Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Round Up Theatre on Jul 16, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Not demolished. The Round Up’s building still stands. The L.A. County assessor’s office lists buildings at 5419 and 5425 S. Vermont. From the street they look like one building, but they are separate structures remodeled with a common facade.

The theater was in the northerly building, now using the address 5419 (probably originally the address of a store front, with another store front at 5423, and the theater’s entrance would have been between them.) It’s a 5400 square foot building erected in 1920, very likely as a theater. If you use Google Street view and look up the alley at it from 55th Street, you can see that it still has the paired rear exits characteristic of theater buildings.

Interestingly enough, the 1929 City Directory has the address listed in the Motion Picture Theatres section, but doesn’t give a theater name. Instead, it gives the personal name “Fisher W.D.” for that address. I don’t have access to city directories from earlier in the 1920s, so can’t check to see if the address was listed with a theater name then. However, it is listed in the 1936 directory as the Colonial Theatre, so there’s another aka.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Omak Theater on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Boxoffice provides lots of confusion in its few items about Omak. To add to the complications, an October 26, 1940, Boxoffice item dateline Omak reads: “‘Dreaming Out Loud’ broke all boxoffice records for a Saturday here at the Gem Theatre, which opened two years ago.”

But a Gem at Omak, Washington, was mentioned in an ad in the December 7, 1929, Movie Age, so the name Gem must have been used for two theaters, unless Boxoffice mistakenly called the new Omak Theatre by the name Gem (and was off about how long it had been open, since the July 1939 opening of the Omak was well covered.) It’s also possible that Boxoffice mistakenly called the rebuilt Gem the Omak Theatre in the 1939 item, but that seems less likely.

After a few more searches, I’ve concluded that the New Omak Theatre, no town specified, mentioned in the same 1929 ad that also mentioned the Gem was probably just misread by Google’s search, and the ad most likely said New Omaha. The fuzzy scan of the magazine itself is as difficult for me to to read as it is for Google.

But Boxoffice in 1938 was quite specific about there being two theaters in Omak, both operated by Charles Grieme, and one of them was called the Gem. Unfortunately the 1939 article about the opening of Charlie Grieme’s new Omak Theatre didn’t mention there being another theater in town.

Here’s the gist of five relevant Boxoffice items in chronological order.

June 11, 1938: Charlie Grieme turns over operation of his two theaters at Omak to his son Will.

June 3, 1939: Charley Greime, owner of the Gem at Omak, says the town will get “…a brand new theater.”

July 15, 1939: Charlie Grieme opens his new Omak Theatre in Omak on July 12.

The next two are an example of Boxoffice’s left and right hands being ignorant of one another’s actions (even the spelling is inconsistent:)

July 22, 1939, p. 20" “Omak— Charley Greime who operates the Gem will build second house here.”

July 22, 1939, p 78: “Filmrow looked deserted for a couple of days this week when the gang went to Omak to attend the opening of Charlie Grieme’s new house, the Omak.”

Trying to puzzle out from Boxoffice what really happened in this town is a series of WTF moments. What’s clear is that a theater opened in Omak in 1939, and it was probably the one that is now called the Omak. In the photos linked above it certainly looks like something that would have been built in 1939. This theater might have been the Gem rebuilt and renamed, and most likely was.

I’ve found only two mentions in Boxoffice of a Fox Theatre in Omak. The April 10, 1948, item says: “As soon as building restrictions are lifted, the old Red Apple Theatre here will be rebuilt and reopened as the Fox, according to Ike Rodgers, manager here of the Omak Theatre.” (Perhaps Red Apple was an aka for the Red Fox?) And then The May 1 issue the same year has a longer item which says that the old Fox Theatre in Omak was to be renovated and reopened, that it had been dark since 1940, and that it had 300 seats. I can’t find any later mentions of the Fox. Perhaps the project to reopen it was abandoned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitan Theatre on Jul 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm

