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Fox West Coast gave up the United Artists in Pasadena in 1950 as part of the consent decree. Boxoffice of February 2 that year listed twelve FWC houses in California that had gone to UA, finally severing the relationship that had existed between the two chains. The other eleven houses were: State and United Artists, Los Angeles; Capitol and California, Glendale; United Artists in Inglewood, Long Beach, and Berkeley; Long Beach in Long Beach; Mission, San Jose; Varsity, Palo Alto, and California, Richmond.
FWC was operating the Pasadena UA at least as early as 1937, according to items I’ve seen in Boxoffice, but I’m pretty sure it was a UA-operated house from 1950 until it closed. I also recall the Washington Theatre in Pasadena being a UA house in the 1960s.
The description currently says that this theater originally presented movies and vaudeville, but I remember the building quite well and it had no stage house. Despite its fairly lavish proscenium, I don’t think the stage was very deep, and it certainly had no fly tower. The theater was built as a movie house, and its minimal stage facilities could have accommodated only the simplest live events.
However, there is enough room at the back of the lot that a proper stage house could be added on to the building, should anyone with very deep pockets want to convert the place into a regular live theater— though in a town that was unable to save the Raymond Theatre, which already had a generous stage, I don’t know who would want to make such a commitment to the old Egyptian.
Here is an article about the reopening of the Melba as the Capri in Boxoffice of May 9, 1960. There are two small photos. This article doesn’t give the date the house had reopened, but an April 18 Boxoffice item had said that the conversion had taken place that winter, and that as part of the project the Capri had been equipped for 70mm projection.
The Melba had ended its four-year run as a Cinerama house in 1958, when Tans-Texas Theatres renovated and reopened it as a first-run house. Boxoffice of June 8 that year said the first feature shown was William Castle’s “Macabre.”
The Astro Theatre was expected to be completed in time for a Thanksgiving Day opening in 1967, according to Boxoffice of August 28 that year. The 700-seat, single-screen theater would feature D-150 projection, and was being erected at a cost of $350,000. The architect of the Astro Theatre was Joe W. Hiller.
Ground was broken for the Cargill Theatre on August 7, 1967, according to an article in Boxoffice of August 28. Developer Robert Cargill had arranged to lease the theater to Jefferson Amusement company’s subsidiary, East Texas Theatres. (Though opened by East Texas Theatres in May, 1968, by 1969 it was being operated by Gulf States Theatres.)
The single-screen house would seat 1,368, (a 1968 Boxoffice item gives the capacity as 1,260) all on one level. The Cargill would have the largest screen in East Texas, 92 feet wide and 32 feet 6 inches high, and would be equipped with 70mm projection.
The theater was designed by the Longview architectural firm Allen & Quinn, with Leon C. Kyburz as consulting architect.
Boxoffice of February 25, 1974, said that the Cargill Theatre was being converted into a triplex. There would be a central auditorium seating 450, and a 300-seat auditorium on each side.
All Gulf States Theatres operations in Texas were taken over by Martin Theatre of Texas on December 21, 1975, according to an item in Boxoffice of January 19, 1976. I found the Cargill mentioned once more in Boxoffice, later in 1976, and after that, nothing. Is it possible that Martin changed the name of the theater? If they did, I’ve been unable to discover what it became, or what became of it.
The Binghamton Theatre was renamed the Capri Theatre in 1960. Boxoffice of June 20 reported that Comerford Theatres had held an invitational premier on June 8, and the remodeled house had opened to the public the following night. The renovation had included reseating the auditorium, reducing its capacity from about 1,800 to about 1,200.
An item in Boxoffice of June 20, 1960, announced the reopening of this theater which had been closed for eight years. The item calls it the East Main Street Theatre, but I think the writer must have mistaken the location for the name. The house had been closed by the Board of health in 1952 following a series of fires. It was updated with new wiring, wide screen, and rebuilt seats by the new operator, Bertil J. Carlson.
Boxoffice gave the seating capacity in 1960 as 296, so I’m wondering how they’ve managed to not only twin it but increase seating to 380. From the photos it’s apparent that the building has not been expanded. Did they add an auditorium in the basement?
I thought the story vaguely sounded familiar as I was writing my previous comment, so I double checked and, sure enough, this theater is already listed at Cinema Treasures under its final name, the Mexico, and I’d already posted lots of information about it on that page last year.
Thanks for the tipoff with the aka’s, Bob. I probably wouldn’t have realized the duplication existed if I hadn’t seen them.
