Backstage and Non-Public Areas

When looking at the Fox from any view, it is an enormous building. It literaly takes up a quarter of a city block. The Fox is composed of 220,000 square feet of space. To put this in perspective, the auditorium area takes up a mere 65,000 square feet of that space! Most people are only familiar with the main auditorium and it surprises a number people to learn of there are ballrooms along with the additional non-public areas that include several floors of dressing rooms, kitchens, utility passageways, and the like. The Fox is a true complex in every sense of the term.

Let's first start with the auditorium. When a production is going on, there is a lot of lighting that has to be controlled. The photo at left is the main lighting control panel located to the left of the stage as you are sitting in the auditorium. From this thirty-five foot wide panel, almost every light used in the auditorium and stage area can be simultaneously controlled by a large "steering wheel" located in the center of the panel. The board controls 450 circuits and 530 kilowatts of power used for the stage and auditorium lighting by means of over 200 resistance dimmers. This is all original 1929 technology and it is a tribute to its builders that it remains mostly operational today. In the mid-eighties, the Fox's stage electrical and audio systems were upgraded and those improvements continue in order to handle the most demanding 21st Century stage production.

To the left of the stage the dressing room wing of the Fox. On the stage level is the "green room" where artists come and wait for their time on the stage. There is a self-service, high-speed elevator that travels up the seven floors and downstairs to the areas performers need to get to. The elevator was one of the first high-speed elevators installed in Atlanta. Compared to the elevators in the lobby, it is less than half the size and is very plain. In addition to the elevator, there is a staircase so people can walk up down the floors instead of using the elevator.

One floor above stage level are the two principle star dressing rooms. They are the largest dressing rooms in the Fox. During the "Dark Days" of saving the Fox, none of the dressing rooms were anything to crow about, but as the Fox started to present more prestigious events, more attention was given to making the two main star dressing rooms more becoming to their occupants. Two pivotal stars that got super star treatment were Yul Brynner who was touring with "The King and I" and Stephanie Mills with "The Wiz". Both made big demands of how their dressing rooms were to be appointed. Mr. Brynner went so far as to send the Fox an eight page typewritten list of requirements, down to the square inch, of how his dressing room, complete with a separate reception room, was to be, He even included paint swatches and carpet samples. One of Ms. Mills' requirements was to have her dressing room painted bright pink. The dressing rooms remained this way for decades long after these two stars made their appearances at the Fox. For many years after their performances at the Fox, the rooms were jokingly referred to as the Yul Brynner and Stephanie Mills suites. Males or females stars were placed in the either decidedly masculine or feminine principle star's dressing room. Eventually, the Fox was able to refrain from decorating each room for a certain performer due in part to the fact that the Fox is on the National Historic Landmark list.

The next three floors contain fifteen dressing rooms that can accomodate approximately 130 performers. There are eleven dressing rooms that were intended for individual performers and four large "Chorus" rooms for groups of musicians and dancers. As you would expect, each of these rooms contain mirrors, lights, and large windows. There is one toilet and shower on each floor. As sad as it is, Atlanta Landmarks at first attempted to decorate these areas so that a bit of the Fox's uniqueness could be shared with those that performed there, but it turned out it was a quite  common occurance that if anything was not screwed down in place, people would steal what they could during their stay at the Fox. For this reason, the dressing rooms are kept pretty spartan and what is placed there is made very hard to steal.

The sixth and seventh floors house a two-story studio with a 920 square foot floor space. It is overlooked by an observation control room booth that was originally designed for radio broadcasting. At first, the studio was used by WSB radio, then later WATL. Today, the studio's lower floor  is used as a rehearsal area for the performers and the observation room is not used.

Originally, there were three sets of dressing room areas at the Fox. The main set of dressing rooms are for performers, which we just visited. The second set was composed of locker rooms, showers and storarge areas that were located under the Spanish Room for the Shrine's Musical Units as well as the Fox's short lived in-house orchestra. When the Spanish Room was converted to the main concession area for the auditorium, those dressing rooms were demolished. The last set of dressing areas was much smaller than the other two and used by the house staff and ushers. They were located under the Lobby and Auditorium on the first lower floor. Back in the early days when the Fox had a staff of ushers, they were required to wear dress uniforms. In the 50s and 60s, since the Fox was operating under a general admission policy, primarily due to cost saving measures, the Fox no longer used a large staff of ushers to assist patrons. For decades, the dressing rooms went   During the April 1996 fire, the men's locker room was mostly destroyed.  In recontructing that part of the complex, it was re-designed and made part of the 'business" portion of the main downstairs ladies lounge. Now that the Fox is requiring staff members to once again wear uniforms similar to the original usher uniforms, I imagine some of the old locker rooms are being used once again.

