While the installation on Saturday of a sign wasn't a major logistical advance in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's massive undertaking to renovate the 1930 Warner Theater into its new Bradley Symphony Center, it was definitely a high-profile one.
The new sign is an exact replica of the original sign installed on the grand Wisconsin Avenue cinema, 212 W. Wisconsin Ave. It was created and installed by Milwaukee's Poblocki Sign Company.
Sometimes it is hard to show scale of a sign. This Warner Theatre blade sign was installed over the weekend in Milwaukee, WI. Before it went up, some of the team who worked on this sign stood next to it to show how large a 50' sign really is. #bladesign @MilwSymphOrch pic.twitter.com/JnYONyC9NP — PoblockiSignCompany (@PoblockiSignCo) May 11, 2020
In terms of complicated moves, the sign installation early Saturday was nothing like the moving of the east wall of the theater last August. But, still, it took a few hours and seeing it hanging there makes the project feel even more real to passersby.
The original sign was removed in 1966, two years after the theater had been renamed the Centre. Its whereabouts are unknown and most likely it was not saved. (You can read more about the history of the theater in this Urban Spelunking article.)
The removal of the old sign in August 1966.
(PHOTO: Courtesy of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra)
You can see about two dozen photos from the installation in this MSO Facebook post:
The Symphony announced in February that its new home and performance venue would be named the Bradley Symphony Center, but the blade sign still says "Warner," as a nod to the long history of the Art Deco movie palace.
The sign is expected to be lit when the marquee is installed in June or July.
The venue is expected to be ready in the fall of 2020 for the MSO's 2020-21 season opener. In March, the MSO announced a performance next year by cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott.
UPDATE: Poblocki is currently creating the pieces for the marquee, like the one pictured below, and it is expected to be installed in the coming weeks.
The marquee display construction is coming along in parts, here's a peek at one of them all lit up! Thanks to @PoblockiSignCo! pic.twitter.com/MIBTxhpFjt — Milwaukee Symphony (@MilwSymphOrch) June 10, 2020
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.