Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theater on Sep 8, 2010 at 4:47 am

The Capitol was designed by the Des Moines architectural firm Wetherell & Harrison. The caption on this Flickr photo page has the story.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riviera Theatre on Sep 7, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Here are two small photos depicting the Riverside and Riviera theaters, featured in an ad for the builder, Libman Contracting Company, from the Year book of the Architectural League of New York, 1914.

The Riviera was builtin 1913, by the way, not 1912. The Riverside was built in 1911.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riverside Theatre on Sep 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Here are two small photos depicting the Riverside and Riviera theaters, featured in an ad for the builder, Libman Contracting Company, from the Year book of the Architectural League of New York, 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Penobscot Theatre on Sep 7, 2010 at 8:33 am

This article from a Bangor newspaper says that the Opera House was designed by architect Edward J. Bolen.

I don’t know if the opera house it replaced, which burned down in 1914, ever ran movies, but it had been built in 1881 and had been designed by architect Arthur H. Vinal.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hudson Theatre on Sep 7, 2010 at 7:38 am

A 1912 issue of the quarterly Bulletin of the American Institute of Architects ran the obituary of architect Charles Henry Israels, which named a Hudson Theatre as one of the projects in which he was engaged. As this house is the only Hudson Theatre in New York City from the period of Mr. Israels' death that is listed at Cinema Treasures and not yet attributed to another architect, it seems the most likely candidate for his project.

Israels was a fairly well known artist and architect in his day, but the Internet reveals that his widow, under her later name, Belle Moskowitz, far surpassed his fame.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Theater on Sep 7, 2010 at 7:05 am

A book called Spirits Of The Border: The History And Mystery Of El Paso Del Norte says that the Ellanay Theatre opened November 8, 1918, with a seating capcity of 940. The original owners were J.M. Lewis and Victor Andreas.

The following quote comes from a 1918 issue of the trade journal “Architect and Engineer” under the headline “Unique Terra Cotta Work”

“The Los Angeles Pressed Brick company is finishing a unique piece of colored terra cotta work for the Ellanay Theatre at El Paso, Texas. It is a decorative panel, 14x25 feet, to be installed in the vestibule over the main entrance. The panel was molded in two sections, later to be cut into subdivisions before burning. It is a portion of two carloads of terra cotta which the company is furnishing on this contract.”
I believe that the remains of this terra cotta panel can be seen in this photo from the time of the theater’s demolition (this is one of the 14 photos Lost Memory linked to in the sixth comment on this page.)

The fact that a Los Angeles tile company was chosen for this project suggests that the architect of the building might have been a Californian familiar with their work. The Los Angeles Pressed Brick Company was the leading producer of face brick in Southern California during the early 20th century, but the product itself was produced by many companies throughout the nation, including Texas. A Texas architect would probably have been more likely to use a closer source. So far I’ve had no luck tracking down the name of the Ellanay’s architect, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Sep 7, 2010 at 6:57 am

Is there a source attributing the original, 1910 design of this theater to John Eberson, or did he just design a later remodeling? (The project index from the Wolfsonian Collection should say, but I can’t check it now as the computer I’m stuck with won’t open .xsl spreadsheets.)

I found this index entry citing an item in a 1912 issue of The Western Architect which attributes the design of a Majestic Theatre in Houston to the St. Louis firm of Mauran & Russell. I would presume it referred to this house built in 1910. Mauran & Russell designed a number of buildings in Texas during this period, judging from the results of a Google search on their name, so it seems plausible that they designed the second Majestic.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sequoia Theatre on Sep 7, 2010 at 3:31 am

Please pardon my misattribution of your comment, Larry. By three o'clock in the morning I get a bit dazed, and I lost track of who wrote which remarks.

I’m still trying to hunt down a photo of the original Sequoia Theatre, but so far all I’ve found are the aerial views of Redwood City I linked to on the Fox Theatre page, and those links are now dead, as are the links to photos of the Redwood Theatre. The San Mateo County Library system has apparently taken its photo collection offline.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Sep 6, 2010 at 4:09 am

The intro currently says the State was built by Redland Theatres. It should read Redwood Theatres.

