Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Buena Vista Theatre on Dec 14, 2014 at 3:31 am

The December 18, 1937, issue of Boxoffice said that owners A. L. Cowart and J. E. Singler were rebuilding their recently-burned Buena Vista Theatre at Buena Vista, Georgia. The item didn’t say how old the theater was when it burned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Deluth Spirit Valley Theatre on Dec 13, 2014 at 10:28 pm

The December 18, 1937, issue of Boxoffice said that C. W. Kaake planned to open his new West Theatre on Christmas Day. The house had been designed by architect Perry Crosier. Kaake also operated the Doric Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wilson Theater on Dec 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

The January 1, 1914, issue of The Tyrone Daily Herald said that the Wilson Theatre had opened the previous Monday evening, which would have been December 29, 1913. The French Renaissance style theater was designed by a local firm, the W. F. Wise Co., who advertised their services as “Scenic Artists, Decorators, and Theatrical Architects.”

The house was equipped for both live theater and movies. Mr. Wilson brought some pretty impressive fare to Tyrone. For example, the October 21, 1914, issue of the Altoona Tribune said that a concert would be given at the Wilson Theatre by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Walter Damrosch, on October 29.

Despite these initial ambitions, by the 1920s the Wilson was primarily a movie house. Geroge Wilson died in 1937, and the December 18 issue of Boxoffice said that operation of the Wilson and El Patio Theatres in Tyrone would be transferred to the Warner Bros. circuit on January 2. Warner Bros. operated the theaters until 1954.

An April 6, 2000, article in the Herald said that the Wilson Theatre had been built on the site of an earlier theater, the Bijou, and that the Wilson had been demolished on December 16, 1976, as part of an urban renewal project. As renewed, the theater’s site hosts part of the parking lot for a Burger King fast food outlet.

The 1914 Herald article about the theater’s opening has been transcribed to this page at

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Patio Theatre on Dec 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm

An item in the June 24, 1927, issue of the Altoona Tribune said that George Wilson’s new El Patio Theatre at Tyrone would open on Tuesday, June 28. A later article in the same paper described the El Patio’s auditorium as having a blue sky with twinkling stars, so, given the name, it must have been an atmospheric house with a Spanish theme.

The El Patio Theatre was damaged by a fire in 1942. The auditorium suffered mostly smoke and water damage, but the entrance was completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt. Warner Bros. gave up the theater in 1954, but the house continued in operation for a number of years under new management. The Wilson Family leased the property to an adjacent appliance store in late 1964, according to the February 4, 1965, issue of The Tyrone Daily Herald. The article did not say when the theater had closed permanently.

The El Patio Theatre was demolished in 1971 to make way for a highway construction project, according to the July 16 issue of the Daily Herald.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theater on Dec 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm

KenRoe: I think we’ve got the seating capacities reversed. From satellite view it can be seen that the 1954 Ritz on the south side of the street is a much larger building than the first Ritz/Britton on the north side. The Ritz must have been the house with 586 seats and the Britton must have had the 280.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Levon Theater on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:09 am

The Levon Theatre burned just a few weeks after being bought by Statesville Theatres. The November 18, 1947, issue of the Statesville Record and Landmark reported that A. F. Sams, Jr. and C. H. Trotter had just returned from Weldon where they had attended to the details of taking over the recently-purchased house. The company already operated the Center Theatre in Weldon.

The January 3, 1948, issue of Boxoffice (which misspelled the theater’s name as Leven) reported on the fire, saying it had started on the stage about 2:00 PM, and that the building and contents were both a total loss.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Everglades Theatre on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:35 am

A January 3, 1948, Boxoffice article about the recently opened Hugo Theatre in Belle Glade, built by Hugo Gold’s sons and son-in-law and named for him, said that with the opening of the new house the Everglades Theatre would remain dark until complete renovations could be arranged, after which it would be reopened for second-run pictures.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox 4 on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:03 am

The March 24, 1968, issue of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal said that construction on the new Fox Theatre was proceeding rapidly and that the house could open by July 4. The article noted that a Fox Theatre under construction in Amarillo was almost a twin of the Lubbock house. Both were designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm Pearson & Wuesthoff.

Interestingly, shortly before these theaters were designed, L. Perry Pearson and Paul Wuesthoff were briefly involved in a partnership with Drew Eberson. The firm of Eberson, Pearson & Wuesthoff designed or renovated several theaters in Southern California in the mid-1960s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Dec 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm

There is an architectural rendering of the Drake Theatre at lower right on this page of Boxoffice, January 3, 1948. The caption says that the house was to be opened sometime the next month. It also says that the Drake’s older house, the Ritz, would be kept dark once the new theater opened, but would be retained under their ownership. Their original plan had been to remodel the Ritz and keep it open.

