Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Surf Theatre on Mar 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm

According to Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of January 8, 1949, the Surf Theatre had recently opened. It was designed by Palm Beach architect Frederick G. Seelman, and was originally operated by Tellco Theatres. It was described as a masonry and steel building with a marble front, a triangular marquee, and a two story pylon bearing the name Surf in red and blue neon.

The auditorium ceiling was painted in pastel shade of lavender and rose, the proscenium was surrounded with detailed molding to suggest a giant picture frame, and there was a deep red stage curtain. Carpeting was green, gray, and red.

The July 17, 1948, issue of Boxoffice contained an announcement that Seelman was designing a theater of about 1000 seats in West Palm Beach for Tellco, but this item said that the theater was to be called the Town. I don’t know of this was the house that became the Surf, or if Seelman designed two theaters for Tellco at about the same time.

I can’t find any other references to a Town Theatre in West Palm Beach, so I’d guess it was the Surf. There are no other references to Frederick Seelman in Boxoffice, either, so this might have been the only theater he ever designed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Hillstreet Theatre on Mar 18, 2009 at 11:17 pm

The April 26, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an article about the recent remodeling of the Hillstreet Theatre, with several photographs. The remodeling was designed by the A.B. Heinsbergen Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Urban Theater on Mar 18, 2009 at 10:57 pm

From Boxoffice Magazine, February 1, 1941: “Roy Starling, owner of the Grove, opened his new Urban Theatre in the Urbandale section last Thursday.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Judith Cinemas on Mar 18, 2009 at 10:28 pm

In the 1940s and earlier, and probably at least as late as 1953, there was a second movie house in Lewistown, called the Broadway Theatre. The April 21, 1951, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Broadway Theatre in Lewistown had been redecorated and was reopening after having been closed for several years. The theater would be open only Saturday and Sundays.

The December 13, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Don Campbell, manager of the Broadway and Judith Theatres, had announced that the Broadway would show only western movies and would be open only on Saturdays and Sundays. Campbell said that the house might go to seven-day operation later that winter, but I’ve found no later references to the Broadway Theatre.

But then, from 1953 to 1958 there are a few items in Boxoffice referring to a Fergus Theatre in Lewistown. Might this have been the Broadway Theatre, renamed?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Camelot 1-2-3 on Mar 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm

The Circle Theatre was designed by the architectural firm Bennett & Straight. There was a photo of it in the February 11, 1939, issue of Boxoffice magazine.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crest Theatre on Mar 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm

The Crest Theatre opened on February 26, 1949. The opening program featured the Errol Flynn movie, “The Adventures of Don Juan.”

The architect of this remarkable Art Moderne theater was Julius Myerberg, who was also one of the theater’s owners. His brother Harry Myerberg was the head of the operating company, and for many years the manager of the house. Boxoffice Magazine gave a two-page spread to the Crest in its issue of November 5, 1949.

Among the Crest’s unusual features was a spacious, semi-circular television lounge on the second floor, with a 6'x8' screen set in the wall over the curving stairway leading up from the lobby. This lounge could accommodate 200 seated patrons. Near the bottom of this web page, Jerry Shargel, who grew up in the neighborhood, tells of seeing television for the first time in the Crest’s lounge, on the theater’s opening night.

The large, four-aisled auditorium of the Crest also had some unusual features. Passage between the auditorium and lobby was through several pairs of doors at the center of the back wall, where there was a broad standee area. The central third of the standee area was surmounted by a semi-circular canopy, with the projection booth above it, recessed to minimize the noise reaching the audience from the projectors.

Each side wall was divided into four sections, each gracefully curved, and between each section were vertical lighting coves which extended in troughs across the ceiling. The walls were covered in a forest green fabric, partly painted with decoration in an over-sized, abstract floral pattern, providing additional interest. The proscenium end of the house featured flaring side wings which concealed the lighting for the plush curtain, which was fuchsia.

