1 1 THE FABULOUS FOX - SCRIPT Nancy Gordy Sims, The Varsity: There s very little left in Atlanta to go back to and say, this is exactly the way it was or almost exactly the way it was when I was a child. Angelyn Hayes, Fox Fan: I think that the theater triggers all of that little girl in me that loves fantasy and make believe, and the chance to be somebody I am not to be somewhere I am not. Maynard Jackson, Former Atlanta Mayor: It s pure fantasy in brick and mortar. It s a dream provoker, Candace Head, Fox Fan: And the detail, the beauty, the great craftsmanship, the love that went into the creation of that building, you know, its just a wonder to behold and a wonder to share. John McCall, American Theatre Organ Society: Up came this big golden console, the largest thing I d ever seen in my life. The sound was truly a life-changing event for me. Hannah Storm, CBS Early Show: You re always looking up and you re looking up at that great ceiling and the stars you know. That s something that looks magical to you when you re a young person and I think it holds the same magic to you when you re older. Francine Reed: When I tell people I m gonna at the fox they go, Ooh! The Fox! And I go, yeah baby! Again! Jeff Foxworthy: To this day this is my favorite place to play in the world. I love playing the Fox Theater. It s just a sense of magic, and even though that many people are out there, you feel like everybody has a good seat. Everybody can hear you. I love this place. Hal Holbrook [stand-up]: WALKING OUT ON THE STAGE OF THE FOX IS SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR THE PERFORMER. YOU RE WALKING INTO HISTORY WITH THE SPIRITS OF GENERATIONS OF ARTISTS WHO HAVE LEFT THEIR MAGIC IN THIS HALLOWED SPACE. BOB HOPE, RACHMANINOV, LEONTYNE PRICE, ELVIS PRESLEY IT S A LONG ROLL CALL. I M HAL HOLBROOK. I VE PLAYED THE FOX NOW EIGHT TIMES SINCE 1976 AND I M ALWAYS INSPIRED BY THE GRACE AND MAJESTY OF THIS BEAUTIFUL THEATRE, THE WARMTH AND FRIENDLINESS OF THE GEORGIA AUDIENCES, AND THE GHOSTS WHOSE VOICES YOU CAN HEAR, IF YOU LISTEN VERY CLOSELY, HERE IN THE FABULOUS FOX.
2 Holbrook [narration]: ATLANTA S FOX THEATER MADE ITS DEBUT DURING THE LAST GASP OF THE ROARING TWENTIES. THE DECADE HAD SEEN ATLANTA MATURE FROM A SMALL TOWN, TO A MAJOR REGIONAL HUB - HOME TO NEARLY 270,000 PEOPLE. PEOPLE FLOCKED DOWNTOWN TO WORK AND TO SHOP AND THEY EXPECTED ENTERTAINMENT ON A GRAND SCALE. CRAMPED STOREFRONT NICKELODEONS HAD GIVEN WAY TO NEIGHBORHOOD THEATERS AND LAVISH DOWNTOWN MOVIE PALACES. A HOLLYWOOD CREATION, THE MOVIE PALACE OFFERED AN IRRESISTIBLE WORLD OF GLAMOUR AND FANTASY. ONE MIGHT WHISK YOU AWAY TO A 17 TH CENTURY SPANISH PALACE - ANOTHER TO THE EXOTIC FAR EAST Matthew Bernstein, Film Studies, Emory University: And the idea was to give people unsurpassed experience in gracious entertainment where you really feel like you re the guest of honor along with you know 4,999 other people. But it s still tremendously appealing. Narration: ATLANTA S MOVIE PALACES WERE LESS EXOTIC THAN SOME BUT THEY DID MAKE AN IMPRESSIVE DISPLAY ALONG EACHTREE.STREET. THE LOEW S GRAND, THE ATLANTA PARAMOUNT, ORIGINALLY NAMED THE HOWARD. THE CAPITOL, THE KEITH S GEORGIA, LATER RE-NAMED THE ROXY. THE ERLANGER, AND, JUST OFF PEACHTREE, THE RIALTO. MOST OF THEM HAD TIES TO ONE OF THE BIG FIVE HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS. THE ONLY ONE NOT REPRESENTED IN ATLANTA, WAS FOX STUDIOS AND THAT MEANT NO GUARANTEED OUTLET FOR WILLIAM FOX S FILMS. FOX WAS ALREADY BUILDING OR BUYING THEATERS IN NEW YORK, SAINT LOUIS, SAN FRANCISCO AND DETROIT John McCall, American Theatre Organ Society: They were all built to house at least four to five thousand patrons each. And they were called the super Foxes because they were really were built on a gargantuan scale. Narration: NOW WILLIAM FOX HAD HIS EYE ON ATLANTA. BUT MR. FOX DID NOT BUILD THE ATLANTA FOX. THE CREDIT BELONGS TO THE ANCIENT ARABIC ORDER OF THE NOBLES OF THE MYSTIC SHRINE THE SHRINERS. ATLANTA S YARAAB TEMPLE WAS FOUNDED IN 1889, BY HARRY STOCKDELL, AS A SOCIAL OUTLET FOR THE CITY S MASONS. THE INFLUENTIAL GROUP INCLUDED ATLANTA S LEADING POLITICIANS AND BUSINESSMEN.
