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The East Tennessee Paranormal society has a page about the Bijou, with a few small historic photographs.
It seems from that article that all six of Greenville’s Main Street theatres were in operation from 1925 until perhaps as late as 1947, when the oldest of them, the 1905 Bijou burned. It says that the Majestic and the Casino didn’t make it past the end of the 1950’s, and that the Carolina closed in the 1960’s and the Rivoli/Fox closed in 1978. The only theatre whose closing period is not mentioned is the Rialto. So, unless the Rialto closed earlier than the Bijou, Greenville supported six movie houses for more than two decades.
The article says nothing about which theatres might have been demolished, or if any are still standing. Even the Bijou is said only to have been “gutted” by the fire, so it’s possible the building is still there, used for something else. I’ve never been to Greenville, so I don’t know if any of the buildings have survived. If there is a local historical society or a history room at the local library, the information would probably be known to someone there.
Ah, so it is. My mistake. I just checked their Greenville, South Carolina page and there are no pictures there of any theatres except one modern multiplex. In fact, none of Greenville’s old Main Street theatres are listed on that site at all, not even the Carolina (my link to the Carolina in my earlier comment doesn’t work for some reason.) At one time, there were apparently six theatres on Main Street: The Bijou, the Carolina, the Rivoli/Fox (all listed at CT), the Casino, the Rialto, and the Majestic (not yet listed.)
I expect day-and-date release to be an advantage for small, independent movies that rely on word of mouth to maximize their audience. Blockbusters with corporate money can saturate the theatres and spend as much on advertising as was spent on making the movie. Of course, if the movie is crap, all the advertising won’t bail it out, but the saturation of theatres will at least bring in some revenue before the negative word-of-mouth kills the box office. I don’t think the big, expensive movies will gain anything by day-and-date release.
The small movie can only afford to be in a few theatres at a time, and will probably never be shown at all in some markets unless word-of-mouth makes it a sleeper hit. Releasing such a movie to DVD and, even more importantly, to the Internet at the same time as it is released to theatres may be able to serve as the independent filmmaker’s substitute for the millions the big boys spend on advertising and widely distributing their costly special effects movies.
In the long run, assuming a particular independent movie is good enough to attract an audience at all, day-and-date release may actually help it sell more tickets to its theatrical runs, and even get it into more theatres than it would have been in otherwise. We’ll have to wait and see if it works out this way, but I’d say it’s worth trying.
This entry needs to be corrected. I beleive the correct address is 523 South Main. 533 South Main was the address of the Optic Theatre. This rough map, c1950, shows the “Gayety” theatre north of the Star Theatre, which was at 529 South Main. I believe that the Gaiety was a later name for the theatre at 523 South Main, which was opened by Charles Alphin some years before 1914, and at various times went by the names Olympic (before 1914), Alphin (c1914), Omar (c1917) and Moon (c1923.)
Here is a circa 1917 photograph showing the Omar Theatre at lower left. I’ve come to these conclusions about this theatre mainly from information in various comments by vokoban, ken mc, and Alphin on Cinema Treasures Optic Theatre page.
Maybe somebody familiar with Lincoln Heights can help clarify an old memory I have. A few times when I was a kid we drove through the neighborhood around Five Points, and somewhere in that area I recall seeing a very old theatre which had been converted into a school supply store. This was in the late 1950’s-early 1960’s, and the place looked as though it hadn’t been used as a theatre for years. I can’t remember which street it was on, but it was close to a main intersection. I don’t know what it’s name had been as a theatre, either, so I don’t know if it is listed at Cinema Treasures or not. I don’t think it was on North Broadway, because I recall the street it was on as being narrower. This vague memory has been nagging me for years, and I’d be happy to know just where this place was.
Stockton was a fairly large city by the time movies were invented and, until the recent burgeoning of Bakersfield, was long the third largest city in the central valley. I’d be very surprised if the city had not had at least a dozen movie theatres over the years. Unfortunately, Stockton’s old center was largely wiped out by urban renewal projects beginning in the 1960’s, so it’s unlikely that many of the buildings containing those theatres survived. I only ever visited downtown Stockton three or four times, and that in the 1970’s when demolition was already well advanced.
