Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theater on Nov 1, 2014 at 7:24 pm

We’ve been using the wrong address for the Grand Theatre. The auto body shop entrance at 2311 Rheem Avenue was cut into what had been the end wall of the auditorium. Comparing the vintage photo with modern street view, the theater entrance was where Amigo Tires is now, at 1144 23rd Street. The Grand Market was on the corner, inside the “L” of the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dundee Theater on Nov 1, 2014 at 2:55 am

This item from the May 30, 1925, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review is surely about the Dundee Theatre:

“Archt. — John & Alan McDonald, 2nd flr., Standard Oil Bldg., Omaha, Nebr., drawing plans on Theatre (M.P.), $50,000; 2 sty. & bas., 50 x 128, at 50th & Dodge. Owner— A. R. Hansen, 4901 Dodge, Omaha, Nebr. Drawing plans.”
The Dundee Theatre opened on December 19, 1925. It had a four-manual Hillgreen-Lane organ to accompany the silent movies that were its primary fare. Quite a few Internet sources say that the Dundee opened as a vaudeville theater, but in this suburban neighborhood location this fairly small house would have operated primarily as a movie theater, probably bringing in a few vaudeville acts as an occasional added attraction.

The archives of The Omaha World-Herald have this (partial) ad published the day before the theater opened.

The father and son team of John and Alan McDonald were among Omaha’s leading architects of the period. Hansen’s decision to give them the commission for this theater was an indication that he was well aware of the need to impress his potential patrons, the residents of this well-to-do enclave, with something more than an ordinary neighborhood movie house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Piller Theatre on Nov 1, 2014 at 1:09 am

Although none of the addresses the magazine gives make sense (all in residential districts,) the theater in this item from the May 30, 1925, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review is probably the Piller Theatre:

“Archt. — J. E. Nason, Corn Exchange, Minneapolis, Minn., building Theatre (M.P.), 2 sty., at 5th Ave. & 4th St., Valley City, N. D. Owner— John Piller, Grand Theatre, 511 5th Ave., Valley City. N. D. Gen. Contr. let to E. A. Moline, Jamestown, Md.”
The contractor was undoubtedly from Jamestown, ND, not Maryland. Architect Joseph E. Nason also designed the earlier Nokomis Theatre in Minneapolis.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Oct 31, 2014 at 11:13 pm

This photo on the Granada Theatre’s photo page shows the Orpheum just up the block from the Granada, and across the street from the Palace. The Orpheum’s entrance was in the central of three bays, so the address must have been 222 N. Michigan Street. The site is now part of the plaza fronting the Morris Performing Arts Center.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Oct 31, 2014 at 8:26 pm

The 1927 FDY lists the Capitol as under construction, so it might have replaced the Strand.

A book called History of Hall County, Nebraska (Google Books scan,) published in 1920, said that the Michelson Theatre had been built “…about eleven years ago….”

An article in The Grand Island Independent of July 1, 2000, said that the Michelson was renovated and renamed the Strand in 1921. It also said the house had 450 seats and featured a balcony. They must have been squeezed tight, because the building isn’t very big, especially considering that the Michelson presented vaudeville as well as movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Oct 31, 2014 at 7:22 pm

In 1917, Hebron had two movie theaters: the Elite, which had been in operation since at least 1913, and the Gem. I’m not adding them because one or the other might be an aka for the Majestic. Maybe somebody familiar with Hebron’s history knows for sure and will show up here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Oct 31, 2014 at 10:15 am

The Orpheum Theatre was listed in the 1921 South Bend city directory at 220-24 N. Michigan Street. The Orpheum was listed in the 1913-1914 Cahn guide as a ground floor house with 1105 seats.

