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The Square Theatre was renovated in 1936. The March 7, 1936, issue of Boxoffice has an article by architect William I. Hohauser, illustrated with a few photos of the Square Theatre, which was one of his recent modernization projects.
Unfortunately, the scan of the article is very blurry, and about half the text is unreadable, including the part that makes reference to the Square Theatre. The photo caption is readable, but doesn’t give much information. It does, however, specifically say the project was a renovation, so the Square must have operated before 1936, perhaps under a different name.
My link didn’t work. Boxoffice marquee photo should be here.
The exact opening date of the Normandy Theatre was Wednesday, January 28, 1948, according to Boxoffice Magazine of January 31. Normandy was the spelling Boxoffice used. The house was locally owned and independently operated, the item said. The Normandy was air conditioned and would be open the year around, with a top admission price of 74 cents. The first manager was named Nat Hern.
The scan is not very clear, but it looks like Boxoffice gave the address as 1401 Collins Avenue.
The October 14, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said “The formerly-independent Normandy Theatre in Miami Beach appeared this week under the banner of the Claughton circuit. This brings to six the number of theatres now operated by Claughton in this area. The theatre is on a single-feature policy.” From the phrasing, and the fact that the first Boxoffice item said that the manager was not revealing anything about the owners of the house except that they were operating as the Normandy Theatre Company, it’s possible that Claughton owned the place all along and just wasn’t telling.
The sale of the Normandy to Wometco was noted in an August 7, 1961, Boxoffice item which said the house would be converted to an art policy. Among changes would be the addition of a turnstile at the entrance and the replacement of the concession stand by vending machines. An art theater with vending machines? Oh, Wometco!
Though I’ve tried, I’ve been unable to find any references in Boxoffice calling this house the Normandie Theatre. There’s a photo of the marquee in Boxoffice of March 8, 1976. The marquee doesn’t look like it had been updated since 1948. I’m wondering how they ever managed to squeeze squeezed an ‘IE" into the space occupied by that “Y.”
The Moore Theatre was opened on October 18, 1946, according to the issue of Boxoffice dated the following day. The owner-operator of the independent house was named Harold A. Soard.
The first Orpheum was designed by the architectural firm of Kees & Caldwell. The same firm later designed the Loring Theatre and the Stimson Building, the two-floor commercial block associated with B. Marcus Priteca’s Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis.
The Loring Theatre was designed by the firm of Kees & Colburn. Here is a page about it from the City of Minneapolis web site.
The new Fox Theatre in Amarillo was set to open on July 30, 1967, according to the issue of Boxoffice dated the previous day. This 800-seat house was, like a number of theaters built during NGC’s expansion in the late 1960s, designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm of Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner. Amarillo architect Harold Mitchell was the local associate.
A May 12, 1969, Boxoffice item about the groundbreaking for the Central Park Fox said that the twin was designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm of Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner. Johnson & Dempsey of San Antonio were the local associate architects.
Boxoffice of October 15, 1938, mentions “…George Halligan, who recently opened the Liberty in Blythe….” The October 1 issue also mentioned the reopening of the Liberty, saying it had been closed for more than two years, but this item mistakenly places it in the nonexistent town of Blythe, Arizona.
By 1941, the Liberty had been taken over by Bob Dunagan (or Dunnigan- Boxoffice spelling) who had opened the Rio Theatre at Blythe in April, 1937.
A June 28, 1965, Boxoffice item said that Robert Lippert had taken over two indoor theaters and a drive-in at Blythe from “Bob Dunnigan,” who (the item said) had operated theaters at Blythe since 1933. It doesn’t give the names of the theaters sold to Lippert, but the last mention of the Liberty I’ve found in Boxoffice is the 1944 item.
A March 20, 1948, item says that “Bob Dunnagan” had opened the Hub, his second theatre at Blythe, so the Liberty must have been closed by then. The houses Lippert bought were probably the Hub and the Rio.
