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TOPIC: Hidden Treasure

Hidden Treasure 19 Dec 2001 13:55 #19818

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I've been reading posts from this forum for a long time now and I've noticed that a lot of you theater owners have from time to time renovated old theaters for a newer look. I was wondering if any of you have discovered any hidden treasures. It seems that an old theater would house many secrets.
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Re: Hidden Treasure 19 Dec 2001 17:08 #19819

I saw a stack of old Hustler and Playboy Magazines when looking thru a theatre. That might be a "treasure" for some one.
But I know what traesures you are talking about old posters , money etc.
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Re: Hidden Treasure 20 Dec 2001 00:14 #19820

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You know the old saying: "One mans treasure is another mans junk" I have found many a treasure in old theatres, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that most of it would be considered treasure to many others.

The type of things that I have gotten most often were old light fixtures, poster frames, ticket choppers, ticket machines, projection equipment, stage lighting equipment, old slide machines for 4x4 glass slides, sing along slides, a Brenograph machine, the special effect slides themselves, stage curtains and vaudeville backdrops (I probably have the best collection of stage curtains anywhere). One of my best friends always kids me that if I hung all my curtains in front of the movie screen,it would take five minutes just to open all the curtains before the screen and movie became visable. I also have numerous popcorn and butter machines and other concession equipment. Plus many old advertising signs that were put out front for various programs, for both film and live shows. My favorite is a 4'x12' vaudeville sign with hundreds of sockets for bulbs to spell out the word VAUDEVILLE. I shouldn't forget marquee letters including the kind that had individual sockets for bulbs in each letter. Those were very popular during the mid to late twenties. Old trade magazines and books about theatre management as well as photographs of the theatres themselves, both architecturally and of special advertising promotions is another category. Usher and staff uniforms are another thing that I have collected. And of course the occasional movie poster. My favorite was in my theatre when I bought the place and hangs in my office still in it's original frame. It is a hand colored poster for "Circe the Enchantress" starring Mae Murray which was released by the new studio owned by Loew's Inc. which was created by the mergers of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures amd Louis B. Mayer Productions which of course became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This film was released during 1924, the first year of MGM, and I believe if I did my homework correctly it was the 31st film made by that company. They made over 100 films during there first year.

I have never found any large amount of money in any theatres, but I have often found very old coins under the floorboards of old box office's as they were being torn away.

Back in 1991 when Paramount used my theatre for the opening scene of the film "School Ties" the location scout was so impressed with all of my old junk, that they brought in a guy from there props department to inventory it all just in case they ever needed any of it in the future.

Many pieces from my collection were used to decorate the sets of "The Royale" produced by Turtleback Productions for A&E in the 90's. That was a film for TV about the goings on in an old theatre in 1949. I even managed to get my name in the credits for that one. A&E also used my theatre front and interior, and some of my junk, for the opening promotional scene for an entire week of Biography's "Boxoffice Bombshells". I just realized that I forgot to mention my collection of old promotional banners that were hung either under the marquee or in the lobby. Banners that said such things as: Air-Conditioned, Presented in Cinema-Scope, New Show Today, Midnight Show, Late Show Tonight, etc. etc.

The only thing I can think of that will become of all this junk is that my wife will have a great auction of it after I assume room temperture. Then again... she just might throw it all away.


[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited December 20, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited December 20, 2001).]
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