Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Strand Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I live in California, formerly in suburban Los Angeles but now in a backwater in the northern Sierra foothills. I can’t really claim the knowledge as mine, though, as it’s all stuff I’ve dug up on the Internet, mostly at the Internet Archive which has a large collection of old theater industry trade journals.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Playhouse on Dec 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm

The September 8 meeting robboehem referred to laid an egg according to this item from Newsday of September 10. Mayor David A. Fox said that there were still too many questions about the developer’s plans that had not been answered, and the hearing was postponed indefinitely. I can’t find anything more recent about the project on the Internet, so maybe the fate of the Playhouse is still undecided.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Greer Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

This page has some photos of the Greer Theatre building taken after the theater was closed, and some reminiscences by former employee Don Fortner.

In the early 1940s, the Grand Theatre was operated by Bill Drace, who was a favorite of the editors of the trade journal Showmen’s Trade Review. The magazine published several items about his activities in 1941 and 1942, including a reproduction of three pages from the theater’s flyer, Grand Movie News, on this page of their October 3, 1942, issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kenton Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:46 am

Schine’s Kenton Theatre opened in September, 1929, according to the October 5 issue of Motion Picture News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ohio Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:21 am

The October 9, 1943, issue of Showmen’s Trade Review said that the Ohio Theatre in Kenton had been completely destroyed by fire several weeks previously. Owner W. D. Ward was negotiating for reconstruction of the house. This was probably due to wartime building restrictions which required builders to get permission from a Federal agency for any projects not vital to the war effort. I haven’t discovered how long it took Mr. Ward to get his theater rebuilt.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Strand Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:00 am

The Strand was a Keith vaudeville house from 1915 until switching to movies near the end of the silent era, according to this item from the October 5, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News:

“Strand, Dayton, To Re-Open; Cincinnati News

“STRAND, Dayton. Ohio, a Keith house since 1915, which closed recently after silent movies had proved a failure, will reopen middle of October equipped with sound. A new 10-year lease has been secured, and improvements are being made by the Fox interests who recently acquired the house in the Keith-Libson-Heidingsfeld deal. G. Claude Miller will be retained as manager.”

The November 23 issue of the same journal had a bit more about the deal in which Fox acquired the Strand:
“Additional Fox Shares For Purchase Of Libson Chain

“Fox Film Corporation has made application for the listing of an additional 51,360 shares of Class A common stock on the New York Stock Exchange, the additional shares to be used in the transaction through which Fox acquires the Libson & Heidings circuit of twelve theatres in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.”

Late 1929 was a terrible time for Fox to be issuing new shares, so it’s likely that he was unable to sell them and the deal collapsed. He lost control of his entire company in 1930. As the Strand became an RKO house, and RKO was a descendant of the merged Keith-Albee and Orpheum vaudeville circuits, the house apparently went back to its previous owners.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valentine Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 12:20 am

Ah, I didn’t see the “a” and imagined that it said “the.” Reading too fast again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 12:08 am

Two things I picked up from a Topix forum page about Point Pleasant: the Alpine Theatre did become the Park Theatre, and it was located at 320 Main Street, now the location of a bar called the Double D Lounge. Thanks to Lady old timer for the information.

The Double D Lounge building has a wide entrance that would have been the lobby, and there’s still a stage house on the back of the building. The upper floor facade has some brick detail characteristic of the 1920s, when it was opened. This item about the new house is from the February 11, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News:

“New West Va. Theatre To Open April First

“Point Pleasant’s new motion picture theatre, being built in Main Street, opposite the post office, by the Lyric Amusement Company, of which Ross Filson is local manager, will be ready for opening by April 1st, it has been announced by Manager Filson.

“The theatre building will be 40 by 135 feet in size, and will be constructed so that a balcony can be added when needed. At present a small apartment will be in front of the second story. A foundation capable of holding three stories is being constructed by the Lyric company.

“Brick and fire-proof tile are being used in the outer walls.

“The seating capacity of the new theatre will be 608.”

At the time the Alpine circuit bought the house from Ross Filson in early 1936 it was called the State Theatre, but it might have originally been called the Lyric, unless Lyric was only the name of the earlier theater that Filson operated. It might also have been called the Strand (see my comment of April 20 for the rather confusing history of theater names and capacities in Point Pleasant as reported by the FDY) but that’s not certain either.

