Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carver Theatre on Jan 31, 2010 at 8:42 am

The February 4, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that the Carver Theatre in St. Louis was to be remodeled. The plans were by architect Jack Shawcross.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sando Theatre on Jan 31, 2010 at 8:03 am

Probably a 1946 opening for this house. Boxoffice of June 1 that year said in an item datelined Kinmundy, Ill., “H.S. Butler and H.S. Butler jr., who built the new Sando Theatre in Sandoval, have purchased a site for a new theatre in this town.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Merry Widow Theatre on Jan 31, 2010 at 7:53 am

The Merry Widow Theatre occupied four different locations over the years, according to an article in Boxoffice of August 7, 1943. The first was a 99-seat nickelodeon opened in 1906 by George and Harry Hayes. It was at the corner of Chouteau Avenue and Dillon Street (the exact location is from a later Boxoffice item.) The Hayeses later moved the theater to a 250-seat location down the block. At an unspecified date, a new operator, John P. Murphy, opened the third Merry Widow, now with 485 seats, at 1435 Chouteau Avenue.

Sam Komm opened the New Merry Widow Theatre on March 21, 1942, reported in Boxoffice of March 28 that year. He had taken over the third Merry Widow a few months earlier.

The name of the theater was the result of a contest held by George and Harry Hayes in 1906, and was the submission of nine-year-old Lester Bona, who went on to become a film distributor.

I’ve been unable to find anything in Boxoffice about the 1947 fire. It isn’t mentioned in this web log post about the Merry Widow, either.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Massac Theatre on Jan 31, 2010 at 7:48 am

According to a report in Boxoffice of July 23, 1938, the general contractor for the Massac Theatre, Ed Barenfanger of Salem, Illinois, expected that the theater could be opened by late August or early September. There is today a Barenfanger Construction Company operating in Vandalia, Illinois. I wonder if it could be the successor firm of Ed Barenfanger’s operation and, if so, they might have old records about the Massac project?

I’ve been unable to find any mention in Boxoffice of the name of the architect of the Massac, but this web log post by Michael R. Allen, about the Merry Widow Theatre in St. Louis, points out the similarity between that house and the Massac, pictured in this web log post about the latter theater by the same author. Could the 1938 Massac have been designed by St. Louis architect Jack Shawcross, who designed the New Merry Widow a few years later?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nassau Theatre on Jan 30, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Try Google Books&client=opera&pg=PA97#v=onepage&q=nassau&f=false). P.97.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about 77th Street Theatre on Jan 30, 2010 at 6:37 am

The Office for Metropolitan History’s building permits database lists a permit for a project at 2182-2186 Broadway issued in 1913. A two-story brick theatre and stores on a lot 55'x130' was designed by New Jersey architect Fred Robbin Jr., for an Eva J. Coe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carlton Theatre on Jan 30, 2010 at 6:14 am

The New York City building permits database has a new building listed for this address in 1912. It was a “1-st[or]y theatre and moving picture show” designed by architect H.B. Herts for a Mr. William E. D. Stokes. The cost listed for the project was $35,000.

If the Carlton was this 1912 project, it would have been either Herts as the sole architect, or Herts with Herbert J. Krapp (though the database entry doesn’t list Krapp) as Herts and Hugh Tallant had dissolved their partnership by 1911, but Krapp, once an apprentice at their firm, continued to work with Herts until 1915.

I’ve been unable to find in the database any mention of a building designed by Raymond Irrera at this address. Perhaps he was responsible a remodeling job.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jewel Theater on Jan 30, 2010 at 3:16 am

The New York City building permits database has an entry for a 3-story theater at 11-13 W. 116th Street, built in 1910. The architect was S. S. Sugar.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hiland Theater on Jan 29, 2010 at 6:24 am

The web site Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines has a schematic drawing of the facade of the Hiland Theatre from the architects, Wetherell & Harrison, courtesy of the successor firm, Wetherell Ericsson Architecture.

From the same web site, a color night shot of the Hiland’s marquee, dated 1954.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theater on Jan 29, 2010 at 6:18 am

A post at the web site Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines has a night shot of the second Avalon’s marquee which can be dated to 1954. See it here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theater on Jan 29, 2010 at 6:05 am

There’s still a conflict between two different theaters of the same name on this page. The original Avalon Theatre, at 2965 East Ninth Street (“East” is part of the street name and should not be abbreviated— in fact the street actually runs north and south) has been demolished.

The current description in the intro (aside from the reference to closing date and demolition) pertains to the second Avalon Theatre, which was opened in 1946 at 2915 East Ninth Street, and converted into a union hall some time later. I’ve been unable to find a closing year for it. This building is still standing.

Either the second Avalon should get its own page, or this page should be given to the second Avalon, with 2915 East Ninth Street as the address, “Closed” for Status, and “Unknown” for Function. The information that the current building was a replacement for the earlier Avalon up the block, which has been demolished, could then be added to the description.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatres on Jan 29, 2010 at 5:53 am

The Strand Theatre opened on December 4, 1916, and from then until 1987 was operated by members of the Mart family, pioneer Grinnell exhibitors, either on their own or in partnership with Central States Theatres. The current entrance to the Strand is in the building to the south of the main theater building.

Some time around 1970, George H. Mart had the Strand remodeled and renamed the Cinema. The facade of the building was then covered with a false front which has since been removed. I don’t know when the entrance was moved to the building next door where it is now located, or when the original facade of the main building was restored from its unfortunate skin condition of the 1970s.

Some of this information comes from a monograph about Grinnell’s theaters by John R. Kleinschmidt. It is available in PDF format here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Jan 29, 2010 at 4:05 am

Boxoffice of May 29, 1948, said that the Park Theatre in Selma was being razed to make way for a new theater that would be Selma’s “A” house, so the Vincent Raney-designed Park Theatre that burned in 1984 was the second of the name at this location.

I’m not sure how old the first Park’s building was. On August 17, 1940, Boxoffice said that Sam Levin had opened his new house, the Park in Selma, on August 9. I’ve found no details about it, but I doubt an eight-year-old building would have been demolished for the 1948 rebuild, so the first Park must have been either an old theater renamed, or an existing old building converted into a theater.

Sam Levin had bought an interest in the Selma Theatre in 1937, and both that house and the original Park were taken over by the Blumenfeld circuit in 1941, as reported in the September 6 issue of Boxoffice that year. The new Park of 1948 was built for the Panero circuit.

Here is the April 2, 1949, Boxoffice article about the new Park, which includes Raney’s clever floor plan.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theater on Jan 28, 2010 at 11:09 pm

I’m sure the old Avalon was demolished. The building on the corner of Ninth and Hull looks to be of about 1940s or 1950s vintage itself, and was apparently built as a store or small office building. It’s too small and low to have ever been a theater.

I’m unable to tell from the street view what is now in the new Avalon’s building, and I can’t find anything listed on the Internet for that address. It might have been vacant at the time Google’s truck went by.

Despite having the entrance walled in and one of those mini-mansards stuck on the front where the marquee would have been, it is still recognizable as a former theater and looks like it’s in fairly good condition. It just has that rather forlorn look that so much of Des Moines seems to have.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varsity Theatre on Jan 28, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Currently listed for lease on LoopNet, $2,000 a month.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Saguaro Theatre on Jan 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm

The May 29, 1948, issue of Boxoffice reported from Wickenburg that the Saguaro Theatre “…was opened here recently by Dwight ‘Red’ Harkins in association with the Nace interests of Phoenix.” The item said that Harkins had designed the theater himself.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avenue Theatre on Jan 28, 2010 at 6:16 pm

The May 30, 1936, issue of Boxoffice said that the old Elcora Theatre at Delmar had been reopened as the Delmar Theatre. The operator was Eastern Shores Theatres.

A line from Boxoffice, February 16, 1946: “Lee Insley came in to book for his Avenue in Delmar, Del. House was formerly called the Delmar.” Another item said that Lee Insley had reopened the Delmer Theatre in Delmer, though oddly that item was published in the subsequent issue of Boxoffice.

The December 10, 1955, issue of Boxoffice said “The Middleburg in Middleburg and the Avenue in Delmar, Del. have shuttered.” I haven’t found the Avenue mentioned in Boxoffice as an operating theater after that. It is mentioned retrospectively in a July 26, 1971, item about Paul Wise, who had become manager of the Delmer at the age of 15. He was 38 in 1971, so that was probably in 1948.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Carnegie Playhouse on Jan 28, 2010 at 1:11 am

A photo of the auditorium of the Little Carnegie as remodeled by John McNamara was featured on the cover of Boxoffice, October 4, 1952. Two giant salamanders, cleverly disguising themselves as Art Moderne ornamentation, waited on either side of the screen to pounce upon and devour arriving audience members.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gay Theatre on Jan 28, 2010 at 1:07 am

The Gay Theatre was opened a year earlier than the intro currently says. Boxoffice of May 1, 1948, said that Bert Kennerson’s new Gay Theatre at San Jose would be ready to open about June 1. Boxoffice of July 10 said the house had opened, that the $55,000 house seated 600, and that its opening had brought the total number of theaters operating in San Jose to twelve.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theater on Jan 28, 2010 at 1:04 am

The name was changed to the Capri as early as 1967, according to the item in Boxoffice of January 30 that year. I haven’t found the opening year, but this Avalon was mentioned in Boxoffice of October 2, 1948, as one of several houses that had recently installed Altec Lansing sound equipment. That might be an indication that it was then under construction.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theater on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:58 am

A new Avalon Theatre was built at 2915 East Ninth Street in 1946, replacing an earlier and smaller Avalon Theatre at Ninth and Hull Avenue, just up the block. This was reported in Boxoffice of March 9, 1946. The address of 2965 East Ninth currently listed above must be for the old Avalon.

The new Avalon’s building was still standing and recognizable as a former theater when Google’s street view truck last rolled by it. The old Avalon’s building appears to have been replaced by another building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beach Theatre on Jan 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm

The building in Google street view does look like the Beach building in the 1981 photo, with some of the windows sealed up. The Bing Maps bird’s eye view shows that there’s auditorium behind it, too, and it looks quite old. The Beach has not been demolished— or at least hadn’t been at the time the Google and Bing images were made.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garden Cinemas on Jan 27, 2010 at 8:07 am

The July 31, 1967, issue of Boxoffice said that Nutmeg Theatres had opened their new Cinema Norwalk at Norwalk. The original seating capacity of the single-screen house was 875. Though the item about the opening didn’t repeat it, an earlier issue of Boxoffice had given the name of the architect on the project as Burton S. Yolen, who had designed the chain’s Wilton Cinema at Wilton, Connecticut, two years earlier.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Edwards Cinema on Jan 27, 2010 at 4:55 am

A full-page item about the Edwards Cinema appeared in Boxoffice of October 19, 1964. The theater was designed by the Orange County firm of Schwager & Desatoff (Lester H. Schwager and Alex Desatoff.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avery Memorial Theatre on Jan 27, 2010 at 4:38 am

There were two theaters named for the town of Etna. On June 19, 1956, Boxoffice reported that “The new Etna Theatre in Etna was given a festive opening Saturday (18). …it replaces the old Etna which has been closed.” The only other mention I can find of the earlier Etna Theatre in Boxoffice was in 1948, and I haven’t found the new Etna mentioned any time after the opening announcement.

The 1948 item says that the Etna’s operator, Don Avery, hoped to open a theater at Fort Jones by July 4. The 1956 item also mentions Don Avery owning a Del Rio Theatre at Happy Camp, where he had just installed CinemaScope. Etna, Fort Jones, and Happy Camp are all in Siskiyou County, in the far north of the state.