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The building that was converted into the Family Theatre was built in 1872-73 as an office and commercial building. Despite conversion of the upper floors into a hotel in 1880, then back into offices, then back into a hotel again in the 1890s, and finally the gutting of much of the interior for conversion into the Family Theatre in 1909, the facade remained essentially the same for decades. The original architect of the building was Mortimer L. Smith. The building’s history is told on this web page, where it is listed as the Second Williams Block.
An extensive description of the Bucklen Opera House can be found on this web page, as part of a biographical sketch of Herbert Bucklen (keep scrolling sown, you’ll get to it.) It says that the architect of the Bucklen Opera House was Mortimer L. Smith, of Detroit, who was also the architect of the Tibbets Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan.
I’ve found multiple sources saying that the Majestic Theatre itself was designed by Chicago architect J. M. Wood, and that John Galen Howard designed the building exterior. However, I’ve come across an item in the April 18, 1903, issue of American Architect and Architecture which says that while Wood had originally been associated with Howard in the project, he had withdrawn at an early stage.
The text is at this link. Scroll UP a few pages for an exterior photo, then a few more pages for two interior photos of the theater.
At this link is an article from the March 7, 1903, issue of the advertisers' trade supplement of American Architect and Building News. Along with a fairly detailed description, it features an additional two interior photos of the Majestic, and a small exterior photo.
A book published in 1892 called “The Bay of San Francisco” has a few paragraphs about Chicago theater architect J.M. Wood, who had designed the New California Theatre in San Francisco. It lists several of the theaters he designed, and the Grand Opera House in Los Angeles is among them.
As Keysor and Morgan had never designed a big theater, it seems likely that Ozro Childs would have wanted to have an established theater architect working with the local firm on such a major project. James M. Wood should be added to the list of architects for the Grand. It was not unusual for Wood to design theaters in buildings that were designed by other architects.
Wood later worked on the Burbank Theatre, a few blocks down Main Street in Los Angeles, and the Loring Opera House (Golden State Theatre) in Riverside, California. “The Bay of San Francisco” lists twenty theaters that had been designed by Wood as of 1892, and the list is not exhaustive.
The official web site that Lost Memory linked to is gone, but here is a link to the new official Academy Theatre web site.
The site’s “About Us” page says that the Academy of Music was designed by the noted Chicago theater architect J.M. Wood. The page also says that the house opened in December, 1885.
A 1905 book titled “A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of Elkhart County, Indiana” (Google Books scan,) edited by Anthony Deahl, describes a new “Goshen Opera House” which was then under construction, but from the description it is clear that it was the Jefferson Theatre.
The Jefferson Theatre was designed by the noted Chicago theater architect J.M. Wood, who in the late 19th century nearly rivaled John McElfatrick in popularity as a theater designer.
The Grand Theatre has had an entire book written about it, “Let’s go to the Grand!,” by Sheila M. F. Johnston.
The Grand Theatre was originally designed by Chicago architect J. M. Wood. James Wood was one of the most prolific American theater architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The restored mural on the proscenium arch is by Canadian artist Frederick Challener. The arch, side boxes, and the stage are virtually all that remains of Wood’s original design, the remainder of the building having been completely rebuilt in 1978.
Oh, and the name of the street is North Broadway. North is part of the street name in this case, not just a direction. Google got it right on the Street View image, but not on the map.
The Daly Theatre has been demolished. The L.A. County Assessor’s office says that the store on the corner was built in 1947, and the adjacent building was built in 1968.
As the Players' Ring Theatre, this house goes back to at least 1949. Players' Ring was one of several professional theater companies that flourished in Los Angeles during the postwar period. I recall seeing the theater’s ads in the L.A. Times into the 1960s. James Arness, Marlo Thomas, Roger Corman, Michael Landon, and Jack Nicholson are among the alumni of the Players' Ring.
I’m not positive, but I think the Gallery Theatre was the name of a second stage in the same building, and it was probably that room which became the second screen of the Gary Theatre when it was a twin movie house.
The building is quite old. The L.A. County Assessor’s office says it was built in 1925, with an effectively built date of 1932. I don’t think it was originally built as a theater.
Also, this theater is located inside the limits of the incorporated City of West Hollywood, not Los Angeles.
Google Maps will never be able to fetch this location, as every trace of Court Street east of the Harbor Freeway was wiped out long ago. The pin on the Google map is about a mile northwest of the actual location of this theater.
Unlike Hollywood, West Hollywood is not a district of the City of Los Angeles, but a distinct incorporated city. This theater should be listed in West Hollywood, not Los Angeles.
The Bonito Theatre should be listed as being in East Los Angeles, as it was well outside the Los Angeles city limits.
Here’s Mark’s link to the photo from Life.
Cinema Treasures doesn’t currently support bare links. If you don’t know HTML, you can use simple Markdown code to embed inline links. Put the text for the link between square brackets, followed by the url between parentheses, with no space between closing bracket and opening parenthesis. Presto, an inline link just like the ones in this comment, with only four extra keystrokes.
The address of the Liberty Theatre still needs to be updated to 13-15 S. Fifth Street. Google Street View now also needs to be reset to look in the correct direction, south from Main Street.
Looking south, the Liberty Theatre would have been down the block on the right, beyond the modern building currently occupied by Chase Bank. The Quimby/State/Cinema 1 Theatre would have been a bit farther down the block on the left.