The interior decoration of the Crest was done by the Paramount Decorating Company of Philadelphia. The Boxoffice article cites the seating capacity as 1700, but judging from the photo of the auditorium that seems a bit large. Still, the figure of 1000 cited by Cinema Treasures seems a bit small for this auditorium. Perhaps seating was reduced in the theater’s later years.

The December 15, 1975 issue of Boxoffice carried an announcement that the Crest would reopen on Christmas Day, after having been closed for eight months, and would be operated by Rome Theatres. However, the item noted that the theater was still owned by a company headed by Harry D. Myerberg.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Moon Theater on Mar 17, 2009 at 9:38 pm

The New Moon was a wartime theater, featured in an article published in the December 2, 1944, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. It was designed in a simplified Art Moderne style by Omaha architect H.A. Raapke, a member of the Modern Theatre Planning Institute’s board of architectural advisors.

Materials used in construction were confined largely to those not restricted by the War Production Board. Raapke chose to use a stone base surmounted by glazed brick in black and cream for the facade, and the entrance lobby was floored with asphalt tile in a herringbone pattern.

Pre-war carpet was found for the inner lobby and the auditorium’s aisles, and both inner and outer lobbies received wallboard paneling with an imitation walnut finish. The ceiling of the 552-seat auditorium featured three offsets concealing indirect lighting from fluorescent tubes, and the walls were paneled in an acoustic material. The auditorium’s decoration was mostly stenciled, some of it using the crescent moon shape which was the theater’s signature. The theater’s facade had a small central tower surmounted by a neon crescent moon.

The original owner-operator of the new Moon was Mr. W.B. Bradley. The town of Neligh had a population of 1,649 at the time the theater was built.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cheswick Theatre on Mar 17, 2009 at 7:49 pm

The November 5, 1949, issue of Boxoffice magazine devoted a page to the Cheswick Theatre. Owner-operator Joseph F. Mulone had done most of the labor of building the original Cheswick Theatre himself, because his financial backer had pulled out of the deal after construction had begun. It took Mulone three years of work to complete this fairly large house, which opened with 722 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paradise Theatre on Mar 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm

It turns out that Ted Rogvoy was the associate architect for the Paradise, and the lead architect was Arthur Froelich. Two articles in Boxoffice Magazine, from July 22, 1950, and from August 26, 1950, both name Froelich as the architect, and the earlier issue even has a photo of Froelich holding his rendering of the theater. Only the later article mentions Rogvoy as the associate architect, but misspells his name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Soper-Reese Theatre on Mar 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm

The Lakeport Theatre opened with about 600 seats, according to Boxoffice Magazine, but the number has been reduced. Some part of the orchestra seating was removed to make room for the stage. I’ve been unable to discover the current seating capacity, or what it will be when remodeling is complete, but I doubt it will end up much more than half the original 600.

I’ve also found several references in issues of Boxoffice from the 1950s which say that Robert Reese was the operator of the Lakeport. He was most likely Leo Reese’s son, but I’ve got no confirmation of that. There are a couple of more recent references on the Internet to a Margaret Reese being the operator of the Lakeport Auto Movies and the twin (later five-screen) adjacent to it, so the Reese family probably ran all the theaters in Lakeport from the 1920s until recently.

There are still many Reeses in Lake County, so maybe one of them will find this page and fill in the details for us. I’d especially like to know more about Leo Reese’s Orpheum Theatre, and about the Rio Theatre in Merced, which one issue of Boxoffice mentions him operating.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nevada Theatre on Mar 16, 2009 at 11:28 pm

From Boxoffice, December 3, 1949: “The new Cedar Theatre will be opened November 25, according to John E. Keegan, manager for the Naify Theatre interests. Installation of projection equipment at the 630 seat house is scheduled for this week, Keegan said.”