Moving from the dressing room wing back to the stage area, let's take a minute and look around. Directly above the stage is a loft area where curtains and stage props can be raised up to for storage. When they are needed, they can be quickly lowered in place, even during performances. Both electrical powered hoists, and plain old-fashioned human muscle are used to raise and lower the racks that carry props to and from the loft. There is a unique set of lights fitting in the loft to illuminate backdrops that most theaters do not have.

Unlike most stages from the era the Fox was constructed, modern screw-jack lifts were incorporated to portions of the orchestra pit and stage area. They were state of the art at the time. There are six lifts, two measure six by forty feet and can be operated carrying a full load up or down. These "Chorus Lifts" may be used to carry performers, props, and scenery above stage level or below for loading or unloading. The center lift holds the gigantic AZX Altec Lansing Voice of the Theater Motion Picture Speaker System below its flooring. It can be raised in a matter of seconds to give voice to any motion picture that is being shown, then lowered flat in an equally quick amount of time returning the stage to a flat performance stage. .

The Orchestra Pit contains the other three lifts for the stage. There is a small center riser that is surrounded by the main orchestra lift. These two lifts can carry a ful 150-peice orchestra from stage level to 40 feet below. The last lift is dedicated to travelling the Möller pipe organ console from its below stage berth up to stage level. The console is so massive, it is permenantly fixed to this lift. A temporary flooring section can be fitted above the organ to conceal it and allow the full use of the orchestral pit.

To the right of the stage is the Scenery Storage Wing. There are four levels, each containing a single 40 foot by 35 storage room that was originally used to store Shrine stage props and other performance items. When the building was taken over by Atlanta Landmarks the third level of this storage space began to be used by the house's restoration team as their workshop. It continues to serve this purpose today. The rest of the rooms are mainly used to store large artifacts from the building, stage equipment, and other large items that do not have a proper place elsewhere in the complex. I spent many hours in the work room painting and priming things, including a good number of the urns that were used as ashtrays in the 1980s and 1990s. You can get to his room by either a large open-air service elevator, or you can take a set of stairs. The service elevator is down-right crude compared to the everyday public elevators we are accustomed too. The unit has 3 clap-board wooden walls and no ceiling, so riders can see the exposed elevator shaft and its inner workings. A small exposed light bulb in the elevator provides illumination. The elevator goes up of down by pressing in and holding either the "up" or "down" button. since the elevator was designed strickly for the use of transportating large, bulky, and heavy objects to the four storage areas along with one person handling the control. It was not meant for carring people, thus its crudeness.

Travelling up and over to the opposite end of the auditorium, there sits the Projection Room. As the name would imply, this is where the film projectors and a set of basic auditorium lighting controls are. The film projectors come with a history of their own. This is not the first theater they were installed in. Originally, the projectors were installed in the Loew's Grand Theater. The Grand remained the Loew's Corporation's flagship theatre until it was shuttered in November of 1978 and up to that time, the Grand's projection and sound equipment was regularly upgraded and well maintained. In December of 1978 and only weeks after the theater was shuttered, the upper office portion of the building suffered a major fire that caused the entire structure to be condemned, despite the theater surviving the fire. Prior to the building being totally razed, the Fox purchased its projection equipment along with other appointments from the Grand.

In 1995, The Columbia Theatre, which was originally the Erlanger Opera House and went on to be named the Howard Theatre, the Atlanta Theater, and Martin's Cinerama, was razed by its owners, the North Avenue Presbyterian Church. The Fox was able to purchase those projectors to add to its projection booth prior to the building's destruction. These are the projectors used at the Fox today. I do not know what has become of the projectors that came from the Loew's Grand.

