“The Theatre. The Theatre. What’s happened to the Theatre?” As much as I enjoy stadium seating and reclining seats, surround sound and crystal clear picture, there is nothing like seeing a movie at a historic theatre. Cities and towns across the country have restored and revived some great theatres from days gone by, and I am so thankful for their preservation. Here in Birmingham, the Alabama Theatre is one of several historic theatres and hosts concerts, recitals, films and private events year round. The setting is always half the event.
The Alabama Theatre, built in 1927, was captured in this photograph (below) by O.V. Hunt. The Lyric Theatre is across the street where Romance on the High Seas (1948) was playing. While it is difficult to make out the marquee of the Alabama, I like to think some other great film of 1948 like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre or Easter Parade is playing there.
One of my favorite new Christmas traditions is seeing White Christmas play at the Alabama every December. For the couple of hours I am there, I think I get a taste of Old Hollywood glamour and what it was like to anticipate one movie opening at a time. This summer, the theatre is hosting a summer film series ranging from Rear Window to Mamma Mia. There is a children’s series of Saturday matinees as well. See the complete line up here.
This Sunday, June 7th, at 2pm the Alabama Theatre will have an open house. Here are the details straight from their site:
Tours will include the new Hill Arts Center Banquet Hall, the new Hill Center Meeting Room still under construction and tours of the Alabama and Lyric Theatres. Walk on the Lyric stage and walk back in history where the greats of Vaudeville walked.
You will hear music from the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ all afternoon played by members of the theatre organ staff. Our organ crew chief Larry Donaldson will be on hand to answer questions and let you peek into the secret organ chambers to see how it all works. Our Technical Director Jeff Kizziah will be in the projection booth to let you see how the picture gets on the screen. Volunteers will be stationed throughout the theatre to answer questions.
Refreshments will be in the Alabama Theatre and Hill Center. Holly Burrow of the Hill Center will be available to answer questions and provide literature about the new center.
If you won’t be in Birmingham, search for a historic theatre in your area, and support the preservation of both the building and the bygone ways.