The Capitan Theatre was nearing completion according to the July 20, 1946, issue of Boxoffice. It was part of the Underwood-Ezell circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pioneer Theatre on Jul 14, 2009 at 11:52 pm

According to the caption of a small photo of its facade published in Boxoffice Magazine, December 8, 1945, the Pioneer Theatre had recently opened at Falfurrias, Texas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theater on Jul 14, 2009 at 11:49 pm

The original Tower Theatre in Drumright, opened in 1937 by the Griffith Amusement Company, burned on December 11, 1944. Rebuilding was delayed due to wartime shortages. Boxoffice Magazine of March 30, 1946, announced that the opening of the rebuilt Tower was scheduled for April 12 that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Jul 14, 2009 at 11:37 pm

I can find no mention of a Boomtown Theatre in Boxoffice Magazine or any of its predecessors. The closest in name was a Boom Town Theatre in Martin City, Montana. The only theaters in Drumright I’ve found mentioned in Boxoffice are the Tower and the Midwest.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about De Anza Drive-In on Jul 14, 2009 at 11:00 pm

The three-screen De Anza Drive-In was designed by Charles Cox & Associates, according to an article in the February 14, 1977, issue of Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Omak Theater on Jul 14, 2009 at 10:58 pm

There were apparently at least two theaters called the Omak. The July 15, 1939, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Omak Theatre at Omak had opened on July 12. The owner of the new house was Charlie Grieme (Boxoffice sometimes spells the name Greime), operator of several inland Washington theaters.

An item in the April 10, 1948, issue of Boxoffice mentioned in passing that Charles Greime had rebuilt the Omak Theatre in 1939. The wording suggests that the new theater was built on the same site that a theater of the same name had occupied.

I’ve found a reference from 1929 to a New Omak Theatre as well as a Gem Theatre at Omak. A 1938 Boxoffice item mentions Charlie Grieme as owner of two theaters at Omak, one being the Gem, but no name was given for the other. If the New Omak Theater of 1929 was the theater rebuilt in 1939, the fact that it was called the New Omak then suggests that there might have had been a still earlier Omak Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mexico Theatre on Jul 14, 2009 at 9:38 pm

The May 14, 1949, issue of Boxoffice included the Mayfair on its list of new theater projects recently opened or under construction. Scheduled opening of the Mayfair was May 15. The house had 800 seats and was to be operated under a 20 year lease by Paul Catalano and Arthur Yarimie.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sunset Drive-In on Jul 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm

From Boxoffice, June 24, 1950: “P.V. Williams of Munday and Clyde Williams of Knox City have broken ground on a new drive-in theatre between Munday and Knox City.” That was probably the Sunset.

Elmo Hooser was probably related to T.J. Hooser, business partner of P.V. Williams. Williams managed the pair’s theaters in Munday while Hooser managed the Ritz and Texas in Seymour. The pair were also partners in a drive-in at Brazos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vernon Plaza Theatre on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:57 pm

The Plaza Theatre was built in 1953. A photo of the auditorium appeared in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of July 7, 1956, as part of a feature about wide screens. The caption included the line: “The Plaza, erected in 1953, is said to be the first new theatre especially designed for widescreen and stereosound.”

A March 12, 1949, Boxoffice item about the opening of the El Rancho Drive-In had information about other theaters in Vernon. There were four indoor houses in operation then, these being the 350-seat Majestic and the 400-seat Mecca, both operated by Cortez Hamm, and the 1000-seat Vernon and 500-seat Pic, operated by Interstate Theatres. A second drive-in was already under construction as well.

A 1941 Boxoffice item mentions a Pictorium Theatre at Vernon. That was probably the Pic’s earlier name.

