- Fox Theatre (Atlanta)
Infobox_nrhp2 | name =Fox Theatre (Atlanta)
lat_degrees = 33 | lat_minutes = 46 | lat_seconds = 19.95 | lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 84 | long_minutes = 23 | long_seconds = 11.83 | long_direction = W
locmapin = USA Georgia
architect= Olivier J. Vinour, Et al.
May 11, 1976cite web|url=http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1513&ResourceType=Structure |title=Fox Theatre (Atlanta)|accessdate=2008-06-21|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service]
May 17, 1974cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
governing_body = Private
refnum=74002230 The Fox Theatre (often marketed as the Fabulous Fox) in
Atlanta, Georgiais one of the grand movie palaces built in the United Statesin the 1920s. It is located at the corner of Peachtree Streetand Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown Atlanta. The theatre's unique origin and Moorish design sets it apart from others of the era including those bearing the Fox Theatrename in other cities. It currently hosts a variety of cultural and artistic events including the Atlanta Ballet, a summer film series, and performances by national touring companies of Broadway shows.
When the Fox Theatre first opened, the local newspaper described it as having, “a picturesque and almost disturbing grandeur beyond imagination”. It remains a showplace that impresses theatregoers to this day. The principal architect of the project was Olivier Vinour of the firm Marye, Alger and Vinour.
The original architecture and décor of the Fox can be roughly divided into two categories,
Islamic architecture(the building exterior, the auditorium, the Grand Salon, the mezzanine Gentlemen’s Lounge and the lower Ladies Lounge) and Egyptian architecture(the Egyptian Ballroom, the mezzanine Ladies Lounge and the lower Gentlemen’s Lounge).
The 4678-seat auditorium, which was designed for movies and live performances, replicates an
Arabian courtyardcomplete with a night sky of 96 stars (a third of which flicker) and a projection of clouds that slowly drift across the ‘sky’.
The Egyptian Ballroom is designed after a temple for
Ramses IIat Karnakwhile the mezzanine Ladies Lounge features a replica of the throne chair of King Tutand makeup tables that feature tiny Sphinxes. The Islamic sections feature a number of ablutionfountains, which are currently kept dry.
Throughout the Fox there is extensive use of
trompe l'oeil; ‘wooden’ beams are actually plaster, paint that appears gold leaf is not, areas are painted and lit to appear to receive outside lighting, ornate fireplaces were never designed to have working chimneys, and what appears to be a giant Bedouincanopy in the auditorium is plaster and steel rods designed to help funnel sound to the farthest balcony.
The Atlanta Preservation Center sponsors regular tours of the Fox Theatre’s interior.
Originally intended as the
Yaarab TempleShrine Mosque, a headquarters for a 5000-member Shrinersorganization, the $2.75 million project was completed only with funding and a twenty-one year lease by movie mogul William Fox, who was building theatres around the country at the time. The theatre opened on December 25, 1929, just two months after the stock market crash. After 125 weeks of talking pictures and stage entertainment, the Fox Theatre declared bankruptcy. It floundered financially during the 1930s and both William Fox and the Shriners lost their economic interests in the building.
In 1939, the movie perhaps most associated with Atlanta and the South, "Gone with the Wind", premiered at the (now-demolished)
Loew's Grand Theatrerather than the Fox. The parade down Peachtree Street for the movie’s premier coincidentally started just outside of the Fox because the movie’s cast was staying across the street at the Georgian Terrace Hotel.
The Fox did host the premiere of
Walt Disney's " Song of the South". Disney introduced the picture, then returned to his room at the Georgian Terrace. According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Celestine Sibley's review of the premiere, Disney never watched his movies with an audience, because he would become upset if their reaction was not exactly as he had intended.
During the 1940s the Fox acquired strong management and became one of the finest movie theatres in Atlanta. It was also at this time that the Egyptian Ballroom became Atlanta’s most popular public dance halls and hosted all the important
big bandsand country and westernswing bands of the era. It was notable at that time, for being the only theatre in Atlanta allowing both white and black patrons. However, there was a separate black box office, entrance, and seating; the segregation wall in the middle of the second dress seating still remains, and the "colored" box office window stands unused at the back entrance.