3 3 BY THE 1920S, THERE WERE FIVE-THOUSAND SHRINERS AND THEY HAD OUTGROWN THEIR MEETING SPACE IN THE MASONIC TEMPLE DOWNTOWN. IT WAS TIME FOR A HOME OF THEIR OWN. THE SHRINERS SETTLED ON A SITE AT THE INTERSECTION OF PEACHTREE AND KIMBALL STREETS. ACROSS PEACHTREE STOOD THE ELEGANT GEORGIAN TERRACE HOTEL AND THE PONCE DE LEON APARTMENTS. A BEAUTIFUL MANSION STOOD ON THEIR CHOSEN LOT. IT WAS OWNED BY THE DESCENDANTS OF COLONEL WILLIS E. RAGAN, WHO PURCHASED IT IN THE EARLY 1880S. Ralph Morrison, Ragan Descendant: His friends thought he was pretty crazy to move that far north because it was basically the country. If the streetcar went that far, it stopped at that point. Narration: THE REMOTE LOCATION HAD NOT DETERRED COL. RAGAN S FRIENDS FROM VISITING HIM FOR LAVISH DINNER PARTIES IN THE OPULENT HOME. RALPH, THE YOUNGEST OF COL. RAGAN S THREE SONS WAS BORN IN THE HOUSE IN Ralph Morrison, Ragan Descendant: Frankly, as a child, I thought for many years that my grandfather was born in the Fox theatre. I didn t quite get that the Fox theatre was built some years later. I finally figured that out. Narration: THE SHRINERS BOUGHT THE LAND IN 1922 AND ANNOUNCED A DESIGN COMPETITION FOR THEIR NEW HOME. THE WINNER WAS THE ARCHITECTURAL FIRM OF MARYE, ALGER AND VINOUR. P. THORNTON MARYE AND RICHARD W. ALGER UNDERSTOOD EXACTLY WHAT THEIR CLIENTS WANTED. THEY WERE SHRINERS TOO. Dr. James Bryant: Yaarab Temple Historian: We designed, can you imagine that, the beautiful ceiling with the twinkling stars moving electrically from daylight to dark and the feeling that you get of being in the open space when you sit in the auditorium and you feel that you re looking at a Saracen castle. Narration: THE SHRINERS HAD SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THEIR RITUALS AND CEREMONIES. THE ENTIRE DESIGN ALSO HAD TO LIVE UP TO THE VISION OF WILLIAM J. FLORENCE, WHO FOUNDED THE SHRINER MOVEMENT IN 1870 WITH DR. WALTER M. FLEMING. FLORENCE, AN ACTOR, HAD CHOSEN AN ARABIC THEME FOR THE ORGANIZATION S SYMBOLS AND COSTUMES.
4 4 PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DESIGN OF THE BUILDING FELL TO OLLIVIER VINOUR. THE FLAMBOYANT, FRENCH-BORN, VINOUR PLUNGED INTO RESEARCH ON ARABIC AND MOORISH ARCHITECTURE. HE IS SAID TO HAVE CONSULTED NUBIA AND THE HOLY LAND FROM THE GEORGIA TECH LIBRARY, A PRINT OF THE ALHAMBRA, IN GRANADA, SPAIN AND A SET OF POSTCARDS FROM A FRIEND S TOUR OF THE MIDDLE EAST. VINOUR S INITIAL PLANS WERE BOLD AND EXPENSIVE. THE SHRINERS WERE ABOUT TO SCALE BACK ON THEIR VISION, WHEN HENRY HEINZ, A PROMINENT BUSINESSMAN, CONVINCED THEM TO INCLUDE RETAIL SPACE TO RENT. THE PROSPECTS LOOKED EVEN BRIGHTER A FEW MONTHS INTO THE PROJECT WHEN WILLIAM FOX ENTERED THE PICTURE. Dr. James Bryant, Yaarab Temple Historian: You must remember that the Fox company did not give us any money to Yaarab Shriners. They contributed not one dime. All they were going to do was lease the building from us under a 21-year lease at 100-thousand dollars a year. There s no way they could lose. It s like the unsinkable ship Narration: THE SHRINERS DEDICATED A CORNERSTONE FOR THEIR NEW MOSQUE ON JUNE 14, BY THE FOLLOWING SPRING, VINOUR S DESIGNS WERE TAKING SHAPE ON PEACHTREE STREET AND ALL OF ATLANTA WAS WATCHING. Jim Strain, Fox Fan; It took a long time to build that building. It was, it was pretty special. Not too many of that type had been built at that period of time. It was one in a million as far as the building itself. Hal Clark, Fox Fan: It stood out like a sore thumb. And uh at the time, people were not very used to Moorish architecture. And some liked it and some didn t. Narration: BY THE END OF 1929, SOME $3 MILLION LATER, THE FOX WAS READY TO STRUT ITS STUFF. ON DECEMBER 23 RD, SHRINERS AND THEIR WIVES WERE GIVEN A SPECIAL PREVIEW OF THEIR MOSQUE. AND FROM THE MOMENT THEY LAID EYES ON THE DOMES, MINARETS, AND LAYERS OF CREAM AND BUFF BRICK, THEY KNEW THAT OLLIVIER VINOUR HAD EXCEEDED EVEN THEIR WILDEST DREAMS. A TILED ARCADE LED THEM PAST A BRASS KIOSK, THROUGH STAINED GLASS DOORS INTO THE LAND OF ARABIA. IN THE VAST AUDITORIUM, THEY FOUND A WALLED CITY. ABOVE IT ARCED A SAPPHIRE SKY, COMPLETE WITH MOVING CLOUDS, A SUNRISE AND SUNSET, AND 96 TWINKLING STARS IN CORRECT STELLAR GROUPINGS. 4,504 SEATS FACED A WIDE STAGE, EQUIPPED WITH SIX LIFTS.
5 5 ON ONE LIFT, SAT THE WORLD S LARGEST THEATER ORGAN- A 75- THOUSAND DOLLAR MOLLER PIPE ORGAN, FLANKED BY HIDDEN CHAMBERS. EACH LEVEL REVEALED NEW WONDERS AND DELIGHTS. EVEN THE LOUNGES WERE A MAGIC CARPET RIDE TO MOROCCO OR EGYPT. BACKSTAGE THE SHRINERS TOURED A DRESSING ROOM TOWER, DESIGNED TO ACCOMMODATE LAVISH LIVE PERFORMANCES. AND THROUGHOUT THE BUILDING, THERE WAS THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY - EVEN AIR-CONDITIONING, WHICH SEEMED QUITE DECADENT GIVEN THAT THE WHITE HOUSE WAS NOT YET AIR-CONDITIONED. VINOUR HAD ALSO PROVIDED THE SHRINERS WITH EVERY MEETING HALL, AND PRACTICE ROOM AND OTHER AMENITY THEY COULD POSSIBLY DESIRE. WHILE SOME SHRINERS FELT THE PLACE WAS A LITTLE BIG FOR THEIR NEEDS MOST WERE THRILLED WITH THEIR NEW HOME. Dr. James Bryant, Yaarab Temple Historian: The very atmosphere of the interior of the building lent itself to this drama of initiation because they could almost visualize being there in a little village, you know, right outside of Saracen Castle in the desert. Very impressive and very beautiful. Narration: LEAD CARPENTER, BOB DAVIS, CONSIDERED HIS CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT TO BE THE WIDE BALCONY, WHICH WAS DESIGNED TO GIVE THREE INCHES. Emily Collette, Bob Davis Daughter I think the high point for him was when they erected what they called a tell-tell pole and he said the cantilevered balcony was within a fraction of an inch of the plans. He was so proud of that. Narration: OLLIVIER VINOUR WAS ALSO PROUD OF THE MOSQUE. AND TOOK HIS DAUGHTER FOR A SPECIAL TOUR BEFORE OPENING NIGHT. Lydia Vinour Miller, Ollivier Vinour s Daughter; And the thing that struck me, which seems odd as a 12 or 13 year-old was to go down under the stage and see all the workings of the different parts of the stage that could go up and down. And I don t know how many there are now, but I know I was flabbergasted by that and also flabbergasted by the Egyptian restroom. The furniture there was so lovely. Narration: AMONG THE LOVELY PIECES OF FURNITURE, WERE TWO REPLICAS OF THRONES PULLED FROM THE TOMB OF TUTANKHAMEN ONLY SEVEN YEARS BEFORE. HOWARD CARTER S DISCOVERY OF THE TOMB HAD INSPIRED AN INTERNATIONAL WAVE OF TUT-MANIA. EVEN WILLIAM FOX S WIFE, EVE LEO, WAS AFFECTED BY THE TREND. MRS. FOX, WHO HAD TRAVELED IN THE MIDDLE EAST, SERVED AS THE THEATRE S INTERIOR DESIGNER AND HANDPICKED THE FURNISHINGS.
