Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Showcase SuperLux on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:36 am

Chestnut Hill is an unincorporated village that is mostly inside the incorporated city of Newton, which is the part of it that the Showcase SuperLux is in. Newton contains all or parts of thirteen villages, but none of those villages are legal entities, just traditional names.

One part of the town of Brookline is also considered part of the village of Chestnut Hill, and Chestnut Hill also spills over into part of the city of Boston itself (parts of the Boston neighborhoods of West Roxbury and Brighton are considered part of the village Chestnut Hill.) Massachusetts is just kind of odd when it comes to place names (so is Pennsylvania, but that’s another story.) Things like that don’t happen in Iowa, by gosh!

Anyway, the Showcase SuperLux should probably be listed as being both in Newton (the incorporated city) and in Chestnut Hill (the unofficial but traditional neighborhood.) If any theaters ever open in the entirely unrelated Chestnut Hill neighborhoods of the Massachusetts towns of Blackstone or Belchertown, well, we’ll just have to figure out what to do about them then.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jun 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm

The vaudeville program at the Central Square Theatre in Lynn starting October 23 had done good business, according to an item in the October 28, 1911, issue of The New York Clipper.

An item from an issue of The Moving Picture World earlier that year (which I’ve been unable to date exactly) had said that the Central Square Theatre had opened on December 29. A late 1910 opening matches up nicely with the item in The American Architect of March 3, 1910, which said that plans for the proposed Central Square Theatre in Lynn had been prepared by Boston architect E. W. Maynard.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rowland Theatre on Jun 11, 2015 at 9:25 pm

The Rowland Theatre was to open on October 23, according to a belated item in the October 28, 1911, issue of The New York Clipper. The item said that the new house, which would open with vaudeville, had been “…modeled after Maxine Elliot’s playhouse in New York.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Showcase SuperLux on Jun 11, 2015 at 6:45 pm

I’ve been unable to find much about Stotser & Associates on the Internet. They have no web site of their own that I can find, and the business web sites that have pages for the firm give very little information about them. They are an architectural or architectural engineering firm headquartered in Columbus, Georgia, and have the aka R S E International, presumably an acronym for partners Ron Stotser and Sia Etemadi. The firm was established in 1993 and all the business sites agree it is rather small, though more recent postings show higher revenues and more personnel than earlier postings so it must be growing rapidly.

I have found a few construction related web sites that list Stotser & Associates as architects of various multiplex theaters, especially for the Rave Cinema chain (page at Continental Building Systems), but construction companies often deal only with supervising architects, who are not necessarily the actual designers of the projects they oversee.

Still, I don’t see why a small firm in Georgia would be supervising construction of a large project in Massachusetts, or other distant locations that have had projects attributed to them. Supervising architects are usually small firms with their only office near a given project, or larger firms with a branch office near that project. It’s a bit puzzling, and I’m not sure what function Stotser & Associates fulfilled in the Showcase SuperLux project, while the two firms named in my previous comment were undoubtedly both major players in it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Showcase SuperLux on Jun 11, 2015 at 5:42 pm

This article about The Street in the New England Real Estate Journal says that the Cambridge architectural firm Prellwitz Chilinski Associates (PCA) designed the reconstruction of the old Chestnut Hill Shopping Center into The Street. PCA also designed the Legacy Center, site of one of National Amusement’s earlier multiplexes.

The interiors of the Showcase SuperLux itself are the work of the British firm Julian Taylor Design Associates, with offices in the market town of Romsey, Hampshire, England. Their web site features a slide show with nine photos of the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Teragram Ballroom on Jun 10, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Thanks for that link, Howard. It’s remarkable that the Playhouse building has not only survived for so many decades after the theater closed, but will now have a second life as an entertainment venue.

The vaulted auditorium ceiling as seen in the slide show must have been original to the theater, though there is a possibility that the circular reveals for indirect lighting could have been added in a later remodeling while the theater was still in operation.

Bill Counter’s page for the Playhouse has a photo from 2009, when the auditorium was being used as a church by Victory Outreach. There is also a 2014 photo taken during the conversion of the space to the Teragram Ballroom. The stage seen in both photos must have been added by the church, but the ballroom’s developer has added a traditional proscenium to it as part of the renovation. The side wall decoration is also modern.

Counter has discovered that the auditorium served as a print shop for some time after the Playhouse closed. My family was in the printing business so I know that presses are very heavy, so when the floor was leveled it must have been done with a very thick pour of concrete. The Ballroom must have kept that floor. It would have been prohibitively expensive to dig it out. But even though the ceiling is likely all that remains of the Playhouse’s original interior, it’s nice to know that the building has entered its second century still standing, and is once again providing entertainment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Local Motorcycle Riders on Jun 9, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Code Two was released in 1953.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chelsea Theatre on Jun 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm

A June 15 opening means that the Chelsea Theatre presented its last show on the 28th anniversary of its opening.

