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Linkrot repair: Roosevelt Theatre photos from Boxoffice of August 5, 1950.
Mickelson’s book appears to be well researched (she even gives the name of the contractor who built the theater, which suggests she had some sort of documentation.) She also has a weblog, where this page has a bit more information about the first Hollywood Theatre as well as an early photo of it.
The Roxy must have been operating by the late 1930s. This line is from the obituary of a one-time employee, Dorothy Schlomer:
“While a junior in high school, Dorothy held a job at J.C. Penney’s and she also worked as an usher at the Rose Theater and later at the Roxy Theater, receiving 50 cents a night. She graduated from Colfax High School in 1937.”
The house that later became the Ritz opened as the Hollywood Theatre in 1923 or 1924. It was located at 1921 Hollywood Boulevard. According to A Guide to Historic Hollywood: A Tour Through Place and Time, by Joan Mickelson (Google Books preview) it was renamed the Ritz in 1935. This was after a new Hollywood Theatre (later the Hollywood Cinema) was opened on Harrison Street. The Ritz operated at least into the 1940s. It has been demolished.
The Playhouse in Centralia was listed as a new theater in the “Theater Changes” column of the March 2, 1933, issue of The Film Daily.
Prior to 1933 this house was called the College Theatre. The name change was noted in the “Theater Changes” column of the January 31 issue of The Film Daily that year.
The Folly and Royal Theatres at Pauls Valley, both operaed by L. E. Brewer, were mentioned in the January 27, 1933, issue of The Film Daily.
The Capitol Theatre’s short-lived predecessor was called the Marvell Theatre. The October 4, 1937, issue of The Film Daily announced that the Marvell had recently opened. It was in operation only a little over half a year, and was destroyed by an arson fire on April 8, 1938. The Capitol was most likely built in the Marvell Theatre’s shell.
A brief announcement about the Flint Theatre appeared in the “Theaters Planned” column of The Film Daily for September 9, 1938. The $75,000, 780-seat house at North Saginaw and Tilden Streets was being designed for operator Walter O. Johnson by architect George J. Bachmann.
An early Real Photo postcard of the Gala Theatre can be seen on this web page.
The “Theaters Planned” column of the September 9, 1938, issue of The Film Daily said that a 640-seat theater at Garrett for Alex C. Kalafat was being designed by architect E. J. Frederic. The address given was 519 S. Randolph Street, but this page from the Eckhart Public Library says that the 638-seat Gala Theatre was opened by the Kalafat brothers in 1939, so it was probably the same project despite the address discrepancy.
The original architects of the Vista Theatre were Wetherell & Harrison. The “Theaters Under Construction” column of the September 9, 1938, issue of The Film Daily said that the Vista was expected to be completed by October 1. The 650-seat project had been budgeted at $40,000.
The “Theaters Under Construction” column of the September 9, 1938, issue of The Film Daily said that the Plaza Theatre in Helena was expected to be completed on October 1. Builder George B. Miller was also to be the operator of the house. The architect of the 450-seat project was E. T. Walker.
The “New Theatre Openings” column of the September 9, 1938, issue of The Film Daily said that the Capitol Theatre in Marvell had opened on July 15. The 300-seat house, designed by architect R. L. Swim, had cost a modest $7,500. W. W. Davis was the first manager.
The “New Theatre Openings” column of the September 9, 1938, issue of The Film Daily said that the Drew Theatre in Monticello had opened on August 9. The seating capacity was given as 900, the cost of the project was $50,000, and the architect was H. Ray Burks.
The “Theatres Under Construction” column of the August 27, 1938, issue of The Film Daily said that the new Bijou Theatre being built in Houma had been designed by the architectural firm of Overstreet & Town (Noah Webster Overstreet and A. Hays Town.) The house was to have 1,112 seats and the projected date of completion was September 1. The project had cost $85,000.
