Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Leland Theatre on Oct 27, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Albany Chronicles, a book published in 1906, has a few entries about the early history of this theater. The first theater on this site opened on May 18, 1825. Originally called simply The Theatre, it was converted into an Episcopal church in 1840, and then returned to theatrical use as the Academy of Music in 1863.

In 1868 the original building was destroyed by fire, leaving only the front wall standing. The theater was rebuilt, opening as the Trimble Opera House on December 31, 1869. This was the building that became the Leland Theatre.

Mrs. Charles (Rosa) Leland acquired the theater in 1873 and renamed it the Leland Opera House. In 1891 it was being operated by Jacobs & Proctor as the H. R. Jacobs Opera House. Later in the decade it returned to the name Leland Opera House, but by 1906 it was called Proctor’s Theatre and was being operated as a vaudeville house.

By 1910, it was called the Leland Theatre, though it was still being operated by Frederick Proctor at least as late as December, 1921, when Proctor’s Leland Theatre was mentioned in Variety.

Another interesting thing about the Trimble Opera House I came across is that it was named for theater architect John Trimble, though he did not design it. It was designed by his former student, Thomas R. Jackson.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about California Theatre on Oct 25, 2014 at 7:50 pm

chronicler is correct. I suspect that the mistaken opening year of 1920 was taken from this photo information page from the Berkeley Public Library, which is titled “California Theatre under construction” and dated 1920. It is wrong about both.

The parked automobile in the foreground is clearly from the later 1920s, and if you zoom in on the license plate you can see “CAL 30” on it, so the photo probably dates from 1930, and certainly not from 1920. Zooming in on the sign at the lower right corner of the theater you can read most of it. It says “This Theatre is being completely rebuilt for Fox West Coast Theatres.” William Fox did not take over West Coast Theatres and add his name to it until the very late 1920s. The photo clearly depicts a remodeling that took place around that time.

The T & D chain became part of West Coast Theatres in 1923. The name T & D Theatre appears in the Berkeley Daily Gazette as late as March, 1923. The name California Theatre appears in the paper in May, 1923. This indicates that West Coast Theatres probably took control of this house early that year and changed the name soon after.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Imperial Oil Centre for the Performing Arts on Oct 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

The Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada lists the Capitol Theatre in Sarnia, Ontario, as a 1936 project by the architectural firm of Kaplan & Sprachman for Famous Players.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Imperial Theatre on Oct 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

A 1920 ad for United Theatres said that they operated the Princess, Crescent, and Imperial Theatres at Sarnia. As the Princess and Crescent were listed in a 1917 city directory, the Imperial must have been this project noted in the June 21, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Large Theatre at Sarnia.

“A combination theatre, to cost $75,000, is being erected at Sarnia, Ontario, opposite Port Huron, Mich., by the United Theatr s, Limited, a syndicate of local men. The house will seat 1,200 people and will be fire-proof. The plans for the structure were prepared by A. H. McPhail, of Windsor, Ontario. John F. Myers is the general manager of United Theatres, Limited.”

Windsor, Ontario, architect Albert H. McPhail also designed the Vanity Theatre in that city.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vanity Theatre on Oct 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm

This web page about the Vanity Theatre says that Famous Players closed the house in 1987. It was designed by local architect A. H. McPhail. In later years the seating capacity was reduced from the original 966 to 695 by closing the balcony. There are three photos, including one of the original Streamline Modern front. A mid-1970s remodeling removed the marquee and covered up the elegant details of the facade with an aluminum skin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gayety Theatre on Oct 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

The Electric Theatre, Arcadia, Nebraska, operated by P. E. Doe, was mentioned in the April 7, 1923, issue of Exhibitors Herald. Doe later had several capsule movie reviews published in the magazine’s “What the Picture Did For Me” feature, including this one from the May 26 issue:

“Stormy Run At Arcadia

“THE STORM, with House Peters. — An extra fine picture, but I advertised strong on it and brought an honest-to-goodness storm — a blizzard, the Saturday I had it booked in March, so didn’t make anything on it.

“Universal very kindly returned it for one night and that time it brought a big rain storm, which kept the crowd away.

“Now all the farmers want me to get it during the dry spell we usually have in July. Best forest fire scene in this I ever saw.

“P. E. DOE,

“Electric theatre, Arcadia, Neb.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Iaeger Drive-In on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm

The O. Winston Link photo of the Iaeger Drive-In mentioned in the theater description can be seen on this web page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Los Angeles Theatre on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm

markp: Yes, that is the Los Angeles Theatre in the video.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Eagle Theatre on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Not only is the Eagle Theatre gone, the block of Hudson Avenue on which it was located is no longer a street. A glimpse of the Eagle Theatre’s modest marquee can be had in this photo from October 3, 1933.