The Vernon Theatre was destroyed by fire in September, 1952, and a January 31, 1953, Boxoffice item said that a new theater was being built to replace it. The item called the new house the Vernon Theatre, but I’ve found no later mentions of a Vernon Theatre in Vernon, so I’m wondering if perhaps the new theater was named the Plaza instead. The new house was described in Boxoffice as having a front of tan face brick, which the Plaza has, and the opening year is certainly right.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roy Theatre on Jul 14, 2009 at 12:06 am

An item in the January 10, 1948, Boxoffice says that P.V. Williams had recently opened a second theater at Munday, the Roy. “He rigged up some equipment from Herber Bros. and got the house going for roving agricultural workers who come from the southwest and Mexico” the item said. Williams told Boxoffice that the Roy did well when showing Mexican pictures.

A November, 1949, Boxoffice item said that the Roy had reopened for the winter, so it was apparently a seasonal theater.

Williams opened the Roxy in 1928, and there was a brief article with photo in the September 15 issue of Motion Picture Times that year. The Roxy had 490 seats.

A July 16, 1949, Boxoffice article about Williams said that he had opened his first theater in Munday in 1913. No name was given for that house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Leo Theatre on Jul 13, 2009 at 11:32 pm

The name change came with a new owner and complete renovation in 1948. The September 18 issue of Boxoffice announced the reopening as the Leo and said that Joy Houck had bought the Queen early that year. Houck also operated the Strand Theatre nearby.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Parkside Theatre on Jul 13, 2009 at 10:21 pm

The January 12, 1946, issue of Boxoffice ran an item headed “Will Raze Old Parkside Theatre in Lombard, Ill.” The property had been sold to clear back taxes and special assessments, and conditions of the sale included the demolition of the building. One line of the item said the Parkside had been built “…some 35 years ago.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gothic Theatre on Jul 13, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Undulating walls with lighting coves were not a common feature of theaters built in 1920, but they were popular in the 1940s. In the small photo of the auditorium on the Gothic web site it looks to me more late art moderne than anything else.

The City of Englewood has this photo collection which includes three older pictures of the Gothic- only of the outside, unfortunately. In the photo dated ca.1930 the 1935 release “Oil For the Lamps of China” is on the marquee. In the one dated ca.1940 the 1940 release “Boom Town” is on the marquee.

Some alterations took place between those years. There’s a wider marquee in 1940, and the shops either side of the entrance have been closed up. That probably dates from the 1940 remodeling mentioned in the intro, but note that the entrance doorway still has the Gothic pointed arch top. The current facade is clearly a later alteration.

The facade in both of those photos has some really nice brick work, and the current facade covers that up, as in the photo dated ca.1950 (actually later since the 1957 “An Affair to Remember” is on the marquee.) The 1957 facade must be the result of the 1949 remodeling. I wonder how much of the brick remains underneath?

I’m not sure that the brick facade dates from 1920, though it might. I’d say the style was actually a modernized Gothic, with some Prairie Style influence. The style could be considered a precursor of Art Deco, but it wasn’t full-on Art Deco. If it did date from 1920, though, it was very advanced for its time.

That site also has pictures of the Englewood Theatre (ca.1929, as “On With the Show” was released that year) and the Pioneer Theatre (probably 1936, with “The Mysterious Avenger” on the marquee.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gothic Theatre on Jul 13, 2009 at 6:08 pm

The introduction to this page mentions a remodeling in 1940, but the April 30, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine describes a major remodeling then underway at the house. This involved rebuilding the front, reconfiguring the entrance, moving the boxoffice, enlarging the rest rooms, expanding the balcony to accommodate an additional 150 seats, building new stairways, shifting the manager’s office to the main floor, enlarging the stage, reseating and completely redecorating the auditorium, and installing new heating and ventilation systems.

A later issue of Boxoffice refers to the theater as “…the New Gothic Theatre, now under construction at Englewood.” A third item says the estimated cost of the project was $100,000.