Because Google’s camera truck didn’t go down Fifth Street, it’s only possible to see the Variety Theatre’s site from a distance. As Street View is currently set, looking north from Main Street, the Variety’s site is occupied by the pale building with a decorative false gable above its entrance, down the block on the right and just to the left of the foreground lamp post.
Mr. J. M. Blanchard was mentioned as the operator of the People’s Theatre in a couple of 1913 issues of The Moving Picture World. In the November 1 issue, he was cited as being displeased that a cinematic version of “Quo Vadis?” was not being made available to movie theaters. The producers were attempting to attract an audience that didn’t usually attend movies, and they advertised that their production had never been shown in a movie house, but only in regular theaters.
The regular theater that showed the movie in Sunbury was probably the Chestnut Street Opera House, the only such theater listed at Sunbury in Julius Cahn’s guides during the period. Despite its name, the opera house played vaudeville for much of its history, and might have shown movies as part of the programs. If so, it should be added to Cinema Treasures.
It looks like the opening name of this house was Miller Theatre. Here’s an excerpt from a document about historic resources in Manhattan prepared for the National Register of Historic Places. It’s from a section of the document that concerns a Manhattan architect named Henry B. Winter, who was active in the first half of the 20th century:
“Designed in 1926, the Miller Theater at Moro Street and North Manhattan Avenue had an interior based on an Egyptian motif, reflecting the influence on popular culture of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922.”
A document about historical resources in Manhattan, prepared for the National Register of Historic Places, says that the Marshall Theatre was Manhattan’s first purpose-built movie house, and that it was originally designed by Carl Boller. This project was undertaken in 1909, a decade before the firm Boller Brothers was formed, though Robert Boller was working in his older brother’s office as a draftsman by this time.
The list of known Boller Brothers theaters says that Boller Brothers did additional work on this theater in 1929 and 1950, but doesn’t reveal the extent of these projects.
The only mention of Mabel, Minnesota, I can find in the old trade journals is an item in The Moving Picture World for January 24, 1914: “A new moving picture show will be opened at Mabel, Minn., by Doctor Harrington, of Preston, Minn.” It might have been the Castle.
CinemaTour gives the address of the Varsity Theatre as 1125 Moro Street. The structure on that lot is a typical old commercial building, so the theater was probably converted from retail space when it opened in 1969. The current use of the building appears to be offices for the publishers of a university-related sports magazine called Powercat Illustrated.
pedropolis: The book store that occupies this building is apparently thriving, so it’s unlikely that it will become available for use as a theater. I’ve never been in the book store, so I don’t know if they leveled the floor or not, but they probably did, and if they did it’s probably solid concrete. Ripping out a concrete floor to restore a traditional sloped theater floor is very expensive, so turning it back into a theater would probably involve building a new stadium-style seating area, assuming the ceiling is high enough to accommodate one.
Chuck: I’ve found no evidence that Varney’s Book Store ever showed movies in this building. The terra cotta (or faux terra cotta) piece on the parapet reading “20 * Jon A. Levin * 00” refers to the owner of the book store, and 2000 must have been either the year he took over the store, or the year he incorporated the theater space into the book store.
The theater’s original name, Varsity Theatre, still needs to be added as an aka.
I found a reference to the O'Klare Theatre being on North Barstow, not South Barstow, but I don’t know the exact source. It’s a Google Document reproducing page 295 of an unidentified book. The page describes a number of businesses in Eau Claire, and the paragraph about the theater says it was in “…the second building beyond the bridge….”
I think the address currently listed must also be wrong. The 1000 blocks are residential areas on the edge of town, and I don’t see any bridges near them in Google Street View. The only bridge on Barstow Street is in the center of town, and it’s the dividing line for north-south street numbers.
Did the listed address mistakenly get a superfluous 3 in it? I’m thinking the O'Klare might have been at 105 N. Barstow Street. 105 probably would have been in the second building north of the bridge, as the block would have started with 101 N. It’s also possible that the theater was at 103-105 N. Barstow, and this was written 103-5 in the source, but the hyphen got blurred out.
Boxoffice Magazine has moved its archive from Issuu.com to its own web site, in a section called The Vault. The article about Harry Zimmerman is now at this link.
I’ve come across a couple of references to a movie house in Sunbury called the People’s Theatre, which was in operation by 1913. No address is available, but I’m wondering if it might have been an early aka for the Strand or the Rialto.
In the vintage photo of the Strand at Strandsunbury (the one taken when the street was flooded) the entrance building, at least, was of a style that could have dated from the early 20th century. The theater could have been built behind it at a later date, of course, and the lobby run through an existing building.
Roger6: I’m not connected with Cinema Treasures except as an active long-time user familiar with its workings, and I’ve been able to puzzle out some of the features of the new site.
The attribution on this page only means that the theater was added to the database by P Shaw. Your photo attribution is on a different page. Click on the “Photos” link above the picture, or on the photo itself, then click on the thumbnail on the page the link fetches, and that will take you to the page where the photo and the comments you uploaded are displayed (the link to your Flickr page isn’t working, though. I don’t think they’ve worked out all the bugs yet.)
To the right of that photo on its own page it does say that it was uploaded by Roger6. There’s also a box below the photo where viewers can leave comments on the photo itself. Your user name to the right of the photo on that page is also a link, and it will take you to a page where thumbnails of all the photos you upload will be on display.
If you need more detailed information, you’ll have to contact the site’s moderators. The contact email addresses are on a page linked from the “About” page, which in turn is linked in the banner at the top of every page.