Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wyandotte Theater on Aug 22, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the opening of the Wyandotte Theatre in their issue of August 20, 1938. It was a single-screen theater with 1,500 seats, and was decorated in an American Indian motif.

The earliest mention of the Wyandotte as a duplex theater I’ve found is in the August 16, 1941, issue of Boxoffice which said that National Theatre Supply had received an order for carpeting and booth equipment for the project.

The January 10, 1942, issue of Boxoffice said that the Wyandotte Theatre’s Annex had opened on New Year’s Day. The original plan for the house had been to show double bills in one auditorium with a single feature and short subjects in the other, but the policy management settled on was to have both auditoriums running the same double feature program, but on a staggered schedule.

I ran across a 1958 Boxoffice item (which I’ve now lost track of, unfortunately) which reported that a minor fire had taken place in the main auditorium of the Wyandotte Theatre during a performance. Though the fire had been quickly extinguished the auditorium smelled of smoke, and so the audience was moved to the smaller auditorium, which had not been in use that night, and the show continued there.

The item said that one or the other of the auditoriums was usually not in use by this time, and the auditorium management opened on a given night depended on how much business they were expecting for the scheduled program. I’ve not been able to find out when they began using both auditoriums on a regular basis again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Aug 22, 2009 at 7:54 pm

The Majestic was being taken over by the Associated Theatres circuit according to Boxoffice Magazine of July 30, 1938. The deal was not completed until 1939. The previous owner was named George Wilbur, who became a manager for Associated, first at the Rialto in Wyandotte, then at the Majestic after it was remodeled by the new owners.

The earliest mention of the Majestic I’ve found in Boxoffice is from 1937, but George Wilbur was mentioned as early as 1935 as being an operator from Wyandotte. Judging from the photo linked above I’d say the building must date from the 1920s or earlier, and the style of the facade suggests that it was built as a theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Saban Theatre on Aug 22, 2009 at 7:44 pm

The Wilshire Theatre is being renamed the Saban Theatre, so I’d surmise the marquee is being rebuilt. No events are scheduled until October, so they might be doing some other renovation work as well.

Here’s a press release about the theater and about Cheryl and Haim Saban, for whom the theater is being renamed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 22, 2009 at 7:14 pm

I’ve found references to the Rialto in Boxoffice Magazine as early as 1939, when it was taken over by Associated Theatres. The most recent reference I’ve found is from the August 25, 1956, issue, in an item which said “The Rialto Theatre at Wyandotte, which was reopened by Bible and Christian Books as a religious film theatre, has been closed and is now for rent for meeting purposes.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Woodfield Mall Cinemas on Aug 21, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Boxoffice has uploaded scans of most of its archive to Issuu, a web publishing site. To find items on specific subjects it’s best to use Google advanced search, but once a particular issue of the magazine is opened at Issuu, their internal search will quickly find specific words (only one at a time, alas) within that issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about UA Cine I & II on Aug 21, 2009 at 8:48 pm

The aka UA Cine 150 needs to be added. Like the two UA Cinema 150 houses (I don’t know why UA gave the Dallas location a variant name) in Oak Brook, Illinois, and Santa Clara, California, this theater was designed by San Francisco architect George Raad of George Raad & Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about UA Cinema on Aug 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm

As noted in the article to which Lost Memory linked above, the UA Cinema 150 in Oak Brook, like its counterparts in Dallas and in Santa Clara, California, was designed by San Francisco architect George Raad, George Raad & Associates. However, the Boxoffice article also lists the firm of Keys & Hestrupp alongside Raad for the Oakbrook project only. This was probably a local firm that supervised the construction for Raad’s distant office.

Also, I have a suspicion that Boxoffice might have misspelled one of the names (Hestrupp might actually have been Hestrup) but I’m not positive. What I can find is a .pdf about architectural resources in the village of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, which mentions a firm called Keys & Hestrup, and an error in Boxoffice seems more likely than an error in a local architectural survey.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Stonestown Twin on Aug 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Contradicting claims above (and at CinemaTour and other web sites) that the U.A. Stonestown opened in 1971, Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of November 23, 1970, announced that United Artists had recently opened its Stonestown Cinema with the inaugural attraction “The Owl and the Pussycat.”