The Hub Theatre opened in 1948. The March 6 and March 20 issues of Boxoffice both mention the opening. The March 20 issue says it was owned by Bob Dunnagan, operator of the Rio Theatre, but the March 6 issue has two items, one saying that Dunnigan (Boxoffice uses several different spellings of his name) owned it and the other saying the owner was Dick Simmons. Perhaps they were partners. In any case, issues of Boxoffice a couple of years later give the name of the operator of the Hub as Dave Jarvis.
A later operator of the Hub, Jim Meyers, wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the July 11, 1977, issue of Boxoffice. The address he gave in that letter was “Hub Theatre, 222 E. Hobsonway, Blythe, Calif., 92225.”
Google Maps (which gives the correct street name of Hobsonway— Bing mistakenly calls it Hobson Way) shows a theater-like building at that location in its satellite view, but street view shows that the building has been demolished since the satellite photo was taken. Bing Maps has the same satellite view, but no bird’s eye view is available for this location, unfortunately.
The Overton Theatre opened in 1938. The July 23 issue of Boxoffice said that the house sold out two shows. Among guests at the opening was W.B. King of King Scenic Company, the decorator of the theater.
The January 29, 1938, issue of Boxoffice ran an item about the origin’s of the Overton Theatre, which was to compete with the Jefferson Amusement company’s Strand Theatre:[quote]“Business men have raised money to finance a new and independent theatre there, according to information reaching Dallas during the week. The new house will be operated by T. W. (Ted) Lewis of Texarkana, where he now operates the Princess and a Negro house, the report said. Lewis is a died-in-the-wool independent.
The mayor of Overton is said to be head of a $25,000 stock company behind the new theatre building, construction on which is ready to start, the report said.“[/quote]A March 12 Boxoffice item said that Ted Lewis had reported that $40,000 was available for building and equipping the new theater he would operate at Overton. The July 2 issue of Boxoffice reported that the Overton Theatre was scheduled to open on July 8.
I’ve been trying to find out who designed this theater, but so far no luck.
This house was called the Queen before it was the Lamar. Unless the original name was later restored (I can’t find any evidence that it was), the page should be renamed. Boxoffice of August 25, 1951, had this information in an item about the installation of an air conditioning and heating system in the Lamar: “It’s the first major work on the house since it opened in October of 1946. Operated years ago as the Queen Theatre and later as the Cole, the Lamar has served three generations of Richmond moviegoers.”
The Queen in Richmond is mentioned in Motion Picture Times of June 17, 1930, when H.A. Kruger sold his half interest in the house to his partner, Mart Cole. The pair had opened the house in 1928. Cole still owned the Lamar in 1951. The Cole circuit also opened a 256-seat house called the Dixie at Richmond in 1950.
I’ve found items about the October, 1946, opening of the Cole Theatre, but have found no indication that it was an entirely new building or that anything untoward had happened to the original Queen Theatre building. It appears to have been an extensive remodeling, but I can’t be positive. If the Queen burned, I can’t find anything about it in Boxoffice, and I can’t believe that Boxoffice would have passed up an opportunity to report a major theater fire. I’ve also been unable to find the date of the name change to Lamar Theatre.
Boxoffice Magazine reported on January 24, 1942, that Lou Bard had sold his Colorado Theatre in Pasadena to Fox West Coast. The house was to be closed soon for “extensive alterations.” The recent opening of Fox West Coast’s refurbished Academy Theatre was announced in Boxoffice of July 11, 1942.
I’ve always had the impression that the Academy lost its original Egyptian style and got its modern interior at the same time the exterior was remodeled in 1957, but the photo of the mezzanine lounge in this Gulistan Carpet ad in the April 1, 1950, issue of Boxoffice shows that at least this part of the interior had already been redone in the art moderne style by then. It’s possible that the interior was entirely modernized during the Fox project in 1942, and the carpeting touted in the Gulistan ad could have been part of a later refurbishing.
