Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:04 am

The February 9, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Hippodrome in Peoria was set to begin its vaudeville season, and shows would include three reels of movies at each performance. The Princess Theatre, under the same management, had just discontinued vaudeville.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Acorn Theatre on Apr 12, 2015 at 7:09 pm

cobeal: If you look on the “Photos” page for this theater (click the link above the photo displayed on this page) you’ll find an interior photo and a scan of a newspaper article about the opening of the house. The newspaper spelled the owner’s name Goshay. As he was interviewed and photographed for the article that is probably the correct spelling.

The article notes that the Acorn Theatre had a Lamella roof, so it was definitely not a quonset hut, but the method created a similar barrel vaulted structure, as can be seen in the interior photo on our Photos page.

There is no date on the article, but the text says the Acorn was scheduled to open on March 10. As it was listed in the 1955-1956 Theatre Catalog, which would have been published prior to the end of 1955, and, according to the article, when the Acorn opened it was equipped for movies made in both CinemaScope and VistaVision processes, it must have opened 1955. CinemaScope first appeared in 1953, but VistaVision, developed by Fox rival Paramount Pictures, premiered at Radio City Music Hall on October 14, 1954. Thus the March 10 opening of the Acorn had to have been in 1955.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theater on Apr 12, 2015 at 10:31 am

JoJo_M: This comment by rebaanders of the Capitol Theater Foundation says “We are fortunate to have the original blue prints from Carl A Nelson.” (Carl A. Nelson was the original construction company.) I’d advise using the contact information on the theater’s official web site. If anybody knows where the blueprints are now it’s likely to be someone from the Foundation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arion Theatre on Apr 11, 2015 at 7:14 pm

This excerpt from an article in the January 21, 1932, issue of The Daily Star, Long Island City, suggests that the Arion Theatre was actually built around 1915:

“The tearing down this week of the New Columbia Theater, Grand avenue and Sixty-ninth lane, Maspeth, removed another landmark of the days when the section was a sleepy little village.

“The little theater was marked for demolition following protests by the Maspeth Civic and Improvement Association, and other local organisations that it was a fire menace. It had been closed for six years.

“Old-time residents recalled today how it was built sixteen years ago, shortly after the construction of the Arion Theater near the Atateka Democratic Club. Maspeth felt quite proud of its two theaters, although both would fit comfortably in the present Maspeth Theater and leave some space over”

The Maspeth News column of the November 4, 1922, issue of The Newtown Register had this item:
“Mr. Robert Kunze is making extensive alterations to his moving picture theatre located on the ground floor of the Arion building.”
Another newspaper item of the period says that the Arion Theatre was next door to the Arion Building. There was also a place called Arion Hall, and one item referred to Robert Kunze as the proprietor of the Arion Hall and Moving Picture Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Apr 11, 2015 at 1:31 pm

I found the Park Theatre at Somerset mentioned in the September 23, 1932, issue of The Bedford Gazette from Bedford, Pennsylvania.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ulster Performing Arts Center on Apr 10, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Linkrot repair: The photos of the remodeled Community Theatre in the October 22, 1955, issue of Boxoffice are now at this link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Apr 10, 2015 at 1:39 pm

As Somerset no longer uses one and two-digit addresses, the Park Theatre was probably at modern 107 E. Main, although there’s no guarantee that the last digits of new addresses would match up perfectly with the old addresses. This is one of the places we could really use a Sanborn map, or at least some old photos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Coliseum Cinemas on Apr 10, 2015 at 12:40 pm

The name “Piera” in the last line of the first paragraph of the introduction should be Pereira. De Rosa and Pereira were in partnership from about 1917 to about 1921. I’m pretty sure this was Percival Pereira, who had worked in Thomas Lamb’s office until 1915, then had a brief association with C. Howard Crane, who opened a New York branch office that year.

The May, 1919, issue of The Bridgemen’s Magazine had this item:

“New York.—Theater—B. S. Moss Co., 729 Seventh avenue, soon lets contract building 2-story, 137x161ft. brick and steel, concrete foundation, on 181st street and Broadway. About $475,000. De Rosa & Pereira, 110 W. Fortieth street, architects.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Missouri Theatre on Apr 10, 2015 at 12:11 pm

The De Rosa in the firm of De Rosa & Pereira was Eugene De Rosa of New York City. It’s very likely that his partner was Percival Pereira. The October, 1919, issue of The Bridgemen’s Magazine had this item:

“Store and theater. S. Bloom plans brick and terra cotta, 215-223 W. Forty-second street. P. B. [sic] Pereira and E. De Rosa, 150 Nassau street, architects.”
Percival Pereira’s middle name was Raymond. He had worked in Thomas Lamb’s office until 1915. At that time, according to this thumbnail biography from Historic Detroit, he became an associate of Detroit architect C. Howard Crane, who had opened a New York branch office. It’s not clear how long Pereira was associated with Crane, but Pereira did design projects in Detroit in the 1920s. De Rosa & Pereira were listed in the 1921 Year Book of the New York Society of Architects with offices at 110 W. 40th Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Luxe Theater on Apr 10, 2015 at 11:24 am

