At the Palace: The Streets of Sin and The Mikado of Jazz — 1928
by Paula Bosse
Elm & Ervay, 89 years ago… (click for larger image)
by Paula Bosse
The photograph above is not the greatest quality, but it’s a photo I’ve never seen before. It shows the Palace Theatre in the 1600 block of Elm Street, just west of Ervay, with the well-known (and very large) Van Winkle’s Book Store in the background. One of the things that makes this photo so interesting is seeing the cumbersome support tower on top of the building holding up the ornate Palace sign. See what a slightly different Palace sign looked like the next year, lit up in neon, here.
The photo above was an amateur snapshot, taken to document the tour of the traveling live stage revue The Mikado of Jazz which played the Palace in late May of 1928. The photo below — which shows the revue’s stage manager and his wife standing on the sidewalk in front of the Palace — was taken at the same time.
Part of a sign visible behind them was probably advertising that the theater was “cooled by refrigerated air.” The ad at the bottom of this post includes this informative little tidbit:
COMFORTABLY COOL — ALWAYS!
Scientifically correct the Palace ventilation system refreshes you with cooled breezes issued from the ceiling. You are not chilled!
What was The Mikado of Jazz? It appears to have been a jazzed-up version of The Mikado — making Gilbert & Sullivan relevant to 1920s’ audiences — like Hamilton for the Jazz Age (“This is said to be the first time that any comic opera has been syncopated and presented with a stage band.” — Dallas Morning News blurb, May 20, 1928)
Also on the bill was the “world premiere” (?) of the film The Street of Sin, starring Emil Jannings and Fay Wray, a live stage orchestra, an organ player, and a Felix the Cat cartoon.
Texas Mesquiter (Mesquite), May 25, 1928
All at the Palace — “Dallas’ Greatest Entertainment!” Enjoyed at a comfortable temperature.
Sources & Notes
Photographs (taken in May, 1928) are from the Rene Irene Grage Photograph and Ephemera Collection, 1921-1930s, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections: more information on the first photo (the view of the theater from across the street) is here; more info on the second photo is here.
For other posts that show the Palace in this era, see these posts:
- “Next-Door Neighbors: The Palace Theater and Lone Star Seed & Floral — 1926,” here
- “Dazzling Neon, Theater Row — 1929,” here
Click photos and clippings to see larger images.
Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.
Not only did you get the truly eclectic pairing of Emil Jannings and Felix the Cat on May 27, 1928, but there’s the promise of Dallas’ own Bebe Daniels in The Fifty-fifty Girl “next Saturday.” Bebe’s vehicle appears to be one of those fairly rare silent films that survives. The interesting street scene is new to my eyes too.
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[…] Great photo of the Palace Theatre on Elm and Ervay in November or December of 1927 (“My Best Girl” starring Mary Pickford opened at the end of November and ran for a week or two into the middle of December). The movie seems like a bit of an afterthought, though — I mean… ART LANDRY IS IN TOWN, and his giant 78 disc replica promotional sign is crowding out others on the marquee. The touring jazz-band leader (who insisted he did NOT play jazz music — “I became a bandmaster when jazz was jax. In those days noise was the objective. […] The day of jazz is gone….” ) was nestled here in Big D for the holiday season and was apparently well-received. (See another photo of the Palace from about this same time here.) […]