6 6 ON DECEMBER 25 TH, 1929 IT WAS THE PUBLIC S TURN TO CHECK OUT THE PLACE - AND WILLIAM FOX PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS Jim Strain, Fox Fan: I always remember Christmas Night, I was just 8 years old at the time and the family all went down to the, to the opening of the Fox theatre. It was absolutely jam-packed. Every seat was filled on opening night. Hal Clark, Fox Fan: There were loads of people standing on the porch of the hotel across the street, all dressed up with tails and the ladies in long dresses and we were goggle-eyed at it. Narration: AT 20-CENTS FOR CHILDREN AND 60-CENTS FOR ADULTS, OPENING NIGHT GUESTS WERE TREATED TO AN ELABORATE PROGRAM. THERE WAS ORGAN MUSIC, A THIRTY-PIECE ORCHESTRA AND STEAM BOAT WILLIE, THE FIRST MICKEY MOUSE CARTOON WITH SOUND. THEN CAME SEVERAL STAGE ACTS INCLUDING THREE JAPANESE ACROBATS AND THE EYE-CATCHING FANCHON AND MARCO SUNKIST BEAUTIES. EACH WEEK, THE 36-MEMBER DANCE TROUPE, PERFORMED A NEW ROUTINE AT FOX THEATERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. IN ATLANTA, IT WAS AUGMENTED BY 12-DANCING GIRLS KNOWN AS PEACHES. A FOX MOVIETONE NEWSREEL BROADCAST THE NEWS OF THE DAY Fox Movietone News:. passing through the filling machines at the rate of 30 8-pint bottles a minute. Corking and capping. Narration: AND THEN FINALLY, THE FEATURE ATTRACTION, A JOHN FORD MOVIE CALLED SALUTE ONE OF THE FEW MEMORABLE ASPECTS OF SALUTE IS THAT IT WAS A TALKIE. BETWEEN THE FOX S CONCEPTION AND COMPLETION, THE MOVIE INDUSTRY HAD BEEN TRANSFORMED BY A FILM CALLED THE JAZZ SINGER. DURING THAT SAME PERIOD, THE WORLD OUTSIDE THE FOX HAD ALSO CHANGED COMPLETELY. Fox Movietone News: and millions just couldn t find a job. Narration: BY 1932 PROBLEMS THAT BEGAN ON WALL STREET WERE TAKING THEIR TOLL ON PEACHTREE STREET AND THE SHRINERS FOUND OUT THAT THEIR UNSINKABLE SHIP WAS IN FACT ANOTHER TITANIC. Dr. James Bryant, Yaarab Temple Historian; At a certain point in the depths of the Depression, the Fox theatre declared bankruptcy, that is the Fox organization, and that meant our best customer, our best renter was gone. Our source of income was gone. Narration: THE SHRINERS SAW THEIR THREE MILLION-DOLLAR INVESTMENT AUCTIONED OFF FOR 75-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
7 7 THE FOX FLOUNDERED UNTIL THE MID-THIRTIES WHEN THE MANAGEMENT TEAM OF ARTHUR LUCAS AND WILLIAM JENKINS TOOK OVER, BRINGING THE THRILL OF LIVE SHOWS AND THE GLAMOUR OF HOLLYWOOD TO A DEPRESSION-WEARY ATLANTA. Movie Trailer: L amour, l amour. That s French for love. Gene Brown, Fox Fan: You could be in a different world, transported. You could see beautiful people doing wonderful things that you would like to be doing and couldn t afford to do, wearing pretty clothes that you couldn t afford to wear but you could enjoy watching them in their clothes, so it was a very wonderful therapeutic time really. Jodale Brodnax, Fox Fan: My mother took my sisters and I to see Pinocchio at the Fox and I think it was one of the first movies we ever went to and my little sister, Phyllis, Phyllis Conley, was scared to death when the whale swallowed Pinocchio and she got under the seat and wouldn t come out for the rest of the movie, she stayed on the floor. Hal Clark, Fox Fan: The organ is what I remember vividly and the fellow would be playing and it was thrilling to watch him come up with the sounds that were coming at the same time you know. Above everything else the stars up above and they would be blinking, and for a young, young kid to sit up there in the balcony and look at that was very, very impressive. Narration: THE TIGHT ECONOMY BRED FIERCE COMPETITION BETWEEN ATLANTA THEATERS. TO KEEP THEIR PATRONS HAPPY AND LOYAL, LUCAS AND JENKINS RELIED ON AN ARMY OR SOMETIMES A NAVY - OF USHERS. Judson Moses, Former Usher: And when you came to work, you came in, marched in, in a line and lined up to be inspected. That was quite a thing and they were inspected even down to the fingernails and so on. We took pride, the Fox took pride the ushers and everything took pride in how they dressed and how they looked. Narration: USHERS WERE OFTEN PROMOTED TO LINESMEN, MANAGING THE LINES OF PEOPLE OUTSIDE, EVEN IF THERE WEREN T ANY. Judson Moses, Former Usher: Sometimes we d fake a ticket machine breakdown so a line would form and the people would say wow a lot of people want to go there, let s go there. Narration: WORKING AT THE FOX WAS MORE THAN A JUST A JOB. IT MEANT BEING PART OF A FAMILY THAT LIVED AT ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS ADDRESSES IN TOWN. THE PATRIARCH WAS THE FOX S TOUGH AND DEMANDING MANAGER TOMMY READ.
