Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nashville Elite Opens as Feature House

Nashville, Tenn.—The Elite theater reopened its doors to the public on Monday, August 13, after extensive repairs and a complete renovation. Prior to its closing the Elite was one of the most popular of the few remaining five-cent houses on Fifth avenue, Nashville’s leading amusement center, but with the reopening there comes into existence a new high-class feature house.

Owing to a wreck, the train bearing the initial program from Atlanta did not reach the city until many hours behind schedule time, and the formal opening was postponed until nine o’clock in the evening, by which time a large crowd had gathered at the doors.

The Crescent Amusement company, which operates the Elite, played a trump card in offering Marguerite Clark for the initial dates in the late Paramount production, “The Amazons.” Douglas Fairbanks in his newest Artcraft subject is booked for the second week; both of these films run the entire six days [i.e., there is no show on Sundays], which in itself is an item worthy of mention in this city. Every indication points to the complete success of the Elite as a permanent feature house, it having followed the course of the Crescent and Fifth Avenue theaters in changing from short length to features.

In addition to an unusually attractive decorative scheme on the walls and ceilings of both auditorium and corridor, an immense typhoon fan has been placed over the entrance, augmented by a battery of wall buzzers placed at intervals of twelve feet along both sides, and the customary rotary fans suspended from the ceiling. This makes the Elite without doubt one of the coolest houses in the state.

The semi-direct lighting system is employed, which gives just the proper amount of light for easy access in and out of the aisles, without impairing the vision of the projected picture. An attractive feature of the house, which was not formerly in effect, is the use of white washable seat covers, which adds much to the comfort of the patrons, especially in summer weather. The floor has been covered in heavy battleship linoleum, and the partitions at the back of the aisles upholstered with a durable leatherette fabric. All doors have been handsomely regrained, and heating apparatus gilded.

The large player orchestra has been removed from near the entrance and a modern Melville Clark Apollo player piano installed at the screen end, and is operated by hand during performances. This instrument was invented by a Nashville man and distributed by a local piano concern, the F. A. Leatherman company.

Source: J. L. Ray, “Nashville Elite Opens as Feature House,” Moving Picture World 1 September 1917, 1414.

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