The article about the Drakes in the December 15, 1945, issue of Boxoffice now begins at this link and continues here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Dec 11, 2014 at 8:47 pm

The State Theatre building is being converted into a bar and restaurant to be called the 8 State Bistro. They have a web site, but so far all it has is a front page. The first week of December was their original target for opening, but I don’t think it’s open yet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Dec 11, 2014 at 6:42 am

Here is a brief article about Kieth & Proctor’s Theatre in Jersey City which was published in the June, 1907, issue of Gaillard’s Medical Journal:

“Keith & Proctor’s Jersey City Theater.

“One of the astonishing incidents of a busy theatrical season is the wonderful big shows that are being offered every week at Keith and Proctor’s Jersey City Theatre at prices that would shock a Broadway ticket seller to wit: only ten and twenty cents at matinees and ten, twenty and thirty cents evenings. Consider for one minute just what is being given in return for these small prices: In the first place every comfort that is possible to provide in a twentieth century theatre is herewith supplied. The house is the newest to be erected in Jersey City and it is as complete in its luxurious appointments as any house in the big metropolis of Manhattan. Indeed there are few houses in New York that can vie with Keith and Proctor’s Jersey City Theater in point of architectural elegance and completeness of detail in its interior furnishings. Smoking rooms are provided on every floor and a matron is waiting on every floor to minister to the wants of ladies and children. In this respect Keith & Proctor’s appeals with especial significance to Jersey City families for it is a rigid rule of the management that mothers with their young ones shall be given every consideration at this house. The summer schedule of prices was instituted a short time ago and since the adoption of the ten and 20 cent matinees the place has been packed. An additional feature is the distribution of beautiful and costly gifts of cut glass and jewelry as prizes in a ticket-drawing contest which has been the means of crowding the house. Every purchaser of a matinee seat is given a numbered ticket and during the performance the winning numbers are drawn from a wheel on the stage by a young girl chosen from the audience and the lucky possessors then and there claim their prizes which are delivered immediately to them. With a thoroughly cooled interior, a magnificently appointed theatre and the distribution of free gifts beside a splendidly arranged program, it would be difficult to figure how it is possible to offer anything more attractive to Jersey City at such small prices of 10 and 20 and 30 cents.”

The Palace Theatre was originally called the Bijou, and was in operation by 1904, controlled by Frederick Proctor. After Proctor merged his interests into the Keith & Proctor Amusement Company in 1906 the house was remodeled and renamed Keith & Proctors. When the partnership was dissolved, the house became B. F. Keith’s Theatre.

By 1918 a 300-seat theater called the Bijou Dream, under the same management as B. F. Keith’s Theatre, was opened in the former Hotel Criterion building next door at 172 Newark Avenue. That building is still standing, but the original Bijou that became the Palace has been entirely demolished.

This web page has a before & after photo of the sites of the Bijou Dream and Palace. The “then” photo shows the new front of the Bijou after it had become B. F. Keith’s Theatre, with the Bijou Dream next door.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Dream Theatre on Dec 11, 2014 at 5:50 am

Oh, the Bijou Dream had 300 seats, according to the 1919 MPW article I cited.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Dream Theatre on Dec 11, 2014 at 5:45 am

The Bijou Theatre in the photo currently at the top of this page is the house at 174 Newark Avenue that was later remodeled and renamed the Keith & Proctor Theatre. It eventually became the Palace, so the photo really belongs on the Palace Theatre’s photo page.

Later, there was a new Bijou Dream Theatre located next door at 172 Newark, in the building that was formerly occupied by the Hotel Criterion. It was in operation by 1918, but I don’t know how long it lasted. It was, according to an article in The Moving Picture World of January 4, 1919, under the same management as B. F. Keith’s Theatre next door.

This web page has a then-and-now photo of the buildings, the “then” photo showing the B. F. Keith Theatre in the former Bijou’s location and the new Bijou Dream in the former Hotel Criterion building. The original Bijou has been demolished, but the building in which the Bijou Dream was located, at 172 Newark, is still standing.

