580 Main Street,
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Previous Names: Shea's Hippodrome Theatre, Backstage Theatre, Penthouse Theatre
Opened August 31, 1914 with H.B. Warner in “The Lost Paradise”. It was equipped with a $25,000 orchestral organ. The 2,500-seat Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre was one of the movie palaces along Buffalo’s Main Street. It stood approximately one block south of the Paramount Theatre (previously Shea’s Great Lakes Theatre) and on the same side of the street. In September 1922 it was equipped with a 3 manual, 15 rank Wurlitzer organ.
In the 1940’s it was sold to Loew’s Inc. The building was renovated to the plans of architect Michael J. DeAngelis, when the original marquee had been removed and replaced with a more ‘modern’ style marquee with the name “Center” on it. It reopened as the Center Theatre on on August 31, 1949. The foyer was also given a ‘modern’ treatment to the plans of interior designer G. Brandt.
The theatre’s balcony was neglected and dark during the late-1950’s and 1960’s. As a result it was difficult to see any of the details of the theatre’s design.
During the 1960’s, the Center Theater was the house that ran almost all of the Warner Brothers / Seven Arts / Hammer films. In December 1968 it was converted into a triple-screen movie theatre with the Backstage Theatre opening on February 7, 1969 screening adult movies and the Penthouse Theatre opened on April 2, 1969 screening a roadshow presentation of “Oliver” starring Ron Moody. It was closed on December 29, 1973. It reopened on December 27, 1974 and finally closed in late-January 1975. It was demolished on March 27, 1983.
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