The Eagle Theatre was in operation by 1928, when it was mentioned in the June 9 issue of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World. The house was rebuilt in 1938. The January 10 issue of Motion Picture Daily noted that Abraham Stone had reopened the Eagle Theatre in Albany after a $40,000 renovation.

This pdf has a page of the Albany daily The Knickerbocker News of January 5, 1938, which is full of ads congratulating the New Eagle Theatre on its opening. One of the ads is from architect Colin Cobban, so he must have designed the New Eagle.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theater on Oct 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Some original architectural details remain intact in the Capitol Theatre’s auditorium, mostly on the ceiling. The floor has been leveled. Three photos can be seen in this Facebook album by local firm Vavrek Architects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hoosier Theatre on Oct 23, 2014 at 1:05 pm

The Hoosier’s web site indicates that they show quite a few first-run features, so pat of our description is out of date. The current movie is The Book of Life, which was released on October 17.

Long term plans for the Hoosier include adding a second screen in adjacent store space and another screen in a new building to be erected on the vacant lot next door. Eventually, plays will sometimes be mounted on the stage of the original theater.

The “Theatre History” page of the Hoosier’s web site also says this: “A fully installed six-rank pipe organ, collected from various theater venues in the Chicago area, offers another opportunity for live music. Katris is looking for someone to play it.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hoosier Theatre on Oct 22, 2014 at 4:53 pm

The link with the Hoosier Theatre’s history that kencmcintyre linked to is dead, but I think it might be the same document that is available in a pdf file here. There’s no date on it, but it was published after the house had been refurbished and reopened by John Katris.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hoosier Theatre on Oct 22, 2014 at 4:18 pm

This house was advertising as the Hoosier Auditorium Theatre in the March 2, 1969, issue of The Hammond Times. It was open Friday through Sunday evenings with a double feature of Thunderball and From Russia With Love, plus a separate kids' matinée on Saturday featuring Tammy and the Millionaire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regal Theatre on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I’ve now found the Regal Theatre at Wellsville mentioned by name in a February, 1920, medical journal (the Montgomery County Medical Society had held a meeting in the theater on December 17, 1919.)

John F. Rees ran the Regal Theatre for a long time. I’ve found him mentioned as the manager of the house in an item in the October 26, 1950, issue of the Mexico Ledger.

An article in the November 22, 1974, Ledger said that the late John Rees had “.. .willed a downtown building in Lot 12, Block 2 of Wellsville to the Martha Washington Chapter, Eastern Star, and the Wellsville Lodge 194 of Masons.” I wonder if that could have been the Regal Theatre’s building?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regal Theatre on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

One J. F. Rees was operating a theater called the Regal in Wellsville, Missouri, in 1922. He had a few capsule movie reviews published in issues of Exhibitors Herald in April and July. J. F. Rees of Wellsville was mentioned in the Herald in 1920, though the name of his theater wasn’t given at that time. Then in March, 1924, the magazine published several reviews by John F. Rees of the Regal in Wellsville. John Rees of Wellsville is mentioned in The Reel Journal in 1926, but again without the name of his theater.

J. C. Hewitt probably took over the Regal from Rees in 1927, though I haven’t found anything about it in the trades. However, there’s an interesting connection between Hewitt and Rees indicating that they knew each other. The July 4, 1931, issue of Motion Picture Herald has a letter from the Motion Picture Theatre Owners of St. Louis, Eastern Missouri, and Southern Illinois, and the letterhead lists both J. C. Hewitt of Robinson, Illinois, and John F. Rees of Wellsville, Missouri as Vice Presidents of the organization. Apparently Rees was back in control at Wellsville by that time.

Wellsville is a bit tedious to research because there were towns called Wellsville in New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Kansas as well as Missouri. I suppose I should just be grateful that Wellsvilles are not as common as Springfields, but I wish the founders of American cities had shown a bit more originality in naming them (thank you, George Willis Pack, for Bad Axe, Michigan.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palladium Teatren on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:31 am

A two-page article about a theater in Malmo called the Palladium begins on this page of the February 28, 1925, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review, but the article says that this Palladium Theatre was built in 1918-1919, so it must have been an earlier Palladium that we don’t have a page for yet. There are three interior photos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ambassador Theatre on Oct 21, 2014 at 10:12 pm

The location of this proposed house listed in Exhibitors Trade Review of February 28, 1925, is exactly that of the Ambassador Theatre:

“Louis Abrams Co., 525 Engineers Bldg., building theatre and apt. bldg. $150,000, 90x 150, at S.E. cor. Superior Ave. and E. 124th St. Archt. John Stegens, 601 Fidelity Mortgage Bldg., Cleveland, O.”
I can’t find any other references to an architect named John Stegens, and suspect that it was an error. The architect was most likely John F. Steffens, who practiced in Cleveland from around 1912 until 1943.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Oct 21, 2014 at 9:11 pm

The Jay County Visitor and Tourism Bureau says that the Ritz Theatre opened in 1989 in a commercial building that had previously housed a furniture store and a dime store.

