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I wonder if the Nuluna Theatre was a replacement for, or a remodeling of, the Luna Theatre, two photos of which appeared in the January, 1912, issue of the trade journal The Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder?
The issue featured a portfolio of the works of Sharon architect E.E. Clepper, and in addition to the Luna photos there were photos of two other Sharon theaters he had designed. There was one photo of the Alpha Theatre, a house that featured Keith vaudeville, and two photos of the Thomas Theatre, one exterior shot and two interior views.
At this time, neither the Alpha nor the Thomas is listed on Cinema Treasures. The trade journal article has no information about any of the three theaters.
Here’s an item from the trade journal The Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder, issue of February 6, 1917. Datelined Dayton, it probably refers to this theater:
“Architects Shenk and Williams are preparing plans for a theater to occupy the site of the old Baptist church on Main St. to be built for both pictures and drama, the cost of which will be $250,000. It will have a seating capacity of 2500 and will be built for the Dayton Theater Building Co., just organized by F. H. Rike, Charles W. Dale and others. Contracts will be awarded about the 15th of March.”
Schenck & Williams (Harry I. Schenck and Harry J. Williams) was one of Dayton’s leading architectural firms during the 1910s and 1920s. I haven’t found any other theaters attributed to them, but they designed many other major projects.
In 1891, the B. F. Sturtevant Co., makers of heating and ventilation systems, put out a book displaying drawings of many of the buildings in which their equipment had been installed. One of these was the Ogden Opera House. The brief text accompanying the drawing gives the name of the architect of the opera house, S.G. Whitaker.
After the Orpheum became part of a vaudeville circuit in 1909, though it might have presented full stage shows occasionally, this would probably have been done infrequently and only for short runs— a week, or even just three or four days. The way vaudeville circuits were set up, with most of the circuit’s acts booked for 42 straight weeks of traveling from town to town, there wasn’t much flexibility in the schedules of the theaters.
Traveling road productions of popular plays and musicals might have been presented at Ogden’s Orpheum, if the town had available no other large theater capable of hosting them, but the house most likely ran combination shows of vaudeville and movies most of the year.
By the mid-1910s virtually all vaudeville theaters outside the major cities had become combination houses, offering continuous shows with four to six live acts and a feature film. Once in a while a major all-vaudeville show with ten or more acts might be presented in smaller cities, but those were special occasions. In a market the size of Ogden it would have been primarily combination shows year-round for most of the period during which the Orpheum was part of a circuit.
I’m not sure how long Loew’s operated this theater, but it became a Loew’s house in 1917. A brief item in an issue of The Moving Picture World that year said that Loew’s had opened the Lyceum in Memphis as a vaudeville and picture house, pending construction of the projected new Loew’s house in that city. I’ve been unable to find any later mentions of the Lyceum in connection with Loew’s. The circuit might have dropped the Lyceum when the Palace and State were opened.
The book Zanesville has a photo of the Liberty Theatre, and the caption gives the address as 13-15 S. Fifth Street, and the opening date as October 13, 1927.
The Liberty was a very handsome building, with a facade that featured ornate detailing in what must have been terra cotta (the style is not Art Deco, by the way, but more an eclectic Renaissance Revival with strong elements of the Rococo.) It’s possible that the terra cotta was actually made in Zanesville, as fired clay was for many years the city’s leading industry.
The Liberty was not as wide as the Quimby Theatre across the street, but probably had a frontage of at least 60 feet, and it was tall, with the cornice at least 40 feet above the street. It was an imposing structure. If the interior was anywhere near as good as the facade, it must have been splendid.
I’ve found a photo in the book Zanesville, part of the Arcadia Publishing Company’s Images of America series, which shows N.Fifth Street in the early 1930s, and a vertical sign saying Imperial is displayed on the former Schultz Opera House, so the original Imperial on Main Street must have been closed or renamed by that time.
I found another photo in the Zanesville book which shows N. Fifth Street in the 1930s, and the Opera House building has a vertical sign that says Imperial, so that name belonged to this house by then. It’s possible that it became the Imperial as soon as the Liberty name was moved in 1927.
This theater might have had one or more other names between the time it was the Liberty and when it became the Imperial. Zanesville had an Imperial Theatre located on Main Street operating as early as 1916 and still open in 1927 when the Liberty name was moved. The Name Imperial continued appearing in local newspaper ads into the 1930s, but I’ve found no address for it prior to 1948, when it was located in the former Opera House. The year this theater became the Imperial remains a mystery.
Google Books has a preview of the Arcadia Publishing Company’s Images of America series book Zanesville, which features photos of this theater as the Schultz Opera House, the Imperial, and the Variety.