Both the projectors from the GRand and Columbia are TODD-AO DP70 units that were designed in 1953 for the demanding purpose of projecting the new ultra-wide screen CinemaScope format. Because of the extreme curvature of the CinemaScope format, it was very hard to project a uniform light pattern across the entirety of the screen. Not only was this projector designed to overcome this problem, but it was also made to allow for its owners to project every known film format of the day on the same projector with just a few adjustments.

These "all-purpose" projectors were built by the N. V. Philips' Gloeilampenfabrieken company of Eindhoven, Netherlands. They are only slightly larger than a standard 35mm projectors of the period, yet they can present commercial film stock from any of the eight motion picture systems that were in use until 2014. It is fully compatible with, and quickly convertible for 70mm or 65mm film with up to six magnetic sound tracks, 35mm CinemaScope with four magnetic or single optical sound tracks, and Perspecta-sound, Wide Screen film of any aspect ratio with either magnetic or optical sound and standard 35mm film. The scientifically compounded curve of light gate prevents film from buckling. The single blade double speed conical shutter provides highest light transmission of any projector made. The film stock is both water-cooled and air-cooled with the leading and trailing edges of the film gate having integral air scoops that aid in dissipating heat. Rollers, drums, sprockets and the film gate are made from non- magnetic materials - eliminates possibility of magnetic soundtrack damage and necessity for frequent degaussing. There are two independent motors on each projector, 24 and 30 fps. All past and present films can be projected. The projector is lubricated by a triple-filtered metered lubrication system. From what I understand, These projectors are no longer made and are highly sought after. It is through the Fox's good fortune that it now has a fully compliment of these incredible projectors in its projection booth.

In the late 2000s, the Fox underwent digital conversion so it can continue to present modern films on the now-standard digital projection format. The Fox employs large Digital Light Processing projectors that are state of the art. These also work with a revised modern multi-track digital audio system for perfect sound. The film projectors are being retained in case they are ever needed.

Located to the left of the film projectors in the projection booth is a strange-looking projector. It is an original item from 1929 and called a Brenograph Jr. It is used to project slides of various types, such as sing-along words and the famous "bouncing ball" used to show people which words to sing during the sing-along. It can also project such things as "Coming Soon" over other projected images during the Fox Summer Film Festivals.

The backside of the room holds racks of sound equipment for the auditorium. For over a decade, Atlanta Landmarks operated the Fox with sound equipment that dated back to the 1960s. While it was capable of reproducing multi-track audio, it did not have any equipment to decode the popular Dolby Surround Sound. I remember when the Fox hosted the World Premiere of Burt Reynold's "Sharky's Machine" which was filmed in Atlanta in the mid-eighties. The Fox didn't have any Dolby surround equipment and it had to be rented for the premiere. The same had to be done for the premieres of "Annie" and "The Right Stuff". Finally towards the end of the 1980s, the Fox was able to purchase its own surround system and it was further upgraded during the conversion to digital cinema.
On the walls of the projection room there is a lot of graffiti. The crews of shows that were at the Fox at various times have left this. You also may notice that there is something rather different about the room and more bunker-like than other rooms you've been in. You're not mistaken; there is something different about this room. Back when the movies were young, film stock was on a material called celluloid acetate. You've probably heard of the terms, but were you aware that it was EXTREMELY flammable? (For an example, watch the Italian film Nuevo Cinema Paradiso to see the frightening consequences!) As the film passed through the projector, it was a matter of inched in front of a very hot arc light. Because the film moved so fast, it stayed cool and did not heat up to the point of flamability. But should the film stop with no protection from the arc light, it could burst into flame in a matter of seconds. Because of this, projection room fires were a serious concern. Considering the Fox held almost 5000 patrons, should a projection room fire break out, the rush to escape the building could easily turn into a deadly stampede, and that does not take into consideration the potential of the fire itself.

The projection room was designed so that if a fire did occur there, it could be contained as best it could to allow the patrons time to escape and give the staff a fighting chance to put the fire out. The walls contain asbestos so the fire could be contained or at least slowed before it spread to the rest of the building, especially the auditorium. To give even more security to patrons, the stage was equipped with an asbestos curtain that was designed to act as a fire barrier should something on or backstage catch fire. The curtain could be dropped in a matter of seconds in case of an emergency. Fortunately, while there has never been a fire at the Fox during a performance. 

