Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tarpon Theatre on Feb 18, 2011 at 6:26 am

Boxoffice of April 22, 1939, ran this item, datelined Tarpon Springs: “Construction has started on an 800-seat theatre in the Taylor Arcade.”

I’ve found the Tarpon Theatre mentioned in Boxoffice at as late as January 7, 1956, when the manager was a fellow named Paul Lycan.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theater on Feb 18, 2011 at 6:04 am

There is a photo of the former Grand Theatre on this page.

Here is a close-up of the marquee.

Behind the shallow, brick-walled front of the theater, which looks like a later addition, the main, wooden section of the theater looks as though it might have been built as a church. I wonder if this building has come full circle?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Madison Theatre on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

So far the only photos of the Madison Theatre I’ve seen are those already linked here. There undoubtedly are interior photos in existence, but if any are available on the Internet I’ve been unable to find them. Your best bet would probably be to contact the Jefferson County Historical Society (this page of their web site says that their research library is closed through the end of February and they won’t be able to respond to inquiries until it reopens.)

They don’t have a photo exhibit online, but the information page about their photograph collections says that over 4,000 images have been scanned and are available for viewing in their library. It’s possible that an interior shot of the Grand is among them.

There’s a digital catalog, but it isn’t available online either. You can contact the historical society (use the “Contact Us” link found at the bottom of each page of their web site) and I’m sure they easily can check the catalog to see if a photo of the Grand is in the collection. If there is a digitized photo, they can make a print of it and ship it to you. They don’t have a price list on the web site so I have no idea how much that would cost.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinerama Theater on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:29 am

The December 7, 1964, Boxoffice article about the Cinerama Theatre can be seen online here. Three additional photos of this Richard George Wheeler design are on the subsequent page (click “next page” link.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Northlake Festival Movie Tavern on Feb 16, 2011 at 4:03 am

The conversion of the Northlake 8 into the Movie Tavern was designed by the Dallas architectural firm Partners in Architecture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Movie Tavern Richie Road on Feb 16, 2011 at 4:03 am

The conversion of the Commerce Park 8 into the Movie Tavern at Richie Road was designed by the Dallas architectural firm Partners in Architecture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinemark Robinson Township on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:55 am

The Cinemark Robinson Township was designed by the Dallas architectural firm Partners in Architecture, which has designed several projects for Cinemark and for other chains.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bayne Theatre on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:50 am

The Bayne Theatre probably did originally open in either 1932 or 1933. Its interior was remodeled in 1965, and an article in Boxoffice of April 12 that year said that the theater was 33 years old. In 1965 the house was being operated by Crockett-Pender Theatres, which was spending $35,000 for the renovation. The Bayne was scheduled to reopen on Easter Sunday.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:43 am

Here is a rendering of the Liberty Theatre in Boxoffice, December 23, 1968. The caption said that a twin was being built for the 900-seat theater, and the project was to be completed sometime in the spring. Durkee Enterprises operated the house, which was located in the Liberty court shopping center. Boxoffice doesn’t make clear how long the existing single screen house had been in operation.

The Liberty had a nearby competitor, not yet listed at Cinema Treasures. Boxoffice of July 26, 1965, reported that Broumas Theatres had opened a house called the Plaza Theatre on July 14. It was located in the Liberty Plaza shopping center, which was right down the street from Liberty Court. The Plaza Theatre was renamed the Randallstown Theatre in 1973.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema 1 on Feb 15, 2011 at 6:50 am

The trade journal The Moving Picture World published the following item about the Quimby Theatre in its issue of April 5, 1913:[quote]“QUIMBY’S $60,000 EXCLUSIVE PICTURE HOUSE.

“The following excerpt is from a letter of W. C. Quimby: ‘If any dubious person should doubt that money invested in a comfortable, sanitary and fireproof moving picture theater for the exclusive presentation of photoplays is not a good investment, he ought to visit Zanesville, Ohio, and look over my new $60,000 moving picture theater.’ Judging from the number of beautiful photographs illustrative of interior and exterior views which Mr. Quimby has sent us, it looks as though Mr. Quimby had spent over twice the amount that he says he has, and they further point out the fact that Mr. Quimby’s faith in the stability of the picture business is any-
thing but weak.

“The plot of ground upon which the structure stands has a frontage of 70 feet and a depth of 132 feet. It is modern in every respect and is built of fireproof material throughout. Nothing has been left undone for the benefit of patrons in the way of convenience. Mr. Quimby opened his new house around the first of June, 1912, and has been playing to crowded houses ever since. He has turned crowds away in the summer and is doing it yet. People from neighboring towns come to his house in automobiles. It has a seating capacity of 750 persons.

“The lobby is beautifully lighted and standing in conspicuous places are neatly framed posters of the pictures constituting the day’s programme. There are check rooms for women’s and men’s garments, wraps, etc. The checking system of the house is so perfect that a man may have his cigar checked and get it back in good condition when the entertainment is over. The ushers and attendants are examples of refined etiquette and neatness of appearance. As
one sits in the luxurious leather opera chairs watching the pictures, he breaths nothing but the purest of air, for the ventilating apparatus of the theater is perfect. It is cool in
the summer and the right temperature of warmth permeates the place in the winter.

