Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cody Theatre on Apr 18, 2014 at 6:35 pm

The destruction of the Cody Theatre by fire is shown in several photos on this web page. Report from The Deming Headlight of July 12, 1918.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Teal Theatre on Apr 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm

The August 24, 1917, issue of the Las Cruces, New Mexico, newspaper The Rio Grand Republic had a report on various doings in bustling Deming, including this information about the Teal Theatre:

“Jolly Morris, of El Paso expects to have Raymond Teal’s theatre completed in three weeks at the corner of Pine and Diamond streets. The building will be 70 by 140 feet with a raised floor capable of seating 2000 persons. The main auditorium will be 60 by 90 feet, without a post. The stage will be 30 by 70 and 40 feet.”
The Teal Theatre lasted less than two years. The October 3, 1919, issue of The Deming Headlight reported that the fixtures of the Teal Theatre had been sold and would be used in a new theater in Tempe, Arizona, and another that was being enlarged in Chandler, Arizona.

The seating capacity of 2,000 was probably exaggerated, but probably not by much, as the theater could expect to draw patronage from Camp Cody, the nearby Army training base, which housed some 30,000 troops at its peak during WWI. The base began closing down in early 1919, leading to the dismantling of the Teal Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cody Theatre on Apr 18, 2014 at 5:54 pm

The Cody Theatre was named for Camp Cody, a U.S. Army base about three miles from Deming. Originally called Camp Brooks, it was established in 1916 as a base for troops dealing with raids made on the region by Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa, and as a base for incursions into Mexico by U.S. forces. On the entry of the United States into the European war in 1917, it was greatly expanded for use as a training camp.

Briefly renamed Camp Deming, it was finally named Camp Cody in honor of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who died in 1917. The camp remained in full operation until the early months of 1919, and at its peak housed as many as 30,000 troops. This led to an explosion of theaters in Deming, the nearest settlement of good size, and the Cody Theatre was only one of several large theaters opened there in 1917 and 1918. Once the camp began closing down, most the theaters did as well, and by 1926 the only theater listed at Deming in The Film Daily Yearbook was the Princess.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Apr 18, 2014 at 5:29 pm

The December 5, 1919, issue of The Deming Headlight said that the Rialto Theatre would open on December 11. The house had previously been called the Grand Theatre, which had opened no later than January, 1918 (the earliest mention of it I’ve found.)

The owner of the Rialto was Sol Carragien, the brother of James Carragien, who had opened the Princess Theatre in 1917 and taken over the Isis Theatre in 1918. The March 14, 1919, issue of the newspaper had reported James Carragian’s sale of his two theaters to his brother Sol, who already taken over the Pastime and Grand Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Apr 18, 2014 at 4:44 pm

The Majestic Theatre was destroyed by a fire in August, 1921. The August 19 issue of The Deming Headlight reported that the conflagration the previous Sunday night had left only one wall and the front of the building standing.

A September 23 article said that W. W. Wilcox, who had been showing movies at the Majestic two nights a week, had managed to save his projection equipment from the fire and had leased the Crystal Theatre, which he would reopen as a seven-day movie house called the Broadway Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Luna Theatre on Apr 18, 2014 at 4:19 pm

An ad appearing in The Deming Headlight in September, 1918, said that James Carragien would commemorate the first anniversary of his Princess Theatre by installing a $10,000 pipe organ. Carragien had also taken over the Isis Theatre, next door to the Princess, in April, 1918.

Checking the Film Daily Yearbook, I’ve found that the Luna Theatre was not listed in 1954 or 1955, but reappears in 1956, and is listed under Griffith Theatres or Frontier Theatres (Griffith was renamed about 1960) in the Circuits section as late as 1964. Griffith might have closed the Luna for a couple of years due to the cost of converting for CinemaScope, and then reopened it. 1954 is the year the Mimbres Drive-In appears in the listings, so the chain would still have had two theaters in Luna County while the Luna was closed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Comet Theatre on Apr 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm

The Comet Theatre was mentioned in The Deming Headlight in 1912, 1913, and 1914. An item from May 1, 1914, says that Thomas Hull, manager of the Comet and Crystal Theatres, was building an Airdome on Silver Avenue. He had ordered new seats for the Comet, and would move the old seats to the new Airdome.

