Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Astro Theater on Jan 1, 2015 at 3:39 am

This item is from the October 19, 1932, issue of The Film Daily:

“Detroit — Claude A. Dock has opened the Dox, a new house and the third one built in the northwestern part of the city this year. It seats 400.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lakeside Theatre on Jan 1, 2015 at 3:34 am

The October 13, 1932, issue of The Film Daily noted that the Lakeside Theatre in Duluth, a new house, had opened in September.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Theatre on Dec 31, 2014 at 10:33 pm

The last photo in this weblog post depicts the entrance of the Lincoln Theatre around 1950. The Lincoln Theatre in Schenectady is mentioned in the March 18, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. It was then operated by John D. Walker and F. Y. Bergmaier. Larry Hart’s “Tales of Old Dorp” column in the October 11, 1999, issue of the Schenectady Daily Gazette said that the Lincoln Theatre had opened around September, 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colony Theater on Dec 31, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Here is a photo of the Colony’s entrance building after it was damaged by the fire that led to its demolition.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Erie Theatre on Dec 31, 2014 at 7:17 pm

This web page about F. F. Proctor says that he opened the very first Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady in April, 1912. This article from the September 18, 1994, issue of The Sunday Gazette gives the exact opening date as April 8.

The article describes the Proctor as having originally had its entrance on the towpath of the Erie Canal, which was soon to be filled in and rebuilt as Erie Boulevard. The theater entrance was later moved into the arcade that opened from the corner of Erie Boulevard and State Street. Originally called Proctor’s Arcade, it was renamed the State Arcade when the second Proctor’s Arcade was built, which was three years after the State Theatre joined the original Proctor’s in the original arcade. To the right of the article here’s a photo of the arcade entrance with the name Proctor’s Theatre on its marquee.

The section of This web page headed “The Grog Shop At The Crossroads of History” has a couple of photos from around 1950 that show what must have been the old entrance to Proctor’s Theatre, but with a marquee for the Erie, which means the original entrance on Erie Boulevard must have been reopened at some point, though the Gazette article doesn’t mention that. The Erie marquee can be seen just past the Wedgewood Building, which is still standing and in which the Grog Shop is located.

The July 28, 1932, issue of The Film Daily had this news about the Erie Theatre:

“William M. Shirley, president and general manager of the Farrash Theaters Corp., of Schenectady, yesterday, said that the Erie, in Schenectady, destroyed by fire May 19, will be rebuilt and re-opened Oct. 1. The house will seat 1,300 and have RCA sound. Guy A. Graves will manage the theater. The State, another Farrash house, closed since July 4, will re-open Labor Day.”
Later that year, the Farrash Theatre Company entered a deal with the RKO circuit in which RKO would take over management of the four Farrash houses in Schenectady; The State, the Strand, the Erie, and the Van Curler. RKO already operated the Plaza Theatre and Proctor’s Theatre. I haven’t discovered how long RKO remained in control of the four Farrash houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Harper Theater on Dec 30, 2014 at 6:39 am

Mark D. Kalischer, architect for an extensive remodeling of the Harper Theatre in the 1930s, wrote an article about the house for the January 7, 1939, issue of Boxoffice, which has three photos of the Harper in its Streamline Modern configuration:

First page

Second page

In addition, another article in the same issue features a couple of small photos of the Harper’s remodeled rest rooms:

First page

Second page (no photos, but additional text for those who only get the magazine for the articles.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theatre on Dec 30, 2014 at 6:15 am

The Empire Theatre was in operation prior to 1939, when a photo of its auditorium served as one of the illustrations to an article about parabolic reverse slope theater auditoriums in the January 7 issue of Boxoffice. The article doesn’t specifically say so, but I believe the architect of the Empire was the author of the article, Henry E. Greenspoon, partner in the Montreal firm of Eliasoph & Greenspoon.

The theater would have been designed in association with Benjamin Schlanger, developer of the parabolic reverse slope auditorium concept. Another of the article’s illustrations is a photo of the 1936 Jewel Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, one of Schlanger’s designs.

This is the first page of the article, with the photo of the Empire Theatre at bottom left.

This is the second page of the article, with the photo of the Jewel, and drawings showing how a parabolic reverse slope floor was configured.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Kings Highway on Dec 30, 2014 at 5:58 am

I don’t believe this link has been published in any earlier comment. Boxoffice of January 7, 1939, had an article about architect Benjamin Schlanger’s innovative design for reverse-slope auditoriums. The second page of the article has a photo of the Jewell Theatre.

This is the first page of the article.

This is the secondpage of the article with the photo of the Jewell at bottom right.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Guild Theater on Dec 30, 2014 at 5:05 am

I don’t see a link in any of the earlier comments to the January 7, 1939, Boxoffice article by Helen Kent about Rockefeller Centers then-new Newsreel Theatre.

