NorShore?

Duluth’s NorShor Theatre is a bit of a copyeditor’s headache. People often misspell NorShor as “NorShore” or they fail to render the S as a capital letter. And since its proper name uses the British version of “theatre” and Americans prefer “theater,” we end up with numerous ways to screw up two words.

Apparently NorShor was being spelled wrong right from the start — or “NorShore” might have even been what was planned for the original spelling before someone decided to shorten it up — because an old sketch of the building, shown above, includes an E that never made it to the building’s tower or marquee.

I don’t think I had seen this sketch until I watched Streamlined Dreams, a 1980 Twin Cities Public Television documentary about art-deco movie theaters in Minnesota that recently was uploaded to YouTube.

The video includes almost nothing about Duluth’s two art-deco theaters, but the brief flash of the “NorShore” drawing is at the 20:45 mark. There are a lot of images in the documentary, and it’s not easy to tell what theater each image represents unless it shows the marquee, so I might have missed other Duluth shots, but as near as I could tell from one casual view of the show there was just the one reference to the NorShor and zero mentions of the West Theatre.

The NorShor/NorShore image in the doc is actually shown in a shot that pans from the tower down to the marquee, so it’s not possible to grab a screenshot of the whole thing. The top of the sketch is at the top of this post, and the bottom appears below. One might need to take three screenshots to paste it all together with photo-editing software.

5 Comments

Matthew James

about 3 weeks ago

It's not so noticeable until you start trying to stitch, but the filmmakers are actually zooming as they are panning, which means the segments don't actually align. Because it's 1980, the pan is not digital; it's with a physical camera, so there is motion blur. Fortunately, we do have digital tools now, so this is a rough stitch with some background fill.
  

Matthew James

about 3 weeks ago

Also, not only in the drawing above but in the original marquee, there was clearly a space that has been removed. Comparing photos from 1963 and 2023 shows that during the remodeling "Shor" was moved to the left for the name to more clearly read as one word. For this reason, a lot of historic photos found online are labelled as "Nor Shor Theatre" and more recent photos as "NorShor Theatre." But perhaps the space only existed for aesthetic reasons on the original marquee and contemporary descriptions still referred to it without the space.
  

Matthew James

about 3 weeks ago

I found a 1956 article that refers to it as "the Norshor Theatre" -- one word but without the capital S -- so it seems that the correct writing of the name has been a source of confusion for the entire existence of the theater. A basic Google search also shows quite a few people hedging their bets and hyphenating it as Nor-Shor. In any event, it seems that capital S confusion is closely linked to some confusion about whether it was once two words instead of one.
  

Paul Lundgren

about 3 weeks ago

NorShor
NorShore
Norshor
Norshore
Nor Shor
Nor Shore
Nor-Shor
Nor-Shore
Nor-shore
North Shore

Multiply those ten ways of spelling it by two for theater/theatre and we have 20 ways to render the name.

Matthew James

about 3 weeks ago

My inclination is always to write the last one, even though it would be the first one to be crossed off the list of acceptable spellings. Although when I Google North Shore Theatre, the first link that comes up is the NorShor Theatre using that variant itself, which makes me think that all 20 spellings might be equally acceptable.

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