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-DB: Carl G. Moeller, who collaborated on the Inglewood Fox with architect S. Charles Lee, and who also worked on the Crest in Fresno, was almost certainly part of the design team for the Loyola, though Clarence Smale is the architect of record.
Moeller was the Fox circuit’s chief designer during the period when these theaters were built and, though he is listed on the Pacific Coast Architectural Database as an interior designer, he apparently also had a major influence on the exterior appearances of the many theater projects he worked on.
Boxoffice of August 5, 1950, said that the SFA Theatre had opened on July 20. That item gave the seating capacity as 558, but an item on September 9 said the house seated 658.
Marshall Matteson, a 1940 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State College, was the operator of the SFA Theatre from its opening until at least 1972, when he was mentioned in the August 14 issue of Boxoffice.
Boxoffice of February 24, 1951, ran an item about the grand opening of the Main Theatre. The date of the event was not mentioned, but it had apparently taken place earlier that month. The item gave the seating capacity of the Main as 1,100, adding that it was the largest movie house in the area.
An April 8, 1950, Boxoffice item had given the name of the architect of the Main Theatre as L. C. Kyburz. It’s likely that Kyburz designed a number of other theaters. He was a long-time stockholder in the Jefferson Amusement Company, and sat on its board of directors. The J. Evan Miller collection of Cinemrama Theatre plans also attributes the Windsor Cinerama Theatre in Houston to Kyburz.
A July 11, 1953, Boxoffice item about the closing of the Texan Theatre in Nacogodoches said that a Nacogdoches house called the Stone Fort Theatre had been closed when the Main opened, but was still fully equipped. The Main, the Stone Fort, and the Texan were all operated by East Texas Theatres. In the 1930s there had also been a theater called the Rita at Nacogdoches.
Boxoffice of July 11, 1953, announced that the Texan Theatre at Nacogdoches had been closed. Long operated by East Texas Theatres, the house had originally opened in 1928 as the Austin Theatre. It was being mentioned as the Texan in Boxoffice at least as early as 1938.
The Texan was being remodeled and would be reopened as a first-run house by H&H Enterprises, according to Boxoffice of May 1, 1954. This item mentioned 300 seats being installed. An April 23, 1955, Boxoffice item said that a 200-seat balcony for Negro patrons would be installed at the Texan. I haven’t found the Texan mentioned after that.
The Old Town Theatre was designed by the Wichita firm Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture. The firm has designed seven projects for Warren Theatres (all listed on SPTA’s web site.)
In addition to the five Warren locations currently listed at Cinema Treasures, the company operates the Palace West and the Warren’s Movie Machine at Towne West Mall (both locations are in Wichita.)
The 1980 photo shows the Piqua Cinema (its later name) as a twin theater. Boxoffice mentioned the reopening of the Piqua Cinema as a twin in its issue of August 16, 1976.
The Piqua Theatre was bought by Chakeres Theatres in 1969 and completely remodeled that year. The Piqua Cinema was the subject of an article in Boxoffice of January 12, 1970. There are five photos. Unfortunately the article says nothing of the theater’s history other than that it was once operated by Schine and then by the Panther organization.
A vanished e-Bay item turned up in Google search (but without a cache unfortunately) was listed as “Milady’s Style Parade and Recipe Book for 1935 with Photos of Favorite Movie Stars-Compliments of Schine’s Piqua Theatre-Piqua, Ohio”, so the house is at least that old.
Piqua was the home town of the singing group the Mills Brothers, and this web page says that they made their first public appearance in an amateur show at May’s Opera House in Piqua. The Schine circuit also once operated a 711-seat house in Piqua called the Miami Theatre, and it appears that it was the Miami, not the Piqua, which had once been May’s Opera House, and the renaming apparently took place by 1934. Schine operated the Miami at least as late as 1957. I’ve been unable to discover what became of it after that.
Another interesting thing the Internet reveals about Piqua is that ca.1915-1917 there was a movie house there called the Favorite Theatre which, in collaboration with a local druggist named George Kiefer, issued a series of trading cards featuring photos of the movie stars of the day.
An article about the Shafer Theatre, with photos and a floor plan, appeared in Boxoffice of January 6, 1940.
There is an article about the Cowtown Drive-In in the February 3, 1951, issue of Boxoffice. It was owned by Southwest Theatres, a company headed by C. A. Richter, who had opened the first drive-in in Texas in the late 1930s.
The Cowtown Drive-In was designed by Harvey A. Jordan, who was also the contractor. The owners and the designer posed in front of the screen tower for a photo that appeared as the frontispiece of the Modern Theatre section of the same issue of Boxoffice.
The Scott Theatre is already listed at Cinema Treasures under its current name, the Ross Country Jamboree.
Photos of the Strand Theatre ran in Boxoffice of January 6, 1940. The Moderne design was by the theater’s owner/operator, William Luckett of Scottsburg, Indiana.
Cine Metro was actually built in 1936. It was designed by architects Jorge Arteaga Isaza and Sergio Larrain Garcia-Moreno. I’ve been unable to discover if Larrain was the father of the noted Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain, born at Santiago in 1931, but I suspect that he was.
Source (a large .pdf file of an essay on modern architecture in Chile.)
This house was built in 1935 as the Teatro Oriente, and was designed by architects Carlos Cruz Eyzaguirre and Escipion Munizaga Suarez.
Originally operated by Paramount, the Teatro Real was designed by architects Fernando Valdivieso Barros and Fernando De la Cruz.
