ODEON Art Deco Security Doors

Art Deco security doors

ODEON style Art Deco security doors on an Inner city semi.

These ODEON style Art Deco security doors make an attractive additional to this turn of the century Sydney Semi.

The double doors stand three metres tall and mirror the arched entry to the verandah. The high centre opening doors create an impressive and expansive entrance to the house.

The top and bottom drop bolts used to secure the left hand side door have been fitted inside the door frame and operate in a similar manner to a rifle bolt with the operate knobs fitted near the centre of the door. With the right hand side door locked the drop bolts are also locked as they can only operate with the right hand door open.

The all steel framework is painted a metallic grey and fitted with plain dead lock. The ODEON is one of several designs unique to DecoWorks Pty Ltd.

Another view of the ODEON style Art Deco security doors

Another view of the ODEON style Art Deco security doors

The silhouette of the ODEON security doors

The silhouette of the ODEON from the hallway of the house

 

Art Deco Front Gate

Plaza style Art Deco front gate

Plaza style Art Deco front gate

This Plaza style Art Deco front gate makes a stylish entrance into the new front courtyard of this terrace house.

In collaboration with the client the standard Plaza design was adjusted to suit the new front courtyard wall which replaced the old fence of the terrace house.

The addition of the garden bed along the front of the wall helps create an attractive overall design to the new wall.

 

gate silhouette looking from courtyard

View looking out from the courtyard

Another view of the courtyard entrance

Another view of the courtyard entrance

 

Illuminated Organ Console Surrounds

Wurlitzer with an illuminated surround

Wurlitzer with an illuminated surround

During the silent movie era a live musical accompaniment was often used to add atmosphere and drama to the film being shown. This was usually provided by a piano or, in the larger theatres of the day, a pipe organ. The organ console was mainly kept out of sight as there was little reason to do otherwise. With the advent of the talkies in the late 1920’s the role of the theatre organ changed to one of a showman’s instrument for musical entertainment. During intermission an organ console would appear from nowhere, usually from below the stage on a lift, with an enthusiastic performer milking the instrument for everything it was worth. At the end of the performance the organist would, with great bravado, sink back below the stage waving goodbye to an appreciative audience.

The Plaza Theatre, Sutton

The Plaza Theatre, Sutton (from the Ivor Buckingham Collection)

Unfortunately a timber paneled organ console quickly becomes boring to watch – even in a coloured spotlight. Many consoles were mounted on a revolve to add a bit of movement and the organist had to become quite animated at times to maintain the attention of the audience. The personality of the organist and organ became the big draw card and the organ console itself was becoming a secondary aspect to the performance. There was a need to make it a more integral part of the performance .

The Compton organ with illuminated surround at the Odeon Theatre, Swiss Cottage

The Compton organ with illuminated surround at the Odeon Theatre, Swiss Cottage (from the Ivor Buckingham Collection)

The John Compton Organ Company in England created many exciting and innovative new designs for organ consoles using exotic timbers and sculpted panels. The first major new design was a French-style console in 1930 which bore more than a passing resemblance to a Wurlitzer.

However the big innovation happened in September 1932 when “The World’s First Luminous Organ” opened at the Capital Theatre in Forest Hill. The idea took flight immediately and demand for the new illuminated surrounds soared. Many fine examples of these consoles can be found in the “Stories of London” blog. Here can be found many examples of the organs made by John Compton. The Compton List is a detailed record of the 261 theatre organs built by the John Compton Organ Company, and installed in theatres, town halls, and studios throughout the UK and overseas before and, in a few cases, just after the Second World War. It is the result of continuous research and documentation begun early in 1990 by Ivor Buckingham.

Donald MacKenzie playing "The Duchess" at the Odeon in Leicester Square.

Donald MacKenzie playing “The Duchess” at the Odeon in Leicester Square.

