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  #941  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2019, 8:15 PM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Those are useful pictures. It actually seems smaller inside than I thought it was. Perhaps that is what I remember as a little kid when everything seemed bigger than it really was. I am disappointed not to see the one thing I clearly remember from my visit: a suit of armor in the lobby, I believe. That impressed me at the time.
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  #942  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2019, 9:06 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
Those are useful pictures. It actually seems smaller inside than I thought it was. Perhaps that is what I remember as a little kid when everything seemed bigger than it really was. I am disappointed not to see the one thing I clearly remember from my visit: a suit of armor in the lobby, I believe. That impressed me at the time.
Stephen Archibald shares your admiration of the suit of armour:

https://halifaxbloggers.ca/noticedin...crenellations/

This Parks Canada site has a couple of other pics, but no suit of armour visible...


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  #943  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2019, 9:30 PM
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The suit of armour was over to the left of that hallway near the food concession area to the right of that, if I remember correctly . I so often wish I had pictures of back then, but to have a camera was a luxury that most people didn't have.
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  #944  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2019, 5:35 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by teddifax View Post
The suit of armour was over to the left of that hallway near the food concession area to the right of that, if I remember correctly . I so often wish I had pictures of back then, but to have a camera was a luxury that most people didn't have.
There must be a photo of the suit of armour floating around somewhere... just have to find it!
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  #945  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2019, 11:44 PM
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There must be a photo of the suit of armour floating around somewhere... just have to find it!
There are a few images of the armour in Cynthia Henry's fascinating history of the theatre, published in 2000. They don't scan super-well but I've added a couple below.

According to Henry's introduction, the interior of the theatre was designed in the English Tudor style by Signor Emmanuel Briffa, Famous Players' "internationally famous" staff artist, who designed a number of major theatres in the US and Canada between his arrival from Malta in 1924 and his death in 1955. Why he chose a Tudor theme is not explained.

Intriguingly, a Herald article from 31 October, 1931 says that "knights [plural] in armour stand guard at the arches..." but none of the pictures in the volume show more than one at a time.

Henry suggests that most of the theatre's appointments were stagecraft, although a period article suggests there are a number of "authentic" artifacts. It's unclear where the armour came from.

I have good memories of attending shows at the Capitol during my childhood. It was always a magical place and I was sad to see it close. The first movie I ever saw in a theatre was Mary Poppins at the Capitol in 1964, followed by The Sound of Music in 1965. These were the days of advance sales and reserved seats and I clearly recall our performance being postponed due to a blizzard. It was also a time when audiences stood for the national anthem before the show, there was a full-colour program (which I still have somewhere), and an intermission. In addition to movies, my parents also made a point to take us to see the hypnotist Reveen whenever he played the Capitol.

Coinciding with the publication of Henry's book in 2000, the Martime Centre erected a small display of Capitol Theatre artifacts in a glass case on the food court level. It was still there when I last worked in the building in 2016 but I have no idea where the material has gone since. As I recall the suit of armour was there, along with a theatre seat, some signage, flags and other stuff.

In this photo, the knight is flanked by Flora Montgomery (left) and another, unidentified cast member from the opera "Scottish Landing" (no date given).



The black and white image was taken in September 1955 following renovations designed by Belgian artist Oscar Glas, who is quoted as saying "the Capitol is one of the most beautiful theatres he had ever seen in his extensive travels around the world."

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  #946  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2019, 2:43 PM
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Excellent, thank you! It seems to be the one I vaguely remember - the shield and staff made an impression.
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  #947  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2019, 3:17 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Thank you ns_kid! That is great information, and actually makes it seem like more of a loss than originally thought.

It's funny, I grew up just at the end of the elegant theatres, so didn't really get to experience them to any great extent. Most of my movie experience was in the functional but austere Famous Players type theatres, which were fine for viewing movies, but the feeling wasn't quite the same. It was get in, watch the movie, and get out - not an event, but more of a process.