8 8 Tommy Read III, Tommy Read s Son: Dad s Philosophy was provide a service to the people. Keep them entertained. Don t make it expensive. Have a place where they could come and bring the entire family. Feel safe and enjoy. Narration: PART OF FEELING SAFE MEANT HAVING A NURSE ON CALL IN THE LOWER LEVEL HOSPITAL ROOM. READ ALSO MADE SURE THE THEATER STAYED CLEAN - SO CLEAN, IN FACT, THAT CONCESSIONS WEREN T SOLD IN THE EARLY DAYS. ONLY LATER COULD YOU BUY POPCORN, CANDY OR A LINE-DOPE BETTER KNOWN NOW AS COKE. WITH ITS WELL-TRAINED USHERS, LARGE SEATING CAPACITY AND ELABORATE DÉCOR, YOU D THINK THE FOX WOULD HAVE BEEN HOME TO THE MOST EXCITING MOVIE EVENT IN ATLANTA HISTORY BUT IT WASN T. Matthew Bernstein, Film Studies, Emory University: Gone with the Wind was cofinanced and co-produced by MGM which was owned by Loew s Inc. and so of course the premiere was at the Loew s Grand downtown not at the Fox which was, in 1939, considered uptown. Narration: THE GLAMOROUS PREMIERE OF GONE WITH THE WIND WAS A TIME FOR ATLANTANS TO REVEL IN SOUTHERN PRIDE. BUT IT WASN T LONG BEFORE SOUTHERNERS WERE CALLED TO PUT THEIR NATION FIRST AND FIGHT A GROWING EVIL ON AN INTERNATIONAL STAGE. Here is what has happened. President Roosevelt confirmed half an hour ago that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States Naval Base on Oahu Island in the Hawaiian Islands. Judson Moses, Former Usher: I know I was working at the Fox when Pearl harbor happened. I had taken a film a short subject or cartoon or newsreel or something to the booth. The projectionist usually had a radio on and that s where I was up there when they said Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Narration: FOR ATLANTA THE WAR MEANT GROWTH. Bell Bomber film: In Marietta, in the shadow of historic Kennesaw Mountain, is a new and important part of the is plant, its product long a closely guarded military secret. Narration: FOR TINSELTOWN THE CONFLICT MEANT WAR BOND DRIVES FOR HOLLYWOOD S LEADING MEN AND WOMEN AND WAR MOVIES LOTS OF WAR MOVIES. HOLLYWOOD CRANKED OUT ONE AFTER ANOTHER IN AN EFFORT TO KEEP MORALE HIGH ON THE HOME FRONT. Movie Trailer: I guess it s up to God. And I m not kidding when I say I sure hope he knows how I feel.
9 9 Narration: ENTERTAINERS ALSO PLAYED THEIR PART. THE WAR WOULD FADE AWAY AS MUSIC FILLED THE EGYPTIAN BALLROOM. Gene Brown, Fox Fan: And they would have wonderful dances in there for single people with a band, a big band and you d come and dance to the big band and it was a wonderful popular place to come and meet other single people you know and have a good place to dance with a large dance floor. Narration: DESPITE THE WAR, TRAVELING STAGE SHOWS CONTINUED TO PERFORM AT THE FOX. SWING AND SWAY WITH SAMMY KAYE, DEAN MARTIN AND JERRY LEWIS, BENNY GOODMAN AND MANY OTHERS CREATED LIFELONG MEMORIES FOR FOX AUDIENCES. Jodale Brodnax, Fox Fan: Oh, I remember seeing Gypsy Rose Lee. My sister and I went and felt like we had done something really sneaky like because we got to see Gypsy Rose Lee do a strip on the Fox theater stage. Narration: FOR THE USHERS, ONE STAR SHONE BRIGHTER THAN THE ALL THE OTHERS Joe Williams, Former Usher: The highlight of it was Bob Hope. He put on a fantastic show and in the course of it I remember him saying I hope you people have brought your lunch or a snack or something because we re liable to go on all night. And he came out and posed with us and said hold on a minute, I ve got to go get my yoyo. Narration: THE END OF THE WAR WOULD BRING SWEEPING SOCIAL CHANGE THAT AFFECTED EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE, INCLUDING THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. Matthew Bernstein, Film Studies, Emory University: 1946 is Hollywood s last banner year. 90 million people attending movies weekly. That s the highest attendance figure Hollywood would ever achieve and it declines dramatically from that point on. Narration: HOLLYWOOD S LAST BANNER YEAR WAS ALSO A BUSY YEAR AT THE FOX, WITH SOME MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS INSIDE THE THEATRE. BUT NEW LIGHTS AND CARPETING TOOK A BACK SEAT TO THE MOST EXCITING CHANGE A PARKING LOT, WITH A FULL STAFF OF ATTENDANTS. Tommy Read III, Tommy Read s Son: They were very proud of that because it finally gave people, uh automobiles of course was coming more and more into vogue, and it gave a place for people to be able to come and park instead of having to ride the trolley or the bus to the theater.
