Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Apr 2, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Cinema Treasures is the only source on the Internet that mentions a house called the Waurika Theatre (not even CinemaTour has it.) I think it might be a phantom name, or the name of a theater that operated only briefly, and long ago. Waurika’s principal and longest-running theater was called the Empress.

This photo might depict the site of the Empress Theatre. At least there is a sign saying “Empress Theater” on a vacant lot. It is a mid-block location, and it could be at 111 S. Main Street, so it could be the house on the 1923 map Lauren found. The Empress Theatre was in operation by 1912, though I don’t know if it was then in the same building depicted in the photo (CinemaTour lists both an Empress and a New Empress, though neither is given an address.) This item appeared in the September 27, 1912, issue of the Waurika News-Democrat:

“Manager GAIL DURHAM opened the Empress Theatre on Thursday night of last week for the season with a three night stand of MR. TRUMAN DEROAME Company of 12 people.”
Claude Thorp bought the Empress in 1962, according to the Henrietta Clay County Leader of January 18 that year. When Thorp retired in 1966, the November 13 issue of the Wichita Falls Times reported that he had sold the Empress Theatre at Waurika to Mr. L. W. Martin of Burkburnett. The Empress was in operation at least as late as 1972, when its then-operators, Ed and Dorothy Crew, were mentioned in the October 2 issue of Boxffice

The March 15, 1917, issue of Texas Trade Review and Industrial Record reported that a Mr. B. Divers planned to build a two-story, approximately 850-seat theater building, 50x140 feet, at Waurika. I don’t know if that project was carried out. It was too wide to have been on the lot in the photo, which looks to be about 25 feet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cresco Theatre & Opera House on Apr 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Multiple items in construction journals in 1914 indicate that the Cresco Opera House was designed and built by a St. Paul firm called Monarch Theater Construction & Supply Co.

So far I’ve been able to find three other theater projects involving the same firm, all from 1914. One was the Auditorium Theatre in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The others were in Montevideo and Willmar, Minnesota. I’ve been unable to establish the identity of either so far, though the Montevideo house was probably called the Star.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hollywood on Main on Apr 2, 2017 at 4:26 pm

The 1914-1915 edition of The American Motion Picture Directory lists a Grand Theatre at 214 1st Street in Montevideo. I haven’t been able to discover if it occupied the same building that now houses Hollywood on Main. The directory also lists a Montevideo Opera House, with no address.

A trade journal from 1914 noted an expansion underway at a Star Theatre in Montevideo, and a construction journal notes a new theater being built there for a Mr. Starbeck. Either of those might have become the Grand. In 1919, there is a reference to a Monte Theatre, and in 1923 to a State Theatre, so we are still missing some of Montevideo’s theater history.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avon Theatre on Apr 2, 2017 at 3:36 pm

The Auditorium Theatre was owned by George and Gustave Frellson. Mutiple items in construction journals from 1914 say that the $50,000 theater being built at Waukesha for the Frellsons was designed and built by a St. Paul firm that went by the name Monarch Theater Construction & Supply Co.

I’ve found two other theaters erected by the same design/build/outfitting firm, both 1914 projects; one at Willmar, Michigan, and the other at Creston, Iowa.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Apr 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm

An article in the August 8, 2002, issue of The Clay County Leader said that the paper began publishing in 1932 from a building “…between the Royal Theater (previously the Majestic) and the building occupied by Brad Staggs Tailor and Cleaning Shop.”

Later, Henrietta had a theater called the Ritz, but I’ve been unable to discover if this was a third house or just a later name for the Majestic/Royal. As far as I know, the town’s other house, the Dorothy Theatre, never operated under any other name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dorothy Theater on Apr 1, 2017 at 3:30 pm

There was a house called the Dorothy Theatre in Henrietta prior to 1920. Operated by H. L. Bear and named for his daughter Dorothy, the theater was mentioned in the January 3, 1920, issue of Exhibitors Herald. The item said that Mr. Bear had purchased a lot adjoining the Dorothy and planned to build a 350-sea theater on it. The Dorothy was to be remodeled in the spring.

Mr. Bear’s plans for a new theater were apparently delayed, as they were announced again in the 1921-1922 edition of Wid’s Year Book, which was published in September, 1921. I’m not sure the plans were ever carried out.