On one side of the room, there is a ladder that leads up into the ceiling. This leads to a place that few have seen. This is area above the sky and canopy above the auditorium. The photos above shows one of the high points in the canopy while the photo on the left is taken from the furthest back location just above the projection room. The curvature you see is where the sky comes in contact with the canopy. As with all the other illusions in the Fox, the canopy is made of plaster and wood. With exception to the canopy that is over the mural painting located at the Mezzanine lobby, there are no real canopies as they could pose potential fire hazards.

Above what appears to be the sky in the auditorium with 96 stars, about a third can be seen to twinkle. On this side of the sky, you can discover the secret of the stars in the heavens. Each star is a crystal that is dropped into a holder that protrudes through the ceiling. In the photo to the left, the gentleman is holding an actual star crystal in his hand so you can see just how small they are and what they really look like. Above the crystal sits a small light fixture that holds an 11-watt light bulb which illuminates the crystal. On some of the stars, there is an old-fashion device that was used by many homes to make their Christmas Tree lights blink on and off. As the current that power the light bulb passes through it, it heats up because of the conductivity in the device. When it reaches a certain temperature, it causes a thin metal conduit to move and break contact with it's terminal post. When that occurs, the electricity going to the light is turned off and the light goes out. The metal conduit quickly cools down in less than a second and comes back in contact with the terminal, turning the light back on. In these devices, the interval of light duration and the blinking effect was determined by the thickness and conductivity properties of the metal conduit and once the device is assembled, there is no way to alter its timing properties. This was a very effective and time-proven way to make lights flash that was used for decades long before the advent of electronically controlled lighting effects.

In addition to the stars, there are also clouds in the sky that actually move, which adds to the amazing realism of the sky ceiling. A second Brenograph Junior projector projects the images of clouds that gives the effect of the clouds in constant motion, moving from side to side of the auditorium sky. The clouds take approximately 105 minutes to complete their journey across the sky. The negative image of clouds is painted on a rotating disc inside the projector that throws the image of the clouds up onto the sky. The original projector was retired in 2004, replaced by a new Brenograph. Alas, I do not have any photographs of  either cloud projector.

The Sunrise - Sunset system for the auditorium is another amazing machine that unfortunately, I also do not have any photos of. The machine is actually comprised of two units that are hidden on opposite corners of the Auditorium. When in operation it starts with a slight golden-pink glow over the eastern court wall corner. The glow increases in brilliance until the golden glow seems to be traveling diagonally across the auditorium as if the rising Sun was turning nighttime into day. At its zenith, the sky is almost totally a golden yellow color. At the end of the effect, the process is reversed, but from the opposite corner of the auditorium. The Sun finally sets to the western edge of the proscenium arch in a manner befitting a gorgeous natural sunset. I believe the way this system was originally intended to be used, the ceiling would be fully illuminated by the Sun as the patrons came into the auditorium before a performance. The sunset would occur just prior to a performance, putting the auditorium into darkness. The darkening auditorium would further act as one of the gentle warnings that told patrons to get into their seats so the show could start. The Sunrise would begin as the performance ended, possibly even starting during curtain calls at the performance. The Sunrise would re-illuminate the auditorium for the patron's egress back into the everyday world.

While the Sunrise-Sunset machine was known to exist, it had not been used in decades before Atlanta Landmarks took ownership of the building. It took three years of volunteer work by members of the I.B.E.W. and Joe Patten to overhaul and restore the machine back to operational status. The Sun once again rose and set in the Fox Theatre during its 50th anniversary celebration in 1979. It was a very complicated restoration because it was in such a bad state of decay and there was no set of instructions or wiring diagrams to aid the restoration work. All the work was pretty much done on a "let's see if this works" trial and error basis.

Leaving the heights of the upper floors, let's go down under the auditorium to the first of four underground levels.

