Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Seville Theatre on Feb 13, 2010 at 12:33 am

The L.A. County Assessor says the building on the southwest corner of West Blvd. and 64th Street (that would be the church) was built in 1994. The building facing West Blvd. north of 64th Street dates from 1941. The Seville Theatre has undoubtedly been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Niguel Theatre on Feb 13, 2010 at 12:30 am

Boxoffice of April 12, 1965, reported that the Niguel Theatre, to be operated by South Coast Theatres, would have 478 seats. The project was designed by San Clemente architect Ricardo A. Nicol.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Academy Theatre on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Jimmy, this page is about the Academy Theatre on Melrose Avenue, which I think was probably closed by 1947. If you lived around 91st and Avalon, you most likely saw The Wizard of Oz at the Academy Theatre on Manchester Boulevard. Here is its Cinema Treasures page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mirror Theater on Feb 12, 2010 at 6:00 am

As the opening ad for the Telenews posted above by Mike Rivest gives an address of 1515 Elm for that theater, and the Capitol has an address of 1521, and given that the Mirror’s entrance was between these two theaters, its correct address must have been either 1517 or 1519 Elm.

The last mention of the Mirror I’ve been able to find in Boxoffice is from the issue of August 26, 1939. At that time it was being operated by Robb & Rowley.

The July 18, 1942, Boxoffice article about the Telenews that I mentioned in an earlier comment is right here. It has several photos, a small floor plan and cross section scheme of the building, plus a bonus picture of architect Jack Corgan. The floor plan shows that the Telenews was on one lot.

The only way I can think of that the Mirror and the Telenews could have occupied even part of the same footprint is if the Mirror was an L-shaped theater, or if its auditorium was behind the building next door to its entrance, and the lobby made an odd jog to reach it. I can’t think of any reason why the latter would be the case, unless the Capitol Theatre’s auditorium occupied part of the lot behind the Mirror’s entrance. Unfortunately Historic Aerials has no views of this location earlier than 1958, long after the Mirror was gone, so I can’t check to see if the Mirror was L-shaped. The Capitol doesn’t look like it spreads onto the back of the Mirror’s lot, though, but then its auditorium might have already been demolished by 1958.

In any case, even if the Mirror was L-shaped, the Telenews would have occupied only part of the Mirror’s site, and must have been new construction rather than a rebuild of the Mirror. To me it continues to seem most likely that the Mirror and the Telenews were entirely different theaters.

The name of the Telenews was changed to Dallas Theatre in 1950, by the way, so if I’m right neither of those aka’s listed above belonged to the Mirror.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century's Plainview on Feb 12, 2010 at 2:53 am

The opening day for the Plainview was Monday, December 23, 1957, according to a brief item in Boxoffice of January 6, 1958.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Picwood Theatre on Feb 12, 2010 at 2:47 am

Here’s the Picwood as cover girl, Boxoffice, May 7, 1949.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Feb 12, 2010 at 2:37 am

I think there might be an error in the architect field. Boxoffice of February 2, 1946, attributes the design of the Telenews Theatre, then about to begin construction, to Milwaukee architect Richard Philipp (though the item misspells his name as Richard Philip.) Richard Philipp (1874-1959) was a well-known Milwaukee architect who, from 1906 until about 1938, practiced in partnership with the even better-known architect Peter Brust.

I’ve been unable to find any other source confirming the attribution in Boxoffice, but a thorough Internet search fails to turn up an architect named Ralph Phillips at all. There might have been a transcription error of some sort in Jim Rankin’s notes, turning Richard Philipp into Ralph Phillips.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theater on Feb 12, 2010 at 2:32 am

The Majestic underwent a $60,000 remodeling project in 1959-1960. Boxoffice of January 4, 1960, reported that the house had recently reopened following completion of the first phase of the project, a complete re-seating and renovation of the auditorium, and the modernization of the inner lobby. The modernization of the outer lobby, boxoffice, and front was to follow.

The completion of an earlier remodeling, costing $40,000, was reported in Boxoffice of January 8, 1938.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Miracle Theatre on Feb 10, 2010 at 3:09 am

This article about the Miracle Theatre in Boxoffice of October 30, 1967, attributes the design of the theater to an architect named Harrison Benning, and says that the building was erected by the Benning Construction Company of Atlanta.

An item in Boxoffice of June 29, 1964, about H.B. Meiselman’s new Toco Hills Theatre doesn’t mention Harrison Benning, but says “Benning Construction Co. of Atlanta is the architect and builder.”

A July 14, 1969, Boxoffice item about Eastern Federal Theatres (of which H.B. Meiselman was President— apparently he just changed the name of his operating company) said that the company’s new Ben Hill Twin Theatres had been designed by architect Frank Benning, brother of the head of the Benning Construction Company. This item added that the company “…has built all of the circuit’s theatres except the Cherokee and the Coronet.”