117 S. Silver Avenue today is a shop the name of which can’t be identified in Street View, but this web page about Camp Cody, the WWI Army training facility near Deming, says that the Comet Theatre was at 115 S. Silver. That lot is currently occupied by a Victory Outreach chapel called The House of Miracles. The front looks to be fairly modern masonry, but it might be an old building lurking behind an updated facade. If the Camp Cody page is correct, the Comet might still be standing and used as a church.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aerodrome Theater on Apr 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

The May 1, 1914, issue of The Deming Headlight has an article about the new Airdome Theatre:

“Building New Airdome

“Thomas E. Hull, manager of the Comet and Crystal theatres, has given W. W. Barracks the contract for the erection of his new airdoroe on Silver avenue, on the block north of the Baker hotel. The building will be finished and equipped by the time the weather is warm enough for outside shows. Part of the equipment of the Comet theatre will be transferred to the airdome, Mr. Hull having ordered chairs for the Comet from the Steel Furniture company, of Grand Rapids. Mich. The airdome will have a seating capacity of three hundred and fifty, and will be one of the finest open air houses of entertainment in the southwest. Haste Wilson have been given the contract for the electrical lighting of the airdome, and they will also install a complete new system of electrical lighting in the Comet theatre. The lantern that will be used in the airdome will be the latest on the market and will be specially adapted for outdoor shows, while the screen will also be of a special make that has always given best results in open air theatres and that will not be liable to cause a strain on the eyes, as so many screens do. While it is the intention of Mr. Hull to make the airdome a popular price house, where the general admission will be five and ten cents, there will be times when special attractions will be presented that will call for higher prices of admission.”

The May 29 issue of the paper said that he Airdome would open the following night.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theater on Apr 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm

The theater yearbook doesn’t list the Broadway Theatre in 1926, 1927, or 1928, but it reappears in 1929, where it is listed along with the Princess and, oddly, the Catholic Church. That is the Broadway’s last appearance in the FDY (and the only listing of the Catholic Church.)

The earliest mention of the Crystal Theatre I’ve found in the local newspaper is from early 1912, in an item noting that a concert had been held there the previous Thanksgiving. I suspect that prior to that it was still being called the Opera House, though the name Opera House is also mentioned in 1912 and 1913, so there might have been more than one opera house in Deming, or the names Crystal Theatre and Opera House might have been used interchangeably.

One item gives the name of the person managing the Crystal Theatre in 1912 as George L. Shakespeare, but I suspect that it was actually being managed by Jack Bacon or Tom DeVere.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theater on Apr 18, 2014 at 12:28 am

The March 1, 1918, issue of The Deming Headlight said that the former Crystal Theatre was being remodeled and would soon reopen as the Broadway Theatre, presenting stage attractions.

About this time, a new theater called the Majestic was built on North Gold Street. In August, 1921, the Majestic, which had been showing movies twice a week, was destroyed by a fire. Its operators leased the Broadway Theatre and converted it to a movie house.

The Broadway Theatre is mentioned regularly in the newspaper into 1923, and then drops from sight except for an ambiguous mention in 1933, and a passing reference to the “old Broadway Theatre” in 1937. It’s likely that it was closed in 1923.

For a brief time in 1918, Deming had five theaters in operation: the Broadway, the Majestic, the Teal, the Princess, and the Isis. The only one which had a long life was the Princess, which was taken over by Griffith Theatres in 1936. I’ve been unable to determine for certain, but I believe the Princess was remodeled and became the Luna Theatre, which opened in November, 1936, and operated at least into the late 1940s. Deming also had a theater called the Pastime, but I’ve been unable to determine when it was in operation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sunn Cinema on Apr 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm

The February 13, 1942, issue of The Deming Headlight said that the El Rancho Theatre would open on February 18. The movie for the opening would be Skylark with Claudette Colbert.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victoria Theatre on Apr 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm

The December 7, 1917, issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor had an item that was probably about the Victoria Theatre. It said that a four-story theater and hotel building, 57x160 feet, would be erected on Palos Verdes Street with the theater entrance through and existing building on Sixth Street. The theater would be leased to Ray Pierson and F. O. Adler, who owned the Sixth Street building.

Another item in the same issue of the magazine said that the architect for the project was L. A. Smith. The theater was to be 57x125 feet, and the building leading to Sixth Street was 25x75.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Apr 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The only item I’ve found about this theater in the trade publications so far is this one from the December 6, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World:

“Carnival, Night Football Fails to Stop This Manager; He Has a Midnight Show

“When Taft, Cal., an oil town, celebrated its twentieth anniversary recently, so many evening attractions popped up that it appeared the town’s theatre was doomed to "slim pickings.” A tent show came in for the occasion, and a night football game was on the program.

“Did Manager James Gleason of the Fox Hippodrome call it Black Friday and quit? Nothing like that. He merely figured that the night would be young after the football game and the tent show.