During the 1960s several elements collided to bring about the Fox’s decline;
white flight, television, and changes in how films were distributed. By the 1970s the Fox could only show second-run movies to an ever dwindling audience.
Southern Bell, the regional arm of AT&T, approached the owners of the theatre with an offer to buy and with the intent of tearing it down and building a new headquarters on the site. A group was formed to save the theatre and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Placesin May 1974. The ensuing public outcry and massive campaign (including Liberace, Lynyrd Skynyrdand other celebrities) resulted in the city refusing to issue a demolition permitand ultimately, a complicated deal was brokered that prevented the Fox's demolition. The Southern Bell headquarters were built on land adjacent to the theatre. The U.S. Department of the Interiorsubsequently named the Fox a National Historic Landmarkon May 26, 1976.
After the Fox was saved from the demolition, a lengthy and expensive restoration process began. Luckily much of the original décor had survived and new pieces were created with the help of old photographs. Today, the Fox appearance looks much like it did when it opened, with some additions that were in the original plans but scrapped in the 1920’s because of financial constraints, and other changes that had to be made to bring the building up to current safety codes. The theatre, now run under the
non-profitAtlanta Landmarks, Inc., currently hosts a multitude of cultural and artistic events including the Atlanta Ballet, a summer film series, and performances for various national touring companies of Broadway shows. Because of its origins as a movie house, the Fox has a relatively shallow stage by theatrical standards and is unable to accommodate some of the set pieces required by modern large scale shows such as " The Lion King" and " Miss Saigon".
In June 2006, the theatre installed a new
digital cinema video projectionsystem for $130,000, which debuted with a showing of "" on June 26, part of the Summer Film Festival. The sing-alongs that precede each feature are still shown by the Brenograph projectorwhich was installed in 1929.
The Egyptian Ballroom and the Grand Salon are rented regularly for corporate and private functions including banquets, fundraisers, weddings, trade shows and conventions. They are also both popular spots for proms for many area high schools.
Every year since Atlanta Landmarks took over management in 1975, the Fox has generated an operating surplus. An estimated 750,000 people visit the Fox every year.
The Mighty Mo
The Fox features a four manual (or keyboard) 42-rank
pipe organnicknamed the "Mighty Mo". It was custom built for the Fox by M. P. Möller, Inc. in 1929 in Hagerstown, Maryland. With 3,622 pipes, it is the second-largest theatre organ in the country, behind the Wurlitzerat Radio City Music Hallin New York and was the largest theatre instrument built by Möller.
As a true
theatre organ, as opposed to a church organ, Mighty Mo's pipes range in size from 32 feet (nearly 10 meters)tall to the size of a small ballpoint pen, and is designed to imitate the sounds of a full orchestra. Besides the pipes, it also contains a marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, drums, sleigh bells, a gong, and even a six-foot (1.8m) grand piano(originally from the Kilgen organ in Chicago's Piccadilly Theatre); plus a large variety of silent movie sound effects (such as various car horns, thunderand raineffects, bird whistles, etc.). The organ is remarkable for a theatre organ because it also includes 12 ranks of pipes for a church organ, known as the "Ethereal" division. Thus the organ can be played as a church organ as well as a theatre organ. It is noteworthy that the Mighty Mo is among the shrinking list of instruments which remain installed in the theatre for which it was designed; many theatre organs which remain today have been preserved only through removal from their original homes.
In the summer of 2002, Larry Douglas Embury was invited to become Organist in Residence presiding over the Mighty Mo. In this capacity, he played sixty-one performances from June to August. That September, he hosted and was featured in "Fox at the Fox," a twenty-second anniversary memorial concert in honor of the late great organist, Virgil Fox. At that time, Larry was named permanent Organist in Residence of the Fox Theatre, a prestigious position that the Fox had been unable to satisfy for nearly twenty years.