Page one has photos of the exterior and the auditorium.

Page twohas photos of the lounge and Lobby.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mariemont Theatre on Dec 30, 2014 at 3:23 am

Though architect Fred Stritzel might have been required by the developer to give the Mariemont Theatre a Tudor facade, the interior appears to have been done in the Streamline Modern style characteristic of F & Y Building Services designs during the late 1930s. An article about theater seating in Boxoffice of January 7, 1939, includes a photo at the top of this page showing enough of the theater’s walls and stage to detect its modernity. The original capacity of the Mariemont was 725 seats, according to the caption.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Dec 30, 2014 at 2:47 am

The Broadway was a Fox Midwest house in 1938, when it was (at least partly) reseated. A photo, which doesn’t show much more than some seats and the aisle carpet (top of this page) was published in >Boxoffice of January 7, 1939. As the caption says there were 875 new American Bodiform chairs, if the capacity we have listed is correct then only the main floor must have been reseated at that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 30, 2014 at 2:35 am

According to a list in Our Movie Houses: A History of Film & Cinematic Innovation in Central New York, by Norman O. Keim, the Schine circuit operated the Rialto Theatre in Glens Falls from 1931 to 1966. The Rialto was mentioned in Variety on February 18, 1921, which said that the house was playing Keith vaudeville while the rival Empire Theatre was playing Shubert vaudeville.

The Empire appears to have won this particular battle of the vaudeville war, as by July 2 the Empire was still offering five acts of Shubert vaudeville along with a feature film, while the Rialto was showing only movies, according to their ads in that day’s edition of the Glens Falls Post-Star.

The Rialto was reseated in 1938. The middle photo on this page of the January 7, 1939, issue of Boxoffice shows a section of the new Heywood-Wakefield chairs on the orchestra floor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 30, 2014 at 1:59 am

The Amsterdam Evening Recorder of April 19, 1917, said that Edward Klapp’s new Rialto Theatre had opened that afternoon. A capacity crowd enjoyed five acts of vaudeville and a feature picture starring Mary Pickford. The formal opening was to take place at seven o'clock that evening, following a half hour concert by Minch’s Military Band in front of the theater. Stephen Bush, editor of The Moving Picture World would then make a short speech before the evening performance began. Presumably Mary Pickford was engaged elsewhere.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Road Theatre on Dec 29, 2014 at 11:05 pm

The bottom photo on this page of Boxoffice for January 7, 1939, has a photo of the Road Theatre auditorium, in which 608 new seats from the Ideal Seating Company had recently been installed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Belvedere Theatre on Dec 29, 2014 at 9:47 pm

The Belvedere Theatre had a Robert Morton organ installed in 1922, which was replaced by a Wurlitzer in 1927. Specifications for the Wurlitzer are on this web page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roosevelt Theatre on Dec 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm

The 1939 photo linked by tkpepper on November 19, 2008 is now at this link. It shows only a sliver of the theater, but ROOSEV can be seen on the marquee. I’m still looking for a photo that would show the house with its earlier aka of Triangle Theatre.

Mary Mallory has used to recent controversy over the movie The Interview as an occasion to recall the hounding of the 1921 German film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari from the screens of Los Angeles. Her tale of near-riot at Miller’s Theatre, and of the American movie industry’s fear of competition from German films, can be read on this page at Larry Harnisch’s web site, The Daily Mirror.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avenue Theatre on Dec 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm

The Avenue Theatre was certainly still there when Google’s camera car last passed by. The marquee remains over the former theater entrance, and you can see the back wall of the auditorium with its two emergency exit doors on the south side of Third Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Star Theatre on Dec 29, 2014 at 10:39 am

This item appeared in the April 5, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“South River, N. J — Bids have been received for a one-story moving picture theater designed by Alexander Merchant, 363 George Street, New Brunswick, N. J., for George Allgair, South River. The building will measure 45 x 120 and cost $8,000.”
The Star Theatre in the vintage photo above has “Allgair Building” on its parapet. Despite the “one-story” in the item, and the two-story building in the photo, I suspect that this project was the Star Theatre. The theater itself was probably without a balcony.

