I remember the first time I was ever in the Fox Theater. I was about five years old – they had a Summer movie series. I seem to remember it taking forever to get there. I had on my favorite red sneakers – the kind that have the white tip on the front. Pinocchio was playing. I can remember sitting on the edge of my seat feeling dread because it was so sad! When the wooden puppet is washed on the shore – I was hysterical by then. My mother held me tightly as we went to the Women’s Lounge. I was so taken with the interesting room that I forgot all about poor ol’ Pinocchio lying on the beach – seemingly dead. Oh well. The Fox will do that to you. It will take you away to another time, place, and make you feel as if you’ve traveled a great distance once you’ve entered it’s doors. The low lighting, Arabian – Far East decor will take you to another time and place.
I couldn’t even begin to say how many events, concerts, movies, Opera, etc I’ve been to at our cherished Fox Theater. And to THINK they were going to tear it down at one point just sends shivers up and down my spine. It was vacant and in shambles – I’ve been in homes where people have light fixtures from the Fox. There were rumored homeless hippie communes living there in the 70s. Light fixtures were taken and sold.
A few things to know:
riginally constructed as the Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque to be used as the headquarters for the Shriner’s organization from 1925. The site was taken over by Fox Theatres chain and turned into the magnificent Fox Theater which opened on December 25, 1929. Today, it is one of the best kept, best loved and luxurious of the world’s movie palaces. Its legendary status has been born from initial hardship.
The inauguration of the building as The Fox met with the commencement of the Depression. The Fox, it seemed, was doomed to fail. After a few short years of delighting Atlanta crowds with films and shows, the Fox declared bankruptcy and closed.
The city gained brief ownership of the Fox Theatre and the theater regained its footing during the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. The 1960’s hit the theater hard like many others around the country. The proliferation of television, suburban attractions/distractions and other economic forces began to take a toll on the viability of the Fox as a movie palace. The Fox’s glory days lasted until 1973.
A non-profit group saved the Fox Theatre from demolition and in 1975, the group began the lengthy process of restoring the theater. Reopening the theater as a peforming arts center, the Fox’s financial situation is now much more sound.
Constant restoration and upkeep have kept the Fox Theatre looking new and have helped retain its status as a truly unique and magnificent theater. The Fox Theatre is reportedly the only major theater in the country to have a full-time restoration staff. They are also the only major theater to have 2 ballrooms attached in the orginal building (this is as it was on opening day in 1929).
Of course – this is one of my favorite articles – being an Atlanta native of course Coca Cola runs through my veins – that’s right . Cut me….I bleed the lovely amber color of Coke. http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/myth-no-more-coca-562485.html
We tend to name our belongings in the South, thus the ‘Mighty Mo’ is the organ. (my Jeep is named Leopold and my Benz is Hemingway – you get the picture). You have to be a native Atlantan I’m sure to appreciate all of this. Just humor me…ok? I’m talking passion here – for a building and what it has meant to so many. Especially me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_Theatre_(Atlanta,_Georgia)
I had a fantasy of living in the Fox. I was very jealous when I learned Joe Patten (RIP) was able to do so from the 70’s until his death a few years back. Can you imagine? Living in the Fox Theater? Wow….what stories. And then there’s the ghost of course :::wiggling toes merrily::::::
The Fox also contains a 3,640-square-foot (338 m2) apartment that serves as the private residence of Joe Patten, who served as technical director from 1974 to 2004. Patten, who was born in 1927, was granted a lifetime rent-free lease to the apartment. Patten first became involved with the Fox when he volunteered to restore the theater’s Moller pipe organ. He later was instrumental in the movement to save the Fox from demolition. The apartment occupies space previously used as an office by the Shriners, who had built the Fox as a meeting hall. The apartment’s walls are 2 to 3 feet (0.91 m) thick, and a passageway leads from the bedroom to a former spotlight platform at the top of the auditorium. A separate entrance provides direct access to the street outside the theater.
Patten’s presence is credited with saving the Fox from a fast-moving fire in April 1996. The pre-dawn blaze, which broke out in the attic wiring, caused $2 million in damage. Damage likely would have been greater if Patten had not been on site to call the fire department, said Alan Thomas, president of Atlanta Landmarks, the nonprofit agency that owns the Fox.
Atlanta Landmarks has no definite plan on how the apartment will be used after Patten’s death. “We could use it for dressing space, rehearsal halls,” Thomas told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s unlikely that we’d let anyone else live there.”