Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alvin Theatre on Dec 3, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Historic Movie Theaters of Downtown Cleveland, by Alan F. Dutka, gives a bit of the history of the Alvin. It began as a 50-seat nickelodeon, but the owner later rented a space next door formerly occupied by a saloon, demolished the wall, and expanded.

The opening date is not given, but if the Alvin was indeed Cleveland’s first nickelodeon, it must have opened very early in the 20th century. Nickel movie theaters were fairly common even before the word nickelodeon was first applied to them, around the time John P. Harris opened his Nickelodeon in Pittsburgh in June, 1905. Dutka says that the Alvin closed in 1926.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alvin Theatre on Dec 3, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Here is a photo of Ontario Street dated November 22, 1923, with the Alvin Theatre still operating.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Showplace 3 on Dec 3, 2016 at 1:08 am

Records of the American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Co. say that the Moon Theatre in Vincennes was designed by the architectural firm of Warwig [sic] and Hagel. The correct name is Warweg & Hagel (architect Earl O. Warweg and engineer John Hagel) who designed the Carlton Theatre at Evansville and at least two other Indiana houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Showplace 3 on Dec 3, 2016 at 12:55 am

Dokeefe: I’ve been unable to find in any of the sources available to me any mentions of anyone named O'Keefe in connection with this theater. That doesn’t mean that there was no connection, of course. Many theaters in small cities and towns were mentioned in such trade journals as Film Daily or Boxoffice infrequently, and some never.

A local newspaper archive would be the best place to search, but the only such archives from Vincennes that I can find online are from the 19th century- pretty much useless when searching for information about movie theaters. The Knox County Library probably has some archives, but it’s unlikely that they have been digitized, and non-digitized newspaper archives are tedious to search even if you have a good idea of which period you are looking through. Still, a visit to the library is probably your best bet, until somebody puts some newspaper archives from Vincennes online.

But I will keep an eye out for the information. New sources show up on the Internet from time to time, and I do try to keep up with them. And, if your relatives were indeed operators of this house, there’s always the chance that simply having your request on this page will attract some local Googler who knows about them. I’ve seen such things happen.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riviera Theatre on Dec 2, 2016 at 8:07 pm

The October 24, 1924, issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor had this item about the house that would open as the Riviera Theatre:

“Motion Picture Theater—Scott Building Company has contract for 1-story motion picture theater at southwest corner of Adams and Longwood for Miguel Montijo, 5000 West Adams; 50 x 166…seating capacity 801 people, large lobby, rest rooms, organ loft, foyer; $30,000”
The December 26 issue of the same publication said that the Lowith Iron Works would erect an ornamental iron marquee at 5000 W. Adams Blvd. “…for M.M. Mantijo” [sic] at a cost of $800. Given the publication dates, it seems likely the project would have been completed fairly early in 1925.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riviera Theatre on Dec 2, 2016 at 7:36 pm

On our page for the Variety Theatre, Cinema Treasures member Rongee, who grew up in the neighborhood, says that the Riviera Theatre was renamed the Fremont Theatre. This is confirmed by the Riviera’s entry at Bill Counter’s Los Angeles Movie Palaces. The house was being advertised in movie listings as the Fremont by 1945.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 1, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Local architect E. H. (Enos Henry) Eads was interviewed for an article in the April 15, 1920, edition of the Chickasha Daily Express, at the time construction of this theater began. Because it was a conversion of an existing structure, Eads made the far too optimistic estimate of forty days for completion of the project.

The project was apparently scaled down a bit as well, since the newspaper reported that it would have 942 seats, and would include a balcony, and twelve boxes each seating four people. Eads also acted as contractor on the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Nov 30, 2016 at 7:12 am

The NRHP nomination form for the Provo Downtown Historic District says that this theater was built by John B. Ashton and opened as the Ellen Theatre in 1911. It was renamed the Strand in 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uinta Theater on Nov 30, 2016 at 7:09 am

It appears that the newspaper obituary I cited in my previous comment was wrong about the original name of this house. The NRHP nomination form for the Provo Downtown Historic District says that the theater at 25-27-35 E. Center Street was originally the Princess Theatre, also built by John B. Ashton.

The building was still standing when the form was prepared in 1977, but had been altered, what remained of the original facade with its ornate arch having recently been covered by an aluminum false front.