An article featuring photos of Shea’s Theatre in Ashtabula was published in Boxoffice, April 1, 1950. Written by the theater’s architect, Michael DeAngelis, and Roy Anderson, the acoustic engineer on the project, the article delves into the methods of providing proper acoustics in movie theaters, with particular emphasis on how the problem was dealt with in the design of Shea’s.
In 1950, the Madison Theatre was owned by the local volunteer fire department and operated under lease by Mrs. Regina Steinberg. That year, the February 25 issue of Boxoffice reported plans to enlarge and remodel the theater, with plans by architect/engineer Samuel Sanner. A May 13, 1951, Boxoffice item said that the Steinberg family had been operating the Madison for 21 years.
The enlargement of the house is not mentioned in the February 17, 1951, Boxoffice item about the reopening, which was to take place on the 14th. But one Boxoffice item about the project said that the building was to be extended to reach the alley behind it, and a 1971 view of the area at Historic Aerials shows one building on that section of 3rd Street that reaches the alley, and the rear portion has a different colored roof than the front portion. It that was the theater, then the expansion must have happened.
The renovation was extensive, in any case, and included building a new floor, reconditioning the seats, complete redecoration, and other improvements. The house was closed from January 6 until February 14.
An April 23, 1955, Boxoffice item said that Mrs. Steinberg had sold the Madison. After that I can’t find it mentioned in Boxoffice, but there are probably a dozen American towns called Madison, and all of them seem to have a namesake theater, so it might be hiding in there somewhere.
The Main Theatre celebrated its 50th anniversary on February 9, 10, and 11, 1965. Boxoffice of February 22, 1965, reported that operator Joe Blum, son of Peter Blum who had opened the house in 1915, on those nights presented three admission-free movies which had been chosen by the theater’s patrons. The three movies shown on successive nights were “Muscle Beach Party,” “McLintock,” and “PT 109.” The 300-seat house was packed each night.
Fox Midwest’s Rockhill Theatre had been closed for over a year when, in 1956, it was purchased and reopened as an art house by Louis Sher and Edward Shulman. A $75,000 renovation and redecoration was carried out by the Teichert Studios of Chicago. The seating capacity was reduced by nearly half, to 720, with new 21-inch seats in 44-inch rows. Decoration throughout the house was simplified, and a coffee bar was installed in place of the lobby concession stand. The new screen had a 3 degree curve and flexible masking to accommodate a variety of aspect ratios.
Boxoffice Magazine of September 1, 1956, announced that the renovation project had been completed ahead of schedule and that, after a benefit premier on September 5, the Rockhill would have its public opening the following day with “The Proud and the Beautiful.” On the 19th, the house would participate in the world premier of “Lust For Life,” the Vincent Van Gogh biopic which featured paintings loaned from the collection of the nearby William Rockhill Nelson Art Gallery.
L.L. Thatcher penned a three-page article about the Rockhill’s renovation for Boxoffice of October 20, 1956. There are several photographs illustrating the article.
As reported in Boxoffice of October 20, 1956, when the Parkway Theatre was renovated and reopened as the 5 West Theatre the original seating capacity of 1,100 was reduced to a mere 440. The interior was gutted and rebuilt. A new concrete floor was poured for the orchestra section, and the balcony was re-stepped. The new seating rows were 48 inches back to back on the main floor and 64 inches back to back in the balcony. Additionally, the former standee area was enlarged and walled off from the auditorium to provide space for a new lounge.
The first film shown at the 5 West was the Alec Guinness comedy “The Lady Killers.” The theater was operated by the 5 West Amusement Company, Milton Schwaber, President. Three photos of the renovated theater appeared in Boxoffice Magazine, October 20, 1956.
