Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Soledad Theatre on Nov 13, 2011 at 3:23 am

Andres: Yes, different theaters have been conflated on this page. The page is supposed to be about the Soledad Theatre that closed in 1946, following a fire. Boxoffice Magazine reported that the theater burned to the ground, but that might or might not have been the case. The photos linked in Chuck’s comments actually depict the newer Soledad Theatre on Kidder Street. So far nobody has posted any photos of the earlier Soledad Theatre.

To add to the mysteries, I’ve found a single reference to a theater in Soledad called the Mission, being operated by Ernest Gnesa and Edward Franscioni in 1933. This might have been another name for the Soledad Theatre which opened around 1922, or it might have been a different theater as yet unlisted at Cinema Treasures.

The 1947 Soledad Theatre doesn’t have a Cinema Treasures page yet. I think I have enough information about it to submit it now, so a page might show up later today or tomorrow. Look for it under the “New Theatres” heading on the site’s home page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rio Theater on Nov 13, 2011 at 3:22 am

The Rio Theatre building is still standing at 325 Front Street, corner of Benito Street. It is currently occupied by La Esperanza Market.

Andres: Boxoffice Magazine has an extensive collection of its back issues online st this link. I don’t use the collection very much anymore. When it was first available, any search engine could fetch many results on just about any subject the magazine had ever covered, but the site appears to be blocking searches now, and its own internal search function is useless.

I think the sources cited by other CT users who commented on the theaters in Soledad were mostly print sources which are not available online.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theatre on Nov 11, 2011 at 9:19 pm

The only downtown theater called the Cameo that I remember was this one, the former Clune’s Broadway, north of Sixth Street, between the Arcade and the Roxie. It was open through at least part of the 1980s, showing Spanish language movies.

In the 1960s, when the Tower was still operating as the Newsreel Theatre, there was a television theater on the lower level, occupying the former lounge. It presented closed-circuit programs on a fairly large (for that time) projection screen. I don’t think they ever gave the television theater its own name, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pageant Theatre on Nov 11, 2011 at 4:45 am

Deja vu.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Melba Theatre on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:30 am

A photo in Tim Hollis’s book “Birmingham’s Theater and Retail District” shows the Melba Theatre next door to the Comer Building, now the City Federal Building, which is located at Second Avenue North and Richard Arrington, Jr. Boulevard (formerly 21st Street.) The City Federal Building is has been converted into an apartment complex with the address 2024 Second Avenue North, so the address of the Melba would have been about 2020 or 2022 Second Avenue North. There is now a parking garage with retail office spaces on the ground floor at this location.

Hollis’s book says the Melba was demolished in 1984. The photo includes a partial view of another theater three doors up the block from the Melba, but I can’t make out a name on its marquee, only the word theatre. Cinema Treasures has no theater listed at that location. Its site, too, has been covered by the garage building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Nov 10, 2011 at 1:37 am

The Metropolitan was at 11 Avenue and Broad Street. The street signs can be seen in the second of the three photos kenmcintyre linked to in the first comment. The theater has been demolished, along with the multi-storey building adjacent to it on 11 Avenue. The adjacent building on Broad Street is still there, housing a shop called Love Plus, for which the Internet gives an address of 1810 Broad Street. Perhaps there was a renumbering at some point, but the current address of the Metropolitan’s site must be 1800 Broad Street… although by the time the photos Ken linked to were taken, the entrance had been confined to the 11 Avenue side of the building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Belcourt Theatre on Nov 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Another link repair: Photos of the Belcourt Theatre in Boxoffice, July 8, 1963.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Granada Theatre on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

The art moderne tower and other alterations to this theater in 1931 were the work of architect Frederick H. Meyer. The Architect and Engineer announced the planned $50,000 modernization project in its issue of March, 1931.