The Coronet was set to open on December 28, said Boxoffice of December 18, 1948. Alfred Sack, new operator of the remodeled theater, intended to show foreign language and art films with a top admission of sixty cents. The item didn’t say if the Coronet had been renamed, only that it had been remodeled.
A December 24, 1953, Boxoffice item said that Sack had opened the Coronet “…in an abandoned and four-times closed small and unsuccessful neighborhood film house.”
This house was the Encore after it was the Lucas. The earliest mention of the Lucas I’ve found in Boxoffice is in the classified section of the issue of August 17, 1946. The ad was placed by someone whose name appears to be Rey Lampkin (the scan is very blurry) who said that he had just sold the Lucas Theatre in Dallas and was looking to buy another theater, preferably in north Texas.
L. R. Robertson was apparently the buyer of the Lucas, as either L. R. Robertson or Mrs. L. R. Robertson are mentioned as operators of the Lucas in Boxoffice items in 1947 and 1948.
Then in 1949, the October 1 issue of Boxoffice reported that the Lucas Theatre had been sold to Alfred and Lester Sack. The October 22 issue said that the Lucas Theatre would close for remodeling, and would reopen as the Encore in November with a revival policy.
The most interesting item about the theater appears in Boxoffice of November 26, 1949, which said that the Sack brothers' Encore Theatre had opened on Thanksgiving Day, with Mrs. Ethel Garland, Judy Garland’s mother, as manager (the former Mrs. Gumm had apparently married her daughter’s career and taken its name.)
Perhaps Mrs. Garland was not a good manager, as Boxoffice of May 13, 1950, said that G. L. and J. W. Griffin had bought the Encore Theatre from Alfred Sack. I’ve been unable to trace the history of the theater beyond that. Perhaps the name was changed again and that’s why I can’t find any more mentions of it in Boxoffice.
Though not identified as the Kansas City Apollo, a few small photos of this house appeared in an ad for Viragon germicidal equipment that was published in Boxoffice of August 17, 1946. There is a photo of the facade before its modern remodeling, and a rare interior photo showing a section of seating in the balcony. Viragon was a Kansas City based company.
An interesting article in Boxoffice of August 17, 1946, recounts some of the story of the Paramount Theatre during the occupation of Paris by the Nazis. The scan is a bit blurry, but after clicking on the magazine image to enlarge it, you can click on the + sign in the bar that appears above it to enlarge further and most of the text will be fairly readable.
A biographical item about retiring Fox Midwest manager Larry Breuninger in Boxoffice of March 31, 1956, said that the circuit had bought the Jayhawk Theatre at Salina from him in early 1932.
Breuninger’s career had outlasted the theater’s. Boxoffice of January 15, 1955, said that the Jayhawk was being dismantled. The building was to be converted for business use.
Boxoffice of October 15, 1938, reported that the Vogue Theatre at Salina had opened the previous Thursday. The magazine’s October 22 issue reported some details of the event, and revealed that architect Larry P. Larson had designed the Vogue.
The Vogue’s original owner, Gus Diamond, sold the house to Lon Cox in 1949. Boxoffice of July 23 said that Cox would take over operation of the Vouge and of the Howard Theatre at Arkansas City, which he had also bought from Diamond, on August 1. Diamond would move to Los Angeles where he would devote his time to his interests in the Pacific Drive-In Theatres circuit.
Cox operated the Vogue until 1962 when he sold the house to the Dickinson circuit, reported in Boxoffice of June 25. The house operated at least into the mid-1970s, and was mentioned several times by Boxoffice in 1975.
Boxoffice of October 23, 1937, said that the Fox Strand Theatre at Salina was being extensively remodeled and expanded. The January 15, 1938, issue said that Fox Midwest would open the Strand within 30 days. The project had cost $35,000, and the expanded theater would seat 750. The original seating capacity was not mentioned.
A house called Shanberg’s Strand Theatre, Salina, Kas., was listed as one of the theaters showing the Pathe release “Play Ball” in an ad in The Reel Journal of August 8, 1925. This was most likely the same Strand Theatre that Fox Midwest later acquired.
The franchisees of The Movies! at Salina were Don and Carol Porter, according to an item in Boxoffice of July 12, 1971. The company selling the franchises was called American Automated Theatres Inc., and was headed by J. Cooper Burks and Athel Boyter.
Boxoffice of August 19, 1974, said that The Movies twin in Salina had been bought by Dickinson Theatres and would be renamed the Sunset Cinemas. Dickinson’s Mid-State Cinemas 1 & 2 had opened the previous year.
Boxoffice of February 15, 1971, ran this article about AATI. There are a few drawings of their prototype theaters, and a couple of photos of the first The Movies! at Altus, Oklahoma.
