The Atlanta Fox Theatre

From The Eyes of a "Friend of the Fox"

A website by Hal Doby, Former President of Friends of the Fox Theatre, 1984-1990,
Fox Theatre event & restoration volunteer 1976 - 1993, and event staff member, 1979-1980
This web site was first established in 1995, with continual revisions.
The last update was made on January 11,2017


I would like to start by dedicating this web site to two people; Joe G. Patten and, Rick Flinn. There is one more entity I wish to add to my dedication, that is the Fox Theatre itself. During their tenures at the Fox, Joe and Rick made vast contributions to the preservation, restoration, and expansion of the Atlanta Fox Theatre. Without their contributions, the Fox would be a very different place, if not be here at all. 

Mr. Patten, more than any other person, was responsible for the Fox being saved from the wrecking ball as he has quite literally dedicated more than half of his life to the Fox Theatre and it's Mighty Moller Organ. 

Mr. Flinn arrived at the Fox to help prepare it for a gala celebration of the United States Bicentennial in 1976 and wound up becoming its first Restoration Director. It was through his hands, the Fox was put on a path to return to its prior glory. Rick laid the groundwork that his successors have continued. 

And finally, the Fox Theatre itself. I have come to know it better than some of my biological relatives. The Fox took me in at first as a child of 18. It introduced me to many things that fashioned me into the person that I am. Spending over 17 years of one's life in such a place, it cannot leave its mark on some one. For me, it made me a better person than had it not been in my life.

Thanks and Gratitude

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to those who have helped me learn about the Fox  that have given me a much better appreciation for it and the importance of preserving its acurate history. 

My first thanks goes to Mr. Rick Flinn, the original Restoration Director of the Fox Theater. Today he sits on the Board of Directors of Atlanta Landmark as an honrary member and spends his time living in both Atlanta, Georgia and Paris, France where he works restoring old buildings there. Any time I've had a question about the Fox, it has always been Rick that I contact to verify and share my information with.

Thanks to my late friend Joe G. Patten. Joe was an amazing man and almost each time we got together, I learned something incredible about him. Joe's love of his life was the Atlanta Fox Theatre and I do not think there was ever any other person that knew it as intimately as Joe did. I still mourn his passing.

Thanks to John C. McCall Jr., past president of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Theater Organ Society, long time historian of the great movie theaters and their organs in the Southeast, as well as organist extraordinaire! I first learned of Mr. McCall when I purchased the first book published by Atlanta Landmarks about the Fox in 1975 that he wrote. I finally met John in person in 2004 and through his wealth of information it helped me improve this web site as well as my expand my knowledge of Atlanta's other grand movie palaces that are no longer with us. 

I wish to give a great big thanks and a huge hug to Janice McDonald. Janice contacted me in the spring of 2012 asking about my time at the Fox. She was working hard on writing a new book about the Atlanta Fox and wanted to see if I had anything I could add to her research. I gave her access to my entire Fox photographic catalog and spent time recalling my years there and knowledsge of the Fox. I think she took me seriously and I think I was able to make somewhat of a contribution to her book. The book, Images of America, The Fox Theatreis publshed by Arcadia Publishing and is available at or your local bookseller. I highly reccommend any person interested in the Fox to buy a copy of this great book! Janice was kind enough to share her knowledge of the Fox and her catalog of collected images she had complied for her book so I could use some of them in my third major revision of the site. That generous act I feel has greatly help to round out the stories I tell on this site. I cannot thank Janice enough! 
An Explanation and Apology
I want to apologize for the current state of this website.

As I began a major renovation of this site in 2010, a scandal erupted over Joe Patten and the apartment he was gifted by Atlanta Landmarks nearly thirty years prior. Joe would not want me to talk badly about the Fox, however, I think some of this demands to be said. Sadly in even the smallest organization, company politics can be found. When Joe suffered what was a minor health scare, certain people in the Fox staff and Atlanta Landmarks attempted to use the event to their advantage to get Joe evicted from his apartment inside the Fox complex. This forced Joe to file a lawsuit and the whole mess wound up in court. Eventually, a compromise was made and Joe was allowed to live the remainder of his life in his beloved apartment.

To me, Joe Patten remains the embodiment of the Save the Fox movement that successfully saved the Fox. I cannot tell how much of Joe's life became devoted and attached to the Fox. To many Joe and the Fox became one in itself. It was literally heartbreaking to me to see Joe having to endure everything he had to go through in order to remain in the apartment he was gifted by Atlanta Landmarks with the intent of him residing in for the rest of his life.

Because of all that happened during this scandal, my work on the site came to a screaching halt as I lost the drive to rework this site and it has lanquished for over six years because of this. Even after there was an amicable agreement and Joe lived the remainder of his life in his apartment, the emotional wounds I suffered never fully healed. Even now, almost a year after Joe's passing, they still hurt.

What is now taking place is I am picking up the pieces from my abandoned 2010 update and attempting to complete this web site in tribute to my beloved friend Joe Patten. I honestly do not believe there will be any other web site presence that can or will tell the story of Joe and the Atlanta Fox as this site can do. Since the last major revision of this site, I have taken thousands of photos of the Fox, found all sorts of new information that needs to be posted, and many revisions need to be made. This is not something that will occur overnight. This is going to be a major on-going process.

I am bouyed to get this work completed by a number of emails I continually recieve in regards to the Fox. I would like to think I can get my messy web site tidied up in time for the one year anniversary of Joe's passing in April 2017.

Be sure to visit the site often to experience what we have to present here.  
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Accuracy Disclaimer: The Fox Theater/Yaarab Temple Mosque is a most unique building with a very turbulent and unusual past. Because of its history, hype, rumor, and myth have all been blended together to obscure the actual true history of the building. I have been doing my utmost to continually revise these pages to reflect the actual facts about the Fox as I have come to understand them. I feel comfortable in saying what I present here is the most accurate account I can present about the Atlanta Fox Theatre. Despite my research, I'm sure that there are still inaccuracies contained in these pages. Should you find anything that you feel is inacurate, I invite you to please email me with your findings so I can update the site.

This is the eighth major revision of this site since it's creation in 1995. Twenty-two years later, that work still continues.

As one "Friend of the Fox" to another, I invite you to continually return to this tribute site and keep checking back to see what updates are put in place.

This site is a tribute page created by Hal Doby of Atlanta, Georgia. This site is not officially affiliated nor officially sanctioned with the Fox Theatre, Atlanta Landmarks, or any other person or organization.

Everything on this site, both text and images, are protected by copyright laws. Mr. Doby requests that if anyone is interested in copying any of the material presented on this site, that you please email him for permission.

This page was last modified on January 11, 2017.