Big-band leader Dal Richards remembers the theatre’s opening day in April 1941. A rendering of Roman hunting goddess Diana perched on top of the 62-foot-high neon sign. Diana caused a stir for what was considered a racy rendition of a woman’s body. But that didn’t stop Dal’s band from performing that day.


The most controversial neon sign was on the Vogue Theatre. It was an outline of a lady called Diana, the goddess, and it was a little risqué, apparently. There was quite a bit of criticism about it.

Incidentally, we opened the Vogue Theatre. That would be in 1941, with a stage show, had an augmented band: 25 musicians. And a George Formby movie was playing. And George Formby was a banjo player, played his banjo in his movie, as a rule. So we were onstage, broadcasting over CJOR, Dick Diesbecker was the announcer. And Wally Peters was the local banjo player. He played a solo with us for the opening of the Vogue.

The Vogue is a very beautiful theatre. And its neon sign has always been very artistic. Clearly the winner, I would say, if there were to be a contest for neon signs.