Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Mock Theatre on Mar 28, 2015 at 4:19 pm

The function should be listed as church, though there appears to be a thrift shop (perhaps operated by the church) in one of the storefronts flanking the entrance.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rose Theatre on Mar 27, 2015 at 3:55 pm

The correct spelling of the architect’s surname is Pehrson. Gustav Albin Pehrson was born in Sweden in 1882 and immigrated to the United States in 1905, ultimately settling in Spokane. He practiced architecture there from 1913 until his death in 1968. The September 3, 1993, issue of the Spokane Spokesman-Review devoted almost a full page to Pehrson, which can be read online at Google News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about ACT Theatre on Mar 25, 2015 at 7:42 pm

It turns out that the 1921 project for the Rivoli Theatre Corporation was not the Rivoli Theatre, but the Hempstead Theatre. An ad for a stock offering by the Rivoli Corporation in the February 10, 1921, issue of The Hempstead Sentinel (PDF here) gave the location of their project as Fulton Street, almost opposite the Long Island Railroad depot. The Hempstead opened on April 29, 1922, so there was no significant delay in the company’s 1921 project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hempstead Theatre on Mar 25, 2015 at 7:39 pm

The Hempstead Theatre was built by the Rivoli Theatre Corporation. An ad offering stock in the company appeared in the February 10, 1921, issue of The Hempstead Sentinel (PDF here.) An item in the April 28, 1921, issue of Engineering News-Record revealed that the architects Reilly & Hall were originally connected with the project:

“N. Y., Hempstead—Theater and Stores— Rivoli Theater Corp., c/o Reilley & Hall, archts. and engrs., 405 Lexington Ave.. New York City, having sketches made for 2 story, 80 x 200 ft., brick and stone, concrete foundation, here. About $250,000.”
Although I’ve been unable to find any period source noting a change in architects from Reilly & Hall to Eugene DeRosa, neither have I found any later items mentioning Reilly & Hall in connection with the project, so it’s quite possible that either the owners (or Reilly & Hall themselves, if they were too busy) did hire DeRosa to do the final design.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts Theater on Mar 25, 2015 at 5:42 pm

An ad in the November 29, 1922, issue of Freeport’s The Daily Review gives 78-80 Main Street as the address of Forman-Hutcheson Corporation, dealers in Packard and Oakland automobiles (PDF.) The August 22, 1927, issue of The Nassau Daily Review made reference to the new State Theatre “…now under construction at Main street in the Forman-Hutchinson [sic] building….” By 1928 Foreman-Hutcheson was advertising its location as 84 Main Street, so it had moved next door. This photo from December, 1926, shows their new building under construction next door to the original showroom and garage that later became the State Theatre.

The Fulton Theatre at Fulton and Main Streets is advertised in the April 24, 1923, issue of the Hempstead Sentinal, but without a street number. As 78-80 Main was then still occupied by Foreman-Hutcheson, the Fulton had to have been an earlier theater than the State. An ad for the Fulton Theatre in 1912 says that the house would be showing Sara Bernhardt’s movie Queen Elizabeth on October 31, so this was probably the theater built around 1910 on the site shown in the “incongruous image” Ed Solero linked to.

The State Theatre built in 1927 was a different house than the Fulton Theatre, which was located farther south.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Berwick Theatre on Mar 25, 2015 at 2:38 am

A report of the September 23, 1933, fire that destroyed the Strand Theatre in Berwick appeared in the September 25 issue of The Kane Republican from Kane, Pennsylvania. The article said that the building was owned by the P.O.S. of A., so it could well have been the old Opera House with a new name.

The article also said that nearby buildings suffering damage from water and smoke included the Palace Theatre, so the Palace and the Strand were different houses very close together, possibly adjacent. The Strand was back in operation by 1935, but I don’t know if it was a new theater on the old site or if the name Strand had simply been moved to the nearby Palace Theatre.

