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The historical marker at lower right on this web page gives some history of the Grand Opera House in Kingfisher. It says that the original Opera House on Robberts Avenue burned in 1900, and the Grand Opera House was opened on the second floor of the Pappe Building to replace it.
The marker says that the Grand Opera House seated 800, not the 600 listed in Julius Cahn’s guide. It doesn’t mention the house showing movies or being renamed the Electric Theatre. Probably the movie operation didn’t last long.
The missing vertical sign was replaced at some time. It appears in this photo, which was probably 2007, judging from the movies on the marquee.
Here is a photo of the new 89er Theatre. I don’t know if it’s in an old building that was converted into a theater, or if it’s a new building that was decorated with Victorian details.
The Grand Opera House was listed in the 1904-1905 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide, but had not been in the 1899-1900 edition. so it opened sometime between 1900 and 1904. The guide listed a seating capacity of 600 for this second-floor house.
In 1939, the Crown was probably owned by Pete Crown. The March 4th issue of Boxoffice said that Pete Crown was closing his Crown Theatre in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and switching his theaters in Pampa and Borger, Texas, from first run to subsequent run operations.
An ad for Anemostat air diffusers in Boxoffice of May 7, 1949, featured a picture of the Elm’s auditorium. The caption says the theater was designed by New York City architect E.C. Bullock.
The 1899-1900 issue of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide lists an Opera House at Kingfisher. The seating capacity was 500, the proscenium was 30 feet wide and 18 feet high, the distance from footlights to the back wall was 18 feet, and the distance between side walls was 30 feet.
The 1904-1905 edition of the guide describes a somewhat different theater called the Grand Opera House. It seated 600, and had a proscenium only 24 feet wide and 16 feet high, but the distance from footlights to back wall was 32 feet and the distance between side walls was 50 feet.
I don’t know if the Opera House of 1900 and the Grand Opera House of 1904 were entirely different theaters, or if the original theater had been expanded and altered. Both were listed as second floor houses.
Here is a 2010 interview with Tim and Karrie League, who operated the Tejon Theatre from 1994 to 1996. After leaving Bakersfield, the Leagues moved to Austin, Texas, where they found the successful Alamo Drafthouse chain of movie pubs.
The Tejon’s marquee is now in the possession of the Kern County Museum, and awaiting restoration so it can be installed in the museum’s “Neon Courtyard” according to the note at the bottom of this web page.
I’ve been unable to find any mention of the Tilford Theatre later than the 1915 item I cited above, and the only mention of the Liberty I’ve found in the trade publications is the Boxoffice item from 1955. Local newspaper archives would probably be the best source of information about the Tilford’s change of ownership.
The date of 1813 for the building of this theater has to be wrong. I suspect a typo. It was probably built in 1913. The town’s own web site says that white settlement in the area didn’t begin until 1815. A settlement called Old Hardin developed in the 1830s, but the current town wasn’t platted until 1868, and wasn’t incorporated until 1881. I can’t find a theater at Hardin listed in any edition of Julius Cahn’s guide. The town was probably too small to support a theater before the 20th century.
This web page mentions graduation ceremonies for Hardin High School being held at the Odeon Theatre in 1936, so it was still standing in that year.
According to an item in Boxoffice of May 12, 1956, a Bach-Mar Theatre at Hardin, which had been closed for about four years, was being reopened by Kenneth Bachman and J.D. Martin. Most likely this was the Odeon, renamed. As the town has always been quite small, it’s unlikely any theater other than the Odeon was ever built, unless the Odeon was either destroyed or converted to some other use before the house that became Bach-Mar was built.
A February 23, 1959, Boxoffice item mentions Glen Lentz, who “…used to operate the theatre at Hardin, Mo.” That’s the only other mention of Hardin I’ve found in Boxoffice.
I’ve found Murphysboro mentioned only once in Boxoffice, in the issue of November 19, 1955. The item said that John Marlow had reopened the Liberty Theatre, which had been closed since October, 1954.
The Tilford Theatre is mentioned in The Moving Picture World, issue of July 19, 1913. An advertisement in the August 17, 1915, issue of the same publication published a letter from Tilford Theatre operator W.F. Tilford to Chicago film distributor F.O. Nielsen, praising a movie called “The Spoilers” which had enjoyed great success at his house.
A Star Theatre at Murphysboro is also mentioned in various 1913 issues of The Moving Picture World.
The Marlow Theatre in Herrin also opened under the name Hippodrome. A book called “Williamson County Illinois Sesquicentennial History” has a bit of information about it. The operating company was called the Grand Opera Company, and was a partnership of brothers John, George, and James Marlow with Paul Columbo.
The Hippodrome opened on November 24, 1917. It operated primarily as a live theater, but later an annex theater was built next door to it where movies were shown. By “next door” the book must mean behind, as that’s where the Annex Theatre listed at Cinema Treasures is located, facing on the next street west.
