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Like most of the Cinemark Megaplexes of its era, the Cinemark at Seven Bridges was designed by the Kansas City firm, TK Architects.
The former MegaStar 16 in Edina was designed by the Kansas City firm TK Architects.
To expand briefly on the comments made back in 2004 by Bryan Krefft and Jim Rankin in response to the question by DavidH about the early popularity of the name Iris for movie theatres; The name was an apt appellation for movie theatres because the movie camera itself has an iris, so called after the iris of the eye. The camera iris was an intricate technological wonder of the age, and probably impressed people of the time as much as our various electronic gadgets impress us now.
Both the iris of the eye and the iris flower had, because of their varied colors (and, in the case of the eye, because it conveyed information, i.e. messages), received the name of the ancient Greek Goddess Iris who, as Bryan pointed out, was the Goddess of the colorful rainbow, as well as a messenger of Olympus.
I checked the address on Google Maps, and their satellite view of the neighborhood confirms ArchaeoNut’s claim above. The crested buildings in the photos show from above as the nearest of four adjoining structures located between the corner of E. 15th Street and the transit line. The address 1602 Avenue U would be on the near side of the Avenue, and at the corner of E. 16th Street farthest from the transit line, and thus in these photos the theatre’s location would be entirely out of view, off to the photographer’s right.
According to the City of Cornell website, “The theatre is closed until further notice”. Google’s “Showtimes for Cornell, WI” link currently brings up only the Micon Cinemas in Chippewa Falls. Maybe they close the Cornell down during the sort of weather they’re having tonight:
PARTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED FLURRIES AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWSAROUND 5 ABOVE. NORTH WINDS 5 MPH.
On the front page of the city’s website there’s a small historic photo of the main street, and most of the buildings look like they have had false fronts in the past, so the one on the theatre is not a rarity for the town. The white clapboard building behind the plastered front is typical of structures in old lumbering towns such as Cornell all the way from New England to the Pacific Northwest.
Incidentally, the town is named for Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University, who had extensive holdings in the area.
This house was also known as the Valley Theatre, from 1948 until it closed in 1954, according to Mrs. Snokes' history.
The history also tells about an earlier theatre called the Gustine Opera House which showed movies from the time of its opening in May of 1912 until it was destroyed by a fire (which originated in the projection room) in 1920.
I’ve run across a card in the L.A. Library’s California Index which claims that there was also a Gustine Theatre in Gustine in the 1930s. The card cites a Motion Picture Herald article of February 15, 1936, which says that an Elwood Laws had leased the Gustine Theatre. It’s only the library’s caption on the card that says that the theatre was in the town of Gustine. I don’t know if this was yet another name for the Victoria, or was another theatre altogether, or is just a mistake in the index (I’ve previously found a number of others.) It seems to me that if there’d been a second theatre in Gustine at that time then Mrs. Snokes would have mentioned it in her fairly thorough history.
I’d be less inclined to skepticism in this particular case were it not for the fact that there was a fellow named William Gustine who was in the theatre business in the San Joaquin Valley during the 1930s, and it has occurred to me that the Gustine Theatre in question might have originated as one of his operations and, if named after him, could have been anywhere in the region.
From the Wichita Orpheum Cinema Treasures page:
“In his book, "The Picture Palace”, Dennis Sharp has classified the Orpheum’s style as “pre-atmospheric”. However, further research indicates that the Wichita structure is in fact an authentic atmospheric with all the accoutrements associated with the style.“
But as much as I’d like to see this disagreement settled the old fashioned way (by mass gladiatorial combat between the respective populations of the cities of Houston and Wichita), I’m going to take a cue from Will Dunkin’s comment of December 14, 2005, above and say that the title of “World’s First Atmospheric Theatre” should go to Andrea Palladio’s 1580 Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. The place is just loaded with accouterments, deny it who may!
That means the contretemps between fans of the Wichita Orpheum and the Houston Majestic (deceased) over which of the two theatres may or may not have been the second atmospheric ever built will have to be settled, as tradition in these situations (to wit, which gets to be considered the first also-ran) dictates, by a spittin' contest. My money’s on Wichita, by the way, since Wichita had the ‘nads not to let its historic Eberson (pre-or-full-on-atmospheric) theatre get knocked down. Ladies and gentlemen, start your saliva glands!