The Kearsley Theatre was designed by architect George J. Bachman, according to Boxoffice of December 10, 1949. The listing also noted that Bachman was part-owner of the theater with T. J. Daly.
A small rendering of the Genoa Theatre accompanied a brief article about the recently-opened house in Boxoffice of December 3, 1949.
This item said that the theater was designed by Gerald M. West of Chicago and Genoa City. But a Boxoffice article of September 3, 1949, had given the architect’s name as Derald West, which is apparently correct. I found a reference to an architect named Derald West practicing in Lake Geneva as early as 1911, and there is a Derald M. West currently listed as practicing architecture in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Given the unusual first name I can’t imagine them not being related. Given the time span, there could have been another Derald West in between them.
As Louis Rugani noted in the fourth comment on this page, Genoa Theatre is the correct name of this house.
There’s a Boxoffice item of July 10, 1948, saying that the Crescent Amusement Company’s Diamond Theatre in Bowling Green was to be enlarged and remodeled. The manager said that the building would be extended by about 65 feet. Boxoffice of February 5, 1949, said that the Diamond Theatre had been closed for extensive remodeling.
The December 3, 1949, issue of Boxoffice announced that the State Theatre had opened. The item claimed a seating capacity of 1,400 for the expended house (probably an exaggeration.) The item noted that Crescent Amusement Co. also operated the Capitol and Princess theaters in Bowling Green.
As Mrwillmrr noted, the opening year currently given in the intro is wrong. Boxoffice of August 28, 1948, said that the La Mar Theatre had just celebrated the tenth anniversary of its opening. Also note the 1937 Southwest Builder & Contractor article mentioned in my earlier comment which said that Clifford Balch would be the architect of the new theater to be built at Manhattan Beach.
Boxoffice of February 5, 1938, said that the Custer Theatre at Charleston would open February 16. The theater was owned by Gene Custer. The house originally seated 575, according to Boxoffice of February 26.
Boxoffice featured an article about the Kaywood Theatre in the issue of February 2, 1946. The article says the Kaywood had opened on Christmas Day. It also attributes the design of the theater to Frank G. Ackerman, but doesn’t mention the Ebersons.
There is a biographical sketch of Abram Preiskel in a 1922 book called “History of Passaic and Its Environs” by William Winfield Scott (it can be read online at Internet Archive or Open Library.) It says that Preiskel studied civil engineering and architecture at the University of Michigan, and established his practice at Passaic in 1910 upon being certified as an architect by the State of New Jersey. The book also said that, as of 1922, “…he is engaged in specializing in the construction of theater buildings.”
I haven’t found any items in Boxoffice specifically naming Abe Preiskel as a theater manager, but he was a co-owner of the Capitol (with Harry Hecht) at least during part of the 1930s, and later a co-owner of the Central (with John Ackerman) when it first opened in 1941. He was also co-owner (with Hecht) of the Rivoli in Rutherford for some time. Hecht and Ackerman appear to have been the partners directly involved in management.
As for Charles Sandblom’s work on the Capitol, I’ve been unable to find anything about it from any of the sources available on the Internet.
A 1985 article in the Rutherford News Leader said that the Rivoli was built in 1922, and was designed by architect Abram Preiskel. Preiskel was also for many years a partner in the operation of the Rivoli Theatre with Harry Hecht, as mentioned in Boxoffice Magazine of September 20, 1941.
Indirect confirmation of 1922 as the Rivoli’s opening year is found in a September 14, 1946, Boxoffice article about a Mr. William D. Waldron, which mentions that he had been managing director of the Rivoli in Rutherford for nine years when, in 1931, he finally got the city to allow movies to be shown on Sunday.
The name of the architect is currently misspelled above. Note CT user Passaic’s comment of March 4, 2007. Boxoffice mentions Abe Preiskel a few times (and once misspells his name as Preskill.) The magazine never mentions him as an architect but only as a theater operator. Passaic’s comment also attributes the design of the Montauk Theatre to Preiskel.
This 1916 book attributes the design of a proposed (but as yet unnamed) theater to be built at Lexington and Main Avenues to Abraham Preiskel. I wonder if that project could have been the theater listed at CT as the Fine Arts? A 1985 Rutherford News-Leader article attributes the design of that city’s Rivoli Theatre (listed here as the George W. Newman Theatre) to Preiskel.
I’ve found a number of references to Preiskel on the Internet, but with different first names. Boxoffice most often refers to him by the diminutive “Abe,” but other usually sources say either Abraham or Abram, with Abram being somewhat more frequent. I think Abram Preiskel is probably the correct form of his name.
I haven’t read through all the comments above to see if this information is already here, but a March 4, 2007, comment by CT user Passaic on the Capitol Theatre page attributes the design of the Mantauk Theatre to architect Abram Preiskel.
This 1916 book attributes the design of a proposed (but as yet unnamed) theater to be built at Lexington and Main Avenues to Abraham Preiskel (most other sources give this architect’s as Abram Preiskel.) I wonder if that could have been this theater?
We can add another aka for the Liberty. Before 1935 it was called the Music Box Theatre. About three quarters of the way down this web page depicting numerous Portland Theatres is a view of Broadway south from Stark with the Liberty Theatre in the foreground, but the signage identifies it as John Hamrick’s Music Box Theatre. The same page has two other photos of the building, an early one depicting it as the Orpheum and, near the bottom of the page, a 1946 photo of it as the Liberty.
The photo of the Liberty as the Music Box looks like it dates from the very late 1920s or the early 1930s. It would have to have been before 1935, when the Music Box name was moved to the former Alder Theatre.