Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Decotah Theatre on Jan 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm

The “New Theaters and Changes in Dakota” column of the November 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Iris Theatre had been opened at Edgeley, North Dakota.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Odeon Theatre on Jan 25, 2015 at 10:39 am

The Hume Theatre was built in 1931. This item is from the January 18, 1931 issue of The Film Daily:

“Burlington, Ont. — Plans are in progress for the erection of a $25,000 theater here by Rex Hume. Geo. T. Evans of Hamilton, Ont., is the architect.”
Rex Hume came to Burlington in 1924 to operate the Crystal Theatre, which he had recently bought, according to research by Peggy Armstrong of the Burlington Historical Society. Architect George Thomas Evans had his office in Hamilton, but resided in Burlington for at least part of his life, having designed a house for himself there in 1928. He was known primarily for designing churches and schools.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about California Theatre on Jan 24, 2015 at 11:42 am

Not to be nitpicky, but the 1921 sale mentioned in the description was not to Fox West Coast Theatres, which didn’t exist until 1928, but to its predecessor, West Coast Theatres, founded in 1920.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theater on Jan 23, 2015 at 12:01 pm

The Liberty Theatre in Columbus,Kansas, was mentioned in the July 14, 1919, issue of The Film Daily. Four years later, the July 14, 1923, issue of The Moving Picture World reported an improvement to the house:

“N. W. Houghston of the Liberty Theatre at Columbus, Kas., has installed two Typhoon fans. One is installed in order to take care of the balcony, while the other will send cool breezes over the orchestra.”
The products of the New York City-based Typhoon Fan Company were mentioned fairly often in early theater industry trade journals. They were a popular appliance in theaters before the advent of air conditioning. For those who might be interested, there are a few photos of Typhoon fans, and a vintage ad for the company, on this page of a discussion board at the web site of the Antique Fan Collectors Association (who knew there were fan fans?)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Jan 21, 2015 at 11:20 pm

This item appeared in the March 29, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“BARBERTON, O. — Park Theatre Company, care A. J. Heiman, 156 Columbia street, has plans by Swirsky & Miller, Ohio Building, for two-story moving picture theatre and office building, 48 by 100 feet, to cost $50,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Jan 21, 2015 at 9:59 pm

The Orpheum in New London was to feature musical duo Bell and Richards on November 15, 1909, according to advertisements in Variety.

The Rialto is mentioned in the October 21, 1922, issue of Exhibitors Herald.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Phoenix Theatre (I) on Jan 20, 2015 at 8:28 pm

It appears that this house later went back to its original name. The Phoenix City and Salt River Valley Directory of 1912 has the Third Avenue Theatre listed as one of five houses in the city and gives the location as Third Avenue between Washington and Jefferson. The Third Avenue Theatre was also mentioned in the December 2, 1911, issue of the Arizona Republican, though it was hosting a political meeting, not a theatrical event.

The other theaters listed in 1912 were the Savoy, Adams corner of 1st; the Coliseum, corner 1st and E. Monroe; the Wigwam, 31 N. 1st; and the Elks' Theatre, 332 W. Washington. All but the Phoenix/Third Avenue were advertised in the December 26, 1911 Republican.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lamara Theatre on Jan 20, 2015 at 7:27 pm

I’m sure the book got the address wrong. I’ve found a reference to the Lamara Theatre being very near Donofrio’s, a confectionery and ice cream parlor, and Donofrio’s was at 21 E. Washington (the candy factory on the Sanborn map.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gaiety Theatre on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:37 pm

The June 13, 1914, issue of The American Contractor said that the general contract for construction of the Gaiety Theatre on Weybosset Street, Providence, had been awarded to Famigliette Bros.. The project was designed by William R. Walker & Son.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Montlake Theater on Jan 20, 2015 at 4:47 pm