Given the scope of this rebuilding, it’s likely that just about everything about the Gothic that doesn’t date from the 1990s renovation dates from 1949.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lamar Theatre on Jul 12, 2009 at 11:56 pm

The Lamar Theatre was designed by Denver architect Charles D. Strong. An article about it with photos was published in the March 29, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. Decorations in the Lamar were executed by Hart Theatrical Decorating and Display. The new house had been built in a converted retail building. It was not the Pioneer Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kelso Theater Pub on Jul 12, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Kelso had a second theater, called the Liberty, until 1954. The March 20 issue of Boxoffice that year said the house was closing after twenty years of operation, leaving Kelso with only one theater. A drive-in was in the planning stage.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Redwood Theatre on Jul 12, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I think 260 might be after the twinning. The September 29, 1951, issue of Boxoffice said that Norris Kemp of the Pine Cone Theatre planned to expand the house to 600 seats, and that the project, including a new front and foyer, was being designed by Gale Santocono of San Francisco. FDY might have been late with the updating of the enlarged seat count. From Google Street View and satellite imagery it’s clear that the building could easily have held 600 seats. It sounds like it might be one of those cases where every other row was removed to give more leg room.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Main Theater on Jul 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm

I wonder if the order of names is backward for this theater? I’ve found the Rex mentioned in various issues of Boxoffice as far back as 1939, when it was bought by Claude Mundo. Mundo sold the Rex three years after moving it a block down Main Street. Then the first mention in Boxoffice of a Main Theatre in Little Rock appears in 1952. The Main is mentioned four times from 1952 to 1954, then vanishes. No address is given for it.

It’s also possible that both Rex Theatres were called the Main, the one at 213 Main before becoming the Rex and the one at 106 Main after being called the Rex.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Hill Theatre on Jul 12, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Boxoffice Magazine of January 25, 1941, said that Malco had announced a tentative opening date of March 1 for their new Park Hill Theatre. It was Malco’s third house in North Little Rock.

This web page has a photo of the nondescript strip mall which had replaced the historic theater by 2004.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Main Theater on Jul 12, 2009 at 5:08 pm

The Rex Theatre operated in two different locations, making the move in 1946. The August 3, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said that Claude Mundo had closed his Rex Theatre at 213 Main Street before his new building at 106 Main Street was ready to be occupied. Mundo had expected the new theater to be completed by July 1, but materials shortages had caused construction delays.

The building at 213 main Street was owned by the Parkin Printing company, which was expanding its operations into the former theater space. The estimated new opening date for the Rex Theatre at 106 Main Street was about the middle of September.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Hill Theatre on Jul 12, 2009 at 12:39 am

Here’s a PDF of a report about the Park Hill Theatre, with history and photos. Published in 2004.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Malco Theatre on Jul 12, 2009 at 12:28 am

Additionally, I find that the national Register of Historic Places uses two different spellings of the first architect’s surname: Brueggeman and Bruggeman. Boxoffice uses Bruegeman consistently, but then Boxoffice is not always the most reliable source for correct spelling.

Cinema Tour attributes a Park Theatre in North Little Rock to “Bruggeman, Swain & Allen” but that looks like two spelling strikes to me. For now I’m inclined to go with Brueggeman, as that’s the way it’s spelled in this PDF of an article published by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. This article also attributes the Park Hill Theater (as they call it) to the firm. It also gives the architects' names as Edward F. Brueggeman and Guy W. Swaim. So far I’ve been unable to discover Mr. Allen’s first name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Malco Theatre on Jul 11, 2009 at 11:35 pm

It looks like the Bruegeman, Swaim & Allen-designed theater in Princeton, Kentucky, I mentioned in my comment above didn’t get built. Issues of Boxoffice from late 1937 and early 1938 cite Malco’s plans for the house, but a late 1938 article says that the Crescent Amusement Company had acquired the Savoy Theatre in Princeton from Malco, which apparently pulled out of that market. Crescent demolished the Savoy in the spring of 1939 and built the Capitol Theatre in its place. I can find no indication that BS&A designed the Capitol.