Shea's Criterion Theatre

W. Mohawk Street and Pearl Street,
Buffalo, NY 14202

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Shea Theatres

Architects: William Worth Carlin

Styles: Romanesque Revival

Previous Names: Star Theater

Nearby Theaters

STAR (CRITERION) Theatre; Buffalo, New York.

The Star Theater was opened December 24, 1888. A 2/6 WurliTzer Theatre Pipe Organ, Opus 342, was shipped from North Tonawanda, New York on April 20, 1920. Buffalo is only 14 miles away so it should have arrived at the theatre the same day. What happened to the organ after that is unknown.

It was renamed Shea’s Criterion Theatre on September 5, 1920 reopening with a sneak preview of Gloria Swanson in “Something to Think About”. It was closed and demolished in 1924.

Contributed by Ret. AKC(NAC) Bob Jensen

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

roberttoplin on December 21, 2007 at 11:17 pm

The Criterion used to be the Star Theater. Located at the corner of W. Mohawk & Pearl Streets, the Star, designed by W.W. Carlin, opened Dec.24,1888 with 1,425 seats. It became the Criterion Dec.3,1923 and was razed June 22,1924.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 23, 2010 at 6:00 am

Here is a history of the Star Theatre as a legitimate house, from 1888 to 1919. It only mentions briefly that it then became a movie house called the Criterion.

The Art Institute of Chicago provides this drawing, captioned “Levi Theatre, for Emanuel Levi, Buffalo, N.Y.” The drawing might be by the theater’s architect, William Worth Carlin. The building was designed in the Romanesque Revival style.

markhn on November 20, 2015 at 8:17 am

The Criterion opened on Sunday September 5, 1920 with a sneak preview of Demille’s “Something To Think About” starring Gloria Swanson.

markhn on November 20, 2015 at 8:20 am

How the Criterion opened.

markhn on November 20, 2015 at 8:24 am

An article about the Criterion’s planned opening and details about it’s management and upgrading.

markhn on November 20, 2015 at 8:28 am

An article giving the opening date as Sunday, September 5, 1920.’s%22

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 23, 2024 at 8:52 pm

Here is a brief article in the future tense about the opening of the Criterion from Moving Picture World of September 20, 1920, which was about two weeks late. It also got the opening date wrong:

“Criterion Opens September 6.

“Shea’s new Criterion Theatre, formerly the old Star, which has been completely remodeled at a cost in excess of $65,000, will open its doors on Monday evening, September 6, under the general supervision of Harold B. Franklin, managing director of Shea’s Hippodrome. The opening attraction will be ‘Something to Think About,’ which will be the first run anywhere of this picture.

“The Shea Amusement Company and the Famous Players-Artcraft Company are associated in the operation of the house and the super-productions of this company will be shown almost exclusively. The runs will be for two week periods. A classy advance advertising campaign is being placed in the local papers by Mr. Franklin. There will be a ten piece orchestra under the direction of Harry Wallace, president of the Buffalo Musicians' Association.

“The house has been practically rebuilt during the summer and when opened will present a metropolitan appearance. One of the features will be a singing sextette. Famous soloists will appear in connection with the programs.”

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