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The Garden Oaks was one of several post-war Houston theaters designed for the Interstate Circuit by H.F. Pettigrew and John A. Worley of the Dallas firm of Pettigrew & Worley.
The Fulton was one of several post-war Houston theaters designed for the Interstate Circuit by H.F. Pettigrew and John A. Worley of the Dallas firm of Pettigrew & Worley.
The Broadway was one of several post-war Houston theaters designed for the Interstate Circuit by H.F. Pettigrew and John A. Worley of the Dallas firm of Pettigrew & Worley. The very similar Santa Rosa was another.
The Arcadia Theatre suffered a major fire some sixty five years before the conflagration that finally destroyed it. The Arcadia was partly destroyed by fire in the early 1940s, and the auditorium was gutted, but the house was rebuilt.
The rebuilt Arcadia of 1941 was designed in the Art Moderne style by the Dallas firm Pettigrew & Worley. Partner John A. Worley published an article about the project in the June 21, 1941, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. There were numerous photos.
The Broadway opened in 1939, and was one of many theaters designed for the Interstate Circuit during that period by the Dallas firm of Pettigrew & Worley. H.F. Pettigrew and John A. Worley were members of the Advisory Board of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute. The Broadway was featured in an illustrated article in Boxoffice’s issue of November 11, 1939.
As the name suggests, the style of the Rustic Theatre was Rustic. In fact, it was built with logs. A photo of the house appeared in the November 11, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. Owner R.H. Goff claimed that the bark on the building’s log walls contributed to the quality of the sound in the auditorium. Boxoffice said the house had 480 seats.
I know the official website for the Lakewood attributes the design of the theater to John Eberson, but I think they are mistaken. The February 4, 1939, issue of Boxoffice has an article about the Lakewood saying that it was designed by Dallas architect H.F. Pettigrew. One of the theater’s decorations even graced the cover of that issue of the magazine’s The Modern Theatre section, and the description of it on another page also attributes the Lakewood to Pettigrew.
I doubt that Boxoffice would have gotten the name of the architect of a recently-built theater wrong in one of its major articles. John Eberson is not mentioned in connection with the Lakewood in this article or any other article I can find in Boxoffice.
As a rule, I tend to trust print sources more than web sites, and period print sources way more than web sites. In this case I’m especially inclined to believe Boxoffice rather than the theater’s web site, as this theater was built by Interstate, and Pettigrew & Worley were practically Interstate’s house architects during the 1930s and 1940s. It would have been very uncharacteristic of the circuit to hire a New York architect for this one theater when their other projects during the period were being designed by Pettigrew & Worley.
The River Oaks was designed by the Dallas firm of Pettigrew & Worley, according to an article by Helen Kent in the April 27, 1940, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. There were photos of both the River Oaks and the Alabama Theatre, designed by the same firm and built about the same time. Both were Interstate circuit houses.
H.F. Pettigrew and John A. Worley specialized in designing theaters, and were members of the Advisory Board of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute. In addition to the Alabama, other Houston theaters designed by Pettigrew & Worley include the Broadway, Fulton, Garden Oaks, and Santa Rosa. They designed theaters all over the region during this period, primarily for the Interstate circuit.
The Alabama Theatre was designed by the Dallas firm of Pettigrew & Worley. An article featuring photos of both the Alabama and the River Oaks Theatre, designed by the same firm, was published in the April 27, 1940, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.
The various Life Magazine photos linked above do not depict the El Rancho Drive-In in South San Francisco, but the Rancho Drive-In in San Diego. The April 24, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine published an article about the new Rancho in San Diego, with photos. It is unmistakably the same screen tower and mural seen in the Life Magazine photos. There are also easily recognized photos of the Rancho on a web page about San Diego drive-ins published by the San Diego Weekly Reader,
I just noticed that the link I posted to the San Diego Weekly Reader web page at 8:46pm last night no longer works. I suggest a Google search on “San Diego Rancho Drive-In” (but without the quotation marks) to find it (it’s the first result.) It’s way easier than trying to use the Reader’s internal search function.
The Life Magazine photos are definitely of the Rancho Drive-In in San Diego. The screen tower and its mural are easily recognizable in both the 1948 Boxoffice Magazine photos and the photos on the San Diego Weekly Reader web page. I don’t know how the editors of Life managed to displace the theater more than five hundred miles from its actual location.
