Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Rey Theater on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

The use of the phrase “store-front theatre” in the first paragraph of the description makes no sense. This building was built as a vaudeville theater in 1905, and has always been a theater, both before and after it was rebuilt following the 1946 fire.

Bill Coady is correct. The El Rey is showing old movies on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with very low admission prices. Furthermore, they take requests on the theater’s Facebook page. There are also many live events upcoming. Apparently the theater is doing well.

The “Save the El Rey” web site that Lost Memory linked to on January 22, 2008, no longer has anything to do with the theater, and now exists only to host advertising links. There’s no point in clicking on it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about LIttle Art Theatre on Apr 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm

The only Columbus establishment called the Crystal Slipper that I can find references to on the Internet is this ballroom opened in 1926 and converted into Columbus’s first supermarket (and perhaps the first grocery store anywhere to call itself a supermarket) in 1934. This building, at 386 Lane Avenue W., was demolished in 1985.

Crystal Slipper certainly sounds more like a name for a ballroom than for a movie theater. Perhaps the building at 2573 High was also opened as a dance hall, but was unsuccessful and was converted into a movie house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Apr 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm

The January 30, 1954, issue of Boxoffice ran an obituary of the Paramount Theatre’s owner, Dan P. MacDonald. MacDonald began his exhibition career with a Sydney house called the Palace, which he later renamed the Capitol and then, after enlarging it, the Paramount.

The scan of the Boxoffice page is incomplete so the year is not fully legible, but this chain of events appears to have begun in the 1910s or the 1920s, as MacDonald arrived in Sydney about 1904 and ran a shoe store for some time before going into the theater business.

MacDonald also built the Vogue Theatre in Sydney (in 1939, according to its Cinema Treasures page,) and there might also have been a second Capitol Theatre, as the obituary calls him “…owner of the Paramount and Capitol theatres here….”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Suffolk Theatre on Apr 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm

The Saturday, November 8, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about the Suffolk Theatre: “Charlie Higginbotham opened his beautiful new photoplay theater at Holyoke, Mass., last Monday, to a crowded house. The new Suffolk Theater is the name and the theater is distinctly superior to most in every way. It is fireproof and modern. Vaudeville and pictures form the programs.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Frances Theatre on Apr 10, 2011 at 4:15 am

Thanks, Ken. I see that the Savoy is listed at CinemaTour, but with no details other than the address, and the Ritz is listed with no address.

Although the 1971 Boxoffice article listed the Martin as a conventional theater, I now think it might have actually been a drive-in. A 1961 article said that the former Funland Drive-In in Dyersburg had been renamed the Martin and was being renovated.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Apr 10, 2011 at 4:08 am

I think there’s something off about the photo used as the related web site in the description. The theater in the photo is obviously old, not from 1930, despite what its caption says, and it doesn’t have the name Paramount Theatre on it. There’s just a banner reading “Paramount Special.”

It’s possible that the theater in the photo wasn’t called the Paramount at all, but was merely advertising the 1920 Paramount release “Treasure Island” (the 1934 version of “Treasure Island” was an MGM production.) The photo probably dates from 1920, which means it probably doesn’t depict the Paramount or Majestic) Theatre at all, but another house that actually was at 26 College Street. This Paramount isn’t.

Some of the information in Jdr2010’s comment above is also on this web page about architect Albert Heath Carrier, provided by the North Carolina State University libraries. I think it’s safe to presume that it’s accurate.

Multiple sources say that the Majestic became the Paramount. The book Asheville: A Postcard History, by Sue Greenberg and Jan Kahn, gives the Majestic’s address as 118 ½ College Street, the same as the 1951 address of the Paramount.

Google Maps actually gets closer to the actual location of the theater (College and Market Streets) using the address 120 College Street than it does with the correct 118 ½ address. The address of 26 College currently listed fetches a spot several blocks away.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Terrace Theatres at Friendly Center on Apr 10, 2011 at 2:58 am

I’ve been unable to find the Terrace Theatre in Greensboro mentioned in Boxoffice, but from the description of the house by raysson in his comment above, it appears that it was one of several Wilby-Kincey projects that, like the 1966 Terrace Theatre in Asheville, was designed for the chain by the architectural firm Six Associates, founded in the early 1940s by Erle G. Stillwell and five other North Carolina architects. By the time the Terrace theaters were built, the firm was headed by William B. McGehee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tiger Theatre on Apr 10, 2011 at 2:19 am

The 1954 opening of this theater must have been a reopening. Boxoffice of April 17, 1954, had this item, datelined Columbia:[quote]“Insufficient patronage has caused the closing of the Tiger Theatre here. The Columbia Committee on Racial Equality and another group offered to sell subscriptions so that cultural pictures might be brought to Columbia and the theatre continue. The management was unable to secure the desired films.

