Comments from Alan Bell

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Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about OmniDome Theater on Nov 28, 2023 at 8:28 am

The Oklahoma City OmniDome Theater, which opened on January 16, 2000, closed in September 2015 due to aging projection equipment and difficulty in finding film formatted for the theater.

The theater’s architectural design was geometrically complex, featuring an aluminum geodesic dome roof structure covered in pre-assembled double-skin plywood “sandwich panels” and a factory-painted exterior aluminum skin. This structure sat on a cast-in-place, exposed concrete substructure at a 30° angle. The concrete substructure was octagonal in plan, and the dome structure was semi-spherical in shape. The building also contained a double-pitched glass skylight along the entire length of the lobby area. The theater, housed within this structure, was a spherical-screen IMAX-type theater with seating for approximately 250 people. The construction cost was $3.6 million.

Plans for its future involve transforming it into a world-class planetarium. The Science Museum Oklahoma’s “One Giant Leap” campaign aims to raise $3.5 million to relocate the Kirkpatrick Planetarium to the OmniDome site and equip it with improved infrastructure, including state-of-the-art digital projectors. The transformation will enhance the visitor experience with a new 50-foot dome screen and one of the world’s only digital-optical hybrid planetariums. These plans will likely involve the complete demolition of the existing structure.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Roadium Drive-In on Oct 26, 2023 at 12:35 pm

Several folks have asked about the origin of the name Roadium. I don’t know but I’d guess it’s a portmanteau of “road” and “auditorium.”

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Landmark Theatre on Oct 2, 2023 at 10:25 am

For its marquee work on the Landmark Theatre, Wagner Electric Sign Co. of Elyria, Ohio won third place in the “Best In-House Design and Fabrication, Illuminated” category in the 2023 Sign Contest sponsored by Signs of the Times.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about California Theatre on Sep 14, 2023 at 12:19 am

The San Diego City Attorney’s Office is seeking to declare the California Theatre a public nuisance and levy fines against Caydon Property Group for alleged violations of the municipal code, according to an April 27, 2023 report by the City News Service. Australia-based Caydon bought the property in 2019.

In recent years, the 96-year-old abandoned building has been breached by trespassers, some of whom have set fires inside the structure. According to the City Attorney’s Office, police have been called to the building 68 times since 2019 for various crimes and the building itself is a hazard. City staff declared last year was too dangerous for people to enter.

The City Attorney’s Office seeks a court order allowing the city to abate the property and would seek civil penalties of $2,500 a day per violation of the San Diego Municipal Code.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Huntridge Performing Arts Theatre on Jan 5, 2023 at 1:11 pm

Las Vegas native and real estate developer J Dapper, purchased the Huntridge Theater in March of 2021. According to the developer’s website, the company aims to bring concerts, performing arts, dining and creative spaces to this historic venue.

More info here:

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Fair Theatre on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:04 pm

On March 19, 2017, theatrelvr mentioned a doc called “Been Too Long at the Fair” on Vimeo. I couldn’t find it by simplying searching Vimeo, so I am posting the link here. Be forewarned that some of the content is explicit and gay.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Sun Theatre on Jul 28, 2022 at 7:10 am

The photo at the top of the page, taken in 1965, is part of an exhibit titled “American Silence: The Photographs of Robert Adams” on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. May 29 to October 2, 2022.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Tabor Opera House on Feb 9, 2021 at 5:06 pm

Preservation Magazine, Winter 2021:

“A mining magnate took just 100 days to construct the opulent Tabor Opera House, which features brick walls 16 inches thick. The opera house attracted luminaries such as John Philip Sousa and Oscar Wilde, as well as more rambunctious entertainers like Buffalo Bill and Harry Houdini. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express are two of several organizations supporting a current project to rehabilitate the opera house. Work began in June of 2020.”