Bear did eventually open a second house, though, as an item in the “Theatre Deals” column of the November 21, 1945, issue of The Film Daily said that he had sold the Dorothy Theatre and the old Ritz Theatre building. No location was given for the Ritz. The item said that he had operated the Dorothy for thirty years, which would give an opening year of about 1915.

Numerous sources indicate that the Dorothy was located on the east side of the Courthouse square. It was still in operation at least as late as 1966.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Apr 1, 2017 at 12:49 pm

The May 29, 1963, fire that destroyed the Gem Theatre was noted in the June 3 issue of Boxoffice. Damage was estimated at $50,000. The theater had also suffered a major fire in 1952. The magazine had been unable to contact owner Claude Thorp to see if he intended to rebuild in Ryan or not. He also operated theaters in Waurika, Oklahoma, and Henrietta and Burkburnett, Texas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Island Theatre on Mar 31, 2017 at 12:52 pm

The recent history of the Island Theatre has been troubled. Twice last year the building was declared unsafe by inspectors, the second time in November when part of the ceiling collapsed following inadequate repairs that were made in response to the first citation.

According to this article in the Vinyard Gazette of March 16, 2017, the town has ordered repairs to be done, and if the theater’s owners do not make them, is debating whether to have the repairs done at public expense and file alien on the building, or simply have the theater demolished.

The building “… is estimated to be about a century old…. and has been vacant for several years.” The issue is slated to be discussed at the town meeting on April 11.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 27, 2017 at 7:52 pm

The Palace Theatre was built by and originally operated by Sylvester Enea and his brother-in-law, David Solari. Solari, who had studied engineering for two years, acted as architect, as well as managing the theater once it opened.

This web page at Silent Era says that the Palace opened in 1910 and originally seated 600. It finished its run in the 1960s as a Spanish language movie house, and was demolished for the town’s urban renewal project in the 1970s.

The page quotes a 1911 magazine article about the Palace which notes that it had a “Welts Orchestrion”, which probably should have read Welte Orchestrion. In its early days the Palace also presented vaudeville on weekends.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Mar 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

A 1920s photo of a “Capital” Theatre in Tallahassee can be found on this web page at Florida Memory. A book called The Community of Cinema: How Cinema and Spectacle Transformed the American Downtown, by James Forsher, has this line on page 97:

“Before 1920, African Americans were forced to go to the Capital Theatre, started by Mrs. Yellowhair, a graduate of Florida A & M University, the historically black university in Tallahassee.”
The book Tallahassee Florida, by Althemese Barnes and Ann Roberts, has a photo of Margaret Yellowhair and some of her fellow class of 1904 graduates, and the photo of the theater, the caption of which says it was located on Macomb Street in the historic Frenchtown district (Google Books preview.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's 86th Street Theatre on Mar 24, 2017 at 1:01 am

The New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists provides this web page with information about the Moller organ installed in the 86th Street Theatre when Marcus Loew took over its operation in 1916.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's Yorkville Theatre on Mar 24, 2017 at 12:52 am

A fairly detailed history of the Yorkville Theatre can be found here It confirms TonyV’s claim that there was no theater in this building in the 1940s and later. The Yorkville closed for good in 1928.

Loew’s 86th Street, as Tony notes, was across from the Orpheum. Its address was 162 E. 86th, and a description of its organ, installed when Loew took over in 1916, can be found on this web page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Mar 21, 2017 at 5:07 pm

The Liberty Theatre building was not destroyed by the 2013 fire, though the roof was damaged beyond repair. A permit for the installation of new roof trusses was issued by the city in February, 2014. The city itself paid for emergency repairs to prevent the walls from collapsing. As NoReturn (second comment back) saw the building still standing in 2016, the repairs apparently succeeded. 114 N. 4th Avenue, #B, is currently the office of American Family Insurance, so I would guess the repaired building has been divided into space for at least two offices.

The two year delay in construction following the original announcement of the theater project in 1912 led to a change of architects. This item is from the February 12, 1914, issue of Engineering News:

“Pasco, Wash.—J. E. Doughty, Arch., Pasco, has prepared plans for the construction of the Pasco Playhouse, to be erected on Lewis and Clark Sts. The estimated cost is $300,000.”
The theater was of course between Lewis and Clark Streets, and I doubt if it cost anywhere near the $300,000 the item claimed, but despite the name “Pasco Playhouse” the item surely is about the Cord/Liberty.