I’ve found two notices of theater construction in Berwick, one in 1916 and one in 1919. No theater names were attached to either item, but one of them might have been the Temple Theatre, in operation in 1943 and located on W. Front Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Seville Theatre on Mar 23, 2015 at 7:37 pm

This article about Owensboro’s theaters from the Theatre Historical Society says that the Seville was on the southeast corner of 3rd and St. Ann Streets. It opened in 1931 and closed in 1955. The site is now occupied by a mirrored glass building that houses PNC Bank.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Queen Theatre on Mar 23, 2015 at 7:13 pm

The March 16, 1915, issue of Variety had this notice:

“The Old People’s, Owensboro, Ky., has been leased by George Bleich, who will renovate the house and open at an early date with vaudeville and pictures. The house will be renamed.”
The January 5, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World had a brief item saying that “[t]he Queen theatre, Owensboro, Ky., has gone out of business as a result of the war tax.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theater on Mar 23, 2015 at 6:03 pm

The January 15, 1920, issue of Manufacturers Record noted the contracts that had been let for the project at Greenville, Mississippi, for the People’s Theatre Company. It also noted that Carl Boller had acted as consulting architect on the project for J. R. Scott & Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bleich Theatre on Mar 23, 2015 at 5:35 pm

The current introduction says the Bleich was down the street from the Strand Theatre, but it was actually a couple of doors from the Empress. A picture at the bottom of page 28 of Owensboro, by Terry Blake and David Edds, Jr. (Google Books preview) shows the Bleich between the Central Trust Co. building to the right, and on the left a one-story building that was between the Bleich and the Empress.

The Bleich Theatre was in operation by 1922, as it was only Owensboro house listed in that year’s Cahn guide, which said it offered both movies and legitimate stge productions. The Bleich Theatre was most likely the project noted in the January 15, 1920, issue of Manufacturers Record which said that a building at Owensboro, 45x134 feet, was being remodeled as a theater for George Bleich. W. R. Gatlin was the architect for the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about TWO Empress Theatre on Mar 23, 2015 at 3:42 pm

This web page has an article about the Empress Theatre from the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer The article is not dated, but was posted on the web on October 18, 2012. There is a vintage photo of the theater and a modern photo of the marquee with the name TWO on it (the acronym for Theatre Workshop of Owensboro.) The “Venues” page of TWO’s official web site calls it the TWO Empress Theatre (TWO also mounts shows in Trinity Center, a former church.)

The Empress showed its last movie on January 19, 1989, and Goldie’s closed at the end of 2008 when its owner retired, so our current introduction is mostly obsolete.

The Empress Theatre was designed by architect W. R. Gatlin, who also designed the Princess Theatre in Hopkinsville.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Mar 23, 2015 at 3:38 pm

This web page has a brief history of the Princess Theatre. It was called the Photoplay Palace when it opened in 1911. The Moderne facade is the result of reconstruction following a major fire in 1942. The Princess closed in 1972.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kentucky Theatre on Mar 23, 2015 at 3:01 pm

This web page says that the Kentucky Theatre was directly across the street from the Princess Theatre. The house opened as the Rex Theatre on November 28, 1912. It closed at the end of the silent era and was reopened eight years later, in 1937, as the Kentucky Theatre. The Kentucky ran its last movie on October 13, 1956. The building is now occupied by Blue Streak Printers, 116 E. 9th Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loop Theater on Mar 23, 2015 at 2:13 am

Here are a few paragraphs about the Telenews Theatre from the January 5, 1940, issue of The Film Daily:


“Chicago — Latest advances in motion picture theater equipment are incorporated in the new Telenews Theater recently opened here by its owners and operators, Midwest News Reel Theaters, of which Herbert Scheftel of New York City is president.

“House has RCA sound, Simplex projectors, and American Seating Co.’s Bodiform chairs. Approximately 400 of the latter are installed on the main floor of the auditorium, and 200 in the balcony.

“A Westinghouse air conditioning system is used, Perey turnstiles, and Stanley Bigelow carpets supplied by Marshall Field Co.

“The theater has a unique front and marquee, White Way Co. lighting, plus clear cut screen effect and excellent acoustics.