The Ellen Theatre, opened at 152 W. Center Street in 1911, became the Strand Theatre in 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theater on Nov 30, 2016 at 6:33 am

The NRHP nomination form for the Provo Downtown Historic District says that the Paramount Theatre was built by John B. Ashton in 1914, and opened as the Columbia Theatre. The house became the Paramount in 1927.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uinta Theater on Nov 30, 2016 at 6:02 am

The obituary of John B. Ashton in The Salt Lake Tribune of November 12, 1941, said that the Uinta Theatre had been opened by Ashton as the Ellen Theatre. The obituary didn’t give a date, but the Ellen Theatre was being mentioned in theater trade journals in the early 1910s. I believe the Ellen predated Ashton’s larger and more ornate Princess Theatre, which opened in 1912.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Nov 29, 2016 at 10:53 pm

Here is the State Theatre’s official web site. The grand reopening took place on November 4. So far they are running quite a mixture of older movies and recent releases (Fantastic Beasts is upcoming in December.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Nov 28, 2016 at 10:22 pm

A table compiled by downtown Aberdeen historian Don Artz (page 51 of this PDF) does not include any theaters called the Majestic, nor any theater at 215 S. Main Street.

A house called the Lyric, in operation by at least as early as 1916, was located at 216 S. Main, but it never had any other names. The Lyric was still in operation at least into the late 1940s.

The name Princess Theatre was an aka for the house at 12 S. Main Street which opened prior to 1916 as the Cosy (or Cozy) Theatre and last operated as the Time Theatre. So far I’ve found no indications of a second theater at Aberdeen called the Princess.

However, I have found one mention of a theater called the Majestic at Aberdeen. This was in a column in the July 1, 1937, issue of Motion Picture Herald, and it said that the Majestic was being operated by a Mrs. Elfrieda Mass (perhaps a misspelling of Maas) and her husband, and that the author had last visited their theater about four years previously. No address was given, unfortunately, so any aka’s for the house remain undiscovered.

The column also mentioned the Ritz Theatre, operated by A.S. Mannes, and an Astor [sic] Theatre operated by J.P. Hartman. Artz’s table lists Ritz as one of the seven aka’s of the house at 19 S. Main which opened as the Bijou in 1909 and closed as the World in 1957. The table lists Aster (with an e) as one of the four aka’s of the Cosy/Princess/Time.

It’s possible that the Majestic somehow left off of Artz’s table. It’s possible that it was a short-lived house that never had any aka’s at all.

Aside from the Lyric, two theaters from Artz’s table are not yet listed at Cinema Treasures: The Colonial/State at 10 S Main (opened in 1916 and apparently closed around 1927) and the Idle Hour/Rialto at 404 S. Main, opened by 1910, renamed Rialto by 1918, and operating at least into the late 1920s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Time Theatre on Nov 28, 2016 at 8:21 pm

According to a table compiled by downtown Aberdeen historian Don Artz (page 51 of this PDF), the house last known as the Time Theatre was located at 12 S. Main Street. It had opened as the Cosy Theatre, had been renamed the Princess Theatre by 1926 (actually 1916, when it was listed at that address in the city directory), later became the Aster Theatre, and then the Time.

Garrick, State, and Ritz were aka’s of a house across the street at 19 S. Main, which operated under seven different names between opening as the Bijou in 1909 and closing as the World Theatre in 1957.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about World Theatre on Nov 28, 2016 at 6:38 pm

According to a table compiled by downtown Aberdeen historian Don Artz (page 51 of this PDF), the house that was called the Garrick Theatre in early 1926 and became the State Theatre later that year was at 19 S. Main Street, and had earlier been known as the Bijou, then the Strand. After State, the house had three additional names: the Ritz, the Pix, and finally the World.

The house was listed as the Bijou Theatre in a 1916 city directory. According to this web page, this was the third location of the Bijou, the house having operated at two other locations beginning in 1906. In 1909 it moved into the building at 19 S. Main Street, just two doors down from the location at which it had first reopened (15 S. Main) in 1907.

The World Theatre closed in April, 1957. In 1960, the building was converted into a bar. It burned to the ground on July 1, 1973.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Nov 28, 2016 at 5:25 pm

A history of Aberdeen’s business district, The Town in the Frog Pond (PDF here) by Don Artz, includes quite a bit about Aberdeen’s theaters, including the Orpheum.

The Orpheum opened in 1913 as the Aberdeen Theatre, and became the Orpheum in 1914. The house was built by Ben Ward, owner of the adjacent Radison Hotel, to the lobby of which the theater was connected by an indoor passage. From its opening, the theater was operated by Harry Walker, who later gained control of all of Aberdeen’s theaters. The original seating capacity was about 800.

During the 1920s the Orpheum frequently operated as a combination house (one feature film with a few acts of vaudeville on the same bill) but also hosted road shows that came to Aberdeen. In 1914 it also hosted the only summer stock company in the Dakotas.