The address 2410 East Lynn Street is actually the back wall of the theater’s auditorium. The theater’s entrance was through that splendid Gothic arch at 2308 24th Avenue East.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Montlake Theater on Jan 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm

This item from the September 13, 1924, issue of Exhibitor’s Trade Review is probably about the Montlake Theatre:

“W. W. Armstrong, is building a house at 24th Avenue and East Lynn Street, Seattle. It is planned to seat 580 people. Construction will begin shortly. George Purvis of Seattle is architect.”
George B. Purvis also designed the Columbia Theatre in Longview and the Mack Theatre in Port Angeles, Washington.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lamara Theatre on Jan 20, 2015 at 3:27 pm

A nocturnal photo of the Lamara Theatre appears at the top of page 85 of Vanishing Phoenix, by Robert A. Melikian (Google Books preview.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riviera Theater on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

The Riviera Theatre last operated in the building that was built in 1924 as the Liberty Theatre. This photo from the 1920s shows part of the theater at far right, and the L in the name Liberty can just be made out on the sign above the marquee.

This photo from the 1940s shows the Riviera just down the block, and it’s clearly the same building the Liberty was in in the 1920s photo.

If there was a Riviera Theatre in Sumner in 1911, the only explanation I can think of is that the original Riviera was closed sometime before the 1940s photo was made and the name was moved to the Liberty building. However, the only theater I’ve found mentioned at Sumner in early trade journals is a house called the Sumner Theatre, in operation by 1916 and still operating in 1922. I haven’t found William Nasmyth mentioned in any of the early trade journals, either.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Community Theatre on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:35 am

This item appeared in the May 10, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“S. R. Stalcup, who is building a Community Theatre at South 56th and M Streets, Tacoma, Wash., in the Yakima Avenue district, has let complete contracts to the Theatre Equipment Co., for projection, 457 seats, stage scenery, decorating, carpets, drapes, etc. The house will cost around $35,000, and will have a handsome marquee elaborating the front.”
The September 13, 1924, issue of Exhibitor’s Trade Review said that the Community Theatre had opened on August 20.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Calvin Theatre on Jan 19, 2015 at 9:28 pm

The May 10, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World had a great deal to say about the new Calvin Theatre in Northampton:

“Calvin Theatre, Northampton, Mass., Features Beautiful Lighting Effects

“The newly-opened Calvin Theatre, Northampton, Mass., owned by Goldstein Brothers, is one of the best appointed and most modern houses in New England, and when its beautiful lighting effects are brought into play, especially the crimson-hued lattice-work lights, in addition to the purple-crimson crystal chandeliers, the effect is one of exquisite beauty. The color scheme of the theatre is old gold and grey. The scenic decorations about the theatre are the work of the William Eckart studios of New York. The auditorium ceiling, the work of Charles Stifter, noted New York sculptor, is of ornamental plaster, embellished with striking decorative effects.

“The theatre is located in King street at Merrick lane and the building opens free on all sides. It has a majestic approach and is visible for a long distance.

“The foundation of the building is of reinforced concrete; the roof of steel construction and the walls of brick.

“The entrance to the new Calvin is imposing, and its arch, when illuminated, is well silhouetted against the city’s night skyline.

“There is a marquise of special design with electric lights arranged on a flasher motor. The outer vestibule is of terrazzo and marble and contains poster and photograph display frames, especially constructed. The box office is in the center of the vestibule and is of marble with hand carved woodwork. It is equipped with two automatic ticket sellers.

“From the vestibule entering the lobby on the left side is an additional ticket office, which can be used in case of reserved seat sales in advance of the shows.

“Mezzanine Floor

“On either side of the rear of the orchestra floor are the grand marble staircases leading to the mezzanine floor and the balcony. From the mezzanine floor there is an easy approach to the balcony.

“The mezzanine floor also is of excellent construction, being of California gum-wood. Here are located the well-appointed women’s and men’s retiring rooms, private telephone booths, check rooms and manager’s office. The mezzanine lounge has drinking fountains and writing facilities and a true home-like atmosphere prevails there.