The September 26, 1913, issue of the New Brunswick Daily Home News mentioned the New Star Theatre on Ferry Street. Issues of the paper from 1912 had mentioned the Star Theatre being on Main Street, so this house replaced an earlier theater of the same name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theatre on Dec 29, 2014 at 10:34 am

The February 6, 1915, issue of the South Amboy Citizen featured an announcement that the New Empire Theatre would open to the public on Monday, February 8. The theater was not yet finished, but the remaining work was not expected to interfere with the shows. A March 16, 2002 item in the paper said that the Empire Theatre’s grand opening had been held on March 25, 1915, and that the theater had burned in April, 1950.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Stocking Avenue Theatre on Dec 29, 2014 at 2:29 am

The earliest mention I’ve found of plans for the Stocking Avenue Theatre are this item from The Moving Picture World of September 4, 1915:

“E. M. Brown, of Grand Rapids, Mich., will at once commence the erection of a new theater on Stocking avenue. It will be 40 by 90 feet, one story high, of brick- construction, seating 500. The architect is Pierre Lindhout.”
An October 9 item in the same journal said that Brown had received a permit for construction of the house.

This web page has a brief biography of architect Pierre Lindhout. It says that there were once eleven theaters of his design in Grand Rapids and claims that the Wealthy Theatre “…is the sole surviving example of this work.” As the Stocking Avenue Theatre’s building is still standing, the authors of the page must mean that the Wealthy is the only theater of Lindhout’s design that is fully intact and still in operation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wealthy Theatre on Dec 29, 2014 at 2:22 am

This web page has brief biography of architect Pierre Lindhout (the correct spelling.) It says that here were once eleven theaters of Lindhout’s design in Grand Rapids, but claims that the Wealthy is the “…sole surviving example of this work.” However, I found the still-standing Stocking Avenue Theatre attributed to Lindhout in the September 4, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World, so they must mean that the Wealthy is the only theater of Lindhout’s design that is still in operation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Dec 28, 2014 at 11:01 pm

The October 9, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture Worldpublished this description of the recently opened Strand Theatre:

“STRAND, AT FLINT, MICHIGAN, A PRETTY HOUSE.

“Special to Moving Picture World from Midwest News Service.

“THE Strand Photoplay Corporation has opened the new Strand theater, at Flint, seating 540. The plans were made from the ideas of Lester E. Matt, secretary-treasurer of the company, who with Mrs. Delia Matt, vice-president, controls four-fifths of the stock. It is of fireproof material. The entrance is in mahoganized birch and the walls and facade are of stucco. The auditorium is in cream and white. The semi-indirect lighting system is used. A three-piece orchestra will furnish music. Lester E. Matt will be manager, A. J. Abbenante, musical director; Albert Brogan, operator; B. M. Berts, assistant operator, and Miss Stella Johnson, cashier.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Family Theater on Dec 28, 2014 at 10:27 pm

The Family Theatre was opened in 1907 in a building remodeled from a Presbyterian church. The architects for the project were the local firm of J. F. Alexander & Son. This web page has pictures of dozens of the firm’s works, including one of the Family Theatre. They also drew the plans for the remodeling the old Grand Opera House (later the Dryfus Theatre) in 1901.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Dec 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Shortly after the opening of the Majestic, trade publication The Billboard ran this item headed “Another Theater” which mentions other houses operated by Caille & Guthard as well as four other theaters then operating or soon to be operating in Wyandotte:

“Wyandotte. Mich., Jan. 28.—With the opening of the new Majestic Theater here this city of 12,000 people is fast becoming one of the greatest theatrical towns of its size in the country. The new Majestic, owned by the same firm controlling the Majestic, Fine Arts, Knickerbocker, Norwood, Grand River and other Detroit theaters, is a fine one. The new house is beautifully decorated and cost, completed, about $50,000. The house seats 1,300 people, and will play high-class moving pictures at 10, 15, 25 and 35 cents. The same firm controls the Marx Theater, offering motion pictures and vaudeville. In addition to the Majestic and Marx theaters Wyandotte boasts of three other theaters. These are the new Temple, recently completed at a cost of $20,000; the new Lincoln, a $15,000 house, now under construction, and the Wyandotte Theater, a small house.”
The small Wyandotte Theatre on the list is not the house of that name listed at Cinema Treasures, which originally had 1,200 seats and opened in 1938.

There is a possibility that the Temple Theatre on the list was in the Odd Fellows Temple, built in 1911 and later converted into a Masonic Temple before finally being converted to a performing arts space now called the James R. DeSana Center for Arts and Culture. However, the DeSana’s web site doesn’t say anything about the building having been a movie theater at any time, nor have I found any other sources indicating that it was, so that’s only speculative.

I’ve found no other mentions of the Lincoln Theatre. There is of course always the possibility that either the Lincoln or the Temple was an earlier name of the house that was in operation by 1928 as the Rialto Theatre. Local newspaper archives might have some clues, if someone has access to them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Glenwood Theatre on Dec 28, 2014 at 3:31 am

Here are fresh links to the March 20, 1967, Boxoffice article about the Glenwood Theatre:

Page one

page two