What is certain is that the Alpine was renamed the Park Theatre, probably in 1946 or 1947, and operated under that name into the 1950s. In another Topix forum post someone mentions seeing Old Yeller at the Park Theatre, so the house was open at least as late as 1957.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valentine Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 9:18 pm

As the Valentine Theatre is primarily a live performance venue, and pretty solidly booked, I don’t see how the lack of a digital projector could be a problem for them. It certainly isn’t going to close.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

The Rialto is mentioned in the October 5, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News:

“The Rialto, at Greer, S. C. is closed on account of a fire last Thursday night. Projection room and front were damaged. Rialto is operated by C. A. Herlong.”
The Rialto Theatre was located at 302 Trade Street. The building is now occupied by Rialto Office Suites. A photo on that page shows that there is a photography studio on the ground floor where the theater once was.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Greer Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm

This page at Landmark Hunter says that Grand Theatre was another name for the Greer Theatre. There is a photo of the house as the Greer. Unless the town had two houses called the Grand, or two houses called the Greer, this page (or the Greer page) is redundant.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Woodstock Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 5:13 am

As in 2002 the Woodstock Theatre expanded into the building that was once occupied by the Beverly Theatre, at 211 Main Street, shouldn’t the name Beverly be listed as an aka?

A document prepared for the Woodstock Historic Preservation Commission (PDF here) has a history of the theaters in Woodstock. The Beverly Theatre opened in 1920, and occupied the building that had been occupied by the first Princess Theatre, so maybe Princess should also be an aka.

The second Princess Theatre, which was demolished in 1927 to make way for the Miller Theatre, had been built in 1913 and opened that year as the Palace Theatre. The Princess moved into the 429-seat building some time later. The document says that the building was demolished:

“In 1927, John Miller demolished the second Princess Theater along with the E.J. Field Hardware store that was located between the two theaters and a new, larger theater was constructed.”
However, as the Palace/second Princess Theatre building was only 14 years old in 1927, I think it’s possible that it was not entirely demolished. It was not unknown for theater buildings to be expanded sideways in those days, and I suspect that it might have happened in this case, although I’ve found no historic documentation that this was done. It was usually more economical to leave at least part of a sound structure standing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at least the north wall of the Woodstock Theatre turned out to be a remnant of the old Palace.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Warner Theatre on Dec 2, 2014 at 1:59 am

The opening as the Orpheum took place on February 3, 1921. This is an article from the March 1, 1921, issue of The Associated First National Franchise, the house organ of First National Pictures:

“Associated First National attractions have a new home in Oklahoma City, Okla.

“The Orpheum, seating 2200 people, has been opened to the public, and is declared by those who have seen it to be one of the finest motion picture theatres in the country. It represents an investment of $500,000, one-fifth of which is in furnishings.

“John Sinopoulo, long prominent in Oklahoma City as a showman, is one of the principal owners of the Orpheum. His brother, Pete, is manager of the house.

“‘Passion’ is one of the attractions which First National put into the Orpheum. On the opening day, February 3, seven thousand people paid admission at four shows, according to the local newspapers. One paper estimated that, judging by remarks made by patrons, many people would attend two and three times during the engagement, and that then all who wished to see the attraction would not be able to get in.”

The May 8, 1920, issue of The American Contractor said that plans for the rebuilding of the Overholser Opera House in Oklahoma City had been prepared by the St. Louis firm of Kennerly & Steigemeyer. George Hancock Kennerly and Oliver William Steigemeyer were in partnership from 1913 to 1933.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kimbark Theatre on Dec 1, 2014 at 10:22 pm

The real estate section of the November 15, 1913, issue of The Chicago Tribune had an item saying that the new Kimbark Theatre, opened only a few months previously, had been sold by William and Fred Bartholomae to H. T. Loper, operator of the Lyric Theatre in Springfield, Illinois.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Dec 1, 2014 at 7:08 pm

The “Theatre Projects” column of Exhibitors Herald World of August 30, 1930, had this item from Illinois:

“SALEM. — The Lyric Theatre, a Fox-Midwest house, has been improved, redecorated and modern cooling system installed.”
The Lyric Theatre in Salem, Illinois, was on a list of theaters that had contracted to run the war documentary Pershing’s Crusaders that was published in the August 17, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Nov 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm

KenRoe: Historic sources (and most modern sources) spell the architect’s surname as Bedell, not Bedall. We have it misspelled in both the architect field and in the description of this theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theater on Nov 30, 2014 at 6:40 am

David: Although the streets in the vintage photo (which is probably from a postcard) are the color of dirt, I suspect that they were paved with granite blocks. This was the most common paving material for important streets in New England towns during that period. Lesser streets got cobbles or brick, or wood blocks treated with creosote.

