Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Iowa Theater on Dec 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Here is news of the Hippodrome from the July 22, 1922, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Keokuk Hippodrome Is Being Remodeled

“The Baker-Dodge Theatre, Inc., operating the Hippodrome and Grand Theatres, of Keokuk, are now remodeling the former house.

“The Hippodrome building covers an area of fifty by one hundred and forty feet and practically the entire interior of the house is being torn out.

“The present long, deep lobby will be replaced with one of less depth but wider. A new balcony will be constructed and when finished, the total seating capacity of both orchestra and balcony will be 1,300.

“The cost of the improvements, it is estimated, will be between $15,000 and $20,000.

“On reopening, the name of the Hippodrome will be changed to a shorter and more suitable one, which has not yet been selected.”

In 1917, The Hippodrome was bucking the trend to higher admission prices in movie theaters, according to the March 3 issue of MPW:
“Hippodrome Battles for 5-Cent Admission.

“Keokuk, Ia. — The three motion picture theaters in Keokuk are having a war on prices. The Grand started the trouble when it raised prices to twenty-five cents on regular feature nights, when showing Paramount, Metro and Triangle. Soon after the Orpheum joined forces with the Garden and on the only three nights, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that they are open, they, too, charged twenty-five cents for feature subjects. The opposition, the Hippodrome, is battling hard, showing the biggest features it can secure for only five cents.”

The earliest mention of the Hippodrome I’ve found is from The New York Clipper of December 6, 1913. The earliest reference to the Regent I’ve found is an appearance by the Denishawn Dance Company on February 28, 1924, but the name was most likely adopted immmediately following the 1922 remodeling.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I’ve found the Rialto mentioned in the trade publications in the latter part of 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Dec 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm

The August 27, 1910, issue of The Billboard listed the Majestic Theatre in Kewanee as part of Thielen’s Illinois Vaudeville Circuit. The April 5, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Majestic was to be remodeled:

“Improvements at the Majestic theater and at the new theater which will be run by Chris Taylor in Kewanee were held up pending the revision of a local ordinance regarding theaters. West contemplates putting in a new front and general re-arrangement of the theater.”
Mr. Taylor’s new theater opened a few weeks later as the Tabard. In 1913, Kewanee also had houses called the Grand Theatre (probably the former Grand Opera House,) the Dreamland, the Bijou, the Willard, and the Olympia (formerly the Princess) Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Norval Theatre on Dec 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm

There are web sites listing 5306 Storer Avenue as the location of the Rolen Bros. Fence Company, and it’s also listed simply as Fence Warehouse. The company’s web site gives a different address for the business, so they might have moved since those listings went up, though this building could still be their warehouse.

This modern exterior photo shows the fence company’s sign on the building, but it isn’t there in Google Street View. As the building has been used as a warehouse the seats were undoubtedly removed long ago. The floor might even have been leveled. I’ve been unable to find any interior photos, historical or modern.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 17, 2014 at 2:49 pm

The Rialto was in operation by 1923. An item datelined Ridgefield Park, NJ, in the January 4, 1924, issue of The Film Daily said “About $20,000 will be spent in improving the Rialto.”

The Daily of January 11, 1928, reported that the Rialto had been sold to sold to Sobelson & Rosassy by the C. & V. Amusement Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Dec 17, 2014 at 1:53 am

A history of Kansas City’s neighborhood theaters published by the Jackson County Historical Society says that the Ritz Theatre was in operation by 1926 and operated until around 1962.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theatre on Dec 16, 2014 at 11:49 pm

An item datelined Kansas City in the September 23, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that Haish and Cotter had leased the Empire Theatre, with plans to remodel and redecorate, and to reopen the house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Dec 16, 2014 at 11:41 pm

According to a history of Kansas City’s neighborhood theaters published by the Jackson County Historical Society, the State Theatre at 15th and Prospect was in operation by November, 1918, as the Diamond Theatre. It was still called the Diamond at least as late as May, 1929, but by 1937 it had become the State.