“In justice to Mr. Quimby’s excellent management, a word ought to be said of the music which he gives to his patrons. When the theater was built he installed a $4,500 Wurlitzer Unit orchestra. After using this instrument for about six months, Mr. Quimby was so well pleased with it that as a Christmas present to his patrons he bought and installed a $3,500 pipe organ. These instruments are played by a competent musician, and the audiences express great satisfaction over the music. Mr. Quimby has recently installed his own electric light plant, which is saving him about $150 a month. He was compelled to do this on account of the exorbitant rates charged by local lighting companies. Mr. Quimby is also the owner of other large houses playing to vaudeville and moving pictures. The admission prices to the new house are five and ten cents.”[/quote]

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Shoppers World on Feb 15, 2011 at 6:08 am

The October 4, 1952, Boxoffice article about the construction of the Cinema is now online here, at the magazine’s own web site.

In a comment near the top of this page, dwodeyla said that the walls of the Cinema were built of “…panels of a straw and clay mixture…” The Boxoffice article says that “…the exterior of the theatre is no more than a thin skin of asbestos board held in place by thin aluminum strips.” The clay-like substance was probably some form of gypsum, and would have been used to hold the asbestos fibres in place. I hope dwodeyla didn’t discover the fibrous nature of the material by scraping at it.

Theater designer Benjamin Schlanger would not be the one who chose to use the asbestos panels in this building. That would have been Ketchum, Gina & Sharp, the architectural firm that designed the structure itself.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theater on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:29 am

wolfgirl500: The sources I’ve found on the Internet provide very little information about early theaters in Youngstown. Various issues of The Moving Picture World from the 1900s and 1910s have brief notices that one exhibitor or another is planning to open a new theater somewhere in town, but the theater names are rarely mentioned. A typical example is this item from the issue of October 24, 1908: “Youngstown, O.â€"James McFarlin and E. B. Blott have leased a room in the Hartzell Block to open up a moving picture house.”

Another example is this one from November 7 the same year: “Youngstown, Ohio.â€"A new moving picture show is rapidly being constructed in the building on Liberty street by Thomas Dempsey.”

However, I did manage to find the Royal mentioned in The Motion Picture World of August 21, 1915, and the item even gave the address of the house as 224 E. Federal, and gave the manager’s name as G.M. Westley.

I have come across a few other theater names for Youngstown. The Moving Picture World of August 19, 1913, had this item: “Peter G. Atsalas, owner of the Orpheum Theater, at Youngstown, Ohio, was a recent visitor in Philadelphia, looking after some big features for his theater. He claims that the censorship law in Ohio makes it impossible for exhibitors to get any kind of high class features, and that most of them must send to other cities out of that state for their supply.”

The December 13, 1913, issue of the same publication mentions a Princess Theatre in Youngstown, and the August 7, 1915, issue mentions a South Side Theatre, managed by Max Shagrin. A 1916 issue mentions a Colonial Theatre, but I couldn’t read the item as it was in one of the issues for which Google inexplicably displays only snippet views, despite it being in the public domain.

A snippet view of the 1921 edition of Wid’s Year Book lists the Bijou and the Rex, and also lists a theater called the Victory. A snippet of the 1930 Film Daily Yearbook lists the Astor, Cameo and Dome. Those lists are both incomplete due to the snippeting.

So far, Boxoffice has posted online only its issues from 1936 on, and I’ve been unable to find in those any of the Youngstown theater names you listed.

I recall reading in a biography of the Warner brothers that they chose to go to New Castle to open their first theater in 1907 because Youngstown already had so many movie houses in operation. I also recall a paper citing a Moving Picture World item that said Youngstown had twenty movie theaters operating in 1908. Many of them probably lasted less than a year, though, and most likely didn’t even get listed in the annual city directory. Movie theaters were like mayflies in those days.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dome Theatre on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:23 am

Architect Herman F. Kling was the subject of one of the thumbnail biographies in volume 2 of Joseph Green Butler’s 1921 work “History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.” It doesn’t mention the Dome, but does say that Kling & Zenk designed the Grand Opera House at Sharon, Pennsylvania.

There was an article about opening of the Dome in a 1912 issue of trade journal The Moving Picture World:[quote]“The Dome Theater… is owned by Messrs. Renner & Deibel, men who can see big returns from a first-class picture house. The place is managed by C. W. Deibel, who opened it on the evening of Saturday, December 21, 1912. From its opening date to this day, the business of this expensive picture house has been more than the proprietors anticipated.

“The auditorium, which provides opera chairs for 800 persons, is finished along lines that combine simplicity with a magnitude of size and space which are seldom to be found in the average picture theater. From any seat on the sloping floors, one can obtain a full view of the screen and stage.

“Patrons are enabled to enter and leave any part of the auditorium at any time without inconveniencing in the least degree those seated about them. The exits on the Hazel Street side are large double doors that open directly to the street; the west side exits, which are of the same commodious character, lead to a fireproof foyer which furnishes an unobstructed passage to Federal Street, parallel with the main entrance. There is a handsome marquee extending for some distance over the sidewalk of the Federal Street entrance.

