By 1919, when The Strand Theatre was built for the showing of movies in Randolph, art nouveauÕs peak influence on American architecture was a decade gone. Still, for a growing railroad village, far-flung from metropolitan settings, the graceful vine-like ÔnouveauÕ curves on the faade of the townÕs first (and only) movie theatre seemed perfect. Fortunately, through the years, the delicate and endearing lines have been preserved, and The Playhouse (as it was renamed in the 40s) remains an architectural gem. Hearkening back to the age of the silver screen, The Playhouse predates the first talking picture, ÒThe Jazz Singer,Ó by eight years and the earliest studio color films like ÒGone With the WindÓ and ÒThe Wizard of OzÓ by three decades. Though records donÕt exist, the Playhouse is likely the oldest purpose built movie theater still screening films in Vermont. The oldest in the U.S. is The Elks Theatre in Middletown, Pennsylvania, which opened its doors on October 24, 1911.
©2009 Robert Eddy, All Rights Reserved