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The Lewis and Clark Theatre was designed by the Seattle firm of John Graham & Associates, which also designed numerous major office buildings, hotels, and shopping malls in the northwest through the first two thirds of the twentieth century. Their most famous work is undoubtedly Seattle’s Space Needle. Decoration of the theater was done by the A.B. Heinsbergen Co. The orginal single screen auditorium had 2200 seats.
The mid-century modern facade of the Lewis and Clark Theatre was featured on the cover of the March 7, 1957, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The October 19 issue of Boxoffice that same year published three additional photos of the theatre, including two of the lobby and one showing the free-standing sign and attraction board.
The lobby was 112 feet long, with a 24x48 foot TV and smoking lounge at one end. The lobby walls were mostly glass, and fronted a broad loggia with a boxoffice that featured glass walls tapering upward to the ceiling from counter height. The exterior corners of the original building were faced with rough native stone. All of this was drastically altered when the four additional auditoriums were added to the house.
CinemaTour has 40 photos of the Lewis and Clark, all dating from after the additions.
Architectural plans of the Meadowbrook Theatre are listed in the finding aid of the J. Evan Miller Collection of Cinerama Theater Plans at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Meadowbrook, opened in 1949, was designed by New York City architect E.C.A. Bullock, a nephew of George and Cornelius Rapp who had worked in their Chicago firm for many years before establishing his own practice. The Syosset Theatre, a few miles from East Meadow, was another theater he designed.
The architect of the Syosset Theatre was E.C.A. Bullock, who also designed the Meadowbrook Theatre in East Meadow, NY., as well as the U.S. Theatre in Hoboken, New Jersey, and the Mars Theatre, Mars, Pennsylvania. Bullock was a nephew of George and Cornelius Rapp, and worked in their firm for many years following his graduation from the University of Illinois in 1910.
The Syosset Theatre was featured in a two-page spread in the January 5, 1957, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.
An item in the August 26, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine probably referred to this theatre, though the item was datelined Bell, California (Bell Gardens did not incorporate until 1961, and in 1939 the magazine may have simply assumed it was part of the city of Bell.) It said that the new Towne Theatre was scheduled to open on August 30. The owners and builders of the Towne were named as Al Bowman and M. Kaplan. The house was to have 650 seats.
This was not the Maybell Theatre. The Maybell became the Alpha Theatre.
The L.A. County Assessor’s office gives 1922 as the original construction date for this building. With the other evidence in comments above, that should confirm that this theater was the Maybell, opened in 1922, and remodeled by S. Charles Lee in 1937.
The Nuart probably opened in 1930. Southwest Builder & Contractor’s issue of March 21, 1930, carried an item about the construction contracts for the theater. Motion Picture Herald of March 26, 1932, mentioned a management change at the Nuart Theatre in Sawtelle. In 1939, the house was already being remodeled and redecorated and getting a new marquee, according to an item in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of August 5th that year.
Oh, you can also use the Live Search link in my comment immediately above to fetch a bird’s-eye view of the Riviera itself, or just drag the view back and forth between the two buildings (or all over town.)
A brief item from the July 9, 1938, issue of Boxoffice Magazine mentions three theaters operating in Avalon at the time: “Visitors… Art LaShell, manager of the Avalon, Riviera, and Samoa in Catalina, accompanied by Ernie Gans, who will produce a stage show at the Samoa shortly.”
There was nothing about whether the Samoa also ran movies, but as it was managed by the same guy who managed the Avalon and Riviera, it seems likely that it did. Avalon wasn’t a very large town, but it had a huge tourist population and probably could have supported three movie houses during the season. I wonder if the Samoa could have been the 1924-25 project by Webber, Staunton & Spaulding which was later converted into the post office?
Avalon’s post office is currently located on Metropole Avenue, in a newer building, but there’s a building at 409 Crescent Avenue that looks as though it could have been a theater, having what seems to be a former stage tower. The building currently has a courtyard, but the L.A. County Assessor’s office gives it an original construction date of 1926, and an effective construction date of 1941, so the courtyard might date from the rebuilding at that latter date.
Google Maps has no street views of Avalon, but a bird’s-eye view of the building can be seen at Live Search. Search on 409 Crescent Av., Avalon Ca.
Boxoffice Magazine of September 18, 1937, carried an article about the recent opening of the Liberty Theatre in Ellensburg. The owner of the theater was Frederick Mercy. The house had 750 seats on opening, and was designed by Seattle architect Bjerne Moe, designer of many theaters in the Pacific Northwest.
From Boxoffice Magazine, September 18, 1937: “Roy Irvine has opened his new theatre in Ritzville, Wash. The house seats 450 and was designed by Bjarne Moe.”
Bjarne Moe was the architect of the Roxy Theatre, Bremerton; the Crest Theatre in Seattle; the Lake City Theatre, Seattle; the Bungalo Theatre, St. Maries, Idaho; and the Liberty Theatre, Ellensburg. There are probably quite a few others, but I haven’t unearthed them yet. In addition, he was the architect for many theatre remodeling jobs.