The PDF to which I linked has a drawing of the Orpheum on page 48. It was a three story building with three bays, the wide center bay featuring a large arch filled with the windows of the upper two floors, surmounted by an arched parapet. The narrower side bays were treated as towers, topped by arched attic floors capped with low domes and short but ornate finials each sporting a flagpole. The overall effect was unusual but not displeasing. I’d consider the exterior style a late manifestation of Art Nouveau, and it was considerably fancier than the interior seen in the photo to which Broan linked earlier.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dixie Theatre on Nov 27, 2016 at 5:16 pm

The Dixie Theatre is undergoing restoration for use as a community center with space for performing arts. Here is the Facebook page for the project.

According to This Rootsweb page, the building, dating from the early 20th century, previously housed an automobile agency and was converted into a theater sometime before WWII. The Dixie closed in the 1970s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elnora Theatre on Nov 27, 2016 at 4:34 pm

In this weblog post, Elnora native Jim Johnson reminisces about the Elnora Theatre. He reveals that the theater was located on Odon Street just south of the town square, and that it showed its last movies in 1956.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elnora Theatre on Nov 27, 2016 at 4:20 pm

The Elnora Theatre was the subject of this brief item in the January 3, 1941, issue of The Film Daily:

“After complete renovation and installation of minor equipment in the Elnora Theater, Elnora, Ind., Bill Floreke [sic] has re-opened the house on part-time schedule. It has been shuttered for several months.”
I have a suspicion that the surname given as Floreke might be a misspelling of either Floerke or Florke. All three are real surnames, but the latter two are far more common.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Auditorium Theatre on Nov 27, 2016 at 3:53 pm

This is not a certainty, but there’s a strong probability that the Auditorium Theatre was the auditorium in a project built by the Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company in 1928. The project was announced in the January 12, 1925, issue of The Film Daily. The fact that the company gave the announcement to a theater industry trade journal is an indication that they did intend to use their auditorium for a movie house at least part time.

This web page has a history of the fire company, and though it doesn’t mention the facility being used for movies, it does say that “[t]he plans were made reality in 1928, when a building was erected at a cost of $65,000. The auditorium and the lobby have been the meeting places for many civic groups since that time.”

The building is located at the northeast corner of Washington and Franklin Streets. Judging from the Google street view, I believe that the auditorium was in the eastern portion of the building along Washington Street, adjacent to a two-story office block on the corner.

The Zip Code for Fleetwood is 19522.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beaver Theatre on Nov 26, 2016 at 8:44 pm

The May 23, 1936, issue of The Film Daily said that Browarsky Bros. had ordered the seats for their new Beaver Avenue Theatre in Pittsburgh from A. & S. Steinberg. They planned to open the house in the fall.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sugg Theatre on Nov 24, 2016 at 7:09 am

This item is from the July 6, 1935, issue of Motion Picture Herald:

“Consolidated Opens New Oklahoma House

“Consolidated Theatres, Inc., subsidiary of the Griffith Amusement Company, recently opened the new Washita theatre, at Chickasha, Okla., containing the most modern equipment throughout, including air conditioning apparatus. George Limerick is manager of the house, which was constructed virtually within the old walls of the Sugg theatre, one of the oldest theatres in southwestern Oklahoma.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ismo Theatre on Nov 24, 2016 at 5:22 am

The only mention of the Ismo Theatre I’ve found in the trade journals is from the October 12, 1937, issue of Motion Picture Daily. The Ismo was then being operated by Southwestern Theatres. Its new manager was named A. C. Wooten. who was replacing Charles B. Hudson.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Midwest Theater on Nov 24, 2016 at 5:12 am

In 1944, the Midwest was one of four Chickasha houses being operated by Griffith Southwest Theatres.The others were the Washita, Rialto, and Ritz, as noted in the April 15 issue of Showmen’s Trade Review.

Although I haven’t been able to pin it down for certain, there is a possibility that Midwest was a new name for an earlier house called variously the Kozy or Cozy, which vanished from the listings some time before the Midwest appeared.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chickasha Theatre on Nov 24, 2016 at 4:41 am

This brief item from the May 1, 1926, issue of Motion Picture News indicates that the Chickasha Theatre had opened earlier that year:

“Mrs. Phil Isley of the Midwest Film Exchange has purchased a half interest in her father-in-law’s theatre at Chickasha, having bought Mr. Grace’s interest in it. Although the Chickasha Theatre has been running only a month or so, the business has been so favorable that more seats are to be added soon.”
An earlier item in another trade journal had noted the Isley and Grace had bought a building in Chickasha and were remodeling it into a modern movie theater. The Isley family were significant figures in the theater business in Oklahoma, Texas and California for several decades.

Phil and Flora Isley’s daughter, Phylis, enjoyed considerable success as a movie star under her screen name, Jennifer Jones.