Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alberta Theater on Feb 8, 2016 at 6:38 pm

There is a distant glimpse of the Alberta Theatre’s marquee in the photo on this web page. A comment by “Butch” some way down the page says that the theater was this side of the big vertical sign reading “Furniture” which can be seen on the left side of the street (click photo to enlarge.) The theater name in script on the end of the marquee can be made out, though it is partly blocked by a utility pole. A dark vertical sign above it can’t be read, but might also belong to the theater.

The PSTOS page for the Alberta says that a Wurlitzer organ was installed in the Victoria Theatre 1924, and a Wood organ was later installed in the renamed Alberta Theatre.

This web page has an article about Alberta Central, the office-retail project which incorporates the old Alberta Theatre auditorium. There is a photo of the auditorium during reconstruction, after it was gutted but before the sloped floor had been leveled. A second floor housing offices has been inserted into the space.

The smaller building which housed the theater entrance has been demolished and replaced by the two-story building housing a branch of Umpqua Bank. It’s possible that the demolished building was the original Victoria Theatre, reported in 1916 to have 400 seats. The larger auditorium backing up to 18th Street must have been an expansion, possibly dating from 1924 when the Wurlitzer organ was installed.

The Alberta Central article also notes that the Alberta operated as a movie theater until 1965, at which time it was converted into a church. The church remained in the building until perhaps as late as 2007. The conversion to Alberta Center took place in 2009, the year the article was published.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Frolic Theater on Feb 8, 2016 at 3:10 pm

JWenk: The Frolic, built in 1921, was not the old Midland Opera House. The Opera House is one of at least four early Midland theaters that are not currently listed at Cinema Treasures. A line from an extract from a history of Midland originally published in 1950 and found at Rootsweb names the four:

“…the old Star Theater, The Monarch, The Mecca, and the upstairs show in the old Fales building — yes, the famous ‘Midland Opera House’ back of where now stands the Reinhart Building….”
The phrasing of the history is not too clear, but it sounds as though the Fales Building and its upstairs opera house were gone by the time it was written. The Reinhart building itself was destroyed by a fire in 1954. It housed a J.C. Penney store, so it’s possible that the Fales Building was demolished to make way for a parking lot for the adjacent store sometime prior to 1950. I’ve been unable to find an address for either building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinemaland Theater on Feb 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm

clinkpage: I never attended Cinemaland, so I don’t know the name of the manager you remember, but the theater was owned by the Edwards circuit throughout its history, so the man you remember must have been only the manager.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Art Theatre on Jan 29, 2016 at 6:34 pm

I have to disagree with Spectrum about the building not having been big enough for a theater, and about the auditorium having been in an annex on the Pearl Street side of the block. For one reason, the buildings along Pearl Street were already gone in a 1995 photo at Historic Aerials. The theater was still in operation s late as 2006. Someone who was inside the Art Theatre in September, 2008, described in this comment by Ron Salters, said that the auditorium was in fairly good condition at that time (the auditorium has apparently since been gutted.) It also says that the theater’s stage was only seven feet deep.

This earlier comment by Ron Salters cites a 1941 MGM report saying that the theater then had 650 seats on the main floor and 536 in the balcony. The footprint of this building is quite ample for a 650 seat main floor and a seven foot deep stage. Keep in mind that this was an upstairs house (probably one of the last in operation in the U.S.) and could use the entire depth of the building, all the way to the street wall, for the theater, with none of its space taken up by those storefronts, which are on the ground floor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wagner Opera House on Jan 29, 2016 at 4:29 pm

The 1913-1914 Cahn guide lists the Wagner Opera House as a ground floor theater with 425 seats on the main floor and 125 seats in the balcony. A 500-seat Wagner Opera Hall was listed in the 1889 Jeffrey’s guide, but I don’t know if it was the same building or not. In 1889, the Wagner had competition from the 800-seat Nellis' Opera Hall.

