Last week, Flash from the Past told of Kitchener’s aboriginal avant-garde cine palace, the Capitol, which opened April 4, 1921, as allotment of the Paramount/Famous Players Lasky ball conglomerate. It was instantly the city’s “Theatre Beautiful” but was outclassed one ages later, May 9, back the Lyric’s aperture night appear alike added grandeur.
The Lyric was backed by Independent Theatres Company which angry out to accept a been a bounded accumulation organized by F.E. Osborne and Forrest McCutcheon, owners of the Star Theatre, one of Kitchener’s crumbling old-style cine houses. The Independent, as the new theatre was aboriginal named, was congenital with hundreds of $10 shares awash to Kitchenerites additional some beyond alfresco investors. Advertising for the admirable aperture at 124 King West dubbed it a “People’s Theatre: for the bodies and by the people.” Perhaps not coincidentally, the closing allotment of that byword had been acclimated a decade beforehand to advance hydroelectricity’s accession in the city. Among the new theatre’s attributes: smoker allowance for gentlemen, blow allowance for ladies; latest ventilating and heating system; absorptive chairs; seven-piece orchestra; and black acceptance at 25 cents for adults, 20 cents for children. “Your Theatre — The People’s Theatre — A Ancestors Theatre: Welcome Father, and accompany your family. Welcome Mother, and accompany your babyish — lots of allowance for carriages. Welcome Daughter, and accompany your Best Man.”
From the aisle on King Street, a 20-metre corridor/vestibule busy with bronze and classical-style paintings led to the capital hall. Set in semicircle on an absorbed floor, all 1,700 seats had absolute angle of the awning and stage. Elevated boxes at the avant-garde forth the abandon of the anteroom built-in 80 people. Administrator McCutcheon provided a diffuse affairs on aperture night culminating with the archetypal bashful drama, Maurice Tourneur’s “The Last of the Mohicans.” In accession to a huge screen, the Lyric featured the city’s better date and best bathrobe rooms, acquisitive they would allure travelling ball troupes and amphitheater entertainers. One year afterwards the aperture there was a abominable advertisement in the newspaper: “Sale by Auction of the Lyric Theatre.” The contractors, Schultz Brothers of Brantford, had never been paid for their work. As the better creditor, the Schultzes were additionally the alone applicant and in June took possession, continuing operations for the abbreviate term. McCutcheon was anon out, replaced by Harvey Sills who managed until 1931.
Once the Lyric and Capitol appeared, all actual beforehand cine houses of Kitchener were doomed: Star, Imperial, Allen and New Princess had all bound their doors by mid-1925.
In February 1929, the Capitol afresh claimed a first: the aboriginal talking-picture presentation in Kitchener. Three months afterwards the Lyric had additionally installed a complete arrangement and beneath the byword “See/Hear,” challenged the Capitol whose adage was “Hear What You See.”
Moviegoers were afraid in 1931 back the Capitol’s accepted administrator Jack Allan took over the Lyric. Harvey Sills confused to Brantford and Sills’ assistant, Hubert Hummel, confused from the Lyric to become Capitol manager.
Allan died of pneumonia in April 1937. Subsequent managers of the Lyric included Howard Schedewitz into the 1970s and Bob Oberholzer through the mid-1980s.
From the ancient years, movies aggregate the date with alive ball and vaudeville. But gradually, films prevailed seven nights a week. However, there were generally appropriate contest such as political assemblies, affectionate fundraisers, abutment rallies, blithe programs, etc. The Lyric was additionally home for K-W’s abecedarian theatre productions, opera presentations and classical music concerts which generally featured world-famous performers.
Like the Capitol and added theatres, the vagaries of the movie-watching apple afflicted the Lyric. In 1965, a above advance adapted the autogenous with added amplitude per bench while a ablaze new assurance appeared outside. As technology advanced, so too did the Lyric, including a 30.5-metre advanced arced screen! Added and more, bedrock concerts featuring the brand of Max Webster (recording their “Live Magnetic Air” album), Rory Gallagher, Rush and Savoy Brown played in the acoustically accomplished Lyric. In June 1994, movies were absolutely gone and the Lyric Nightclub was in. Eight years afterwards the annihilation teams were the alone Lyric assemblage and the architecture was gone.
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