The colors in old photos can be misleading in any case. There were color printing presses, but no color film, so the black and white photos would be hand tinted, and the person doing the tinting usually couldn’t be sure what the exact original colors in the scene were and would just make their best guess based on a written description. Essex Street might have been paved with a pinkish granite that was quarried around Milford and was quite popular in the late 19th century.

The book Salem: 15 Historic Postcards has a later photo of the Empire Theatre (Google Books preview) which shows considerably more of the building’s detail. The Empire Theatre was on the site of Mechanic Hall, built in 1839 and destroyed by fire in 1905.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Patio Theater on Nov 29, 2014 at 10:25 pm

I don’t believe that the Patio Theatre has been entirely demolished. The narrow building fronting on Galena Street, which is the right size for a theater entrance and lobby, is attached to a larger building which backs up to Spring Street and has two walls that angle inward, as do the walls either side of a theater’s proscenium. This building is also occupied by the Farm Bureau. There is a vacant area that I suspect held the stage house, which appears to have been the only part of the theater that was demolished. The bulk of the auditorium structure remains, and can be easily seen in Google’s satellite view.

The January 7, 1930, issue of The Freeport Journal Standard said that the Patio Theatre was designed and built by United Studios. That Chicago firm employed various architects at various times, among whom were Fred Jacobs, Ralph Beaudry and Larry P. Larsen, but I don’t know which of them worked on the Patio.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Nov 29, 2014 at 10:02 pm

An advertisement in the January 14, 1948, issue of the Freeport Journal-Standard said that the New State Theatre would open the following day.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Nov 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm

There’s a very early photo of the Palm Theatre about two thirds of the way down this web page. The caption says that it closed about 1929, so it could have been dark for a couple of years before being renovated and reopened as the State in 1931. The names of the movies can’t be seen in the photo, so I can’t date it by them, but Billie Burke made her movie debut in 1916, so it has to be no earlier than that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nagels Grand Theater on Nov 29, 2014 at 9:06 pm

This web page about the Ritz Theatre, says that its architect, George V. Bedell, also designed the Dream Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tacoma Theater on Nov 29, 2014 at 9:05 pm

This web page about the Ritz Theatre, says that its architect, George V. Bedell, also designed the Tacoma Theatre.

The Tacoma Theatre opened in 1913. The November 29 issue of The Moving Picture World had this item:

“The Tacoma Amusement Company, which recently opened a beautiful new $15,000 motion picture theater at East Washington street and Tacoma avenue, has announced an increase in its capital stock from $15,000 to $25,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Black Curtain Dinner Theater on Nov 29, 2014 at 9:00 pm

This page about the Talbott Theatre from Historic Indianapolis says that i was designed by architect George V. Bedell.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theater on Nov 29, 2014 at 8:46 pm

The original Plaza Theatre was built in 1913. The site had previously been occupied by a house called the Witch Theatre which had burned down earlier that year. The Plaza was to have been fireproof, but apparently wasn’t if it burned again in 1917. This is an item from the November 29, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Plaza Amusement Company, of Boston, is a new concern, with authorized paid in capital of $15,000. The promoters are: Harry F. Campbell, Samuel Grant and Ephraim N. Cook. This concern has taken a ten-year lease on the property in Salem, Mass., formerly occupied by William Game’s Witch Theater, which was burned some months ago. The house is being entirely rebuilt, and will be a modern, fireproof theater, with a seating capacity of 1,000. The house will now be known as the Plaza Theater, and Warner’s Features will be the special attraction here. The new owners show their faith in the pictures by so building the stage that no vaudeville acts could possibly be used.”
Destruction of the Witch Theatre had been reported in the April 16, 1913, issue of Fire and Water Engineering:
“Game’s Witch Theater, on Theater row, Essex street, Salem, Mass. was burned during a recent night fire, as was also the furniture store of the J. L. Lougee Company. The blaze started in the office of the theater, and for a time the entire district was threatened. Help was called for from Peabody, Marblehead, Beverly and Lynn. The theater was empty when the fire started.”
A later issue of MPW said that the Plaza Theatre opened on December 31, 1913. I’ve been unable to find anything in the trade publications about the later fire and rebuilding in 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Nov 29, 2014 at 2:12 am

An ad in the November 22, 1914, issue of the Lima Daily News said that the Majestic Theatre would open on Thanksgiving Day (November 26.)