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If the writer of the item in the April 23, 1955, issue of Boxoffice got the facts right, the Sutton must have opened in the mid-1930s. The article said that the opening week of “Marty” had given the Sutton the biggest gross in its 21-year history.
The earliest mention of the Sutton I’ve found in Boxoffice so far is from the August 28, 1943, issue which said that the house had been taken over by the R&B circuit, and that after being renovated the Sutton would be operated with the same policy as the circuit’s Art Theatre and 8th Street Playhouse, both of which were in Greenwich Village.
Averitt died of cancer in 2004. Here’s an obituary.
The May 18, 1970, issue of Boxoffice ran an article about the Jerry Lewis Cinema. They gave the opening date as March 25, 1970. The company that built the Jerry Lewis theaters, Network Cinemas Corporation, had been formed in September, 1969, so they had managed to get their first theater open in about six months. The interiors of the theater were designed by Robin Wagner, but Boxoffice didn’t give the name of the architect.
The architect for the conversion of the Murray Hill into a quad in 1990 was John W. Averett, Averett Associates. He also designed the renovations for the City Cinemas Village East, opened the same year, and City Cinemas' East 86th Street Cinemas, Completed at the end of the 1990s.
In 1999, The New York Times published this article about the rather complex history of the building at this address (the article will probably vanish from the Internets soon if The Times decides to put its content behind a pay wall, so if you aren’t a Times subscriber read it while it lasts.)
The original building at 210 E. 86th Street, built for the Musical Mutual Protective Union in 1904 and designed by architects Trowbridge & Livingston, was replaced by a modern building in 1966, but the greater part of the East 86th Street Cinemas is located behind the surviving facade of an annex built on 85th Street in 1919, which was designed by the same architects. The entrance to the theater is in the 1966 building on 86th Street.
I don’t know who designed the 1966 building, but the architect for the 1999 renovation of the theater into a four-plex was John W. Averitt, Averitt Associates, who was best known for designing live performance spaces but who did at least three renovation projects for City Cinemas. The others that I know of were the City Cinemas Village East and the Murray Hill cinema, both done earlier than the 86th Street Cinemas.
The conversion of this theater into a seven-screen multiplex was the work of the late John W. Averitt, Averitt Associates, an architect who designed at least two other projects for City Cinemas: the East 86th Street Cinemas and the Murray Hill Cinemas. Averitt was best known for his designs for live performance spaces.
An article about the conversion of the Village East appeared in the June, 1991, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The article mentioned one of the theater’s aka’s that is not yet listed above, the Molly Picon.
The Northpoint was built by ABC Theatres of California and was designed by ABC-Paramount’s consulting architect of the 1960s and 1970s, Henry George Greene.
The Capri Theatre, like other ABC houses of the 1960s and 1970s, was designed by architect Henry George Greene.
Here’s a photo of the former Capri Theatre.
The June 19, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said that Mr. and Mrs. T.W. Mattern planned to open the Oaks Theatre at Columbus in September. The item referred to the theater as a 650-seat house “…new from the ground up.” Another brief item in the same issue (actually on the previous page) gave the same projected opening date, but listed the seating capacity as 624.
On December 7, 1964, Boxoffice reported the death of exhibitor W.A. Struss, who had built the Orphic Theatre in Columbus in 1929. The obituary said that Struss had bought the Oaks Theatre from Tommy Mattern in 1947 and operated it until his death.
In 1968, the Oaks was one of many theaters in Texas that were part of the circuit operated by Rubin S. Frels. Frels had been the booker for Struss’s Orphic, and the association continued when Struss took over the Oaks the year after it was built. Frels had a long association with Columbus, having bought the Columbus Theatre there in 1928, according to Motion Picture Times of August 4 that year.
The Savannah was called the Churchill Theatre prior to 1940, and was operated by E.W. Churchill. The July 27, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that Churchill had sold his theater to R.B. Gooch effective July 20. The item said that Churchill had operated the house for fifteen years. The September 14, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that Gooch had formally opened the theater as the Savannah on September 8.
The June 19, 1954, issue of Boxoffice reported a fire at the Savannah Theatre had forced the evacuation of about 100 patrons. The item said that damage was heavy but covered by insurance. I haven’t found any follow-up articles about the event or about repairs to the theater.
The October 13, 1956, issue of Boxoffice announced that the Skyvue Drive-In at Savannah would close November 10, and the Savannah Theatre would open on November 11. Savannah was one of a number of towns in the region where drive-ins operated during the summer and the business would be moved over to hardtops for the colder seasons.