The Orpheum Theatre in South Bend was advertised in the March 2, 1912, issue of The New York Clipper as part of the Allardt Circuit, which was headquartered in the Majestic Theatre Building, Chicago, and booked through the Western Vaudeville Managers' Association.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about River Park Theater on Oct 31, 2014 at 9:07 am

The November 10, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News mentioned the River Park Theatre:

“Nov. 10, 1928: Joe Vogel, owner of the River Park, South Bend, is having his house completely renovated and redecorated.”
As far as I know, I’m not related to the Joe Vogel who operated this theater. Mr. Vogel and his partners were intending to build another theater, as this item appeared in the December issue of the same magazine:
“Articles of incorporation have been filed with the Indianapolis secretary of state, by the River Park Theatre Realty Company, of South Bend, Ind. The corporation has an initial capital stock of $38,000 of common, and $38,000 preferred and is formed to acquire title to certain real estate in South Bend on which a theatre is to be built. The incorporators are Hugh R. Stephenson, Charles B. Lawton, Ladislaus Faltin, Joseph Vogel and Ella G. Vogel.”
I’ve been unable to discover if this second theater was ever built or, if it was, what its name was.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Armo Theatre on Oct 31, 2014 at 8:35 am

Here is an item from the November 10, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News:

“The Armo Theatre, South Bend’s newest theatre, is scheduled to open on November 9th. The house has 550 seats and was completely equipped by the National Theatre Supply Company. M. Larman, the proprietor, is a newcomer in the motion picture field.”
The December 8 issue of the same publication said that the Armo Theatre had recently opened, but gave the seating capacity as 750. Later issues of the magazine also spell the owner’s surname as Lerman rather than Larman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Oliver Theatre on Oct 31, 2014 at 5:31 am

The Oliver Theatre was located on what is now the parking lot adjacent to the JMS (John M. Studebaker) Building. Page 28 of South Bend in Vintage Postcards has a photo of the Studebaker Building with the front of the Oliver Theatre down the block to the left (Google Books preview.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Circle Theatre on Oct 30, 2014 at 8:30 pm

The Indiana Historic Theatres Survey (pdf file) gives the Circle Theatre the aka Lyric Theatre, and gives the opening year as 1921.

There was an earlier Lyric Theatre, across the street. The February 17, 1911, issue of the Goshen Democrat said that the premises at 126 S. Main Street had been leased and would be converted into the Lyric Theatre, which was expected to open about March 15. The Lyric was occasionally mentioned in the theater industry trade publications over the next several years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Oliver Theatre on Oct 30, 2014 at 7:49 pm

The February 28, 1924, issue of The Film Daily ran a promotional ad for the movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame which included a letter from the operator of the Oliver Theatre:

“J. Henry Handesman, Jr., "Oliver Theatre, "South Bend, Indiana.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame has broken all house records established at the Oliver Theatre, South Bend, for the past fifteen years. Kindly call and see me as I would be interested in a second run of the Hunchback.”

The Oliver Theatre must have been in operation before the end of 1909, as it was under construction in the middle of that year, according to an item in the July 10 issue of the Terre Haute Saturday Spectator. The item said that the new house was being built as part of an office building project that was on the site of the Oliver Opera House, which had opened in 1885. The Oliver family fortune came from the manufacture of chilled iron plows, an invention had been essential to the opening of the prairies to agriculture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lawler Theatre on Oct 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm

The July 14, 1917, issue of Motography said that the Lawler Theatre in Rochester, Minnesota, had been opened. Their notice might have been a bit late. The July 7, 1985, Rochester Post Bulletin said that the Lawler Theatre was to be closed, and that it had opened on September 30, 1916. It was Rochester’s last downtown theater, and the oldest still operating in the city.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Oct 29, 2014 at 6:22 pm

The September 28, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World describes the Martha Ellen Auditorium’s house organ:

“Another forceful and attractive organ is issued by C. F. Marquis, owner of the Martha-Ellen Auditorium. Central City, Neb. The organ is called the Martha-Ellen Screen Magazine, and one glance proves its claim to being a miniature ‘magazine.’

