Monday, November 8, 2010

Victory Theatre - Holyoke, Mass. - A Tour Before Renovation.

This time not off topic, but certainly off blog. Another in our series of old movie houses takes us to the Victory Theatre in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The Victory was built about 1920 and showcased both silent films and vaudeville, until the early 1930s when it switched exclusively over to sound movies.

Like so many downtown movie houses of the day, the Victory has been closed and shuttered for decades, but it has not been demolished. There has been an effort, slow moving and complicated, and of long duration, to restore this theater.

Recently, our friend Tony of “In the Valley” took a tour of the Victory on a rare open house day, and includes fascinating pictures on his blog of what the interior of a nearly 100-year-old theater looks like when it’s left alone.

A strange combination of eerie, depressing, and intriguing. You can’t quite see the future possibilities of greatness for this house, but neither do you have quite a grasp on what the past might have been. It is stuck in a kind of limbo. It is in filthy disrepair, from the balcony to the stage, to whatever lurks under the stage. But, the architecture, of a grandeur we no longer see in our utilitarian theaters, shows a tantalizing peek at what has been.

Have a look here at the tour of the Victory Theatre at “In the Valley.”


Yvette said...

Jacqueline, I love love LOVE old movie theaters. When I was a kid, most of the theaters in my downtown Manhattan neighborhood were of the razzle-dazzle kind. The Loew's Superior, the Loew's Canal, the Tribune (not as fancy, but compared to today, fancy enough). In Times Square, there was the Roxy and the Paramount (there I saw, for the first time, a movie AND a live show: I think it was Martin and Lewis. I'm pretty sure I also saw Frank Sinatra at some point.) and a couple other theaters whose names I've forgotten. Gorgeous places all. I thought it would always be that way. Boy was I wrong.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hi, Yvette. I love old movie theaters, too. Thanks for the memory tour of your old haunts. Sinatra at the Paramount. Words fail me. Especially poignant your remark, "I always thought it would be that way."

Tom J said...

Hi Jacqueline,

Great post and really interesting read. Its a subject thats quite close to the chest as there is a theatre down the road from me in Manchester that has sat idle for years and is just begging for someone to do it up and start putting on old films again. There was magic in those old places once, you can see the one i'm on about here:

Great blog and really glad I came across it.



Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Welcome, Tom, and thanks for the link. What an unusual-looking theater! Magic in those old places, indeed. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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