“Brilliant with electric lights, it heralds a welcome to the palatial foyer and lobby. The sides of the lobby are covered with polished marble, which half way to the top meets a series of mural panels that shade in quiet tints with the ceiling which is studded with inverted lights casting their radiance towards the ceiling. The floor of the lobby is done in mosaic style.

“The operating room is constructed of fireproof material and has three operating machines in constant use. The picture is projected upon a mirror screen which the manager says is the ‘largest in the State. The ventilation of the theater has been made the subject of careful study by the proprietors which resulted in a system almost incomparable.

“Music is furnished by a nine-piece orchestra.”[/quote]The Moving Picture World had another item about the Dome in its issue of August 7, 1915:

“The Dome theater, at Youngstown, which has been undergoing repairs for some time, including the installation of a roomy balcony, which will add largely to its seating capacity, was reopened last Thursday with a special program to commemorate the occasion. A large orchestra was among the special features provided.”
The September 3, 1936 entry in the dairy of Youngstown attorney Benjamin Roth, parts of which were published last year (Google Books preview) noted that new stores were opening up all over town, and included the line: “Even the old Dome Theater is being converted into a store room.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Larkfield Theatre on Feb 14, 2011 at 2:53 am

A list of theater openings in the August 27, 1949, issue of Boxoffice included the following item: “Northport, L.I.— Joe Mirosola to open new Larkfield Theatre, 600 seats, $175,000, August 30.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Theatre on Feb 14, 2011 at 2:33 am

The Little Theatre originally seated 300 when it opened in 1929 but, according to the official web site, the four additional auditoriums that have since been added to the house bring the current seating capacity to 940.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mercury Theatre on Feb 14, 2011 at 2:30 am

Here is a fresh link to the August 5, 1950, Boxoffice article about the Mercury Theatre. It continues on the subsequent page (click their “next page” link.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theater on Feb 14, 2011 at 2:20 am

Photos of Youngstown’s Uptown Theatre before and after its 1956 remodeling were featured on the cover of Boxoffice, May 1, 1967.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Theatre on Feb 14, 2011 at 2:18 am

The scan is a bit blurry, but the photo at the bottom of this page of Boxoffice, August 5, 1950, shows the Uptown when it was still sporting its 1930s moderne facade, complete with three porthole windows above the wedge-shaped marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dill Theatre on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:08 pm

The report of theaters reopened in 1960, published in Boxoffice, January 30, 1961, included an unnamed theater at Dill City, reopened by R. R. Powers. Dill City being so small, the Dill Theatre was probably the only house in town. That is the only mention of Dill City I’ve been able to find in Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theatre on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:39 am

Regis, you will be pleased to see this three-page article about the Empire Theatre, from Boxoffice, October 23, 1954. There are several photos of the theater, and a small floor plan and cross section. Click on the “next page” links to see the subsequent pages.

Although the Boxoffice article gives the impression that the Empire’s reverse theater design was an innovation by Liebenberg & Kaplan, there had in fact already been a dozen or more reverse theaters operating in the United States and England, some of them dating back to the early years of the century.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Highway 65 Drive-In on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:36 am

A three-page article about this drive-in starts on this page of Boxoffice, October 23, 1954. There are several photos, most of them depicting the unusual projection equipment.

The Buffalo Autoscope had 122 44-inch wide screens on its five acre plot, and the theater could be operated by three people. The article mentions the Smith brothers' smaller prototype Autoscope operation in Urbana, opened the previous year and accommodating a mere fifty cars.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:34 am

Boxoffice of October 23, 1954, had a few before-and-after photos of the front and lobby of the State Theatre, which had been remodeled that year. Plans for the remodeling were by E.H. Geissler. Geissler was later one of the co-developers of the Ultra-Vision projection system that was installed in a number of Wilby-Kincey theaters starting in 1969.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:31 am

There are photos of the front and the auditorium of the Fox Theatre in Boxoffice, October 23, 1954. Fox Intermountain’s in-house architect of the time, Mel C. Glatz, designed the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nortown Theatre on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:28 am

A photo of the lobby of the Nortown Theatre appears in the lower left corner of this page of Boxoffice, October 23, 1954. The architect of the theater was A.G. Facey.

An additional photo is at lower right of this page of the same issue, and depicts the boxoffice and entrance to the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tivoli Theatre on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:24 am

The October 23, 1954, issue of Boxoffice featured a multi-page article about the remodeling of the Tivoli, beginning on this page. The entrance lobby was given a fairly sleek streamline modern style, but the other spaces retained much of the more traditional decor from the 1920s. Much of the Italian Renaissance detailing was stripped from the auditorium, but its basic outlines remained intact.

My impression from the photos is that the foyer and auditorium looked a bit cheesy after the remodeling, and the house would have been better served by a more thoughtful restoration of the original design, except for that spiffy moderne entrance lobby, which was quite an improvement. It’s too bad the entrance was in the part of the building that has been demolished.