The August 28, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World pushes the Diamond back even earlier, saying that it had been built by C. A. Nichols and Joe Tinker “…several years ago….”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bonaventure Theatre on Dec 16, 2014 at 11:31 pm

The September 23, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that Kansas City exhibitor W. B. Tuteur had bought the Bonaventure Theatre on Independence Avenue and was remodeling it. Tuteur already operated the Troost, New Palace, and Kuloff Theatres, all on 15th Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Admiral Theater on Dec 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm

The Admiral must have been open by 1919. In a letter published in The Reel Journal of November 21, 1925, W. O. Burkey referred to his six years as manager of the Admiral Theatre in Kansas City.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Peerless Theatre on Dec 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm

The Peerless Theatre was mentioned in the July 1, 1927, issue of Motion Picture News. The owners had just opened a second house in Kewanee:

“THE opening of T. and W. Pierce’s new 375-seat Plaza Theatre at Kewanee, gives that city one of the model small theatres of the country. The house is of a Spanish atmospheric type of architecture, with all the equipment of a modern de luxe house. Messrs. Pierce will shortly remodel their 1,000-seat Peerless Theatre, a high-class house which was erected some two years ago. They plan to put in a 30-foot stage.”
I don’t know if the Plaza is missing from our listings or if it is a missing aka for the Kee Theatre.

By 1937, the Peerless Theatre was being operated by the Great States circuit. The July 17 issue of The Film Daily reported that the Peerless was one of six Great States houses in Illinois that would soon be equipped with new cooling systems.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roanoke Theatre on Dec 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

The autumn, 2009, issue of the Jackson County Historical Society’s quarterly had an article about Kansas City’s neighborhood theaters, and had this to say about the Roanoke:

“Little has been found about the Roanoke Theater. It was in operation as the Spillane by November 1918. By 1924, it was the Roanoke; it appears to have closed by May 1929, but was in operation again by September 1930 and was operating in 1937 as part of the Fox chain.”
This item from the November 3, 1917, issue of The Moving Picture World indicates that the house had not yet been built then:
“KANSAS CITY. MO. — Tim Spillane, 832 Reserve Bank building, has temporarily abandoned plan to erect theater at 39th and Summit streets, to cost $40,000.”
November, 1918, is the earliest mention I’ve found in the trades of the Spillane Theatre being in operation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Courter Theatre on Dec 16, 2014 at 5:53 pm

I believe we have this theater’s name misspelled. A Courter Theatre was in operation at Gallatin no later than 1927. The July 1, 1927, issue of Motion Picture News had this item :

“A Panatrope, produced by the Brunswick-Balke Collender Company, has been installed in the Courter Theatre, Gallatin, Mo., by Manager H. Courter.” (A Panatrope was a high-end Brunswick phonograph.)
Members of the Courter family were still operating this theater at least as late as 1949, when the house was mentioned in Showmen’s Trade Review. There is a reference to the Courter in Motion Picture Heralld in 1932 as well. There was also once a Courter Theatre in Hamilton, Missouri, presumably operated by the same family.

There is a live theater venue called the Courter Theatre in Gallatin today, operated by the Gallatin Theatre League, but in a different location than the old movie theater. The original theater might have operated past 1956, as well, as a company called Corter Theatre, Inc., since dissolved, was formed in 1965.

If the building currently showing in Street View was indeed the Corter Theatre, then the house was converted from an automobile agency’s showroom. This photo from the Daviess County Historical Society shows the building occupied by the Mead Ford dealership. It’s undated, but, judging from the cars, appears to have been taken around 1920.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Globe Theater on Dec 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm

The architects' names were Frank J. Jackson and Frederick E. McIlvain.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theater on Dec 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm

The Moving Picture World had this announcement about the proposed Liberty Theatre in its issue of November 17, 1917:

“KANSAS CITY, MO. — Overland Amusement Company has plans by Frederick E. McIlvain for fireproof moving picture theater, to be known as the Liberty.”
Frederick E. McIlvain was a partner in Jackson & McIlvain, who designed the Globe Theatre in 1913. Their partnership was dissolved in 1916, so McIlvain designed the Liberty on his own.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roanoke Theatre on Dec 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm

The Westport Theatre became the Glen, according to our Glen page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Irving Theatre on Dec 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Although the address is a little bit off (I believe Chicago shifted some addresses in the late 1910s-early 1920s) an item in June 17, 1916, issue of The American Contractor could be about the theater that opened as the Irving. It was a three story hotel and theater building for A. Y. Race, at 3946-3956 N. Crawford Avenue. It was 132x175, and was designed by architect Jeremiah J. Cerny. Cerny was also the architect of the Essanay Studios, where Charlie Chaplin’s early movies were filmed, and which is now a designated Chicago landmark.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Academy Theatre on Dec 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm

The Academy Theatre is mentioned in the July 1, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Waukegan, Ill.—A reproduction of the old Waukegan Academy, which stood for fifty years on the site of the new photoplay house, is a feature of the lobby in George K. Spoor’s (head of the Essanay) new Academy theater here. The other side of the lobby has a beautiful painting of the local harbor with its picturesque lighthouse.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rio Theatre on Dec 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

The Illinois Theatre was mentioned in many issue of the The Chicago Heights Star after 1922, and placed more than a few ads, but most of the notices and ads were not for movies. There were political meetings, school plays, boxing matches, club meetings, and other live events, but the only movies I’ve found were advertised on March 27, 1924, and one of those films had been released in 1923 and the other in 1922. I’ve seen only a few issues of the paper from this period, so there could have occasionally been other movies shown.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theater on Dec 14, 2014 at 3:33 am

The Esquire Theatre opened on December 12, 1937. This web page has the transcript of an oral history interview with Bond Tarr (opens in an embedded PDF format) who worked at the Esquire in the early to mid-1970s, and several passages deal with events at the theater during that period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Buena Vista Theatre on Dec 14, 2014 at 3:31 am

The December 18, 1937, issue of Boxoffice said that owners A. L. Cowart and J. E. Singler were rebuilding their recently-burned Buena Vista Theatre at Buena Vista, Georgia. The item didn’t say how old the theater was when it burned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Deluth Spirit Valley Theatre on Dec 13, 2014 at 10:28 pm

The December 18, 1937, issue of Boxoffice said that C. W. Kaake planned to open his new West Theatre on Christmas Day. The house had been designed by architect Perry Crosier. Kaake also operated the Doric Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wilson Theater on Dec 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

The January 1, 1914, issue of The Tyrone Daily Herald said that the Wilson Theatre had opened the previous Monday evening, which would have been December 29, 1913. The French Renaissance style theater was designed by a local firm, the W. F. Wise Co., who advertised their services as “Scenic Artists, Decorators, and Theatrical Architects.”

The house was equipped for both live theater and movies. Mr. Wilson brought some pretty impressive fare to Tyrone. For example, the October 21, 1914, issue of the Altoona Tribune said that a concert would be given at the Wilson Theatre by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Walter Damrosch, on October 29.

Despite these initial ambitions, by the 1920s the Wilson was primarily a movie house. Geroge Wilson died in 1937, and the December 18 issue of Boxoffice said that operation of the Wilson and El Patio Theatres in Tyrone would be transferred to the Warner Bros. circuit on January 2. Warner Bros. operated the theaters until 1954.

An April 6, 2000, article in the Herald said that the Wilson Theatre had been built on the site of an earlier theater, the Bijou, and that the Wilson had been demolished on December 16, 1976, as part of an urban renewal project. As renewed, the theater’s site hosts part of the parking lot for a Burger King fast food outlet.

The 1914 Herald article about the theater’s opening has been transcribed to this page at Ancestry.com.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Patio Theatre on Dec 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm

An item in the June 24, 1927, issue of the Altoona Tribune said that George Wilson’s new El Patio Theatre at Tyrone would open on Tuesday, June 28. A later article in the same paper described the El Patio’s auditorium as having a blue sky with twinkling stars, so, given the name, it must have been an atmospheric house with a Spanish theme.

The El Patio Theatre was damaged by a fire in 1942. The auditorium suffered mostly smoke and water damage, but the entrance was completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt. Warner Bros. gave up the theater in 1954, but the house continued in operation for a number of years under new management. The Wilson Family leased the property to an adjacent appliance store in late 1964, according to the February 4, 1965, issue of The Tyrone Daily Herald. The article did not say when the theater had closed permanently.

The El Patio Theatre was demolished in 1971 to make way for a highway construction project, according to the July 16 issue of the Daily Herald.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theater on Dec 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm

KenRoe: I think we’ve got the seating capacities reversed. From satellite view it can be seen that the 1954 Ritz on the south side of the street is a much larger building than the first Ritz/Britton on the north side. The Ritz must have been the house with 586 seats and the Britton must have had the 280.