THE ATLANTA FOX THEATRE IS ONE OF THE FEW REMAINING "SUPER-DELUXE" MOTION PICTURE PALACES. SHE OPENED ON CHRISTMAS DAY, 1929, TO A HOUSE OF 4,462


AS A MEMBER OF AN EXCLUSIVE RANK OF GIANTS, SECOND ONLY TO THE NEW YORK ROXY, ONE OF THE FIVE SUPER-DELUXE FOX THEATRES. ATLANTA, DETROIT AND ST. LOUIS SURVIVE; THE SAN FRANCISCO AND THE BROOKLYN ARE LONG GONE.

THE ATLANTA FOX DIFFERED IN TWO WAYS FROM THE OTHER FOX HOUSES: FIRST, SHE WAS BUILT AS PART OF A SHRINE TEMPLE, THE THEATRE SECTION DESIGNED IN COLLABORATION WITH THE WILLIAM FOX CHAIN (CHIEF AMONG HIS CONQUESTS THE 5,8O0-SEAT ROXY), THE CONDITION BEING BILL FOX WOULD TAKE A LONG-TERM LEASE ON THE BIG ROOM. DESIGNED BY VETERAN ATLANTA ARCHITECTS MAYRE, ALGER & VINOUR, THE EXQUISITELY CRAFTED LAYOUT OF THE THEATRE PORTION WAS ENGINEERED BY C. HOWARD CRANE, DESIGNER OF, AMONG MANY OTHERS, THE B'WAY MUSIC BOX THEATRE.

SECONDLY THE FOX DIFFERED IN STYLE, FOR THE ATLANTA WAS AN "ATMOSPHERIC HOUSE" WITH STARS AND CLOUDS ABOVE (AS OPPOSED TO THE OTHER "HARDTOPS"), AN IDEA STOLEN FROM ATMOSPHERIC ARCHITECT KING JOHN EBERSON, WHO IN FACT WAS "MISTAKENLY" LISTED AS THE THEATRE'S DESIGNER IN THE MAY, 1930 ARCHITECTURAL RECORD.

COMMENCING OPENING DAY IN 1929, THE FOX WAS A "PRESENTATION HOUSE" WITH A "COMBINATION POLICY" (TALKING PICTURES AND FANCHON & MARCO STAGE SHOWS), BUT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE DEPRESSION, FOX FILMS FELL INTO RECEIVERSHIP, AND LACKING THE NECESSARY LEASE MONIES, THE YAARAB SHRINE TEMPLE DEFAULTED ON MORTGAGE AND TAX PAYMENTS. THE $2.28 MILLION HOUSE (source: Atlanta History, summer, 1995) WAS AUCTIONED FOR $75,000 ON THE FULTON COUNTY COURT HOUSE STEPS IN DECEMBER, 1932.

SUBSEQUENTLY ACQUIRED IN 1933 BY LUCAS & JENKINS AT A COST OF $725,000, THE SOUTH'S LEADING FILM EXHIBITION CHAIN, THE FOX PROSPERED AS THEIR FLAGSHIP HOUSE AND UNDER L&J'S GUIDANCE, FOR THE NEXT THIRTY-FIVE YEARS, THE FOX WAS THE SINE QUA NON AMONG SOUTHERN THEATRES, PLAYING THE VERY BEST PRODUCT OF ALL STUDIOS, PRIMARILY FILM FARE FOR THE FAMILY. "SONG OF THE SOUTH" DEBUTED THERE IN 1946, AND THE FOX WAS FOR TWO DECADES HOST TO THE ONE WEEK STAND OF THE PRESTIGIOUS METROPOLITAN OPERA SPRING TOUR.

BY THE EARLY 70'S, THE FOX WAS REDUCED TO SCREENING POORLY-ATTENDED "BLAXPLOITATION" FLICKS AND, IN 1975, SLATED FOR CERTAIN DEMOLITION, THIS MAGNIFICENT STRUCTURE WAS SAVED AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR BY CONCERNED CITIZENS IN THE FORM OF ATLANTA LANDMARKS, INC., HER CURRENT OWNER.

THE FOX HAS SINCE 1975 BEEN LISTED AMONG THE TOP-GROSSING LEGITIMATE THEATRES IN THE WORLD! (photo by Author, load-out of WICKED, November, 2008)

FOR A MUCH MORE DETAILED HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION, SEE CHAPTER 13.