“More than 200 tons of steel alone were fabricated into the construction of the balcony. There are no posts and an unobstructed view is had of the stage from all seats on both floors.

“40-Foot Stage

“The Calvin has a 40-foot stage and proscenium opening 36 feet in length and 25 feet high. The stage is of ample size to accommodate any sort of road show.

“Many of the leading manufacturers of theatrical stage equipment were called upon by the Goldstein Brothers to make installations on the Calvin’s stage. The Worcester Electric and Manufacturing Company built the large stage switchboard, which is of the dead front type.

“The scenery for the Calvin was built by James Kennedy, who has charge of the Goldstein Brothers' scenic studios in Holyoke. Maurice Tuttle, scenic artist for the circuit, acted in that capacity for the Calvin and has turned out a veritable work of art. The main drop curtain has upon it a beautiful Yosemite Valley scene. It was executed from an enlarged photograph of an actual scene.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Jan 19, 2015 at 9:10 pm

The May 10, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Capitol Theatre in Cheyenne had opened recently.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Washington Theater on Jan 19, 2015 at 7:47 pm

This house appears to have opened as the Washington Square Theatre. Click the thumbnail at left for an interior photo on this page with a photo of the front. The May 3, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item:

“The new Washington Square Theatre, Quincy, Ill., will open on June 15, according to present plans. ‘If Winter Comes’ will be the opening feature.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cameo Theatre on Jan 19, 2015 at 7:38 pm

The Cozy is mentioned (with a variant spelling) in the May 3, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“J. H. Riley’s Cosey Theatre, Mountain Grove, Mo., opened to capacity business on April 15.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Toy Theater on Jan 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Apparently Charles Toy also owned one of the film distributing companies in his building. This item about the closing of the theater, but which also mentions the exchange, is from the May 3, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Toy Theatre, located on Second street, just north of Milwaukee’s main street, has been closed by Charles Toy, its owner, and will be remodeled shortly into a store. The house had the distinction of being Milwaukee’s smallest downtown film theatre, it being equipped with only 425 seats. For some time it has been considered a losing proposition, and with the opening of the Wisconsin by the Saxe interests the going became even harder. George Beyer, manager of the place for six years, has accepted a position with the Midwest Distributing Co., also operated by Toy, the Chinese cafe and theatre owner.”
The 1921 edition of Polk’s Wisconsin State Gazetteer and Business Directory has this entry: “Mid-West Distributing Co, Moy B Toy pres, D G Stover sec-treas, film exchange 174 2d.” (Milwaukee underwent some drastic address renumbering in the 1930s, and 174 2nd was the old address of the Toy Building.)

A 1921 book called Visual Education lists two film-related businesses in the Toy Building: the Mid-West Distributing Corp. and Educational Films Services. The 1920 Blue Book of Audio-visual Materials has Associated First National Pictures listed at 402 Toy Building, and the Milwaukee office of the Universal Film Exchange, Inc., at 174 2nd Street.

The 1922-1923 FDY lists five exchanges in the Toy Building on page 394: Wisconsin Film Corp., 403 Toy Bldg.; Walter A. Baier Film Co., 412 Toy Bldg.; Kay Bee Dist. Co., Toy Bldg.; Exhibitors Film Exchange, Toy Bldg.; and Toy’s own Mid-West Distributing Co..

That’s all I’ve dug up about the exchanges so far.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Manos Theatre on Jan 19, 2015 at 6:09 pm

The Ritz Theatre opened in April, 1924, according to this item from the May 3 issue of The Moving Picture World:

“W. P. McCartney, whose newest theatre, the Ritz, at Indiana, was opened three weeks ago, was in town a few days ago and stated that standing room only has been the rule at this beautiful new house. The Ritz seats 1,300.”
The building through which the Manos Theatre’s entrance ran is still standing, but is nowhere near big enough to have held a theater seating over 1,000, so the auditorium must have been behind it on the space now occupied by a parking lot. It has definitely been demolished.