“At one time the Tiger was known as the Frances Theatre. It was built in 1948 by A.B. Coleman at a cost of $40,000 as a Negro patronage theatre, with a seating capacity of 400. In May 1951 it became known as the Tiger, with a reserved section for Negroes.”[/quote]

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Frances Theatre on Apr 10, 2011 at 2:15 am

I’ve only found Dyersburg mentioned only a few times in Boxoffice, and none of them mention the Frances Theatre. A Ritz Theatre was mentioned in the issue of May 15, 1954. The manager was named R.E. Gillett. Could Ritz be an aka for the Frances, or was it a different theater?

The January 4, 1971, issue of Boxoffice mentioned a theater called the Martin in Dyersburg. As the Martin Twin opened in 1972, it must have been some other theater. That’s the only time it’s mentioned.

Dyersburg once had a theater called the Georgia Opera House, listed in the 1898 edition of Julius Chan’s Theatrical Guide. It was a second-floor house seating 1,050. It was also mentioned in “Richardson’s Standard Southern Guide,” published in 1905, though that book gave the seating capacity as 1,500. I’ve been unable to discover what became of it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theater on Apr 9, 2011 at 3:48 am

The September 11, 1909, issue of the trade journal Domestic Engineering ran an item about the plumbing, heating, and ventilation system of the new Princess Theatre, then under construction in Des Moines. The Princess Theatre was designed by the firm of Hallett & Rawson (George E. Hallett and Henry D. Rawson.) The item said that the roof of the building would be on by the middle of September, so construction was most likely completed before the end of 1909.

Hallett & Rawson was a leading Des Moines firm in the late 19th and early 20th century, but I’ve been unable to find any theaters other than the Princess attributed to them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hollywood Theatre on Apr 9, 2011 at 3:37 am

If there was a Hollywood Theatre in the 500 block of Liberty Street, it couldn’t have had that name between 1934 and 1948, when there was a Hollywood Theatre in the 400 block of the same street.

Information accompanying this photo from the 1910s says that this house opened in 1912 as the Elmont Theatre, and was later known as the Ideal Theatre before becoming the Hollywood Theatre. It gives the address as 411 N. Liberty Street, and says that it burned in 1948.

Information with this photo showing the tile at the entrance, all that survived after demolition, says the house had become the Ideal in 1927 and the Hollywood in 1934.

Here is a 1940s photo (1946 movie on marquee) showing the Hollywood at right and the Colonial Theatre farther along the block.

I’ve been unable to find any references on the Internet to a theater in the 500 block of N. Liberty Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Amuzu Theater on Apr 9, 2011 at 3:20 am

The book “Winston-Salem in Vintage Postcards,” by Molly Grogan Rawls, says that the Amuzu Theatre opened in 1910, replacing a predecessor called the Lyric which had closed. Here is the photo of the Amuzu. It can also be seen at right in this 1913 photo of 4th Street.

A comment on a Winston-Salem forum said that the Amuzu was in a building that was built about 1880, so it was a storefront conversion. It might have had other names before it was the Lyric. The comment says that the building was demolished around 1974, but doesn’t say when it closed as a theater. I doubt that it survived into the sound era, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Apr 9, 2011 at 3:04 am

The book “Winston-Salem in Vintage Postcards,” by Molly Grogan Rawls, says that the Auditorium Theatre was built on the site of the Elks Auditorium after the old theater burned down on April 27, 1916.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Thruway 1 & 2 on Apr 9, 2011 at 3:02 am

Arby is correct about “Bullitt” being the first movie shown at the Thruway Theatre. According to the book “Winston-Salem,” by Molly Grogan Rawls, the house opened in February, 1969.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Forsyth Theatre on Apr 9, 2011 at 3:00 am

The caption of a photo of the Woolworth store the book “Winston-Salem” by Molly Grogan Rawls says that the store, opened in 1955, replaced three shops and the Forsyth Theatre. Comparison of photos shows that the new Woolworth’s was in the same building the shops and theater had occupied.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Apr 7, 2011 at 4:47 am

The March 30, 1930, issue of The Livingston Republican said that Peter Bondi’s new Palace Theatre was rapidly nearing completion adjacent to Bondi’s confectionery shop. The new theater was to be 30 feet wide by 116 feet long, and would seat 400 (though not very comfortably, I would imagine.) It was named the Palace in honor of the theater of the same name, Geneseo’s first movie house, which had operated on the same site about 20 years earlier.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riviera Theatre on Apr 7, 2011 at 4:45 am

The “J-Aprile” on the building’s parapet refers to the theater’s original owner. An article in the Livingston Republican of June 23, 1977, tells a bit about the theater’s early years. It was built in 1914 by an Italian immigrant named Joseph Aprile. It was originally called the Rex Theatre. In 1923 it was remodeled and expanded.

