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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 44 (34)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 44
Page 44

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 44

An Interesting Canadian Theatre

Monument to the Memory of a Great Theatre Architect the ODEON-TORONTO is the Dominiorfs Finest

This is a review of the physical aspects of the new Odeon-Toronto which was opened to the public in September, 1948. A general description of the exterior and the interior of the theatre is followed by an examination in some detail of the interior decor. Then come data on the projection room. Less obvious elements in the theatres make-uHir conditioning, heating, and plumbingreceive adequate attention and the study closes with a description of some interesting structural details.



The magnificent new Odeon-Toronto on which an entire repertoire of superlatives might easily be lavished has been built on modern symmetrical lines. Already a prominent landmark in the City of Toronto tirising majestically on the new skyline", the Odeon-Toronto is said to be the most important theatre in Canada. The new theatre was designed by the late Jay 1. English, M.R.A.I.C., who before his tragic death in 1947 was recognized as one of the foremost authorities on cinema architecture. This building stands as a fitting monument to his highest architectural achievement.

General contractors for the construction of the building were Jackson-Lewis Company, Limited, Toronto, who come bined many innovations in construction methods with traditional trade practices. Leslie H. Kemp, A.R.I.B.A., eminent English authority on modern theatre construction, succeeded Mr. English as achitect for Odeon Theatres of Canada Limited and supervised the completion of the Odeon-Toronto Theatre.

The manager of the new theatre is W. C. (Wannie) Tyers, a graduate of Humberside Collegiate, who began his career in show business as an usher at the Runnymede Theatre. Theatres in Belleville, Dunnville and St. Thomas contributed to his experience in this field; and he joined the Rank organization as manager of the Capitol Theatre in Niagara Falls.

In 1948, the Odeon-Toronto was one of the few theatres selling reserved seats for moving pictures as a regular policy. Anyone wishing to buy a Seat for some special show one or several weeks in advance merely went to the courtesy desk, made the request and tendered the payment.

After an interesting advertising campaign, described elsewhere in this edition, the Odeon-Toronto opened in a blaze of glory on Thursday night, Sep

tember 9, 1948, with the Western Hemisphere Premiere presentation of J. Arthur Rankls production of iiOliver Twistl, playing to a capacity crowd. As one columnist put it: tiThe superb simplicity of its design and of all its appointments reminds you somehow of one of those jet-propelled airplanes, only with indirect lighting and music." Which is really another way of calling the Odeon-Toronto the Showplace of the Dominion,


The crown jewel of the J. Arthur Rank chain of Odeon theatres in Canada owes its attractive exterior appearance partly to its rustic buff Indiana limestone facade and partly to the pleasing balance and superb simplicity of its clear-cut design. From the top of the facade a high. central pylon rises majestically in bold steps. On either side of this 126-foot tower the name

THE ELEVATION of the Odeon-Toronto. shows the massive attraction board, the street entrance. and the lZS-ioot pylon name sign on opening night.


SODEONF is spelled out vertically and prominently in 10-foot blue letters which, at night, are illuminated in red neon.

Nor is the pylon a mere decorative piece. A regular-sized elevator runs up and down inside it and three floors of offices fill its ample interior space. To preserve the feelihg of continuity and the appearance of the front, all ofhce windows have been placed on the north side of the pylon. The eighth floor of the pylon with a 20-foot high ceiling is not occupied at the present time but is being reserved for television.

Just above the marquee is the largest read-o-graph (Canadian theatre terminology for sign, or attraction board) in the Dominion, 45 feet long and 18 feet high. The marquee itself stretches across the front and around the flank of the theatre, projecting out twelve feet beyond the building and, for the protection of the patrons, as far as the parking lot at the rear of the theatre.

The main theatre entrance on the southwest corner of the building faces toward Yonge Street with a transparent wall of armor plate glass including the glass doors so that there is a clear View of the lobby from the street. There is another impressive entrance on Carlton Street serving the ofiice building occupying the front part of the building.


The spacious main lobby is 40 feet square and, from the terrazzo floors to the circular lighting coves in the ceiling, presents a luxurious effect. The walls are trimmed in maroon mosaic marble imported from Europe, while Flexwood is used for panelling. Pompeiian red and greyed flesh tones blend into a harmonious color scheme and the predominant atmosphere of luxury is enhanced by the strategic placing of huge inset mirrors and, at the front, plate glass.

From the main lobby a sweeping grand staircase leads to the restaurant on the mezzanine floor and the balcony foyer. On the curve of the staircase a large mural painting, "The Modern Motion Pictureil, is done in colors harmonizing with the surrounding color scheme.

On the mezzanine level is a restaurant, overlooking the ground floor foyer and lobby, with solid plate glass walls and doors on two sides. The prevailing color scheme of the lobby also obtains here. This restaurant has seating room for 110 persons and will serve both theatre patrons and non-patrons. On one side of this elaborate dining lounge is a section called the usoda bar."

The grand foyer on the ground floor measures 110 feet long and 24 feet wide. From this introductory space access is easily gained to: a ladies vanity room; a gentlemenls wash room; check rooms;


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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 44