Oddly, a New Opera House, attached to the Nellis House (presumably a hotel) and the Wagner Opera House both had advertisements in the September 10, 1881, issue of The New York Clipper. The New Opera House advertised itself with 701 seats, while the Wagner advertised itself with 800 seats and as the “[f]inest opera-house and the only one in town….”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Jan 29, 2016 at 3:24 pm

A promotion by Gino’s Pizzaria featured cupcakes in the form of popcorn buckets “…baked in honor of the old Strand theater formerly located across the street….” according to an article in the local Courier-Standard-Enterprise of December 19, 2013. Gino’s is at 49 Church Street, but is on the corner of Main Street so I don’t know which of the two streets the theater was across.

An appendix in Our Movie Houses: A History of Film & Cinematic Innovation in Central New York, by Norman O. Keim, lists the Strand at Canajoharie as having been part of the Kallet chain from 1931 to 1955.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Leachman Theatre on Jan 28, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Linkrot repair: Jack Corgan’s rendering of the proposed Leachman Theatre in the March 29, 1947, issue of Boxoffice can now be seen at this link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Jan 27, 2016 at 7:33 pm

staceygreenspan’s memory is confirmed by another CT member. Thehillsarealive’s comment on the Ocean Theatre page recalls the MMC cast members appearing at a Wildwood theater one fall day, and also says that the Hunt circuit always closed all the theaters in Wildwood except those on Atlantic Avenue after the tourist season ended. As the Strand was on Boardwalk and the Shore on Atlantic Avenue, it must have been the Shore where the cast appeared.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bertha Theatre on Jan 27, 2016 at 6:20 pm

The principal architect of Grossman & Proskauer was Adolph Proskauer. Mr. Grossman appears to have been an engineer. A notice that plans by the firm were underway for a building at Lincoln and Giddings, to contain a theater, nine stores, plus offices and flats, appeared in the May 31, 1913, issue of Construction News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about States Theatre on Jan 27, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Architect A. Proskauer’s first name was Adolph, according to an item in the January 7, 1922, issue of The Economist.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Jan 27, 2016 at 2:13 am

The March 26, 1921, issue of The American Contractor said that Chicago architect Paul T. Haagen had prepared plans for a 1,500 seat theater to be built at Benton Harbor for Fitzpatrick & McElroy. It must have been the Liberty, which the February 18, 1922, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review reported had recently been opened by Fitzpatrick-McElroy Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Jan 27, 2016 at 1:47 am

An item in the April 16, 1973, issue of Boxoffice said that “[t]he city commission has approved the reopening of the Liberty Theatre by new owners, subject to the completion of inspection and certification by the building inspection department.” I haven’t found any later items about the theater, but it’s possible that it did reopen for a while.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza 3 Theatre on Jan 27, 2016 at 1:30 am

The Plaza 3 was opened by Family Theatres on March 30, 1973, according to the April 16 issue of Boxoffice. The three auditoriums had a total of 1,800 seats. Unlike most multiplexes, the Plaza 3 had separate concession stands and sets of restrooms for each auditorium.

At that time Family Theatres also operated the Bowman Twin, Park Lane, Circle, and Rialto Theatres in Tulsa, along with three drive-ins, plus twin theaters in Oklahoma City and Bartlesville. Mrs. Marjorie Snyder was the president of the company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pocahontas Theatre on Jan 26, 2016 at 2:22 pm

I’m not seeing the photo linked by thegreev in an earlier comment (I don’t know if it’s gone or my browser simply isn’t fetching it) so I don’t know if this is the same one, but this 1963 photo shows the entrance and part of the marquee of the Pocahontas Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about City Theatre on Jan 24, 2016 at 7:11 pm

I’d say that the exterior, at least, of the City Theatre is Romanesque Revival rather than Beaux-Arts in style. I have no clue as to the interior, but it could well be some variety of Classical design, which was a fairly common choice for the interiors of Romanesque Revival buildings.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Berwyn Theatre on Jan 24, 2016 at 6:03 pm