Last year I attended an event in Saint John's Imperial Theatre, which somehow had managed to survive and was eventually restored to it's previous glory. I swear I spent as much time admiring the theatre as I did watching the act. It's beautiful.

https://imperialtheatre.ca/faq/history/
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  #948  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2019, 9:23 PM
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It is truly wonderful to see these rare buildings restored for the purpose for which they were intended. Another example worth seeing, if you have the opportunity, is Toronto's Royal Alexandra, which Mirvish restored and updated in 2016, including expanded seating room, while retaining the essential elements of the 1907 theatre.

Inside The Newly Renovated Royal Alexandra Theatre

One wonders, if the Capitol's future was being debated today, if a developer would be more likely to preserve it within a new construction.

What I find remarkable, reading through Cynthia Henry's book, is the sheer variety of productions that were accommodated in the Capitol, with its c. 2000 seats. Among its last attractions in the fall of 1973 were sold-out shows by the Stampeders, Kenny Rogers (two shows, tickets a whopping $4.50), and April Wine. Other shows in the theatre's last years included a veritable who's who of Canadian music (Lightfoot, Cohen, Crowbar, Chilliwack, Lighthouse); closed circuit boxing matches, the National Youth Orchestra, the National Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Peter and Gordon, the Canadian Opera Company, and Stratford Festival stage productions. On 1 May 1965, you could "Meet Bobby Curtola in our lobby!" Perhaps my favourite: On 4 February 1965 you could see on the big screen (and in colour, though about a week after the fact) the "Lying-in-State and Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill". That's just a sample of the attractions that fit well in a facility with full stage, auditorium seating and great acoustics, sized between the Cohn's 1000 seats and the cavernous arena venues.

Last edited by ns_kid; Jul 10, 2019 at 9:35 PM.
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  #949  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2019, 9:48 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Wow! I had no idea!

In actuality we could really use a 2000 seat venue in our downtown area for those acts that sell out the Cohn, but wouldn't fill the Metro... errrr... Scotiabank Centre.
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  #950  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2019, 3:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Wow! I had no idea!

In actuality we could really use a 2000 seat venue in our downtown area for those acts that sell out the Cohn, but wouldn't fill the Metro... errrr... Scotiabank Centre.
I'm kind of hoping I wasn't the only one to suggest at the meetings for the new "cultural hub" that it include some sort of public performance space.
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  #951  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2019, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Wow! I had no idea!

In actuality we could really use a 2000 seat venue in our downtown area for those acts that sell out the Cohn, but wouldn't fill the Metro... errrr... Scotiabank Centre.
I agree. The SB Centre has its attractions to be sure but as a performing arts space it is terribly inadequate. After many disappointments I've resolved never again to attend any of the travelling theatre productions that sometimes land there. The acoustics, seating and sight lights are just too deficient to ignore.

A final ramble (I promise) about the late, lamented Capitol. One of the most anticipated annual events there did not appear in the Olde-England-themed main auditorium but deep in the basement. Nova Scotia Light and Power staged its Land of Fantasy (or "Fantasyland") show there every Christmas season from 1957 to 1970. (It moved to Scotia Square for its last three years from 1970 to 1973). Designer Carl Edwards redesigned and built the show every year with a large collection of animatronic and hydraulically-operated creatures. I can recall as a kid lining up for the show at a side entrance off Blowers Street, but photos also show people lined up on Barrington Street so there may have been main floor entrances used as well. A couple of images are below. NSLP called this show the only one of its kind and estimated that something like 700,000 people attended during its run.

(As an aside, I've often thought that memories of Christmas for thousands of Halifax-area baby boomers were shaped by two unique local events: Carl Edwards' Fantasyland and Bill Fulton's uncanny annual Santa Claus portrayal on CBC-TV's supperhour show, with his "Christmas Pledge". CBC used to broadcast Fantasyland annually too and a few years back I asked their archivist if tape of either one survived. Sadly, the answer was no.)


People lined up to see the Land of Fantasy outside the Capitol Theatre building, December, 1959:


Source: NSLP Annual Report, 1959


Land of Fantasy, December, 1969:


Source: NSARM image from Halifax History

Last edited by ns_kid; Jul 11, 2019 at 12:21 PM.
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  #952  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2019, 1:34 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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There used to be a joke going around about the SB Centre, before they made "improvements" to the acoustics. It was something to the effect that the concert finished 10 minutes after the band stopped playing...

