Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:05 pm

The January 15, 1938, issue of The Film Daily notes that the Esquire Theatre was owned by the “Frisina Kerasotes Circuit,” so the two chains were partners in this theater from the beginning. The article also says that the Esquire, which cost &150,000, was designed by Peoria architect J. Fletcher Lankton. There is also this description of the original appearance of the theater:

“The front of the house is built of Vitrolite glass bricks and ivory structural glass with chromium strips. The sidewalk is done in colored terrazo [sic] and the marquee embraces a combination of four colored neons and flashing lights.”
Judging from that, the Streamline Modern Esquire might have resembled the Varsity Theatre in Peoria, which Lankton designed for Kerasotes Theatres in 1939.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fiesta Theatre on Feb 5, 2015 at 4:31 am

The Autumn, 2009, issue of the Jackson County Historical Society’s quarterly journal had an article about Kansas City’s neighborhood theaters (PDF here.) It says that the Lindbergh Theatre opened on Christmas Day, 1928. The theater had a $25,000 Robert Morton organ, and was built for Abe Baier, who also operated the Bagdad Theatre. The house was named for aviator Charles Lindbergh. The auditorium had been built behind a row of existing stores which were remodeled in the Spanish style then popular.

In December, 1941, the house was renamed Fiesta Theatre. It operated until May, 1953. In August of that year Baier leased the building to the operator of a dance hall, and after remodeling and the leveling of the floor it was opened as the Town Hall ballroom. The ballroom was still operating in the early 1970s, but the building had been demolished by 1980.

An item in the August 6, 1928, issue of the perpetually frustrating trade journal The Film Daily gave the name of the architect of Baier’s new theater as C. F. Cons, but the Internet provides no other references to an architect of that name. I suspect that this was yet another of the magazine’s plethora of typos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:41 am

The original Royal Theatre in Pacific was in operation by 1913, and was frequently mentioned in the Pacific Transcript. The paper also noted in its issue of August 24, 1928, that construction had started on the new Royal Theatre. The August 6 issue of The Film Daily had reported that St. Louis architectural firm Gill & Jackson had prepared the plans for the new theater about to begin construction at Pacific.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Millwald Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:22 am

The August 6, 1928, issue of The Film Daily said that the “Millward” Theatre in Wytheville, Virginia, was nearing completion.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metropolitan Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 2:58 am

The Metropolitan Theatre was built in 1928. The March 5 issue of the Fitchburg Sentinal said that owner Frank Tragia had leased the house, still under construction, to an unnamed operating company.

There is a photo of the Metropolitan Theatre on page 70 of Thomas K. Hazzard and Diane M. Sanabria’s Leominster (Google Books preview.)

The July 15, 1928, issue of The Film Daily said that the theater being built at Leominster by Frank Tragia had been designed by a Worcester architect named John S. Balzara. I’ve been unable to find any other references to an architect of that name, or even of any similar name, and I think that the magazine might have gotten it wrong. Maybe somebody familiar with architects of the period in the region can figure it out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Centre on Feb 5, 2015 at 1:33 am

A survey of historic buildings in Beatrice (pdf here) confirms that the Cinema Centre is the same house that opened in 1928 as the Ritz Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fitchburg Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 12:25 am

The Fitchburg Theatre section of the Old Theaters of Fitchburg web site (the same site petermetzke linked to in an earlier comment) says that the house opened on February 7, 1929. That makes it the most likely candidate to have been the theater project on which construction had just begun in 1928, according to an item in the July 8 issue of The Film Daily. The new house for the Kenmore Realty Company was to cost $175,000 and had been designed by Boston architect George W. Jacobs.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beverly Theater on Feb 4, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Here is an undated interior photo of the Beverly Theatre’s auditorium, from the Peoria Historical Society.

Like Kerasotes' Varsity Theatre of 1939, the Beverly was designed by Peoria architect J. Fletcher Lankton. This web page has a history of Kerasotes Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elmwood Theater on Feb 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

The correct address for the Elmwood Theatre is 431 Harrison Street, as listed in the local telephone directory in 1916. Advertisements for the theater from the period gave its location as Harrison Street and Gunderson Avenue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Feb 3, 2015 at 9:17 pm

Here is a ca. 1920 photo of the Orpheum Theatre. Click the name “Orpheum” in the title field just below the photo for links to additional photos of the house.

The July 16, 1910, issue of The American Contractor said that the theater under construction in Peoria, which would be leased to the Orpheum Theatre company, had been designed by the architectural firm of Hewitt & Emerson. Herbert Edmund Hewitt and Frank Nelson Emerson formed their partnership in 1909. At least nine of the firm’s buildings are now listed on the NRHP.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mainstreet Theatre on Feb 3, 2015 at 3:30 am

The Recent opening of the Mainstreet Theatre in Warrensburg, Missouri, was noted in the April 8, 1933, issue of Motion Picture Herald. The new house was owned by Dumond Christopher, and featured RCA high fidelity sound equipment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Falls Cinema on Feb 3, 2015 at 3:08 am

A March 3, 2012, article in the Morris County Record said that the Lowell Theatre was opened in 1915, and was destroyed by a fire in January, 1933. The Falls Theatre was built on the same site, opening in June, 1933.