Also, in the earliest references it’s always called the UA Stonestown Cinema, not UA Stonestown Theater. Starting in 1974 it is called the UA Stonestown Twin, as it was until recently. For some reason, the Regal Cinemas web site now lists it merely as the Stonestown Twin, and the Fandango page to which Regal links for show times lists it with the oddly redundant name UA Stonestown Twin 2.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Oakbrook Center Cinemas on Aug 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Balaban & Katz retained the services of the firm of Loebl, Schlossman & Bennett, the architects of the Oakbrook shopping center, to design the original Oakbrook Cinema, according to an item in Boxoffice Magazine, December 23, 1963. Plans called for 1200 seats in the single-screen theater.

The December 7, 1964, issue of Boxoffice announced that B&K would hold an open house for the new theater on December 19 and 20, with the formal opening slated for Christmas Day. The final paragraph of the article was interesting:

“First event on the Oakbrook opening program will be dedication of a 50-year time capsule, which will be embedded in the front sidewalk December 16 with appropriate press ceremonies. …the capsule, to be opened in 2014, will serve to dramatize the rapid developments which are expected to occur in Chicago’s western suburbs during the next half-century.”
I wonder if anybody connected with the shopping center will remember that the time capsule is there?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Woodfield Mall Cinemas on Aug 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

The first theater at the Woodfield Mall was opened to the public by ABC-Great States on July 30, 1971, but had its formal grand opening on September 9 that year. It was a twin screen operation called the Woodfield 1 and 2, and was designed by the architectural firm of Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett & Dart, the same firm that designed the original River Oaks Theatre in Calumet City.

The October 11, 1971, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the opening, but failed to mention the seating capacity of the new theater. An earlier Boxoffice item published on February 1, 1971, announcing the groundbreaking for the project, had said that one of the auditoriums would seat 1200, but that the capacity of the other had not yet been announced.

The June 4, 1979, issue of Boxoffice said: “The Woodfield 2 and 3 opened May 25, giving Woodfield 1 and 2 the much-needed room in one of the country’s largest shopping centers.” The use of Woodfield 2 and 3 as the name of the new theaters must have been carelessness on the part of Boxoffice. Later issues refer to the new houses more sensibly as Woodfield 3 and 4.

I’ve been unable to find anything in Boxoffice about the Woodfield 5.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Aug 20, 2009 at 7:36 pm

The December 10, 1938, issue of Boxoffice said that the Ritz Theatre had been designed by the Little Rock architectural firm of Brueggeman, Swaim & Allen. Another item in the same issue said that the opening feature scheduled at the new theater was “The Mad Miss Manton,” in which a local actress, Catherine O'Quinn, played a roll. The exact opening date was not given, but one item said it was scheduled for Thursday, which might have meant the Thursday before publication (December 8) or the Thursday after (December 15.)

The March 6, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that the Ritz was expected to be reopened within a week after undergoing repairs for smoke and water damage due to a fire in a building next door. I’ve been unable to find the date of the larger conflagration which occurred later that year, but the November 6 issue of Boxoffice, which said that the Ritz would soon be reopened, said that the theater had been “…destroyed by fire months ago.”

The Ritz was originally opened by Ray Morrow in partnership with R&R-United Theatres. Morrow had been an exhibitor in Malvern at least as early as 1927, and operated the Liberty Theatre in Malvern as late as 1940. In 1941 he reopened the Liberty as the Joy Theatre, which was being operated by Robb & Rowley as late as 1954. Morrow died in 1944.

Malvern also had a theater called the Rio, for black patrons only, opened by W. F. Caffey in 1947. One Boxoffice item about the 1948 rebuilding of the Ritz said that its formerly segregated balcony with separate entrance had been converted into a white balcony with access from the main part of the theater as part of the reconstruction. Perhaps this was the result of the opening of the Rio.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about ArcLight Pasadena on Aug 20, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Pacific’s Hastings 8 was on Rosemead Boulevard about four miles east of downtown Pasadena.Pacific’s Hastings 8 was on Rosemead Boulevard about four miles east of downtown Pasadena.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metroplex 18 at Buena Park Downtown on Aug 19, 2009 at 7:41 pm

This multiplex was designed by the architectural firm of Perkowitz+Ruth, and pictures of it can be seen at their web site (click on their “entertainment” link.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Beverly Cinema on Aug 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm

This page is for the former Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles. The Beverly Theatre in Beverly Hills is on this page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Aug 17, 2009 at 7:33 pm

January 25, 1965, issue of Boxoffice: “Work on remodeling the old Broadway Theatre in Council Bluffs into a King’s restaurant is nearly completed.”

