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A Chorus Line/ Shubert Theater Electric Ticker?

Dallas Theatre Fan
Stand-by
joined:3/10/13
Stand-by
joined:
3/10/13

Hello Everybody!

I've got a really random question over something really small.  For the marquee of A Chorus Line there was an electric ticker at the bottom that would have words and sentences ticking across it.

What did the ticker say? I've seen one photo that lists the creators but does it say anything else? Was it only up for A Chorus Line or did other shows use it?  It is just me or did it look tacky or did it look better in person?

Here are some photos of the ticker.

Image result for a chorus line shubert theatre

Image result for a chorus line shubert theatre

Image result for a chorus line shubert theatre

 

tjdolan85
Chorus Member
joined:4/21/10
Chorus Member
joined:
4/21/10

The "really small things" are my favorite things! The ticker tape was added in advance of the 3,389th performance in 1983 when A Chorus Line officially became the longest running Broadway show at the time. To celebrate, they brought back the over 300 performers who had ever done any production of ACL in the world for that specific performance at the Shubert and Michael Bennett staged an extravagant performance with the different casts to cap the milestone. The ticker tape displayed every name involved with that performance on a 40-minute "loop". Why do I love this so much? ACL celebrates all of the ensemble members who, unlike Bette Midler who is on the Shubert marquee until this evening when Dolly closes, rarely - if ever - see their name in lights. And for one week leading up to that 3,389th performance they all did! They would each take turns in Shubert Alley taking their photos of them and their name to preserve the historic moment in their careers. Afterwards, the ticker tape was left as an electronic marquee (perhaps the first that was a precursor to the many that are used today...that I hate). If you look closely at the Shubert marquee today, you can still see the two drill marks in Henry Herts' original brickwork that were drilled for the ticker tape, as well as some marring of the inset stonework above the entrance. Those "really small things" are, for me, such a beautiful reminder of Broadway's past - as evidenced one drill hole at a time. 

I own a walking tour company called Broadway Up Close, and the impetus for me starting the company was these small things...this ticker tape being one of my favorite! 

morosco Profile Photo
morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/10/04

The words A CHORUS LINE had neon light all around it. The message sign ran on 25,400 watts. We used to update the message sign weekly, with cast changes, whatever they wanted to advertise on the sign. This was an old type of machine, a Motorgraph, that used to have a tape; it looked like a band with a lot of perforated holes. You would type in the message, tape the band, put it together, bring it out to the job site and actually install it in the machine, something like a typewriter ribbon. After a while the machinery became obsolete. The message unit was one of a kind; it was one of the industry's first back then. The running light was on all day until the theatre closed at night. A house electrician monitored it for failure, or broken tape, which was only like heavy paper. We housed two or three spares inside the room right behind the sign at the theatre. We upgraded the system in 1984 or 1985 and changed the components to send messages out by phone modem. Then it all became computerized, state of the art. We put in different controllers, and got rid of that old tape machine - we couldn't get parts for it. - Jim Manfredi [Artkraft Strauss Signs] from the book THE LONGEST LINE, BROADWAY'S MOST SINGULAR SENSATION: A CHORUS LINE by Gary Stevens and Alan George

fbueller
Featured Actor
joined:9/30/07
Featured Actor
joined:
9/30/07

Love this thread!  What an amazing piece of history.

morosco Profile Photo
morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/10/04

For the final performance the ticker read, "Kiss today goodbye, and point me toward tomorrow".