After being closed in June, 1972, the refurbished Norwalk Theatre reopened as the Norwalk Cinema on November 1 that year. The independent operator who reopened the house was Leonard Jefferson, and the opening feature was “Fiddler On the Roof” according to Boxoffice Magazine of November 27.
The August 3, 1935, issue of Boxoffice mentions a Forum Theatre in Norwalk, taken over that year by Schine after having been built the previous year. It’s not listed here yet.
Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the fire in the February 16, 1959, issue, and refers to the Gilger Theatre Building, rather than Gilger Theatre. It said the theater had been in use as a warehouse for several years, but didn’t say what name it had been using before closing.
A brief notice of the death of William Gilger was published in Boxoffice on February 14, 1948. This item said that he had built the Gilger Theatre in 1903 and had sold it following WWI.
I’ve found the Moose Theatre mentioned in issues of Boxoffice from 1939, 1943, and 1944, but there’s nothing in these items to indicate whether or not it was the same theater as the Gilger.
A Rootsweb page mentions Mary Pickford’s “Coquette” playing at the moose Theatre in Norwalk in 1929. There was also a postcard captioned “Moose Theatre and Armory” for sale on eBay, but the image is gone. The eBay image for the Gilger Theatre postcard Lost Memory linked to above is also gone, so there’d be nothing to compare it with anyway.
The April 3, 1972, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Norwalk Twin had opened recently. The theater had been remodeled inside and out, and the two auditoriums each seated 300.
Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the opening of the Wyandotte Theatre in their issue of August 20, 1938. It was a single-screen theater with 1,500 seats, and was decorated in an American Indian motif.
The earliest mention of the Wyandotte as a duplex theater I’ve found is in the August 16, 1941, issue of Boxoffice which said that National Theatre Supply had received an order for carpeting and booth equipment for the project.
The January 10, 1942, issue of Boxoffice said that the Wyandotte Theatre’s Annex had opened on New Year’s Day. The original plan for the house had been to show double bills in one auditorium with a single feature and short subjects in the other, but the policy management settled on was to have both auditoriums running the same double feature program, but on a staggered schedule.
I ran across a 1958 Boxoffice item (which I’ve now lost track of, unfortunately) which reported that a minor fire had taken place in the main auditorium of the Wyandotte Theatre during a performance. Though the fire had been quickly extinguished the auditorium smelled of smoke, and so the audience was moved to the smaller auditorium, which had not been in use that night, and the show continued there.
The item said that one or the other of the auditoriums was usually not in use by this time, and the auditorium management opened on a given night depended on how much business they were expecting for the scheduled program. I’ve not been able to find out when they began using both auditoriums on a regular basis again.
The Majestic was being taken over by the Associated Theatres circuit according to Boxoffice Magazine of July 30, 1938. The deal was not completed until 1939. The previous owner was named George Wilbur, who became a manager for Associated, first at the Rialto in Wyandotte, then at the Majestic after it was remodeled by the new owners.
The earliest mention of the Majestic I’ve found in Boxoffice is from 1937, but George Wilbur was mentioned as early as 1935 as being an operator from Wyandotte. Judging from the photo linked above I’d say the building must date from the 1920s or earlier, and the style of the facade suggests that it was built as a theater.
The Wilshire Theatre is being renamed the Saban Theatre, so I’d surmise the marquee is being rebuilt. No events are scheduled until October, so they might be doing some other renovation work as well.
Here’s a press release about the theater and about Cheryl and Haim Saban, for whom the theater is being renamed.
I’ve found references to the Rialto in Boxoffice Magazine as early as 1939, when it was taken over by Associated Theatres. The most recent reference I’ve found is from the August 25, 1956, issue, in an item which said “The Rialto Theatre at Wyandotte, which was reopened by Bible and Christian Books as a religious film theatre, has been closed and is now for rent for meeting purposes.”
Boxoffice has uploaded scans of most of its archive to Issuu, a web publishing site. To find items on specific subjects it’s best to use Google advanced search, but once a particular issue of the magazine is opened at Issuu, their internal search will quickly find specific words (only one at a time, alas) within that issue.
The aka UA Cine 150 needs to be added. Like the two UA Cinema 150 houses (I don’t know why UA gave the Dallas location a variant name) in Oak Brook, Illinois, and Santa Clara, California, this theater was designed by San Francisco architect George Raad of George Raad & Associates.