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Majestic Theatre on Jan 1, 2021 at 4:30 pm

The December 2020 issue of “Signs of the Times” has an article on the re-creation of the Majestic marquee by Spectrum Neon Co. Signs of the Times

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center on Nov 14, 2020 at 12:39 pm

The theater’s organ was built by the Wurlitzer Company in 1927 as their Opus 1571. It is currently located in the Place de la Musique, a private museum in Barrington Hills, Illinois. It is reportedly one of the largest theater pipe organs in the world, currently having about 80 ranks and approximately 5000 pipes. It has been restored and expanded under David Junchen, after the museum installed it in a purpose-built music room.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Washoe Theater on Aug 12, 2020 at 2:11 pm

Great pictures of, and more info about, the Washoe at the Library of Congress website:

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Teragram Ballroom on Jul 11, 2020 at 11:42 am

Teragram is Margaret spelled backwards. I believe Margaret was the name of the owner.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Walker Theater on Nov 23, 2019 at 12:24 pm

According to the November 2019 issue of “Signs of the Times” magazine, the Walker originally had 2200 seats with a combination of French and Roman detail. The new marquee for the Target conversion was done by Philadelphia Sign Company of Palmyra, N.J. Dan Herrman was lead project engineer.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Alameda Theatre on Jan 13, 2019 at 12:01 pm

The theater was designed by architect Timothy Pflueger who also designed the Alhambra and the Castro in San Francisco; and the Paramount in Oakland. The Alameda was built in 14 months at a cost of $500,000.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Webster Theatre on Sep 16, 2018 at 10:50 am

The September 16, 2018 issue of the Los Angeles Times ran an article on Webster along with changing demographics of the area. Read entire article here.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Parkway Theatre on Aug 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

There is an eight-page article on the Parkway and it’s restoration in the Summer 2018 issue of Preservation magazine. Too many details to add in this message except that the original architect was Oliver Wight [sic].

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Music Box Theatre on Jul 1, 2018 at 9:15 pm

The new marquee was created by Landmark Sign Group of Chesterton, Indiana. Art director was Jerry Lefere. Senior Technical Engineer was Terry Ambrosini. Many of the zinc castings were supplied by W. F. Norman Corp. of Nevada, Missouri and were identical to the originals. The center urn and scrolls were salvaged from the original marquee and reinstalled on the new structure.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Music Hall 3 on May 14, 2018 at 5:05 pm

I go often and have yet to see the theater full. They can’t be making any money. To save this theater, that sits on desirable Beverly Hills land, formulate a plan now before it becomes actively threatened. By that time, it’s often hard to turn things around.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Temple Theatre on May 5, 2018 at 1:35 pm

The April 2018 issue of “Sign of the Times” includes an article on the restoration of the marquee and sign of the Temple.

According to the article, “The building resembles an early Gothic cathedral and was commissioned nearly a century ago by the Elf Khurafeh Shriners – a fraternal organization like other Shriners, based on fun, fellowship, and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth. Osgood & Osgood Architects of Grand Rapids, MI had produced the original blueprints. As Freemasons, Osgood put more than their usual care into this building design.”

The article goes on to say, “The original marquee from 1927 carried out the “trolley car” design of that era, a rectangle with three sides of advertisement and decorative spires at each corner. The blade had been carefully hand carved and assembled from wood pieces. Over the years and decades, woodpeckers slowly ravaged it and the blade was taken down along with the rest of the marquee in 1961.” But doesn’t say anything about the transition from Masonic Hall to movie theater.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Bay Theatre on Sep 20, 2016 at 3:19 pm

From LA Times, Sept. 13, 2016:

The iconic Bay Theatre in Seal Beach has sat dark for the past four years, but a Fullerton-based developer with a penchant for historic buildings has recently made it his mission to purchase the venue and rehabilitate it for films, music and the arts.

With the Seal Beach City Council’s vote Monday officially designating the structure as a historic landmark, Paul Dunlap of the Dunlap Property Group is one step closer to breathing life back into the abandoned building.