Incidentally, the web page listing Robert Lippert Theatres (the company owned two in Stockton; the Liberty and the Lincoln) has expired, ints domain name not having been renewed. For the time being you can still see the Google cache of the page here.
The Fox opened as the Rivoli in 1925. Like the nearby Carolina Theatre, opened the same year, it was designed by local architects Beacham and LeGrand. As the Rivoli, it seated 750. Closed in 1949, it was renovated and reopened as the Fox, which then operated until 1978.
Patsy: I’ve searched for photos of Greenville’s theatres on the web, but I’ve found only one small picture of a theatre called the State at this CinemaTour page.
The Fox was Greenville’s last surviving downtown theatre. It closed in 1978.
A story published today (Feb 8, 2006- I believe it will be available for seven days) at the web site GreenvilleOnline describes the Carolina Theater. The article gives the opening as June, 1925; says that the theatre was fitted out for stage productions as well as movies; gives the seating capacity as 1,400; reveals that the theatre’s Wurlitzer organ cost $20,000 dollars; and names the designers as local architects Beacham and LeGrand. It confirms that the theatre was located on Main Street, but the exact address is not given. It was closed sometime in the 1960’s.
Several other Greenville theatres are mentioned in the article, but with little detail. Names, and a few opening and closing dates are given.
Here is a brief essay about the Metropolitan, on the occasion of its closing, from the Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. There are three small photographs of the theatre.
According to contemporary newspaper reports quoted in this essay in the Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, this theatre opened as the Venetian. The only mention of the name Olympic Theatre that I find is that on this page at the Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society, which quotes a list which says that an organ was installed in the “OLYMPIC TH” in July of 1926. I’d be inclined to go with the contemporary reports which announce the theatre opening as the Venetian on November 18th, 1926. The essay also gives the seating capacity as “more than 800.”
The second link posted by Lost Memory on May 25 2005 no longer works.
Here is the new Moore Theatre Home Page.
Here is the Moore Theatre History Page.
Welcome to Cinema Treasures, Howard. You might find some of your grandfather’s other theatres listed here (though if their names have changed over the years, they’ll probably be listed under their later names.) Any information you can provide about any of them would be welcome, as would information about any theatres not yet listed here.
The Colorado was a rather plain theatre, especially when compared to its competitor a few blocks away, the Egyptian-styled Uptown. The Quonset hut style became popular for a while in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. I know of two other quonset hut theatres from that period within a few miles of Pasadena: the Garmar, in Montebello, and the Star in La Puente. I recall seeing quonset hut theatres in other parts of Los Angeles, but can’t remember their names offhand.
I’ve also seen quite a few such theatres in other places listed at Cinema Treasures. Not even counting theatres on military bases, many of which were in quonset huts, large or small, I think it’s likely that upward of a hundred quonset hut theatres were built in the U.S. during those years. It was about the cheapest form of construction available at the time.
So, the theatre must have opened in very late 1924 or early 1925 as the New Broadway Theater, and then dropped the “New” from its name before March of 1926 (assuming that the Times' reporters got the names right.) The building’s owners were lucky to get such a reliable tenant as the Broadway. That endless parade of arriving and departing retail tenants prior to the theatre’s 60-some year occupancy must have been annoying.
I notice that Rivest’s latest list only shows “? 1930-1988” for this theatre. I wonder what his source for the original 1919 date was? Both Tally’s New Broadway at 554 S. and the Tally’s Broadway at 833 S. are documented in the L.A. library photo collection, but this theatre isn’t, and it isn’t mentioned in the library’s California Index, either.
Apparently, Tally gave up the original New Broadway when he opened the Broadway next to Hamburger’s (later the May Company), and that’s when it became the Garnett. As the Broadway remained open until 1929, when it was demolished to make way for an expansion to the May Company, it would have made sense for Tally to revive the New Broadway name for this theatre at 428 S. Broadway. Even at that, the question remains of exactly when this theatre opened, though.
