Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bob Theatre on Jun 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm

In 1950, the Rex Theatre was renamed the Bob Theatre. This is the story from the “New Orleans” column of the April 1, 1950, issue of Boxoffice:

“F. R. DeGrauw [sic], president of F&R Realty, Abbeville, has leased the Rex Theatre, Abbeville, La., and will operate it under the new name Bob. New sound equipment is being installed and the theatre is undergoing remodeling. Opening date for the 800-seat house has been set tentatively for April 8.”
I’ve found a couple of references to the Bob Theatre on the Internet, but no details about it. A Wikimapia entry has the coordinates rather than the address, but put into Google Maps the coordinates do come out to the address 108 S. Washington Street.

One Internet reference calls the house Bob’s Theatre rather than the Bob Theatre. It’s quite possible that it’s correct. The deGraauw family owned Frank’s Theatre, which appears to have been renamed (from the Dixie) for F. R. deGraauw’s elder son, Frank, so it seems logical that the Rex would have been renamed for the younger son, Bob. Robert deGraauw died quite recently, and his obituary at mentions the family’s involvement in the theater business at Abbeville from at least 1927. They also owned the Lafitte Drive-In.

The 800 seat capacity noted in the Boxoffice item seems plausible. This is a good-sized building, as can be seen from Randy Carlisle’s photos, linked in the previous comment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Amo Theater on Jun 8, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Someone got a license to operate the house later. The obituary of William A. Rennie in the August 15, 1953, issue of The Billboard says that “[f]or the past several years, he has operated the Amo Theatre, Detroit….”

David A. Somerville, commenting on the Amo Theatre page at Water Winter Wonderland says “…it don’t close until around 1955….”

The Amo was also mentioned in an earlier Billboard obituary, that of Solomon P. Flayer, published on June 17, 1944, which said that the late Mr. Flayer “…was the uncle of David E. Flayer, owner of the Amo Theatre, Detroit.”

Odds might be good that some early advertising for the house will eventually turn up, as the August 7, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World quotes Mr. J. Calines, then owner of the Amo, as saying “I certainly believe that much of my success is due to constant advertising.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Egyptian Theatre on Jun 8, 2016 at 1:26 pm

I remember that wide-screen version of Gone With the Wind, though I didn’t see it at the Egyptian. It turned up later at the El Rey Theatre in Alhambra, where I believe they used to to inaugurate their CinemaScope installation. It was the first time I saw that movie and the first time I saw CinemaScope, and as the original framing had been butchered to fit the wide screen it was not a good introduction to either. I would hope that every print of that abomination has been destroyed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jun 7, 2016 at 8:55 pm

It appears possible that the Capitol Theatre that opened in November, 1946 was a new building. A brief item in The Meridian Tribune of February 8, 1946, said: “Hall again planning new theatre building, having repurchased lot adjoining cafe on north side of square.” The Capitol building is located on the north side of the square. February to November is plenty of time to get a theater built, so we can’t rule out a replacement for the 1934 house unless we find that it was at the same address as the 1946 Capitol.

Another thing I came across is an article in the September 6, 1946 Tribune announcing that the Circle Theatre at the circle in West Meridian would open on September 11. The $45,000 house had been built by D.C. Caraway, former owner/operator of a theater at Clifton. There is no town called West Meridian, and I can’t find anything that looks like a circle on the map. A later issue of the paper had a congratulatory ad on the opening of the Circle, so it did operate at least for a time, though I can’t find any other mentions of it on the Internet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jun 7, 2016 at 7:55 pm

The Capitol Theatre was opened on November 14, 1934, by independent exhibitors Charles M. Gandy and Harvey R. Harwell. The November 16 issue of The Meridian Tribune said that the opening had been a great success, attracting a full house.

The Capitol must have undergone renovations in 1946, when the October 11 issue of The Meridian Tribune carried a number of ads congratulating Curtis & Hall on their New Capitol Theatre, which was set to open the following day. As different owners were named in this item, it’s likely that the house had recently changed hands.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roselawn Auto Theater on Jun 7, 2016 at 2:19 am

The August 29, 1947, issue of The Press-Gazette from Hillsboro, Ohio, carried a full page ad announcing the grand opening of the Roselawn Auto Theatre the following night. The house was operated by Associated Theatres, of Lynchburg, Ohio.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vondee Theatre on Jun 5, 2016 at 2:12 pm

The New Vondee Theatre in the vintage photo uploaded by Eastwood was definitely at 109 E. Second Street. The adjacent buildings are still standing (though the theater building has been demolished) and are recognizable (especially the one to the left) in Google street views. My guess would be that the Vondee that opened in 1936 was the one on Second Street, and the Chestnut Street address is for an earlier theater of that name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jonesville Theatre on Jun 5, 2016 at 12:43 am

There is no Main Street in Jonesville today. The theater was most likely located on the thoroughfare that is now called Chicago Street, along one block of which most of the town’s old commercial buildings are situated. As the fire report said that the blaze threatened an entire business block, I think the theater must have been on E. Chicago Street between Maumee Street and Water Street. That’s the only block in town that shows signs of having been pretty solidly built up with commercial buildings at that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jonesville Theatre on Jun 5, 2016 at 12:25 am

The fire that destroyed the Jonesville Theatre took place in the early morning hours of March 11, 1932, according to the report in that days edition of The Battle Creek Enquirer and The Evening News:


“Damage Amounts to $60,000 As Flames Threaten Entire Business Block.