As does Okie Medley in a comment above, This page at Cinematour (with photos by Adam Martin) gives the theater’s address as 1221 W. Crawford St., Salina KS 67401.
The Grand was a very early theater. A March 3, 1945, Boxoffice article about the retirement of long-time showman Hort Ulrich says that he had worked at the Grand in Salina sometime between WWI and 1922.
The Grand was mentioned in The Reel Journal of June 6, 1925, when it was running “Charly’s Aunt” with Sydney Chaplin, and in Motion Picture Times of July 7, 1928, when it was showing an MGM release, “The Patsy” with Marion Davies.
The Reel Journal of October 2, 1926, listed the Grand as one of the theaters operated by M. B. Shamberg’s Midland Theatres circuit.
According to the item about the theater’s 40th anniversary that was run in Boxoffice of August 30, 1971, the exact opening date of the Fox was February 23, 1931.
There is an article about the Jayhawk in the September 4, 1926, issue of The Reel Journal.
A good question, Matt. A logical conclusion to draw from your information would be that they were the same theater, and it was simply renamed.
In fact a full-page ad for Paramount’s release “Bring On the Girls” that ran in Boxoffice of February 3, 1945, included the Melrose on a list of theaters that would be screening the movie, and it gives the address of the Melrose as 3419 Oak Lawn. That’s the address Cinema Treasures gives for the Esquire. It’s likely that the source Chuck and Ken used just got the address of the Melrose wrong, though maybe Dallas renumbered the building some time before 1945.
The last time I find the Melrose mentioned in Boxoffice is the issue of March 22, 1947, which said the house was being closed for a few days while a fast remodeling job was carried out and new seats were installed.
The earliest mention of the Esquire I’ve found in in Boxoffice of January 3, 1948, when it was listed in an ad for the Nu-Screen theater screen company as one of the houses in which their product had been installed.
Though I haven’t found anything in Boxoffice clearly stating that the Melrose was renamed the Esquire in 1947, that’s what I now suspect happened. A number of issues of the magazine appear to be missing from the online database, and I suspect that the magazine’s item noting the name change was in one of those issues.
The only photo I’ve found is this closely-cropped shot showing the Esquire’s vertical sign, which appeared as the frontispiece of Boxoffice’s Modern Theatre section for January 5, 1952. The vertical could have been from the Melrose. A photo of the Melrose from about 1946 would be helpful if somebody has one. Note that MELROSE and ESQUIRE have the same number of letters, and even share four in common (almost six, as an O is easily converted into a Q, and an L to an I) which would have made the name change simpler and less costly.
Also note the artist’s palette and brushes decorating the Esquire’s facade in the 1952 photo, suggesting that the house might have had an art film policy for a while. An intended switch from regular movies to art house fare could have inspired a name change.
There’s a nice photo of a lounge area at the Park Avenue featured in an ad for Gulistan carpeting that appeared in Boxoffice of March 29, 1947. There’s also a small inset photo showing the part of the auditorium with the stairway to the mezzanine.
You can see photos of the Glendale 18 at the web site of the architects, Perkowitz + Ruth.
The September, 1919, issue of The Architect and Engineer said that the Savoy Theatre was being extensively altered for conversion “…into a high class moving picture theatre….” Architects for the project were the Reid brothers.
The August 14, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that the Redskin Theatre at Wetumka had opened on the 10th of that month. The Redskin was operated by Cecil Duncan, who also owned the Avalon Theatre in Wetumka.
The Nusho Theatre in Wetumka was mentioned in The Reel Journal, August 28, 1926. The Rogue is mentioned a couple of times, in 1940 and 1941. It was one of four theaters of that name operated in various Oklahoma towns by the Guthrie brothers. As I haven’t found the Avalon mentioned any earlier than 1946, there’s a possibility that it was either the Nusho or the Rogue renamed.
The Avalon, Redskin, and Time (opened in 1947) were all different houses, and all three were in operation between 1948 and at least 1954, the last year in which I’ve found the Avalon mentioned. The Avalon might not have survived into the CinemaScope era. A lot of theaters shut down because they couldn’t afford to install the new equipment.
Dale and Retha Groden took over the Redskin Theatre from Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Duncan on September 1, 1973, according to the September 17 issue of Boxoffice that year.
The Princess was one of five San Francisco theaters designed by the architectural firm of O'Brien & Werner (Matthew O'Brien and Carl Werner) that were listed in an ad for the firm in the 1907-1908 edition of Henry’s Official Western Theatrical Guide.