The use of illuminated surrounds was a predominately British phenomenon which was not used in the United States or elsewhere. The most famous instrument, known as “The Duchess”, is located at the Odeon Theatre in Leicester Square. The surround was a special and it can be seen in this youtube video with Donald Mackenzie playing the signature tunes of the presidents of the Cinema Organ Society (COS) at a concert on the 25th August 2014. The audience were joined by members of The Cinema Organ Society who were celebrating their 60th anniversary.
the Rainbow style surround at the Gaumont Theatre in Chelsea

Terrence Casey with the Rainbow style surround at the Gaumont Theatre in Chelsea (from the Ivor Buckingham Collection)


As of 2015 there are only a few theatre organs still in use in Sydney. The Cremorne Orpheum on Military Road is the only theatre providing regular intermission entertainment during screenings. The Orpheum Theatre is the jewel in the crown of Art Deco theatres in Australia much to the credit of its owner, Mike Walsh. The Wurlitzer console itself is a white and silver paneled unit mounted on a revolve which rises up from under the stage floor. Many of the polished consoles were painted ivory or white to make them look better under coloured spotlights. In the city this happened to the organs of the Regent, Plaza and Capitol theatres. This treatment was also done to some of the suburban theatre organs as well. At the State the console was ivory from new.

Other theatre organs that still exist around Sydney include the following;
– Orion Theatre (Campsie) : Ex-Sydney Capitol Theatre (Wurlitzer – owner TOSA)
– Marrickville Town Hall : Ex-Prince Edward Theatre, Castlereagh Street (Wurlitzer – owner TOSA)
– Epping Baptist Church : Ex-Duke of York Theatre (later the Odeon), Eastwood (Christie)
– Anglican Church (West Ryde) : Ex-Kings Theatre, Gordon (Christie – owner TOSA)
– State Theatre ; Being restored – currently unplayable (Wurlitzer)
– Wesley Theatre, Pitt Street: Ex-Lyceum Theatre on the same site (Christie)

The Theatre Organ Society of Australia (TOSA) organise regular recitals at some of these venues so these marvelous instruments can be heard.

A few years ago Decoworks submitted a proposal to build an illuminated surround for the Orpheum Wurlitzer to give it a more Art Deco feeling in keeping with the overall theme of the theatre. The story of its design and final submission pictures can be found here.

Regal Art Deco Security Door

Regal Art Deco security door installation

Regal Art Deco security door installation

The Regal Art Deco security door is a new design from DecoWorks. It is based on an Art Deco style leadlight window in the clients house which I thought would work really well as a security door. After seeing the design (based on the leadlight window) the client decided to go ahead and have it built.

The door is totally unique and is a great addition to the look of the house. The radiating fan and chevron motifs seem to express a burst of energy upwards from the bottom pyramid motif giving the design an exciting and uplifting feel.

Although the Regal is a complicated design the extra effort involved in its realisation is more than offset by its striking appearance. The door has an integral insect screen to keep out insects on a hot day when the front door is left open allowing a breeze to flow through the house.

Assembling the Regal security door on its template

Starting assembly of the Regal security door

Fitting door side support and hinges

Fitting door side support and hinges

Undercoated Regal Art Deco security door

Undercoated Regal Art Deco security door in its test frame

Silhouette of Regal door

Silhouette of the Regal Art Deco security door looking out from the hallway

Art Deco Space Shuttle Patch

Space shuttle program commemorative patch

Space shuttle program commemorative patch

This is the commemorative patch of the Space Shuttle program which concluded with the flight of STS-135 (Atlantis) on July 8th 2011.

The fan shape which has been used is a popular motif of the Art Deco period. It is the basis of our Plaza, Regent and Regal security bar designs and has an uplifting and *into the future* feel about it. It fits perfectly with the ideals of the Shuttle program.

The final Shuttle flight patch, STS-135 (below) uses a similar motif but this time in reverse and is a representation of the engine thrust on takeoff. This also conveys an upward and uplifting feeling even though the pattern is reversed compared to the fan in the Shuttle program patch. The prominent *omega* symbol is a nice choice being the last letter in the Greek alphabet.

