Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alpha Theatre on Aug 23, 2014 at 12:30 am

This theater for which the May 21, 1921, issue of Building & Engineering News said plans were being prepared was probably the Maybell Theatre, but it turned out that the original architect didn’t design the house after all:

“BELL, Los Angeles Co., Cal.

“One and two-story brick and terra cotta theatre, store and office bldg. Owner — Dr. T. G. De Vaugh and J. V. De Vaugh. Architect — J. T. Payne. 426 Western Mutual Life Bldg. Los Angeles.”

The item got the names of the clients wrong (it was supposed to be T. G. De Vaughn and J. V. Spaugh) according to the documents generated by a court case that ensued. De Vaughn and Spaugh found that Payne was not a licensed architect, and so they had a Mr. Zeller prepare new plans for their theater and supervise its construction, much to the displeasure of Payne, who subsequently sued.

The upshot is that the Maybell Theatre as built was designed by architect Julian T. Zeller, who a few years later also designed the Alcazar (aka Liberty) Theatre a couple of blocks east.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about National Theatre on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm

This item from the May 21, 1921, issue of Building & Engineering News could have been about the house that became the National Theatre:

“Construction To Start Immediately THEATRE. ETC. Cost. $85,000

“WOODLAND, Yolo Co., Cal. West Main Street. Brick drama and motion picture theatre and store building, 40x160. seating 900 persons. Owner — W. W. Stuart Webster. Architect & Contractor — E. L. Younger Porter Bldg., Woodland, Calif. A Robert Morton organ to cost $15,000 has already been purchased.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Aug 22, 2014 at 9:33 pm

The Majestic Theatre operated from January 1, 1917 to June 4, 1943, with at least one lengthy interregnum during the depression.

The December 24, 1935, edition of The Mansfield News-Journal said that Warner Bros. would reopen the newly redecorated Majestic Theatre on Christmas Day. The house had been closed for more than a year. Warner planned to have daily shows at the Majestic until January 5, after which it would return to a policy of operating on Saturday and Sunday only.

A readers' question-and-answer column in the December 23,, 1966, issue of the News Journal told of the end of the Majestic Theatre:

“The Majestic met its un-majestic end Dec 26, 1944 when the roof collapsed under the weight of tons of snow and ice following a three-week storm. It had not been used as a theater since June 4, 1943. The theater was built in 1915 at a cost of more than $100,000. Nobody was hurt when the roof collapsed.”
This web page reproduces a list of the events of 1917 as published in the December 31 issue of The Mansfield News, and it says that the Majestic Theatre opened on January 1, 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nob Hill Theatre on Aug 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Plans to convert the Normandy Room of the Fairmont Hotel into a theater were afoot as early as 1919, according to an item in the April 16 issue of Building & Engineering News:

“SAN FRANCISCO. Blk Bded by Powell, Mason, California and Sacramento.

“Extensive alterations to Class ‘A’ hotel (build garage, alter tunnel and remodel Normandy Room into elaborate theatre of 400 seats).

“Owner — Hammond Ohlerich.

“Architect — Reid Bros.. 105 Montgomery St., San Francisco.

“NOTE — This work has been contemplated for over two years and it is now expected to go ahead.”

I’m not sure if the Nob Hill Theatre of 1944 was located in the former Normandy Room or not. It seems unlikely that the Fairmont would have been installing a movie theater as early as 1919, so that project might have been for a legitimate house. I don’t know if these plans were carried out or not.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 22, 2014 at 6:40 pm

The Rialto was located at 406 Oak Street, and has been demolished. Its site is now a parking lot.

Here is the PSTOS page for the Rialto Theatre in Hood River. The Rialto’s Wurlitzer organ, installed in 1921, was moved to the Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay in 1956, but it has recently been returned to Hood River where it is installed in The History Museum of Hood River County and undergoing restoration.

The History Museum has two photos on this page. One is a close view of the theater entrance during a renovation sometime around 1930, and the other shows the Wurlitzer organ being played by Vera Kolstad, wife of the theater’s first owner, Arthur Kolstad.

As we know the name of the theater’s owner, it must have been the Rialto that was the subject of an item in the April 9, 1921, issue of Building & Engineering News which said that architect Henderson Ryan was preparing plans for a two-story theater to be built at Hood River, Oregon, for A. S. Kolstad. The Wurlitzer was installed in 1921, so the theater must have been completed and opened before the end of that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Aug 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

The Stockton history site maintained by Wright Realtors says that the Roxy Theatre opened as the Lyric Theatre and was later called the National Theatre and the Studio Theatre before finally being renamed the Roxy. There are photos of the building about 1/5 of the way down this web page, though the page mistakenly gives the address as 124-130 Sutter (the site’s Stockton Theatres Over the Years page gives the correct address, but only has one of the photos.)

The Lyric Theatre was in operation by 1915. That year a feature in the July issue of the trade journal The Architect and Engineer of California attributed the design of the Lyric Theatre to the Stockton firm Stone & Wright. Stone & Wright were also the architects of the Lodi Theatre, built in nearby Lodi in 1918.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:11 am

The Facebook photo page for Zoe Jakes House of Tarot has two recent photos of the auditorium of the Palace Theatre. The are no seats on the main floor, but there are in the balcony. It doesn’t look as thought here’s been any restoration, but the building appears sound and the atmospheric decor is intact, though painted a uniform beige with a bit of dark brown trim.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varnville Theatre on Aug 22, 2014 at 12:56 am

The history of the Strand/Varnville Theatre on this web page features a photo of the building taken during its post-theatrical period. The roof collapsed in 2000, and the building was subsequently demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theatre on Aug 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm

This web page has dozens of photos of Johannesburg’s movie theaters, including a late photo (no earlier than 1955) of the Bijou, about ¼ of the way down the page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Adelphi Cinema on Aug 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Street View is a block too far north, but the Google map’s pin icon is about ten blocks too far south. The Adelphi’s building was at the northeast corner of Main Road and Rhine Road.

