Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rio Theatre on Dec 30, 2010 at 10:30 pm

The book “Sacramento: Indomitable City” by Steven Avella says that Charles W. Godard opened this theater in 1915. He had earlier operated a number of other Sacramento theaters. A History of California published in 1906 and revised in 1913 has biographical material on Godard. The 1906 edition says that he took over the Acme Theatre in 1903, and the 1913 edition adds the Liberty and Majestic to the chain of three theaters he was operating by then.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theater on Dec 30, 2010 at 10:27 pm

John DiStatsio was apparently not the first owner of the Liberty, unless there were two subsequent theaters of that name in Sacramento. The style of the building does look to be a bit earlier than 1916, though, so this was probably the same Liberty Theatre mentioned in this 1913 biography of Charles Godard, who was also operating the Majestic and Godard theaters at that time. Godard was also mentioned as operator of the Liberty in the trade publication Moving Picture World, issue of July 12, 1913.

The Liberty and its neighbor, the Capitol Theatre, can be seen in this 1962 photo. There is also a glimpse of the Liberty at the far left of this ca.1962 photo. The ornate facade in the photo Lost Memory linked to above had been replaced at some time by a moderne front and marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Spotlight Theater on Dec 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm

That was the major problem with Vitrolite. It looked great as long as it held together, but it was very easily cracked. This is why they stopped making Vitrolite in the U.S. in the late 1940s.

And because Vitrolite was easily cracked and broken, it provided an unstable surface for other materials. Whenever a Vitrolite front has been replaced by something else, the Vitrolite would have to have been stripped off first, so the new material would have something stable to which it could be attached.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Spotlight Theater on Dec 29, 2010 at 1:50 am

Boxoffice Magazine’s archive is no longer available at, but some 3000 back issues in the vault on the magazine’s own web site are currently available for viewing. Here is a fresh link to the photo of the Farman Theatre (originally posted by Gerald DeLuca above) on the cover of the January 6, 1951, issus.

The photo of the Farnum shows that DeAngelis’s original facade treatment has been replaced by the rough stone facade seen in newer photos. DeAngelis chose to face the building a glassy tile, probably vitrolite, in three different colors (the photo is black and white, but three tones can be seen.) There was also a depiction of what appears to be an archer and a hunting dog above the marquee. Possibly this panel was designed by Oscar Glas, who did the murals inside the theater.

I don’t know if Boxoffice intends to keep its archive available to non-subscribers or not, but if they do then you can search for specific issues of the magazine by going to their home page, clicking on “The Vault” and then on the year of the issue you’re looking for, then the thumbnail of the particular issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyceum Theatre on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:24 am

The exterior style of the Lyceum is predominantly Romanesque Revival. I’ve never found any interior photos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:11 am

The address currently given for the Park Theatre can’t be correct. 446 W. Federal is on the edge of an industrial district just outside downtown, and is across the street from a pair of railroad tracks that run along the river. This would have been an odd location for a major theater.

I also found a 1904 reference to a proposed project on Champion Street which was on a lot said to be adjacent to the Park Theatre. Champion Street crosses East Federal Plaza, though not at the 400 block. I think the theater building was at the southeast corner of Federal and Champion. A 1948 Youngstown Vindicator item about the sale of the Park Theatre by Shea Theatre Corp. said that it had begun operating under lease as a burlesque house earlier that year, and that it was located on Champion Street. It might have had an entrance on Federal Plaza earlier in its history.

Early 20th century editions of The New International Encyclopaedea say that the Park Theatre was one of Youngstown’s prominent buildings. A 1910 book called History of the Western Reserve says that it was built in 1901. The Park Theatre was designed by Cleveland architect William S. Lougee, according to a 1918 book called A History of Cleveland and its Environs.