An item about the opening of the Murphysboro Hippodrome in the November 15, 1919, issue of trade journal Motion Picture News referes to John Marlow as “…president and manager of the Hippodrome Theatre at Herrin, Ill….”
According to a book called “Williamson County Illinois Sesquicentennial History” the Annex Theatre was built behind the Hippodrome Theatre (later called the Marlow Theatre) specifically to show movies. It was operated by the same company that operated the Hippodrome/Marlow, which in its early years was a live stage house.
This photo shows the Annex “about 1912” according to the caption, but the original Hippodrome’s stage house is visible behind it, with part of the name Hippodrome visible, so the photo must date from after 1917.
The same photo gallery has additional photos of the Annex, one on the same page depicting a 1955 fire, another one on the next page showing the marquee in aside view (along with photos of two drive-ins, the Marlow and the Egyptian,) and there is also this photo of a snow-covered Park Avenue, with the Annex at left.
Boxoffice of May 12, 1956, carried an item headlined “Reopens at Herrin, Ill.” which said that the Annex had been damaged by fire the previous July.
Boxoffice of April 20, 1964, posted a brief obituary of John D. Marlow, who had died at Herrin on April 1. It said that he had operated Marlow’s Fireproof, Annex, and Drive-In theaters, all of which had been closed.
This must be the theater that was the subject of an item in the trade journal Motion Picture News, issue of November 15, 1919:
“John Marlow, president and manager of the Hippodrome Theatre at Herrin, Ill., announces that their new theatre at Murphysboro, Ill., will open December 15. This theatre has a seating capacity of 1,600 and is elaborately furnished and contains a $15,000 pipe organ.”
Of the various theaters I attended in the San Gabriel Valley (almost all of them fairly old houses,) the only one that I remember having had a dedicated crying room was the Garvey, my childhood neighborhood house. I got to use it once when I was about four years old and freaked out because the movie started before my older sister had gotten back to her seat after going to talk to friends. The crying room worked. I quit crying as soon as I got there, but I think my sudden calm was from the fascination of seeing a new part of the theater that I hadn’t known existed.
Another theater, the Garfield in Alhambra, had two rooms with glazed windows overlooking the auditorium, one on each side of the house. They served as foyers to the rest rooms, and I only saw the one on the men’s room side. It had no seats as the crying room at the Garvey did, but it’s possible that the one on the women’s room side had seating so it could serve as a crying room. I never asked anybody who had been in it.
Of the theaters elsewhere that I attended, I don’t recall any crying rooms, except for the pair at the Los Angeles, but by that time I was a teenager and wasn’t really looking for them. Articles in post-WWII issues of Boxoffice about new theaters frequently mentioned them, though, and from that it appears that they became a pretty common feature during that time.
There are no current listings for this theater at any of the movie web sites, and the house doesn’t appear in the Great Falls Tribune’s movie listings. It must have been closed.
Here is a fresh link to the article about the Villa Theatre in Boxoffice, March 3, 1958.
A Facebook user named Sarah mentions having seen “Roger Rabbit” at the Rio Theatre in 1988, so it was still open at least that late. I’ve found Myrtle Creek mentioned in Boxoffice only twice, both times in items from 1954 dealing with the Tri-City Drive-In, then operating south of the town.
The second Rio Theatre is already listed at Cinema Treasures. I’ve found Myrtle Creek mentioned only once in Boxoffice, and only in a passing comment about a Tri-City Drive-In that was in operation south of town in 1954.
However, a book called “In Search of Western Oregon” (Google Books preview) mentions a Myrtle Theatre operating on Main Street near 2nd Street as early as 1917. Perhaps that’s the house that later became the first Rio Theatre?
The Michel Legrand concert of February 7, 1976, mentioned by KingBiscuits in a comment above, was a benefit event, and marked the reopening of the house following a $500,000 renovation by operator Cinemette. The company planned to use the Stanley both for first run films and for live events, and already had seven concerts scheduled through spring of that year.
Boxoffice of March 1 that year said that the project included new seating, new carpeting, interior repainting and exterior cleaning, rewiring, and new lounges, as well as backstage improvements including new dressing rooms, a refurbished elevator, and reactivation of the hydraulic system that lifted the orchestra pit to become part of the stage apron. The stage featured 500 yards of new red velvet curtains. The creation of new aisles in the auditorium had reduced the seating capacity from 3,704 to 3,491.
The article gave the original opening date of the Stanley Theatre as February 27, 1928. Among other bits of information about the theater’s history was the fact that Dick Powell had served as its master of ceremonies for three years, doing four shows a day, until J.P. Harris arranged a screen test for him with Warner Brothers in 1932 and he departed for fame in Hollywood.
rloeffler is correct. This drive-in was called the Sky-View, not the Sunset.
