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 Home  »  History  »  1949 - Villa Opens  »  New Theater Set Debut For Dec. 23 
 

New Theater Set Debut For Dec. 23

By Howard Pearson
Deseret News, 18 December 1949, page 6C


The $350,000 Villa Theater - one of the most complete and modern showhouses in the West - is scheduled to open to the public on Dec. 23.

Taken from the top of the loge section, this picture by L. V. McNeeley, Deseret News staff photographer, shows main auditorium of the Villa Theater.  Note lavish curtains over screen.
Taken from the top of the loge section, this picture by L. V. McNeeley, Deseret News staff photographer, shows main auditorium of the Villa Theater. Note lavish curtains over screen.

Located at 3000 Highland Drive, the theater is situated in a suburban-residential area which has seen some of the most rapid growth in home-building in the city's recent history. It is located to serve residents of a large section of Salt Lake and Sugar House and show-goers from other areas who might be dining at the various restaurants and cafes in the region.

Joseph L. Lawrence and David K. Edwards, owners and operators of the Villa, have drawn upon years of experience in the theater business to put features into their house which will assure the utmost comfort to patrons. Colors have been selected to assure pleasant surroundings. The theater has been constructed along curved lines, rather than straight, which research has proved is most agreeable to the eye.

An oversided ventilating system is connected to a well which was sunk on the spot and which assures a constant temperature of 72 degrees in the theater the year around. A powder room constructed off a sunken-waiting room has the latest appointments and the walls, ceilings and carpeting are of the most agreeable pastel shades. Huge mirrors completely cover one wall.

LATEST TYPE SEATS

Joseph L. Lawrence and David K. Edwards, owners and operators of the Villa Theater look at one of the huge and attractive wall lighting decorations put in by Artistic Lighting.
Joseph L. Lawrence and David K. Edwards, owners and operators of the Villa Theater look at one of the huge and attractive wall lighting decorations put in by Artistic Lighting.

Seats are the latest type designed for theater business, constructed so they spring back into position after the patron leaves. The distance between rows of seats also has been kept at a maximum to allow for unhampered passage of patrons into the aisles.

The main auditorium is constructed in two sections, with stadium-type seating, making all seats equally good for viewing the picture. Three steps above the main auditorium seats are the loges. In all, there are 1300 seats.

A feature of the decorative scheme in the main auditorium are huge wall paintings against a coral background. These set off the pastel shades of the plush and velvet drapes covering the 20 by 30 foot screen, one of the largest in the West. The drapes are contour in style, opening up and down rather than from side to side. The curtains open upon filmier drapery material hiding the screen.

All interior lighting is soft and indirect, sunken into circular false ceilings.

The foyer, which is what is called an inorganic shape, with deep carpeting, coral and rust-colored on a deep brown background. The flowered design has yellow centers. Walls of the foyer also reflect the dark brown of the carpeting; the ceiling is aqua, giving further lighting and color comfort, and walls leading from the foyer into the main auditorium are prima-vera wood.

SUNKEN WAITING ROOM

This shows the large mural on one wall of the Villa Theater.  A similar mural appears on the other wall.  Both dominate the decorative scheme of the main auditorium.
This shows the large mural on one wall of the Villa Theater. A similar mural appears on the other wall. Both dominate the decorative scheme of the main auditorium.

A sunken waiting room behind a planting box of native flagstone has mustard-colored walls, and will contain natural flowers. The waiting room will be furnished with chairs and sofas of forest green and sea foam green.

Six huge herculite doors are protected by sashes of stainless steel and give access to the main foyer.

Two marquees, one called an island marquee which is to the northeast of the main building, and the large inorganic shaped regular marquee are features of the exterior. The underside of the main marquee is covered with scroll-type Neon lighting and small spotlights. The island marquee features the name of the theater and the current attraction.

A 500-car, well-surfaced parking lot at the side and rear of the theater is adequately lighted with sodium vapor lamps and will be free to patrons of the showhouse.

The Villa is constructed of native flagstone, brick and structural glass, with the box office at the side of the entrances rather than in the middle, where most are located. Quarters for a shop of some type are located in the southern part of the building, but this space has not as yet been leased.

MARKS LONG DREAM

Completion of the Villa marks a dream of long standing by Mr. Edwards, who has been in the theater business for 27 years since he started as an usher, and Mr. Lawrence, who has been a theater operator for more than a quarter of a century. First acquisition of Mr. Lawrence was the Rialto and later he and Mr. Edwards constructed the Southeast and Murray and the Academy in Provo. In addition, they operate the Uptown and the State and several other theaters in the area.

General contractor for the theater was Carl F. Fors and Sons, with Alvin Fors personally directing the construction. A. E. Paulson, architect, worked under the direction of Mr. Edwards and Mr. Lawrence. The Young Electric Sign designed electrical work, including the marquees, and Capitol Electric installed automatic electric controls.

All work was done by local concerns with the exception of drapery installation, which was by R. L. Grosh and Sons of Los Angeles, and the decorating which was by R. Ashby Eckles of San Francisco.

"Prince of Foxes," a picture which is described on page 2 of Sunday's Family Section, will be the first attraction in the new theater. A special showing of "Battleground," with patrons restricted to an invited list, is scheduled for Tuesday.