This web page has multiple photos showing the house both as the Ritz and as the Manos.

According to a articles in the Indiana Evening News, W. Penn McCartney acquired the site of the Ritz Theatre in 1919. Plans for the new theater, originally to have been called the Rialto, were completed by the Punxsutawney firm of Powell & Justus in 1920, and construction was expected to begin soon, but there were apparently numerous delays.

Announcements of the imminent construction of the theater appeared in the newspaper in 1921 and 1922. Later announcements gave the name of the architectural firm as Powell Bros. (perhaps Mr. Justus died while waiting for the project to begin.) Reports in construction trade journals in 1922 also named Powell Bros. as architects for the project.

I’ve been unable to find any articles about the project from 1923, or from 1924, when it was finally built, but if Mr. McCartney was having trouble getting financing for the theater (the most likely cause of the delays) then it’s unlikely that he would have been able to afford entirely new plans for the project, and the original plans by Powell & Justus, perhaps updated by Powell Bros., were probably used.

An August 8, 1966, Indiana Evening News article said that Michael Manos' Monessen Amusement Co. took over the Ritz Theatre in 1933. A full page ad in the February 7, 1937, issue of the paper touted the second anniversary of the Manos Theatre, so the renaming must have taken place in early 1935.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Indiana Theatre on Jan 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm

A story about Indiana’s theaters in the August 8, 1966, issue of the Indiana Evening News said that the Indiana Theatre opened on July 16, 1924. The rear portion of an existing building had been demolished to provide room for the auditorium, and the entrance was run though the existing structure. The Indiana Theatre had a two-manual Marr & Colton organ.

In 1933, the Indiana Theatre was sold to Michael Manos' Monessen Amusement Company, who also took over the Ritz Theatre the same year. As the Indiana was a Manos house, it is almost certain that the remodeling of the theater in the 1930s was designed by Victor A. Rigaumont, who as far as I can determine designed all the Manos houses built or remodeled during that period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jefferson Theater on Jan 19, 2015 at 4:49 pm

According to the NRHP nomination for for the Jefferson Theatre (PDF here), the house opened in November, 1905, with a stock company in residence.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Maute Theatre on Jan 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm

The May 3, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item:

“W. G. Maute opened his new 800-seat Maute Theatre at Irwin on April 21, and the house is one of the finest for its size to be found anywhere. Several of the local film exchange men attended the opening. Maute also owns the Grand in the same town.”
The May 10 issue of the same publication had this follow-up item:
“W. G. Maute, who has for some time conducted the Grand Theatre at Irwin, on April 21 opened his newest house in the same town and which he has named the Maute. The new house seats 800 and is as pretty a small theatre as can be found anywhere. Opening night saw capacity crowds anxious to get their first glimpse at the new picture house, where ‘Boy of Mine’ and an Educational-Mermaid comedy were the initial attraction.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vox Theatre on Jan 19, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Here is a colorized photo of the Wilt Theatre taken around 1919. The Wilt was in operation by 1918, as it was mentioned in The Moving Picture World that year. It might have opened in 1917, when the March issue of Electrical Record and Buyer’s Reference ran an item listing several theaters recently wired by contractor W. G. Dunseath of Irwin, Pennsylvania, which included a theater for R. A. Wilt in Ligonier. The list specified that Dunseath’s work for a Lyric Theatre in Irwin had been a rewiring job, but as it didn’t specify rewiring for any of the other theaters on the list perhaps it can be assumed that they were all new houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empress Theatre on Jan 19, 2015 at 12:21 pm

It was Thomas Henneberry who renamed the Majestic the Empress Theatre in 1917. In addition to the Empress Theatres at Osawatomie and at Paola, he also had an Empress Theatre at Eastland, Texas, which he sold in 1919.