Posts Tagged ‘Marquee’

We just happened to be walking down Fourth Avenue during our whirlwind stop in Louisville, KY and were delighted to see these vintage theatre marquees:

The Palace Theatre Louisville KY


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I could not resist the pun when I realized I got a “letter” in the mail! (even though that’s usually Eccentric Roadside’s area of expertise!)

Letter B - Vintage Marquee Letter From Bay City Cargo

I have been in touch recently with  Mike of Bay City Cargo in Belfast Maine- who has the world’s largest collection of vintage theater marquee letters. He is also the owner of The Colonial Theatre in Belfast, ME www.ColonialTheatre.com – which often gets confused (URL-wise) with my Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA www.THEColonialTheatre.com :-) What a small cool world.

If you are interested in buying some cool old vintage letters from theaters, casinos, restaurants and more, check their listings on eBay. They also sell new letters for your marquee, in case you’re not into the “ransom note” look of mismatched letters.

I could not help but think of this Sesame Street video from The Beetles when I opened the package.

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We were only able to drive past the West Shore Theatre in New Cumberland PA this past weekend, but I think I’ve developed a crush on this little movie house located just outside of Harrisburg.

West Shore Theatre(Who doesn’t love the sight of a family rushing towards an independent cinema on a Saturday night?)

In the 70+ years that this theater has been located on the west shore of the Susquehanna river it has had only had 2 owners in that entire time (the current owner bought it in the mid-1980’s).

A photo of the theatre from the 1940’s show that the exterior has been kept true to its original design, and the neon marquee as you can see is in fine form.

Prices are said to be reasonable, and nary a bad word about this cheery little can be found on any of the major review sights (though boo, their website has lapsed).

Click here to see a great photo of the West Shore taken in the daytime and notice the details, from the horizontal stripes, to the great font used on the marquee, the box office to the left, the circular windows in the doors. They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

I’d love to make a trip back there to check out the interior, but from what I read and see, this place is a keeper already – RetroRoadmap stamp of approval!

The West Shore Theatre
317 Bridge Street
New Cumberland, PA 17070-2160
(717) 774-7160

PS- while turning around the RetroRoadmobile to photograph the theatre, we saw more neon across the street and got some cool vintage clothing at  Checkered Past!

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While doing some research for my fave local theater, The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville PA I came across a cool website called Another Old Movie Blog sharing the news that The Colonial Theatre in Canaan CT is for sale. If you’ve ever wanted your very own movie house, here’s your chance!

Colonial Theatre Canaan CT AnotherOldMovieBlog(October 2010 photo courtesy of Another Old Movie Blog)

Blog owner Jacqueline T Lynch writes:

Built in 1923, this old movie house is on the National Register of Historic Places. Weathering the decades and changes in film, and audience, the Colonial was closed in 1997, but later re-opened to include live theatre as well as movies.

Have a look here at this website more photos, including the nifty interior, and at this website for more history on this theater. Hopefully somebody will see possibilities for the future while respecting its past.

Thanks Jacqueline for bringing this to our attention – perhaps there’s someone out there who wants to own a little theatre in this cute little corner of Connecticut.

The Colonial Theatre
27 Railroad Street
Canaan, CT 06018
(860) 824-4488

Take a look at the street view of The Colonial Theatre to check out the charming downtown of Canaan with its green striped awnings and vintage sign at Mahaiwe Jewelry right next door to the theater. Here’s a link to a photo of the Mahaiwe Jewelry sign from the awe-inspiring roadside photographs of Debra Jane Seltzer.

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With all this talk of cool vintage and retro exhibits happening in the Boston area, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the exhibit of wonderful color photos of classic movie theaters, taken by Stefanie Klavens and on exhibit at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, MA. Her exhibit “The Art of The Movie Theater” was extended from its original closing date back in May, and is on display until October 31.

From the National Heritage Museum writeup:

Boston photographer Stefanie Klavens’ interest in 20th-century popular culture inspired her to begin shooting these images of grand picture houses over a decade ago. Regularly attending the Senator Theatre while growing up in Baltimore, Klavens always felt there was something special about the theater. Only years later, however, did she fully appreciate its 1930s Art Deco design. Not surprisingly, it was among the first venues she photographed.

Her continuing photographic journey has taken her all over the country, photographing ornate city palaces and intimate small-town movie houses. As more of these historic buildings close, Klavens documents this vanishing era in American culture.

senator-theatre-stefanie-klavens-retro-roadmap(This is the Senator Theatre in Baltimore, where Jenifer would see movies as a kid, and where good friends of Retro Roadmap T&P Shreeve had one of their first dates!)

About the Project: Klavens works in the traditional method, shooting on film, using only available light and long exposures for her interior views, and printing the photographs herself. All prints are loaned by the photographer.

sands-theatre-brush-co-stefanie-klavens-retro-roadmapI’m hoping to be able to make it to the exhibit in my chockablock full weekend at home, and you should make a plan to see these great photos as well!

The Art of the Movie Theater
National Heritage Museum
33 Marrett Rd
Lexington, MA 02421-5703
(781) 861-6559

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What to do when you want to preserve and renovate your downtown movie theatre but the building is too far gone? Do what Ephrata PA did, and save as much of the vintage neon, chandeliers and vintage charm as you can, before the place falls apart, then display them for all to enjoy!

Main Street Theater Ephrata PA

While the building that now contains the Main Street Theatre is “vintage 1993”, I have to hand it to the folks of Ephrata for preserving as much of the old theatre’s pieces to incorporate into this new structure that sits on the site of the old theatre.

Main Theatre Ephrata PA - Before

Like this cool brushed steel ticket booth for example!

Ticket Booth Main Theatre Ephrata PA

And this swell art deco chandelier:


And cool curved glass blocks and etched mirror:

Main Theatre Art Deco Glass Block

I know from first hand experience living in a town with a downtown movie house how a place like this can become a central part of a community, and think it is cool that the builders of the Brossman building even considered putting a theatre into this space. With a covered parking garage in the back and a great restaurant on the 3rd floor (Lily’s on Main) it’s a great place to go for dinner and a movie!

Main Theatre Tickets

And if the wonderful artifacts saved from Ephrata’s old movie houses inspires new film goers to check out some of the wonderful vintage theatres still in existence (and keeps ’em out of the mega screen boxes ) well wouldn’t that be nice?

Ephrata Main Theatres
124 East Main Street
Ephrata, PA 17522
(717) 733-9098‎

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There’s a stretch of Route 20 in Massachusetts between Route 9 and 290 that I used to think was just a perfect little stretch of roadside wonderfulness. There was the Rainbow Motor Court, The Edgemere Drive In, Hebert Candy Mansion and the Edgemere Diner. As years pass some things change, and in this case all that is left of the Edgemere is it’s cheery marquee sign, a colorful beacon on the side of The Hartford Turnpike, reminding us of summer nights of movie fun.

Edgemere Drive In Sign

I have some old photos around here somewhere where a wonderful vintage script font can be seen spelling out the words Drive In, as in the photo that accompanies this writeup of the Edgemere Drive-In from The Shrewsbury Chronicle I’ll post ’em when I dig them out of the Retro Roadmap archives.

Even with the Rainbow Motor Court cabins each painted white, and the Edgemere diner dolled up to sell hot dogs, I’d still rather drive on Route 20 any day, than the Mass Pike!

It’s easy to spot old drive in theater locations on Googlemaps, just look for the triangular shape where the cars used to park, all pointing towards the screen.

Edgemere Drive In Movie Theater Sign
Around 204 Hartford St. Route 20
Shrewsbury, MA


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