The theater was called the Rex at least as late as 1934, but had become the Riviera by some time in 1936. Members of the Aprile family were operating the Riviera at least as late as 1988.

There was also a Grand Theatre in Geneseo, converted from a Baptist church in 1920. It was located at Bank and Wadsworth streets. It operated both as a movie house and as a live theater. It was destroyed by fire on March 27, 1927.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theater on Apr 6, 2011 at 6:19 pm

The caption of this photo from Flickr user Larry McCombs says that the Colonial Theatre was in the space now occupied by a clothing store at 225 S. Main Street. The building was built in 1913 and, in addition to the theater, housed the Post Office.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theater on Apr 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Here is an article about the Grand Theatre from the web site Main Street Ronceverte. The article says that the theater was built in 1937, and was designed by John Norman Sr., one of the state’s first African American architects.

The Grand has been placed on the 2011 Endangered Properties List of the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. PAWV provides this gallery of photos depicting the Grand as it is today (I’ve been unable to track down any vintage photos.) A non-profit organization, the Ronceverte Development Corporation, intends to buy the Grand to preserve it from demolition. The plans are to eventually convert the theater into a community college facility for cinema arts, and convert the former radio studios upstairs into a recording studio.

PAWV calls the house Shanklin’s Grand Theatre. James C. Shanklin was apparently the original operator of the Grand. He died in 1958, and his obituary can be found on this page of Boxoffice for March 10 that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on Apr 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm

The article headlined “St. Louis To Honor Fred Wehrenberg” in Boxoffice of September 14, 1946, features a picture of the first building occupied by the Best Theatre, which Wehrenberg had originally operated out of a tent. The article gives the names, addresses, and in many cases the names of the operators of more than a dozen St. Louis movie theaters from the 1910s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gordon's Theatre on Apr 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm

The April 7, 1909, issue of The Moving Picture World has this item in its “Notes of the Trade” column: “Chelsea, Mass.â€"The Gordon Amusement Company, of Boston, has had plans prepared for the erection of a large vaudeville theater here.”

The same year, a letter from Local 7 of the Bridge and Structural Iron Workers Union was pusblished in the October issue of trade union journal The Bridgemen’s Magazine, listing a theater in Chelsea among the projects then underway on which the Chelmsford Iron Company was doing structural and/or ornamental iron work. Given these dates, it’s likely that Gordon’s Theatre opened in late 1909 or early 1910.

The November 15, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Gordon interests had taken control of the Empire Theatre in Chelsea, and would operate it as a movie house. Gordon’s Theater would present stock company shows. The changes had been scheduled for November 10.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kelly Strayhorn Theater on Apr 6, 2011 at 4:54 am

Architect H.S. Bair’s first name was Harry. Harry S. Bair also designed the Querner Theatre and the Plaza Theatre in Pittsburgh, and was the architect for the addition of the Columbia Theatre to a hotel building in Brookville, Pennsylvania.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ryan Theatre on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Various publications of the AIA, as well as most other sources, spell the architect’s first name as Talmage, without the “d.” The name is spelled correctly in the introduction to Cinema Treasures' Rapids Theatre page, but not in the architect field.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Camden Drive-In on Apr 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm

The entry for Camden architect Howard E. Hall in the 1962 American Architects Directory of the AIA lists “1st Drive-in Theatre, original, Camden, N.J, 33” among his works.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bow-Tie Clairidge Cinemas on Apr 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm

The entry for New York architect Nathan Harris in the 1962 American Architects Directory of the AIA lists “Claridge Theatre & Off Bldg, Montclair, N.J, 22” among his works. The spelling of the theater’s name and the 1922 date don’t match the introduction above, but I’m sure it’s the same theater.

The book Montclair, by Royal F. and Elizabeth Shepard also mentions the Claridge Theatre opened in 1922. Another book, Another book, “Freedom’s child: The Life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter,” by Carrie Allen McCray, gets the spelling right, and tells of attempts to integrate the Clairidge Theatre in the early 1920s.

Also note that this photo from the collection TC linked to in a comment back in 2006, which shows that the 1923 movie “White Tiger” with Priscilla Dean is listed on the marquee. The Clairidge Theatre was certainly open by 1923, and probably opened in 1922.

It’s amazing how many sources there are using the variant spelling Claridge for this theater, even though that 1923 photo shows that the spelling Clairidge was used on the marquee from the beginning. I found more than a dozen at Google Books, including the AIA Guide and some Motion Picture Almanacs, plus issues of Cue Magazine and New York Magazine, spelling it Claridge.