“Marshall Field supplied the furnishings for the rest rooms. Equipment contract was executed by National theater Supply.

“Shaw, Naess and Murphy were architects.”

The first Telenews Theatre opened in San Francisco on September 1, 1939, just in time to show newsreels of the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. The timing helped make the theater a tremendous success, and the company rapidly expanded to other cities. Not surprisingly newsreel theaters flourished during the war and early post-war years, but went into decline with the arrival of television, which could bring breaking news into people’s homes. Still, a handful of newsreel houses hung on into the 1960s, usually by pairing newsreels with feature-length documentaries.

Charles F. Murphy, who had no formal training in architecture, founded the firm of Shaw, Naess & Murphy with architects Alfred P. Shaw and Sigurd Naess in 1937. Murphy had previously been personal secretary to architect Ernest Graham, of the firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, successors to D. H. Burnham & Company. Shaw and Naess had also been with the firm, Shaw having been a junior partner since 1929.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Webbo Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Oops. I didn’t see OCRon’s comment with the address before or after I posted my comment last night. The reason I think the theater was at the southern end of the long building instead of the northern end where Chase Drugs is now is because of the configuration of the windows and the columns between them.

In the vintage photo there is a single column on the right and it looks like there are more windows beyond it. If you check Google street view you can see that there is a set of double columns between the northernmost three bays and the southernmost six bays.

The theater couldn’t have been under the northernmost bays because the building ends at the corner. It couldn’t have been under the middle three bays because the double column is north of them, and there’s only the single column north of the theater entrance in the vintage photo.

The theater had to have been under the southernmost three bays, just south of the storefront that has the modern address 313 above the door, visible in street view. The two storefronts flanking the theater entrance must have had the addresses 307 and 311, so the theater would have been at 309.

You can’t really see it in Google satellite view, but the bird’s eye view from Bing Maps shows some really bad damage to the theater building, namely two big holes in the roof above where the stage would have been. Even though the nine bays of the facade all match, it looks like the theater was built separately from the rest of the building. It has brick walls rather than concrete, and a somewhat different roof line. My guess is that the double column was in the middle of the original six-bay building and the theater section was added later (though it could have been the other way around.) The northern six-bay section is in good condition, but I doubt the theater building will last much longer if it doesn’t get immediate repairs.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Mar 22, 2015 at 2:13 am

The “New Theater Openings” column of The Film Daily for July 2, 1938, said that the 500-seat State Theatre in Borger, Texas, had opened on June 10. The house was reported to have cost $60,000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vale Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 2:11 am

The “New Theater Openings” column of The Film Daily for July 2, 1938, listed the 800-seat, $100,000 Vale Theatre at Cashmere, Washington as having opened on June 23.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Clinton Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 2:03 am

The “Theaters Under Construction” column of the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily listed the Clinton Theatre in Los Angeles as a 750-seat project for operator C. W. Blake. The $75,000 house was expected to be completed by August 1. It was designed by architect Raphael A. Nicolais.

Raphael Nicolais had earlier designed at least one theater in Fort Worth, Texas, but by 1929 he was practicing from an office on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Center Theatre 1 & 2 on Mar 22, 2015 at 1:24 am

The Center Theatre was listed in the 1963 city directory.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Matanzas Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 1:11 am

Here is an item about the Matanzas Theatre from the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily:

“Sparks Plans 16th Century Atmospheric Pix Theater

“St. Augustine, Fla. — Work has been started on a new 1,200-seat theater here by E. J. Sparks. H. L. Baird, Inc., of Jacksonville, is the general contractor and Roy A. Benjamin, also of Jacksonville, is the architect. The theater will be known as the Mantaza and will represent an investment of $100,000.

“The architecture will be of 16th Century Spanish and all ornamentation maintaining the proper feeling and atmosphere of other buildings in this America’s oldest city. Indirect lighting will be used exclusively.

“It is one of the few places where the Sparks interests have gone into a community, purchased land and erected a building. The usual procedure is for local interests to build a theater and lease it to Sparks.”