“(Special to the Enquirer-News)

“Jonesville, March 11.——An entire block of business structures was threatened early this morning when the Jonesvllle theater was destroyed by fire at an estimated loss of $60,000.

“Fire was first noticed at 1 o'clock this morning after it had gained considerable headway. Fire trucks from Hillsdale, 18 miles west, and from Richman and Allen, nearby towns, were called into action. Firemen got the blaze under control at 7 o'clock this morning and succeeded in confining the loss for the most part to the theater structure. The building was owned by Alf Lane of Jonesville. Insurance amounted to only $4,000, he said.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 10:04 pm

The Majestic was on West Second Street, not East Second. Seymour converted to the Philadelphia numbering system at some point, and the Majestic’s modern address would be approximately 216 W. Second. A few landmarks recognizable from the vintage photos on the photo page can still be seen on that block in Google’s street view. The Majestic was just west of the still-standing Masonic Temple. The site is now occupied by a modern building and its parking lot.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 9:53 pm

This building is the Masonic Temple, still standing at about 212 WEST Second Street. The Opera House was partly on the site of the white building to the temple’s left. Addresses in Seymour have been changed, and the site of the Opera House would probably be approximately at the modern address 216 W. Second.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vondee Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 8:51 pm

A house called the New Vondee Theatre had reopened under new management on May 31 following renovations, according to the July 8, 1974, issue of Boxoffice. However, the item gave the New Vondee’s address as 109 E. Second Street, Seymour. If that address is correct, and it needed renovation in 1974, then the theater must have moved from its Chestnut Street location some years previously, but I haven’t been able to discover when.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 8:32 pm

The correct modern address for the Alhambra Theatre building is 219 E. Main Street. It is currently occupied by Sallee’s Family Taekwondo, a martial arts studio. It is not the building currently displayed in the photo or street view for this page.

Here is a vintage photo of the Alhambra, probably from around 1920. Click on the link at the end of the caption to see a photo of the Alhambra after it had been updated with a very spiffy streamline modern front, probably in the 1940s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 7:16 pm

The September 16, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the front of the new Alhambra Theatre in Campbellsville was nearly completed, and the house was expected to open soon. The August 26 issue of the same publication had noted that two theaters were then under construction in Campbellsville, the other being a ground-floor house for the Star Theatre, which had previously operated in an upstairs location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valley Theater on Jun 4, 2016 at 6:06 pm

The March 6, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that Morris Smith and Clark Bennett’s new Valley Theatre in Taylorsville, Kentucky, which was virtually completed, had been partially flooded by recent high waters, but the damage being slight the event was not expected to interfere with the contemplated opening date of the house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Music Box Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 5:13 pm

MCHarper: In this comment from 2005, Cinema Treasures contributor Broan cites two 1928 Tribune items naming Louis I. Simon as the architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Unique Theater on Jun 3, 2016 at 10:32 pm

An Architectural Inventory Form prepared for the Colorado Cultural Resource Survey in 1981 (PDF here) says that the Salida Opera House was dedicated on January 1, 1889.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts Theater on Jun 1, 2016 at 10:03 pm

The Mayfield Theatre is listed at 165 Lincoln Street (the former name of California Avenue) in a 1925 directory for Palo Alto and vicinity.

The 1951 remodeling of the Mayfield Theatre was probably occasioned by a fire in 1950. This photo from the Palo Alto Historical Association depicts ruined seats piled in front of the theater, and is dated April 7, 1950.

The Stanford Daily of April 28, 1960, said that the Cardinal Theatre, after a brief closure for renovation in May, would reopen on May 18 as the Fine Arts Theatre. It would be under the same management as the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park, also an art house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on May 29, 2016 at 3:19 pm

The March 11, 1922, issue of the Daily Reporter has advertisements for the Beldorf, Best, and Quality Theatres, so the Best and Quality had to have been different houses at that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on May 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm

The November 27, 1911, issue of The Evening Star gives the address of the Snark Theatre as 107 North Pennsylvania, and the July 28, 1921, issue of the Independence Daily Reporter, cited in my previous comment, is explicit that the Snark Theatre was to be renamed the Best Theatre.