Here’s a whole page about Detroit’s Telenews Theatre, with pictures and text.
San Francisco’s Telenews Theatre was the first in a chain that would eventually expand to 13 newsreel houses, according to a web page about the history of newsreels from the University of San Diego (I found the University’s website to be a massively unusable mess, so here’s Google’s cache of the page.)
This page at the Dallas Historical Society’s website has a couple of articles about Telenews Theatre in Dallas, including one about the grand opening. The 1941 article says that the Dallas Telenews was the 11th in the chain. It gives a description of way the place operated which probably applies to the other theatres in the chain as well.
The first article at the Dallas site names one Herbert Scheftel as the president of Telenews. Scheftel, it turns out, went on to be a pioneer in the television and cable industries as well as a real estate mogul who was one of those responsible for New York’s monstrous Pan Am Building, and he died as recently as 2000. Neither his obituary in the New York Times nor his paid death notice in the same paper mentions Telenews, but the latter does lead with the fact that he was the grandson of Ida and Isadore Straus, the elderly couple who owned Macy’s Department Store and who famously made their final journey to Davy Jones' Locker on board the Titanic. I wish newspapers would get their priorities straight. We want to know about the theatres, dammit!
Incidentally, on page 41 of Jack Tillmany’s book “Theatres of San Francisco” there’s a photo of the entrance to the San Francisco Telenews, showing the yards and yards of neon in the splendid soffit that extended from under the marquee all the way to the front doors. Sitting on the terrazzo was a stuffed polar bear, it’s slightly-open maw no match for that of the theatre.
A couple of articles about this theatre during the years it operated as the Telenews Can be found on this page of the Dallas Historical Society website. One of the articles describes the opening night. One interesting revelation is that, as with a few other theatres in the Telenews chain, its facilities included a radio studio.
All the cards (there are four) in the L.A. Library’s California Index referencing the architect of this theatre spell his name Meinardus. Elimor E.B. Meinardus also designed Jensen’s Recreation Center in Echo Park, which also survives and is a city landmarked building.
A July 23,2007, article from the Peninsula Examiner (Google cache because the Examiner’s website bites big) said that this theatre opened in 1930. The article also said that a developer had recently applied for a permit to demolish the building, to make way for a mixed use development. There’s a photo of the exterior which looks as though it’s been pretty drastically altered already, with the whole front walled up. There’s probably even less left to lose inside.
Dick Sylvester: Cinema Treasures has a page devoted to the Worcester, Mass. Warner Theatre:
One thing I find very interesting about the c1946 photo of linked by TC is that there’s a dog lounging on the sidewalk in front of the theatre. Yep, that’s Sierra Madre, alright!
This theatre was probably built in 1923. This card in the California Index gives the name of the architect, but it’s unreadable. Somebody needed to change the ribbon in the typewriter. Is that supposed to be an “M” by any chance? J.T. Meller?
Are you guys going to fight? Is it OK if I watch?
For the purposes of those who would like to save buildings, our personal definitions of the word landmark are of no relevance anyway. If the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission says that a pile of decaying wood is a landmark, then that pile of wood gets official protection. If the commission says that one of the last surviving theatres designed by noted local architect Harold Levitt is not a landmark, then the theatre goes without that protection, no matter how many of us consider it a valuable example of late midcentury modern design and worthy of preservation.
There’s also the matter of the New Star Theatre at 2698 W. Pico. I still haven’t found it here under any other name, so it might not be listed yet. I generated a property report for that address and the building on that site (SE corner of Pico and Fedora) was built in 1905, so it’s another probable survivor. It’s neighborhood included the Midway Theatre at 3138 Pico and the Victoria Theatre at 2570.
Assessor information for the building at 8516-8518-8522 S. San Pedro says that it was built in 1925 and has just over 5800 sq. ft. The land is valued at $124,124 while the building is valued at $346,122, so the church that now occupies it obviously isn’t letting it fall apart.