Historically, Portland had theaters called the Beacon, the Theatorium, the Palace, the Crystal, the Princess, the Hines, the Majestic, and the Sky-Hi Drive-In.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyceum Theatre on Oct 21, 2014 at 4:59 pm

The original architect of the Minneapolis Auditorium was Arthur B. Chamberlin of the firm of Bertrand & Chamberlin. I haven’t been able to discover the architect of the 1924 conversion of the house into the Lyceum Theatre, but according to this article in the December 27, 1924, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review, the $500,000 renovation was quite extensive, and involved replacing the old tiered galleries in the auditorium with a modern cantilevered balcony.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Osage Theatre on Oct 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm

The December 6, 1924 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review mentions a house called the Victory Theatre in Stover. That’s the only mention of a theater in Stover that I’ve found in the trade publications.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Norwood Theatre on Oct 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm

The Norwood Theatre was featured in the December 27, 1924, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review. There is a photo. The article says that the Norwood had a $5,000 pipe organ. That must have been the Reproduco that Will Dunklin mentioned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Egyptian Theater on Oct 21, 2014 at 2:40 pm

The December 6, 1924 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review has this brief article about the opening of the Egyptian Theatre:

“New Theatre for Portland, Ore.

“W. E. Graeper’s new Egyptian theatre at Union Avenue and Russell, Portland, Ore., was opened to the public on September 27. It is a beautiful house, Egyptian to the smallest detail, and beautiful in the extreme. There were exhibitors and film men present from all over the Northwest, to congratulate Mr. Graeper. Although the house is in a suburban district, it seats 1,200 people and no expense was spared to make it the finest house this side of Los Angeles. Mr. Graeper arranged an attractive prologue for ‘Wanderers of the Wasteland’, his opening attraction. A short program, including an address by Alayor Baker, a soprano solo and a welcome by the management, were given. Following the public showings a trade screening of ‘Barbara Frietchie’ was given for the film men present. Complete contracts for carpets, drapes, furnishings, lighting effects, and Heywood- Wakefield opera chairs were handled by B. F. Shearer, Inc., of Seattle. Mr. Graeper is a Shriner, and his temple honored him during the evening performance by marching to the house in full regalia. The Egyptian is one of the group known as the Multnomah Theatres, consisting of: the Alhambra, Bob White, Gay, Multnomah, Tivoli and Graeper’s Egyptian.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about King Theatre on Oct 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm

The wall on the north side of the building looks like it was once a common wall between two buildings. Part of the top at the back has been taken down, and in Google’s street view photo it looks like some exposed bricks have broken off of it. I think the building the King Theatre was in might have been a bit taller than the building the dance studio is in.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mozark Theatre on Oct 21, 2014 at 3:58 am

Kirby’s Arcade was demolished ages ago and Google Maps will never find it. It is placing both the Mozark and the nearby Grand Theatre in the countryside near Fair Grove, miles outside Springfield. The nearest we’ll get to a correct address for these two theaters will probably be to place them on Park Central Square. The arcade started at the southwest corner of the square and, as near as I can determine, ran west to South Patton Street.

Judging from the style of the front, I suspect that the Newberry’s store hhardley mentions was probably in the building that now houses the Park Central Branch Library, so the theater was probably in or adjacent to that, tucked into the corner of the square. The Grand, at 127 Kirby Arcade, was probably near the Patton Avenue end of the Arcade.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Berwan Theatre on Oct 21, 2014 at 2:30 am

This is from a DVD review by Sam Moffitt on a movie web site:

“I got to see Lady In Cement in a theater, the Berwan in Sullivan, Missouri in 1968, with Frank Sinatra playing private eye Tony Rome.”
If Mr. Moffitt’s memory is correct, the Berwan was reopened at some point.

An article about the theater department at Eastern Central College in Union, Missouri, says that the seats in the school’s first theater, opened in 1978, came from the old Berwan Theatre in Sullivan. I don’t know if the Berwan had simply been reseated or had been dismantled by that time, but the latter seems the more likely event.