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The opening ad says that the New Don Theatre had been “…entirely rebuilt and redecorated….” The possibility remains that the Don was in the old Orpheum building. The Orpheum might also have been called the Hartwig Theatre, which was listed in many editions of the FDY in the late 1920s and 1930s, though never with its seating capacity given.
Emil DonTigny (or Don Tigny or Dontigny- the latter is the standard spelling of the name but Emil seems to have often capitalized the “T” for some reason) arrived in East Helena in 1946, after having worked as a projectionist in Havre. He soon returned to Havre where, according to the “1949 Drive-In Theatre Survey” published in the January 21, 1950, issue of Boxoffice he opened a 400-car drive-in in partnership with Clarence Golder.
Although it gives the location of the new house as Main Street, this item from The Moving Picture World of July 5, 1919, is about the Connollee Theatre:
“A new theatre building is being erected at a cost of approximately $75,000, on Main street, Eastland, Texas. It will be known as the Connellee Theatre.”
A description of the Majestic in a letter from the manager of the Alhambra Theatre (the two houses were then under the same ownership), F. K. Davis, was published in the November 1, 1919, issue of Motion Picture News, and it is not very flattering to the house:
“We had one house here, The Majestic (and still own it) located in the heart of the business section. It had location and fine lobby and that’s all that could be said of it. It had two rows of posts down the centre of the house, and to this day has no intake or exhaust fans (merely a dozen well oscilating fans). The floor did not have the proper grade, so many of the rear seats were set on blocks. The original owner (lasted six weeks) had put a transverter in the house and that made so much noise you couldn’t play the organ softly and have it heard.”
This has nothing to do with the Majestic, but it’s an interesting sidelight about James Carragien (Carrigan was one of his aliases, according to a November 2, 1919, article in The Baltimore Sun about one of his many run-ins with the law.) Carragien was a con man with a career spanning decades, and one of the cities in which he practiced his art after leaving Eastland was Bisbee, Arizona.
There, in 1921, he became manager of the Eagle and Central Theatres, promoting a glowing article about himself in the April 24 issue of the Bisbee Daily Review. By July 2 the paper was publishing an item about Carragien’s trial for passing bad checks in Phoenix, noting that after the trial he would be brought back to Bisbee to face another charge for the same offense in that city.
The thoroughly disabused Daily Record ran another article about him in its issue of July 23, 1921, in which it described him as “…he of the raucous voice, cheery smile and ability to get ‘in again and out again’ with remark able ease and celerity….” This article focused on Carragien’s recent attempts to take control of the Lyric and Casino Theatres in Yuma, Arizona.
Carragien seems to have been one of those grifters who is drawn to show business and loves basking in the limelight despite (or perhaps because of?) the risk such attention-seeking can bring to one who habitually operates outside the law. But maybe his ability to ‘in again and out again’ minimized his risk. He was still at his trade in 1930, when the September 18 issue of the Jacksonville, Illinois, Daily Journal published this article about him. He had been charged with passing a bad check to a local dentist, meanwhile bragging about the (fictitious) fortune he had made in the theater business in Arizona, and promoting a project to build the “…biggest motion picture theater in St. Louis….” Once a grifter, always a grifter. I think we all know at least one of his sort.
The May 14, 1927, issue of The Moving Picture World had a brief item saying “The Vernon Theatre at Vernon, Texas,
has been opened, the house seating 1,000.” This must have been a rebuilding job, as the Vernon Theatre was advertised in the local newspaper earlier.
A “Fifty Years Ago” feature in the February 13, 1977, issue of The Vernon Daily Record said “Work on the new Vernon Theater is being rushed and it is expected that all construction work will be finished by March 15, according to Charles Ellis, superintendent in charge of construction.”
The project must have suffered delays, as the March 24 issue of the newspaper carried a page of congratulatory notices to Dent Theatres on the opening of the new house that day. I haven’t discovered what occasioned the rebuilding of the house, but it might simply have been that the original building was antiquated.
The Vernon was remodeled just a few months before it was destroyed by fire in 1952. An announcement in the February 28 Daily Record said: “Your whole face will lift in a happy smile when you see THE WONDERFUL JOB OF REMODELING AT THE NEW VERNON THEATRE OPEN SOON.” Sic Transit Gloria.
The recent opening of Stein Theatres' new Trail Drive-In at Hazlehurst was noted in the November 29, 1952, issue ofBoxoffice.
The recent re-opening of the Cactus Drive-In as a twin operation was noted in the November 29, 1952, issue of Boxoffice.
The Ritz Theatre originally opened in September, 1929. Kevin M. McCarthy’s African American Sites in Florida says that the Ritz Theatre closed in 1972.
The caption of the photo uploaded by elmorovivo says that the Roosevelt Theatre was designed by architect Roy A. Benjamin.
The Strand is one of the theaters documented in The Lost Theatres of LaVilla, a history of Jacksonville’s African American entertainment district.
H. S. Walker’s Strand Theatre opened with a performance by the Russell-Owens stock company on June 12, 1915. It operated primarily as a vaudeville house through the 1920s, booked by the Theatrical Owners Booking Association. After the vaudeville era ended, the Strand continued operation as a movie house under the control of National Theatre Enterprises until December, 1968. The next year the vacant house suffered major damage in a fire and was subsequently demolished.