An article on Portland’s movie theaters that ran in the July 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World included this information about the Majestic:
“Edwin James, owner of the Majestic, built in 1911, has stayed with the same house and the same location perhaps longer than any other exhibitor in Portland. Coming from Seattle in 1910, Mr. James opened the Majestic, seating 350, in a storeroom on Fifth and Washington streets and after nine months opened the present Majestic with 1,050 seats at an expense of $62,000. The Peoples Amusement Company then controlled most of the theaters in the city and also the Amalgamated Film Exchange. They had a monopoly on the film service and the Majestic was compelled to add musical attractions to what films it could get to meet (he competition. The Majestic first introduced features to Portland, the initiating film being "The Fall of Troy,” two reels. A rental of $150 per week was paid for the picture and was considered a big price at that time. The Majestic installed a theater organ, one of the few on the Pacific Coast at the time and the Star across the street also put in an organ, the two theaters starting organ music on the same day.“
The Lyric Opera House was one of three theaters listed for Terrell in the 1913-1914 Cahn guide, all three of which listed E. T. Christman as manager. The National Theatre ran pictures and vaudeville, but no details were given for the Airdome Theatre except that it operated during the summer. The Opera House was a ground floor theater with 600 seats, 200 of which were in the balcony.
The 1909-1910 guide lists a theater called the Childress Opera House in Terrell. Though the description does not exactly match that of the Lyric in 1914, it is close enough that they could have been the same house. The Childress was the only theater listed at Terrell in 1909. It was also listed in the September 5, 1908, issue of The Billboard.
The Lyric Theatre was mentioned in the March 4, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. Operators Gwynn & Byar were planning to expend about $2,200 for remodeling the house.
It’s money, Mikeoaklandpark, and the value of publicity. AEG in particular doesn’t like to leave so much as a penny on the table. They cash in on selling naming rights to companies that know every event advertisement, every review, every social media post that mentions the venue with their name on it is an advertisement for them and their products. Companies will bid each other up, and the one willing to pay the most gets its name on the venue.
Old time showmen like Marcus Lowe and William Fox built famous brands out of their own names, but modern promoters have realized they can make even more money by charging other companies for five-year piggyback rides. I believe five years is the most common term of a naming rights contract, so the names are apt to change that often unless the current contact holder is willing to pay for another five years, usually at a higher price. If some other company is willing to pay more, then it’s goodbye Best Buy Theatre and hello PlayStation Theatre.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, by Lawrence Wright, says that when Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s family moved to Helena when he was two years old, his father became the manager of the Family Theatre, then still a vaudeville house.
A couple of the photos on tis web page show the Rialto Theatre in Scarbro. It looks like the theater was on the second floor with stores below. The building also looks to be older than the company store next door, which was built in 1937.
The company store is still standing, but the theater has been demolished. The theater fronted on Plum Orchard Lake Road at the corner of Scarbro Road.
Google Maps has no street view, but Bing Maps has a bird’s eye view.
I use HTML because I’m accustomed to it, but Cinema Treasures also supports Markdown code, which is much simpler. To italicize with Markdown simply put an asterisk * at the beginning of the first word you want italicized and another asterisk at the end of the last word you want italicized (or an asterisk at the beginning and end of a single word if that’s the only one you want in italics.) You can also use underscores _ the same way. Doubling either asterisks ** or underscores gives you bold type instead of italics. You can also use Markdown to make text hyperlinks, as described in this official post.
Have we got the wrong address, then? I’ve looked up and down several blocks of Williamson Road in Google street view (in case Google Maps is giving the wrong addresses, which it sometimes does) and I don’t see the building anywhere. The street view photo you posted doesn’t display an address, alas. Though there appears to be an address on the building itself, I can’t make it out.
When it was Best Buy Theatre it was owned and/or operated by AEG Worldwide, one of the companies controlled by secretive billionaire Philip Anschutz. They haven’t updated their web site with the new name, so I don’t know if they still own it, or if they are just a bit slovenly about keeping their web site up to date.
Does the name “PlayStation Theater” (there’s no space between the words) sound to anyone else like it would be a 1970s storefront porn house? To be sure, if selling naming rights helps historic theaters to survive then I’m all for it, but oy, what a name this is.
The New Janus Theatre was in operation at least as early as 1916, when the June 17 issue of the Macon Daily Chronicle-Herald of Macon, Missouri, reported that the theater’s projection machine had been stolen the previous Thursday night. A few nights later the thief returned and stole the replacement machine that theater operators Jones and Spaulding had rented. This time he was apprehended, according to the June 22 issue of the La Plata Home Press. Howard Davison was arrested with the head of the second machine in his luggage as he awaited a train to Kansas City, where he had sold the first machine for $47.
In the current Google street view the modern plaster on the building is seen to be cracking along the lines of an old arch. The arch probably marks the location of the entrance to the Apollo Theatre when it opened in 1914.