Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Astor Theatre on Nov 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm

In the current Google street view the modern plaster on the building is seen to be cracking along the lines of an old arch. The arch probably marks the location of the entrance to the Apollo Theatre when it opened in 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Congress Theatre on Nov 11, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Clarence J. Smale was the architect of the Congress Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dyckman Theatre on Nov 11, 2015 at 3:21 pm

An announcement about the project that would become the Dyckman Theatre appeared in the March 1, 1913, issue of The American Contractor:

“Theater (seating capacity 1,800): 1 sty. 150x150. $100,000. 207th st. & Sherman av. Archts. Von Beren & La Velle [sic], 507 Fifth av. Owner G. L. Lawrence, 2228 Broadway. Architects will take bids about March 4. Brick, terra cotta, slag roofing, struct. & orn. iron, marble, tiling, gas & electric fixtures.”
The short-lived partnership of architects Frederic Von Beren and Paul B. LaVelle was dissolved in December, 1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sumner Theatre on Nov 11, 2015 at 3:16 pm

According the Cezar Del Valle’s The Brooklyn Theatre Index the original architect of the Sumner Theatre was Paul B. LaVelle. In addition to Lamb’s 1917 remodeling, a remodeling of the interior in 1930 was designed by architect A. J. Benline.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Family Theater on Nov 11, 2015 at 1:46 pm

According to his 1961 obituary, Nikitas Dipson began operating the Family Theatre at Batavia in 1914. He had earlier operated the Lyric Theatre and another movie house in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. In the 1920s he operated a chain of fifty movie theaters, and provided booking services for 200. In the late 1920s he leased twenty-five of his houses to Warner Brothers.

The obituary can be read in this PDF of page 12 of the May 5, 1961, edition of the Jamestown (N.Y.) Post-Journal.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lovejoy Theatre on Nov 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm

seasickseagull: If you click on the “Street View” link under the photo above, then rotate the resulting view, you will see that Engine 28 is still housed in the firehouse across Lovejoy Street from the former theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capital Plaza Theater on Nov 10, 2015 at 2:23 am

I certainly wouldn’t have recognized this plain, boxy building as a former theater. This Facebook page has one of the renderings I linked to in my previous comment, which depicts one of the six prototype theaters that architect William Reisman designed for GCC in the 1960s.

The member who posted it says that this particular design looked most like the Capital Plaza, and one commenter downthread says “…that pretty much looks like it.” There are dozens of comments from people who attended the theater or worked at it, and I’ve found none who say that it didn’t look like the drawing, so I think we can assume that the Capital Plaza’s design was indeed based on that particular William Reisman prototype.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Nov 9, 2015 at 1:24 pm

The Family Theatre was advertised at Third and Harris as early as February, 1916. There were at least two earlier houses called the Family Theatre in Harrisburg. One operated on Third near Locust Street at least as early as 1892, and the October 26, 1912, issue of the Harrisburg Daily Independent said that the new Family Theatre on Market Street would open that evening.

A May 9, 1915, item in The Courier described the Family Theatre as “…a large airy room having thirteen exits.” The Market Street house that opened in 1912 had seated only 250, so thirteen exits would have been more likely in the larger, 900-seat Third Street house. That could be an indication that the Third and Harris Family was open by 1915.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wonderland Theatre, Windom, Minnesota in 1916 on Nov 7, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Here is the text that accompanied this photo as it appeared in the August 5, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“In the year 1914 P. G. Redding and J. H. Stroud opened the Wonderland theater in Windom, Minn. It was erected at a cost of $15,000, and is 35 feet wide by 115 feet long. Fireproof material has been used in constructing the Wonderland, and it complies with the law in respect to wiring, aisles, exits, etc. There is an eighteen foot ceiling, and the interior is decorated in perfect harmony.

