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The show starts on the sidewalk : an architectural history of the movie theatre, starring S. Charles Lee

Author: Maggie Valentine
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
From the 1890 penny arcades and the opulence and ornate movie houses of the 1920s and 1930s to the drive-in theatres of the 1950s and the multiplex cinemas of today, movie theatres have provided an environment where millions of Americans learned about life, culture, politics, romance, and sex. This book - as entertaining and lively as its subject - documents the history of the American movie theatre, tracing its
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Named Person: S Charles Lee; S Charles Lee; S Charles Lee; S C Lee; S C Lee
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Maggie Valentine
ISBN: 0300055277 9780300055276 0300066473 9780300066470
OCLC Number: 28181021
Description: xiv, 231 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm
Contents: The Theatre and the Architect --
Chicago to Los Angeles, and the Introduction of the Movie Palace --
Lee's Movie Palaces --
The Movie Theatre Takes Shape --
The Impact of World War II --
From Architecture to Business.
Responsibility: Maggie Valentine.

Abstract:

From the 1890 penny arcades and the opulence and ornate movie houses of the 1920s and 1930s to the drive-in theatres of the 1950s and the multiplex cinemas of today, movie theatres have provided an environment where millions of Americans learned about life, culture, politics, romance, and sex. This book - as entertaining and lively as its subject - documents the history of the American movie theatre, tracing its evolution and exploring its role in American culture and architecture.

Maggie Valentine focuses on the career of architect S. Charles Lee, who designed more than three hundred theatres between 1920 and 1950, mostly in California, and whose buildings became prototypes for movie theatres all over the country. She vividly re-creates the sights and sounds of Lee's theatres, with their huge interiors, crystal chandeliers, Art Deco motifs, and majestic organ music. She describes the colorful terrazzo patterns that set off the theatre entrance and the marquee that formed a canopy over it, design elements exploited by Lee, who insisted that the sidewalk, indeed, was where the show started. Valentine discusses how glamorous motion picture theatres helped define and vary the skyline of America, changing the shape of commercial streets in cities and towns.

Examining theatres as products and symbols of their time, she presents with dramatic flair both how they influenced and were influenced by architectural trends and the economic, social, and political forces of the era. The book, richly illustrated with period photographs, will be mandatory reading for anyone who has ever reveled, popcorn in hand, in the luxury of an old-time motion picture theatre.

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