“The work has twelve pages, with cover, and is filled throughout with up-to-the-minute news and comments on late productions, together with the usual calendar of coming stars and their plays. In the issue of August 27 Mr. Marquis devotes the entire front cover to an elaborate announcement of Mae Marsh’s appearance in ‘The Cinderella Man,’ one of Goldwyn’s successful first-year releases. Cuts of other Goldwyn stars and advance notices of their coming productions are arranged prominently throughout the magazine.

“Free tickets of admission to those who discover a word spelled backwards, is featured as a circulation booster.”

The hyphenated version of the theater’s name was apparently used in its early years, as the same form appears in Motography of July 14, 1917, which said that L.J. Cooper had taken over management of the house and would operate it as a moving picture theater. Also, the author of the MPW item describing the magazine presumably had a copy and was taking the name, complete with hyphen, from the masthead.

Another interesting item I came across provides evidence that the 1916 building was not the first hall of this name. A 1908 publication by the Nebraska Society of Friends (Quakers) said that a meeting had been held in the Martha-Ellen Auditorium in Central City.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garden Theatre on Oct 29, 2014 at 6:13 pm

The July 14, 1917, issue of Motography had this item about the first Garden Theatre:

“Colonel W. S. Butterfield of Battle Creek has closed all contracts for the remodeling of the Garden Theater at Flint. Plans have been made by Architect John Eberson of Chicago.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kozy Theatre on Oct 29, 2014 at 2:37 am

Bassetters got to see movies twice a week back in 1910. The March 24 issue of the Rock County Leader had this report:

“Chester Stockwell and J.T. Mudd have installed a moving picture machine in the opera house and intend giving a good moving picture show two nights a week, Wednesday and Saturdays. Their first appearance was Saturday evening and they certainly gave a first class show and a good house.”
I haven’t been able to find out anything else about the opera house, but I’ve found nothing at all about the Gem, and the only mentions of the Kozy I’ve found are in lists of theaters showing The March of Time in 1938.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rock Theatre on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:57 am

I’m now wondering if we have the right location for this theater. This pdf has the NRHP registration form for the Bassett Lodge and Range Cafe, but it doesn’t mention anything about a theater ever having been in the building. The Internet says that the Lodge is at 205 Clark Street, in any case. Google Maps is misoverestimating the numbers again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rock Theatre on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:35 am

Charlotte Coryell was the manager of the Rock Theatre in Bassett, according to the April 15, 1944, issue of Showmen’s Trade Review, which said she had visited film row in Omaha on the twenty-second birthday.

This memorial web page is for the late Charlotte V. (Coryell) Burt, but it doesn’t mention her having been a theater manager.

That nice Streamline Modern building the Rock Theatre occupied also houses a hotel and café and is listed on the NRHP. I think the café might have taken over the theater’s space.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rex Theatre on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:31 am

The earliest mention of the Rialto I’ve found in the trade journals is in Exhibitors Trade Review of November 29, 1924.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palm Theatre on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:07 am

The Palm Theatre dates back to at least 1918, and was originally called the Ideal Theatre. In 1927, two movie theaters were in operation at Bayard, the Ideal and the Rialto. The July 1, 1927, issue of The Film Daily reported that Jim Hughes had bought both houses. My guess would be that Hughes bought only the businesses and not the buildings in which they were located, as he apparently closed the Ideal, and the landlord subsequently found another operator for it, or perhaps decided to operate it himself. The September 23 issue of the Daily ran this item:

“Rogers Reopens in Bayard, Neb.

“Bayard, Neb. — Ralph Rogers has reopened the Ideal as the Palm.”

