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I was going to post about the “Crawford Special” notation, but others have already done so, and excellently too. Yes, just the console resides here in Washington. As much as I can’t imagine it in blue-and-gold, a theatre in Texas (Aztec, San Antonio?) has a Modernistic or “Waterfall” console painted red, orange and green, and the Organ Loft in Salt Lake City has a strange hybrid five-manual of the same style painted gold and sparkly metallic purple. All the (Fox) Specials had the same basic scalloped-lid console with scrolled corbels, but the Publix 1 organs saw all manner of cases: French, Moorish, Roman, Grecian, Modernistic, etc.
Back on-topic, can anyone point me to large (functional) images of the Brooklyn Fox interior, be they color or b/w?
The Moore history notes that the segregated “gallery” has been removed. No, this “gallery” was the 2nd balcony, which is still there – but friends who’ve been going to the Moore for years are often surprised when I point it out, they never noticed it. A few of the lights in its dome’s stained glass still function. This balcony has a ridiculously steep rake that must be experienced to be believed, and it is not normally used due to the only access being a long staircase. From just inside the entrance ( after going through the balcony doot on the left) one must climb a narrow, steep flight of stairs, ending at a landing (where resides the bay window on the north side of the building), do a dogleg turn and go up a second flight, then do at least five switchback flights to reach the top. I saw Alan Parsons a few years back and, despite unusually light attendance, this was open – the only time I’ve seen it open – and I made certain to go up. As I wear a top hat and opera cloak to the theatre, I hope I inspired more ghost stories, though I’m certain the Moore has its share of real ones!
The Moore really needs restoration; the box seats have been removed, the second balcony looks worn-out (not that it sees much use, due to fire codes, see above) and ugly 70s chandeliers with olive-green “crystal” have been hung. Many light fixtures are missing, and everything but the lobby floor is under many coats of thick, white paint. I don’t believe it ever had a pipe organ at all. This place is a diamond-in-the-rough, and could really shine again. But despite its decline, it’s still a fine house for shows.
The Roxy marquee was in terrible shape and was not saved, nor were the letters on the vertical section which were rusted badly. The man who converted the theatre threw all the neon tubes (which I had sorted and tested) into the trash. As you can see in the above photo, the vertical and upper horizontal sections are in place, but they removed the ladders up the sizes, presumably because they were for servicing the sign (they were secure, too – I climbed them constantly, and I weigh 200+) A stupid move, as they were the only safe way to the roof! Yes, there’s also a ladder inside the vertical for servicing the transformers and wiring, and it was secure enough when I worked there, but now…? The entire vertical is dryrotted plywood covered in metal screening which had been sprayed with concrete for surface, and at the top of the ladder is a cramped mechanical room which offers access onto the roof only for someone who wants to squeeze around a large duct.
Yes, the ticket booth is gone, but the Historical Society has the ticket machine, the peacock’s tail off the roof (it has been restored and is on display in the museum) some of the light fixtures (anything that wasn’t left intact is either with them or with me) the telephone from the projection booth, and the mechanical flasher from the peacock’s tail (that’ll be returning to me for restoration)
Amazingly, the current owner undid all Kurt’s (former owner) botched remodeling jobs – AND rewired the entire building, bringing wiring and plumbing up to code. If only someone coul;d buy it from the owner, also the pastor and a real estate guy, it could be restored. If you have any questions about the place, possible I can answer them, as I worked there doing restoration during the entire “Roxy Indian Cinema” time. My email is
~ Jonas Clark-Elliott
The Rainier was a block up, on the same side of 3rd as the Renton. It was demolished in the 60s after taking earthquake damage. The Renton had an Art Moderne style with hints at Chinese in the auditorium which, while not in great shape, still retains Chinese-style side wall decoration, interesting light fixtures that curve around wall and ceiling, and the original ceiling stencilling. The lobby also retains some nice streamline curves and a nice staircase, and the entrance doors' 1930s paint job has been restored. The marquee got a recent neon job.
