Theater Comique

473 Main Street,
Buffalo, NY

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The following is the actual description of the theater as it existed in 1906. Citations are in the text.

But by 1906 it was the Automatic Vaudeville Company, with president Mitchell [Mark] and vice president Moe [Mark]. After $2,500 of alterations commissioned by Rudolph Wagner it re-opened as the Theatre Comique, a 10 cent; cinema, on Saturday, 16 May 1908. Now, before you Francophiles correct the spelling and boast of your cultured pronunciation, pay attention to what Roscoe Arbuckle of the (unrelated) Comique Film Corporation explained to Buster Keaton upon hiring him in 1917: “Mr. Schenck has just set up a company for me-a real fancy French name, Cumeeky” [Rudi Blesh, Keaton, p. 87]. The Theatre Comique was under the managership of Albert W. Schlagter. The Times (Tuesday, 12 May 1908, p. 4, col. 6) ran a press release of things to come:

… Buffalo’s places of amusement will be increased by the addition of a new, handsome and unique theater. It is at No. 473 Main Street, just north of the Hengerer store, and the results of their labors will be the handsomest moving picture theater in the United States-or anywhere else, for that matter.

This new amusement resort, which will be called the Theater Comique, will be one of the leading houses in Buffalo for the presentation of moving pictures and illustrated songs and other attractive features.

The Times [Tuesday, 19 May 1908, p. 3, col. 5] later ran another press release in lieu of a review:

The latest place of amusement to bid for the favor of the Buffalo public is the Theater Comique, which is located at No. 473 Main Street, just north of the Hengerer stores. This handsome little theater was first opened to the public last Saturday evening, and it is safe to say that no amusement resort had a more auspicious opening in the history of the city.

Among the features is the latest Paris moving picture, “The Legend of an Ardent Ghost”. Other scenes are “Don’t Pick an Argument With Your Laundryman”, and “A Jealous Woman”. James Puryis is singing “Farewell Killarney”. Anna Loundborg, who possesses a soprano voice of rare beauty, is heard in a repertory of songs. Beach and Beach made a great hit. Henry Marcus, the ragtime player, is the only man in the world who plays the piano handcuffed. Performances at the Theater Comique are continuous from 10 A. M. until 11 P. M. The admission is ten cents for all.

Contributed by E. Summer
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