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The Village Theatre was renamed the Varsity Theatre by 1952. Cinema Treasures already has the Varsity Theatre listed, so this page is redundant. The introduction could be moved to the Varsity page, which is lacking the information it contains.
The Varsity’s official web site says that this theater opened in 1927 as the Carolina Theatre, and was later called the Village Theatre before finally becoming the Varsity Theatre in the 1950s.
The new Carolina Theatre opened on October 15, 1942, and this house was renamed the Village just prior to that event. Cinema Treasures currently has a page for the Village Theatre which is, of course, a duplication. Its introduction is accurate as far as it goes, and could be moved to this page, adding that the house was renamed the Varsity by 1952. As noted in my comment of May 27, 2009, above, this house was called the Varsity in a Boxoffice item from December 6, 1952, when Wil-Kin Theatre Supply was installing a new cycloramic screen.
Comments by Lost Memory on the Carolina Theatre page and on the redundant Village Theatre page say that the original Carolina Theater had a Robert-Morton organ installed in 1927.
This weblog post includes a nice photo of the Varsity Theatre. The year of construction, 1927, is carved into the building’s facade.
The New York Clipper, a sports and entertainment magazine, listed an Orpheum Theatre in Kingston, New York, at least as early as 1914. I’m wondering if this was a different Orpheum, or if the 1925 cornerstone shoeshoe14 mentioned actually belongs to the “…1 Sty extension on B'way….” that Warren mentioned in the previous comment? Perhaps the theater itself is older, and the building was only altered and expanded in 1925.
Additional information unearthed: According to an article about the laying of the foundations of the new theater, published in the Kingston Daily Freeman, April 18, 1918, the original architect of Keeeney’s Theatre was William E. Lehman, with Gerard W. Betz as supervising architect. Betz was the sole architect for the major expansion in 1926.
Here’s a correction to some of the errors in the current description of this theater. The February 19, 1926, issue of the Kingston Daily Freeman said that Keeney’s Theatre had been built as a motion picture house, not a vaudeville theater. The “stage” that was being moved back in the proposed alterations was apparently a small one, and Walter Reade’s plan was to add regular vaudeville to the house after the new stage built.
This is borne out by the caption to the ca.1921 photo ken mc linked to in his comment of December 3, 2007, which says that Keeney’s was built in 1919 (that was probably the year it opened, as Lost Memory’s comment of December 6, 2007, says that an organ was installed in 1918) and adds that vaudeville supplemented the early silent movies at the house after Reade took over. The aka Cohen Theatre should be removed. If there was a Cohen Theatre in Kingston, it was not in this building. The aka Reade’s Kingston Theatre should be added.
Walter Reade had control of the Kingston Theatre by 1926, and he was the instigator of the major alterations that were made that year. Thr project was described in an article in the Kingston Daily Freeman, May 6, 1926.
The building was extensively altered. Storefronts along Crown Street were removed, and the stage was moved back into that space. At the same time, the back rows of seats were removed for about 20 feet across the width of the orchestra floor, and that space was converted into a lounge and promenade. New seats were added at the front of the house after the stage had been moved back. The structural changes were undoubtedly accompanied by redecoration of the entire theater.
The 1926 alterations were designed by local architect Gerard W. Betz. I’ve also found an item in the January 27, 1915, issue of the trade journal Engineering & Contracting which names Betz as the architect of a planned $80,000 theater project in Kingston. So far I’ve been unable to discover which theater this 1915 project became, assuming that it was actually built.
I found another 1915 Music Trade Review item that said: “Bert and Harry Beyerstedt are planning to erect a new People’s Theater in Winona.” From the wording it sounds like they already operated a theater called the People’s, and were replacing it with a new building.
Also, I misspelled the name as Beyerstadt in my previous comment. The vowels should all be e’s.