The problem is that there were two architects named Frederick H. Meyer practicing in San Francisco from about 1900 to 1960, and I’ve been unable to discover if the Granada remodeling was the work of Frederick Herman Meyer or Frederick Heinrich Meyer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mainzer Cinema II on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Salih Brothers, currently listed as architects of this theater, operated a general contracting company. However, I can’t find any indication that they acted as architects on any of these projects. The original Merced Theatre, as Gary Parks says, designed by A. W. Cornelius. The application for the inclusion of the second Merced Theatre on the National Register of Historic Places included a bit of information about the first Merced Theatre, saying that it was opened in March, 1920 by Charles Douglas and Francis Egan, and that it was bought by E.H. Emmick, president of the Golden State Theatres circuit about 1923. The first Merced Theatre suffered a fire in December, 1936, and was rebuilt and reopened as the Strand in 1938. It doesn’t say who the architect for the rebuilding was.

Salih Brothers operated at least one theater themselves; The Center in Centerville, now part of the city of Fremont. Salih Brothers build the Center in 1946, and it was operated by the Salih family until 1973. A document from the Fremont planning commission says that the Center Theatre was designed by architect A. A. Cantin. If the Salih brothers had been architects, I would think they’d have designed the theater they built and operated themselves.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

A May, 2011, report from the Fremont planning commission has some information about the Center Theatre. The house was built by the Salih Brothers, and was owned and operated by the Salih family until 1973. Salih Brothers was a major contracting company which built many theaters and other buildings in California. The architect of the Center Theatre was A. A. Cantin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Del Mar Theatre on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm

The name in the architect field is misspelled. It should be Chavalis, but I’m not sure he was actually the architect in any case. As far as I’ve been able to determine, William Chavalis was a painter who worked with Gale Santocono. Chavalis painted murals in the Cascade Theatre in Redding, California, among others.

I’ve also been unable to find any references indicating that the firm Salih Brothers designed any buildings. They were general contractors operating a major construction company, and also operated at least one theater themselves (the Center in Fremont, California,) but I can find no evidence that any of them were architects or even designers. Their own theater, the Center, was designed by A. A. Cantin. It, too had murals by William Chavalis.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cascade Theatre on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Salih Brothers was the construction and contracting firm that built this theater. I can’t find any evidence anywhere that the firm was ever engaged in architecture or design.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garberville Theatre on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:00 pm

The Garberville Theatre opened on August 2nd, 1935, in a converted garage, according to the extensive and detailed history of the house on this web page. There are several photographs, as well as scans of vintage ads, and items about the theater from various publications.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theatre on Nov 8, 2011 at 6:05 am

The June, 1930, issue of The Architect and Engineer said that William H. Weeks would be the architect of a new theater to be built at Martinez.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Obispo Theatre on Nov 8, 2011 at 5:29 am

Here is a photo of the Obispo Theatre.

It’s been established that the Obispo was originally the El Monterey Theatre, and became the Obispo in 1928, following a $20,000 remodeling of the interior. The facade remained largely unchanged. Janet Penn Franks' book “San Luis Obispo: A History in Architecture” says that the El Monterey Theatre opened on December 24, 1911.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alcazar Theater on Nov 8, 2011 at 4:24 am

A book called “History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut,” published in 1918, presents a glowing description of the Alcazar in its early years:


