A few weeks after we discovered the RKO Palace Theater floor at the site of RGRTA’s future transit center, Russ Shaner, president of the Rochester Theater Organ Society contacted me. These were the guys who saved the old Wurlitzer pipe organ from the RKO Palace before the building was demolished. And as it turns out, one of their founding members, D.O. Schultz, captured a treasure trove of photographs and left them with the Organ Society before he moved to Florida years ago. Russ asked RochesterSubway.com for help, both archiving the photos, and sharing them with you, the public. Below is part 1 of this awesome collection…
Rochester’s RKO Palace Theater prior to demolition. Main entrance on Clinton Ave. 1964. The theater originally opened on December 25, 1928 as “Keith’s Palace”.
Looking east at rear wall of the RKO Palace Theater’s auditorium. Mortimer Street on right. 1953.
RKO Palace Theater stage. View from balcony. There was seating for 2,916 people.
Clinton Ave. entrance and marquee. 1964.
Looking east at rear wall of the RKO Palace Theater’s auditorium. Mortimer Street on right. 1957-58.
Front of RKO Palace Theater. The three-story building to the right of the entrance was connected to the theater although there was no access between the two from the inside. This three-story section of the building still exists underneath the 7-story building which is still there today . Clinton Ave. 1955.
Line of people in front lobby (Clinton Ave. main entrance).
The RKO Palace Theater was filled with artwork. This painting hung in the front lobby. Landscape with Cows in Foreground by Émile van Marcke, a French cattle painter.
Information board in the front lobby. 1941. I THINK this is now located in the Auditorium Theater on Main Street.
Inner Lobby (or ‘transverse lobby’) and concession stand on right. This lobby was between the front lobby and the auditorium.
UPDATE: Earlier photos posted here were incorrectly thought to be the RKO Palace inner lobby. They were actually photos of the Loew’s Theater main lobby and have been moved to a newer post about Loew’s Theater.
Outer lounge of the Ladies powder room in the balcony level.
Actor Jack Mahoney on stage.
Actor Jack Mahoney on stage. This photo was taken by Len Campagno.
Audience has a chance to come up on stage, maybe for an autograph signing or meet & greet.
Bausch & Lomb celebrates 100 year anniversary the same year they introduced CinemaScope .
A Bausch & Lomb engineer explains CinemaScope. That’s the RKO Palace manager on the right.
The opening of The Robe which was the first movie to be shown in CinemaScope.
Jay Golden, RKO Regional Manager, in his office at the RKO Palace.
Jay Golden was instrumental in allowing the Rochester Theater Organ Society to keep the RKO Palace’s pipe organ in Rochester. If not for his convincing, the organ would have gone to a Long Island broker.
The Rochester Theater Organ Society saved this Wurlitzer organ from the RKO Palace before demolition. It is now located at the Auditorium Theater on Main Street.
Rochester Theater Organ Society members lowering the organ’s pipes from the pipe chamber.
Rochester Theater Organ Society member with the organ blower beneath the stage.
Check back here tomorrow for part 2. Prepare to be heartbroken 🙁
Tags: Clinton Ave, demolition, downtown Rochester, Loew's Theater, Mortimer Street, old photos, old photos of Rochester, RKO Palace Theater, Rochester, Rochester history, Rochester NY, Rochester Theater Organ Society, Russ Shaner, Saint Paul Street
This entry was posted on Sunday, October 7th, 2012 at 9:55 pm and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Thanks for these pics. What great memories of Saturday matinees with my buddies. We loved the balcony!