Chuck’s description says there were five theaters in downtown Winona, but only four are currently listed. I have two sources saying that, in 1915, the Beyerstadt Amusement Company (or Beyerstadt Bros.) was building a theater in Winona. It might be the missing theater.
An item in one issue of Music Trade Review said the Beyerstadt Bros. theater was being built at Fourth and Johnson streets. That would have put it very close to the State and Winona theaters, both of which were on Johnson between Third and Fourth.
An item in the trade journal Engineering & Contracting said that the new Beyerstadt Amusement Company theater was being designed by La Crosse architect Otto A. Merman.
Here is an obituary for Jacob Lasky, published in Billboard, November 17, 1951:[quote]“LASKY— Jacob C.,
85, owner of the Lasky Theatre, Detroit, November 6. He built the house in 1926, leasing it to the Koppin Circuit originally, and later operating it himself for a time. Survived by his widow, Bessie, and five children. Interment in Clover Hill Park Cemetery, Detroit.”[/quote]
Arcadia Publishing Company’s book “Hamtramck” by Greg Kowalski (at Google Books) has a nocturnal photo of the Farnum Theatre, the caption of which says that it opened in 1918 with 900 seats, and was closed in 1967 and has since been demolished.
It also says there were once seven movie theaters in Hamtramck, which means two are still missing from Cinema Treasures. I’ve been trying to track down a theater that was planned for Hamtramck in 1918. If it was built, it must be one of the missing two. An item in Michigan Film Review of February 26 that year said that it was to be located “…near Florian Street….” Assuming that it would have fronted on Joseph Campau Street, it probably wouldn’t be any of the five houses listed so far on CT. The nearest of those, the Star, was two blocks from Florian.
It was to be a big theater, in a two story building 72x118 feet, seating 1,600, and costing $100,000. Perhaps it never got built, but if it did, the architect was Joseph G. Kastler, of Detroit.
The Elsmere Theatre was designed by the firm of Shampan & Shampan, architects of the Williamsburg Theatre in Brooklyn.
Here is an early photo of the Elsmere, from a 1916 book, “Theatres and Motion Picture Houses” by Arthur Sherman Meloy.
Here is An early photo of the American Theatre, from a 1916 book, “Theatres and Motion Picture Houses” by Arthur Sherman Meloy.
This was a remarkable building. Mahler and Cordell were certainly paying attention to what was going on in Midwestern architecture during the period. I don’t know of any other theater that displays so much of the Prairie style. It’s too bad this one has been lost.
Here is a photo of the Saxe Theatre, from a 1916 book, “Theatres and Motion Picture Houses,” by Arthur Sherman Meloy.
The Regent Theatre opened on March 30, 1918. The new house was described in an article in the weekly trade journal Michigan Film Review, issue of April 16, 1918. That article and other items pertaining to the Regent can be read on this web page. There are also two photos of the Regent.
A brief history of the Colonial Theatre can be read on this web page, which also has a few photos of the theater. The style of the building is, not surprisingly, colonial revival, though the auditorium, shown in one of the photos, was rather plain. The web page also notes that the theater opened in the summer of 1947.
CinemaTour says the Parsons Theatre was 1291 S. Parsons Avenue, and lists it as closed, but Google street view shows nothing resembling a theater in that area. There are a couple of vacant lots, though. It’s a very old neighborhood with small houses and a few apartment buildings and scattered businesses. The Parsons must have been a small neighborhood house from long ago which fell on hard times as the area declined. The theater has probably been demolished.
A search of Google Books brings up these snippets from a 1976 book by newspaper columnist Bob Greene: “I remember when I was 15, in Columbus, Ohio, my friends and I would go down to the Parsons Art Theater on a Friday night…. But the Parsons Theater was in 1962….”
The “Art” in “Parsons Art Theater” in 1962 didn’t refer to foreign films, though. In a 2001 Chicago Tribune column, Bob Greene revisited the events mentioned in his earlier book. The column is online. It doesn’t give any more information about the theater, except to reveal that it ran dirty movies.