An interesting card turned up in the California Index, citing a Times article that announced the grand opening of the Tivoli Theatre at 16 Court Street on October 18, 1890. This is relevant to the Cineograph Theatre because it was some time around 1900 that Los Angeles changed its street numbering system which, until then, had always begun with single and double digit numbers in the first blocks east and west of Main Street and north and south of 1st Street. After the change, numbers still began at Main and 1st Streets, but started with three digit numbers, 100 and up. Thus, 16 Court Street (Court never extended east of Main and so didn’t need the appellation West) probably corresponded to 114 Court Street, the address of the Cineograph in 1902. The Cineograph was apparently the Tivoli, renamed.
Assessor information for the address 2710 S. San Pedro St. describes it as a parcel of just over 3000 sq. ft., occupied by a building of 2400 sq. ft. which was erected in 1910. It currently serves as a print shop. Unless the address has been shifted since 1923, this building must be the same one then occupied by the Star Theater.
I just realized that the Panorama’s dark, round roof is partly visible in this old favorite photo, too, sticking up from behind the King Edward Hotel at extreme right.
I remember now that I’d previously seen that picture I linked to, but it had never dawned on me that the Panorama Building was in it. I was focusing on Main Street or on the overall view, and didn’t notice the details off to the side.
Here’s a ca.1910 aerial photo showing the Hippodrome site vacant except for what might be either rubble or construction materials (the dark, round thing might even be the remains of the panorama’s foundation), so I’m sure the whole rear portion of the Panorama Building was demolished to make way for the Hippodrome’s auditorium, but I’ve wondered myself if the front building that later housed the Main Street Gym wasn’t merely remodeled from the earlier building on the site.
The Empire is still pretty much a mystery. So fa it hasn’t appeared among the movie houses advertised in newspapers of the time, or in the lists of movie houses in early city directories unearthed so far. Maybe it was exclusively a live venue. Its odd location probably accounts for its early demise as a theatre of any sort though. A few blocks east and it probably could have survived as a neighborhood movie house for quite a while, and up the block at the corner of Main it would have been solidly ensconced at the head of the theatre district that didn’t begin to undergo serious shrinkage until the 1940s.
I must have stopped getting e-mail notifications of new comments on this page several months ago. I’ve missed about three months of comments.
Anyway, here’s news about the Panorama Building, which preceded the Hippodrome Theatre on the Main Street site. It turns out that Panoramas were a huge business in the 19th century, and many cities had buildings erected specifically for their display. Here’s a fairly long and detailed review of a 1997 book about this vanished form of what today would probably be called infotainment.
Almost as good, I finally tracked down a photo which shows at least the top and part of the south side of the big, round Panorama Building itself, here at the USC digital archive, not surprisingly. The Panorama Building is a couple of blocks distant in this view, at far right, partly concealed by the Westminster Hotel and other buildings along East 4th Street.
The photo dates from New Year’s Day of 1907, so it was taken during the building’s last era, when it was being used as a skating rink. According to the Los Angeles Daily Journal of August 15, 1907, Adolph Ramish had been issued a permit to demolish the structure.
There was at least one building that was declared a cultural-historic monument by the City of Los Angeles when it was only 42 years old; the 1958 Holiday Bowl on Crenshaw, by Armet & Davis, was declared in 2000. Unfortunately, the declaration was not enough to save the place and it was demolished in 2003. There may be other buildings that were declared when they were even newer, but I’m unaware of them.
It’s possible that declaring buildings so recent has actually emboldened owners of interesting, potentially landmarkable structures to try to get rid of them or drastically alter them before they get to the age where they might be declared. Maybe that’s why the owners of the National are so eager to tear it down now. In a few years years there might be so many supporters of landmarking the building that it would be too late for the owners to easily get a permit to demolish it.
The building lots on the west side of the 700 block of S. Main Street are not very deep. A theatre at 729 S. would have very pretty small unless the building went through to Spring Street. I still think the 729 S. Main location may have been Clune’s offices rather than one of his theatres, but it’s also possible that it was the site of a very early precursor of his bigger theatres, and maybe even of his first nickelodeon.
Also, I’ve found some evidence that the Rosslyn’s 5th and Main building opened in 1915. It was planned as early as 1911, but construction apparently didn’t get underway until early 1914. Clune’s Theatre at 5th and Main had a very short run indeed.