“So he went ahead with plans for a midnight show. The city’s anniversary committee worked with him, sold tickets for the show, did extra advertising to plug the picture and supplied stage talent for a share of the receipts. The committee received a neat sum for its efforts. The theatre earned $70 more than its average evening receipts.”

As the article refers to the Fox as “the town’s theatre,” the other houses in Taft must all have closed by that time. I’ve found references to a Olympia Theatre, renamed Photoplay Theatre in 1914; a Star Theatre, renamed Optic Theatre in 1916; and a Rex Theatre, operating in 1917. Given the time spread, these might have all been the same theater operating under five different names.

I still haven’t been able to discover if the original Hippodrome Theatre, built in 1917-18, was entirely demolished to make way for the West Coast Hippodrome in 1925, or if part of the original structure was incorporated into the new house. However, this item from the November 16, 1917, issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor is probably about the original Hippodrome:

“Taft—A permit has been issued for the erection of a moving picture theater on three lots on Center street, which have been leased for ten years by Turner & Dahnken of San Francisco. The building will be 78x118 ft., two stories in front, brick construction. An air cooling plant will be installed. The estimated cost of the building is $10,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Million Dollar Theatre on Apr 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

For those interested in construction, here is an interesting article about the reinforced concrete arch supporting the balcony (called the gallery in the article) of the Million Dollar Theatre, published in the September 14, 1917, issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor:


“The reinforced concrete arch, and the reinforced concrete cantilever gallery which it carries, in the theater building at Third and Broadway, now being erected for the Stability Building Company, was given a severe test by the city building department, acting under instructions from the Board of Public Works, and the results show that the structure is without a flaw either from a theoretical or constructive standpoint. The structure, including the arch and gallery and side supports are monolithic and constitute what builders and technical men consider a bold piece of engineering. The idea of designing the structure in reinforced concrete was conceived by Albert C. Martin, the architect and engineer, when it was found that structural steel for the gallery as originally planned could not be obtained without unreasonable delay.

“The cantilever gallery is carried on an arch 10 ft. wide, with a clear span of 104 ft., so as to give an unobstructed view of the stage from all parts of the ground floor. A three-hinged arch was first considered, being the simplest and easiest type of construction, but it was found that the hinges alone would cost $15,000 and to eliminate this excessive item Mr. Martin decided upon a bow-spring arch with a segmental curve. The arch, which has a maximum rise of eleven feet, is tied at the haunches with steel rods aggregating 154 sq. inches in area, which are anchored at either end in steel plates with nuts and encased in concrete. Great care was taken also in designing the cantilever trusses for the gallery, plates and nuts being used at the juncture of various members. The gallery has a maximum overhang of about forty feet, the structure being evenly balanced upon the arch.

“Under the requirements of the city building ordinance the gallery was designed to carry a weight of 125 pounds per square foot and the test was made by placing upon it a load of double that amount, 250 pounds per square foot. A total of 1,400,000 pounds of cement in sacks, bricks and sand was placed on the gallery extending the entire length and covering that portion which is carried directly by the arch. A week was consumed in placing the great mass of material, all of which is to be used in the building, and the full load was allowed to remain for a period of about 48 hours.

“The greatest deflection in the arch under this tremendous strain was only one-quarter of an inch and the greatest deflection in the cantilever gallery was three-eighths of an inch. The greatest deflection at the haunches of the arch was one-eighth of an inch on each end, making a total spread of only one-fourth of an inch. Theoretically, the spread of the arch should have been greater as the 104 feet of steel, under a load of 16,000 lbs. per square inch, which it was figured to carry, would stretch five-eighths of an inch. With double the load figured the steel should, theoretically, have stretched twice five-eighths of an inch, or one and one quarter inches. The actual small deflection is explained on the theory that a part of the load which would have been borne directly by the arch is, in reality, taken up by the vertical arches on the exterior of the structure.

“The test, besides proving satisfactorily the calculations of the engineer, demonstrated the thorough character of the construction. Greatest care was exercised in pouring the concrete for the arch and gallery and it was permitted to stand for sixty days before being stripped of the forms. The. R. H. Arnold Company is the general contractor on the building.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Moneta Theatre on Apr 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

There was also a 900-seat Booth Theatre in Chattanooga, listed as closed in the FDYs from 1931 through 1933, and no longer listed after that. The Knoxville Booth (800 seats) was open through the whole decade.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Apr 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Various construction trade journals from 1916 note a theater to be built at Antigo, Wisconsin, for Harvey Hansen. The architect for the project was Hans T. Liebert, then practicing in Wausau. Contracts for the project were let in July, 1916. Hansen had been operating another theater called the Palace in Antigo since at least 1913. I don’t know if the first Palace was closed when the new theater opened or if it continued to operate under another name.