Thanks for the Christmas Fantasyland info. I vaguely remember it from when I was a kid, but think it was mostly from when it moved to SS. A true spectacle and achievement by the designer/builders.

Edit: I've been thinking about it a little more, and I can now remember glimpses of the Christmas Pledge... agree that it was from a simpler time, and a little sad that some of the magic of childhood has been taken away from them in modern times...

Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; Jul 11, 2019 at 3:11 PM. Reason: Added comment
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  #953  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2019, 2:57 PM
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Fantasyland was always a magical part of my Christmas growing up. It is sad no video record of it exists.... The Christmas Pledge is still is a fond memory as well. He did such a fantastic job, I remember always enjoying it. Those were simpler times and I fear children today with all the technology would simply be bored with such things, so sad. As for the Capitol Theatre, as much as I love Halifax growing and changing, this is the one main thing I wish had never changed. It too was a magical place with a lot of fond memories, seeing movies, concerts (The Stampeders comes to mind). The last movie I saw there, was I believe, The Poseidon Adventure and I remember walking around giving it one last long look before I left, knowing it was to be demolished.
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  #954  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2019, 3:16 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Re: Christmas Pledge. Found this from youtube...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPnzy7Mycxk

Quote:
Spongoloni
Published on Dec 10, 2009
I am challenging everyone to dig down and remember a Xmas tradition of old and pass it on to their children.

Many of us (over 50) remember the CBHTV Halifax Santa Claus that was on every night in December including Xmas eve, during the 1950's and 60's. He came on immediately after Rube Hornstein's weather forecast.

At the end of his show, after he read us some letters from children, we all had to recite with him, our 'Christmas Pledge' as follows:

" I promise to be good, in every way

So that I can help, make every day

Almost as happy as Christmas day

HOHOHOHOHO"

ps This best of Santas' Name was Bill Fulton.

It would be great if CBC could dig out some of this old videos and play them on TV. They had a great message.



Hey Doug,

Do we have any copies of these shows? Might be fun to show a bit of this some night.

Tom



Hello Tom Murphy and Spongoloni:

Unfortunately, NO, we don't have a single clip of this extremely popular LIVE Segment. Every year, I have at least a dozen people who phone. I remember it (you have to be of a certain age Tom) as it was during my formative years, and I certainly remember the pledge.

The guy who used to do our Santa Claus (Actor Bill Fulton) passed his Santa suit down to his son BILL FULTON Junior. Bill Jr did Santa at the CBC's Children's parties all during the 1980's and early 1990's - and also around town at various Malls, but I think he has since retired himself.

Sorry, not a single one, and I've looked, believe me, I've looked, and I've looked, and I've looked....

It wasn't unusual, we didn't start saving complete news shows until the early 1990's on Hi-8...

This went our live to air every day, and no film copies were made.

Doug

Media Library Coordinator

doug.kirby@cbc.ca

Broadcast Materials
Halifax Centre
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  #955  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2019, 9:08 PM
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  #956  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2019, 9:24 PM
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Sadly, that’s not Mr Fulton, just a pretender.

I recall Fulton did some radio appearances over the years and I was sure there was at least one sample online but I can no longer find it. He had a deep natural ho-ho laugh and a rich, vaguely mid-eastern inflection that seemed perfect for the character. The late John Dunsworth was a devoted fan.
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  #957  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2019, 2:59 PM
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I thought it was him.... oh well.... did enjoy him as a child though...
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  #958  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2019, 4:10 AM
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USS Valley Forge 1959

Haligonia.ca on Instagram posted this interesting photo of the crew of USS Valley Forge spelling out "HELLO HALIFAX" on the flight deck during a visit.
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  #959  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2019, 9:34 PM
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Hey that's pretty cool! Never saw that photo before!
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  #960  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2019, 1:00 AM
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North Street Intercolonial station, 1877:


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