The Roxy was renovated into a church, but could easily be restored as a theatre. The Renton Historical Museum retains the peacock’s tail neon from atop the sign, which has been restored and is on display along with a replica of the sign itself. A Roxy display is planned which will include replicas of marquee and ticket booth, the ticket machine, lighting fixtures (including the auditorium “Starlites”) exit signs, and the telephone from the projection booth, as well as the twelve-cam mechanical flasher that once animated the peacock’s tail.
Chyna, you left no contact information. I’m working with the Renton Historical Society to mount an exhibit about the Roxy, complete with original fixtures and a replica of thne sign. If you can contact either them at 235 Mill Ave. S. or me at
The Northgate has reopened as a rave house! I’m not sure how well they’ll “restore” it, but here is what’s left to see: Original terazzo flooring and stylized Northwest murals in the lobby, and the neon. Oodles of modern neon. Under the marquee are countless rings, each made from four concentric circles of white neon. They range from small to huge. Some stand alone, others overlap, some are one inside another. Some go around circular columns. Others make their way through cut-outs in the glass lobby windows, and meet others on the ceiling inside! The auditorium has a few more of these, though the ones closest to the stage area have been removed, and a few of those inside have traces of red or green paint, probably added to tone down the light. Also, the side walls have vertical coves containing cobalt-blue tubes. I’ve never seen these used during a rave, but the under-marquee tubes and some of the in-theatre ones are still put to use. The upper section seats are still there, but the sloped lower floor has been cleared to make dancing room. But not very well – watch out for bolts sticking up here and there! I’m not kidding… But for what it is/was, it’s a fair place for what use they found: raves. Dancing and live music.
The photo above shows the Roxy a few years ago. It had been running, showing Indian films to standing-room-only crowds, and I had been working the ticket booth and, during my spare time, restoring old light fixtures taken down by a previous owner and sorting out the sign’s neon tubes, which the man had removed when he repainted the lower sign. Without my knowledge – not that I had any say in it – it was sold to a man who began remodelling it…into a church. Unfortunately, some small details were scrapped. Some large ones were, too – they threw into the garbage all the neon tubing, most of which was in working condition! Thankfully, his expert work – he’s also a contractor – undid most of its past hack remodelling jobs, and turning it back into a theatre would be easy. The sign has been removed. As in the above photo, there was a V-shaped marquee (with no name on the top, the only identification is what you see) with a front blade carrying a diamond with a script Gothic “R” – the basic shape is similar to the sign shown on the page for Olympia’s Capitol Theatre. The sign has been saved by the city, as has the neon and metal removed from that vertical blade, which originally was topped by a one-quarter-circle animated “peacock tail”. From it, a grid of neon tubes flowed down the front of the blade sign. The lobby had been remodeled many times, but still had its original ceiling lights, exit signs with “EXIT” etched into a glass plate, “Mens Lounge/Balcony” and “Ladies Lounge/Balcony” signs and curved staircases with sweeping chrome railings, as well as an eight-sided dome in the ceiling. The auditorium had long since had red velvet added to the walls, but the ceiling had six Art Deco light fixtures in the shape of four point stars. Each had a box center with a glass bottom and a smaller chrome star – when the show began, the center light would dim almost to nothing, leaving the low-watt bulbs in the points to shillouette the stars on the ceiling. The balcony had two smaller stars, and there were more of those grand exit signs. Even the starwells had magnificent Deco chandeliers, slim stately types with milk glass columns and stacks of little chrome trumpets on top. I am in hopes of buying and restoring it someday…I own the two lobby ceiling lights, one Exit sign and parts of five others out of the original eight, both stairwell chandeliers, two large Starlight bodies, one complete and one incomplete small Star, and lots of parts. I also own the ticket machine, in need of restoration, and the mechanical sequencer for the neon peacock’s tail, which is in posession of the city. Most of the rest can be reproduced from my memory… One more theatre, gone but not forgotten. Come see the Renton, across the street, and see another Art Deco faded jewel.