There are several ways to get to the lower floors. For this virtual tour, I'm going back to the stage and taking a staircase located by the rear wall down to the first level. There are a total of 60 individual rooms in the four levels below the ground level. One of the first rooms you encounter on the right-hand side of the building is secured with a heavy door and some pretty impressive locks. It has to be. It is the main power junction for the building. While most of us normally think that big cables or something of the like handles power, this room houses many bare brass rods. Each one carries a tremendous amount of electrical power and the slightest touch would mean instant death. Only well-trained and experienced personnel are allowed access to this room. There are three special power lines coming into the main power room. They come from below Peachtree Street where the main power service is buried. They bring into the Fox enough power to adequately light an entire city of 60,000. In 2004, the average power bill of the Fox was approximately $30,000 per month!

Nearby the main power room is a large cabinet with some rather ancient looking equipment. It is the original telephone system. It remained to be used as the main system for the building into the 1990s, but times have changed and a more modern system now is in place. I do believe that while not used as the main system the original remains fully operational and is used as an intercom system for certain parts of the Fox.

This is also the level where musicians, dancers, and the organist gain access to the stage lifts and orchestra pit when they are retracted to the down position. When the command is given, each lift is raised by huge screw jacks that are turned by massive motors on either side. The screws sit in hydraulic fluid when retracted, to lubricate the screw jacks and to prevent them from rusting.

There are several lifts. The massive orchestra lift is the front most lift with a central lift that can be raised in order to present a solo stage. To the left of the orchestra lift, the theater's organ sits permanently on it's own lift. There are 3 more lifts directly on the stage that can be lifted or raised a total of 40 feet. The main stage lift also doubles as the home of the theater's massive Altec Lansing Voice of the Theater center movie speakers.

Also on this level is the machine room for the organ. In it is a massive 75 horsepower motor that turns an air pump that inflates a bellows. This is the source of all the air flowed into the organ pipes in order for it to work. the air travels from this room to the 5 organ chambers located on either side of the stage. There is only one speed and one sound level of the pipes. In order to control the volume in the auditorium, there are shutters at the opening of each of the 5 pipe chambers that open and close, varying the amount of sound that allowed in the auditorium.

Going down another level, leads to the main utility level. This is where the heating and cooling of the building are handled as well as some other tasks. Here next to the furnaces, sits a huge Chrysler V-8 engine firmly bolted to the floor. In times of emergency, this giant comes to life and turns a massive generator to keep the basic electrical needs of the Fox running in case of a main power failure.

Not far away from the generator is a large motor, which turns an even larger pulley. It turns the mechanism that moves the heated or cooled air through the entire building. Photos can be deceptive. While this photo may look "big", that pulley is taller than most people I know. The Fox was one of the first buildings in Atlanta to have a centralized air-conditioning system for the Auditorium. To tell you how radical and new central air conditioning was at that time, the White House in Washington, DC would get air conditioning for three more years!

Back then, chemical reactions to compression and expansion were not the norm in "high-tech" cooling systems. Freon had yet to be invented. In its place, water was used as the main cooling device. Forced air was fed into a chamber, shown on the left here. Passing through a mist of atomized water that was sprayed into the airflow cooled the air. The water would drift down to the bottom of the tower and be recycled. This system is referred to as a Swamp Coolant system and was installed when the building was constructed. The original system was overhauled and replaced in 1947 with a 500-ton system that is still in use today. It is extraordinarily efficient for the building and has not been altered since. It is capable of cooling the 65,000 square foot auditorium in under 30 minutes!
While this has never been confirmed, it was reported the original York Co. air conditioning system was donated to the Smithsonian Museum for its collection of industrial equipment. In modern times, the Smithsonian was contaced about this and according to Mr. Bill Worthington, the then curator of the Smithsonian's Engineering and Industry division, there was no record of the donation, nor is there a listing of any equipment that would match the description of it in their catalog system.  they have no full-size air conditioning compressors of any type or make.

Unfortunately, during the construction of the Southern Bell / BellSouth tower behind the Fox in the late 1970s, red-hot rivets fell into the tower twice causing fires. To compound matters one of the times was during the hottest summer Atlanta ever endured and caused the cancellation of performances.

While the air conditioning system cooled the Auditorium, This was the only section of the building it cooled. It did not cool the Ballroom, Salon, Spanish Room, or any of the offices or retail spaces. Since the building was saved in 1975, modern air conditioning systems have been added to cool those parts of the Fox and are located on the front roofs of the building.