As this house opened in 1922, this item from the “New Theatres” column of the December 3, 1921, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review is probably about the Blue Bird Theatre:

“EAST PEORIA, ILL.— Frederick [sic] J. Klein, architect, has completed plans for a 500-seat theatre for William H. Schlem and work will be started immediately on construction under supervision of K. C. Snelling.”
The correct spelling of the architect’s first name is Frederic.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Apr 10, 2015 at 11:10 am

An article about the State Theatre in the December 3, 1921, issue of Exhibitor’s Trade Review had this interesting information about the movie screen in the new house:

“The new Loew State Theatre which opened in Los Angeles Nov. 12 has a screen 24 by 44 feet. It is twice the size of any other screen in use in that city and pictures are furnished for it by what is said to be the largest projection booth in the world. It will be interesting to note how the public takes to this mammoth picture sheet.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Governor Theatre on Apr 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Somerset no longer uses one and two digit addresses, so the modern address of the Governor Theatre’s site was most likely 110 E. Main Street. There is a modern bank on the site now, so the Governor has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Governor Theatre on Apr 9, 2015 at 9:17 pm

Andrew: This is a bit late, but I just came across an item from the September 4, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World that mentions a Mr. Pascoe in Somerset:

“The Somerset Opera House, Somerset, Pa., recently leased by C. B. Pascoe, has been remodeled and redecorated in a pleasing manner. Mr. Pascoe, who is a well-known exhibitor and operates a chain of houses in West Virginia, has opened his newly acquired theater and is offering a high-,class program of features daily.”
The March 11, 1922, issue of The American Contractor also mentions Pascoe in connection with a theater project in Somerset:
“Somerset. Pa.—Theater (M. P.: newGrand): $100,000. 3 sty. 57x179. Archt. E. H. Walker. Owner C. B. Pascoe. mgr., Grand Theater. Brk. walls, granite trim. Archt. builds, awards sep. contrs., will take bids on sep. contrs. & materials abt. Apr.”
The comment by Mark Ware says that the Grand and Park Theatres were across the street from the Governor. The Park was rather small, so the Grand is more likely to have had an organ.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crest Theatre on Apr 9, 2015 at 11:55 am

A book about the Park Hill neighborhood is reviewed on this web page and it mentions that the Crest opened as the Tower Theatre in 1949, and after its days as the Crest Theatre was converted into a Korean Presbyterian church.

The building was listed on LoopNet about a year ago, but now appears to be off the market. It might currently be vacant, but in Google street view the building looks to be in very good shape. It is an L-shaped theater with a fairly large auditorium running parallel to the street behind a row of storefronts.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Apr 9, 2015 at 12:25 am

The NRHP nomination form for the Lawrence Warehouse in Sacramento lists a number of other buildings designed by its architect, Clarence Cecil Cuff, and the Diepenbrock Theatre was among them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kim Theatre on Apr 8, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Linkrot repair: The 1911 photo of the National Theatre is now at this link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Here is a bit of additional information about the period when the Empire was operated by Stan Durwood’s AMC Theatres. It is from the NRHP Registration Form (PDF here) for the Mainstreet Theatre, and the details differ somewhat from the original conversion plans noted in the 1966 Boxoffice article:

“In 1967, Durwood split the Empire into two theaters, by adding steel girders to the front of the balcony and extending a deck from the balcony to the proscenium. This made a large theater upstairs with 1,005 seats. It was first called the Royal, and later the Empire I. The Empire II (first floor) continued as a Cinerama Theatre. In 1980, the upstairs was further split in two with a wall down the middle. Each theater seated about 400. A small lobby under the balcony had been converted earlier to a narrow theatre with a small screen seating about 100. It was called the Academy then later known simply as the Empire 1, 2, 3, and 4.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm

The Durwood circuit’s plans to convert the balcony of the Empire Theatre into a separate auditorium were reported in the October 24, 1966, issue of Boxoffice. Durwood had acquired the house from RKO in 1960 and subsequently remodeled and renamed it the Empire. An upstairs lounge had been converted into the 136-seat Academy Theatre prior to the twinning of the original auditorium.

Durwood’s plan was to continue operating the 900-seat ground floor theater as a Cinerama house called the Empire I, while the new, 1,200-seat theater in the former balcony and upper part of the auditorium, which was to extend to the top of the original proscenium, would be operated as a roadshow house called the Empire II.

