On Christmas Day 2019, the Fox Theatre celebrated its 90th anniversary. Since its opening day in 1929, the Fox has been home to stories: stories told on stage and screen, stories of arts-filled experiences for Atlantans and visitors, and the theatre’s own stories of perseverance through times of uncertainty.
Originally conceived as home for the Atlanta Shriners Organization in 1928, the building that now stands as the Fox Theatre was designed to showcase prominent social status. The outstanding design aimed to resemble an ancient temple with intricate patterns. In 1929, the Fox Theatre was leased to movie mogul William Fox, who instead opened the theatre as a striking movie palace to a sold-out crowd on Christmas Day of 1929.
The future of the beloved landmark was uncertain through the 1960s as suburban migration impacted attendance, and the Fox Theatre closed its doors in 1974. Unwilling to accept the fate of permanent closure at the hands of urban disinvestment, motivated Atlantans launched the “Save The Fox” campaign – an unforgettable civic endeavor.
Volunteers raised more than $3 million by collecting donations from public and private groups, organizing benefit concerts featuring acts from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Liberace, and even collecting pennies from local businesses.
After months of painstaking restoration efforts, the Fox Theatre proudly reopened its doors in 1975. The Fox has remained steadfastly sewn into the fabric of Atlanta ever since. Today, it remains one of the city’s most cherished landmarks and a beacon of hope for ongoing historic preservation efforts as many other would-be landmarks remain in peril.
The story of Atlanta cannot be told without including the history of the Fox Theatre. “The Fox is a vessel of many, many stories – stories behind its history and how it was built, stories with every individual and every couple that walks through its doors,” said President and CEO Allan Vella. “We are celebrating by bringing the community a way to embrace its impact over the years. It’s our way to show Atlanta that this cherished theater is not only irreplaceable… it’s theirs.”
Part of this 90th anniversary celebration includes a brand-new storytelling campaign: “I Am the Fox.” This campaign will highlight the Fox’s rich history and iconic status throughout Georgia with commercials featuring notable Atlantans and local community members who embody the city’s undeniable love for the Fox Theatre.
“The Fox is not just an entertainment venue. It’s part of Atlanta’s soul,” said Jamie Vosmeier, vice president of sales and marketing at the Fox Theatre. “For the first time, we’ve taken the opportunity to allow the Fox to tell her own story, in the first person. The magic within these walls is getting to be shared in a way that’s not been communicated before now.”
For more information on “I Am the Fox” and the Fox Theatre, visit bit.ly/IAmTheFox.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Fox Theatre Institute (FTI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historic theaters, recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary by raising over $100,000 at the “Revival” benefit concert on September 13, 2019. To date, FTI has given more than $1 million to historic venues throughout the region.