GES182 - Youngstown Theatre, OH, USA
Another day, another state, this time Ohio. GE080 knew of a cinema (or theater for our North American visitors) that might be possible to do. We were in Pennsylvannia, looking at a pottery factory, but had been advised to leave, so we set off across the state line, and rolled into Y0ungstown in GE080's Jeep. Brazenly parking up right next to the cinema.
The 1800 seat Liberty Theater opened in 1918, and was designed by the same architect as the Fox theatre in Detroit, C. Howard Crane. It was originally used for vaudeville acts. 1929 saw it by Paramount Pictures, and with a refit, used to show 'talkies.' It showed it's last film in 1976, and is rumoured to be set for demolition any time soon, if it doesn't commit hari kiri itself first.
We tried a side exit of the cinema, but a gate was padlocked, and an obviously unlocked car was next to an open door in a neighbouring building, so we looked at other options. One of those options is rather obvious on the side of the building. However being the middle of the day, people were constantly walking past the end of the street. GE074 made it up onto the stairs using excellent climbing skills. However a local had spotted him, and he dropped down. The person using the car near our other access point walked by, so finally we got to check that point again. GE074 noted that the padlock actually had a big chunk missing from the clasp, so just twisted it out. We were in, and GE080 slapped his forehead, d'oh!
Inside there were some nice details remaining, but the place was really messed up inside. Stepping in the wrong spot led to feet disappearing through the floor. Bits of the ceiling had dropped all over, and could drop any moment. The open section in the wall, opens onto the fire escape on the side of the building. The projection room is at the top of the stairs, with green livery. The place is subject to a preservation order, but I don't see that applying to the inside of the building, as it's gone past the point of no return on that front.
Looking down at the stage, the remains of the green sheeting that once hid the brick walls, still has remnants left. Most of the ceiling has succumbed to mould and damp.
Another view of the stage from the projector's window.
The slowly rusting storage for the film reels.
The still in situ projectors.
The many holes in the building and bright sunshine outside, made taking this shot somewhat tricky. The ground floor stalls. The stairway in the next photo can be seen just to the right of the bleaching sunlight.
A knackered metal stairway up to the upper stalls. One can just make out the circular patterns on the side of the stairs. The doors to the lower stalls from the ticket office sit on the left of the stairs.
The stage and cinema screen hanging down from the lighting gantry. GE066 climbs precariously onto the suspended crumbling walkway like a daredevil/idiot. Either side of the white square on the back wall are radiators. On the stage were knackered speaker cabinets and a large Xylophone, desperate to be toyed with.
It was interesting to have seen an American old style cinema, thanks to GE080 for transport. And to his Detroit ladyfriend and GE074 for explore buddies.
A bit more information and more pics can be found on this excellent site, After the final Curtain.//