Maybe the letters were stolen. Investigators should look for a guy named Bo.
vokoban: The theatre in the 1914 ad might have been the one later called the Alvarado, and in its last years the Park. It opened in 1911, but the Cinema Treasures page for it doesn’t list Westlake as an earlier name for it, so there might have been yet another theatre on Alvarado near 7th.
hdtv: I’ve never seen Jail Bait myself, but William Gabel says that the scene you mention was shot in the Monterey Theatre in Monterey Park. I’ve been keeping an eye on the cable channels in hope that the movie will show up on one of them and I can see for myself. If any of the shots show the back of the house (the screen end of the room was rather nondescript), I’d probably recognize it, as I went to that Monterey many times. It was one of that handful of older theatres that had a section of stadium seating at the back of the auditorium. I never attended the Whittier Boulevard Monterey, but if, as listed above, its style was Spanish Renaissance, then it was probably more ornate than the Monterey in Monterey Park.
The Muse, at 417 S. Main, was a few doors north of the Rosslyn Hotel’s original building. The Rosslyn Theatre, at 431 S. Main was probably either in the old hotel building itself, or right next to it. I’ve never seen any trace of either theatre in period pictures of Main Street, and they were both fairly small, so I suspect that both were in converted retail space and probably didn’t have proper marquees. Both were still open into the early 1950’s, so there were plenty of chances for them to show up in photographs. I still hope to stumble across a picture that includes one or both of them someday.
My mind boggles at the thought that the Rosslyn Hotel has been converted to lofts.
I think the RTD building extended north from about mid-block, and there was a multi-level garage between it and the Rosslyn Hotel’s north building. The Rosslyn Hotel, in the late 19th century, was in a four story building just south of mid-block. Then they took over another hotel in a taller building immediately south of that, and then built their first tower building on the northwest corner of 5th and Main in 1914-1915. I think the building on the southwest corner of 5th and Main was built in 1921 or 1922. The Rosslyn Theatre was most likely located in converted retail space in the earliest Rosslyn Hotel building, now the garage site. The Muse was north of that, where the RTD building was later built.
I remember visiting the RTD headquarters a couple of times in the mid-1980’s, to speak to the customer relations representatives about problems with particular bus routes. It was indeed like going into a bunker. There were armed guards in the lobby, and visitors had to sign in, and they had to wear an authorization tag while they were in the building. The atmosphere was oppressive. I doubt that many customers ever bothered to come in to report problems, not only because of the seedy location on decayed and half-vacant Main Street, but because of the almost paranoid atmosphere inside the building. I suspect that this building was one of the factors that caused the RTD’s management to get so completely out of touch with the bus system’s users.
R.W.: According to his memoirs on the web page linked above, Charles Hermann began working in 1911, so it seems unlikely that he’d still be living. Perhaps his granddaughter, Penny Allen Nelson, is still maintaining that web site (the most recent date mentioned on her own web page is 2004.) If her e-mail address posted at the bottom of that page is still working, you could try contacting her to ask if she has any further information about her grandfather’s career in Akron’s theatres.
I’ve found a page about the Rialto at the web site of a firm that sells architectural antiques. They mined the building for its relics before it was demolished. Their text claims that the building was built in 1898, and merely renovated, rather than rebuilt from the ground up (though they claim that the renovation took place in the 1920’s, which seems unlikely, as the decorative details on the exterior are surely 1930’s era streamline moderne style.) They show a small but decent photo of the theatre in its last days, and the exterior design does look as though it had been attached to an older structure.
The similar names of Visalia’s theatres has caused a lot of confusion. It should be noted that the photo to which ken mc linked in his comment of Oct 28, above, does not depict the Theatre Visalia, but rather the 1930 Fox Visalia Theatre to which Magic Lantern linked in his comment of Jan 12.