This must have been some movie theater.
Beacon Theater New York
Designed by Chicago architect Walter W. Ahlschlager and opened in 1928, the 2,800-seat Beacon Theatre is a fantastic Art Deco treasure, built as silent pictures began talking and as vaudeville capitulated to the movie palace era. Recognized as a national landmark -- the interior remains legally protected from alteration and demolition -- the three-level auditorium is distinguished by 30-foot statues of Greek women on each side of the proscenium arch. Other features include an open-air lobby, bronze front doors, ornate moldings, white marble floors, and corridor murals depicting elephants, camels and traders.
Today, the Beacons chief reputation is as a fierce concert house where, amid a curtain-less stage and flawless acoustics, Patti LaBelle, Korn, Tina Turner, Morrissey, VH-1s 'Divas Live' have done their thing.
Cutting-edge hardcore bands, gospel singers and world music superstars rock the town here as well. The Beacon also often houses popular comedies geared toward African- American audiences, making it the favored Gotham stop along the Chitlin Circuit.
2124 Broadway at 74th Street
New York, N.Y. 10023
The 3154-seat Beacon Theatre was originally named the Roxy Midway and was intended to be the first theatre in a city-wide Roxy Circuit owned by William Fox after he acquired control of the 6,000-seat Roxy Theatre at Seventh Avenue & 50th Street. However, before it opened, Fox went bankrupt and the theatre sat unused for about two years, before Warner Brothers took it over with a policy of a first-run movie and vaudeville.
An article in the March 1930 issue of Moving Picture Review and Theatre Management claims that when Warner Brothers took over the as yet unused theatre, it completely gutted the auditorium and built a new one with Rapp & Rapp as contractors and Stanly C. Zoest in charge of the project. The new auditorium, described as a mixture of Byzantine and Moorish styles, took six weeks to complete by 200 workers on a day-and-night schedule. The new auditorium was eight stories high from ground floor to the dome in the ceiling, and featured murals along the side walls painted by the famous Danish artist, Valdemar Kjoldgaard. Its most striking feature is the oval first lobby, which is reportedly a one-quarter scale version of the Roxy's grand rotunda.
The Beacon Theatre was the largest surviving picture palace in Manhattan until 1986, when its new owners announced plans to convert the theatre to a discotheque. Despite opposition by the general community, the Beacon was granted permission by the New York City Landmarks Commission to convert the building's interior to a nightclub. Although the planned alterations have not taken place, the Beacon now hosts concerts.
Wurlitzer Organ Company
North Tonawanda, N.Y. – Opus 1891 (1928)
Style 250 Special
4 manuals, 19 ranks The Wurlitzer organ in the Beacon Theatre is dated June 6, 1928.