Arc, Schenectady, “Modern Electric Theatre”

The Film Index, April 9, 1911:


“The rectifier, enclosed in a neat glass case, is located at the entrance, directly opposite the ticket booth, where it can be seen by the passerby. The sign attached to the case and reading ‘Part of our electrical equipment that helps to make perfect motion pictures,’ is of unique significance.

“When the apparatus is in operation, the beautiful blue-green light radiating from the rectifier tube positively announces that the play is on and also furnishes an element of activity which attracts attention on both sides of the street fully as much as the elaborate electric signs.

“It really is interesting to note the drawing power  or advertising value of the rectifier thus displayed–a glance at the entrance shows there’s something doing, and that’s enough to draw a crowd.

“The brilliant pool of bubbling mercury a the bottom of the rectifier draws like a magnet, and the flood of dazzling blue-green light is mesmerizing.”

A Tale of Two Cities 

The above photo in an ad for the G. E. Rectifier, Film Index, April 22, 1911:



Since 1996, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has been conducting a popular series theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.





2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Princess Theatre, Chatham Ontario

The Film Index, May 20, 1911:

index may 20, 1911

“The accompanying illustration shows one of the classiest theatre fronts in Western Ontario. The Princess is owned and operated by Richard and George Zakoor, and has a seating capacity for 520 persons.

“It has a stage of generous dimensions and the pictures are produced through the medium of an Edison machine and a mirror screen. The theatre has recently been remodelled to meet all the new provincial statutory requirements.

“It has three changes of programs a week, using licensed films exclusively. The Zakoor brothers claim that their patrons will stand all the comedy pictures they can secure and that there could be more of a slapstick variety run with a profit.

“‘Make them laugh,’ says manager Dick Zakoor, ‘and they’ll come back and laugh again.The only complaint we have to make is that we can’t get comedy enough. We find that our patrons want at least two comedy reels a performance.’ ”

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walking tours in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Details on independent walks will be posted in the New Year.

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