A book called The Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Greek Immigrant in Chicago, Illinois, by Alexander Rassogianis, says that the Gregory Brothers theater circuit opened the Parthenon Theatre at Berwyn in 1924. The Gregorys were also in the construction business and built the Parthenon, as well as other houses in their circuit, and houses for other Greek theater operators in the region.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theatre on Jan 24, 2016 at 2:18 am

agnesbry: I think the block-shaped ice cream you mentioned must have the same kind that was sold at the concession stand in the neighborhood theater I attended in southern California in the 1950s. It came in a cardboard package about two inches square, and the concession stand attendant would peel off the package and stick the block of ice cream into a regular ice cream cone, with one corner down. You had to be careful with the first few licks or you could dislodge the block of ice cream and it would fall in your lap. I had completely forgotten about that ice cream. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about President Follies Theatre on Jan 24, 2016 at 2:02 am

The Colonial Theatre was under construction, and probably fairly near completion, at the time of the Earthquake of April 18, 1906. Construction had begun in 1905, and the year was engraved in stone below the cornice above the entrance.

There is no historic record indicating that the theater had actually opened before the disaster. Like many other substantial buildings in the downtown area the structure was gutted by the subsequent fire, but it was restored, and the Colonial Theatre finally opened on October 6, 1906.

The house became the Plaza Theatre in 1922, when it was taken over by a repertory company that grew out of Berkeley’s Greek Theatre Players. I don’t know how long it remained the Plaza, but the name was in use at least into 1923. The theater had never had much success either as a legitimate venue or as a movie house, and changed hands frequently until it finally found its niche as a burlesque house.

It is very likely that Reid Brothers were the original architects of the building as well as of the 1919 renovations.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about City Theatre on Jan 23, 2016 at 3:19 pm

The architect of the 1895 Biddeford City Hall complex, including the Opera House, which reopened on January 20, 1896, was John Calvin Stevens.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rockland Opera House on Jan 23, 2016 at 3:03 pm

The New York Clipper Annual for 1893 lists the Rockland Opera House as having been dedicated on August 31, 1892.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Robinson Crossing 6 on Jan 23, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Thanks, fred1. I see that the web site’s front page says that the grand opening took place on January 8 this year. The theaters have new seats. The house is all-digital, and 3D equipment is to be installed later this year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Robinson Crossing 6 on Jan 23, 2016 at 1:46 pm

The Robinson Crossing 6 is now operated by a company called Evans Theatres, who reopened the house late last year after it had been closed for about two years. It is their only theater and is operated as a discount house. The Norman Transcript published an interview with company vice president Joshua Evans on August 16 last year, before the theater reopened. There is no dedicated web site for the theater, but the company has this Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grove Theatre on Jan 23, 2016 at 1:06 pm

The 1927 FDY lists the Imperial Theatre in Walnut Grove as one of three movie houses operated by K. Hirata. Hirata was a Japanese American who also had the Nippon Theatre in Sacramento and the Delta Theatre in Courtland. The latter town, like Walnut Grove, was a small agricultural town along the Sacramento River. All three theaters most likely catered to predominantly Japanese audiences in those days.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's Star Theatre on Jan 19, 2016 at 6:54 pm

The entrance to the RKO Palace and its associated three-story office and commercial building were on the site of Loew’s Star. The Star must have been demolished by early 1928. It’s remarkable that this large, substantial theater stood for only fifteen years or so.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Capitan Theatre on Jan 19, 2016 at 5:30 pm

What remains of the El Capitan Theatre and Hotel was designated a San Francisco city landmark in 1996, which was unfortunately long after the auditorium had been demolished. A PDF of the Planning Commission document with the history of the building can be downloaded with this link. The document says that while G. Albert Lansburgh did in fact act as consulting architect on the project, the architect of record was William H. Crim.