New marquee lights up Castro Theatre
March 12, 2008 10:13 PM
A brand new marquee was lit on Wednesday night at the Castro Theatre with the help of the restoration company Neon Lights.
The crew and the Nasser family who own the theater waited anxiously to see the newly improved lights that glow at night in the Castro.
At 7:03 p.m., cheers and applause resound as color shines from the six story. Some in the crowd call out, “C-A-S-T-R-O,” then yelled out, “CASTRO!”
The restoration of the Castro Theatre marquee happened because of the recent autobiographical film production about former San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, which is set to conclude filming in the following weeks.
“I am happy with how beautiful it turned [out],” said Paul Scofield, the supervisor of the restoration painting. “It meant a lot to me to work on it because it is a[n] icon of the city.”
The Nasser Brothers, who were theater enterprisers, built the Castro Theatre in 1922. It was not until July of 2001 when the Nasser Family once again took operation of the famous San Francisco landmark. The Castro Theatre is host to many film festivals throughout the year and seats about 1,500 people.
“Being apart of the gay community, I have loved this theater,” said Shawna Peterson, 40, neon light bender and personnel to the restoration. “I feel like I have put my handy work […] that goes beyond the name of the theater.”
Bill Logen, the Castro Theatre producer and coordinator said the theater was looking “shabby.”
“It was an opportunity we could not pass up.” In addition, Logen said with money given to the restoration from both the film company and the Nasser, the restoration costs were $85,000.
Libby Cahill who works with Neon Works helped shape the neon lights for the Castro Theater marquee. She said that many of the people involved in restoring the sign were thrilled in working to restore a historical and significant landmark in the country.
Cahill’s cousin, Beth Bellizzi, also contracted for the restoration removed the former layers of the marquee until the original patterns were found and said of the experience was similar to, “unveiling archaeology.”
“I hope the people of San Francisco continue to understand the importance of the grand movie theater and keeps the tradition going,” Scofield.
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