The $300,000 conversion was designed by architects Hugh Hamlin and Charles Pike of the firm Northern & Hamlin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Menominee Theatre on Apr 8, 2015 at 9:39 am

This isn’t the old storefront theater pictured at Water Winter Wonderland. It isn’t in Marinette, Wisconsin, either. It turns out that Menominee changed its named streets and avenues to numbered streets and avenues at some point. Old Ludington Avenue is now Fifth Avenue, so the Menominee Theatre was at modern address 110 Fifth Avenue.

Google Maps doesn’t have a street view of that location, but there’s an oblique view from First Street and the building at 110 turns out to be the old Menominee Opera House. A non-profit group is currently raising funds for its restoration. They have a web site but it is being moved to a new server and isn’t available right now. There is a Facebook page with a few photos, mostly of fund raising events held in the theater, which is in pretty rough shape.

The Opera House has a Wikipedia page which says it was built in 1902, and was designed by architect George O. Garnsey. The Opera House hosted a variety of events and entertainments, including some movies, until closing in 1929, after which it was used as a civic auditorium until around 1945 when it was reopened as the Menominee Theatre.

A fire in 1950 led to the bankruptcy of the owner and the building was sold to a new owner who converted it into a warehouse. In 2004, the building was deeded to the Menominee Opera House Association, the group which is now gradually restoring it to serve as a performing arts venue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Menominee Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Water Winter Wonderland lists a Menominee Theatre but says it was on Main Street. There is a photo of Main Street with a storefront theater, presumably this house, though the sign on the building is generic.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Linkrot repair: The 1950 Boxoffice article about the Capri Theatre (and other Des Moines houses) is now here:

Page one

Page two

Page three

Page four

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:47 am

Although we have the seating capacity of the Majestic listed as 250, period sources indicate that the house opened with about 600 seats. Construction journals said the lot was 40x175 feet, and the theater had a balcony as well as a large stage. The seating capacity might have been reduced later, but if the figure 250 comes from the FDY I suspect that an inept typesetter might have carelessly transposed the 2 and the 5, and the house actually had 520 seats during its later years.

The single-story building next door (105 S. Third) to the Majestic’s site looks to be modern construction in a period style, rather than a renovation of an older building, and I suspect that part of that building occupies part of the Majestic’s site. In Google street view the vacant lot looks to be only about 25 feet wide.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:24 am

The theater description should probably include the fire in the mid-1940s (the official web site says 1945) which destroyed the house for a second time, and the subsequent rebuilding and reopening in 1947. I suspect that almost the only part of the Lillian Theatre remaining might be the east wall, adjacent to the parking lot, and possibly part of the back wall.

The east wall was most likely a common wall with an adjacent building erected at the same time as the second Lillian (the 1914 fire destroyed a number of buildings in the area) and would have to have been retained to support that building when the theater was rebuilt following the 1940s fire. The west wall along First Street looks like more modern brickwork and might date from 1947. There is some possibility that the Franklin Street facade dates from the Speight & Hibbs remodeling in 1941, which was to include a new front for the theater, but I’ve found no sources to confirm that it does.

Back in 2007 msimpson83 asked if there were plans to demolish the Roxy and replace it with an entirely new theater. The official web site say yes, alas. The project has not yet gotten underway, probably due to the difficulty of raising funds in the slack economy of recent years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fort Plain Theatre on Apr 6, 2015 at 10:07 pm

The Fort Plain Standard of Thursday, January 13, 1927, published the obituary of Dr. Charles Jackson. One paragraph concerns the Fort Plain Theatre:

“Dr. Jackson is mainly responsible for Fort Plain’s present theatre. The Fritcher opera house burned on May 4, 1911, which event left Fort Plain without a theatre. The Brunswick hotel, opposite the Jackson home, was burned about 1910. Dr. Jackson’s keen mind at once sensed the availability of the site of the hotel as a location for a theatre. He interested a number of business men and a stock company was formed and the construction of the present theatre was started in the fall of 1911. Dr. Jackson subsequently bought a controlling interest in the company and made his son, Harvey H. Jackson, the manager of the theatre. Later managers were Gros & Zielley, Saxton & Lombard, Saxton & Rickard and V.F. Saxton. The theatre was sold to W.C. Smalley in 1921. Dr. Jackson always maintained a great interest in the theatre. Dr. and Mrs. Jackson nursed the beautiful Boston ivy, which overspreads the northern wall and which is the finest example of this handsome vine in this section.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jamaica Theatre on Apr 6, 2015 at 9:50 pm

While I think that the 1921 project described in my previous comment was most likely the Jamaica, there was project for a 1,200 seat house at Centre and Perkins Streets in 1915 for the Hyde Square Theatre Company. It was still in the design stage according to the March 27 issue of The American Contractor, so perhaps the bids were too high and it remained unbuilt. MarkB’s insurance map shows that the Jamaica was down the block at the corner Barbara Street, in any case.