“The seating capacity is 600, and there is plenty of room between the rows of chairs. The Wonderland under the able management of Redding & Stroud has been a profitable investment since it was opened. The management is booking big features as well as running the regular program material. Among the big productions that have been shown at the Wonderland are ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ and ‘The Battle Cry of Peace.’ The accompanying illustration shows the house in gala dress for the presentation of the last named picture. The Wonderland is advertised extensively.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Walbrook Theater on Nov 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm

Here is the rather lengthy article about the Walbrook Theatre that appeared in the August 5, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Walbrook Theater, Baltimore, Md.

“Magnificent Photoplay House a Credit to the Industry— Constructed of Fireproof Material, and Is Equipped with Everything Modern.

“ONE of the most substantial and up-to-date suburban theaters of Baltimore, Md., is the Walbrook theater, which is located in the pretty suburb of that name at North avenue and Rosedale street, on the northwest corner. This theater was built by the Walbrook Amusement Company, which is being financed by many, of the Walbrook people, and was opened to the public on Monday, May 29, 1916.

“The officers of the company are: Harrison L. Stires, president; Oscar Teschner, vice president; Otis J. Tall, treasurer; Clarence H. Koonze, secretary; Christopher Wattenscheidt, counselor, with Marion S. Pearce and Phillip J. Scheck, directors.

“The building has been constructed so as to be absolutely fireproof throughout. The exterior is of Colonial brick with metal cornices, a slag roof, and a marquee has been placed over the triple arched doorways of mahogany of the main entrance on North avenue. The building measures 48x121 feet, and the lot on which it stands is 150 feet deep. Exits have been placed on all four sides and heavy metal fireproof doors protect the rear and side exits. The chairs were installed by Heywood Bros. and Wakefield Company. Ground was broken for the construction of this theater in December, 1915.

“The lobby measures 10x45 feet. The walls are of old ivory, while the wainscoting is of Marvelo marble. The box office, which has a verdi-antique base and is paneled with heavy plate glass on three sides, is located in the center of the inner wall between two large mahogany doors paneled with glass which lead into the auditorium. Directly at each end of the lobby, large doors open upon spacious staircases of ornamental cast iron with slate treads which lead to the mezzanine floor, where private rest rooms for women and men, beautifully arranged, are located; and thence to the balcony. The seating capacity of the balcony is 200 and the first row is arranged as boxes, which may be engaged for parties of three or four.

“The operator’s booth is located directly over the mezzanine floor and back of the balcony. It is equipped with the latest mechanical devices, including two Simplex, motor driven, projection machines, a motor generator and a rewinder. The ventilation of this booth is done by a large rotary exhaust fan. Fireproof protections of the latest design have been taken. The throw of the projection machine to the gold fibre screen, measuring 15xl8 ½ feet, is 110 feet.

“Situated in the ceiling, under the balcony, as you enter the auditorium, is located a dome, finished in old ivory, which emits a beautiful diffused glow from the cove lighting system with which it is equipped. The floor is bowled so that the screen can be plainly observed from every seat. There are two four-foot aisles. There is a row of eleven seats in the center and on each side of this row is a four foot aisle, and next to the walls on both sides is a row of six seats. These seats, which measure 19x20 inches, like the woodwork, are done in French grey. The ceiling is 30 feet high. The walls are done in old ivory, with large panels of Rose du Barry silk, topped by flower festoons. Below this a wainscoting of old leather dado. A large chandelier having an old metal effect of antique bronze is suspended from a heavy beamed and paneled ceiling with enriched cornices and mouldings. The orchestra pit measures 9x14 feet and has room enough for a baby grand piano and six musicians. A heavy, maroon colored carpet covers the floors. The seating capacity, including the balcony, is about 1,400.

“A low-pressure steam heating system is used. Three large radiators have been placed in recess panels on each side of the main auditorium and one small radiator is located in each rear exit. Other radiators have been placed throughout the building, so that a uniform temperature is produced.

“Both natural and artificial ventilating systems have been installed. There are ten ceiling ventilators. Large, rotary, ball-bearing fans have been placed in a vent house situated on the roof, which can be used to force the air either in or out of the theater.