The opposite of the air-conditioning system is the heating system. While natural gas was well established as a source of lighting, the designers of the Fox chose coal-powered furnaces to heat the building as this was the accepted way of heating well into the second half of the 20th Century. Coal was the most common way to heat large commercial buildings in the early part of the 20th century. The furnaces heated huge amounts of water that were sent throughout the building to warm it with a system of radiators. I believe in the fifties or sixties, the furnaces were converted to natural gas power, which provides the fuel for their heat source today. Remnants of the days gone by are still in evidence as there are coal trays in front of the furnaces.

To the rear of this area is a passageway that leads to a place that was used for coal storage. At the end of the passage way, is a small room that now is used as a plaster works room. Since Atlanta Landmarks took over the Fox, it has been a long and hard process to restore the building. Just as all the stencils had to be recreated to restore the walls, a lot of the plaster details in the building were in need of replacement and new molds to form new plaster details has to be made. Using plaster details that were placed in different parts of the building that were in good condition, new molds were made for each type of plaster detail.

One item that was direly needed was new urns that were in all the lobbies that were used as ashtrays. Unlike the plaster originals, it was decided to form the new ashtrays from cement so they would last much longer. Once an urn was poured, cured, and removed from the mold, the urn was sanded to erase mold marks, painted with a sealant to protect the cement, painted with primer, then painted with the final coat of paint. Once the base paint coat was dry, each urn was hand painted with the ornate detail trim that made them look so incredibly beautiful. I don't know what this fetish some people had at the Fox with the color orange, but like a lot of things, the original urns had been painted orange before the Fox was saved. When Rick Flinn's restoration staff began to replace the old urns, it was decided to paint the urns in a base coat that was a "natural" or very light tan color.

Friends of the Fox took on the finishing of the cigarette urns early on as one of the restoration projects we undertook. Later on, we used the skills we learned from that project to complete gifts for contributors to the Fix the Fox project in the mid-1980s. The house staff pours hundreds of replicas of the metal lion head that are the waterspouts in the various fountains in the building. The plaster replicas were given to FOF so we could sand, prime, paint, and apply an antique effect to. From there, they were given to contributors that donated over $250 to the Fox. We worked on those "Leon Heads" was we jokingly referred to them for several months. While it wasn't a true restoration project, we were happy to do it because we knew each one meant somebody had contributed a substantial gift to the Fox that allowed for the restoration to continue.

As you can see in the photo, the house staff has created all sorts of plaster appointments for the Fox and they are stored in inventory for when they are needed.

When you get to the end of the passage to the plasterworks, you may notice something strange. There are the remains of what appears to be a target on the wall and chunks of cement missing from the wall. At some point in time, the hallway was apparently used for target practice. I am also told that when not used for that strange use, it also doubled as a single lane bowling alley. All I can say is those Shriners certainly knew how to have fun!

In addition to the mechanics of the Fox, there are several offices that were located downstairs in the 1st level of the basement. In the early days of the Fox as an operating movie palace, there were offices for the Chief Usher, Matron, House Painter, House Carpenter, Day Porter, Conductor, Organist, Stage Manager, and Chief Electrician among others. These rooms averaged about 10 feet by 12 feet in size.

There is an area on the southern side of the building that was intended to be a private screening room and rehersal hall for the House Organist and orchestra. The room measures 25 feet by 50 feet large and is complete with a separate room for projectors with the obligatory square holes between the rooms for the projectors to shoot the images to the opposite side of the screening room. But long before the Fox became fully operational, the film industry had already committed to the new all-talking sound pictures, so the use of the organ or orchestra for film accompaniment was no longer needed and the projectors were never installed.