10 10 Joe Tulkoff, Former Parking Attendant: We didn t actually drive the cars, we actually directed em into a parking space so as the cars would come in off of Peachtree and pay their 30 cents and then we would motion them down to our spot as the cars moved in we d progressively moved further on into the lot until we had the lot filled. Narration: THE PARKING LOT WAS AN ATTEMPT TO LURE IN ATLANTA S GROWING AND INCREASINGLY SUBURBAN POPULATION. CLOSING IN ON 330,000 RESIDENTS, THE CITY WAS SPREADING IN ALL DIRECTIONS. NEIGHBORHOOD THEATRES AND DRIVE-INS WERE SPRINGING UP AND AN EVEN GREATER THREAT WAS BEGINNING TO MAKE ITS MARK THE TELEVISION ERA HAD ARRIVED. DESPITE THE COMPETITION, PEOPLE KEPT COMING TO THE FOX, AND IT WAS STILL CONSIDERED A SPECIAL TREAT. Alex Cooley, Music Promoter: It was a big event to come here. Uh, I remember we got dressed. My mother had on her gloves and her hat and uh, you know I was in my best clothes, my Sunday go to meeting clothes. Narration: SOME OF THOSE BIG EVENTS STARRED ALTANTA CONDUCTOR ALBERT COLEMAN. IN THE LATE 1940S, COLEMAN STAGED FREE POPS CONCERTS, SPONSORED BY THE CITY AND THE FOX. Carolyn Wills, Atlanta Landmarks Board: And it s my first memory of listening to live good music. And it sort of made you dream. It made you think of all the possibilities in your life. And so it s a very special place a special time to remember that. Narration: THE DREAMS GENERATED ON THOSE SUNDAY AFTERNOONS WERE PROBABLY A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THE DREAMS GENERATED BY A YOUNG ELVIS PRESLEY ONE VERY RAINY NIGHT. Gene Brown, Fox Fan: They came anyway in the pouring down storm the Fox was packed to the even people sitting in the aisles and if they fire marshals had gotten em we d have been in big trouble. and he put on a performance like you ve never seen with all of his gyration and things that he did. Narration: A MORE ELEGANT CROWD FILLED THE FOX EVERY SPRING WHEN THE METROPOLITAN OPERA CAME TO TOWN. THE MET STOPPED TRAVELING DURING THE WAR BUT RETURNED TO ATLANTA IN 1947, AND PERFORMED AT THE FOX FOR THE NEXT 21YEARS. Lockheed Promotional Film: Opening night of the Met. Nothing on Time Square can match the excitement and glitter on Peachtree Street Bill Crawley, Former Volunteer: It would be Lincolns or Cadillacs or Packards and [these people actually um many of them had drivers and um they called them that instead of chauffeurs.
11 11 Gene Brown, Fox Fan: I came here for the Metropolitan Opera when we would have a red carpet placed across Peachtree Street between the Georgian Terrace Hotel and the Fox Theater and in between the acts we would go across the street and have champagne and then come back by and it was just a very glamorous time in Atlanta and it was usually the first week in May. Bettijo Trawick, Fox Fan: It was a magic time. And there were big parties and the parties were so gorgeous and, of course, they invited all the stars to come. Roberta Peters, Metropolitan Opera Star: There used to be a time when we kept going, going, going, after a performance, a party, a breakfast party, a lunch, dinner, the performance, and we were almost happy to leave Atlanta, we were partied out. Alan Thomas, Atlanta Landmarks Board: It was really Atlanta s social highlight during the course of the year. And tickets were like the Masters today or the Kentucky Derby. I mean they were passed along in families and the Met would appear for 7 performances in 6 days. And if you had tickets, even if you didn t like the opera, you were gonna go, because it was just too much of an event Narration: THE 1950S SAW HOLLYWOOD STRUGGLING TO MAINTAIN ITS SHARE OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. THE STUDIOS INVESTED IN NEW TECHNOLOGY, TO LURE PEOPLE BACK, STARTING WITH MORE MOVIES MADE IN COLOR. Matthew Bernstein, Film Studies, Emory University: A lot of it has to do with offering people something in the movie theater that they don t have at home on their TV screens. And remember when television first began the screen was tiny. It would be 5-8 inches, it would be black and white, as apposed to the giant screen that you had in a movie theater. Narration: LARGER. AND THOSE GIANT SCREENS WERE ABOUT TO BECOME EVEN Fox Movietone News: Film history is again being made at this famous motion picture palace in New York, for here Spyros P. Skouras, President of 20 th Century Fox, is presenting the first pictures made in Cinemascope, that thrillingly exciting anamorphic medium that is revolutionizing the motion picture industry. Narration: CINEMASCOPE CAME TO THE ATLANTA FOX IN THE FALL OF 1953, WHEN THE THEATER INSTALLED A 35-MILLIMETER PROJECTOR, A PANORAMIC SCREEN AND 25-STEREOPHONIC SPEAKERS. THE DEBUT FILM WAS THE BIBLICAL EPIC, THE ROBE. AND THE CROWDS LINED UP FOR THE BRAND NEW EXPERIENCE..
12 12 Jodale Brodnax, Fox Fan: It was so wide and I always liked to sit down in the middle in the front from some reason, maybe in the tenth row back and you were just surrounded not only with the music and the sound but the picture was just awesome. Narration: THE FOX WAS NOW UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT. THE WILBY- KINCEY SERVICE CORPORATION HAD TAKEN OVER THE THEATER IN 1952, INSTALLING NOBLE ARNOLD, AS ITS MANAGER. ARNOLD IS REMEMBERED FOR HIS ON SCREEN QUOTES OF THE DAY AND HIS PASSION FOR CLEANLINESS. Judson Moses, Former Usher: Oh, he had inspections, white glove inspections. He would go around and we would check to see that the top of the doorframes were dusted, underneath the seats were clean. Camille Barry, Noble Arnold s Daughter: He inspected the bathrooms even and, of course, the famous furnace room he was so proud of how immaculate the furnace room was. He was pretty tough. But he was very good at what he did. Narration: THE FOX HAS ALWAYS INSPIRED STRONG EMOTIONS. FOR THE STAFF IT IS OFTEN PRIDE. FOR THE AUDIENCE, IT IS VERY OFTEN LOVE. Jodale Brodnax, Fox Fan: The first date I had with my husband, George Brodnax was at the Fox, and we fell in love that night, we really did. It was a cold night and we walked out and I though, wow, you know, I ve met the man of my dreams. And I just fell in love and we ve been married over 50 years now. Bill Bugg, Fox Theatre Realtor: I remember dating the girl that I ultimately married and we would look at uh the stars and the clouds in the sky at the Fox. So many warm memories. Emmett Long, Sr., Fox Fan: And one Thursday night I was late from getting off from work and she said, we ll grab some Krystals and take them in and go to the balcony and eat em. Couldn t get in. The usher said no you got to eat them before you come in so we downed un extra bag of Krystals in a short span of time and I got a little bit nauseated and for years I would not eat a Krystal but now I do. Narration: THE LONGS CHOSE KRYSTALS THAT NIGHT, BUT, FOR MANY ATLANTANS, A TRIP TO THE FOX WAS, AND STILL IS, SYNONYMOUS WITH A TRIP TO.. Nancy Gordy Sims: The Varsity Alex Cooley: The Varsity Lydia Vinour Miller: Oh yes indeed. Yes the Varsity.