Liebert designed another theater for Hansen in 1921. It was to have been located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Edison Street, but I’ve been unable to discover if this project was carried out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lans Theatre on Apr 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm

deacon: Thanks for the clarification. The listings of the theaters in Lansing in The Film Daily Yearbook are a bit confusing. In the early 1950s, several issues list both a 324-seat Blackhawk Theatre and a 340-seat Lans Theatre, but Lansing seems too small to have supported two theaters at the same time, even in the early 1950s. I have suspected that the editors simply failed to keep their list up-to-date.

Perhaps you would like to comment on the Cinema Treasures pages for the Y-Knot Drive-In and the West Theatre in West Point. We know next to nothing about them so far.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about West Theatre on Apr 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm

A house called the West Theatre was operating in West Point at least into the 1970s. The West Theatre and the Y-Knot Drive-In were offered for sale by Johnson Theatres in classified ads appearing in Boxoffice in 1973. The July 8, 1974, issue said that both had been bought by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Reese, who would begin operating them on June 2.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Y-Knot Drive-In on Apr 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Here is an undated aerial photo showing the Y-Knot Drive-In, in its splendid isolation. Comparing the photo to a modern Google Maps satellite view, the theater had to have been on 17th Road (called Lincoln Street inside the town) probably some distance south of town. That’s the only place the oxbow lakes and marshes along the Elkhorn River are as close to the road as they are in the old photo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theater on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Google has no street view up for this location, but a Bing Maps bird’s eye view shows a (rather narrow) theater-like entrance on the William Street side of the building. You can’t zoom in far enough to tell if a Bridge Street entrance has been sealed up or not, but if there was still a theater in the building the entrance would have to be on William Street. It’s possible that 47 Bridge Street was a side door leading to the manager’s office.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm

A 1914-1915 city directory lists five theaters at Olean, and this house is listed simply as Lang’s Theatre, at 128 W. State Street. A New Dreamland Theatre, not conducted my Mr. Lang, had opened at 164 N. Union Street. The other three were the earlier Gem at 245 N. Union, the Havens at 115 W. State, and the Grand at 257 N. Union.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 3:44 pm

The Dreamland Theatre is mentioned in the January 2, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Lang’s Dreamland, a moving picture show of Olean, N. Y., is being improved. New chairs and decorations will be a feature. An up-to-date service is being engaged in Buffalo for this house.”
If the name had not been moved from another house, the Dreamland was already in operation by 1907, when it was mentioned in the November 16 issue of The Billboard. It was then presenting vaudeville. Lang’s Dreamland was advertising in the Olean Times-Herald at least as early as December, 1911.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm

There was an earlier theater called the Gem in Olean. Its demise is noted in The Moving Picture World of August 4, 1917:

“The Gem theater, Olean, N. Y., has closed permanently. G. T. Nickum, proprietor, has taken over the Havens theater, that city.”
Other items in the same issue mention houses called the Olympic and the Grand then operating in Olean.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Peoples' Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm

All the period sources I’ve found say that Albert Willey was a real estate promoter and developer, and later a contractor, but not an architect. This brief biography published around 1918 is typical:

“Willey, Albert L.

Born in Freeville, Tompkins County, NY, Jan. 18, 1855, son of Samuel B. and Esther (Greenfield) Willey. He was educated in the public schools and academy of the town and opened a saw and grist mill. He did a thriving business and when the oportunity rose to dispose of the business he did so to his advantage. He purchased a farm in Cuba Lake, NY and later carried on the business of a meat market in Cortland, NY. He later returned to Freeville and became proprietor of a general store. In 1895 he came to Broome County and went into the real estate business with offices in Johnson City. He purchased two valuable tracts of land known as the Allen property and the Cook property and plotted them out into residential lots. He continued along this line, doing contracting along with his real estate business. He married in 1875, Helen E. Head of Lansing, Tompkins County, NY. They had children, Clarence A. Horace M. and Frederick R.“

It’s possible that the Willey Block was designed in-house by Willey’s firm, but I’ve been unable to discover the name of the actual architect. The decorative trim on the two lower floors looks as though it might have been ordered out of a catalog, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Dome Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

DavidZornig: If you’re referring to this photo that kencmcintyre linked to, it was probably taken in 1922, the year Clara Kimball Young appeared in The Worldly Madonna, so it would depict the Dome Theatre that burned with the rest of the pier in 1924. But you’re right, the old theater would not have been called the Fox Dome, as the West Coast Theatres circuit was not taken over by Fox until a few years after the new Dome Theatre was built.