Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Feb 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Champaign architect George Ramey designed the 1938 rebuild of the Rialto Theatre’s interior, according to an article in the September 28 issue of The Daily Illini that year. Raney’s design sounds decidedly Streamline Modern, judging from these lines: “Modernistic simplicity is the keynote of interior decoration. The undecorated walls, completely soundproof, are lighted by blue and amber indirect lighting.”

The Rialto apparently still had an organ in 1938, as the final line of the article read thusly: “A grill concealing the organ has been held up in shipment from the east coast due to interrupted transportation and has been transhipped to reach Champaign for the opening night.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Albro Theatre on Feb 22, 2015 at 3:14 pm

The Urbana Daily Courier of August 11, 1913, had an article saying that construction of the new theater on Market Street had begun and was expected to be completed within thirty days. The architect for the project was J. W. Royer.

Joseph W. Royer (1873-1954) lived in Urbana all his life. He was an 1895 graduate of the University of Illinois, and designed many important buildings in Champaign County.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Belmont Theatre on Feb 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm

An item in the September 4, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World noted the retirement from the theater business of pioneer Philadelphia exhibitor Samuel Wheeler, and said that he had built the Belmont Theatre:

“S. F. WHEELER RETIRES FROM FILM BUSINESS.

“Samuel F. Wheeler, one of the leading lights in the local field of the moving picture industry, recently announced his intention of retiring from that line of endeavor. When the moving picture business was in its infancy Mr. Wheeler built the Fifty-second Street theater, Fifty-second and Sansom streets, and experienced remarkable success from the first. He soon began looking around for ground upon which to erect a much larger house, with the result that he erected the Belmont theater, Fifty-second street, above Market. Following this he built the Apollo theater at Fifty-second street and Girard avenue.

“Following the construction of the Apollo things began to break in the wrong direction for Mr. Wheeler and he soon sold his latest theater. Business continued to fall away on account of keen competition in the neighborhood of his theaters and Mr. Wheeler came to the conclusion that he would devote his entire interest to his original occupation as a lawyer. The Fifty-second Street theater and the Belmont theater may either be bought or leased. It has been rumored that the Felt brothers, proprietors of the Locust theater, Fifty-second and Locust streets, will buy the Belmont.”

The January 22, 1916, issue of MPW said that the Felt Brothers had taken over both of Wheeler’s 52nd Street houses:
“BUY TWO THEATERS.

“The Felt Brothers, proprietors of the Locust, West Philadelphia’s leading moving picture theater, recently added to their place in the local field by taking over the Fifty-second street and Belmont theaters, which were formerly conducted by Samuel H. Wheeler. With the acquisition of these properties by the Felt brothers comes a change in the management policy of both houses. Henceforth in the afternoon the price of admission will be five cents at the Fifty-second street theater and ten cents at the Belmont. In the evenings the prices will be fifteen cents at both establishments. It is planned to show nothing but first class pictures and Messrs. Felt and Felt, who have already made themselves known in Philadelphia moving picture circles, expect to meet with their usual success in this enterprise.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rivoli Theater on Feb 22, 2015 at 1:20 pm

According to an item in the December 1, 1909, issue of The American Architect, the 95x107-foot store and moving picture theater building being built at Sansom and 52nd Streets, which architect Jacob Nasehold had designed, was being built for Samuel Wheeler. The February 14, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World had this bit of information about Mr. Wheeler:

“WE comment specially upon the election of Mr. Samuel Wheeler as President of the State League of Pennsylvania, because it is typical of the remarkable improvement of the personnel of the exhibitor. Mr. Wheeler has a substantial stake in the exhibiting business. He is the owner of a chain of prosperous motion picture theaters in the city of Philadelphia. He is an attorney, and has on more than one occasion asserted the rights of the exhibitor in the courts of his state. He is essentially constructive. He has exalted ideals of the mission and the responsibility of the exhibitor. He is progressive, and places the welfare of the exhibitors' organization above any consideration of self. We congratulate the exhibitors of Pennsylvania upon their excellent choice.”
The June 21, 1912, issue of The Player also had an item about Mr. Wheeler:
“Samuel Wheeler, who owns and operates the Fifty-second Street theater, has arranged to build a new moving picture house at the corner of Fifty-second and Market streets. This will make two houses that he owns within a short distance of the Nixon theater. He opened the Fifty-second street house before the Nixon was completed, and when that house got running he switched to pictures and made money. Now he will build a new house still nearer than his former one, to the Nixon, and will arrange it so that he can add vaudeville as an attraction in case pictures do not get the money he expects.”
I had thought that the house at 52nd and Market might have been the mysterious Grand, which operated only for a few years, but an item about Samuel Wheeler’s retirement from the theater business in the September 4, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World says that he owned the Belmont Theatre, which was up the block from Market Street, but didn’t mention the Grand.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Feb 22, 2015 at 11:47 am

