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The interior pictures have Lempert written all over them.
It would be nice if someone posted details and pictures from the opening and early years of the theater. I have the original Moller theater organ console from the state installed in 1921 opes 3160. Maybe someone knows what happened to the pipe work from this instrument.
The original bank’s interior was used as the lobby for the theater. The bank president’s office with lavish fireplace was used as the ladies lounge. The second floor housed Comerford’s poster & sign shop. A newer projection booth was constructed on the main floor in the fifties for 70mm projection.
A message to orgnyst6226. I owned and ran the Strand for a while in the 70s. If you ever decide to sell that console please let me know.
The Rialto was actually built circa 1920. The front of the building was a mix of classic and Beaux-Arts style. It had an open air foyer with vaulted ceiling and numerous bare light bulbs. There were offices on the third floor over the lobby. The lobby was about 20x20 feet with restrooms left and right. Seating was approx 475. There was a small stage, tin ceilings and cooling fans mounted to the pilasters. It must have been a pleasantly comfortable theater in its heyday. The Comerford chain aquired it in the late 20’s and added the marquee. Comerford was aquired by Cinecom and Cinecom by Sportservice. And sorry Jeff but it was only leased by American Amusement.
I was involved with the Strand for a period of almost two years in the late 1970’s. What most people know of the Strand is the massive marquee that extended for 120 feet around two sides of the building (try changing that on a January night,hey Jeff) and the 40 foot waterfall chasing neon upright sign with 3 foot tall STRAND letters stacked vertically all adorned in stainless steel trim. This marquee and the expansive lobby with etched plate glass doors were added to the front of the theater in 1952 as a modernization. When built the Strand had only 20 feet of street frontage at the inside corner of the square. The entrance lobby when built was only 15 x 15 feet and the mezzanine served as public space. The auditorium was less than 45 feet wide and 250 feet long, so deep that in the 60’s the screen was moved forward 100 feet. The Strand was theestablished first-run movie venue for 30 miles and did well until Fox Theaters opened a four screen shoe box deal in the new mall across the river and the rest was academic. The Strand was sold to a subrun operation out of Phila. who closed it a year later. I will supply pictures and more historical data later.
The marquee was more impressive when the much larger ‘Columbia’ was still part of the marquee.
All the operating theaters in downtown Elmira from the 60’s(maybe earlier) until their demise were owned by the Dipson chain of Batavia, NY. CinemaNational only leased the venues.