In Downtown Canton, Ohio, a standing room only crowd welcomed the opening of Harry Harper Ink's million dollar vaudeville and movie palace on Monday, November 22, 1926. The American public was enjoying the Charleston craze and motion pictures featuri … show more
In Downtown Canton, Ohio, a standing room only crowd welcomed the opening of Harry Harper Ink's million dollar vaudeville and movie palace on Monday, November 22, 1926. The American public was enjoying the Charleston craze and motion pictures featuring such screen stars as Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. The Theatre was a gift to the community from Canton entrepreneur and industrialist businessman Harry Harper Ink. He owned the canton based Tonsiline Company, makers of a cough syrup formula marketed in a unique giraffe shaped bottle. The two giraffe plaques located above our proscenium arch are reminiscent of this motif.
The Theatre was designed by the noted Austrian born architect John Eberson of Chicago, who achieved fame during the 1920s through his creation of "atmospheric" theatres located in cities across the United States. The Palace seeks to re-create a Spanish courtyard on a midsummer night. Its ceiling, a starry sky with wisps of clouds, creates a dream effect. The Palace still has our original cloud machine that makes the clouds continuously march across the sky.
The Theatre includes an ornate columned proscenium arch over its stage, an elaborate fly system for the numerous stage curtains and theatrical backdrops, eleven dressing rooms, a chorus room, a musician's lounge, a music room, one shower room, and an orchestra pit with seating for eighteen musicians. Peter Clark designed the original lighting system to take viewers from sunrise to sunset in the courtyard setting.
One of the most famous attractions of the Palace Theatre is the mighty Kilgen Pipe Organ. It was originally used to provide background music for the silent movies shown on the Palace Theatre screen. The Kilgen is one of only a few left in the country, and the only one that remains in its original home.
The 1960s and 1970s brought about a period of neglect and decay to Canton's downtown area. Businesses and stores migrating to the suburbs and the growing popularity of...