Monday, October 11, 2010

The Lake Theatre, Simpson Street, Fort William Ontario.

Memories abound...... seeing these photos of the original Lake Theatre which was at 608 Simpson Street here in Fort William, Ontario. Frank Sabatini, cousin of my friend Al Pomanti was the manager here in the early 1950's. My both pairs of grand-parents lived near here at the time and I spent many a Saturday Matinee in the 1950's going to the "Lake" with my aunt or uncle.

This was a Famous Players Theatre and I could use some of my theatre tickets here just the same as at the Capitol or the Royal on Victoria Ave. Remember getting and giving theatre ticket booklets for birthdays or Christmas gifts? They were the best gifts I remember receiving.
The building still stands today at the same address and is now the Fort William Prosvita Hall.

Like I mentioned above, it was only a few blocks from my grandparents and even at 8 years old, you could venture down Simpson Street all by yourself and not worry about tripping over a drunk or two, and you might even venture down to the end of Simpson Street to Charry's Corner for an Orange Crush and a handful of black balls. You get a gold star if you remember what black balls were....
On close scrutiny of the marquis on the very first picture(it is a bit fuzzy) and doing some research, I determined that the two films playing on this 1947 day was "Tarzan and the Huntress" with Johnny Weissmuller, and "Wake Up and Dream" with June Haver and John Payne.

Johnny Weissmuller (born Johann Peter Weibmuller; June 2, 1904 - January 20, 1984) was an Austro-Hungarian-born American swimmer and actor. Weissmuller was one of the world's best swimmers in the 1920's, winning five Olympic gold medals and one bronze medal. He won fifty-two US National Championships and set sixty-seven world records. After his swimming career, he became the sixth actor to portray "Tarzan" in films, a role he played in twelve motion pictures. Dozens of other actors have also played Tarzan, but Weissmuller is by far the best known. His character's distinctive "Tarzan" yell is still often used in films today....and heeere's Johnny showing some skin with one of his sidekicks Cheetah! All these films were known for their provacative costumes on "Tarzan" as well as his female counterparts.
Here is what two of the Lobby Cards for "Tarzan and the Huntress" looked like as you strolled into the lobby of the "Lake". If you want to view the first 10 minutes of this "Tarzan" film just as you would have seen it at the "Lake Theatre", click here SORRY...THIS MOVIE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE
The next film on the marquis is "Wake Up and Dream". This film is known for its release of a new song called "Give Me the Simple Life".
June Haver (June 10, 1926 - July 4, 2005) was an American film actress. She is most well known as a popular star of 20th Century-Fox musicals in the late 1940's, most notably The Dolly Sisters, with Betty Grable. She is also often linked to her second husband, actor Fred MacMurray who starred in the 1950's television series "My Three Sons".
Well known actor of the day was John Payne (May 28, 1912 - December 6, 1989). He was an American film actor who is mainly remembered as a singer in 20th Century-Fox musical films, as well as his leading role in "Miracle on 34th Street". If you want to hear John sing "Give Me the Simple Life" on Youtube, click here
The next photo is a lobby card for "Wake Up and Dream". Most of these were considered "B" films but in their day and with the start of the "Technicolour" process were great entertainment for family and for kids.
Much thanks to my friend Brad Ager former Thunder Bay-ite who now lives in Southern Ontario for sending me the two black and white photos of the Lake Theatre. They had conjured up some great memories and a chance to do a little research.
Click on photos to enlarge!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories---I don't know how many Saturday afternoons I spent at "The Lake" watching the serials and the double features, especially from the balcony!! For 25 cents, I'd have my admission and a box of popcorn and entertainment for a full afternoon. Living around the corner on Rowand St., close to Charry's, I'd be at the show within a couple of minutes with no worries whatsoever about problematic clientile in the area. What a difference it is today!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories from Ken Lovering. I was born on Brown and Mary Sts. and grew up in 117 East Christina Street in 1950. Nice to see the old spots.