They were undoubtedly the relatively tame filmed burlesque acts of the sort I recall seeing advertised at the Oaks Theatre in Pasadena in those days. The Oaks usually said “Nudie Cuties” on its marquee, and the poster cases featured pictures of chunky, big-breasted women sporting pasties that barely concealed their areolae. It all seems so quaint now. Perhaps the Parsons survived long enough to show real porn in later years, but if it did, Bob Greene isn’t saying.
We have an identity problem. The very reliable web site Los Angeles Theatres says that the Hitching Post and the Pussycat were two different theaters (turns out Kirk Besse was on the right track in his comment of July 22, 2007, above.)
Much of the information on the L.A. Theatres Santa Mocia Hitching Post page matches information I posted some time ago on the Cinema Treasures page for the Beverly Canon Theatre, which was once the Hitching Post Theatre in Beverly Hills. My source was Boxoffice Magazine, and I have no doubt the additional information from L.A. Theatres is correct.
The Hitching Post was at 1448 4th Street, not 1442 2nd, which was the address of the Pussycat Theatre (for which L.A. Theatres also has a web page.) The Hitching Post opened in the 1940s, was closed briefly in 1950, then reopened as the Riviera Theatre, an art house, though it probably continued to run westerns at matinees on weekends. The Riviera was apparently closed by 1953, and in 1954 the building had become a furniture store.
The Hitching Post/Riviera had been closed for almost two decades by the time the Pussycat opened, so it isn’t surprising that someone would mistake the Pussycat’s location for that of the long-gone Hitching Post, which must be what happened when William submitted this theater. The description above should be changed to correct the errors, and the Pussycat should probably get its own page.
Evansville’s Grand Theatre opened as the Grand Opera House on October 17, 1889. The Romanesque Revival style building was designed by the firm of J.B. McElfatrick & Son, the leading theater architects of the period. The house originally seated 1,700. In its early years the Opera House hosted a variety of operas, stage plays, and civic events. From 1910 until 1922, the theater operated as part of the Orpheum circuit, presenting vaudeville and movies.
After a return to legitimate stage productions during the 1920s and the early 1930s, the Grand adopted a movie policy, though occasional live events were still presented. In January, 1940, a touring company presented the Broadway musical Golden Boy at the Grand, and this was the last major road show the house hosted. In 1958, grand opera returned to the Grand for one night, when the Wagner Opera Company presented their touring production of la Boheme on November 20. The last movies were shown in 1962.
Here is a page about the Grand Theatre (with several photos) from a web site about Evansville’s theaters.
In the photos linked above, the letters are mostly hidden by the theater’s name on the newer marquee, but the building has the name Grand Opera House in what is probably terra cotta above the theater entrance. Marion’s original Grand Opera House was gutted by a fire on December 6, 1910, and the roof collapsed, as can be seen in this photo at the Gen Disasters web site.
A 1910, pre-fire postcard view (unlinked as it’s at an unstable e-Bay URL) shows that most of the original facade of the Grand Opera House survived. Other than the loss of an ornate cornice, parapet, and pediment, and the ground floor detail that was covered up or removed in a later remodeling, it is still substantially the same facade today. The Grand Opera House was rebuilt at the same time that a new Elks Lodge was built on an adjacent lot. Here is a paragraph from a history of the Marion Elks Lodge (that page includes a small photo showing part of the original marquee of the theater) on the BPOE web site:
“In 1910, the Grand Opera House on South State Street suffered a major fire. As Marion Lodge 32 had previously purchased the adjacent lot, it was decided to purchase the burned theater building, renovate it, and erect a new building beside it to house business rental properties on the first floor, a Club Room on the second floor, and a Lodge Room on the third floor. This, the current home of the Marion Elks Lodge 32, was completed in 1914 at a cost of $60,000.”