In 1910 there was a Bijou Dream Theatre in operation at 117 Monticello Street, but I don’t know whether or not it was related in any way to the later Bijou Dream at 172 Newark.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Dec 11, 2014 at 12:41 am

The Orpheum was one of several New Jersey theaters briefly described in the January 4, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Orpheum, about 1,800 seats, James Brennan lessee and manager, is situated at Five Corners of the Hill section. It sustains a full orchestra and every modern equipment of an up-to-date theatre. Judging from the large attendance at the afternoon performance we are convinced that it is well patronized and established in a populous center.”
The Orpheum was expected to open around the first of October, according to this item from a September, 1910, issue of Variety:

“The new Orpheum on Jersey City Heights will first house Edna May Spooner and a stock company, upon opening about Oct. 1. Charles E. Blaney has the theatre, originally planned for vaudeville. Before commencing the stock engagement Miss Spooner will play four weeks in the New York vaudeville houses.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Dec 11, 2014 at 12:29 am

This is the way the Strand, then four years old, is described in an article about some New Jersey Theatres from the January 4, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“At Fairview and Bergen avenues we happened into the Strand, a modern and well equipped fireproof house of 600 seats. It was built by Benjamin Berkowitz in 1915. A year ago Mr. Berkowitz joined the aero-photo division of the army and was located at Mineola, L. I. At that time he leased his place to Anthony Brown, the present manager. This theatre is centrally located and attracts an excellent clientele and steady attendance.”
The January 30, 1915, issue of The American Contractor ran this item about the future Strand:
“Moving Picture Theater (600 seats): 1 sty. $10M. Fairmount av., nr. Bergen av.. Jersey City. N. T. Archt. Tremont Archt. Co.. 1910 Webster av., New York Citv. Owner Aeolian Amusement Co., care Benj. Berkowitz, 102 West St., Jersey City. Plans in progress. Brk., slag rf.”
The Tremont Architectural Company is mentioned in quite a few issues of trade journals and newspapers in the 1910s, but I haven’t found any modern references to it, so it appears to have been lost to history.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bon Ton Theatre on Dec 11, 2014 at 12:10 am

The June 6, 1917, issue of The Insurance Press said that the loss in the Bon Ton Theatre fire was $75,000, but the June 27 issue of Fire and Water Engineering, which had a more detailed report, said that damage was $12,000 to the structure and $1,000 to contents, with the total value of the building being only $20,000. Other insurance and fire-related journals gave $20,000 as the total value of both the building and its contents.

The January 1, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Bon Ton Theatre in Jersey City was switching from vaudeville to moving pictures. The Bon Ton was mentioned in The Billboard in 1908 as a burlesque house. In 1902 it hosted at least one boxing match. The Bon Ton was mentioned in the New York Dramatic Mirror at least as early as 1896. The name Bon Ton was adopted many years before the house became a cinema.

A Liberty Theatre at 47-49 Newark Avenue was discussed in an article on some New Jersey theaters in the January 4, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World described the Liberty this way:

“The Liberty Theatre in Jersey City, 47 and 49 Newark avenue, a few blocks from the Pennsylvania ferry, attracted our attention and we spent an hour at the afternoon performance. At this particular district there is not very much of a community. It reminded us of the drop-in locations on the rough edges in the old days. It seems that a house of the size and character of the Liberty is deserving a better location. It has a balcony and orchestra containing 800 seats. E. A. Cadugan is the manager.”
I don’t know if the Liberty Theatre operating in 1919 was a replacement for the Bon Ton, perhaps on the lot next door (though addresses are sometimes shifted,) or if it was a neighboring theater that existed contemporaneously with the Bon Ton. However, 1919 is the earliest mention of the Liberty I’ve been able to find. The Liberty was still in operation at least as late as 1928.

Given the fact that the name Bon Ton goes back to the mid-1890s at least, perhaps the Liberty was a different theater that somehow got conflated with the Bon Ton. It might be that the aka doesn’t belong to this house at all. I’ve exhausted the sources available on the Internet, so maybe someone with access to Jersey City newspaper files can solve this puzzle.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Monticello Theatre on Dec 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm

The Monticello Theatre was one of the houses discussed in an article about Jersey City’s theater is the January 4, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Located in the residential district of Jersey City at Monticello and Communipaw avenue, in the Hill district, we visited the Monticello, 900 seats, in orchestra and balcony. The manager, Harry De G. Robertson, is a man of considerable personality and runs his theatre in good form and has established a strong patronage. Although we happened in during the afternoon there was a comfortable attendance of fine character. The Monticello is not of the most modern architecture and construction, but it has a good organ, projection and courteous attendants.

“Wide Range in Clientele.

“Jersey City has a varied population, more particularly noticeable in the Hill section. It is a ramification of fine residences, tenement sections and small store neighborhoods running into each other. To run a theatre like the Monticello, which caters to the old residents as well as attract the better class of the tenement dwellers, requires the best kind of management. Mr. Robertson is evidently the right man in the right place.”

The March 4, 1916, issue of the same publication had this item:
“Monticello’s Anniversary.

“Managers Harry De G. Robinson and Edward H. Burns of the Monticello theater, Monticello and Harrison avenues, Jersey City, were the recipients of hearty congratulations during the observance of their second anniversary week.”