EdwardsBrynele: I found only the January obituary. Obituaries in the trade papers were always brief unless the deceased was a major figure in the industry. Major figures might get a short notice in one issue and a longer obituary in a later issue, but local theater operators typically only got one item, and that often only in one trade paper. Undoubtedly many got no notice in the trades at all.

I’ve searched for other references to Henry Thomas in the trade publications but haven’t found any. There probably are some but the limitations of current search engines are preventing them from being found. I’ve also searched for additional references to earlier theaters in Oak Hill, but again with no success.

A second floor hall does sound very likely for the earlier Liberty Theatre, though. In the late 19th century second floor theaters were probably more common than ground floor houses, especially in smaller cities. A lot of them ended up as early movie houses before being replaced by more modern theaters.

Even though the original front of the Liberty Theatre was destroyed by the 1929 fire, I suspect that the rebuilt front was probably not much different from the original. The brickwork is much more typical of the early 1920s than it is of the late 1920s. They might even have used a lot of the original bricks in the reconstruction.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Theatre on Feb 22, 2015 at 10:18 am

I just noticed that Google Street View now allows you to look inside the Little Theatre. The camera only visited the lobby and the main auditorium, and I don’t see any interior signage directing patrons to the additional auditoriums. It leaves me wondering where they are hiding the other four screens.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Feb 21, 2015 at 10:34 am

The Lyric Theatre at Wymore, Nebraska, was listed as a subscriber of the American Motion Picture League in an ad for that organization in the December 20, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Shubert Theater on Feb 21, 2015 at 10:19 am

meheuck: The Cox Theatre doesn’t have a page at Cinema Treasures because it never showed movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Feb 21, 2015 at 9:55 am

Wid’s Year Book for 1920 lists the Victory Theatre as being operated by The Dome Amusement Co., also operating the Dome Theatre.

Comparing old maps of Youngstown with Google’s current map, I’m pretty sure that the Victory was located on what is now called Teamster Drive, on part of the site now occupied by the City of Youngstown Department of Public Works Maintenance & Service Building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about South Side Theatre on Feb 21, 2015 at 7:54 am

That was supposed to be November 25, 1916, in my previous comment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Feb 20, 2015 at 10:04 pm

The Garrick Theatre, 30th and Illinois Streets, was on a list of Indianapolis theater in the November 25, 1916, issue of The Indianapolis News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cassell Theatre on Feb 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm

The Daisy Theatre was on a list of Indianapolis theaters that appeared in the November 25, 1916, issue of The Indianapolis News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bandbox Theatre on Feb 20, 2015 at 9:47 pm

A list of theaters in the November 25, 1916, issue of The Indianapolis News also places the Crystal at 119 N. Illinois, so the 1919 directory listing was likely not an error. If the house ended up at 137 Illinois either it was renumbered or it moved.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about South Side Theatre on Feb 20, 2015 at 9:29 pm

A list of movie theaters in the November 25, 1915, issue of The Indianapolis News has this house listed as Hair’s South Side Theatre. Two other theaters were listed that must have been under the same ownership at the time: Hair’s Lincoln, East Ave. and Lincoln, and Hair’s Apex, Stevens and Virginia Avenue. “Bair’s” was probably a typo in the source Chuck got this theater from.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Delight Theatre on Feb 20, 2015 at 9:07 pm

The Delight Theatre was mentioned in the January 25, 1914, issue of The Indianapolis Star. The address 2407-09 College Avenue was listed for the Delight in 1916, and prior to that the paper just gave the location as 24th Street and College Avenue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dalton Theater on Feb 19, 2015 at 11:51 pm

I’ve finally found additional references to the J. C. Lombard Co., but the primary one is an ad for the company in the December 20, 1921, issue of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania paper The evening News, which says “[w]e make a specialty of relief ornament in plaster….”