Each mission had its own patch design but these two are my favourites.

STS-135

The final Space Shuttle flight STS-135 – Atlantis on 8th July 2011.

Art Deco Theatre Names

The various designs of Art Deco security doors, windows and gates produced by DecoWorks Pty Ltd have been named after Art Deco theatres from the early 20th Century. It is a nice way to blend our theatrical prop making services with our custom security bars services.

Below are the theatres from which our designs are named. We gratefully acknowledge the Cinema Treasures website for the information set out below.

Plaza Theatre

107 West 11th Street,
Lamar, MO 64759

The Plaza theatre

The Plaza theatre

The Plaza Theatre opened on October 25, 1934 with great fan fare. Every major studio at that time sent representatives for opening night. Telegrams were sent from Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Mae West, Al Jolson and many others.

The Plaza Theatre was designed by architect Larry P. Larsen of Webb City and originally seated 600. It was remodeled in 1945 to the designs of architect Robert O. Boller and had a seating capacity of 587.

Closed in 1986 when a fire at a clothing store next door forced the theatre to shut down. With no funds available and condemnation inevitable, a group of local citizens and business owners stepped forward to head a committee to save this historic theatre. After 10 years+ of negotiating and fund raising, the Plaza Theatre reopened on November 5, 1998. Still a single screen, with original hand painted murals on canvas tapestries hanging on side walls.

Odeon Theatre

271 Birchfield Road,
Birmingham B20 3DD

odeon theatre perry barr

First Odeon Theatre, Perry Barr, Birmingham

This was the first cinema in the United Kingdom to be called Odeon and was managed/operated by Oscar Deutsch who later founded his Odeon Theatres Ltd. chain in 1933.

He named the chain as such as it stood for Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation.

Located in the Perry Barr district in the north of Birmingham, the Odeon Theatre opened on 4th August 1930. It was designed by architects Stanley A. Griffiths and Horace G. Bradley in a Moorish style both externally and internally. The facade was painted white and had rounded features that gave an impression of domes. Inside the auditorium seating was arranged for 1,160 in the stalls and 478 in the balcony. An unusual feature was that the stalls area widened out towards the proscenium. There were Moorish scenes painted on the side walls in the front stalls area. The Odeon became part of the Odeon circuit from 17th July 1935.

In 1953 the facade of the building was re-built in a plain design of bare brick. It was closed by the Rank Organisation on 3rd May 1969 with Dean Martin in “The Wrecking Crew”.

It re-opened on 14th August 1969 as a Top Rank Bingo Club which continued until closing on 19th February 1983. The building lay empty for a while until it was taken over by an independent bingo operator and was known as the Perry Bingo Club. Later taken over by Granada Bingo and lastly operated by Gala Bingo it finally closed on 5th April 1997. It remained empty for several more years until August 2002 when it was converted into the Royale Banqueting Suite used for banquets and receptions.

Princess Theatre

112 Second Avenue NE,
Decatur, AL 35601

The Princess theatre

The Princess theatre

The Princess Theatre was opened on December 30, 1919 as a playhouse and road show theatre. When the Princess Theatre opened, it seated 1,500 in cushioned seats.

The theatre was renovated in 1940 to the plans of local Decatur architectural firm Albert R. Frahn & Associates, and again in 1949, in an Art Deco style, with seating reduced to 989 with all new seats and more leg room. The Princess Theatre closed as a movie theatre in 1987.

It became a performing arts center in 1988 and then went through a complete renovation in 2001 and officially reopened in February of 2001.

Strand Theatre

101 S. State Street,
Caro, MI 48723

The Strand theatre

The Strand theatre

Originally opened in the late-1920’s, the Strand Theatre has been remodeled over the years, most recently in 1994.

It features a beautifully intact Art Deco style facade and marquee illuminated by neon and light bulbs.