“The performances are continuous from 2 p. m. to 11 p. m., but the regular stated periods for the schedule are from 2 to 5 p. m. and from 7 to 11 p. m. As yet no manager has been appointed for the theater, but this end of the work will be done by the directors and officers of the amusement company.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pico Theatre on Nov 7, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Worthpoint displays a real photo postcard of the Navarro Theatre. The theater was showing the Mary Pickford movie Lena and the Geese, which IMDb says was released on July 17, 1912. The Navarro, being a neighborhood house, probably got the film somewhat later. The single-story building featured an ornate, arched theater entrance flanked by two storefronts.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wonderland Theatre on Nov 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm

The Wonderland closed at this location in very early January, 1910. The December 28, 1909, issue of the Newport News Daily Press said that the operators of the Wonderland Theatre had taken over the Leath Company’s unexpired lease on the Academy of Music and would move to that house on January 3.

The Wonderland company intended to move its operation to an entirely new theater, then under construction at Washington Avenue and 31st Street, later in 1910. I suspect that the new house was the later Downtown Theatre, which opened as the Olympic Theatre on October 17, 1910.

After its stint as a motion picture and vaudeville house the Academy of Music returned to its original policy as a live theater, and was listed in the 1913-1914 edition of the Cahn guide. I haven’t discovered what became of the original Star/Wonderland building after the theater moved out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Nov 5, 2015 at 11:15 am

The Palace Theater was built and long operated by R. J. Cooper, who had previously operated the Opera House, which opened around 1901. Cooper was still running the Palace in 1954, when the April 17 issue of Boxoffice reported that he had reopened the house following the installation of a new Miracle Mirror screen and a new projection system.

This web page from The American WideScreen Museum web site has information about the Miracle Mirror screen, from a promotional booklet about CinemaScope published in 1953.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Nov 5, 2015 at 8:40 am

This page at Water Winter Wonderland has a vintage photo of the Roxy as it looked after Ted Rogvoy’s ca.1948 remodeling job, though the photo was taken after the theater had closed and fallen into disrepair.

The 1950 Boxoffice article about Rogvoy’s remodeling of the Roxy and two other Detroit houses has before and after photos of the Roxy on this page, though the text about the Roxy is on this page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lasky Theatre on Nov 4, 2015 at 12:46 pm

CareyVigor: For at least part of the 1930s and 1940s the Martha Washington was owned by the Manteufel family. A Florian Manteufel was the manager in 1942. It might have been him that you met. Manteufel is a German surname, but many German surnames- mine, for one example- are used by both Germans and Jews.

But the waitress must have gotten her stories garbled. Paramount Pictures was founded in 1914 by Utah theatre owner, W. W. Hodkinson, so someone arriving in the 1930s couldn’t have been a founder.

Also, IMDb says that Kim Novak was married twice, first to the English actor Richard Johnson, from March, 1965, to May, 1966, and then to a Dr. Robert Malloy, from March, 1976, to present. Of course it’s possible that she had an earlier marriage that was kept secret by the studio, and remains secret, but it would have to have been over before she signed with Columbia Pictures in 1954, at the age of 21. Not a very big window of opportunity for a secret marriage.

Jessey Lasky was associated with Paramount from very early in its history, but I don’t know if he is related to the Jacob Lasky who built the Lasky Theatre, but it seems doubtful, as Jesse Lasky was a native of San Francisco.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cine Encanto on Nov 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm

The Cine Encanto was featured in the “Better Theatres” section of the September 18, 1937, issue of Motion Picture Herald, but the magazine got the name wrong, labeling it Cine Elcanto (scan at Internet Arcnive.) There are two photos of the cavernous, strikingly modern interior. The architect was Francisco J. Serrano.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Buckingham Theatre on Nov 3, 2015 at 10:48 am

The 1937 ad Broan linked to must depict the results of a renovation of the Buckingham. The photo shows some detailing along the auditorium’s back wall and adjacent to the ceiling vault, but not enough to determine what the original interior style might have been. More of the original design might have survived at the screen end of the auditorium, at least until wide screens came along in the 1950s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Nov 2, 2015 at 7:42 pm

I’ve come across a couple of references to burlesque shows running at the Broadway Strand in 1928. That may be why I’ve found no references to the house in movie industry trade journals after 1927. The theater probably closed as a burlesque house.