13 13 Gene Brown, Fox Fan: Of course, everybody went to the Varsity. A lot of times at that time, if we d date and go to the Varsity and park our cars and meet girls you know there. Carolyn Wills, Atlanta Landmarks Board: My first dates when I was like years old was to drive from Stockbridge to the Fox to go to a movie and go to the Varsity afterwards. I mean that was the ultimate evening out. Then the Varsity, you know, had Flossie May who came over to wait on the car and do the menu and mm everybody ate chilidogs. Jeff Foxworthy: And I m still willing to bet you people from the Metropolitan Opera when the show was over, snuck around the corner and went down to the Varsity and got a chilidog and some onion rings. I don t care how sophisticated you are. It s too close you ve gotta go You have to. It s a law. Narration: THE FOX HELD A SPECIAL ATTRACTION FOR KIDS, OFFERING TREATS SUCH AS DISNEY MOVIES, OR EVEN A CHANCE TO SEE A TEEN IDOL, LIVE. Emily Collette, Fox Fan: I saw the singer Fabian at the Fox Theater. Daddy went with me and of course there were all the screaming teenagers. And then after the show daddy had sort of a get away car prepared for us, and we followed Fabian s car and I can t remember where he went but when he reached his destination we were there. Fred Newman, Actor: I m getting goose bumps now thinking about walking in here. I d never seen anything like this in my life. Growing up in a small town, we had one elevator in town, a freight elevator, and I remember the bathrooms there were like caverns down below and walked up and saw it was the clouds and going this is totally magic. Stephany Cross, Fox Fan: Tenth birthday, Debie and I went with my mother to see Journey to the Center of the Earth Movie Trailer: Went where no human being had ever set foot Stephany Cross, Fox Fan: Her birthday, tenth birthday, it was Operation Petticoat. And it made it very elegant occasion to go downtown with your white gloves and patent leather purse when you were a child. Narration: WHILE MANY ATLANTANS HAVE FOND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF THE FOX, OTHERS DO NOT. Maynard Jackson, Former Atlanta Mayor: My memories of the Fox were a little mixed, having been raised as an African American in a segregated society in Atlanta. I never went to the Fox Theatre, because our family policy was you don t go in anybody s back door.
14 14 Clara Axam, Atlanta Landmarks Board: When I was a little girl I couldn t go to the Fox. And I had a family that unless you could walk in the front door you simply didn t go. Sunshine Tucker, Box Office Manager: There was a box office on Ponce de Leon and it was marked, you know, the Colored Box Office and that s where you bought your tickets and then you walked up the outside stairs all the way up to the gallery Narration: THE GALLERY WAS SEPARATED FROM THE REST OF THE THEATER BY A LONG CONCRETE WALL. FROM THE DAY IT OPENED IN 1929 UNTIL THE SPRING OF 1962, THE FOX WAS SEGREGATED IN THIS WAY. IT MADE THE FOX ONE OF ONLY TWO THEATERS IN ATLANTA WHERE BLACKS AND WHITES COULD WATCH MOVIES UNDER THE SAME ROOF. THE OTHERS WERE FOR WHITES ONLY OR BLACKS ONLY. THE EXCLUSIONARY RULES, KNOWN AS JIM CROW LAWS, APPLIED TO NEARLY EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE. Sunshine Tucker, Box Office Manager: I had you know a lot of childhood memories of it because even before it was even before it was integrated I used to come to Disney movies here and was dropped off you know on the side and went all the way up to the gallery. Maynard Jackson, Former Atlanta Mayor: I had a date one time who wanted to go to the Fox to see a movie, and I tried to talk her out of it. And she insisted. Bought one ticket, gave it to her, said I ll come back and pick you up when the movie s over. I did, and I never called her again. Shirley Allen: Housekeeping Manager: My mother told me stories about it. She said that she dressed up to come down here to see a show and they would have to walk up all those steps and by the time she would get to the top it would be sweaty and she would be upset and that was one of the bad things that she remembered about here when I started working here and I said Oh, mamma, get over it. I have a key to front door now. Big deal. Chamber of Commerce Film: On such fanciful sounding streets as Peachtree, in fact everywhere, you ll find people on the move, for this is the crossroads of the South Narration: ATLANTA WAS CHANGING WITH THE TIMES. AS NEW SKYSCRAPERS ROSE, MUCH OF THE CITY S HISTORY WAS DISAPPEARING. BUT, INSIDE THE FOX, IT WAS TIME FOR HISTORY TO MAKE A COME BACK. THE THEATRE S MOLLER PIPE ORGAN WAS ABOUT TO BE RESTORED TO ITS ORIGINAL GLORY. MIGHTY MO WAS CUSTOM- BUILT FOR THE FOX DURING THE SPRING OF 1929 BY THE M.P. MOLLER COMPANY OF HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND. DESIGNED TO ACCOMPANY SILENT MOVIES, THE ORGAN IS ABLE TO IMITATE THE SOUNDS OF A FULL ORCHESTRA. IN SOME OF ITS FIVE CHAMBERS ARE REAL INSTRUMENTS. WITH ITS 42-RANKS, 376 STOPS AND THREE-THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND
15 15 TEN PIPES, MIGHTY MO WAS THE LARGEST THEATER ORGAN IN THE WORLD - FOR A WHILE. A NEW WURLITZER AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL IN NEW YORK SOON CLAIMED THAT TITLE, BUT MIGHTY MO S VOICE HAS ALWAYS REIGNED SUPREME. Larry Douglas Embury: Organist in Residence: There is an excitement, there s a magic that just happens when this instrument rises and so every time I bring the organ up you see people aah! and if they re older people they remember being a little child here at the Fox and now they have their grandchildren here. I love to play the organ. Narration: LARRY DOUGLAS EMBURY IS THE CURRENT ORGANIST IN RESIDENCE AT THE FOX. HE SUCCEEDS A LONG LIST OF HOUSE ORGANISTS INCLUDING JIMMY BEERS, DON MATHIS, ROBBIE IRVIN AND BOB VAN CAMP DURING THE EARLY 1950S, AS TASTES IN ENTERTAINMENT CHANGED, THIS KING OF INSTRUMENTS BEGAN A LESS THAN MAJESTIC EXISTENCE.. AFTER1954, IT WAS TUCKED AWAY UNDER THE FOX STAGE AND FORGOTTEN BY MOST PEOPLE. BY 1963 THE NEGLECT AND MISUSE HAD TAKEN A HUGE TOLL. Bob Foreman, Atlanta Landmarks Board: You could get one or two notes out of it but not much. So Bob Van Camp and Joe Patten went to Noble Arnold and said American Theatre Organ Enthusiasts, which was the local chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society, will restore the pipe organ if you will pay for the parts. We ll provide the labor if you provide the parts. And Noble Arnold was smart enough, broad enough, wideranging enough to say yes. Narration: GETTING ARNOLD TO SAY YES MAY HAVE BEEN THE EASIEST JOB OF ALL FOR PATTEN,AN X-RAY ENGINEER WITH A FLAIR FOR FIXING THINGS. John McCall, American Theatre Organ Society: He knew that this was a Rolls Royce or that this was a Bentley in this theater, and he was going to make it all it could be. And the other important thing is that he did not stoop to bringing in modern day fixes for this instrument. He restored it exactly as it was originally built. Joe Patten, Atlanta Landmarks Board: I think the most difficult part was the rewiring of the two very large relay units in the chamber area Since the cables had been cut there were thousands of wires that had to be identified, and positioned in the proper place. Narration: PATTEN WENT THROUGH SEVEN MILES OF CABLE DURING THE PROCESS WHICH TOOK TEN-MONTHS AND COUNTLESS HOURS OF LABOR, MOST IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT AND ALL UNPAID.