The Broadway had been closed earlier, though. The September 16, 1963, issue of Boxoffice said that the Cooper Foundation was installing equipment taken from its Broadway Theatre in Council Bluffs, including the projectors, in the Dundee Theatre in West Omaha, which would then be leased to an independent operator.

In 1958, the Cooper Foundation had taken over the Broadway and eight other theaters formerly operated by Ralph Goldberg, according to the March 31 issue of Boxoffice that year. Goldberg had died in 1956.

The Foundation closed the Broadway in 1959, after remodeling the old Town Theatre into the Cooper Theatre, according to Boxoffice of February 2 that year. By 1962, the Broadway was open again, apparently under the operation of an independent lessee named Earl Nansel.

The November 25, 1944, issue of Boxoffice said that the Ralph D. Goldberg company was presenting stage shows at their recently-acquired Broadway Theatre in Council Bluffs.

An earlier incident in the Broadway’s history was a fire reported in the December 21, 1940, issue of Boxoffice. The conflagration, causing $30,000 damage, was largely confined to the stage area, but the auditorium and booth suffered smoke and water damage.

I’ve found the Broadway mentioned in issues of Movie Age as early as 1929. The earliest was in the January 19 issue, which said that Vitaphone sound had been installed at the theater, and then the April 13 issue said that the Broadway at Council Bluffs was now under the operation of the Paramount-Publix chain.

Publix apparently operated the house for only a few years. By 1937, it was being operated by Earl Kerr, who would sell the house to Goldberg in 1944.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Edwards Atlantic Palace 10 on Aug 13, 2009 at 8:18 pm

A photo of Edwards Atlantic Palace Cinemas was featured on the cover of the August, 1991, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, and there was a multi-page article about the new multiplex. Groundbreaking for the ten-screen multiplex and adjacent multi-level parking facility had taken place on September 7, 1990, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Edwards circuit. The new complex was built at a cost $15,000,000.

Currently, the complex is being advertised for sale on LoopNet for $11,000,000. From the seller’s description it looks like they’re trying to appeal to a buyer who would redevelop the land for some other use. There’s no mention of any existing lease on the property, though the theater is still in operation as of this date. Given the abundance of screens in the area, and the fact that a 14-screen AMC multiplex is under construction a couple of miles away in Monterey Park, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this place close within a year.

Maybe the misinformation on this page (wrong name, wrong number of screens, etc.) can be corrected before the theater is gone forever?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arion Theatre on Aug 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm

The November 23, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said that the Arion Theatre had recently reopened after a major remodeling. The auditorium had been expanded to accommodate 500 seats. The previous seating capacity was not mentioned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Del Rio Theater on Aug 13, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I give it a B-. It would have been a B+ but for the claim that Otto Deichmann was “…the foremost theater designer in the west at the time.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Circle Theater on Aug 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm

The November 15, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said that 5000 people turned out for the well-publicized grand opening of the Circle Theatre. A live outdoor show was presented as well as an indoor stage show, featuring such regional celebrities as Ernest Tubb and his Grand Ole Opry show. Interstate Theatres even presented a fireworks display to give their new house a proper launch.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Aug 12, 2009 at 5:16 pm

The California Index has several cards about the National. It was built by the National Theatres Syndicate in 1931, located on Main Street at Stanislaus Street, and designed by the San Francisco firm Bliss & Fairweather. It was closed for a while in 1935, but Motion Picture Herald of May 18 that year said that it was being reopened by Joe Merrick of San Francisco. It was mentioned again in the February 2, 1936, issue, but the Index provides no details on that one.

The problem is I can’t find the National mentioned in Boxoffice at all, which makes me wonder if perhaps its name was changed.