A 1944 issue of Boxoffice featured a photo of many employees of the Seattle office of the B.F. Shearer Co., a theater supply and design house. Bjarne Moe was among them.
Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of March 11, 1950, contained an item saying that the Sutter Theatre was nearly ready to open, and that the date would be either March 15 or March 21, depending on the timely completion of some remaining interior work.
Roger G: Sorry it took so long for me to get back to t his page. My e-mail service quit sending notifications from Cinema Treasures and I haven’t gotten around to changing my address, so I don’t know when I get replies.
Anyway, the photo link still works for me. Maybe Flickr was sown when you clicked it. Just in case it’s some other problem, here’s the bare link:
From your description, it does sound like the same postcard.
LAPL has added an undated photo showing the Tower’s facade, and a big locomotive. It’s probably from 1937-38, though. The first title on the marquee is “Slave Ship”, a Warner Baxter-Wallace Beery vehicle released in 1937. I can’t read the second feature title.
ken mc: You can add the Orpheum. Here’s a brief item from the July 16, 1949, issue of Boxoffice: “Susanville, Calif.— Work has been resumed on rebuilding the old Orpheum. Owned by T&D, the project was halted by the extreme cold last winter. The circuit also owns and operates the Sierra Theatre here.”
I guess it was a theater before it became a bowling alley. From the second photo you linked to, it looks as though it might have been a lodge hall of some sort first. In any case, the style of the building suggest an origin in the 19th century.
The architect of this theater was the noted San Diego modernist, Richard George Wheeler. Boxoffice Magazine featured an illustrated article on the San Diego Cinerama Theatre in its issue of December 7, 1964.
The Whittwood Theatre opened in 1964. It was among the theatres on which construction had begun during 1963, as listed in Boxoffice Magazine’s annual review of new and remodeled theaters. An exterior photo appeared in a Boxoffice feature on October 25, 1964, and a closeup shot of its entrance appeared on the front page of the magazine’s The Modern Theatre section of December 7 that year. It was the subject of an entire article in the Boxoffice issue of March 15, 1965.
The Whittwood was built for Bruen’s Whittier Theatres. It had 960 seats, a fifty-foot curved screen, and the auditorium walls were paneled with a gold damask fabric to match the stage drapes. The building was designed by Whitter architect Ray W. Johnson, and the Los Angeles office of the B.F. Shearer Co. handled the interior layout, design, and equipment.
A photo of the auditorium in the 1965 Boxoffice article showed a feature I had forgotten from my one visit to the Whittwood. Unlike stadium sections in older theaters I had been in, that at the Whittwood was elevated several feet above the main floor, so patrons had to climb a fairly long staircase leading from the cross-aisle to get into it, and would be several rows back by the time they reached the seats. Then they would have to descend stepped side-aisles to reach seats in the first few rows. I suppose this design was adopted to make more room for the lobby and restrooms, which were tucked under the stadium section.
The name of the chain is misspelled at top. It is Reading Cinemas.
This is their web site.
The theater’s individual web page is still at the URL Lost Memory posted in the comment above.
This is no longer the Pacific Gaslamp 15. It’s being called the Gaslamp Stadium by its new operator, Reading Cinemas.
The Bakersfield Valley Plaza 16 is now operated by Reading Cinemas. Pacific can be taken off the name.
New web sites, too:
Bakersfield Valley Plaza 16 web page.
Reading Cinemas U.S. web site.
There should be a separate page for the original Valley Plaza Theatre, opened in 1966 by Statewide Theatres, and later operated by Loew’s. Apparently it was demolished to make way for the current megaplex.
The lobby of Lippert’s La Habra Theatre was pictured on the cover of the October 6, 1956, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.
The April 6, 1964, issue of Boxoffice Magazine announced that the re-opening of the Fox Winrock had taken place on March 24, with a special, invitation-only event. The house had been closed for one week to install the Cinerama screen. Three projection booths for Cinerama had already been included in the original plans for the theater, which had opened the previous year. The seating capacity was reduced by about 35 seats (from the original 800) for the 95-foot screen’s installation, though. The opening program was “This Is Cinerama”, and it was expected to run for at least eight weeks.
Oh, I forgot to include that Boxoffice gave the Esquire’s seating capacity as 525.
The exact opening date for the Esquire was April 1, 1964, according to the April 6 issue of Boxoffice Magazine that year. The opening movie was the French ballet-drama “The Lovers of Tereul”.
Among the unusual features (for that time) of the Esquire were a wheelchair platform accommodating four persons, and a row of seats wired to the sound system for hard-of-hearing patrons.
The interior and exterior of the theater, which was located in an existing building, was designed by motion picture art director Eugene Lourie.
Except for its colonial brick facade decoration, this theater was virtually identical to the Annandale Theatre, also opened in 1964 by the same owner, according to an item in Boxoffice Magazine, July 13, 1964.