Also, the article CWalczak linked to on Dec 8, 2009, credits both S. Charles Lee and William B. David with the design of this theater. It’s probably correct. David was connected with Redwood Theatres from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s, serving as the chain’s construction manager and a vice president.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roy's Photoplay Theatre on Sep 6, 2010 at 3:38 am

Roy’s Photoplay Theatre opened on March 5, 1913, according to a draft inventory of buildings in Burlingame, prepared as part of the city’s downtown planning process. The theater was designed by a local architect, J.J. Foley.

According to the inventory, the building as it is today probably “…does not retain sufficient integrity….” to qualify it for placement on the state or national historic registers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sequoia Theatre on Sep 6, 2010 at 3:32 am

Over on the Redwood Theatre page, redwood red says in one comment that he recalls his aunt doing her banking at the old Bank of America branch at Broadway and Jefferson, where the current Bank of America’s parking lot is located, adjacent to the Sequoia Theatre’s building.

An item in the March, 1916, issue of the trade journal The Architect and Engineer says this: “W.H. Toepke, formerly of Havens & Toepke… has prepared plans for a $15,000 motion picture theater to be built adjoining the bank building at Redwood City.”

W.H. Toepke was a San Francisco architect. Given the date of the announcement, and the 1917 opening of the Sequoia, adjacent to the former bank building, it seems very likely that the Sequoia was the theater Toepke was designing. The projected cost of $15,000, low even for 1916, probably explains why the first Sequoia had a shed roof where the fly tower ought to have been. For $15,000 you just didn’t get a proper stage house for your theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about CineArts at Hyatt on Sep 6, 2010 at 3:27 am

Bob Jensen’s doubts about this theater’s history are justified. It was not originally built for Cinerama, or any other wide-screen process. In fact, it didn’t open as a movie theater at all, but as a live “theater-in-the-round.” It was originally called the Hyatt Music Theatre, and hosted both live theater, including musicals, and concerts by pop acts.

A comment by Dave Wills, the theater’s technical director, on this message board page at the Burlingame Historical Society web site says that the house opened in September, 1964, with a production of “Flower Drum Song” and closed in January, 1966, with a production of “Peter Pan.”

I think the house might have continued as a concert venue for a while after it stopped presenting Broadway musicals, and before it was converted into a cinema, as I’ve come across message board comments mentioning concerts there in 1967 and 1968. However, it’s possible that the conversion to a cinema included provision for such live events too. It was definitely showing movies by 1968.

This post at the SF Gate mentions the Hyatt. The author saw “The Empire Strikes Back” there, and says that “…the Hyatt had a huge curved screen that was the best I’ve seen anywhere north of the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood”, so it was definitely equipped for 70mm movies after conversion.

The Hyatt Music Theatre is mentioned in Dorothy Dandridge’s posthumous biography/autobiography “Everything and Nothing.” She played Julie in a 1965 production of “Showboat” which was presented at the Hyatt.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Covington Square 8 Cinemas on Sep 6, 2010 at 2:59 am

Legacy Entertainment, operators of this theater and the Coral Square Stadium 8 in Coral Springs, Florida, has a web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Globe Theatre on Sep 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Three construction photos of the Morosco Theatre appeared in a portfolio of projects designed by Morgan, Walls & Morgan, published in the January, 1921, issue of the west coast trade journal The Architect and Engineer.

Two photos of the auditorium

A photo of the facade

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Allen Theatre on Sep 5, 2010 at 4:29 am

A 1922 article on The Evolution of the Motion Picture Theatre, published by the journal Michigan Architect and Engineer, contains four early interior photos of the Allen Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about National Theatre on Sep 5, 2010 at 3:45 am

Here is a page for the National Theatre at the web site Buildings of Detroit. There are links to galleries with vintage and modern photos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Washington Theatre on Sep 5, 2010 at 3:34 am

Here is a page about the Fox Washington Theatre at the web site Buildings of Detroit. There is a gallery with four black-and-white photos, plus a color postcard.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Theatre on Sep 5, 2010 at 2:32 am

The Lincoln Square Theatre was part of a large multi-use project. A 1922 biographical sketch of Harold M. Smilansky, an officer of the Lincoln Square Building Company, described the block-square project as being