Even numbered addresses are on the north side of 4th Street, so the Chelsea was on the site of the glassy, four story building at the northwest corner of 4th and Wyandotte Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Jun 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm

A more detailed history of the Lyric Theatre can be found in this PDF of another Hartford Historical Society newsletter, from 1995. It includes a map showing that the Lyric was indeed on the west side of North Main Street a short distance north of Bridge Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Jun 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm

The grainy photo of the Lyric in the 1994 newsletter Ron referred to (PDF here also shows the building next door to the south. Though there is not much detail in it, I’m pretty sure the neighboring building is the three-story brick commercial structure still standing at 42 North Main Street, on the northwest corner of North Main and Bridge Street.

That means that the theater would have been on one of the lots now occupied by a larger, post-modern structure called the Dreamland Building, which is at 58 North Main Street. The theater’s actual address probably would have been lower than 58, say approximately 50 N. Main.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empress Theatre on Jun 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Allen J. Singer’s Stepping Out in Cincinnati: Queen City Entertainment 1900-1960 (Google Books preview) says that the Empress ran “B” movies in between burlesque shows. That was pretty much standard for most burlesque houses by the 1940s, probably done more to give the performers and the band some break time than to bring in paying customers.

By the 1950s most burlesque theaters, including the two that I remember were still operating on Main Street in Los Angeles, were running what then passed for erotic movies as part of every show. The handful of strictly live burlesque theaters operated as two-a-day (or three-a-day) houses, going dark between the afternoon and evening performances. Singer says that the Empress ran six shows a day, so it must have been continuous.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema North on Jun 7, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Every web site I’ve seen but Cinema Treasures places the Cinema North in Mattydale, not Syracuse.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rosedale Theater on Jun 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

On February 10, 2014, the Evansville Courier & Press posted this obituary of Larry Aiken, who had renovated the Rosedale Theatre into the Theatre A. At the same time, Aiken launched The Pub in the building next door, intending it as a place where theater patrons could get a drink before or after the show, but The Pub proved so popular that it eventually displaced the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema 35 on Jun 7, 2015 at 11:00 am

The Washington was run by the local circuit, Premier Theatres, for many years, but in 1965 was taken over by Ted Graulich, operator of the Family Drive-In at Evansville. He took over the Ross Theatre at the same time.

After remodeling the Washington, as reported in Boxoffice, February 21, 1966 (page one, with auditorium photo, page two with marquee photo), Graulich renamed the house the Cinema 35. Seating had been reduced to 605.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cobb Theatre on Jun 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm

The April 3, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World had an item about a Dreamland Theatre located on Washington Street in Boston, but I don’t know if it was this house or not. The item said that the building housing the theater was to be demolished:

“On April 5, the Dreamland on Washington street, Boston, will be compelled to close its doors. This theater is one of the oldest exclusive picture theaters in the city. The owners of the land and the building have decided to raze the structure to make room for a modern business block. Herman Sivovolos, who has been the manager of the house for the past five years, has resigned from his position and is now affiliated with the American Feature Company as a roadman.”
Perhaps the owners of the building changed their minds about demolishing it. I haven’t found any later items about the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Trail Drive-In on Jun 4, 2015 at 12:42 am

An article about Crowley’s theaters in the June 16, 2013, issue of The Crowley Post-Signal (PDF here) says that the Trail Drive-In opened on Sunday, July 3, 1949, with the James Cagney movie Blood on the Sun. The house advertised two shows nightly, at dusk and at 10:00 PM.

The Trail Drive-In remained open until late September, 1968. Though it advertised at that time that it was closing temporarily for repairs, it appears to have never reopened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bruce Theatre on Jun 4, 2015 at 12:32 am

An article about Crowley’s theaters in the June 16, 2013, issue of The Crowley Post-Signal (PDF here) says that the Bruce Theatre was an independently operated house that was open from 1940 to 1956. There is also a photo of the front of the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Acadia Theatre on Jun 4, 2015 at 12:25 am

An article about Crowley’s theaters in the June 16, 2013, issue of The Crowley Post-Signal (PDF here) says that the Acadia Theatre was in operation from 1919 to 1955.

A couple of issues of The Film Daily in 1936 said that the Southern Amusement Co. had reopened the Acadia after remodeling it, but both items got the theater’s name wrong, one calling it the Arcade and the other the Arcadia.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rice Theatre on Jun 4, 2015 at 12:19 am

An article about Crowley’s theaters in the June 16, 2013, issue of The Crowley Post-Signal (PDF here) says that the Rice Theatre had its last show as a movie theater in late October, 1983. The feature was a science fiction movie called Horror Planet (this movie was originally released in the UK in 1981 as Inseminoid.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Joy Theatre on Jun 3, 2015 at 10:00 pm

CinemaTour lists the Joy Theatre at 200 E. Texas Avenue, and displays two photos, dated May, 2014, from the Adam Martin collection.