Two decent photos of the Broadway Strand can be found on this page at Water Winter Wonderland.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Nov 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm

It now appears that this house opened as the Broadway Theatre in 1913 and the name was changed to Broadway-Strand Theatre in 1915, per the article linked by rivest266. It was also probably 1915 when a Wurlitzer Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra was installed in the Broadway-Strand. The instrument was featured in an ad for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company that appeared in the August 14, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World (scan at Google Books.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Nov 2, 2015 at 1:57 am

The Silver Theatre page at the Cinema Data Project gives the address as 14 Silver Street. I’ve found multiple sources for the address 14 Silver Street, but none for 11 Silver.

Also, we’ve got the sequence of names backwards. I’ve found multiple references to the Silver Theatre in the 1910s and the mid-1920s. Cinema Data has a reference to the State Theatre in the 1956 FDY. The house must have opened as the Silver Theatre and was renamed State Theatre sometime prior to 1941.

This Facebook page has a photo of the house as the State Theatre, the marquee advertising the 1946 film The Return of Monte Cristo, and a recent photo as the Cancun Mexican Restaurant. The current Google Street View showing the building as Steve’s Grill & Pub is obsolete.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rex Theatre on Nov 2, 2015 at 12:53 am

CinemaTour gives the address of the Rex Theatre as 7 Cottage Street, and has one photo of it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jerome Theatre on Nov 1, 2015 at 11:00 pm

“Architect” didn’t used to be a verb, and I doubt if many, (and maybe not any) building architects use it as such yet, but it has been used as a verb for quite a while now in the IT industry. I don’t know that many actual software architects use it as a verb, either, but people in IT management commonly do. At one time “engineer” and “doctor” were not used as verbs, either, but both are standard usage now. “To architect” is still at a stage where it sounds like jargon to most people, including me.

But language does drift, so maybe it will catch on, and maybe it won’t. I wouldn’t want to bet that “to architect” won’t eventually become common usage. Popular usage is unpredictable. As Calvin said, verbing weirds language, and that can be both fun and useful. Of course, as an English major, I will go on using designed, and keep architect as a noun. If, fifty years hence, my traditional usage sounds stodgy and old fashioned, well, I doubt anything I’ve written will survive that long, and even if it does, something will have deaded me by then, so I won’t be around to care.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lode Theater on Nov 1, 2015 at 8:03 pm

A collection of drawings and blueprints assembled by Herman Gundlach, Inc., the construction firm for the Lode Theatre, dates the project’s design to 1939. The house might not have opened until 1940, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Nov 1, 2015 at 7:28 pm

The Princess Theatre was either rebuilt or remodeled in 1939-1940, with plans by Kaplan & Sprachman. The Ontario Jewish Archives has seven photos of the project, but they are not available online.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Temple Theatre on Nov 1, 2015 at 12:29 am

This biographical sketch of Charles DePaul, onetime head of the Soo Amusement Company, written sometime after 1926, has this information:

“In 1921 he erected and equipped the Princess theater at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and in 1923 he formed a partnership with W. George Cook and they purchased both the Temple and Strand theaters in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.”
An article in the December 14, 1973, issue of The Evening News about the fire which destroyed the theater had additional information:
“The Temple Theatre, built by George Cook in 1911, played a major role in the history of Sault Ste. Marie’s cultural growth. The theatre was purchased by Charles DePaul in the early 1920’s and in December of 1928 became the first theatre in the Upper Peninsula to have talking movies when a bristolphone movietone machine was purchased at the cost of $10,000. In 1934, the Soo Theatre, Temple and the old Colonial Theatres were consolidated into the Soo Amusement Company with Charles DePaul, his son Joseph, present owner of the company and Edward Saether as partners. The Temple was remodeled in 1935 and again in 1950. The front of the building received a face-lifting in 1940 and the Cinemascope screen was installed in 1956.”