Boxoffice of April 28, 1956, had this to say: “Vern Sandow will lease from T&D the Cedar Theatre at Nevada City. Sandow is installing a wide screen and will run his theatre seven nights a week.”

Then, from the February 17, 1958, issue of Boxoffice: “Vernon Sandow, owner of the Cedar Theatre, will cease operations March 1 because of financial loss.”

After that, I can’t find any more references to a theater in Nevada City.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mainzer Cinema II on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I’ve found a reference to a theater in Merced called the Lindsay. The October 2, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the managers of the Strand and Lindsay Theatres in Merced had switched jobs. I suppose it’s possible that the reference was actually to the Lindsay Theatre in Lindsay, and Boxoffice just got the location wrong, but the two towns are quite some distance apart.

There’s also a Boxoffice reference to a theater called the Rio, in the August 29, 1942, issue, which mentioned Leo Reese as the operator of the Orpheum in Lakeport and the Rio in Merced. In the twelfth paragraph down on this Rootsweb page, a long-time resident of Merced recalls there being three theaters in the town in the 1940s; the Merced, the Strand, and the Rio.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Coliseum Theatre on Mar 16, 2009 at 8:19 pm

It’s only the Colonial in the alternate universe I briefly inhabit now and then.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Coliseum Theatre on Mar 16, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Oy, brain malfunction. It was the Coliseum.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Coliseum Theatre on Mar 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Boxoffice Magazine published an article about the new Bronson Theatre in its issue of October 15, 1949. The Bronson was a replacement for the Colonial, which was closed when the new theater was opened. The article gave the Colonial’s seating capacity as 275.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bronson Theater on Mar 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm

The October 15, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine published an article about the new Bronson Theatre, with three small photos. The pitched roof in recent photos is an addition. The original facade was pure streamlined Art Moderne. The interiors were also streamlined, with indirect lighting from round ceiling domes in the lobby and one large oval covering the auditorium. There is very little decorative detail visible in the magazine photos, but the carpet was fairly ornate.

The 606 seat Bronson Theatre was the eighth Michigan house to be operated by E.J. Pennell, and was a replacement for the smaller Coliseum Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Adams Theatre on Mar 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm

It looks like Stanley Steck was still (or once again) running theaters in Utah in 1951, when the November issue of Boxoffice said that he had returned from a trip to check on his theater interests in Ogden and Salt Lake City.

The magazine also misspells his name as “Stack” from time to time. A 1945 item says that S.B. Stack, of the Adams Theatre, had returned to town after attending the funeral of his brother Elmer in Del Rio, Texas.

Most interesting to Mr. Steck’s fan base will be the item in the March 17, 1945, issue of Boxoffice. The brief profile of his career up to that time features a small photo of him- a respectable looking gentleman with a receding hairline and wire-rimmed glasses. The scan of the magazine is poor and partly unreadable, but I can make out that he began operating a theater in a small town in Idaho in 1911, and two years later became the owner the Lyceum in Ogden. In the next two years he added the Rex and the Cozy.

The years he quit running the Rex and Cozy are illegible, but both look to be in the 1930s. The year he took over the Adams is also very muddy, but appears to be 1928. In Los Angeles he was also a director and treasurer of the ITO of Southern California.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Adams Theatre on Mar 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Stanley Steck doesn’t have any mentions in the California Index, but he does show up in various issues of Boxoffice. In the November 9, 1940, issue there’s an item saying that he was returning to Los Angeles after visiting friends in Utah, where he had formerly operated theaters.

That’s the earliest reference to him I’ve found. The most recent reference was in the February 26, 1955, issue, which said that he was closing the Adams and had no plans to reopen in the foreseeable future.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Mar 16, 2009 at 1:11 am

Robert Boller un-reversed this theater when he remodeled it, according to an item in Boxoffice Magazine, March 19, 1944. It was originally a reverse theater, with patrons entering the auditorium from the screen end.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Pavilion on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Oh, here’s something that sounds a bit omenous, from this page: “Deconstruction of the historic Strand Theatre at 1102 Main has begun with renovations to follow.”

Don’t like that word “Deconstruction.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Pavilion on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I’ve submitted the Strand.

The Fox and the Strand at Hays are both mentioned in the 1951 consent decree pertaining to the various Fox theater chains. The text of the decree was published in the June 9, 1951, issue of Boxoffice. Unfortunately, the scan of it available on the Internet has a page fold obscuring too much of the text, and I can’t figure out exactly what it says, but possibly Fox was running both this theatre and the Strand at that time. The Strand was apparently still open, though.

The Strand’s address of 1102 Main Street sounds like it was a corner lot. If that’s so, then the Muriel, being directly across the street, might have been across either Main Street or across the cross street. Maybe somebody from Hays will know.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Atlantic Theater on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:08 pm

From the March 4, 1950, issue of Boxoffice: “R.W. Steen, whose Atlantic Theatre in Atlantic, Iowa, burned recently, is to rebuild. O.C.Johnson, manager of the wrecked showhouse, and of the Strand of Atlantic, made the announcement.”

I can’t find any other references to a Strand Theatre in Atlantic, but there are quite a few references to a Grand Theater, so I think “Strand” might have been an error in this particular article. Both houses were operated by Pioneer Theatres.

And I think this page might be a duplicate listing of the Atlantic 1&2 page, so I’m cross posting the comment there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Atlantic 1 & 2 on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:08 pm

From the March 4, 1950, issue of Boxoffice: “R.W. Steen, whose Atlantic Theatre in Atlantic, Iowa, burned recently, is to rebuild. O.C.Johnson, manager of the wrecked showhouse, and of the Strand of Atlantic, made the announcement.”

I can’t find any other references to a Strand Theatre in Atlantic, but there are quite a few references to a Grand Theater, so I think “Strand” might have been an error in this particular article. Both houses were operated by Pioneer Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lake Theatre on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Here’s something from a later issue of Boxoffice, April 1, 1950: “The Iosco, 200-seater at Oscoda, Michigan, has not been closed, says owner Mrs. A.A. Affelt, wife of the late owner of the house.” They got the second initial wrong, though. Back in 1932, Mr. A.F. Affelt of Oscoda was shopping for rectifiers through the want-ad section of the New England Film Journal. I can’t find any post-1950 references to the Iosco, though.

Here’s another interesting tidbit about Oscoda, from the August 6, 1973, issue of Boxoffice: “The Mini Art Theatre, Oscoda, has been renamed the Variety.” I wonder if maybe somebody reopened the Iosco as an art house? Wherever it was, the Mini-Art might have been opened in late 1972 or early 1973, as they were seeking 16mm projectors in a want ad published in the November 27, 1972, issue of Boxoffice.

The May 21, 1973, issue of Boxoffice said that Mr. and Mrs. Jack Brown of Oscoda had bought the Family Theatre in East Tawas, Michigan, and added that the Browns also owned the Lake and Mini-Art Theatres in Oscoda and the Gem Theatre in Hale. I’ve found no references to the Mini-Art/Variety after 1973.

The Alco in Harrisville isn’t listed at Cinema Treasures yet, either, but the Michigan theaters web site has it. They don’t have the Iosco, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Pavilion on Mar 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Evidence of a couple of early Hays, Kansas theaters not yet included in the Cinema Treasures database, from the March 13, 1926, issue of The Reel Journal, a regional predecessor of Boxoffice Magazine:[quote]“M.G. Kirkman will open his new Murial Theatre in Hays, Kansas, on April 1, the opening picture being "Tumbleweeds” a United Artists release.

“‘Every effort will be made to make this house one of the best in the west,’ Mr. Kirkman writes The Reel Journal. The new Murial will be directly across the street from Kirkman’s Strand Theatre.”[/quote] Does anybody know anything more about either of these early Hays theaters?