In 1946, the Joy Theatre in Rayne was being operated by New Orleans-based Ritz Theatres, headed by L. C. Montgomery. The August 10, 1946, issue of Showmen’s Trade Review had this item about the Joy:

“It has been learned here that fire Aug. 3 destroyed the Joy Theatre, only house in Rayne, Louisiana, owned by L. C. Montgomery.”
Montgomery had a second house under construction at the time of the fire, to be called the Acadia Theatre. The April 10, 1948, issue of STR reported that Joy Houck had traded his interest in the Joy Theatre in New Orleans to Levere Montgomery (Montgomery already owned a part interest in the house) for his interests in theaters in Rayne and two other cities.

What I have been unable to discover is if the Acadia Theatre opened under that name and the Joy was rebuilt, or if Montgomery opened the proposed Acadia as the new Joy. I have also been unable to determine if any of four earlier names for theaters in Rayne were aka’s for the pre-fire Joy. These names were the Moulin Rouge (mentioned 1916), the Craig Theatre (mentioned 1924), the Opera House (mentioned 1934 and 1935) and the Evangeline Theatre (mentioned 1935.) A May 4, 1935, item said that the Evangeline was to be renamed the Roxy. Another item that year mentions Earl Craig as operating a theater in opposition to the Evangeline/Roxy. That might have been the Opera House or the Craig Theatre, or Opera House might have been an aka for the Craig.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sno-King Drive-In on Jun 3, 2015 at 7:55 pm

The July 8, 1946, issue of Motion Picture Daily mentioned this theater, but datelined the item Everett, Washington, which is a few miles north of Lynnwood:

“$50,000 Coast Drive-in

Everett, Wash., July 7. — Clearing and grading has started at a 10-acre site on the Everett-Seattle highway, for a $50,000 ‘Sno-King’ Drive-In Theatre, which is now in the hands of Otis Hancock, architect. C. L. Rockey and Lewis A. Argono are the owners. The theatre will provide space for 650 automobiles.“

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Joy Theatre on Jun 3, 2015 at 7:34 pm

The July 5, 1946, issue of Motion Picture Daily said that “Newman R. Robinson, ex-serviceman, formerly affiliated with Robb and Rowley, at Little Rock, Ark., is reported as building a new 275-seat house at West Rutland, Vt.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Post Theatre on Jun 3, 2015 at 6:53 pm

The photo currently displayed at the top of this page depicts Michigan Avenue in Battle Creek, about a block away from the Post Theatre on McCalmly Street. The sign reading “Post Theatre” was attached to the Post Tavern at the corner of Michigan and McCalmly.

There are three photos of the Post Theatre on this page at Water Winter Wonderland.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Acme Theatre on Jun 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm

The Acme was one of several Maine theaters owned and/or operated in the early 20th century by Wilbor A. Shea, who had houses at Eastport, Lubec, Calais, and Pembroke.

The usually reliable Cinemadata project provides this page about the Acme Theatre, but some of the information on the page apparently conflates the Acme with another Eastport theater, the Memorial Opera House, which was also operated by Wilbor Shea. The Memorial Opera House burned down in 1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wilbor Theatre on Jun 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm

An item in the “Rep Ripples” column of The Billboard for January 3, 1942, mentioned the new theater under construction in Eastport, Maine, that was to be named for Wilbor A. Shea. It said that Shea had for many years had dramatic repertoire troupes traveling through Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

A 1911 book called Monarchs of Minstrelsy, from ‘Daddy’ Rice to Date" (scan at Google Books,) by Edward Le Roy Rice, has this biographical sketch of Wilbor Shea’s father, who was also in show business:

“Pete Lee (Shea) was conceded to be one of the greatest tambourinists in minstrelsy; as a comedian, he was excellent.

“As early as February, 1858, he was touring with Pete Lee’s Empire Minstrels.

“He joined Buckleys Serenaders in the 6o’s, and continued with them for several seasons.

“August 28, 1871, he made his first appearance in Philadelphia, as a member of Simmons and Slocum’s Minstrels.

“He was also prominently identified with the companies of Morris Brothers, and Sharpley’s. In 1872 he opened Bishop’s Opera House in St. Johns, N. B., renaming it Lee’s Opera House, and conducting it for several years.

“His last professional appearance was about 1878.

“A son, Wilbor F. Shea, is manager of the Memorial Opera House, Eastport, Me.

“Pete Lee was born in Cambridge, Mass., January 6, 1838; he died in Eastport, Me., October 11, 1896.”