The Lombard Co. had provided the interior plaster work for the new Regent Theatre in Harrisburg. The Regent was designed by Harrisburg architect Clayton J. Lappley. I’m still not convinced that the Lombard Company designed the Dalton Theatre, and so far John R. Forsythe remains the most likely architect for the theater. Lombard most likely supplied the ornamental plaster work for the Dalton, as they did at the Regent.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's Regent Theatre on Feb 19, 2015 at 11:45 pm

The rebuilt Regent Theatre opened on December 21, 1921. The December 20 issue of the Harrisburg Telegraph said that the project had been designed by local architect Clayton J. Lappley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Camelot 1-2-3 on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:56 pm

Linkrot repair: The 1938 Boxoffice article about the Circle Theatre can now be seen at these links:

Page One

Page Two

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Congress Theatre on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Linkrot repair: The before and after photos in Boxoffice of the Congress Theatre, remodeled in 1937, can now be seen at this link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Times Theatre on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Linkrot repair: The January 8, 1938, Boxoffice article about the Times Theatre can now be seen at these links:

Page One

Page Two

The April 30 article is now at these links:

Page One

Page Two

Page Three

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Major Theatre on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:27 pm

A photo of the lobby of the Major Theatre appears on this page of Boxoffice Magazine, January 8, 1938.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jewel Theater on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:22 pm

An article about wall and floor coverings in the January 8, 1938, issue of Boxoffice featured a photo of the foyer of the Jewel Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mill Wharf Cinemas on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Linkrot repair: The 1938 ad with a photo of the Scituate Theatre’s lobby is now here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm

Sidney S. Daniell (1889-1956) and Russell L. Beutell (1891-1943) were the principals of the firm of Daniell & Beutell.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fairfax Theatre on Feb 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm

About three months after opening the Fairfax Theatre, Oscar Oldknow sold a half interest in the house to Universal, according to an item in the January 7, 1927, issue of Motion Picture News. Oldknow was a Vice President of Universal at this time. Oscar’s father, William Oldknow, had been an executive of the Universal Film Corporation in 1915, and Oscar’s son, William Oldknow II, later moved to Los Angeles and in 1949 married Constantina Skouras, niece of Fox West Coast Theatres head Charles Skouras. Oscar Oldknow himself had become associated with Fox Theatres by 1930, probably through the Fox-affiliated Lucas & Jenkins circuit which had taken over the Fairfax by that time.

The 1927 MPN item had a bit more information about Universal’s Atlanta area expansion plans:

“Universal’s Southern Theatres

“Dan Michalove Issues Statement Concerning Company’s Holdings and plans of National Theatre Supply Company. Mr. Oldknow launched and built the Fairfax Theatre in East Point some months ago and recently sold a fifty per cent interest in that house to Universal.

“Construction of a moving picture theatre in East Atlanta is in line with Universal’s plan to acquire and develop a chain of suburban houses in Atlanta. One of the company’s most recent acquisitions was a fifty per cent interest in the community theatre just being completed on Ponce de Leon Avenue near Boulevard, one of the city’s most flourishing centers. Work on the new theatre for East Atlanta will start as soon as plans now being drawn are completed.

“FOLLOWING the initial announcement issued by Dan Michalove two weeks ago, of Universal’s plan to build several community theatres in Atlanta’s most thriving suburban centers, comes a detailed statement from Mr. Michalove concerning his company’s theatre acquisition program in East Atlanta.

“According to Mr. Michalove, Universal has acquired an admirable site at 482 Flat Shoals Avenue in East Atlanta, and plans are now being drawn by Daniell and Beautell, architects, for an 800-seat house that will be built along the latest approved lines.

“Universal will erect the house in conjunction with Oscar S. Oldknow, vice-president in charge of the Southern Division.”

The house on Flat Shoals Avenue must have been the Madison Theatre. The house under construction on Ponce de Leon Avenue was most likely the DeKalb Theatre in Decatur, which opened on August 8, 1927.