Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hit the lights

 one of two stilt walkers
Years ago, neighborhoods and small towns had a picture show. In the 1920s many of these 'theatres' were built to be impressive. Many of these were built before talking pictures became the norm. Before World War I (then called the European War, here), films were just beginning to progress beyond the state of being a curiosity. The war was an all consuming effort in many countries. When peace came, the United States was not devastated, the war was not here—it was over there. 'Normalcy' became an expansion. The movies became a big industry, with an eager audience. The buildings to view them were built to be showplaces, where there was enough of an audience. After television, and changing demographics, these picture shows became less popular (profitable). They decayed, and many were destroyed.

Variety was the picture show on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland towards the edge of town. It was built in 1927. A tornado in 1953 came through the west side, and the vertical sign was destroyed. Now for some thirty years, the show was vacant. Yesterday afternoon and evening, a street party was held to see the restoration, and lighting of the marquee. One fellow sang as Frank Sinatra, and another as Dean Martin. It was a dog friendly crowd. Snacks were sold. People sang like Sinatra, 'Cleveland is my kinda town...'.
Government money and local activism came to make this project. Perhaps, in a couple of years pictures will be seen. The councilman for the ward has been Dona Brady, and she, Mayor Frank Jackson, and others spoke before the lights went on.
 First, the lower went on, and then the vertical.
The name of the movie house was 'Variety', and in the picture playing spot was 'This place matters'. Cleveland Restoration Society had used this slogan.

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