And Walgate should have only one “l”.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Adelphi Cinema on Aug 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Photos of the Adelphi Kinema and two other theaters here. The Adelphi was in a splendid Streamline Modern building with a rounded end at the corner of Rhine Road. The site is currently occupied by a Pic ‘n Pay store in a building that is anything but splendid.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metro Theatre on Aug 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Because these blocks of St. George’s Mall and Waterkant Street were inaccessible to Google’s camera car there is no good street view of the site of the Metro Theatre. If you look southwest along the Mall from Riebeek Street, the African Bank on the right is at 6 St. George’s Mall, so the Metro’s site was under the footprint of the gray concrete building just beyond it, which extends to the corner of Waterkant Street. The Colosseum Theatre was across the mall from the African Bank building, so this block had two of Cape Town’s movie palaces.

The only photo I can find showing the Metro is this general view of St. George’s Street, probably taken around 1950m lookingsouthwest from a block northeast of Riebeek Street. The Metro is on the right in the second block. On the left side of the street the first four letters on the Colosseum’s vertical sign can be seen.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colosseum Theatre on Aug 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm

According to this web page, the formal opening of the Colosseum Theatre took place on February 14, 1938, and it was converted to shops and offices in 1972.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colosseum Theatre on Aug 20, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Three photos of Cape Town’s Colosseum Theatre are at this link. The building has been converted into a residential-commercial condominium which has a web site. It’s difficult to tell for sure, but from the virtual tours of the units it looks as though they demolished the auditorium to use the space partly as an atrium and partly for new construction.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Aug 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Two photos of the auditorium and a drawing of the facade of the Grand Theatre in Pietermaritzburg can be found on this web page.

A photo of the exterior of the Grand can be seen on this web page, which also mentions three other movie houses in Pietermaritzburg; the Rinko, the King’s, and the Excelsior. An additional cinema, the 20th Century, which opened in 1941, is not mentioned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Three pages of photographs of the Capitol Theatre in Pretoria can be found at this link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kine Elite on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm

The thumbnail image on this web page wouldn’t load for me, but I clicked where it should have been and got a page with a photo of the building that housed the Odeon Cinema and Thelma Court Flats. The photo shows that architect Max Policansky’s design was Midcentury Modern (or Streamline Modern, if we must bundle them together) rather than Art Deco.

Artefacts' web page for Hanson, Tomkin & Finkelstein doesn’t list this theater among their works, though it does list the 20th Century Cinemas in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theatre on Aug 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Three interior shots dated 1933 are among the four photos of the Plaza Theatre found on this web page. The decor features some nice Art Deco touches, though the overall design is less ornate than was typical of the style. Werner Wagner, then employed at the architectural firm of Kallenbach, Kennedy & Furner, was the design architect on this project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metro Theatre on Aug 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm

This web page says that the Plaza Kinema was designed by Kallenbach, Kennedy & Furner, with Walgate & Ellsworth. This was the same team that designed the Capitol and Adelphi Theatres in Cape Town.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colosseum Theatre on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

This web page says that the Prince’s Theatre was designed by architect William Hutchinson Mason. The renovation of this house and the adjacent Playhouse Theatre as the Playhouse Theatre Complex in 1985-86 was handled by the firm of Small & Pettit & Robson.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theatre on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm

This web page says that the Bijou Bioscope was at 165-7 Jeppe Street, and was designed by the architectural firm of Kallenbach & Kennedy.

“Bioscope” was at one time the commonly used term for a cinema in the region.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valley Event Center on Aug 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Scooter’s Theatre is now the Valley Event Center.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victoria Theatre on Aug 18, 2014 at 11:44 pm

While the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950 lists this house among the works of architect Jay English, the Odeon Theatre in Fort William did not open for more than a year after the architect’s death in a drowning accident in August, 1947. It is likely that this house, like th eOdeon in Port Arthur, was among the many designs left uncompleted upon his death.

The design of the Odeon Port Arthur, which opened the day before this house, was completed by the firm of Kaplan & Sprachman, but the Odeon in Fort William is not on the list of that firm’s works on the Dictionary’s web site.

Several of English’s unfinished designs were completed by architect Leslie Kemp. Unfortunately, while the Dictionary has a brief biography of Kemp, it does not provide a list of his works, so we can’t be certain that he completed this house. I can’t find it on any other page of the Dictionary, either. Kemp was the architect most likely to have completed this project, but it might be difficult to find documentation proving that he did.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Odeon Port Arthur on Aug 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm

While the Odeon Port Arthur is on this list of the works of Jay English, it also appears on this list of works by the firm of Kaplan & Sprachman from the same source (the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950.) It is listed as a 1947 project on both pages, so the Odeon, which did not open until November, 1948, must have been one of the design projects left unfinished by Jay English when he died in a drowning accident in August, 1947. A number of his unfinished projects were completed by architect Leslie Kemp, but this house, at least, was completed by Kaplan & Sprachman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyceum Theatre on Aug 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm

The October 16, 1909, issue of the Port Arthur News Chronicle said that the Lyceum Theatre would open on Monday, October 18.