Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Byrd

"The Byrd Theatre, named after William Byrd, the founder of Richmond, is one of Virginia's finest cinema treasures.

The 1400-seat theater, the first in Virginia to be equipped with a sound system, opened to great fanfare on December 24, 1928. The first audiences paid 50 cents for evening shows and 25 cents for matinees. Children were admitted for only 10 cents.

The Byrd's creators spared no expense in creating the theater. Among its many features: mythically-inspired murals, imported Greek and Italian marble, spectacular crystal chandeliers, hand-sewn velvet drapes, fountains, a central vacuum system, and its own Wurlitzer (which is still in use and plays every Saturday night).

Another interesting apsect of the Byrd is that it contains a natural underground spring in its basement. Water can be pumped from this spring for use by the building's air conditioning system.

In 1978, the theater was designated a state landmark. And the following year, it was named a National Historic Landmark.

What may be the most remarkable thing about the Byrd is that the theater has somehow survived the past seventy years largely unaltered—in appearance and function. It still shows movies to this day."

Whenever I crave a true cinematic experience, I head to see Richmond's favorite Byrd. $1.99 to see a first-rate movie. On Saturday nights, Bob Gulledge, plays the mighty Wurlitzer, and on special occasions, he will lead the audience in riveting sing-alongs. Tomorrow night, I'm taking Nikki to experience this magical place for the first time. The movie being shown? Phantom of the Opera. Here's to cheap, genuine entertainment! If any of you are ever in the area, I highly recommend visiting the Byrd, and while you're at it, take me with you!

By Comica


Anonymous Anonymous said...

...someday, somehow...

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