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Anaheim Bulletin
Anaheim, California


April 30, 1974

Vaudeville makes a nostalgic return to Orange Theater May 21
By Louise Meteer


ORANGE - If you could peel back the years, like paper upon the wall, what remnants of former splendour might you find?

A key to this riddle emerges in the Old Orange Theater as it is renewed and refurbished to become a more resplendent replica of itself in the mode of the later 1920's.

Sixty thousand dollars from now, lights upon the marquee will emblazon a new beginning, as The Orange Playhouse launches its opening night May 21 for a 32-week run of Broadway plays with big name stars.

Guests will arrive by Cadillac and Rolls Royce for the Premier attraction, "Last of the Great Red Hot Lovers."

There is what seems to the onlooker an almost insurmountable task to be accomplished before opening night. It proceeds in a dervish of creaking boards, banging hammer and choking dust that clears to reveal the nearly forgotten lavishness of those days when the theater was part of the Pantages vaudeville circuit.

In the lobby the original wallpaper, framed in peeling gold paint, emerged last week only to be stripped for the new, posh bar where audiences may exchange pleasantries while awaiting the next act.

Within the auditorium, seats are being lifted for new upholstery and all-over carpeting to match the aisles; the silver screen that has reflected the stern visage of William S. Hart and the blonde curls of Mary Pickford lies rolled and waiting for the trash heap.

The fine pipe organ, one of three of its kind in the United States today will remain in the orchestra pit for future concerts that will intersperse special closed circuit television of sporting events during the remaining 20 weeks of each year.

Beneath the stage, the dressing rooms are waiting, their star-studded doors traced with the graffiti that is a history of the past.

It all seems to symbolize "the King, (or perhaps the Queen) is dead. Long live the King." Whatever the semantics, there still remains a nose-tingling aroma of pop corn from "the last picture show."

Al Edward, Orange Playhouse manager, says that just like popcorn, "It's in the bag."

 



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