For a while, the projection booth was used as the "Popcorn Room" two large sets of industrial popcorn machines were placed in the room and people would man the machines for hours popping corn and placing it in the little paper boxes that would be sold in the concession stands. It is a dirty secret in the movie industry that popcorn can be stored for a number of days before it becomes stale. Popcorn would be popped days in advance of events where it would be sold. A lot of theatres would pop up large batches of popcorn and put it in garbage can-sized plastic bags, then dump in into popcorn makers before the public was in the theaters. Now you know...
Something that not too many people know is that at one point in the late sixties or early seventies, the owners of the Fox actually considered converting the private screening room into a small mini-theatre where they could show a second film at the Fox! The plan would have put an entrance to the room on the Ponce deLeon side of the building. People would walk down a flight of stairs to get to the room. This was considered during the time that a lot of other theaters around the country were dividing large screening rooms into two much smaller theaters. The practice was called "twinning". Fortunately for us, because of the immense size of the Fox's Grand Auditorium, there was never any though to chopping it up into smaller screening rooms as the cost would have been too prohibitive. While I do know that making the private screening room into a small theater was seriously considered, I do not know why the plan was abandoned.

Two of the rooms directly across from the private screening room are now used as the archives for the Fox. At first, the archives started life as the repository of dead office and operating materials. Over time, the staff at the Fox got the notion to hold on to some of the publicity materials that were used for performances at the Fox. Today, the Archives contains not only those things, but restoration records, blueprints, and anything of note that involves the Fox or its operation.over its 75-year life.

One of the basement rooms became the home of Theodore Roosevelt Goodson for almost 50 years! "Roosevelt" as he was known to everyone, started out at the Fox as a janitor and porter. He continued these duties until his retirement in the 1990s. In the 1940s, Roosevelt made a small apartment for himself in one of the no longer used offices in the basement of the Fox. He lived there until his death. Roosevelt was a great man and a joy to be with. This demure black man was the friendly face and helping hands to the famous and not so famous that played the Fox. Going back up to the main level, the Fox now has a vast complex of operational offices the occupy the southeastern corner of the building. When Atlanta Landmarks took over the building, the only office for the whole Fox was the one that had its main door in the lobby of the Fox. In order to get to it you had to bang on the front doors until someone heard you and went to let you in. In the early 80s, a new modern office space was designed by Rick Flinn and constructed using storefront bay number one, and parts of bays 4 and 5. On the downsairs level, there was a new reception area in Bay One. Behind that was the offices for the assistant house manager and food service manager. Going up a half level, you would find the office of the General Manager and across the hallway, the office of the house manager that was the original Fox office. Going up to the second floor, you came to the office of the Resoration Director and a grand conference room. The conference room had one wall composed of three large Arabic picture windows that looked out into the foyer area. In the center of the room was a large glass conference table that was sat on two large plaster pillars made in-house from moulds of urns used in the Fox. As the Fox's staff began to outgrow its offices, a great fire broke out in April of 1996 and totally destroyed the existing offices. When that corner of the Fox was reconstructed, new offices were built that took up Bays One, Two, Four and Five. Bay Two held the corner restaurant space and was rebuilt to once again serve that purpose. Today, the Bazaar Restaurant and Lounge now occupies that spot. Unlike past restaurants, Bazaar is now operated by the Fox / Atlanta Landmarks. In addition to these rooms, there were three kitchen areas on the northern side of the building that served the ballrooms. One of these kitchen areas was used by Hank Azor for his bakery and catering services that were based out of the Fox in the 70s and 80s. When the Fox undertook the conversion of the Spanish Room to the concession area for the auditorium, one of those kitchen areas was located below the room. When part of the floor was removed and rebuilt 38 inches lower, it took out a good chunk of that kitchen in addition to the old Shriner's dressing rooms. The second kitchen was very small and was one floor above the "Azor" kitchens behind the Spanish Room.

The third and largest kitchen was built to service the Grand Banquet Hall of the Yaarab Temple, now known as the Egyptian Ballroom. This huge kitchen is  53 feet by 36 feet large. It contains a huge 1929 vintage refrigerator that was originally cooled by putting in huge blocks of ice. During our Friends of the Fox restoration meetings, one of our projects was to work on stripping and refinishing the exterior of the refrigerator in anticipating of it being outfitted with a modern refridgeration system in the mid-1980s. This kitchen has been kept fully operational and is used practically everyday for the needs of the people who rent the ballrooms. It is a testament to the build construction and its design that the kitchen can function as they do today. The main kitchen can serve a full banquet to as many as 720 at one time.

This brings us to the end of our Fox Theatre Virtual Tour!
I hope this has given you a new insight to the Fox and what it takes to operate it.

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