“…of steel and brick construction, with stone and tile trimmings, one section three stories and the other six stories in height. The main building contains fourteen stores fronting on Fort street; one hundred and ten five-room apartments; four suites of offices for physicians and dentists; a large dancing school; the largest one-floor theatre in Detroit, seating two thousand persons, and a six-story warehouse of solid brick and steel construction which contains thirty thousand square feet of floor space.”
The web site Buildings of Detroit names Fred F. Swirsky as the architect of both the Lincoln Square Theatre and a Detroit house called the Medbury Theatre, which was located at 5848 Hastings Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Sep 4, 2010 at 4:35 am

Information about this theater is given in the Historic Note section near the top of this web page, which contains the finding aid for the Heilig Theatre Photographs Collection, held at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library in Portland (none of the photos are on display at this page, unfortunately.)

The Historic Note says that this Heilig Theatre, the second of the name in Portland, opened on October 10, 1910. It was designed by architect Edwin W. Houghton. The Heilig operated primarily as a stage and vaudeville house until 1929, when it reopened as a movie house called the Hippodrome. During the 1930s it underwent three more name changes, operating as the Rialto, the Music Box, and finally the Mayfair. The house was purchased by Evergreen Theatres in 1953 and, after being extensively remodeled, reopened as the Fox Theatre in August, 1954.

As can be seen in the fourth photo on this page (this is the same link posted above by strawberry in a comment of July, 2007), the name Hippodrome was on the street-spanning sign in front of what is unmistakably the Heilig Theatre building, and the house also had a vertical sign proclaiming it the Hip.

A June, 1912, Architectural Record article about Portland architecture features this photo of the Heilig Theatre. The caption also identifies the original architect of the Heilig as E. W. Houghton. I’ve been unable to discover who designed the theater’s 1954 remodeling into the Fox.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Eureka Theatre on Sep 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm

In 1915, The Architectural Record published this article about movie theaters, which included both a photo and a floor plan of the Eureka Theatre, as well as Stearns & Castor’s earlier Victoria Theatre (scroll up from the article title to see the photo of the Eureka, down to see the other illustrations.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Sep 3, 2010 at 4:46 am

The Grand has an official web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Sep 3, 2010 at 4:30 am

A 1921 issue of the architectural journal Pencil Points ran this ad for The Northwestern Terra Cotta Company, which featured a photo of the Orpheum with its original entrance configuration and marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century Theatre on Sep 3, 2010 at 3:36 am

The photos linked in the previous comment show that elements of the original facade of the Miles Theatre survived through both of the major remodelings of the building.

A photo of the Miles Theatre from the trade journal The Western Architect, issue of December, 1908, attributes the design of the Miles to the architectural firm of Kees & Colburn, also architects of the Loring, Orpheum, and Pantages theaters in Minneapolis.

A later page of the magazine displays the original floor plan of the Miles Tehatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victoria Theater on Sep 3, 2010 at 3:33 am

In addition to the Victoria, Stearns & Castor (George R. Stearns and Horace W. Castor) designed the similar Eureka Theatre, at Market and 40th, sometime before the firm was dissolved in 1916. I don’t know if the Eureka is listed at Cinema Treasures under some later name or not. If it’s listed, it’s missing the aka Eureka.

Photos and floor plans of both the the Victoria and the Eureka, along with two other theaters by different architects, illustrate an article about movie theaters in a 1915 issue of The Architectural Record.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ocean Theatre on Sep 3, 2010 at 3:28 am

Regarding my November 2, 2007, comment in which I linked to a Philadelphia Buildings web page attributing the Ocean Theatre to an architectural firm called Lee & Thaete Associates. I’ve only just discovered that the Lee in Lee & Thaete was theater architect William Harold Lee. His partner in the firm, which was formed in 1964, was named Walter Frederick Thaete.

Philadelphia Buildings also attributes the Liberty Theatre at Cape May, New Jersey, to Lee & Thaete Associates (this was a remodeling job), though Cinema Treasures currently attributes it to Willam Harold Lee alone. Lee died in 1971, but the firm continued to operate under the same name until 1983.