North Tonawanda, NY –The Historic Riviera Theatre and Performing Arts Center on Webster Street will begin reinstalling their iconic 1947 Marquee over their front entrance today ( April 22), and the work is expected to be completed on Friday Under the direction of General Contractor Peyton Barlow Co., the Wagner Electric Sign Company of Elyria, Oh., removed the marquee from the building in October and transported it to their factory. There, they restored the original 1947 paint scheme, restored rose and green neon lights; added chasing lights throughout the marquee in the original chasing pattern; restored metal; added new wiring and new electronics including LED display panels that mimic the look of the original lettering and background and a new roof.
The historic marquee is being reinstalled in its original location.
Frey Electric Co. worked on electrical infrastructure updates to the Theatre in preparation for the return of the restored marquee.
A local landmark and movie house, the Historic Riviera Theatre is part of the historic district known as the Webster Street Erie Canal Corridor.
The theatre was constructed in 1926 and was originally named "The New Rivera."
The first films shown were Upstage starring Norma Shearer and The Mona Lisa.
The mighty Wurlitzer Theatre organ -the Opus 1524 - was installed on Nov. 19, 1926 for the purpose of providing background music for the silent films the theater showed and is still intact and used occasionally in concerts.
Financial support for the marquee project was provided by The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation along with East Hill Foundation; the Grigg-Lewis Foundation, Inc., and donations from the community. The Rivera held more than 175 events last year and attracted more than 80,000 patrons.