The original Prime work on Movie Palace Architecture/History
November 11, 1998
By James H. Rankin
"Theatres have taken many forms through the ages, but the American innovation of the 'Movie Palace' theatre
to originally showcase silent films, is perhaps the most delightful meeting of the arts under one roof. Mr. Hall
spent years searching the nation for photos and history of these architectural wonders and his respect for and
love of this architype is readily evident! His jocular style can seem irreverant, but he strives thereby to keep
his delight from turning to awe. It is a shame his life ended Dec. 16, 1970 for the New York Times and the world
lost a master wordsmith and researcher/writer. This lavishly illustrated volume is the appropriate 'epitaph' for
this art form and its success is revealed in the three subsequent printings in soft cover (minus the color plates
in this first edition) and in the fact that it indirectly led to the forming of two societies of afficianados:
THE THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA,(publishers of MARQUEE magazine)
THE AMERICAN THEATRE ORGAN SOCIETY,
(publishers of THEATRE ORGAN magazine)
both in Elmhurst, Ill.
Mr. Hall would have been proud of the preservation movement for theatres which arose partially
as a result of his engaging 266-page book. Its potential social impact was forseen by "AMERICAN HERITAGE"
magazine in October 1961 when they excerpted it complete with the color plates as "The Best REE-MAINING Seats".
Other books have followed, but they owe a tip of the hat to him who took the lead so well. If this is the
story of NYC's ROXY, the "Cathedral of the Motion Picture" and of entrepreneur Roxy Rothafel, he is the
foreshadow of Ben M. Hall and a glimmering showcase of the dazzling 'architecture of fantasy' to come."
Tour the nation in a new way and Enjoy!
My opinion: a great reference book on old theaters -- made with love.
I could just sit and look at the pictures all day...
size: 11.2 x 8.5 x 0.9 inches / weight: 2.2 pounds / volume: 278 pages
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