The Park ran movies as early as 1903, but offered primarily live theater during its early years, and continued to present plays at least as late as 1946. During its later years it had both a movie season and a theater season. It also presented vaudeville, concerts, and other live events at various times in its history.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:08 am

A history of Youngstown published in 1921 features a thumbnail biography of Christopher W, Deibel, who built he Liberty Theatre. Here is an extract of the portion dealing with his career as a movie exhibitor:[quote]“For twenty years he was a merchant tailor. But he is best known for his theatrical ventures, and was one of the pioneer operators of moving picture shows in Youngstqwn. He named his first theater, a small place seating 186 people, the Dome. He had four successive theaters, each named Dome. The present theater of that name was begun by Mr. Deibel in 1912.

“His most notable contribution, however, to the amusement resources of Youngstown came with the organization by him in February, 1918, of the corporation which established and built the Liberty Theater, at 202 West Federal Street. Fifty years earlier his father on the same site built the old Excelsior Block, which was razed by his son to make room for the Liberty Theater. Not only Mr. Deibel but the entire community take pride in the Liberty. It is not excelled by any other theater of its size in the United States in the matter of attractive equipment, comfort and bookings. It has a seating capacity of 1,800 people.”[/quote]Here is a link to the complete bio at Google Books. Scroll down to see a photo of Mr. Deibel. No photos of the theater, unfortunately.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Dec 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

The Orpheum Theatre in Leavenworth is included on this list of known Boller Brothers theaters as a 1909 project. It has been demolished. A history of Leavenworth published in 1921 said that the seating capacity of the Orpheum at that time was 1000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Teatro Figaro on Dec 26, 2010 at 11:17 am

Opened November 11, 1931, according to this web page (also in Spanish) which features a small color photo of a mural in the “vestibulo” (which I believe means lobby.) This was one of two murals painted for the theater by artist Alfonso Ponce de Leon. The other has been moved to a museum.

The article contains this sentence: “De la arquitectura original interior apenas queda nada.” I’m afraid the final three-word phrase means “almost nothing remains.” One line makes reference to a “…great beam and iron straps that hold up the walls” (Google translation.) It also notes that the seating capcity has been reduced to 500.

From my rusty Spanish and a couple of really awful computer translations, it appears that the theater hosted a few stage productions in the 1930s, then presented only movies until 1969, but today it is used for live theater. The article also says that the stage and dressing rooms are currently being renovated.

Architect Felipe Lopez Delgado’s design for this theater won the second prize at Spain’s 1932 National Exposition of Fine Arts.

The theater can be found at Google Maps with the address: Calle del Doctor Cortezo 5, 28012 Madrid, Spain.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Dec 25, 2010 at 10:33 am

Chuck: Mike Rivest has the Orpheum listed as a Dubinsky Brothers house from 1930 to 1935, and a Durwood house from 1935 to 1950.

kath2000: What little I know of C.F. Mensing I obtained from a few online sources. A brief biography in a history of Leavenworth County, published in 1921 was the primary source. An item in a 1924 issue of The Reel Journal named him as still being the operator of the Orpheum and Lyceum at that time. He was mentioned under the name Carl Mensing in a 1926 issue of the same publication. I also came across a patent for a golf club, filed August 1, 1927, by Carl F. Mensing of Leavenworth, Kansas, and granted March 13, 1928, so he must have still been in Kansas in late 1927. I’ve found no later references to him.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Dec 24, 2010 at 10:31 am

The Tucson Opera House was designed by architect Sidney Lovell, according to this book published in 1897, the year the Opera House was built.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theatre on Dec 24, 2010 at 2:02 am

The entry for Walla Walla architect Henry Brandt Gessel in the 1955 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists the Uptown Theatre in Richland among his designs, and gives 1950 as the year of the project. The Uptown was mentioned in Boxoffice of August 19, 1950, which said that it was soon to open and would have 1,250 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rex Theater on Dec 24, 2010 at 1:17 am

The Rex Theatre was in North Fond du Lac, which is not part of the city of Fond du Lac. The Rex was listed in the 1921-1922 edtion of Wid’s Year Book.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Dec 23, 2010 at 11:25 pm

This article about Fond du Lac’s Theaters from the city’s library says that the Henry Boyle Theatre was designed by architect Sidney Lovell. There is a photo from ca. 1910.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Neenah Theater on Dec 23, 2010 at 11:24 pm