1938 was pretty late for a revival-style atmospheric house to be built. I wonder if this could have been the last of them?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Center Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 12:48 am

A description of the Isis Theatre as it would appear after being remodeled and reopened as the Center appeared in the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily:

“Isis, Grand Rapids, Will Be Remodeled as Center

“Grand Rapids, Mich. — The Isis Theater here will undergo complete modernization at an estimated cost of $35,000, according to E. C. Beatty, president of W. S. Butterfield Theaters, Inc. The remodeled theater will open early in August and will be known as the Center Theater. The plans include re-facing of the front with macotta, using Chinese red, forest green and stainless steel.

“The lobby will be completely redone with new terrazzo floor, walnut marlite walls and a ceiling of acoustic tile. The foyer will match in finish. The auditorium will have new flooring, the stage wall will be moved back and walls will be covered to improve sound.

“American Seating Co. will install 1,000 upholstered seats. The wiring will be renewed and a new marquee, sign and attraction board will match the macotta front.”

For those unfamiliar with it, Macotta was a decorative tile made of colored porcelain-over-concrete panels, which competed with glass-based rivals such as Vitrolite.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Normandie Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 12:11 am

Here is a notice about the Normandie Theatre from the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily:

“Construction Under Way on New Park Av. House

“Construction work is under way on a 590-seat ‘intimate’ type talking picture theater and adjoining two-story shop building on a Park Ave. plot between 53rd and 54th Sts., owned by Robert Walton Goelet. The theater will be named the Normandie.

“The new buildings, which will face on 53rd St., were designed by Rosario Candela, architect. Hegeman Harris Co. are the builders.

“The theater will be ready for occupancy Oct. 15. It has been leased to the Normandie Theater Corp., headed by Philip Smith, who has been in the theater business for 20 years and manages a string of ‘intimate’ theaters in New England.”

I find it interesting that, as late as 1938, they still referred to the project as a “talking picture theater.”

Also interesting is that in 1938, the same year he opened the Normandie, Philip Smith launched the Midwest Drive-In Company, later renamed General Drive-In Company, and finally renaed General Cinema Corporation (GCC) which grew into one of the largest theater chains in the country prior to its bankruptcy in 2000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regal Picture House on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:12 pm

The Regal in Dunfermline was one of four houses bought by Caledonian Associated Cinemas from Peter Crerar of Crieff, according to an item in the July 1, 1938, issue of The Film Daily. The other theaters Caledonian bought were the Rio, Rutherglen, the Rio, Bearsden, and the Mossbank, Glasgow.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Webbo Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 10:07 pm

The Webbo Theatre’s address was probably 309 N. Roane Street. There is a sign above one of the adjacent storefronts that says Antiques, and in the middle of what was once the theater’s entrance is a faux column of red brick that doesn’t quite match the brick on the rest of the building. The next visible address to the north is 313, and the Roane Furniture Company to the south is at 301 Roane. The building is recognizable by its detail and large second floor windows as seen in the vintage photo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Webbo Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 9:35 pm

I believe that the Webbo might be the theater that opened in 1938 as the Palace, which was noted in this item from the July 5 issue of The Film Daily:

“Harriman, Tenn. — The Palace, erected by the Peerless Enterprises Inc., Tim W. Smith, president, has opened here. The Palace seats 1,000, with 625 downstairs. Boyd Underwood, formerly of the Tennessee Theater, Knoxville, Tenn., is the manager.”
Peerless Enterprises was one of three independent theater chains that filed a lawsuit against Crescent Amusement Co. in 1939. A July 21, 1941, Motion Picture Daily article about the case had this to say:
:“Tim W. Smith, president of Peerless Enterprises, Inc., Knoxville, maintained under examination the previous day that Crescent competition and his difficulty in obtaining product had forced his newly-opened houses in Harriman, Morristown and Newport, all in East Tennessee, to close in 1938.”
I’ve found no later references to the Palace, so it’s most likely fate was to have been taken over by Crescent and renamed.