The Benning Construction Company is still in operation, now located in Smyrna, and their web site features a photo album displaying several theater projects they’ve built, most of them apparently quite recent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give any details about any of them, and as far as I can tell none of the old Meiselman projects are displayed.

I think it’s likely that the Bennings of the construction company are descendants of Augustus Harrison Benning, the late 19th century Atlanta entrepreneur who was the person chiefly responsible for erecting the building that is considered the city’s first skyscraper (though it was a mere eleven stories tall.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Villa Theatre on Feb 10, 2010 at 2:53 am

The recent opening of the Villa Theatre was reported in Boxoffice of August 20, 1955. Though plans for a larger theater at Malta had been announced in Boxoffice as early as 1946, the long-delayed project as built was scaled down. The owners/operators, Carl and Irene Veseth, had operated Malta’s Palace Theatre since 1922, and that house was closed when the Villa opened.

This article about the Villa Theatre was published in Boxoffice of March 3, 1958, when the theater had been in operation for more than two years. There is a floor plan of the building, as well as photos of the exterior, the rather plain auditorium, and the very stylish little lobby. The article says that the seats in the Villa, 450 in the orchestra and 50 loges, were all spaced on 40-inch centers, which was quite generous for 1955. I guess Montana had a lot of tall cowboys who liked to stretch out.

Carl Veseth had bought the land for the theater in 1928, but ground was not broken for the project until September, 1954. A 1946 Boxoffice item had said that Veseth had hired Salt Lake City architect Paul Evans to design an 800-seat theater for Malta, but the Villa as finally built was a 500-seat house designed by the Portland firm of Lathrop, Gillam & Percy, who had in 1950 done the preliminary design for another version of the Villa which was never built. It would have had over 1,500 seats, accommodating about 75% of the town’s population.

Two years after the Villa opened, the Veseths opened the Valli Drive-In at Malta, a 280-car operation. At this time they also still operated a theater at Harlem, Montana. They had once operated the Liberty Theatre at Chester, Montana, as well.

Carl Veseth died in 1975, and in 1977 the June 13 issue of Boxoffice reported that Irene Veseth had sold the Villa Theatre and the Valli Drive-In to her brother, who sported the delightful name R. C. Pancake. There was a Leslie Pancake who operated the Shasta Theatre at Central Valley, California, in the 1940s, and a Stanley Pancake who once operated a theater in Harlem, Montana in 1939. They all just had to have been related.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Prairie Cinemas on Feb 10, 2010 at 1:46 am

The Liberty Theatre was built in 1919 by Clarence J. Severson. Severson’s obituary in Boxoffice of March 10, 1958, said that he had come to Wolf Point in 1917, at which time he took over the Glacier Theatre there. In 1939 he built the Point Theatre, and in 1952 he opened the Sundown Drive-In, both also in Wolf Point.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sundown Drive-In on Feb 10, 2010 at 1:42 am

The June 7, 1952, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Sundown Drive-In at Wolf Point, owned by Clarence J. Severson, would open in about 40 days. Severson also operated the Liberty and Point theaters in Wolf Point.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Feb 10, 2010 at 1:36 am

From 1922 until its closing, the Palace Theatre was operated by Carl and Irene Veseth. I’ve been unable to discover if the Palace was opened before the Veseths began operating it. It was closed in 1955, when the Veseths opened their new Villa Theatre in Malta. In 1957, They opened a Valli Drive-In at Malta as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Turnpike Indoor/Outdoor Theatre on Feb 10, 2010 at 1:14 am

The Turnpike Drive-In was nearing completion when Boxoffice published this article about it in their issue of March 3, 1958. The indoor theater, though planned from the beginning, was built after the drive-in had opened. The architect for the entire project was Drew Eberson.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colusa Theatre on Feb 10, 2010 at 1:00 am

Just so the above iteration of a local legend won’t spread misinformation outside Colusa, the 1962 film “To Kill A Mockingbird” was set in the fictional Southern town of Maycomb (“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it…” being the opening line of the narration), and the exteriors, like the rest of the movie, were shot at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

A stage version of “To Kill A Mockingbird” was first presented in 1970, but I don’t think the play has ever been filmed. There are many things to see in and around Colusa, but Boo Radley’s house is not among them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Stamm Theatre on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:44 am

The only interior shot of the Stamm I’ve been able to find is one of the lobby that appeared in an ad for Gulistan carpets published in Boxoffice of February 5, 1949.

The opening of this 1,100-seat Art Moderne theater was noted in Boxoffice of December 18, 1948. I’ve been unable to discover the name of the architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rita Theater on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:42 am

There were two theaters called the Rita in Vallejo. The first was the one taken over by Ray Syufy and his father, William Syufy, in 1940, and was their first theater. The second Rita was the one Syufy had built in 1948. I’ve been unable to find out what became of the first Rita Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:38 am

A card in the California Index indicates that the Strand was located in the Oxnard Masonic Temple. It cites an April 14, 1933, Southwest Builder & Contractor item saying “Claude A. Spaeth, manager of the Strand Theatre, Oxnard, is having plans prepared for remodeling the theater on the ground floor of the Masonic Temple Building.” The cornerstone of the Masonic Temple was laid in 1901, according to a Los Angeles Times item of January 17 that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bellwood Drive-In on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:36 am

The Bellwood Drive-In was designed by Michael J. DeAngelis, according to Boxoffice of February 5, 1949.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Feb 9, 2010 at 12:11 am

Boxoffice of July 22, 1950, said this house was being built to replace the Glen City Theatre which had been destroyed by fire the previous year. It was to have 1,100 seats. The architect of the Fox Theatre was Carl Moeller.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about West Theatre on Feb 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

The West Theatre was one of the Central Valley houses operated by Arthur Fukuda. In 1939, he sold it to Frank and Louise Uanero. A few years later, when Fukuda was sent to an internment camp after the war began, the other theaters he operated were taken over by Robert Lippert, but I’ve found no information about what became of the West Theatre after 1939.

Judging from the surname Uanero (apparently a rare Spanish name, even though it sounds vaguely Japanese) the house might have gone from catering to Asian audiences to presenting Spanish-language movies. The valley farm towns have long been cosmopolitan places where many languages are spoken.

Boxoffice magazine makes a single reference to a theater in West Delano, operated by the Paneros during the post-war period, but I don’t think it was the West Theatre. I found a single 1939 reference to the Paneros operating the Delano and Star Theatres at Delano, and many references to them operating two theaters at Delano before they opened the Sierra in 1948.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Northgate Theatre on Feb 8, 2010 at 5:33 pm

The Danz Family Photograph Collection at the University of Washington lists a photo (the photo itself is not available online) from the preview for the grand opening of the Northgate Theatre. Among the people in the photo, according to its description at the UW web site, are the architect of the theater, John Graham, Jr., and the decorator, A.B. “Heinzberger” (clearly meant to read Heinsbergen.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Airport Theatre on Feb 8, 2010 at 5:21 pm

The March 7, 1966, issue of Boxoffice reported that Jack Grossman’s Holiday Theatres chain had just opened its latest hardtop, the Airport Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema on Feb 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Jack, do you have any information about the Cascade Theatre in New Castle, which was supposed to be the first theater operated by the Warner brothers? I keep coming across different dates for the opening. picture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema 19 on Feb 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Google street view shows the word “Theatre” displayed at the top of this building, with the words “100 channels” in smaller lettering just below. The marquee has the words “Books” and “Videos” on it. There’s a banner hanging at the top of the facade, too blurry to read in street view, but it looks porn-related. I think Cinema 19 is still in business at this location as some sort of video porn shop. It’s still all over the Internet as Cinema 19 Theatre and Adult Bookstore, but I can’t find any reviews describing it. There are also a number of Internet listings for a Wilton Cinema Inc., at the address 1224 19th Street.

Boxoffice of March 10, 1945, has a thumbnail biography of Mrs. John Carnakis in its “Twenty Year Showmen” feature. It says that the Carnakis family began operating the Star Theatre at Taft, California, in 1912, then in 1915 moved to Bakersfield where they opened the C&S Theatre, and four years later built the Virginia. That would give a likely opening date of 1919 or 1920, rather than 1925 for the Virginia. It’s unfortunate that Kern County doesn’t have its building records online so we could find the actual year of construction for this building.

The Carnakis’s son, Manuel, was on the Bakersfield City Council in 1945. Issues of Boxoffice from the 1950s mention that he was later on the Kern County Board of Supervisors, and served at least one term as Mayor of Bakersfield. He is mentioned in Boxoffice as late as the issue of February 25, 1963, as operator of the Virginia Theatre.

Boxoffice of January 31, 1953, said that the Virginia had reopened at Christmas after extensive rebuilding occasioned by the earthquake which had struck Kern County in the fall of 1952. The theater had actually continued in operation for some time after the quake, but inspectors then found concealed damage that could have caused the roof to collapse, so the house was closed for repairs. After reopening, the item said, the Virginia was operating from noon daily, and was enjoying full houses as the only nearby competitor, the Fox circuit’s Rex Theatre, was still closed.

I’ve been unable to find the Paris Theatre mentioned in Boxoffice, but the Cinema 19 is mentioned once. The December 9, 1974, issue says that the house was part of the 10-theater Amber Theatres chain of adult theaters, operated by 33-year-old Nancy Lindsey. Other houses in the chain included the Cine Cienega in Los Angeles, Fine Arts in San Bernardino, Ritz in Ontario, Roxy in Long Beach, Cave and Cinema in Hollywood, Yale in Santa Monica, and Corbin in the San Fernando Valley. The chain had recently taken over the Highland in Los Angeles as well.