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26.  EMPIRE THEATRE-BRUNSWICK                                                by Alan Windley

            Designed by Architects, Bracket and  Forster, the Empire  Theatre was built tor Thomas Crisp's  Brunswick
            Theatre Company at249 Sydney Road, Brunswick. It was a two level theatre wnh a seating capacijy of 1,350,
            and it opened on 27 June, 1912.

            In its' days as a silent picture theatre, the Empire had a resident orChestra and on stage lavish shows featuring
            topline artists were presented.

            The Empire Management made the theatre an  asset to the communijy and many concerts and local shows
            were performed there.  Thomas Crisp died in 1920, by which time the partnership of Crisp and Smith had been
            formed, and soon alter the property was sold to Associated Theatres, a company which Hoyts took over when
            they acquired Frank Thring Snr.'s Electric Theatres Ltd.
            This company {Hoyts) operated the Empire until the Padua, further up Sydney Road, was opened in 1937, and
            for a short time into 1938.  From 1938 to 1958, mostly under the management of Bourke Theatres Ply Ltd, the
            theatre was part of the Independent Theatre Circuit. and, feeling the effects of a growing migrant population
            and the impact of television. it closed in the latter year, although the company retained the lease until 1961.

            After lying idle for several years the New Empire opened as a Greek theatre in 1963 under the management of
            Cosmopolitan Motion Pictures and managed to survive for another 13 years.  A year tater, in 1977, the theatre
            was badly damaged by fire and about two years later was demolished.  Empire Reception Rooms now occupy
            the site.

                                                     • ••••••••

            PALACE OF DREAMS FILMED IN WARBURTON                               "Upper Yarra Mail" 20110194

            Television personality Pete Smith was recently in Warburton filming at the old Mechanics Institute Hall for a
            documentary film on  the history of Australian Cinema.   The film is titled "Palace of Dreams" and  is an
            affectionate look at the history of Australian cinema over the last 100 years. Mr Smith will provide the voice
            over for the film and also appear as the narrator.

            The film's directors, Roger and Barbara Seccombe spoke enthusiastically about their work and why they chose
            the MeChanics Institute. (Roger is a CATHS-V member)

            "Halls like Warby's we see as the archetype of country cinemas," Barbara Seccombe said. "The picture pal-
            aces used to be the centre of social life. They used to bring people together.•
            The film has an historical emphasis, and it will look not only at the cinemas, but also at the people behind the
            scenes such as the organists and the projectionists.

            Centenary of Cinema
            Barbara said they hoped that the feature will appear on Channel Nine as well as touring it around Australia for
            the 1 OOth anniversary of Cinema in Australia.

                                            INFORMATION WANTED

                 CATHS-V member John Stevens would like to know the locations of currently operating drive-in
                 theatres in Australia.
                                                    Please contact him at:   11/436 Macauley street
                                                                          Albury  2640

                  (Sounds as if John needs a letter from our drive-in experts David or Aaron)

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