I did come across a very interesting item in the April 24, 1967, issue of Boxoffice which said that the old Star Theatre on lower Market Street was being torn down after 50 years. It was the oldest surviving movie house in Stockton, and the last of four old movie theaters which had once thrived in the south end of downtown, the others being the Lincoln, the Imperial, and the Liberty.

I recall seeing this neighborhood in the late 1960s, just as they were beginning to demolish it for an urban renewal project. It was a splendid section of several square blocks of substantial masonry commercial and residential buildings. Glimpses of the area can still be seen in the original version of “All the King’s Men” in which Stockton sat in for Baton Rouge. The area appeared in a number of other movies as well, the last of them probably being John Huston’s noirish boxing movie “Fat City” which was filmed during the latter part of the demolition period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pismo Theater on Aug 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm

The June 28, 1947, issue of Boxoffice says: “July 1 is opening of the new Pismo Beach Theatre, operated by Westland Theatres. Al Chamberlin will manage the first-run house.”

The Ward (or Ward’s) Theatre is mentioned as early as 1929 in Movie Age, and is mentioned quite a few times in Boxoffice in the 1930s and early 1940s. The most recent mention of it in Boxoffice is in the February 9, 1946, issue, in an item not about the theater itself but about the owner’s daughter who had been hospitalized after driving her car into the front door of a local bank.

That the Ward vanishes from the magazine before the Pismo opened is another indication that the Pismo was probably the Ward rebuilt. Another indication is a card in the California Index citing a 1948/1949 theater catalog which attributes the design for the remodeling of the Pismo Theatre to architect Vincent G. Raney.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Aug 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm

The June 5, 1954, issue of Boxoffice had information about the State Theatre, as well as other theaters in Stockton:

“The Fox State in Stockton closed last week. The oldest public showhouse in Stockton, the Fox State was originally known as the Yosemite. Negotiations are reported underway for leasing of the property by Joseph Blumenfeld of Blumenfeld Theatres. Blumenfeld has reported that if the deal goes through he will move the Esquire Theatre to the State site. Blumenfeld’s Sierra was recently closed to make way for two new stores, and the Esquire is scheduled to be closed to make room for the new J.C. Penney store.”
I don’t find the Sierra or the Esquire listed at Cinema Treasures yet. I’ve found the Yosemite Theatre cited in the California Index as early as 1913.

The Index also contains references to a number of other Stockton theaters not yet listed at CT, including a National Theatre, a Rialto Theatre, a Lyric Theatre, a Roxy Theatre, a Garrick Theatre, a Hippodrome Theatre, and an Avon Theatre. Some might not have been movie houses, and others might be only missing aka’s for listed theaters, but I think most are just missing.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fairview Theatre on Aug 10, 2009 at 7:54 pm

An illustrated article about the Fairview Theatre appeared in the January 31, 1948, issue of Boxoffice. The house had opened the previous Thanksgiving Day. It was built for the Fairview Theatre Company, headed by Morris Fine, vice-president of the Associated Theatres Circuit. The first manager of the new house, Ed Wise, had been with Associated for twenty years. The Fairview was operated by the Associated circuit at least as late as 1960.

Photos of the Fairview’s auditorium (which was indeed without a balcony) were published with the article. The design by Fox & Fox was decidedly Art Moderne, not Art Deco. Also, an October 11, 1947, Boxoffice item said that the American Seating Company had installed 1,789 seats in the Fairview. That’s probably an accurate seat count.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Geneva Theatre on Aug 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm

The Fargo Theatre was damaged by a fire on March 19, 1937. The April 3 issue of Boxoffice said that repairs were proceeding rapidly and the theater would reopen soon. The theater was owned by Charles Fargo and was then being operated by the Fred Anderson circuit.

The latest mention of the Fargo I’ve found is from 1939, and the earliest mention of the Geneva is from 1943.

The Valos circuit had the Geneva Theatre extensively remodeled in 1947, and an illustrated article about the theater by the decorator on the project, Hanns Teichert, was published in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of June 19, 1948.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre. on Aug 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm

So far the only mention of the Palace I’ve found in Boxoffice is from the May 7, 1949, issue, which said that the house had been sold to Margaret Hedgecock by R.J. Barrett.