Regal Theatre

474 Hay Street,
Subiaco,
Perth, WA 6008

The Regal theatre

The Regal theatre

Located in the Subiaco district of Perth. It was built on the site of the Coliseum Picture Gardens which had opened in the 1920’s. The Regal Theatre opened on the 27th April, 1938 with a topical film “Love Under Fire” set during the Spanish Civil War, which was raging at the time. The supporting film was “Shall We Dance” with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

In 1946 the Regal Theatre was sold to Clarence ‘Paddy’ Baker, whose family have been associations with the site since the Coliseum Picture Gardens days. No history of the building would be complete without a mention of the veteran picture showman who had been associated with the industry since childhood. Paddy ran the Regal Theatre until he died in 1986, leaving his beloved theatre to the people of Western Australia. Since 1987, it has been used as a live theatre.

The Regal Theatre is listed with the National Trust and with the Australian Heritage Commission.

Regent Theatre

211 Trowbridge Street,
Allegan, MI 49010

The Regent theatre

The Regent theatre

The Regent Theatre opened in 1919 in what was formerly a late-19th century horse livery. It originally not only showed movies, but presented vaudeville acts on its stage.

In the 1930’s, the Regent Theatre received an Art Deco style face lift, including a cream-colored vitrolite facade with red and green highlights. The six second-story windows have been closed up and covered with vitrolite with abstract decoration on them. The late Streamline era marquee, with its only decoration being a large white star, is lit with neon and light bulbs.

After decades entertaining the people of Allegan, the Regent Theatre closed in the early-1980’s. It was threatened with demolition by 1990. The non-profit Old Regent Theatre purchased the theater the same year and restored it to its 1930’s glory in 1996. In 1997, during a violent rainstorm, the roof collapsed causing massive damage just an hour after the last movie of the night let out.

Since then, the Old Regent Theatre has been painstakingly rebuilt and restored once again, including recreating historic panels in the auditorium and the original 1930’s carpeting. The building was rewired electrically, and new curtains were hung. The 20 by 30 foot original screen was salvaged, but needed to be repaired. It is now one of the largest screens remaining in Michigan.

Restored Art Deco Security Door

New security bars

Building entrance with new security bars

The picture on the right shows the restored Art Deco security door on a Potts Point Inter-war apartment building.

Over the years several coats of paint had been applied to hide the corrosion that was occurring on the door and grille and additional security mesh and drop bar locks had been unsympathetically attached with pop rivets to ad-hock frames welded to the original Art Deco security door frame.

The door and frame were removed and all extraneous additions removed. The paint was cut back to bare metal and several severely corroded sections (#1 bottom) were removed with a grinder (#2) and welded (#3) before being ground back into shape (#4). To restrict access to the back of the door a perforated steel panel with 11mm square holes was welded to the back of the door bars. The Art Deco security door was then treated with rust converter before having an anti-corrosion etch primer applied. Finally two coats of epoxy enamel were applied to finish the job.

Art Deco security door restoration

Comparison of the old security door and the restored version

Fixing rust

Steps in repairing corroded steel bar

Inter-war Art Deco Security Bars

The Carlysle style Art Deco security bar design

The owners of this Potts Point inter-war apartment block wanted to replace the existing contemporary window security bars with an Art Deco style more sympathetic with the heritage of the building. The existing bars, a modern addition, added nothing to the buildings character and were likened to “Play School” windows.

A new custom design was developed from an original wrought iron side security door which had survived from when the building was originally built. The most prominent feature was a wave pattern across the top of the door above two opposing scroll features. This motif became the basis of the new design for the window security bars and has been dubbed “The Carlysle” after the name of the building.

To keep cost down the original security bar outer frames and anchor points were retained. The old bars were cut out and the new design was fitted inside the old frames. This greatly simplified the subsequent re-installation of the security bars. The original side security door was also restored and this is described in another post.

Comparison of before/after security bars at the front of the building


Rear security windows

Here is a before/after view of the rear of the building which faces Greenknowe Avenue