Granada Theatre

3176 Main Street,
Buffalo, NY 14214

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Schine Circuit Inc.

Architects: Edwin P. Bacon, William C. Lurkey

Firms: Bacon & Lurkey

Functions: Restaurant

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News About This Theater

Granada Theatre

This very large elegant movie theatre in downtown Buffalo, NY was in opened by the Schine Theatre circuit on February 22, 1927. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 manual theatre pipe organ which was opened by organist John F. Gunderman Jr.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was featured regularly in its programming at one time. After closing in 1982, the auditorium was demolished in 1990 and a gas station now occupies that parcel of land. The façade and lobby were retained and are in use as a pizzeria.

Contributed by Loub

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

kencmcintyre on February 25, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Your dad was in Boxoffice magazine in September 1972:

TLSLOEWS on February 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Good stories and history on this site.

alknobloch on February 27, 2010 at 2:16 am

What really helped to kill this theater was lack of adequate parking. Basically, it had no lot at all, leaving patrons to ferret out street spots in a area with popular restaurants.

It’s proximity to the State University of New York at Buffalo helped to keep it running while it’s nearest competition, the Amherst, had tons of parking in a shopping mall and was only about a half mile away.

Another nail in the coffin was when the University Student Union decided to convert a lecture hall in their building into a 35MM theater. Despite objections from the local theaters, the film fanatics that were in charge managed to get a pair of Simplex E-7's
from a closed local theater and install them. The hall was actually built to accommodate such a thing, with the fire shutters already in place on the projection booth. Actually, it was technically quite spiffy, also installing a Century 4-channel magnetic stripe unit with 3 huge Voice of the Theater speakers behind screen and wall mounted units in theater.
The trick was, you had to be a student to get tickets – thereby allowing them to book popular films as well as foreign ones. Since the hall was originally called the Norton Conference Hall, it became known as the Norton Conference Theater – but not being a legit house, you won’t find it listed anywhere.

I inspected and ran their films for many years — which involved encountering things not normally associated with your average projectionist work:
Frequently they would somehow exhume prints that hadn’t been run in decades (like Moby Dick) that would barely make it through one or two showings (it’s fun to watch the film outside the sprockets peel off in long strips while it’s running!).
The machines were old and would periodically break down. It’s very difficult and borderline dangerous to tell a hallway full of stoned kids that they can’t see “Gimmie Shelter” due to technical problems (I ran an entire day on one machine, bringing up house lights every 20 minutes to change reels — pre platter days — now it’s pre digital download days — OH MY!) …. and YES, the arc housing got REALLY hot!!!
Then there was the infamous run of ‘2001’ – a favorite of the stoners. A popular audience thing was to lay on the stage with their feet up against the screen and trip out during the light show portion — one showing a guy appeared at the booth door claiming that the film was taking the wrong direction, but if he could get at the projector he could correct the course and save everybody. They carried him out of the building screaming and ranting………
I won’t say everyone was under the influence, but I think you could walk up the light beam from the screen to the booth!
Yet this was not as bad as the day the Black Student Union invaded the theater during a screening, jumping on stage and announcing that ‘2001’ was a racist film and they were shutting it down — and that’s exactly what they did by ripping down the screen, kicking in the speakers, charging the booth and ripping the 2 reels of film out of the machines and stealing them. Luckily they didn’t kick over the arc machines. Upon learing that MGM was taking legal action to get the film back, they decided it wasn’t that racist after all and returned them.


But I digress —–

The Amherst Theater survived by dividing itself into 3 theaters – the Granada was not so fortunate (if one can call such survival tactics ‘fortunate’) and eventually went x-rated before the wrecking ball finally arrived. From it’s extremely small entrance on Main St., I’m sure many people never knew of the fantastic interior and superior management and projection of that 60’s-70’s period.

DianaD got it right: it was INDEED a time when the movies were a big deal – and had her dad been running it today, I’m sure it’s booking of ‘Avatar’ in 3-D would have been the best anywhere!

tsar on July 28, 2013 at 1:57 am

The Granada was in the University Heights district of Buffalo. I lived in the neighboring community of Eggertsville so I saw movies here and at The Amherst as a child. Granada would sometimes play classic old movie matinees in the 70s like King Kong that us kids would go to. Later I remember as a teenager walking down Main street to the Granada for my first ever viewing of Rocky Horror in 1981. I think they finally demolished it a couple years later.

TherealEricL on February 10, 2018 at 6:12 pm

I remember being on the bus going to grammar school and passing by Granada in the early eighties. I remember seeing the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW the marquee and how many weeks it was play there. I was try to find out when it closed.

RobbGreene on May 30, 2019 at 7:21 pm

The first time my parents allowed me to go to the movies alone was @ The Granada to see “The Ten Commandments”. The stories about the size of the screen are not exaggerated…when Moses parted the sea, he p-a-r-t-e-d the sea. Also, in reference to the ‘big’ pictures that opened there my memories of the première of “Around The World In 80 Days” are most vivid – the klieg lights, the limos…pretty heady stuff for Buffalo, let me tell you! The same weekend of the opening as my family was on their way to Sears – a straight shot down Main Street from The Granada, as we were stopped at a traffic light this huge black car pulled alongside ours (first limo I ever saw ‘live’) and as I turned my head to look at it, I was met by the lavender gaze of Elizabeth Taylor. She was accompanying Mike Todd to the première. Needless to say, this page has caused some pretty special memories to flow.

dallasmovietheaters on May 27, 2022 at 3:38 am

Schine opened its Spanish-themed Granada Theatre on February 22, 1927 with John F. Gunnerman, Jr. at the organ and an assortment of photoplays.

William L. Coale, Ph.D.
William L. Coale, Ph.D. on September 16, 2022 at 6:58 pm

The opening organist’s last name was spelled Gunderman.

rivest266 on October 5, 2022 at 3:01 pm

Newspaper listings ended in 1981

MSC77 on October 22, 2022 at 1:09 pm

A chronology of the Buffalo area’s 70mm presentation history has recently been published. The Granada is mentioned numerous times.

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