(cont'd from above)
But when television knocked the movies out of their throne in the 1950s, and the cigar bosses of Metrocity turned their attention to politics and rooting out Communists rather than promoting culture, the Palladium hit tough times. As it was shuffled off from one owner to another, The Palladium slid further and further down the scale of respectability. Before it was boarded up completely last year, the Palladium had become The Palladium Massage and Spa, a thinly disguised bordello staffed by Eastern European women forced into the sex trade.
The old girl, however, is going to receive a much needed makeover, courtesy of multimillionaire philanthropist Vladimir Sakharov.
Sakharov, an Eastern European businessman, invited press and city leaders to a press conference where he unveiled blueprints and models detailing his plans to restore the Palladium to its former luster.
Sakharov, other than commenting he bought the property because it was available and “I love Metrocity,” left most of the comments to his architect, Archibald Dietz of Dietz and Hoffman.
Dietz and Hoffman were responsible for the groundbreaking and award-winning design of the Novi Art Museum in Minsk, Belarus.
“This building certainly is a beauty and well-made. Structurally, the building is sound,” said Dietz. “Our job primarily is a simple one of reversing the aging process and turning back the clock, removing some of the ‘improvements’ constructed over the years by the assorted users.”
Dietz said the plan is to return the building to its original purpose, a venue for the arts. He said there will be some changes. Rather than merely accommodating a space for films, he said the theater will be adapted for use by theatrical troupes and Sakharov’s favorite Cirque Du Moderne. Dietz said Sakharov also has commissioned his firm to design the theater with the most state of art equipment so musical performers, from jazz to classical to country western to international folk artists, will flock to the venue. Additionally, Dietz said the Palladium will expand into the adjoining property, where a museum annex for art exhibits will be constructed.
Dietz said he would not conjecture the total cost of the project. However, he noted, Sakharov has committed “a considerable sum” to make the proposal a reality.
“This is what the city needs,” said Mayor Tad Walters at the press conference. “We need the arts for the sake of our soul. We need men with vision like Vladimir Sakharov to keep Metrocity the greatest city in America.”
Council chairman Miles Chaplin said he was impressed with Sakharov’s proposal and barring unforeseen circumstances, he promised he would do everything in his power to fast-track it through the permit process.
When Cary Grant, Clark Gable and Joan Crawford ruled the roost in Hollywood, the Metrocity Palladium was the place to be seen on Friday nights.
“Gunga Din.” “Gone With The Wind.” “The Women.” The list goes on and on as to the Hollywood classics that had their red carpet premieres at the Palladium, with its glorious view of the city’s harbor.
Built as a gift to the metropolis by the cigar magnates of Metrocity, the Palladium was a gleaming art deco jewel in the city’s skyline, a tribute to the glory of Hollywood and the fantasy of film. (cont'd below)