As the headline says “Monticello’s Anniversary” I’m assuming it was the anniversary of the theater itself and not merely of the management team, which means (leaving some time for delay in publication) the house probably opened in February, 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Playhouse on Dec 9, 2014 at 10:52 pm

This article says that the Playhouse opened on February 20, 1922. It was built for former mayor William J. MacFarlane. An item in the January 22, 1921, issue of The American Contractor said that the new theater to be built at Canandaigua for William McFarlan [sic] was being designed by the firm of Leon H. Lempert & Son.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lake Theatre on Dec 9, 2014 at 10:31 pm

If the link holds, this page of Boxoffice, June 21, 1941, shows two photos of the Lake Theatre. The facade was plain brick above the marquee. The streamlined ground floor front looks like it was done in Vitrolite or one of the other glass tiles popular around that time. The building was much narrower than the theater in the photo we’re currently seeing at the top of our page, as can also be seen by the Boxoffice photo of the Lake’s auditorium. I don’t know the location of the Lake Theatre in the photo robboehm uploaded, but it wasn’t the Lake in Canandaigua.

The bank annex Estey_Struble_Theatrical mentioned as being on the site of the Lake Theatre has the address 60-70 above its door, so the theater’s address was probably about 64. The bank’s main office next door to the south is at 72 S. Main and the Renaissance Goodie II Shoppe next door to the north is at 56 S. Main. The theater should be listed as demolished, of course.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sewickley Theater on Dec 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm

The August 7, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about the new theater planned at Sewickley:

“The Sewlckley Amusement Company is erecting a new $30,000 motion picture house at Sewickley, Pa., located on Beaver street. William R. Wheat, Jr., manager of the company, announces that this house will be 43x119 feet, and will have a seating capacity of 500. It is expected to be completed and ready for opening about the 1st of September. The Lyric theater, in Sewickley, is also conducted by this same company and it will continue the same after the completion of the new house. The name of the new house has not yet been decided upon.
I haven’t discovered if Mr. Wheat achieved his goal of opening the new theater around the first of September.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Coraopolis Theater on Dec 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm

This item from the May 3, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World is most likely about the Coraopolis Theatre:

“Splendid Theatre for Coraopolis.

“William R. Wheat, Jr., exhibitor of Sewickley, has purchased a site in Fifth avenue, Coraopolis, on which he will erect a photoplay house with a seating capacity of 1,000, to cost in the neighborhood of $75,000. Architects are now preparing the plans, and work on the structure will be commenced shortly. The decorations, lighting effects and ventilation system will be of the very latest types.”

An advertisement in the May 7, 1921, issue of The Moving Picture World featured a letter from William Wheat of the Coraopolis Theatre:
“Coraopolis, Pa., March 21, 1921.


“Pittsburgh, Pa. Mr. F. L. France.

“Dear Sir :

“We have had a Twin Unit Hallberg Generator installed in our theatre for some time.

“Our throw is 140 ft., and our screen is 12 x 16. We find our picture is perfect and have a beautiful light at this distance.

“We cannot speak too highly of the Hallberg Motor Generator and can recommend same to anyone desiring an outfit which will give satisfaction in every respect.

“Very truly yours,

“CORAOPOLIS THEATRE, ”(Signed) Wm. R. Wheat, Jr.“

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Venture Cinemas 12 on Dec 8, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Built in the mid-1990s for original operator O'Neil Theatres of Slidell, Louisiana, the Venture Cinemas 12 was designed by the Atlanta architectural firm Richard Rauh & Associates. It was featured in an article in the January, 1995, issue of Architectural Record.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Blue Oaks 16 on Dec 8, 2014 at 4:41 pm

This weblog post from Hoefer Wysocki Architecture, designers of the Blue Oaks 16, has a couple of renderings of the theater, including an interesting isometric of one of the auditoriums.

This article by Andreas Fuchs in Film Journal International gives some details about the innovative design of this house, which eliminated projection booths altogether.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Big Wood 4 Cinemas on Dec 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm

I don’t think this house was ever known as Rocky Mountain Cinemas. The architect’s web site refers to it as The Big Wood 4 Cinema Theater Project, and the Internet has numerous web sites that list a Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas at 105 Cloverly Lane. This is apparently an office. I think it might be the name of the subsidiary Metropolitan Theatres formed to manage its operations in the region.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Stadium 14 on Dec 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

A company profile of Santa Rosa Entertainment Group says that the Roxy Stadium 14 was opened on April 29, 2000. This page at the web site of the architects, Thorp Associates, has a drawing of the theater but misspells the name as Roxio.