“The Alcazar theater, conducted by George F. Rabbott, is one of the most attractive amusement houses of Naugatuck and in fact is a most conspicuous monument to the silent drama. It is splendidly housed in a building that was constructed expressly for the purpose in 1913 by F. H. Brothers, of Waterbury, and the new theater first opened its doors to the public on the 30th of August of that year. It is located on North Main street, a few doors from Maple street, and the building is handsomely designed. It is fifty-two by eighty-five feet, two stories in height, and the most perfect ventilation system has been installed. This includes an exhaust fan forty-eight inches in diameter which is capable of renewing with fresh air each cubic foot of space in the building every four minutes. The theater has five exits on the ground floor and there is also a spacious and attractive lobby. The seating capacity of the house, including the gallery, is about seven hundred. A Mirroroid screen has been installed and the projection of the pictures is absolutely perfect, due largely to the use of two of the newest and most expensive type of motion picture projecting machines and also to the skill of an expert operator. Thorough study of the situation on the part of the management has led to the most absolutely perfect results that can be attained. The booth from which the pictures are projected is situated in the gallery and is of steel and asbestos construction, thus being absolutely fireproof. An orchestra of from five to eight pieces furnishes a musical program in keeping with the high class of entertainment provided. The management of the theater has followed the policy of exhibiting only pictures of the very highest standard in which the leading film actors are represented. Many attractive serials have been presented and the production is at all times of the highest grade, such as would prove attractive to the most cultured taste.”

The portion of North Main Street on which the Alcazar Theatre was located has been wiped out by a modern highway. Google Maps places its pin icon a considerable distance north of the actual location of the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crest Theatre on Nov 7, 2011 at 2:41 am

An article about the recently completed remodeling of the Victory Theatre was published in the May, 1936, issue of The Architect and Engineer. The author was the architect of the project, William I. Garren.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theatre on Nov 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm

The out-of-town tryout for Irving Berlin’s 1917 musical “Yip! Yip! Yaphank!” was held at the Star Palace Theatre in Patchogue. I don’t know of any other Broadway shows that had tryouts in Patchogue, but there might have been some. Most pre-Broadway tryouts were held in larger cities, with the Shubert Theatre in New Haven being the most popular venue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Amityville Twin on Nov 5, 2011 at 6:17 am

This house is probably the theater at Amityville that was designed by architect Maurice D. Sornik in 1960, as listed in his entry in the 1962 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theatre on Nov 5, 2011 at 6:15 am

The entry for architect Maurice Sornik in the 1962 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists a “Theatre & Comm. Bldg., Patchogue” as a 1959 project. The Plaza doesn’t look like it had any commercial functions, but it’s the only theater listed for Patchogue that was built around that time.

Is there a theater built in Patchogue that was opened in 1959 or 1960, and is missing from the Cinema Treasures database? If not, then it’s possible that the Plaza was the project listed, but it was built without its commercial component.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about American Theater on Nov 5, 2011 at 6:13 am

The architect’s middle name is spelled with a double “p” in his entries in various editions of the AIA’s American Architects Directory: Phillippe. As the content for the biographical material in the directories was submitted by the architects themselves, this spelling is most likely correct.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sammy T's Music Hall on Nov 5, 2011 at 6:11 am

The entry for James Franklin Scalf in the 1962 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists the Tony Theatre at Huntsville as one of his projects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vine Cinema & Alehouse on Nov 5, 2011 at 6:10 am

The entry for Gale Santocono in the 1962 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists the Vine Theatre at Livermore as one of his works.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lorain-Fulton Theatre on Nov 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Thomas Urbansky’s Loraine-Fulton Theatre was in the planning stage in early 1921, when the January 27 issue of Engineering News-Record ran the following item:

:“O.. Cleveland — Theater and Commercial —T. Urbansky, Ontario St., having plans prepared by H. Hradilek. archt.. Park Bldg., for 2 story, 90 x 250 ft., rein.-con., brick and steel, rein.-con. flooring, concrete foundation on Lorain Ave. and Fulton Rd. About $200,000.”
Given the size of the proposed building, the reported late 1940s FDY seating capacities of almost 1,500 are not surprising.

Architect Henry Hradilek was very active in the 1910s and 1920s, and is best known for the numerous houses he designed in the Cleveland Heights district, and for the Weizer Building (with architect Arthur Thomas,) a three-storey commercial and apartment building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jennings Theater on Nov 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm

The Music Trade Review of November 25, 1916, said that Thomas Urbansky had opened the Jennings Theatre in Cleveland. The Urbansky family was active inthe theater business in Cleveland at least into the 1950s.