The Fox also contains a 3,640-square-foot apartment that serves as the private residence of Joe Patten, who served as technical director from 1974-2004. Patten, who was born in 1927, was granted a lifetime rent-free lease to the apartment. Patten first became involved with the Fox when he volunteered to restore the theater's Moller pipe organ. He later was instrumental in the movement to save the Fox from demolition. The apartment occupies space previously used as an office by the Shriners, who had built the Fox as a meeting hall. The apartment's walls are 2 to 3 feet thick, and a passageway leads from the bedroom to a former spotlight platform at the top of the auditorium. A separate entrance provides direct access to the street outside the theater. [ [http://www.accessatlanta.com/arts/content/arts/stories/2007/09/19/fox_0920.html Tagami, Kirsten. (2007, Sept. 20). "Phantom of the Fox". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution] ]
Patten's presence is credited with saving the Fox from a fast-moving fire in April 1996. The pre-dawn blaze, which broke out in the attic wiring, caused $2 million in damage. Damage likely would have been greater if Patten had not been on site to call the fire department, said Alan Thomas, president of Atlanta Landmarks, the nonprofit agency that owns the Fox.
Atlanta Landmarks has no definite plan on how the apartment will be used after Patten's death. "We could use it for dressing space, rehearsal halls," Thomas told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It's unlikely that we'd let anyone else live there."
* [http://www.foxtheatre.org Fox Theatre website]
* [http://apps.atlantaga.gov/citydir/URBAN/foxthea.htm The Fox as Historic Landmark]
* [http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2759&sug=y History of the Fox] (entry in the New Georgia Encyclopedia)
*Then/Now photos of Atlanta' Fox Theatre: [http://atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/fox1.htm #1] , [http://atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/fox2.htm #2] , [http://atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/fox3.htm #3] , [http://atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/fox4.htm #4] , [http://atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/fox5.htm #5] , [http://atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/fox6.htm #6]
* [http://atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/foxpc1.htm Vintage postcard #1 of Atlanta's Fox Theatre, boasting of having the world's largest stage!]
* [http://atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/foxpc2.htm Vintage postcard #2 of Atlanta's Fox Theatre]
* [http://www.preserveatlanta.com/walkingtours.htm Atlanta Preservation Center]
* [http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/atlanta/ Atlanta, Georgia, a National Park Service "Discover Our Shared Heritage" Travel Itinerary]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Fox Theatre (Georgia) — Das Fox Theatre in Atlanta im US Bundesstaat Georgia ist einer der wenigen noch existierenden großen Filmpaläste der 1920er Jahre. Es steht unter Denkmalschutz und wird derzeit für verschiedene kulturelle Zwecke genutzt (Ballett, Gastspiele von… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Fox Theatre — is the name given to several large movie theaters in the United States dating from the late 1920s either built by movie mogul William Fox or subsequently purchased by the Fox West Coast theater chain. Architectural stylesMany of these grand movie … Wikipedia
Theatre organ — Console of the 3/13 Barton Theatre Pipe Organ at Ann Arbor s Michigan Theatre A theatre organ (also known as a cinema organ) is a pipe organ originally designed specifically for imitation of an orchestra. New designs have tended to be around some … Wikipedia
Atlanta City Hall — U.S. National Register of Historic Places … Wikipedia
Atlanta Civic Center — The Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center is a theater and fine arts venue located in the SoNo district of Atlanta, Georgia located on Piedmont Avenue Northeast. The theater, which seats 4,600, regularly hosts touring productions of Broadway… … Wikipedia
Atlanta — This article is about the city in the U.S. state of Georgia. For other uses, see Atlanta (disambiguation). Atlanta … Wikipedia
Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus — Infobox musical artist Name = Atlanta Gay Men s Chorus Img capt = Img size = Landscape = Background = classical ensemble Birth name = Alias = AGMC Origin = flagicon|USA Atlanta, Georgia, United States Instrument = 125 voices Genre = Choral,… … Wikipedia
Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum — Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta U.S. National Register of Historic Places … Wikipedia
Atlanta Ballet — The Atlanta Ballet General Information Name The Atlanta Ballet Year Founded 1929 Founders … Wikipedia
Atlanta in the American Civil War — The city of Atlanta, Georgia, was an important rail and commercial center during the American Civil War. Although relatively small in population, the city became a critical point of contention during the Atlanta Campaign in 1864 when a powerful… … Wikipedia