Saturday, June 24, 2017

115. History in Ads: IDEAL THEATER, Movie Ads, 1929

RAMON NAVARRO in THE FLYING FLEET. 1929. Print ad, Graphic Magazine

The advent of the moving picture during the first decade of 20th century Philippines, relegated the old performance arts like zarzuela and the moro-moro to the background. In time, movie houses began sprouting in Manila—and IDEAL THEATER—built in the last quarter of 1910, initially made of wood,  would be hosting the best of Hollywood movies.

Source: Beyond Forgetting, flickr.com
IDEAL THEATER was founded by five Manila families—the Roceses, Tuazons, Teoticos, Guidotes and Basas. It originally had a seating capacity of 400 people, with tickets at 20 centavos for the orchestra, and 40 centavos for balcony.

The theater could be accessed thru Plaza Goiti and along Dulung Bayan St. Its permanent address would become Rizal Avenue after buildings between Dulung Bayan and Salcedo streets were demolished to give way to the new landmark Avenida.

IDEAL THEATER became a byword in city entertainment ever since its first film offering, “The Exodus”, a French production from Gaumont Film Co. After Italian movies, American-made films of Fox, Universal and Famous Players proved to be blockbuster hits among moviegoers.

This led to the expansion and renovation of IDEAL THEATER in the early 1920s, that saw its stature rise as the theater that exclusively showed first-rate Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) films. It would be renovated in 1933 again, under the helm of Architect Pablo Antonio (now National Artist), who gave it a distinct Art Deco look.

THE VIKING, an MGM epic filmed in color. Print Ad, Graphic Magazine. 1929

It was again refurbished in 1955; its screen and stage were widened, and its seating capacity expanded from 1,000 to 5,000. At its prime, the fabulous IDEAL THEATER stood as one of the finest moviehouses in the country, providing its patrons with maximum viewing enjoyment owing to its modern amenities, ambience and elegant features such as its spectacular lobby.

GRETA GARBO & JOHN GILBERT in A WOMAN OF ARRAIRS, 1929. Graphic.

 Sadly, IDEAL THEATER was closed in the 1970s, and further fell  into disarray in the 1980s with the construction of  the LRT (Light Railway Transit) along Avenida. Shortly after, IDEAL THEATER,  was demolished,  its hallowed place taken over by a shopping center.

THE TRAIL OF '98. 1929. Print Ad. Graphic Magazine.

These 1929 movie film ads sponsored by IDEAL THEATER are a testament to its reputation as the crown jewel of movie entertainment in “the most beautiful city in the Far East”.

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