As noted in the article to which Lost Memory linked above, the UA Cinema 150 in Oak Brook, like its counterparts in Dallas and in Santa Clara, California, was designed by San Francisco architect George Raad, George Raad & Associates. However, the Boxoffice article also lists the firm of Keys & Hestrupp alongside Raad for the Oakbrook project only. This was probably a local firm that supervised the construction for Raad’s distant office.
Also, I have a suspicion that Boxoffice might have misspelled one of the names (Hestrupp might actually have been Hestrup) but I’m not positive. What I can find is a .pdf about architectural resources in the village of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, which mentions a firm called Keys & Hestrup, and an error in Boxoffice seems more likely than an error in a local architectural survey.
Contradicting claims above (and at CinemaTour and other web sites) that the U.A. Stonestown opened in 1971, Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of November 23, 1970, announced that United Artists had recently opened its Stonestown Cinema with the inaugural attraction “The Owl and the Pussycat.”
Also, in the earliest references it’s always called the UA Stonestown Cinema, not UA Stonestown Theater. Starting in 1974 it is called the UA Stonestown Twin, as it was until recently. For some reason, the Regal Cinemas web site now lists it merely as the Stonestown Twin, and the Fandango page to which Regal links for show times lists it with the oddly redundant name UA Stonestown Twin 2.
Balaban & Katz retained the services of the firm of Loebl, Schlossman & Bennett, the architects of the Oakbrook shopping center, to design the original Oakbrook Cinema, according to an item in Boxoffice Magazine, December 23, 1963. Plans called for 1200 seats in the single-screen theater.
The December 7, 1964, issue of Boxoffice announced that B&K would hold an open house for the new theater on December 19 and 20, with the formal opening slated for Christmas Day. The final paragraph of the article was interesting:
“First event on the Oakbrook opening program will be dedication of a 50-year time capsule, which will be embedded in the front sidewalk December 16 with appropriate press ceremonies. …the capsule, to be opened in 2014, will serve to dramatize the rapid developments which are expected to occur in Chicago’s western suburbs during the next half-century.”
The first theater at the Woodfield Mall was opened to the public by ABC-Great States on July 30, 1971, but had its formal grand opening on September 9 that year. It was a twin screen operation called the Woodfield 1 and 2, and was designed by the architectural firm of Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett & Dart, the same firm that designed the original River Oaks Theatre in Calumet City.
The October 11, 1971, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the opening, but failed to mention the seating capacity of the new theater. An earlier Boxoffice item published on February 1, 1971, announcing the groundbreaking for the project, had said that one of the auditoriums would seat 1200, but that the capacity of the other had not yet been announced.
The June 4, 1979, issue of Boxoffice said: “The Woodfield 2 and 3 opened May 25, giving Woodfield 1 and 2 the much-needed room in one of the country’s largest shopping centers.” The use of Woodfield 2 and 3 as the name of the new theaters must have been carelessness on the part of Boxoffice. Later issues refer to the new houses more sensibly as Woodfield 3 and 4.
I’ve been unable to find anything in Boxoffice about the Woodfield 5.
The December 10, 1938, issue of Boxoffice said that the Ritz Theatre had been designed by the Little Rock architectural firm of Brueggeman, Swaim & Allen. Another item in the same issue said that the opening feature scheduled at the new theater was “The Mad Miss Manton,” in which a local actress, Catherine O'Quinn, played a roll. The exact opening date was not given, but one item said it was scheduled for Thursday, which might have meant the Thursday before publication (December 8) or the Thursday after (December 15.)
The March 6, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that the Ritz was expected to be reopened within a week after undergoing repairs for smoke and water damage due to a fire in a building next door. I’ve been unable to find the date of the larger conflagration which occurred later that year, but the November 6 issue of Boxoffice, which said that the Ritz would soon be reopened, said that the theater had been “…destroyed by fire months ago.”
The Ritz was originally opened by Ray Morrow in partnership with R&R-United Theatres. Morrow had been an exhibitor in Malvern at least as early as 1927, and operated the Liberty Theatre in Malvern as late as 1940. In 1941 he reopened the Liberty as the Joy Theatre, which was being operated by Robb & Rowley as late as 1954. Morrow died in 1944.
Malvern also had a theater called the Rio, for black patrons only, opened by W. F. Caffey in 1947. One Boxoffice item about the 1948 rebuilding of the Ritz said that its formerly segregated balcony with separate entrance had been converted into a white balcony with access from the main part of the theater as part of the reconstruction. Perhaps this was the result of the opening of the Rio.
Pacific’s Hastings 8 was on Rosemead Boulevard about four miles east of downtown Pasadena.Pacific’s Hastings 8 was on Rosemead Boulevard about four miles east of downtown Pasadena.