The NRHP registration form for the Independence Downtown Historic District (dated 1990: PDF here) says this about the building at 107 N.Pennsylvania:

“107 North Penn., was a dry goods and shoe store in 1890, a jewelry store (1902), and a drug store (1905). From 1910 until 1939, the property was a motion picture theater; it was known as the Best Theater from 1922 until 1939. The current owner is Karen Rankin who runs a clothing retail business out of the first floor.”
Ms. Rankin’s clothing store has since been replaced by Reflections Salon & Spa, but the original building, which dates from 1890, is still standing.

The NRHP form also mentions the Airdome, at 314-316 N. Pennsylvania from 1910 to 1920; an upstairs theater at 109 S. Pennsylvania known variously as the Lyric (1908), Star (1911), and Empress(1912); the Joy, operating at 11 E.Man Street in 1911; a theater with no name or date given but which operated at 117 W. Main; the Vaudette Theatre at 114 W. Main in 1908; and, of course, the Booth Theatre. The form doesn’t mention the original Best/Quality, which probably means that its building has been demolished.

What seems most likely is that the operators of the Best Theatre took over the Snark and renamed it the Best when their five year lease on their original location ran out in 1921, and then the owners of the original Best building leased it to new operators who reopened it as the Quality later that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on May 29, 2016 at 1:22 am

An article in the July 28, 1921, issue of the Independence Daily Reporter provides some clarification of the history of the theater at 107 N. Pennsylvania Avenue. It said that the Snark Theatre, after some remodeling, would become the Best Theatre. The Snark had opened in 1909, and one of its original owner/operators, was Martin Johnson, a friend of writer Jack London, with whom he had sailed.

Johnson named the theater for London’s boat, soon to become famous with the publication in 1911 of his book The Cruise of the Snark. Johnson did not remain long in Independence, but within two years had returned to his career as an adventurer and documentary filmmaker.

The October 22, 1909, issue of the Independence Evening Star said that the new Snark Theatre would soon open in Charles Kerr’s commercial building, which had been extended to 110 feet. The seating area of the new theater, accommodating 400, would be 85 feet long.

The name Quality Theatre first appears in the Daily Reporter in late 1921. What I haven’t been able to determine is if it was the Snark/Best at 107 Pennsylvania that became the Quality, or if the Quality was the original Best Theatre, which had opened in 1916, reopened under a new name. I haven’t been able to find the address of the original Best Theatre.

Interestingly, the December 27, 1910, issue of the Daily Reporter has advertisements for five theaters: The Beldorf, the Snark, the Cozy, the Star, and the Joy.

Also interesting, there is a Snark Theatre today in The Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum at Chanute, Kansas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on May 29, 2016 at 12:05 am

The Yearbook was not always kept up to date. It’s quite possible the building was demolished in 1940.

If the building the Best was in had earlier housed the Snark Theatre, then there was a later Snark as well. The December 24, 1917, issue of the Independence Daily Reporter advertises both the Best and the Snark.

The Best’s ad uses the tagline “Home of the Photo Pipe Organ,” which suggests that the house had one of the semi-automated players that could be operated by someone without musical training, such as the American Fotoplayer, the Reproduco, or the Bartola.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mainzer Cinema II on May 27, 2016 at 6:52 pm

crogg: The date of the fire came from the NRHP REgistration Form for the second Merced Theatre. A section of it deals with the history of the Golden State Theatre Company, and that’s where the brief bit of information about the first Merced Theatre can be found.

Here is a link to a PDF of the Registration Form.

This article by Sarah Lim, museum director for the Merced County Courthouse Museum, appeared in the September 4, 2015, issue of the Merced Sun-Star and contains a bit more information about the original Merced Theatre. It gives the opening date as March 4, 1920 (the first performance was a live operetta rather than a movie) and says that the theater was destroyed by a fire in December, 1936.

A 1936 date for the final fire does not preclude the possibility of a fire in 1931 as well. Fires were a common hazard of theaters in those days, and many an early movie house suffered more than one in its history. In fact during the era of highly explosive nitrate film stock used in conjunction with intensely hot carbon arc projector lamps, it would be difficult to find a theater that didn’t suffer at least one projection booth fire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on May 26, 2016 at 7:18 pm

The Broad Street Theatre was designed by J.B. McElfatrick & Son for the Pittston Opera House Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Center Theatre on May 23, 2016 at 10:59 pm

DocSouth’s “Going to the Show” lists the Liberty Theatre at the address 427-429 North Liberty from 1912 to 1915. It lists the Paramount Theatre at 429 N. Liberty from 1916 to 1919 (I’ve found the Paramount mentioned in the local newspapers in 1915.) It then lists the Broadway Theatre at 429 N. Liberty from 1920 to 1926 (there’s an ad for the Broadway, dating from early 1919, displayed on this web page.)

It seems increasingly likely that the Liberty/Paramount/Broadway Theatre was the same house that became the Colonial and finally the Center. An article about the new Liberty Theatre, then under construction, appeared in the February 25, 1911, issue of the Winston-Salem Journal. The house was to have over 900 seats, with 510 on the main floor, more than 300 in the balcony, and 100 seats in boxes. The project had been designed by a local architect, Willard Close Northup.