Located on Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, the single-screen theater has been a significant gathering spot for locals since it opened in 1947. It featured independent, foreign and classic movies on 35mm film for $8 admission until it closed in 2012. The noticeably large structure stands out among the boutiques and other shops on Main Street.

If all goes according to Dunlap’s timeline, he will close escrow on the $2.25-million purchase by December, and then he’ll apply for a conditional use permit and spend all of 2017 in reconstruction and redevelopment.

The building, including the interior, will be returned to its original aesthetic, sans the Wurlitzer Opus 1960 pipe organ, which was removed in 2007, Dunlap said. Once strictly a movie house, he said the theater will continue to show films but will also showcase performing arts.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Miracle Theatre on Apr 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm

The theater is listed for sale by NAI Capital. Listing says 8120 sq. ft. building on 7379 sq. ft. land. 24-26 ft. ceilings throughout theater space. 5 gated parking spaces.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Hollywood Theatre on Oct 26, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Excerpt from “Security Signs Revives Historic Theater With New Marquee” which appeared in the October 2015 issue of Signs of the Times.

Hollywood Theatre is an historic theater that was built in downtown Portland’s southeastern section, known as the Hollywood District. This ornate, beautiful theater, located at 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., opened in 1926. There are no known photos of the original marquee; to our knowledge, only a drawing of it exists.

The theater’s management updated the Hollywood’s marquee during the 1970s in an effort to “modernize” the theater and help it compete with mushrooming, multi-screen “cineplex” chains. The marquee remained operational, but deteriorated to the point of ugliness. And, according to Doug Whyte, the Hollywood Theatre Foundation’s executive director, the revised marquee didn’t mesh well with the building. Consequently, they sought a design inspired by the original 1926 marquee. Several streets converge at this location, so the theater enjoys high visibility. However, from a project-management perspective, this presented problems. Also, a new building had been constructed next to the theater, which further complicated matters.

Kevin Hallwyler, Security’s project manager for the job, learned of the marquee revitalization during its early planning stages, and established a relationship with Whyte. Hallwyler’s frequent communication, plus Security’s longstanding local stature, helped our bid be successful.

Fernando Duarte Design (Sacramento, CA), known for crafting marquee-restoration plans, designed the reimagined Hollywood Theatre façade. Other high-profile Duarte jobs include the legendary Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA. The Hollywood received several renovations, but anticipation was high for the marquee’s rejuvenation.

Complete article with pictures here.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Laguna South Coast Cinemas on Aug 31, 2015 at 8:29 pm

The Laguna South Coast Cinemas closed Sunday, August 30, 2015 after its operator, Regency Theatres, was unable to secure a longtime lease to make necessary renovations and upgrades.

Regency, which operates 28 other neighborhood theaters in Southern California and in Yuma, Ariz., said showing movies there was costly and less efficient because of outdated technology in the two-auditorium, 550-seat theater. Films had to be ordered in advance and selection was limited.

Lyndon Golin, president of Calabasas-based Regency, said that distributors no longer provides movies on 35mm film. Everything is digital, he said, and we can’t get a lease with terms to make the investment there. He said he’s been given no reason why his lease won’t be extended.

Closing the Laguna Beach theater not only leaves the town without a place for the public to see movies but also shuts one of the last beach movie theaters along the Southern California coast.

(Based on a story that appeared in the August 30, 2015 Orange County Register.)

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about Palace Theatre on Nov 20, 2014 at 9:38 am

The following is an excerpt from an article in the June 27, 2011 issue of the Los Angeles Times:

“When the [Palace] theater opened, the upper "gallery” level was earmarked for non-white theatergoers. Reportedly designated “Negroes Only,” it featured bench seating, had separate restrooms and could be reached only through an outside entrance. Historians have noted that such an arrangement was unusual in a city that, in those days, was more tolerant than other places.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell commented about BLVD Cinemas on Sep 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Apparently BLVD does stand for boulevard as in “The Boulevard.” The caps thing is just a marketing ploy. For more info, go here: