Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Downtown Theater on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:47 am

Percival Pereira was not a member of the firm of Pereira & Pereira. That firm consisted of brothers William and Hal Pereira. There is a lot of conflation of Percival and Hal on the Internet, and I suspect that much of it has been spread from Cinema Treasures. I really ought to have noticed this sooner.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Model Theatre on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:46 am

Well, it looks like some of the theaters attributed to Pereira & Pereira at Cinema Treasures (Downtown Theatre, Detroit, for example) are actually the work of Percival Pereira. It’s going to take some time to sort this out. Information about Percival Pereira is rather thin on the Internet, and information about William and Hal is not much more plentiful.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Model Theatre on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:24 am

The September 17, 1938, Boxoffice article which includes photos of the Model Theatre is now to be found at this link The first page of the article has a photo of William and Hal Pereira.

For some reason, Hal Pereira, William’s brother, and his partner in the firm Pereira & Pereira, has often been conflated with an older architect, Percival R. Pereira. Percival Pereira was associated with C. Howard Crane in 1921-1922, and is supposed to have designed the interiors of the Fox Theatre in Detroit, but all the Pereira & Pereira theater designs listed at Cinema Treasures were William and Hal’s work. I’ve been unable to discover if Percival Pereira was related to the Pereira brothers or not.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Luzerne Theatre on Mar 16, 2012 at 1:15 am

Roger, I think the phone number might belong to Tom Alexander, who submitted this theater. His family owned the Luzerne Theatre.

Tom, are you sure of the opening year of the theater? I found this item in the July 8, 1922, issue of The American Contractor:

“LUZERNE, PA. •Theatre (M. P.), Store & Apts.: $60,000. 2 sty. 50x165. Luzerne. Archt. James A. McGlynn, Simon Long bldg., Wilkes Barre. Owner & Bldr. Louis Marines & Thomas Alexander, 27 Main St. Brk. & h. t., stone. Soon to start. Owner taking bids on sep. contrs.”
If the theater didn’t open until 1925, that was an awfully long construction time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theater on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Wasn’t the Plaza Theatre in the building that is now Andy’s Bar, on the southeast corner of Locust and Oak? Because the Internet gives the address of 122 N. Locust Street for Andy’s Bar. That might be what has confused Google Maps into putting its pin icon up north of Pecan Street. There is no 121 N. Locust.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm

If the three theaters on the west side of the square were all in a row, the address of the Palace must have been 109 N. Elm Street. The Texas/Fine Arts was on a double lot at 113-115 N. Elm, which would have put the Dreamland next door at 111 N. Elm, and so the Palace would have been at 109 N. Elm. The lots at 105-107 are now a parking lot, and the Sherman Building occupies the double corner lot at 101-103.

I can’t find a construction year for the building currently at 109 N. Elm, but the building at 111, on the site of the Dreamland, was built in 1955, according to the property report on this page at City-Data.com. As the building at 109 has a facade almost identical to the building at 111, and both are the same height, they look like they were built at the same time.

At the very least, everything between the side walls of the Palace was probably gutted, and an entirely new facade (and probably roof) built in 1955.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dreamland Theater on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Being next door to the Texas/Fine Arts Theatre, the address of the Dreamland would have been 111 N. Elm Street (the Fine Arts was on a double lot at 113-155 N. Elm.) Until last year this was the address of Ruby’s Diner on the Square, which closed in June, 2011. I can’t find a current occupant of the building, so it might still be vacant at this time.

A property report on this page at City-Data.com says that the improvement on the property, a 3000 square foot commercial building, was built in 1955. If that’s correct, then the Dreamland has been demolished, not converted to commercial space.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sunn Cinema on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:12 am

Here are updated links to the Boxoffice items cited in my previous comment.

November 7, 1942 article about three Jack Corgan projects, including the El Rancho Theatre.

Rendering of the proposed El Rancho Theatre (bottom of page) in Boxoffice of June 21, 1941.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theater on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I’ve found another reference to the Royal Theatre, this in the October 10, 1908, issue of The Billboard, in the magazines “Playhouses” section:

“The Royal Theatre, which is to occupy a building at 218 East Houston street, San Antonio, Tex., will be one of the prettiest and coziest amusement places In the Southwest. Harry J. Moore, the manager, is busily arranging the bookings and making other details for the theatre. The Royal is to give high-class vaudeville for ten cents. The Royal Amusement Co., who control the theatre, have recently filed articles of incorporation with the secretary of state at Austin. The capital stock Is $15,000. The incorporators are E. W. Mills. J. M. Nix and Lee Shannon.”
It’s possible that the Royal Theatre on Houston Street was closed in or by 1920. A contributor to the Wikipedia article about the Majestic Theatre found this bit of information, and cites a 1988 article in the Theatre Historical Society’s journal Marquee as the source:
“The land on which the office building-theatre complex now stands was leased to Karl Hoblitzelle from J. M. Nix, who had purchased it in 1920 from the Enterprise Company of Dallas. The land came with the curious deed restriction that, until April 5, 1928, ‘neither aforesaid land nor any building or improvement or any part thereon shall be used or occupied for theatrical, motion picture, or amusement purposes at any time…’”
The wording doesn’t make clear if the deed restriction was part of the lease by Nix to Hoblitzelle, or part of the sale by Enterprise Company to Nix, or both. If the deed restriction was part of the sale, and included the portion of the property on which the Royal Theatre sat, then the house must have been closed when the sale was made. The Royal must also have been closed if it was included in the lease agreement.

But I can’t think of any reason why either Nix or Enterprise Company would place the deed restriction on the property unless they were either still operating the Royal themselves, in which case it must not have been included in the original lease, or if they had opened another theater nearby and wanted to prevent new competition at this location.

Also, I’ve found that architect H. L. Page’s first name was Harvey.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Knickerbocker Theatre on Mar 13, 2012 at 6:52 am

Here is a photo of the Knickerbocker Playhouse auditorium from the Cleveland Memory project.

The Knickerbocker Theatre was built in 1913 or earlier. A biographical sketch of several members of the Skeel family in a book published that year says of the Skeel Brothers Company, a large construction and development firm: “The company built and owns the Knickerbocker Theatre and the Mercantile Office Building, Euclid avenue, and in this building their office is located.”

At least two members of the Skeel family were architects, so it’s possible that the Knickerbocker Theatre was designed by one or both of them, but I’ve been unable to confirm this.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Knickerbocker Theatre on Mar 13, 2012 at 6:16 am

The Knickerbocker Theatre got a few lines in an article about Cleveland movie houses that was published in The Moving Picture World on July 15, 1916:

“The Knickerbocker Theater, 8315 Euclid avenue, boasts of the most exclusive patronage of any Cleveland picture theater. Emery M. Downs, who manages both the Knickerbocker and the Metropolitan Theater, says high class music and the best obtainable pictures have built up this reputation.

“All the ushers in the Knickerbocker, which has 1,100 seats, are college boys, from either Western Reserve University or the Case School of Applied Science.

“Morris Spitalney’s orchestra provides music with the pictures. The Knickerbocker charges 10, 20 and 35 cents for admission.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Standard Theatre on Mar 13, 2012 at 6:12 am

Here is a bit more information about the Standard Theatre, from the July 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Standard Theater, 813 Prospect avenue, is one of the largest and most popular of the downtown picture theaters in Cleveland. Joseph Grossman, who with his wife operates the theater, opened it just two years ago. The Standard was the first downtown house to charge ten cents admission, and is the only house which runs its entire program for a week. Grossman books Fox first run features with twenty-one days protection, and declares his S. R. O. sign works overtime. The Standard seats 700.

“When Grossman opened the Standard, failure was predicted because of the fact that the entrance to the house is one of the longest in the city. Grossman overcame this allegedly objectionable feature by artistic treatment of the entrance. In observance of his second anniversary, he has just had the lobby transformed into a rose bower, by the use of trellis work and thousands of artificial flowers.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Broadway Theater on Mar 13, 2012 at 5:57 am

This entire block of Broadway has been redeveloped as a modern shopping center. The New Broadway Theatre has been demolished.

I found a January, 1916, reference to a Broadway Theatre at 4628 Broadway. The New Broadway must have been its replacement.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Olympia Theatre on Mar 13, 2012 at 5:45 am

The Olympia Theatre was in operation prior to January 19, 1916, on which date a telegram from its operator, W. H. Miller, was entered into the records of a hearing being held by the Federal Motion Picture Commission. It was one of many telegrams sent by Cleveland theater operators to express opposition to a proposed Federal censorship law.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's Liberty Theater on Mar 13, 2012 at 5:26 am

The opening ad rivest266 linked to shows that the Liberty Theatre was in operation in 1919, but it was probably the same house that was mentioned in the July 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World, which mentions the “…Liberty Theater… built a year ago, and seating 1,500.”

I’ve been unable to find any references to any other Cleveland house called the Liberty during this period, so this one must have been the one that opened in 1915, and must have been one of the several existing Cleveland houses that Loew’s took over in 1919.

I’ve also found a few references from 1916 to a house called the Manhattan Theatre located at Superior Avenue and 105th Street. One reference indicates that the Manhattan Theatre was valued at $65,000, so it must have been a fairly large house. It’s hard to believe that this now rather forlorn intersection once hosted two big theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Milo Theatre on Mar 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm

The Milo Theatre was located on the lot at the northeast corner of Miles Avenue and East 100th Street, which is about a mile west of the place where the Google map is currently displaying its pin icon.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rex Theatre on Mar 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

4306 Warner is now the location of a business called Motorcycle Specialties. The building (which is a couple of blocks north of Tioga Avenue) is obviously quite old, so if the Rex was at that address then it hasn’t been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rex Theatre on Mar 12, 2012 at 7:24 am

I found a source indicating that the Rex Theatre was in operation at 4305 Warner Road as early as January, 1916. Perhaps the street number was a typo, or perhaps the theater started out at 4305 and later moved to larger quarters across the street.

A telegram from the Rex Theatre’s operator, C. S. Reinberger, was placed into the records of the Federal Motion Picture Commission on January 19, 1916. The telegram was sent in protest of a proposed Federal censorship law.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mall Theatres on Mar 12, 2012 at 6:51 am

There were at least two early theaters called the Mall in Cleveland. As shown in the ad to which Mike Rivest linked in the previous comment, the duplex Mall Theatre on Euclid Avenue opened in 1917. The earlier Mall Theatre was a smaller house located on Superior Avenue.

Here are a few relevant lines from an article on Cleveland movie houses published in The Moving Picture World, issue of July 5, 1916:

“Louis H. Becht, now owner of the Mall theater, Superior avenue, opened Dreamland, on Euclid avenue, which is the oldest downtown picture theater still in existence, in 1908. He was there two years when he opened the Mall where he now is.

“Now Becht is spending $100,000 on a new Mall, to be a duplex theater, each auditorium to seat 650 persons and have both entrances from Euclid avenue, which run parallel. This house will be ready for opening about Nov. 1. The present Mall, one of the most popular downtown houses, seats 300 persons.”

As Mike’s ad is dated March 17, 1917, the completion of the house was obviously delayed. The 1917 opening also means that the Duplex Theatre in Detroit, opened in 1915, so far remains the earliest twin theater known to have operated in the United States. The claim to uniqueness made in the Mall’s opening ad could only have applied to its piggyback configuration. The Detroit Duplex featured side-by-side auditoriums.

I’ve found several references to this house as Loew’s Mall Theatre from the period 1920-1922.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Milo Theatre on Mar 12, 2012 at 5:51 am

The Milo Theatre was built in 1915. The January 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World included it on a list of new theaters built in Cleveland the previous year.

On January 19, 1916, a telegram from the Milo’s operator, Adolph Mahrer, protesting a proposed Federal censorship bill, was entered into the records of the Federal Motion Picture Commission. This is the text of Mr. Mahrer’s telegram:

“I, Adolph Mahrer, individually, and as the representative of Milo Theater, One hundredth Street and Miles Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, respectfully protest against the enactment of a Federal censorship bill in any form. I urge and advocate the amendment of section 245 of the Federal Criminal Code so as to make it unmistakably applicable to motion pictures.

“I represent an investment of $40,000 in the exhibiting branch of the motion picture industry. My interests employ 10 employees.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arcadia Theatre on Mar 9, 2012 at 6:31 am

Issues of Engineering News-Record from 1921 list two theater projects proposed for Wellsboro. One project was for an Arcadia Theatre company, but its description doesn’t fit the Arcadia as it appears in photos. The other project has no name attached, but its description is a better match for the Arcadia. I’ll post both items here:

“Wellsboro—Theatre—Arcadia Theatre Co., Wellsboro, and H. M. Haskell, archt, Hulett Bldg., Elmira, N. Y.. opens bids within month, building 2 story, 80 x 100 ft, concrete, brick and steel, on Main St About $75,000.”
The second item:
“Wellsboro—Theater—O. B. Roberts & Son, Bache Auditorium, receiving bids building 1 story, 50 x 187 ft. hollow tile and concrete, on Main St. About $150,000. H. Spann. 52 West Chippewa St.. Buffalo. N. Y., archt.”
I can’t find the dates of either issue of the journal, but the Roberts project was earlier in the Google Books scan, so it was probably the first announced. It’s possible that the Arcadia Theatre Company arranged to abandon their project and take over the Roberts project instead, as it might have been farther along. Perhaps the Arcadia project announcement was even a ploy to force Roberts into a deal to turn over operation of his new house to the other group.

In any case, the architect of the Arcadia Theatre was probably either H. M. Haskell of Elmira or H. Spann of Buffalo. Henry L. Spann was the architect of several theaters in Buffalo, but I’ve been unable to find anything about H. M. Haskell other than a couple of directory listings. Maybe somebody with access to records in Wellsboro can clear up the mystery.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theater on Mar 9, 2012 at 5:18 am

It is likely, though not a certainty, that the Casino was the theater that was to be part of the project mentioned in this item from The Moving Picture World of January 3, 1914:

“The Keansburg Heights Company is laying out work to be completed before the summer of 1914 for an amusement park, to include dance ball, moving pictures, carosel, swings, park building and broadwalk.”
The earlier comment by KGordonMurray does say that the theater was located in an amusement park, and the Casino Theatre in the photo in the book I linked to earlier certainly looked old enough to have been built in 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theater on Mar 9, 2012 at 5:06 am

Keansburg, by Randall Gabrielan (Google Books preview), has a photo on page 46 showing the Casino Theatre about 1952. It was on the south side of Beachway about mid-block between Highland and Carr Avenues. The caption says that the theater has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Blue Mouse Theatre on Mar 9, 2012 at 3:32 am

The architect of the Blue Mouse Theatre was Henderson Ryan. The September 8, 1920, issue of Engineering and Contracting said: “H. Ryan, Architect, will proceed with construction of the Blue Mouse Theatre.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regent Theatre on Mar 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm

The Regent Theatre was drastically altered by the mid-1930s, when the original stadium seating section was removed and replaced with a conventional orchestra floor. A cross section of the Regent’s auditorium as originally designed can be seen on this page of Lisa Maria DiChiera’s The Theatre Designs of C. Howard Crane.

Contrast that with this photo of the remodeled Regent that was featured in a Heywood-Wakefield ad in Boxoffice of September 19, 1936.

I’ve been unable to find a photo of the Regent’s auditorium before its remodeling, but DeChiera’s thesis includes these photos of the Majestic Theatre in Detroit, built the year after the Regent and designed by Crane with a very similar seating configuration.