Doughty’s involvement in the project is confirmed by this fairly detailed history of the Liberty Theatre written by Sarah LeCompte in 1984. LeCompte doesn’t mention the name Showbox Theatre, but does in the opening paragraph call it the Liberty-Playtime Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theatre on Mar 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm

The Uptown Theatre is now the home of a church with the rather unchurch-like name Eastlake Tri-Cities. Here is the map from their web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Swan Drive-In on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:54 pm

NeonMichael: If I saved a copy it is trapped on my old computer’s hard drive, but I believe the history you linked to is the same one. The Swan probably wouldn’t have shown up in the catalog until 1956, as it was built after the 1955 edition went to press.

However, it might not be in the 1956 catalog either, as about that time the catalog became less comprehensive, dropping its list of independent houses and listing only those that were part of chains. I don’t remember exactly which year they did that, but it was in the 1950s. If the “official” lists of that era were derived from the catalog, then a lot of independent theaters are probably missing.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Kings Highway on Mar 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Might be listed as CKH Theatre, as on this web page, which gives a number (I haven’t tried it to see if it works.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about King Theatre on Mar 11, 2017 at 5:50 pm

An advertisement, and the caption of a photo, on the newspaper page rivest266 linked to say that the King Theatre was designed by architect Herbert C. Cayton.

Herbert Cohen Cayton appears to have been fairly well known in his day, but the only other buildings of his design to which I can find references on the Internet are a small craftsman bungalow and the 1934 design of Honolulu’s U.S. Immigration Station, done in collaboration with architect C.W. Dickey.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about AMC Loews Boston Common 19 on Mar 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Loew’s Boston Common 19 was designed by the Rockwell Group. The firm’s founder, David Rockwell, also won the 2016 Tony award for best scenic design of a musical, for “She Loves Me.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pastime Theatre on Mar 2, 2017 at 7:34 pm

There is no Main Street in Barberton today.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Feb 25, 2017 at 10:24 pm

The Grand Theatre was a rebuild of the Grand Opera House which had suffered several fires over its career, the last in 1922. It had been leased since 1910 for vaudeville and pictures by the Soblosky brothers, operators of the Garrick Theatre. A bit of the Grand’s history can be found on this web page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garrick Theatre on Feb 25, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Thumbnails of two interior photos of the Garrick can be seen on this page at Philadelphia Architects and Buildings.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garrick Theatre on Feb 25, 2017 at 8:35 pm

The Garrick Theatre was in operation prior to 1910 as a vaudeville house. It was owned and operated by the Sablosky family, who dominated the theater business in Norristown for decades.

An item in the April 25, 1950, issue of The Billboard noted that Dave Sablosky had announced his intention of closing the Garrick and Westmar Theatres. Upcoming pictures booked at the two houses would instead be shown at the Ridge Pike Drive-In at Conshohocken.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theatre on Feb 25, 2017 at 8:09 pm

The January 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about the Colonial Theatre:

“Great credit is due the management of the Colonial theater, Main and Arch streets, Norristown, Pa., for the admirable manner in which they handled the situation when several hundred feet of moving picture films in the operator’s booth caught fire and were entirely consumed. The audience was quieted and an exit made in a most orderly manner no one becoming excited and there was absolutely no sign of a panic.”
The March 14 issue of the same publication noted that the Colonial was one of two Norristown movie houses that had been fined for exhibiting a film that had not been approved by the State Board of Censors. Three other houses had been cited but charges against them were dismissed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Feb 25, 2017 at 7:46 pm

This web page from the Lexington History Museum says that the Orpheum opened in 1914 and closed in 1930, and confirms the location as the corner of Main and Limestone Streets. It was a nickelodeon seating about 400.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ada Meade Theatre on Feb 25, 2017 at 7:39 pm

This web page has a brief history of the Ada Meade Theatre, named for Lexington-born stage actress Ada Meade Saffarans. The house opened as the Hippodrome in 1907. It originally seated 450.

In 1911 an adjacent building was converted into the 260-seat Hipp Annex theatre. In 1913 the Annex was closed and the original theater was rebuilt and expanded to 934 seats. It was renamed the Ada Meade Theatre, opening October 30, 1913.

By the 1920s the house had become a third-run movie theater. After changing hands a number of times, it finally became part of the Schine circuit in 1936. The Ada Meade was closed and demolished in 1954, its site becoming a parking lot.