The Lost Theatres of LaVilla is a history of the theaters that once flourished in Jacksonville’s African-American entertainment district along West Ashely Street. The Frolic is included.
I believe Boxoffice made a typo in this brief item from the “Jacksonville” column of its issue of November 29, 1952, and is should have said “Moncrief”:
“National Theatre Enterprises has begun construction on its 350-car Montcliff Drive-In for Negroes. The opening is slated for next March.”
Boxoffice of November 29, 1952, carried a brief item saying that Truman R. Lewis had changed the name of his Park Theatre at Lutesville to Lewis Theatre, effective immediately.
The theater is not the only place that got a new name. Lutesville itself is now officially called the City of Marble Hill, as can be seen on the Google Maps street views. Marble Hill was a smaller nearby city that merged with Lutesville in 1985, and the name Marble Hill was retained because it had long been the County Seat.
I’ve been unable to find a photo of the Lewis Theatre, but have come across this drawing of it by artist Jeanie Eddleman. I can’t find a building resembling that in current Google street views, so it has either been remodeled beyond recognition or demolished.
The October 19, 1959, issue of Boxoffice said that John Hamrick’s new Music Box Theatre in Portland, slated to open in early 1960, had been designed by the architectural firm of “Carson-Ely-Grevstad” [sic].
The firm was actually Carlson, Eley & Grevstad, the principals being Paul Gordon Carlson, Frederick Richard Eley, and Barney Elmer Grevstad. Eley was the son of Frederick Harry Eley, the first registered architect to establish a practice in Santa Ana, California, and the architect of the 1913 Yost Theatre in that city.
I’ve discovered that, following an error in an early trade journal, I switched the first and second names of the original architect of the Yost Theatre. It should be Frederick Harry Eley.
A native of Colchester, England, Eley immigrated to the United States around 1902 and became the first registered architect to practice in Santa Ana. In the late 1930s he removed his practice to Salem,Oregon, where his son, Frederick Richard Eley joined him as draftsman. The younger Eley later became a partner in the Seattle firm of Carlson, Eley & Gravsted, who designed John Hamrick’s last Music Box Theatre in Portland in 1959.
Linkrot repair: The October 19, 1959, Boxoffice portfolio with pictures of the Buena Park Theatre can now be seen at this link.
Linkrot repair: The October 19, 1959, Boxoffice article about the Hill Theatre can now be seen at this link.
An article about the Shore Drive-In appeared in Boxoffice of November 3, 1956. The project was designed and built by I. & O. A. Slutzky, contractors and engineers. Brothers Israel and Orville A. Slutzky founded their company in 1939, and designed and built a wide array of projects, including a number of drive-in theaters.
Durkee Enterprises' Colonial Drive-In was one of over 400 drive-in theaters designed by architect Jack K. Vogel.
This web page about the South Drive-In has a paragraph about the Dublin Drive-In as well. The Dublin was the last drive-in built in the Columbus area, and operated only a dozen years, closing in 1982. The project was designed by Jack K. Vogel.
This must be the Art Theatre that an item in Boxoffice of December 15, 1951, reported was one of five Detroit area houses being dismantled.
If the Alvin closed as early as 1940 it was vacant for quite some time before being dismantled. Boxoffice of December 15, 1951, reported that the Alvin was one of five Detroit area houses being dismantled. Seats and other equipment from the Alvin had been sold to a theater in Savannah, Georgia.
Boxoffice of December 15, 1951, reported that the Oliver Theatre was one of five Michigan houses being dismantled.
This article dated June 9, 2012, says that Ralph Bevington and Harry Osborne bought the Roxy Theatre in Minerva, Ohio, in the mid-1960s and renamed it the Mohawk, installing in it all the equipment from their house of that name in Waynesburg, including the marquee.
Another source I found but lost track of said that the Mohawk in Waynesburg was converted into Cibo’s Restaurant in 1971. That means the restaurant has now occupied the building about three times as long as the theater did.
This article from the November 27, 2013, issue of The Monett Times is about the building the Strand was in, but it has some pretty serious inaccuracies in it. It notes that the 1917 Sanborn map shows a movie theater on the site of the Strand, but incorrectly says that it was the Bijou. The Bijou was on Broadway.
The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lists at Monett the Bijou, at 417 Broadway, and the Gem Theatre, with no address. It seems likely that the Gem, which I’ve found mentioned as early as 1911 and which is listed in the Film Daily Yearbook as late as 1928, was the house that later became the Strand. The Gem 375 seats, and in the 1929 FDY had been replaced by a house called the Lindy Theatre, also with 375 seats.
Only the Rialto is listed at Monett in 1930, but in 1931 the Lindy is back, listed as a silent house. After that the Lindy vanishes, and then the Strand first appears in the 1938 Yearbook, with 400 seats. My surmise would be that this theater was indeed built as part of the Martin Hotel project in 1910, then operated under three names before closing.
The Bijou operated two locations. The February 12, 1915, issue of The Monett Times said the the Bijou’s owner, W. S. Sevier, had leased two buildings on Broadway and planned to throw them together, while also extending them at the rear to create a theater of 50x100 feet. The Bijou had moved into its new quarters by April.
I am assuming that the address 417 E. Broadway was for the first Bijou, as the description doesn’t indicate that it contains any information later than 1914. The second Bijou was remodeled in 1920, and I suspect that it was the house that became the Rialto, for reasons I will put in a comment on the Rialto’s page.