A theater doesn’t get added to the database without going through the webmasters, so if they include the picture link as an official website they must approve of the practice.
There was a Neon Theatre at Neon, Kentucky, as far back as 1925, when it was listed in the July 11 issue of The Reel Journal. Later, there was a Bentley Theatre, the town’s only movie house, which was reported to have been recently destroyed by fire in the March 11, 1944, issue of Boxoffice. The Bentley might have been the first Neon Theatre renamed.
The Bentley was apparently rebuilt, as it was mentioned in a July 2, 1949, Boxoffice item which said that its operators, the Virginia Amusement Company, were building a second theater in Neon. The Bentley would show only westerns and second run movies when the new theater opened. Judging from the look of the building in the photos above, the new theater was probably the Neon.
Apparently the Life photos are of the Rancho in San Diego. The San Diego Weekly Reader has this web page about the area’s drive-ins, and the Life photos of the Rancho are among the illustrations. There’s considerable information about the Rancho there, too.
More photos appear in the April 24, 1948, issue of Boxoffice. It’s unmistakably the San Diego Rancho that Life mistakenly places in San Francisco.
I can’t find the Rancho in San Diego listed at Cinema Treasures yet, so the location for this page could just be corrected to San Diego. The only address I can find for it is Federal Boulevard at Euclid, San Diego, 92105. That would be just about 5100 Federal. Google satellite views show that the land has all been developed for other uses, so the Rancho Drive-In has been demolished.
I don’t think this drive-in was in San Francisco. The Life Magazine photo collection is pretty loose with its locations. Once caption on a photo of a theater in Ventura places it in Los Angeles, for example.
There was an El Rancho Drive-In in South San Francisco, already listed at Cinema Treasures, but I don’t think this is the same theater. The name on the screen tower is Rancho Drive-In, not El Rancho Drive-In.
There’s a possibility that the photo depicts the Rancho Drive-In in the east bay suburb of San Pablo. This Rancho Drive-In was mentioned in Boxoffice Magazine as early as 1951. I’ve been unable to find out if the Rancho in San Pablo was operating in 1948, and I can’t find any photos of it on the Internet, so I can’t be sure that the drive-in in that photo was the one in San Pablo, but I’m 99% sure there was never a Rancho Drive-In in the city of San Francisco.
The Clear Lake was opened by the Interstate circuit on April 20, 1966, according to Boxoffice of April 26. The May 9 issue of Boxoffice that year said that the Clear Lake Theatre would have 900 seats. It was the fourth of nine new indoor theaters Interstate expected to open in 1966.
I suspect that most or all of these theaters were designed by Irving R. Klein & Associates of Houston, but the only two I’ve been able to confirm in Boxoffice are the Parkview in Pasadena, Texas, and the Northshore in Houston. A photo of the lounge of the Clear Lake accompanied an article on the Parkview in the February 20, 1967, issue of Boxoffice, with a caption saying that it was a near twin of the Parkview’s lounge area. That suggests, but does not confirm, Klein’s participation in the Clear Lake project.
Photos of the Dolphin Cinema appeared in the February 20, 1967, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The theater was designed by architect J. Douglas Henderson.
The June 20, 1966, issue of Boxoffice names the original owners of the Dolphin as Muzzocco and Gervanni, and said that the house would reopen under Odeon management on June 23. This issue gave the seating capacity as 775, but the 1967 item said 750.
The Parkview was opened in 1966. A few photos of it accompanied an article about in the February 20, 1967, issue of Boxoffice. The theater was designed by Irving R. Klein & Associates, Houston. The Parkview had 868 seats, and was operated by the Interstate circuit.
The September 28, 1957, issue of Boxoffice said that the Ritz Theatre was being remodeled and and was to be renamed the Florida Theatre. Due to a street widening project, the front ten feet of the building would have to be removed and a new facade built.
The May 21, 1962, Boxoffice says that the Florida Theatre in Ocala had been sold by B.S. Maas Co. to an operating company headed by Lloyd M. Gerber.
A mention of the Florida Theatre in Ocala appeared in the July 22, 1968, issue of Boxoffice. It was then being operated by MCM Theatres of Leesburg.