The part of the Elks' project that included the theater is probably the one listed in the construction news section of the August, 1912, issue of The Lather, the trade journal of the Wood, Wire, and Metal Lathers' International Union. The item reads: “Marion, O.— Store, Theatre and Lodge Hall. $35,000. Archt., Frank L. Packard, 1212 New Haydn Bldg., Columbus, O.”
If this theater was indeed designed by Frank Packard, it would be a good candidate for inclusion on the NRHP. Not only does the building appear to be in good condition, but Packard was probably Ohio’s leading architect in his day. Here’s a web page with photos of some of his other buildings (scroll down for photos— no theaters among them that I can see.) Click on Packard’s photo near the top of the page to read a brief biography.
The surviving pre-fire facade would have to be attributed to the original architect, of course, who might or might not have been Packard himself. I’ve been unable to discover when the building was built, but the Grand Opera House was listed in the 1897-1898 issue of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide. Packard began practicing in Columbus in 1892, originally in partnership with Joseph W. Yost, who had practiced in Columbus since 1882. Packard became sole owner of the firm in 1899.
A history of Indiana published in 1922 contains a brief biography of Terre Haute architect M. H. Johnson, Jr., and the Orpheum Theatre is included in a list of buildings designed by him and his firm, Johnson, Miller & Miller.
The February, 1921, issue of a trade journal called The Clay-Worker said that the new Pantages Theatre then under construction in Memphis would be opened “…within a few weeks.”
The February, 1921, issue of trade journal The Clay Worker said that the new Palace Theatre in Memphis had opened to the public on Saturday, January 15.
I can’t find anything about the colors of the interior of the Granada, but the facade was certainly colorful according to a rather effusive report in the trade Journal Brick and Clay Record, issue of December 13, 1921:[quote]“BEAUTIFUL TILE WORK IN ‘MOVIE’ THEATRE
“What is probably the most luxurious picture theater west of Chicago was opened in San Francisco, Cal., November 17. It is happily named the Granada and represents an investment of more than $1,000,000. The building is in Spanish-Colonial style and equipped throughout like a king’s palace. One of the most distinctive features of the Granada is the work in colored tiling in the facade around the great windows. This work was done by Eri H. Richardson of San Francisco, who has scored a triumph which has caused most favorable comment among architects of this city. Some go as far as to say that the facade tiling is not unworthy of some of the great masterpieces of the fifteenth century, the materials being translucent, turquoise blue, golden luster, rose and iridescent hues. The tiles mere made by Richardson from original designs, the motif being California fruits and flowers. The original suggestions were offered by a Moorish pattern of a design in the Alhambra and these were supplemented by color ideas obtained from the workings of a kaleidoscope. The two fine towers of the facade are distinctively characteristic of the Spanish-Colonial churches in Mexico, and are laid in a herringbone scheme of yellow enameled tiles with blue dots, and offer a brilliant bit of color to crown the rich polychrome beauty of the whole design.”[/quote]I’d love to see color photos of the facade before the tile work was lost (as it apparently was by the time the 1965 photos were made.)
Does anyone have information on a Liberty Theatre in Hamilton? It was under construction when mentioned in the trade journal Brick and Clay Record, issue of December 13, 1921. The side walls of the new theater were being built of brick salvaged from the town’s Rivoli Hotel, which had burned two years earlier.
The Roxy’s building looks about old enough to have been the Liberty, and Hamilton is quite a small town and might never have supported two theaters. Perhaps Liberty is an aka? A theater predating the original Roxy in New York would certainly have opened with a different name.
The Arcadia Press book “Around Pottstown” (Google Books preview here) has a photo of the Hippodrome dating from ca.1917, though I think it might be a bit earlier. There’s a horse and carriage on the street, but no cars. The book also has a ca.1949 photo of the Hipp, which by then sported a moderne front.
Flickr user Liatris displays this colorized version of the ca.1917 picture. Adjacent in the photostream is a cropped close-up of the theater entrance.