Celebrity Home Theaters past and present

May 18, 2006

Ann Harding Theater

Above is an image of a home theater or screening room as it was called at the time; as I’m sure you can see the image is quite old, 72 years old to be exact (image circa1934). This particular screening room belonged to Ann Harding who appeared in 50 plus films from 1929 to 1956.

Ann’s personal Bijou included: “Two 35mm projectors at $10,000 each, a viewing area twenty feet wide with a sixty foot throw from the booth to the screen and an electronically operated, hand-painted stage curtain.”

It should come as no shock that the Hollywood elite enjoyed “Home Theater” long before any of us ever heard the term. Many of those early home screening rooms served dual purpose use for both work and play.

I would be remiss not to mention the source of the image of Ms. Harding’s home screening room. Greenbriar Picture Shows is a great repository of information about Hollywood’s golden age.

The site is chock full of rare classic movie images, original studio ads, and behind-the-scenes photos. If you’re interested in seeing a bit of Hollywood’s past Greenbriar Picture Shows is highly recommended.

Though I can’t quite put my hands on the article, I had a magazine that mentioned Martin Scorsese’s home screening room; the article mentioned Mr. Scorsese entertaining quests at home with sneak peaks of his upcoming projects and current releases of the day (circa late 70’s early 80’s).

I’m interested in finding other examples of these celebrity screening rooms either on the web or in print. The March issue of Audio Video Interiors showcased Penn Jillette’s home theater.

While it was interesting to catch a glimpse of Mr. Jillette’s set-up, I’d like to see some other celebrity theaters. Anyone have any other examples you’ve ran across?

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Theater Review