The most recent mention of the Florida I’ve found in Boxoffice is in the February 3, 1975, issue, when the manager resigned. It looks like this house operated under the name Florida for almost twenty years at least.
The June 12, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Leachman Theatre was scheduled to open on June 17. The house had already been under construction early that year, but completion had been delayed when a fire that gutted the Aggie Theatre in January destroyed equipment intended for use in the Leachman that had been stored on the second floor of the Aggie building.
The Campus Theatre was originally built in the early 1930s as a single-aisle theater 25 feet wide, with 450 seats. A few years later, the operators decided the house was too small, and the original architect, Jack Corgan, was called in to design an expansion. The plans for this were published in the February 1, 1937, issue of Boxoffice. The project called for widening the auditorium by 15 feet and adding a small balcony to one side of the booth, increasing the seating capacity to 650.
I don’t know if the plans announced in 1937 were fully carried out, but the Campus was definitely remodeled two years later. The January 7, 1939, said that construction on the Campus Theatre in Stillwater, designed by Jack Corgan, was underway, and the March 11, 1939, issue of Boxoffice said that the theater was then nearing completion.
Like the Aggie and Mecca, already in operation in Stillwater, the Campus was owned and operated by a partnership consisting of Griffith Amusement Company and Claude Leachman.
The Aggie was built for the Griffith Amusement Company in 1926, according to The Reel Journal of June 12 that year.
The January 24, 1948, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Aggie Theatre had been gutted by a fire on January 18. The house was rebuilt.
The fire led to a delay in completion of the Leachman Theatre, then under construction. Equipment intended for the Leachman had been stored on the second floor of the Aggie building and was lost to the flames.
The Reel Journal of August 7, 1926, had some information about the Camera Theatre: “E.B. Tull has increased the seating capacity of his Camera Theatre at Stillwater, Okla., from 300 to 400. Mr. Tull will erect another theatre building in Stillwater in the near future.”
That September, Mr. Tull leased the Camera to Roy H.H. Russ, and I find no later references to him, so perhaps his second theater was never built. Roy Russ is mentioned in the February 3, 1951, issue of Boxoffice, which said that he had sold the Camera Theatre to Johnny H. Jones and his sister Ruby Jones of Shawnee, Oklahoma.
A brief item about the death of Roy Russ appeared in the May 3, 1952, issue of Boxoffice. It said that the Joneses had remodeled the Camera and renamed it the Crest.
The June 29, 1957, issue of Boxoffice ran an article about Johnny and Ruby Jones which said that they had bought the Crest Theatre in Stillwater in 1951, and operated it until 1954. One Boxoffice item that year said that Jones sold the Crest to Griffith Amusement and Claude Leachman’s Video Independent Theatres. I’ve been unable to find any mentions of the Crest after 1954, so unless it got another name (and if it did, I’ve been unable to discover it) it might have been permanently closed that year.
As this house apparently operated as the Camera Theatre more than ten times as long as it operated as the Crest, I’d suggest that it continue to be listed as the Camera instead of by its final name, which was so briefly used.
And I can’t find any mention of an Alamo Theatre in Stillwater in Boxoffice Magazine or its predecessors. Is it possible this was a very early theater, perhaps closed or renamed during the silent era?
An article about Johnny and Ruby Jones in the June 29, 1957, issue of Boxoffice Magazine attributes the design of the marquee of the Ritz Theatre to Jake Jones, with architect A.C. Davis working from a pasteboard model made by Jones.
The firm of Davis & Sons was based in Shawnee, and Davis is known to have designed a theater as early as 1926 (the H&S Theatre in Chandler) so it would be surprising if the Ritz had not been designed by Davis, Shawnee’s leading architect for many years. The question is whether or not he did the original 1899 building. Davis was definitely practicing architecture in Shawnee at least as early as 1908, according to a book published that year.
Also, commentors above are correct that the style of this theater is Federal Revival, not Art Deco. Unfortunately, Cinema Treasures doesn’t provide Federal Revival as an option among its choice of styles. The closest would probably be Adam, as the original Federal style in the United States was a variant of the British Adam style, and is frequently referred to by architectural historians as Adamesque-Federal.