When the Tampa Theatre was built in 1926, the movie studios controlled the production, distribution, and venues where their movies were played. John Eberson was the most sought after movie house designer of the times, and he pioneered the ‘atmospheric’ style, of which it was said that the Tampa Theatre was his favorite design. Movie goers were to be transported, for several hours at least, to exotic courtyards, under moonlight skies complete with stars. The theater survived the Great Depression and WW2, but by the 70s it took a monumental effort to rescue this theater from becoming a parking lot. Today the Tampa Theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places, and hosts more than 600 events each year. Tours are held several times a month and the one I attended today was quite informative and entertaining. And I learned that a silent film is scheduled to be shown on June 2nd, complete with a live orchestra. There aren’t many people with the skills to play the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, and we were treated to a few tunes played for us today.
Even with the new camera the size of the spaces in the theater were a challenge to photograph. Even in the theater itself it’s hard to get far enough away to see it all in your viewer with the balconies overhead. The starry, starry sky effect is quite lovely, and the photos don’t do it justice. This was a fun way to spend a rainy day. Thanks to the photographer friend who suggested this as a photo op. I looked it up this morning and found I had just enough time to get myself there for the tour. Must have been meant to be!
P. S. Love the new camera!