The April 8, 1933, issue of Motion Picture Herald said that a 750-seat theater was being built for the Lowell Theatre Company at Little Falls, Minnesota, to a replace their house that had been destroyed by a fire. Plans for the project were by Liebenberg & Kaplan.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Feb 2, 2015 at 4:06 am

The Princess Theatre was mentioned in the April 2, 1910, issue of The Billboard. I also found it in the October 7, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World, which said that the house had discontinued vaudeville and would begin a policy of feature films. The July 4, 1925, issue of MPW had this item:

E. S. Harris is remodeling the Princess at Peoria and adding a new organ and a complete projection room equipment. He will open the house about July 1 with a second-run policy.“
A 1914 photo of the original entrance of the Princess Theatre can be seen here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Feb 2, 2015 at 3:14 am

The July 4, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World noted the recent opening of the State Theatre:

“Morris Cuzzner, manager, opened the new State Theatre in South Manchester early in June. Vaudeville and pictures form the policy. The State cost $150,000 and it has a seating capacity of nearly 2,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Feb 1, 2015 at 10:56 pm

The undated photo of the Orpheum on this web pageprobably dates from around 1970. The history below the photo says that the house opened in 1930 in a building that had formerly housed an arcade. The house closed as the Orpheum in 1977. In 1980 it reopened as the Rosemary Theatre, and after another closure became an Asian movie theater called the Golden Dragon. It closed for the last time in 1987.

I’m not sure what to make of an item in the July 6, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World that said that the new Orpheum Theatre at 604 Queen Street West in Toronto had opened the week of June 10. This might have been an earlier theater next door, or it’s possible that the Orpheum actually opened earlier than the author of the history thought, and the building was renumbered at some point.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Feb 1, 2015 at 1:58 pm

The 1928 Motion Picture Times article about the dismantling of the Crystal Theatre has been moved again to this link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ultravision Theatre on Jan 30, 2015 at 1:27 pm

The prototype UltraVison Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina, was developed by ABC-Paramount affiliate Wilby-Kincy and designed by architect William Bringhurst McGehee of the firm Six Associates. The Deerfield Beach UltraVision was based on McGehee’s original plans, as was Florida State Theatres first UltraVision house, the single screen Springs Theatre in Ocala, Florida, which was completed only a few months before the Deerfield Beach project.

A Boxoffice article about the Ocala project said that McGehee’s plans were adapted for Florida State Theatres by an architect named Bill Murphy, so it sems likely that he was also involved in the Deerfield Beach project. I haven’t been able to positively identify Murphy, but it’s possible that he was Bill Jackson Murphy, a founder of BMS Associates, a Columbus, Georgia, firm that, according to Murphy’s obituary designed numerous theaters for “…Martin Theaters, Fuqua, United Artists, Carmike Cinema and Southern Theaters….” in the southeast and Texas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Meroney Theatre on Jan 30, 2015 at 3:48 am

According to the Meroney’s Theatre page at Doc South’s “Going To the Show,” the building housed a number of theaters over the years. The Meroney Theater building housed different theaters from 1904 to 1989.

“In 1907, the Bijou operated on the first floor of Meroney’s Theater as a movie and live-action theater. September 1909 saw the introduction of the Grand theater to the Meroney building, which was succeeded by the Grubb theater in 1911. The theater also operated under the names of The Colonial, The Strand, The State, Centre, The Towne Theatre, and Towne Twin Cinema (the theater’s name when it officially closed).”
The house returned to its original name on reopening as a live theater in 1995. Additional details about the various theaters can be found by using the drop-down menu of the “Chose a venue” box on the Salisbury page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victory Theatre on Jan 30, 2015 at 3:18 am

A 1915-1916 city directory of Salisbury lists 103 S. Main as the location of a house called the Main Theatre. Doc South’s “Going To the Show” says that the Main operated from 1913 to 1918. The house was rebuilt that year, doubling its capacity, and reopened as the Victory Theatre on November 28. Doc South’s pages on the Victory include a newspaper article about the opening and another about the theater’s American Fotoplayer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theater on Jan 30, 2015 at 2:58 am

A capsule history of Spencer here says that the Liberty Theatre opened in 1917. If that is corrent, then it was apparently rebuilt the following year. Doc South’s “Going To the Show” has a scan of an opening announcement for the Liberty Theatre from the November 20, 1918, issue of the Salisbury Evening Post

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Theatre on Jan 29, 2015 at 4:44 am

The Capri can’t have been at 610 Greensboro Avenue if it was next door to the Alston Building and across from the even-numbered Bama Theatre. It must have had an odd-numbered address. I can’t find an address for Alston Place, but the Lorch Diamond Center to the south of the theater’s location is at 611.

The Capri was probably at 607 S. Greensboro, which would mean it was originally the house called the Belveldere Theatre, found at that address on a master list of buildings designed by Birmingham architect D. O. Whilldin that was compiled by Thomas M. Shelby. Shelby lists the Belvedere as a 1923 project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tiger Theater on Jan 29, 2015 at 4:24 am

A master list of buildings designed by Birmingham architect D. O. Whilldin compiled by Thomas M. Shelby lists the Tiger Theatre in Auburn as one of his projects. However, it is listed as a 1927 project, so perhaps Whilldin only designed some alterations the year after the house opened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Birmingham Theater on Jan 29, 2015 at 4:16 am

A master list of buildings designed by Birmingham architect D. O. Whilldin, compiled by Thomas M. Shelby, lists the Pantages Theatre as one of his projects from 1927. However, as B. Marcus Priteca pretty much had a lock on theater designs for Pantages, it’s most likely that he designed the 1927 remodeling and that Whilldin acted as supervising architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Famous Theater on Jan 29, 2015 at 4:06 am

A master list of buildings designed by Birmingham architect D. O. Whilldin, compiled by Thomas M. Shelby, lists the Famous Theatre in Birmingham as a 1926-27 project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ensley Theatre on Jan 29, 2015 at 3:55 am

A master list of buildings designed by Birmingham architect D. O. Whilldin compiled by Thomas M. Shelby lists the Ensley Theatre as one of his projects.