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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinema Yak   » Theater architects & construction

   
Author Topic: Theater architects & construction
Trent True
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Ashland, KY
Registered: Jun 2004


 - posted July 31, 2004 11:15 AM      Profile for Trent True   Email Trent True         Edit/Delete Post 
During the period of "movie palaces", especially during the 1920s and 1930s, was it typical for theater
architects to be present during the construction of the theater?
Or, once the contractor arrived, did the architect leave the assembly part to those professionals? Did Rapp & Rapp, for instance, hang around during the construction? I'm trying to get a sense of what degree of coordination existed between the key figures during this critical phase of the building.

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William Hooper
Member

Posts: 82
From: Mobile, AL
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted August 02, 2004 04:15 AM      Profile for William Hooper   Email William Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
That's an interesting question. If it pertains particularly to Rapp & Rapp, it would be best directed to Joseph DuciBella, who's the big Rapp & Rapp guy. I think Joseph DuciBella's e-mail address is on the historictheatres.org web site.

Overall, though, the answer is probably no, unless it was a very high-profile project or they were called over to look at a problem. Architectural firms have often been large, with many partners, engineers, specialists, consultants, etc. contributing to a project. Rapp & Rapp & the other big architectural firms were certainly that way. If it was an engineering problem, they'd send an engineer. I surely can't see Thomas Lamb himself going to personally visit each of the theatres his firm was designing nonstop during the movie palace era. It could easily be different if the theatre's architect was more local or smaller.

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Mike Law
Member

Posts: 60
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted August 03, 2004 01:14 PM      Profile for Mike Law   Email Mike Law         Edit/Delete Post 
Hoops, there's a book out about S. Charles Lee, called "The Show Starts on the Sidewalk." In it, there are picture of him attending gala openings, etc. I get the opinion that many of the designers did, or would, go to the theatres. While I have no concrete data to back this up, I believe that Thomas Lamb et al probably would go to the theatres during construction. At least the really big ones anyway. I'd really be curious to hear what Joe D. in Chicago has to say. I do respect your opinion however.

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William Hooper
Member

Posts: 82
From: Mobile, AL
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted August 03, 2004 11:41 PM      Profile for William Hooper   Email William Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
I picked Thomas Lamb for illustration particularly because his firm was the most prolific, turning out theatres constantly in the 20s & 30s - not just in the US, but in Canada, England, etc. And not just theatres! If ol' Tom himself visited each of them, he'd never get any work done! Remember, this was the era of rail travel.

That's not to say someone from the office might not have gone down to take a look, or, as I said, that he wouldn't have visited very high-profile projects. If there was a problem, they probably would have sent someone who'd been specifically working on that project. S. Charles Lee's was a smaller firm, & his big houses easily were as much a PR-heavy event for his firm as the owner.

[ August 04, 2004, 12:43 AM: Message edited by: William Hooper ]

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David Wodeyla
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Posts: 65
From: Natick, MA
Registered: Jun 2004


 - posted August 04, 2004 12:26 PM      Profile for David Wodeyla   Author's Homepage   Email David Wodeyla         Edit/Delete Post 
Is Capital Motion Picture Supply in New York still supplying equipment to theatres? I didn't find them on the Rotoflex link.

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Scott Norwood
New Member

Posts: 40
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted August 04, 2004 01:34 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood         Edit/Delete Post 
I believe that Capitol Motion Picture is still around. They're listed in the Boxoffice dealer directory, anyway. I believe that they supplied the equipment for many General Cinema installations, among others.

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