That booming you hear this weekend as “Doctor Strange” comes to the Gloria Theatre is from donated sound technology.
The theater received the sound equipment earlier this year, but wasn’t able to put it to full use until it brought in the new Marvel movie, GrandWorks Foundation Administrator Lydia Hess said. GrandWorks Foundation is the group restoring the Gloria.
The donation came from Regal Entertainment Group through the efforts of retired vice president of Technical Services Roger Frazee. Regal Cinemas is part of Regal Group.
Frazee is the son of Jack Frazee, manager at the Gloria from 1950 to 1966. Frazee was born in 1950 and his early life revolved around the theater.
“I pretty much grew up in that theater,” he said. “When I heard it was being restored, then I wanted to do what I could to help out.”
Frazee said Regal has participated in several historical theater renovations by providing equipment. It had contributed to the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee, which gave Frazee the idea. Frazee lives in Knoxville.
The donated equipment includes speakers, amplifiers and sound processors, Frazee said. Hess said the donation included about 30 new speakers.
The items are estimated to cost $50,000 to $75,000 brand new, Frazee said.
“This gave us a chance to bring the sound up to the state of the art in the industry,” he said.
That sound donation, along with a new video projector, will be able to play all the latest movies with the latest sound. The projector was partially purchased with approximately $30,000 in donations from the community. GrandWorks chipped in $50,000 for the projector.
“Doctor Strange” will play Friday, Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m.; on Christmas Day at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and again on Monday, Dec. 26 at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5. All proceeds benefit the Gloria Theatre renovation project. Visit gloriatheatre.com for more information.
Frazee said he returned to Urbana about a year ago to see what progress had been made on the Gloria restoration. He remembered the original Gloria with art deco design and a spacious inner and outer lobby, and that remains. At that visit the new screen had not yet been put in, and the center wall that former owners Chakeres Cinemas had put it had just been removed. That wall was put in to make it a twin cinema, instead of a one-screen theater.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Frazee said of the restoration. “It’s so good when the small town theaters can survive and have new life put back in them. It’s really kind of rare. There are so many theaters that have closed up simply because they can’t afford to keep the equipment up to date and operate at a profit.”
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.