16 16 Joe Patten, Atlanta Landmarks Board: No compensation, other than the fact that when I got to hear the organ and it started playing again, that was all of the compensation I needed. Beauchamp Carr, Atlanta Landmarks Board: In a way it s to me the heart and soul of the place. It s kind of like when the building itself is ready to speak, it does it through this great gloriously vulgar instrument. Narration: VULGAR AND VERSATILE. WITH ITS RESTORATION COMPLETE, MIGHTY MO COULD NOW BE PLAYED BEFORE AND DURING MOVIES. NEARLY 40 YEARS AFTER IT WAS BUILT, MIGHTY MO ACCOMPANIED ITS FIRST SILENT MOVIE. Bob Foreman: Atlanta Landmarks Board: When the Fox was opened the talkies had just come in so a silent movie was never shown at the Fox in the early days. Narration: FAMED ORGANIST LEE IRWIN WAS AT THE CONSOLE FOR THE SILENT CLASSIC THE EAGLE. NOW SILENT MOVIES ARE A POPULAR PART OF MIGHTY MO S REPERTOIRE, ESPECIALLY THE 1925 CLASSIC, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. DENNIS JAMES IS ONE OF MANY WORLD-REKNOWNED ORGANISTS WHO TRAVEL TO THE FOX FOR THE UNIQUE PLEASURE OF PLAYING MIGHTY MO. EACH ORGANIST ADJUSTS THE INSTRUMENT TO HIS OR HER OWN TASTE AND TOUCH. HECTOR OLIVERA APPROACHES MIGHTY MO AS IF THE ORGAN WAS A LONG LOST LOVER. Hector Olivera, Organist: It s always been a referred as my number one girlfriend. When the instrument cooperates with you, you know, you ask her do this for me and she gives it to you, and then the reward on the soul and in the heart and its just spectacular, never mind what it does to the ears too. So, the inspiration just continues WSB-TV News: Personally I think that the people out there may have thought that the Hippies would leave very soon and wouldn t be part of the community but they miscalculated and now they may have to reckon with the Hippie. Narration: BY 1970 MIDTOWN WAS NEAR ROCK BOTTOM. Alex Cooley, Music Promoter: The whole strip there on Peachtree Street going from probably 14 th to North Avenue was a pretty rough place, sort of rundown, really rundown.
17 17 Narration: THE FOX WAS ALSO IN A ROUGH PLACE. Alex Cooley, Music Promoter: The people that were managing the Fox at that time. I don t know how to say this any other way than to say they didn t care. There was no money spent on the theater. It was a bad time. It was a real bad time for the Fox. Narration: MANAGEMENT DIDN T CARE, BUT ALEX COOLEY DID. IN LATE 1972, HE CONVINCED THE BUILDING S OWNERS TO LET HIM STAGE A SERIES OF MIDNIGHT ROCK CONCERTS. Alex Cooley, Music Promoter: This is an amazing edifice. I mean this is, the sound, the acoustics are so wonderful. Narration: SOME OF THE BIGGEST ACTS OF THE DAY WERE BROUGHT IN AND, BY THE SUMMER OF 1974, YOUNG PEOPLE WERE COMING TO THE THEATRE IN DROVES. THE THEATRE HAD ALSO BEEN PLACED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. IT APPEARED THE FOX HAD BEEN GIVEN A NEW LEASE ON LIFE. AND THEN AGAIN APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING. Joe Myers, Former Atlanta Landmarks Attorney: I remember when I went out to pick up the newspaper in the morning and came back in, and I felt like someone had hit me in the stomach. Maria Saporta, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: I came home in 1974 and it was right at that moment, you know, that the announcement came that Southern Bell, now Bell South, was going to build their headquarters on the site of the Fox Theater and they said that was the only place they could have their headquarters. Bill Bugg, Fox Theatre Realtor: Southern Bell had contracted to purchase the land broom clean, which means the theatre would be taken down, as well as parking lots in the area and uh, the purchase price was uh, approximately four and a quarter million dollars. Maynard Jackson, Former Atlanta Mayor: I was absolutely horrified. It was incredible, unbelievable that anybody would even consider doing that. And it was also sheer folly to think that we would ever issue the demolition permit. Alex Cooley, Music Promoter: It goes back to the old Joni Mitchell song, they tore down paradise and put up a parking lot. It was inconceivable. Narration: UNFORTUNATELY, THE IDEA OF TEARING DOWN PARADISE IN ATLANTA WAS ALL TOO CONCEIVABLE. Maria Saporta, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: It was almost like you were anti-american if you were saying let s preserve something that s old.