The 5 West apparently began having difficulty operating as an art house as early as 1974, when the September issue of Boxoffice said that Schwaber Theatres had closed the house until further notice. I don’t know how long this closure lasted, but I haven’t found the house mentioned in Boxoffice again until July 26, 1976, when there was an item saying that Schwaber World Fare Cinemas had reopened the 5 West “…as a showcase for black exploitation films.”
As long ago as 1983, public involvement to revive the Parkway Theatre was being proposed. That year the December issue of Boxoffice reported that Baltimore city officials had applied for a $265,000 Federal grant which “…would be combined with $800,000 in private funds to build an entertainment center inside the Parkway Theatre….” Obviously nothing came of this proposal.
The “Related Website” link above is dead.
An item about the Myers Theatre in Boxoffice, November 2, 1957, said that the original Myers Opera House of 1870 had burned in 1889, two years after a complete remodeling, and the theater standing in 1957 was the replacement that had been built in 1889.
This book at Google Books has a 1908 obituary of the architect of the Myers Theatre, Oscar Cobb (put his name in the search box on the left side of the page and click Go.) It says that he designed about 200 theaters, and gives the names of a dozen or so.
The November 2, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said that the opening of the Hitching Post Theatre in Beverly Hills had been postponed from November 8 to November 22. The building was apparently new, as the item gave its cost as a quarter of a million dollars.
This being Beverly Hills, the grand opening didn’t lack for celebrities. Among those attending were Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Trigger, as well as lesser luminaries such as Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell. Trigger’s hoof-prints were immortalized in cement as part of the festivities. There are photos in the December 7, 1943 issue of Boxoffice.
The January 25, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said that the Hitching Post Theatre in Beverly Hills was adopting a newsreel policy to be in effect Mondays through Thursdays, but would continue to show western movies on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It would be the first newsreel operation in the Los Angeles area outside downtown and Hollywood.
The owners of the house, ABC Theatres (which I was a local partnership consisting of Buddy Adler, Horace Boos, and Gregory Carter, and was not related to the later nation-wide ABC circuit) renamed the house the Beverly Canon Theatre and switched its policy to single features and short subjects with newsreels in 1947, according to Boxoffice of April 19 that year. For a time, the theater continued to run two daytime shows of westerns for the local moppets on Saturdays and Sundays. Later Boxoffice items reveal that the Beverly Canon had gone to an art house policy by 1949.
ABC converted their Hitching Post in Hollywood into the art film Paris Theatre in late 1949. Their Santa Monica Hitching Post continued to run westerns for only a few months after the last of its companion theaters went highbrow on it, then after a brief closure was reopened as the Riviera Theatre, another art house.
The October 29, 1949, issue of Boxoffice carried a brief announcement saying “Hitching Post Theatre is to be renovated and renamed Paris for ABC Theatres.” The November 12 issue of Boxoffice said the Paris had opened that week with the British import “Passport to Pimlico.”
The ABC chain’s Hitching Post Theatre in Beverly Hills had been renamed the Beverly Canon Theatre in 1947. The Santa Monica Hitching Post was to abandon its western policy by May, 1950, and be renamed the Riviera.
ABC Theatres was a local partnership, not to be confused with the later nationwide ABC chain.
The McClurg Court project (two giant towers and associated structures) as a whole was designed by the firm of Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz, & Associates, though I’ve been unable to find any source specifically attributing the theater to that firm. The structure itself had to be of their design, though the theater interior might have been done by someone else. Cinema Treasures currently attributes the ICE 62nd and Western Theatre to Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz, & Associates.
The Art Institute of Chicago has this item which attributes the third McVickers Theatre to architect Thomas W. Lamb as well as Henry Newhouse.
As the Adler & Sullivan-designed second McVickers Theatre was demolished to make way for the third McVickers, shouldn’t it have its own Cinema Treasures page?
Here’s a ca1910 photo of the LaSalle Theatre from the Art Institute of Chicago web site.
This item from the Art Institute of Chicago might depict the Joy Theatre soon after its construction.