The address of the Orpheum was 61 N. Fourth Street, according to a 1952 Zanesville newspaper article. The building is still standing, and was to have been auctioned off this month according to an article in the September 6, 2010, issue of the Zanesville Times Recorder.
The name New Liberty Theatre begins appearing in Zanesville newspapers in September, 1927. If, as Walter Kussmaul says in the description (and I have no reason to doubt his memory) the Liberty was across the street from the Cinema 1 (which was at 30 S. Fifth), then it had a two-digit, odd-number address on South Fifth Street.
An outfit called the Ohio Finance Company had multiple ads in Zanesville papers during the late 1920s, and gave its address as “10 South Fifth Street Opp. New Liberty Theatre.”
The first Liberty had been on North Fifth Street, but had an even number. It must have been the theater mentioned in Bob Jensen’s comment above that had the organ installed in 1920. That house operated under other names for many years after the new Liberty opened.
There were two theaters called the Imperial in Zanesville. This one was the first. It was located at 513 Main Street was in operation in 1916. I’ve been unable to determine when the name was moved to the former first Liberty Theatre, but the Liberty occupied that location until at least September, 1927, when the new Liberty opened.
The first Liberty might have operated under one or more other names before becoming the second Imperial. The Imperial in the 1948 photo linked in ken mc’s comment of March 21, 2008, was not the one on Main Street, but the former Liberty on North Fifth Street, so this house on Main Street had either been closed or renamed by that year.
The address currently given for this theater is not that of the former Quimby/State Theatre. The newspaper article ken mc quoted in his comment of Sept. 19, 2009, says that the Quimby/State was on South Fifth Street. The Arcadia Publishing Company’s book “Zanesville” has photos of the theater as the Quimby and as the State, and gives the address as 30 S. Fifth.
The address Chuck found for the Cinema 1 at 17 or 19 N. Fifth must have been another theater of the same name, operating at a different time. The 1973 article ken mc quoted on July 8, 2009, says that the former State was by then called the Cinema 1.
There is a photo of a Colonial Theatre at the Connecticut History Online web site, but the text gives the address as 23 Atlantic Street, Stamford. The date given for the photo is 1922.
CWalczak is right. Had Billy, Don, and Billy not submitted this theater I would not have come across it while I was actually looking for another Syracuse theater. The listing provided a starting point for my research. I might never have found out that the theater even existed had it not already been listed here.
The New York Clipper Annual (available online from the Columbia University Libraries) says that the Lyceum Theatre in Memphis was dedicated on September 29, 1890. Interestingly, the Barton Opera House in Fresno, California, is listed as having been dedicated the same day.
An Arcadia Publishing Company book titled Memphis, by Robert W. Dye, has a photo of the Lyceum dated 1935, but the caption says the theater was built in 1894. It turns out that the original Lyceum burned in November, 1893, with a loss of $360,000 according to the 1896 edition of the annual The Statistician and Economist.
In 1951, a thesis/dissertation was published by the University of Mississippi. Titled “The Lyceum theater of Memphis, 1890-1900” and authored by Carolyn Powell, a copy is in the University’s library but not available online. The same library has a masters thesis dated 1971, by Gordon Theodore Batson, titled “The theatrical history of the Lyceum Theatre of Memphis, 1910-1935.” This is not available online either. It seems likely that the Lyceum operated from 1890 to 1935, with an interruption of about a year for rebuilding in 1893-1894. Had it continued in operation beyond 1935, Mr. Batson would probably have written a longer thesis.
This web page displays the cover of a program from the Lyceum Theatre for the 1924-1925 season. It housed a stock company at that time. Unfortunately the theater’s address is not on the program.
The closest I’ve been able to get to an address for the Lyceum is a note in a 1901 issue of the Memphis Medical Monthly, which mentioned a doctor who had lately moved his office to the Lyceum Theater Building, southeast corner of Second and Jefferson streets.
I’ve had no luck discovering the architect of either the 1890 building or the rebuilt Lyceum of 1894.
The Postcard showing the name DeWitt on the vertical sign must be from 1932, as the movie “This Is the Night” (Cary Grant’s feature film debut) is on the Paramount’s marquee.
If this house was built in 1913, then it might be the Roosevelt that was designed by Carlson & Wiseman. Or it might be another theater not yet listed.
joby: The phrase “operating prior to 1941” only indicates that the theater opened sometime before that year, but we don’t know how long before. When a theater is newly listed at Cinema Treasures, there is often very little information about it available. The site relies on members to fill in the story of a theater by leaving comments. Eventually, when enough information has accumulated, one of the site’s moderators will get around to updating the description to include it.
Thanks for your comment. It’s always interesting to hear from people whose family members operated a theater. Any additional information you can provide about the Monroe Theatre will be appreciated.
