Victory Theater, Evansville, Indiana, interior view

The Victory Theater
Evansville, Indiana

Grill over organ pipe chamber at the Victory Theater in Evansville

A Moller theater organ, opus 3109, 2 manuals/11 ranks, was installed in the Victory Theater in 1921.
(The organ is no longer there.)

Description of the Victory Theater in Evansville, Indiana, as a movie theater:

"The architect was John Pridmore. Construction began in September of 1920. The grand opening of the theater was held the weekend of July 15 and 16, 1921. The theater was built in commemoration of World War I (1914-1918) and is decorated throughout with patriotic motifs, such as the eagle, a Roman symbol which represents victory.

The exterior of the building is very basic and in keeping with the contemporary architectural movement of the 1920s. The only notable element of the exterior is the eagle that topped the marquis, which was filled with cascading and flashing lights.

The interior of the building is far more extravagant than the exterior. Whereas the exterior is not that eye-catching, the interior has an opulence similar to that of a restrained Baroque style. The auditorium is 108 feet long by 91 feet wide and comfortably seats 2,500 people. The stage is 68 feet wide and 82 feet deep. It is notably one of the largest in the Midwest.

The most notable element of the theater is the proscenium arch which frames the stage. Draping from the arch is a rich blue velvet curtain, which creates a high contrast with the gold-leaf on the arch. The decorative detailed elements of the arch include various fruits and vegetables. The function of the proscenium arch is not only decorative, but also key to the structural integrity of the building. Weighing approximately 45 tons, it acts as a girder supporting the portion of the buildings roof directly above the stage.

Two golden grills are used to disguise the organ pipes, on either side of the proscenium arch. The $10,000 organ sits stage-right (audience left). During the playing of the organ music the grills were used in combination to produce strange lighting effects of different colors.

All of these lavish and extravagant structural and decorative elements of the Victory Theater made movie going a favorite activity among the residents of Evansville. Movie goers could enjoy an afternoon or evening of entertainment and fantasy.

In the late 1990s, the city of Evansville planned to restore the theater to its original glory. They succeeded in 1999. In its restoration, the Victory's stage was widened, the organ was removed, its balconies raised, and the color scheme of blue and gold was changed to predominantly teal, maroon and gold; however, gold remains the most prominent color".

    -Description Source:

A link to an article about past organists and an orchestra at The Victory Theater, courtesy of Terry Hughes's website: Movie Theaters Past: Evansville Indiana.

Photo images above from after renovation in the 1990s.
Small image from Victory Theater website:
Large image from: Kristin on Picasa Web Albams

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