Groundbreaking for the drive-in project at 72nd and Hartman Avenue was to take place soon, according to an item in Boxoffice of May 8, 1954. Plans for the 1100-car facility had been drawn by Colorado Springs architect Deitz Lusk, Jr..
Boxoffice of August 28, 1954, said that the Sky-View Drive-In had opened the previous week. Owner-operators were Ralph Blank and William Miskell.
Clarence Blackall was the architect for the conversion of the First Spiritualist Church into the Exeter Street Theatre in 1914, but the church itself had been built in 1884 from designs by the Boston firm Hartwell & Richardson. Henry Walker Hartwell and William Cummings Richardson (no relation to Henry Hobson Richardson) designed the church in the popular Romanesque Revival style.
Following the closure of the theater, the auditorium space was filled with two additional floors. The 1995 fire did considerable damage to the upper part of the structure, and the subsequent repairs led to additional interior alterations. I don’t know how much, if any, of Clarence Blackall’s interior work from 1914 remains, but Hartwell & Richardson’s exterior has survived remarkably well for a century and a quarter.
Boxoffice of November 13, 1961, had an item about the sale of the Strand Theatre at Seneca Falls. The seller was the village board, and the buyers were Oliver and Adelyne Acheson, theater operators from Syracuse. The Achesons intended to renovate the house and reopen it.
The item said the Strand had been “…built about 40 years ago by Fred Fisher and later was sold to the Schine Theatre circuit.” A later owner, Clinton Young, had sold the theater to the village.
The last mention I’ve found of the Strand in Boxoffice is from September 19, 1977, when it is mentioned in passing as one of the theaters operated by Conrad Zurich, who also operated the Hollywood Theatre in Syracuse.
Yelp has posted customer reviews for the Atlantic Palace as recently as February 13. It’s still being operated as a sub-run house with a three dollar admission. As of today all ten screens are still lit up. The recent user reviews are mixed. A lot of people are happy about the bargain price, but many complain about the condition of the theater.
I think Regal might keep this theater open as long as possible. It’s the only big discount house in the area, and is probably pulling in customers from Pasadena (where the only discount house is the somewhat arty-indie Academy) as well as a big chunk of L.A.’s east side. Kids from Pasadena and El Sereno can easily reach this location by bus, which is probably a big plus for the daily matinees. Current offerings include kid-oriented movies on four of the ten screens, and all ten movies currently running are rated either PG or PG-13.
If local government’s budget crisis delays the start of construction on the county office building slated to be built on this site, the Atlantic Palace might continue operating for quite a while yet.
The Family Theatre was listed in the 1916 Worcester City Directory at 122 Front Street. There are a few photos on this page. There’s also a comment from someone who says he attended the theater in the mid-1960s.
If the building was still standing in 1969, it was certainly then demolished to make way for the Worcester Center Galleria, an enclosed mall which is itself now being demolished.
When the Galleria was built, the block of Front Street on which the Family Theatre was located was closed, and the street bent at a 90 degree angle, so the marker on the Google Maps view doesn’t show the actual location of the theater. The project replacing the mall will reopen Front Street, so eventually the address at least will be returned to its original location.
The 1916 directory, by the way, lists fourteen theaters in Worcester, most of which are not yet listed at Cinema Treasures.
The few descriptions of the 1926 expansion project I’ve found don’t give much detail about it, but as the seating capacity of the house was just about doubled it’s clear that the auditorium at least had to have been completely or almost completely rebuilt. A 90-degree turn in its orientation seems very likely. The history page of the official web site says that the Franklin Square’s auditorium extended about as far back from the street as the front of the balcony extended in the Poli Palace.
There was definitely an entirely new entrance lobby in 1926, adjacent to the original, but the old Franklin Square lobby (probably redecorated by Lamb) was also kept. A comment by Doug Ingalls (at the second link I posted in my previous comment) says that the Franklin Square’s entrance was used as an exit in later years, and that the second floor space above the original lobby, which had originally been the managers office, was used for storage during the years he was managing the building.
A later comment at the same page, by Dylan Kellet, says that, before the Showcase closed, the stained glass window on the second floor front was removed. He thought it was to be replaced by a reproduction, but this photo from the Hanover’s opening night (snagged from the collection linked to by Joe Tortorelli in his March 21, 2008, comment above) shows plain window glass where the stained glass used to be. I don’t know if the stained glass has since been replaced, or even if it is ever coming back. The original is probably in somebody’s house by now.
It’s unfortunate that Lamb’s 1926 facade is entirely gone (in fact his entire 1926 addition, from the street back to the auditorium wall, was demolished) but at least a partial, ghost version of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting’s 1904 facade is still there. Luckily, Lamb’s interior fared better.