Does anyone have a build date for the Haven? The January 27, 1920, issue of the trade journal Brick and Clay Record says that the Hay-Walker Brick Company had a contract to supply “…60,000 rough red texture brick for a new theater building at Woodhaven, L. I., and for which Carlson & Wiseman, 226 Henry Street, Brooklyn, are architects.” If the Haven opened in 1920, chances are it was the theater designed by Carlson & Wiseman.
The only other possibility among Woodhaven houses listed at Cinema Treasures is the Roosevelt Theatre, for which Warren gave an opening date of May 7, 1921. If construction was delayed, there could have been a gap of more than a year between the brick order and the opening of the theater.
It’s not unusual for one partner in a firm to dominate in design while the other spends more time in managing the business. That was probably the case with Carlson & Wiseman. There’s quite a bit of information about Wiseman on the Internet, but very little about Carlson. But Harrison G. Wiseman was a very well-known theater architect in the early 20th century and designed many theaters outside Brooklyn, though the firm was based there. In one 1920 publication, the firm’s address was listed as 226 Henry Street.
Wiseman designed several theaters in Manhattan, some of them during the years of his partnership with Carlson, as well as theaters in other places. Cinema Treasures’s list of Wiseman’s work currently attributes 16 theaters to him, five in Manhattan (two Wiseman theaters there are not yet attributed: The Lido and the New Delancey. My recent comment on the New Delancey also gives the names of two early Wiseman houses that are either not yet listed at Cinema Treasures, or are listed but don’t have their original names listed as aka’s.)
There are also a few Wiseman-designed theaters that aren’t listed at Cinema Treasures because they’ve never operated as movie houses. But so far, the Alhambra is not just the only theater, but the only building of any kind that I’ve found attributed specifically to Arthur G. Carlson. Why Wiseman didn’t take the lead on this particular project I don’t know. Maybe he was just too busy.
MfM: Thanks for the link to the church page. I somehow missed that one when I was looking at the collection the other night. I was sure that the Grand Opera House’s facade had to date from no later than the 1880s.
MfM: Most sources I’ve seen say the Little Grand was destroyed in a fire in either 1936 or 1937 (one source said the fire was in 1928, but I think that’s most likely an error.) Had the organ been in the Little Grand at the time of the fire, it would of course have been destroyed along with the theater.
When the Grand Theatre was renamed the Madison Theatre around 1940, it was probably modernized as well, and that would seem a likely time for the organ to have been removed. That fits well with your time line. I’d say the Grand/Madison was most likely the theater your Kilgen originally occupied.
The Dodd of the architecutral firm Dodd & Cobb was William J. Dodd, who later moved to California, where he designed the Kinema Theatre in Los Angeles.
John: I see that Carlson & Wiseman is already listed in the “Firm” field, and now that I’ve cited a source for attribution, Arthur G. Carlson will probably be listed in the “Architect” field, eventually. I try to post my comments during hours when they are most likely to be seen by one of the site’s moderators (Ken Roe is often online updating pages when it’s early in the morning my time, as he’s usually in London), but apparently nobody saw the comments I made this morning.
The “Architect” field on Cinema Treasures pages is set up to list by surname alphabetically, so if Carlson is added to this page his name would appear before Lamb’s. Quite often, though, on other pages an architect who remodeled a theater gets listed first, simply because the original architect’s name starts with a later letter of the alphabet.
It would probably require a extensive changes to the site’s code to create separate fields for original architects and later architects who only did remodeling jobs. I’m not sure that such a change would be the best thing to do, anyway. In some cases remodeling jobs were so extensive that they obliterated much, most, or virtually all of the original design, making the architect of the remodeling the de facto primary architect of the theater as most people knew it. I don’t know if Patrick and Ross have any plans for an overhaul of the site’s code, but I know that any such project would be complex and costly, so I’m not really expecting it. I know that the site’s resources are limited.
For now, I’d say the best policy is probably the one already in use; to list in their appropriate fields all architects and firms who did some significant work on a theater, but to also include their names in the description of the theater, along with whatever information is available about how much or how little each contributed to the design during each period of a theater’s history. Descriptions at Cinema Treasures do get updated as new information becomes available, but with so many theaters listed, and so few moderators on the site to do the rewrites, that can take a long time.
I’ve sometimes wondered if a Wiki might help speed up the process. A Wiki, not for the general public but for members, or maybe even only those members who ask to be involved, could provide a good-sized pool of people to update the descriptions (preferably with sourced information), and do it out of public view. Then the moderators could inspect the updated descriptions on the Wiki each day, and decide whether or not to put a particular rewrite onto that theater’s regular public page. Adding a Wiki would be a considerable amount of work, and some expense, of course, but the gains might be worth it.