The following year, this notice appeared in the October 6, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News:
“The Sallow and Hughes Amusement Enterprises of Alliance Nebraska, under the direction of Jim Hughes, has purchased the Palm theatre of Bayard, Nebraska, from R. Rogers. The Sallow and Hughes organization has been operating the Rialto Theatre of Bayard which was operating in opposition to the Palm theatre. Now, having bought the Palm they are in complete control of the town as far as moving picture theatres are concerned.”
Sallow and Hughes might have saved themselves some expense by keeping the Ideal open, instead of buying it twice. The Ideal was probably the older of the two houses, as the opening of a house called the New Ideal Theatre at Bayard is mentioned in the November 9, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World. The name suggests that an earlier Ideal Theatre had operated in Bayard, and had either moved to a new building or had at least been substantially rebuilt in its original location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Portal Theatre on Oct 28, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Here are two interior photos of El Portal Theatre from the Los Angeles Public Library’s Security Pacific National Bank Collection:



Neither is dated, but from the nearly-pristine condition of the theater I’d say they were probably taken around the time it opened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Leland Theatre on Oct 28, 2014 at 3:08 am

Albany Chronicles, a book published in 1906, has a few entries about the early history of this theater. The first theater on this site opened on May 18, 1825. Originally called simply The Theatre, it was converted into an Episcopal church in 1840, and then returned to theatrical use as the Academy of Music in 1863.

In 1868 the original building was destroyed by fire, leaving only the front wall standing. The theater was rebuilt, opening as the Trimble Opera House on December 31, 1869. This was the building that became the Leland Theatre.

Mrs. Charles (Rosa) Leland acquired the theater in 1873 and renamed it the Leland Opera House. In 1891 it was being operated by Jacobs & Proctor as the H. R. Jacobs Opera House. Later in the decade it returned to the name Leland Opera House, but by 1906 it was called Proctor’s Theatre and was being operated as a vaudeville house.

By 1910, it was called the Leland Theatre, though it was still being operated by Frederick Proctor at least as late as December, 1921, when Proctor’s Leland Theatre was mentioned in Variety.

Another interesting thing about the Trimble Opera House I came across is that it was named for theater architect John Trimble, though he did not design it. It was designed by his former student, Thomas R. Jackson.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about California Theatre on Oct 26, 2014 at 12:50 am

chronicler is correct. I suspect that the mistaken opening year of 1920 was taken from this photo information page from the Berkeley Public Library, which is titled “California Theatre under construction” and dated 1920. It is wrong about both.

The parked automobile in the foreground is clearly from the later 1920s, and if you zoom in on the license plate you can see “CAL 30” on it, so the photo probably dates from 1930, and certainly not from 1920. Zooming in on the sign at the lower right corner of the theater you can read most of it. It says “This Theatre is being completely rebuilt for Fox West Coast Theatres.” William Fox did not take over West Coast Theatres and add his name to it until the very late 1920s. The photo clearly depicts a remodeling that took place around that time.

The T & D chain became part of West Coast Theatres in 1923. The name T & D Theatre appears in the Berkeley Daily Gazette as late as March, 1923. The name California Theatre appears in the paper in May, 1923. This indicates that West Coast Theatres probably took control of this house early that year and changed the name soon after.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Imperial Oil Centre for the Performing Arts on Oct 25, 2014 at 7:10 pm

The Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada lists the Capitol Theatre in Sarnia, Ontario, as a 1936 project by the architectural firm of Kaplan & Sprachman for Famous Players.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Imperial Theatre on Oct 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm

A 1920 ad for United Theatres said that they operated the Princess, Crescent, and Imperial Theatres at Sarnia. As the Princess and Crescent were listed in a 1917 city directory, the Imperial must have been this project noted in the June 21, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Large Theatre at Sarnia.

“A combination theatre, to cost $75,000, is being erected at Sarnia, Ontario, opposite Port Huron, Mich., by the United Theatr s, Limited, a syndicate of local men. The house will seat 1,200 people and will be fire-proof. The plans for the structure were prepared by A. H. McPhail, of Windsor, Ontario. John F. Myers is the general manager of United Theatres, Limited.”

Windsor, Ontario, architect Albert H. McPhail also designed the Vanity Theatre in that city.