THE LEGEND LIVES ON: ATLANTA’S FOX THEATRE
Premiering Sunday, December 25, 7 p.m.
The Fox Theatre is truly an Atlanta icon – ranked for the last decade as one of the top-grossing performing arts venues in the world. Its blinking marquee has become synonymous with the city, and as GPB’s new documentary “The Legend Lives On: Atlanta’s Fox Theatre” reveals, the story of the building itself is just as entertaining as one of the many shows the theatre hosts. With a plotline that includes escaping financial ruin and characters like Mighty Mo – one of the largest Moller Pipe Organs in existence – the chronicle of the Fox Theatre only adds to its allure.
“The Legend Lives On: Atlanta’s Fox Theatre” premieres Sunday, December 25 at 7 p.m. in celebration of the 87th anniversary of the venue’s opening on Christmas Day in 1929. It will encore Monday, December 26 at 8 p.m. and Tuesday, January 3 at 7 p.m.
The documentary traces the theatre’s beginnings to the Roaring ‘20s in Atlanta when the “Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine Yaarab Temple” decided to build a bigger and better clubhouse at the corners of Peachtree Street and Ponce De Leon Avenue that would “out Baghdad Baghdad.”
The project was initially estimated to cost about $1.5 million, but when the figures continued to rise, the shriners realized they needed a financial partner. Movie palace mogul William Fox stepped in, and the theatre became his namesake.
After a spectacular opening on Christmas Day in 1929, the Depression hit and the Fox closed just two years after its debut. In 1935, hope for the Fox was renewed when a group called Mosque Incorporated stepped in and opened up the Egyptian Ballroom as a Dance Hall.
As the documentary reveals, during the ‘40s and ‘50s, first-run movies and live shows kept the Fox solvent. Boasting star power including New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Elvis, the Fox was earning national, and even international attention.
Moving into the ‘60s and ‘70s, “The Legend Lives On: Atlanta’s Fox Theatre” explores how legendary music promoter Alex Cooley’s “Midnight at the Fox” shows brought in a younger audience who galvanized around the “Save The Fox” campaign. The campaign played one of the most pivotal roles in the theatre’s history, helping to save it from demolition to make way for new Southern Bell headquarters.
Along the way, the documentary also features many of the Fox employees who work behind the scenes to maintain the atmosphere and create the magic that has thrilled audiences for generations.
Viewers will also learn about initiatives like “Fox in a Box,” designed for elementary school students and how the Fox Theatre Institute offers advice, assistance and grants to places like the Desoto Theatre in Rome, Georgia and the Plaza Theatre on Ponce De Leon in Atlanta.
Don’t miss “The Legend Lives On: Atlanta’s Fox Theatre,” premiering Sunday, December 25 at 7 p.m. on GPB with encores Monday, December 26 at 8 p.m. and Tuesday, January 3 at 7 p.m.
As one of the largest PBS stations in the nation, Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media), has been creating content worth sharing for over 50 years. With nine television stations, 17 radio stations and a multi-faceted web presence, GPB strives to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of our viewers and listeners with programming that includes statewide radio news, current affairs, high school sports, educational resources for teachers and students and enlightening programs about our state like Georgia Outdoors, On Second Thought, Political Rewind and Two-Way Street.
About the Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is one of Atlanta’s premiere venues for live entertainment and declared a Top Stop of the Decade by Venues Today Magazine and the #1 non-residency venue worldwide for the decade by Billboard Magazine. In April 2013, Rolling Stone Magazine announced that the Fox Theatre was one of “The Best Big Rooms in America” as part of their “Venues That Rock” series. In addition, the Fox Theatre was nominated for Theatre of the Year by Billboard and Pollstar Magazines, and awarded the Outstanding Historic Theatre of the Year award in 2011 by the League of Historic American Theatres. For the past decade, the Fox Theatre has been consistently ranked in the top three non-residency theatres in North America for gross ticket sales by industry trade magazines, Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today. The Fox Theatre has the #1 social media presence for any theatre or performing arts center in North America, for any venue between 2,000 and 5,000 seats, and for any Georgia venue according to the Social Media Power 100 compiled by Venues Today Magazine. The Fox’s 4,665 seat theatre hosts 250 performances a year. An impressive range of events from rock concerts to Broadway, ballets, comedy and movies continue to attract more than 500,000 visitors per year. In addition, the Fox is host to wedding receptions, trade shows, corporate meetings and association functions in its fabulous ballrooms, lounge and outdoor terrace. As a 501(c) 3 non-profit arts organization, the Fox Theatre stands today as a fiercely protected landmark and a nationally acclaimed theater and is celebrating its 86th year. The partners of the Fox Theatre are Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, Lexus, Georgian Terrace Hotel/Livingston Restaurant+Bar, Georgia Natural Gas, Regions, Atlanta Beverage, Grady Health System, and Whole Foods Market. Tickets for all events are available at The Fox Theatre Ticket Office, online at www.FoxTheatre.org, and at all Atlanta Ticket Alternative locations including Whole Foods Markets, or toll free at 855-285-8499. For group sales information contact the Fox Theatre at (404) 881-2000, or visit The Fox Theatre website at www.foxtheatre.org.