The photo of his tombstone at Find a Grave shows that the correct spelling of architect Lovell’s first name is Sidney.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Buckingham Theatre on Dec 23, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Architect Lovell’s first name should be spelled Sidney. Find a Grave has a photo of his tombstone.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Dec 23, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Both the 1910 and 1911 editions of the Chicago Daily News Almanac and Yearbook contain an ad for the Western Vaudeville Managers Association, which was headquartered in Chicago’s Majestic Theatre Building. The Crystal Theatre in Manitowoc is on the list of the association’s members, so it must have had a stage for Vaudeville shows.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lakeshore Cinema Cafe on Dec 23, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Beginning in 1926, the original Mikdadow Theatre Building also held the studios of one of Wisconsin’s early radio stations, WOMT, as told on this web page. The owner of the both the theater and the radio station was Francis Kadow.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm

The Rialto is mentioned in an article in a 1931 issue of a journal called American Artisan. Local sheet metal worker George Bishoff had built a marquee for the house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theatre on Dec 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm

A 1916 ad for the Chicago-based Ascher Brothers theater circuit listed the Bijou Theatre and the Marinette Opera House in Marinette among their operations. The ad boasted that Ascher Brothers' theaters were “The Aristocrats of Photoplay Palaces.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pantages Theater on Dec 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm

How did B. Marcus Priteca’s first and middle names get reversed in the architect field?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lakewood Center 16 on Dec 17, 2010 at 1:07 pm

The major expansion of the Lakewood Center Theatres into the current 16-screen megaplex was the work of theater designer Dave Tanizaki, with GFBA Architects. The same team designed at least one other theater project, the Edwards Metro Pointe Stadium 12 in Costa Mesa, California, opened in 1996. This page at GFBA’s web site features a couple of exterior of the redesigned building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Edwards Bakersfield 14 Cinemas on Dec 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Several legal journals of later 1910s make reference to a case involving a dispute over rent owed by a Bakersfield Theater Company to the Bakersfield Improvement Company during 1914. The L.A. library’s California Index contains quite a few cards mentioning early theaters in Bakersfield, though the name Bakersfield Theatre is not mentioned.

Bakersfield had a population of over 12,000 in 1910, and over 18,000 by 1920, so it supported several theaters during the 1910s. This web page mentions several theaters, though it doesn’t specify which were movie houses and which offered live entertainment: “In 1909 Chester Avenue was noted as ‘theater row’ where Morley’s, Parra’s, Scribner’s, Grogg’s, The Empire and The Lyceum offered flickering movies, vaudeville, concerts, slide shows and any other entertainment they could book.” Later it mentions a Union Theatre as well.

The California Index mentions theaters called the Rex, the Lyric, the the Hippodrome, the Kern, the California, the Pastime, and the Elite, as well as the Nile.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema 70 on Dec 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Cinema 70 opened in 1963 as the Cooper 70 Theatre, according to a history of the Cooper circuit published by the Cooper Foundation, available as a 7.9MB .pdf file which can be downloaded from this page of their web site. The opening of the Cooper 70 was scheduled for November 22, but was delayed until the following night because of the assassination of President Kennedy that day.

The design of the Cooper 70 is attributed by the history to Mel Glatz, in association with architect Maynard Rorman. The team also designed the Ute 70 and Cooper 1-2-3 in Colorado Springs, the Cooper Twin and Wilshire Twin in Greeley, Colorado, and the additions to the Cooper Cinerama theaters when they were expanded into multi-screen houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theater on Dec 15, 2010 at 4:25 pm

I should add that the photos I mentioned in my previous comment show the original architectural style of the Majestic to have been Italian Renaissance.

I’ve also had a chance to check the list of Crane’s theater projects that is included in Ms. DiChiera’s thesis, and it now seems very likely that C. Howard Crane was also the architect of the Duplex Theatre which I mentioned above. Crane was truly ahead of his time.