Designed by Leon H. Lempert, Jr., the Hippodrome was Michael Shea's first movie house in Buffalo. It opened in 1914 with a seating capacity of 2,800. Later known as the Center Theatre, the building was demolished in 1983.
Excerpts from Motography, November 10, 1917:
"During its three years of service to the public this beautiful house has established itself as one of the most excellent in the picture field. The Hippodrome has proved itself to be a dignified and refine place of entertainment and has given an inestimable amount of satisfaction and pleasure to its patrons."
"The bills for the Hippodrome are drawn from Artcraft, Paramount, Goldwyn, Selznick, Triangle, and Metro, together with special productions and the better comedies. The Hippodrome Pictorial Digest is compiled from the film newspapers. The Symphony orchestra conducts regular popular concerts.
"Shea's Hippodrome was constructed without consideration of expense and is notable for its convenience and completeness in arrangements and for the up-to-the-minute character of its equipment and the comfort provided for patrons. The house has a staff of almost a hundred employees.
"Music is made a special feature at the Hippodrome and attracts many patrons. The concert orchestra consists of twenty-six men and is provided with a very complete musical library."
"Through careful rehearsals, fitting musical settings are arranged for each production. The Hippodrome organ is one of the finest orchestral instruments in New York.
"A very attractive feature and novel department is the art room, where signs are designed and where plates are designed for special electrotypes which are used in connection with newspaper advertisements. These ads have created favorable comment.
"Shea's Hippodrome is in many ways probably the most interesting institution in New York State."
Above postcard from the Theatre Talks Collection
Bottom photograph from Motography, November 10, 1917
Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the year by the Theatre Historical Society.