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94.  PRINCE REGENT THEATRE - SALE                              by Gerry Kennedy

             Architects:    Bohringer, Taylor and Johnson Pty.  Ltd.   imposing building on the Sale skyline and it was the archi-
             Builder:       Frank Watson Pty. Ltd.             tect's twenty ftfth theatre project, and mainly the work of
             Opened:        January 4, 1927 "ThiefofBagdad "   Mr. Taylor.
             Closed:        February 23, 1973  "Jane Eyre"
             Owned by:      Regal Theatres Pty. Ltd./Combined   Construction of the  Prince Regent Theatre commenced in
                            Victorian Theatres Ltd.            1926  and  it was  to  be the  fu·st  of three  similarly  named
                                                               theatres  operated  by  Combined Victorian Theatres  in
                                                               Gippsland;  the others were in  Bairnsdale and  Lakes  En-
             Sale is situated 210 kms. east of Melbourne and because of   trance.  As was common at the time, the theatre was built as
             its proximity to the Gippsland Lakes system and the coast   a multi purpose venue and was intended to be used as both
             was the centre for much of Gippsland's earlier development.   a cinema and a live theatre.  In fact the theatre was used for
             The current population of Sale is about 14000.    many pw-poses. The decorative facade oftbe Prince Regent
                                                               and suggested a building of quality. wl1ich was the case.
             The city is noted for its large and extensive historical build-
             ings. Movies were  screened at a variety of locations in Sale,   The brick frontage  was cement rendered  and  was attrac-
             including  parks and  the  Victoria  Hall  (built  in  1879)  in   tively decorated with geometric designs. Tbe bio box and
             Macalister St. The first purpose built theatre was the Palais   upstairs  foyer  windows  and  doors  featured  wrought  iron
             in Raymond St., built in  1926 by the Glover family.   glazing which was also liSed  on the two small  balconies.
                                                               Two large bracket lamps and the embossed company logo
             Combined  Victorian Theatres Ltd.  (C.V.T.)  was  a  public   completed the facade decor.
             company formed to run picture theatres throughout the prin-
             cipal  towns  of Victoria.  Tbe sbareholders included  both   The building was constmcted in double red clay brick with
             Melbourne and country  residents.  The Board of Directors   a stepped down quonset shaped, galvanized iron roof  Large
             included Mr. John R  Brennan (Managing Director), Hon.   brick piers were built every few feet along the side wall to
             E.J. White MLC ofHamilton and well-known movie world   support the roof as well as the large, clear span steel beams
             dignitaries F.N. Johnson, A. Vassy, and a Mr. Talbot (circuit   supporting the circle.  Askillion roof covered the large stage
             manager).  Withi11  six  months  of floating  the  Company   area.  A  ventilation  "house''  was  constructed above the
             C.VT. had theatres ruru1ing in Baimsdale, Lakes Entrance,   second level of the auditorium roof, immediately over the
             Wangaratta,  Benalla,  Kyneton  and  a  theatre  under   proscenium.  A large, gable  roofed,  projection  above the
             construction  in  Hamilton  (Westem  Victoria)  (1).  Sale's   stage area contained high  light windows.  Windows were
             Gippsland Times recorded that the Directors of C. V.T. were   fitted  to  both side walls to service the offices, storeroom,
             unpopular in Sale probably because they intended to move   switch room, generator room as well to the auditorium (for
             into a town with two well established local cinema opera-  ventilation purposes). All floors were of hardwood or janal1
             tors  and  that  they  appeared  to  be  moving too  hastily  in   timbers.
             building their cinema empire.
                                                               Two shops were located at the front of the theatl"e, one each
             C.V.T.  tried to  negotiate the purchase of both the Victoria   side of the main entrance. These featured brass fran1ed shop
             Hall  (operated  by  Gordon  Green's  circuit) and  the Palls   fronts above which  c.lear glass,  lead light inftlls were set.
             Theatre (operated by the Glover family)  without success.   Pressed metal ceilings were fitted  to the shop and awning
             When  C.V.T.  failed  in  its  attempts  to  buy  an established   ceilings.  Mr.  Frank  Lazzaro  leased the candy shop and a
             operation it "made it expedient to erect a theatre that would   Mr. Moritz ran a wireless and music business in the second
             at once be commodious and attractive and contain all that   shop (he was also a  violinist in the Pt·ince Regent orches-
             was possible in modern theatre construction" (I).  Further   tra).
             the venue was to be "far in advance to what a town would
             have been allotted under nonnal circumstances" and "far in   At the top oftbree white, lta lian marble steps, the foyer was
             advance of present day requirements" (I). The population   entered through eight stained timber doors fitted with full
             of Sale was about4,000 at the time. The new theatre was to   length, bevelled glass; the centre four operated as bi-folds.
             be named the Prince Regent Theatre and it was intended to   Ornate solid brass push plates and D handles were fitted to
             be the flagship of the C.V.T.'s chain.            all doors.  Arched highlight windows were installed above
                                                               the entrance doors.
             Tbe foundation stone was laid within six months of shares
             being placed in Sale.  A house had been purchased from a   Considering  the  size  of the  building  the  downstairs
             Miss Leslie in Cunninghame St. and this was quickly relo-  crushspace was small and contained two ornate semi circu-
             cated to clear the site.                          lar ticket offices (left and right hand sides); these were roofed
                                                               over with clear glass lead lighting.  The floors were covered
             The Prince Regent can be described as the only true "pic-  with a pebbled  patterned, commercial  linoleum  in  brown
             ture palace" built east ofMelboume; it was also Gippsland's   and honey tonings. Australian timbers and veneers were  fea-
             largest theatre.  The Prince Regent was a  very  large and   tw-ed throughout the building. The other feature of the foyer
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