also discovered the original Ritz marquee, its sunburst incandescent lighting intact, hidden underneath the Majestic Metro sign. A full program had been planned out for the evening, beginning with an overture performed by the Isis Orchestra and conducted by W.

It has no fight to make on anyone.

He was also the father of actress Nan Grey from a previous marriage. John Adolph Emil Eberson was born in in Cernauti, in eastern AustriaHungary now part of the Ukraineto a successful timber merchant. As advertised in a newspaper of the negaplex, admission was ten cents, and reserved seats cost an extra dime.

The old Alvin Theatre had long since seen its glory days.

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By the late twenties, the Cozy had been taken over by Bill Lytle, a former San Antonio mailman who owned a chain of movie houses. In it was remodeled and its seating capacity increased to 1, One that held its own was the Ritz theatre, which opened the same year. Having begun with small opera houses, and moving up to larger vaudeville houses—including the Majestics in Trom and Dallas —Eberson had reached a creative impasse.

The furnishings had been purchased from the famed Vanderbilt townhouse in Manhattan when it was razed earlier that year. Then, in FebruaryAgatha Horwitz Miller died of multiple sclerosis.

Clearly in view is the twenty-three-foot-diameter dome supporting the Czechoslovakian chandelier.

Cinema Houston: From Nickelodeon to Megaplex by David Welling

Most of these figures were placed in the area above the second-level boxes. The megaples lit up the screen.

Patrons were treated to a live performance by virtuoso pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski within the first month of the grand opening. Indeed, it set out to rival the Isis, and this competition would continue between the two for some time.


It would be this, the Houston Majestic, that would redefine the concept of a movie palace. The opening presentation began with ceremonial speeches by manager Claude C. The nicmelodeon that enveloped the auditorium helped mask the neglect that the theatre had endured over its three decades of existence.

The theatre had survived for twenty-nine years. Regardless, it was deemed offlimits.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. While other architects focused on design and appearance, Finn developed an uncanny business savvy for communicating with clients about rentable footage, construction megappex, and investment returns.

The hall, located at the corner of Main and McGowen and named after the daughter of the former Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, sported electrical connections, but the plumbing was primitive at best.

With vaudeville a vital part of the theatre program, there was a constant need for quality musicians, of which Houston had an abundance.

Only a few architectural remnants remained from its movie house days. Antique tunately, all of the essential elements of the theatre remained intact underneath the decades of makeshift remodeling. From Nickelodeon to Megaplex. Will Rogers appeared there as a rope twirler before he hit the big time with the Ziegfeld Follies, and in Octoberaudiences were entertained by the antics of the four Marx Brothers.

Norfleet, who made cinemq career in the amusement business. While preserving the glories of Houston’s lost movie msgaplex a few of these historic theatres still survive—Cinema Houston also vividly re-creates njckelodeon moviegoing experience, chronicling midnight movie madness, summer nights at the drive-in, and, of course, all those tasty snacks at the concession stand.

Friday evening was amateur night. The seats were worn and torn, the floors sticky from the layers of candy mixed with soda syrup, the air reeked of stale popcorn—and age.