18 18 Narration: GONE -- WERE THE KIMBALL HOUSE, THE PEACHTREE ARCADE, NEARLY ALL THE OLD MOVIE PALACES, AND THE HENRY GRADY HOTEL Gene Brown, Fox Fan: Atlanta at the time was tear down everything that s old, put up something new and exciting. And they were not interested in saving anything. But those were the shockers, see, when, when they tore down Terminal Station, they tore down Union station.. And we lost a lot of our family mansions you know what were so special in Atlanta, then that s when it started dawning, that hey something has to be done. WSB-TV News: Save the Fox! About 50 to 75 high school students from metro Atlanta picketed today at the Fox Theatre. Their hope is that the historic Fox theater can be preserved from destruction. Narration: THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HOPED THE FOX COULD BE PRESERVED, AND THEY WEREN T ABOUT TO LET IT GO WITHOUT A FIGHT. WSB-TV News: Everyone here is really devoted to saving the Fox and they re all enthusiastic about coming down here. Narration: YOUNG AND OLD PICKETED, SIGNED PETITIONS, WROTE SAVE THE FOX ON THEIR PHONE BILLS, AND PASSED OUT LEAFLETS. Maria Saporta, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: It was a way to stop feeling helpless and I remember feeling helpless that you know, this this gem, this jewel was going to be destroyed and no one would be there to save it. Maynard Jackson, Former Atlanta Mayor: It became a movement by the way, I mean literally a movement in Atlanta Save the Fox, right, signs all over everywhere, people with buttons on and all this kind of thing. Hannah Storm, CBS Early Show: It s not just like restore the Fox or appreciate the Fox or donate to the Fox, it s Save the Fox. It was like a battle and that is what captured everybody s imagination. WSB-TV News: The people of Georgia have a definite interest in the Fox theater. Let me tell you something. The things that made Atlanta great are some of these places like the Fox theater. Floyd Hudgins, Former Georgia State Senator: I decided then that we needed to have a public hearing, and the reception that we got, I mean you just would not believe the amount of people that was in the Fox Theatre. They were hanging from the rafters. But the biggest thing that made an impression on me was the old gray haired momma would bring a 35 or 40 year old daughter and she d bring her 4 or 5 year old daughter uh down to the Fox and they were literally tears shed on the microphone when they were testifying.
19 19 Narration: 25-HUNDRED PEOPLE SHOWED UP THAT DAY, BUT JOHN STEMBLER, THE PRESIDENT OF MOSQUE INC., VOWED THE FOX WOULD GO EVEN IF THE PUBLIC OUTCRY SWAYED SOUTHERN BELL. THE MAJOR ATLANTA NEWSPAPERS SUPPORTED STEMBLER AND THE FOX WAS BRANDED AS A WHITE ELEPHANT ON THE EDITORIAL PAGES. LEGENDARY ACTRESS HELEN HAYES SHOT BACK, REMINDING ATLANTANS OF THE TREASURE THEY WERE ABOUT TO LOSE. AND SHE WAS NOT ALONE.. Mitzi Gaynor: I know it costs a lot to keep a thing like that going, but if you lose that, you ll never get another one, because you can never afford to build another theatre like that. Liberace: Well, I suggested giving a benefit performance where they could charge benefit prices for tickets and kind of get the ball rolling. Narration: SEVERAL GROUPS WERE WORKING TO SAVE THE FOX, INCLUDING ATLANTA LANDMARKS. THE GROUP WAS AN ODD MIX OF LAWYERS, ARCHITECTS, PRESERVATIONISTS, ORGAN LOVERS AND DREAMERS. Joe Myers, Former Atlanta Landmarks Attorney: It s not a corporation that s made up of the movers and shakers in Atlanta. It does not have the major corporate support. We do not have the society support. What we do have though is a corporation with a lot of energy. Narration: THEY WOULD NEED EVERY OUNCE OF THAT ENERGY AS THEY TACKLED THE TOUGH TASK OF FINDING A WIN-WIN SOLUTION TO SAVE THE FOX. Joe Myers, Former Atlanta Landmarks Attorney: You know, there was of course Southern Bell, which desperately wanted a new office building. There was Mosque Inc., which uh desperately wanted to sell the Fox Theatre, because we were in the midst of a very, very difficult real estate recession at that point. Alan Thomas, Atlanta Landmarks Board: Because the other three theaters had since been done away with and the movie business downtown had just been shredded, I think they didn t see mm the tremendous emotional and passionate attachment to the Fox and so uh I think that the two parties came together more innocently than not. Joe Myers, Former Atlanta Landmarks Attorney: The city said uh that Southern Bell is the largest employer in the city, and we ve got to keep them in the city. MARTA of course was coming along at that time and they had an interest in this whole area. And then of course there was um uh most importantly the public.
20 20 Maria Saporta, Atlanta Journal-constitution: The grass roots support really just kinda spread and it became more and more of a controversial issue and I think behind the scenes Southern Bell was beginning to try and figure out if there were any compromise positions. WSB-TV News: What we have been able to do thanks to Mr. Rast and Southern Bell is to work out an arrangement with them whereby we can have a guarantee that until May anyone who wishes to come forward to purchase the interest of Southern Bell in the Fox Theatre may do so. Narration: THE FOX HAD BEEN GIVEN A SIX-MONTH REPRIEVE, BUT COULD A WHITE KNIGHT WITH $3.5 MILLION BE FOUND IN THAT TIME? SOUTHERN BELL TOLD ALL PROSPECTIVE BUYERS TO RUN THEIR IDEAS BY LANDMARKS.. BUT NONE OF THE PLANS WORKED OUT. HOWEVER, A STATE FUNDED FEASIBILITY STUDY DID SHOW THAT THE THEATRE COULD SUPPORT ITSELF IF THE MORTGAGE WERE PAID IN FULL AND IF THE FOX BECAME A NON-PROFIT. THE FEASIBILITY STUDY, THE MORATORIUM AND THE GRASSROOTS SUPPORT WERE ALL PROMISING, BUT THEY WEREN T ENOUGH. WSB-TV News: But come January 2 nd there will be no Fox Theatre as such. On that date the management says it will lock the doors and let no-one else inside. Narration: DURING DECEMBER, ATLANTANS SAID THEIR FINAL GOODBYES TO THE FOX. THEY TOOK IN ONE LAST TOUR, ONE LAST ROCK-N-ROLL SHOW, EVEN ONE LAST ORGAN CONCERT STARRING LYN LARSEN. John McCall, American Theatre Organ Society: And he came rising out of the pit playing some incredible console riser, and I looked at everybody and we were all in tears. We were in tears from the joy of the music he was making, but we were also crying big tears thinking how could anyone conceivably bring this theater down. Narration: THEN, ON JANUARY SECOND 1975, THE OWNERS OF THE FOX SHOWED THE LESS THAN FABULOUS MOVIE THE KLANSMAN AND LOCKED THE THEATRE S DOORS - FOR GOOD. Ralph Morrison, Fox Fan: We went to this dreadful, dreadful sort of wake like event of this awful movie that they showed at the Fox, just to go to the Fox what we thought might be the very final time.