Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyceum Theatre on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:41 am

The list of projects by various California architects slated for 1920, published in The Architect and Engineer of December, 1919, included in its entry for Reid Brothers a $90,000 project at Mission and 29th for the Lyceum Theatre Company. I’ve been unable to discover if this was to be a major remodeling of the existing Lyceum or if it was to be a replacement for the 1907 building. $90,000 would have been a lot of money for a remodeling job.

I’ve been unable to find confirmation that the project was carried out, either. Jack Tillmany doesn’t mention the project in his book “Theatres of San Francisco,” though there’s a photo of the Lyceum. Judging from the cars on the street, the photo appears to have been from after 1920, but theater’s facade still looked more like it was from 1907 than from 1920.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about United Artists Theater on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:27 am

The December, 1919, issue of The Architect and Engineer included a theater at Richmond for the T&D circuit among the projects slated for 1920 by the office of architect A. W. Cornelius. This house most likely opened that year. The T&D Theatre at Salinas was on the same list.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about World Theatre on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:24 am

The December, 1919, issue of The Architect and Engineer listed alterations and additions to the Verdi Theatre among the projects slated for 1920 that were being designed by architect A. W. Cornelius.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Circle Theatre on Nov 3, 2011 at 4:22 am

The Epstein Brothers' Circle Theatre was getting Color-Glo lighting fixtures, installed by the Western Theatre Supply Company, according to the October 24, 1936, issue of The Film Daily.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Nov 3, 2011 at 3:59 am

The Grand Theatre built in 1936 replaced an earlier house of the same name. Here’s the news from the September 30, 1936, issue of The Film Daily:

“Omaha, Neb. — Western Theater Supply Co., will let contracts for erection of a new Grand theater at Grand Island, Neb., and install equipment. Harry Schiller, Grand’s owner, closes his house Oct. 1. Razing of the 450-seat structure and another store building next door begins immediately to make room for the new 850-seat Grand, which will cost an estimated $85,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Berkeley Theatre on Nov 3, 2011 at 3:45 am

Here’s an item from The Film Daily of September 23, 1936: “Sam Marino has reopened the Maryland, a neighborhood Omaha house. He bought 500 new seats and erected a new canopy.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empress Theater on Nov 3, 2011 at 3:14 am

A history of Omaha published in 1917 says that the Empress Theatre was built in 1912. The Empress was originally owned by the J. L. Brandeis Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Nov 3, 2011 at 3:12 am

The Strand Theatre that got the Hillgreen-Lane organ in 1916 was a different house, located on Douglas Street. It was demolished in 1917 or 1918 to make way for the Omaha Athletic Club. The name Strand was probably moved to this house at that time. I don’t know what became of the organ.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theater on Nov 3, 2011 at 3:10 am

Quite a few comments point out that the Orpheum Theatre opened in 1927 was an entirely different building than the much smaller (800 seats) Creighton Theatre, opened in August, 1895, and taken over by the Orpheum circuit in 1898. The original Creighton/Orpheum Theatre was demolished in 1926 to make way for the new Orpheum. If it can be established that the original Orpheum ran movies, it should have its own page.

Also, the Wikipedia article linked in an earlier comment also has an error. It lists Holabird & Roche as architects of the Orpheum, along with Harry Lawrie. In fact, this was the team responsible for the City National Bank Building, in which the Orpheum’s entrance was once located. Interestingly enough, Harry Lawrie was apparently one of the architects (Fisher & Lawrie) of the original Crieghton Theatre, though so far I’ve only found one source making this claim.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Nov 3, 2011 at 3:00 am

Google Maps is getting the location of this theater wrong. 717 Fourth Street is downtown, between Jackson Street and Jones Street. This is the block the convention center is in now.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chelsea I & II on Nov 3, 2011 at 2:58 am

macbot3000 is correct. The Chelsea’s address had to have been 806 4th Street, which would have been downtown, in the block east of Jones Street. 806 W. 4th is in predominantly residential district. Even Hamilton Boulevard is mostly residential until you get up to 7th Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:15 am

None of the movie web sites have current listings for the Capitol Theatre. I think it must be closed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pilgrim Theatre on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:54 am

The January 15, 1913, issue of The American Architect had a brief article titled “Escalators for Theaters” which was illustrated by a photo of the escalator in Gordon’s Olympia Theatre. Google Books scan here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theatre on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:57 am

The May 15, 1913, issue of Engineering News had this item about the Colonial Theater:

“The contract has been awarded to FLEISCHMAN BROTHERS & CO., New York, for the construction of Nixon-Nirdlinger-Loew Theater and hall at Germantown and Maplewood Aves.; the hall and lobby entrance to the theater will occupy the Germantown Ave. front, and the theater will stand on the rear of the lot. The entire lot is 75 ft. on Germantown Ave., with a depth of 240 ft., and a frontage of 125 ft. on Maplewood Ave. The estimated cost is $250,000. Thomas W. Lamb, Philadelphia, is Arch.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mission Theatre on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:28 am

The May 14, 1913, issue of American Architect and Architecture had a brief item which must have been about this house:

“Los Angeles—Architects Train & Williams, Exchange Bldg., have prepared plans for a 2-story brick store and theater building to be erected on Broadway between Eighth and Ninth Sts., for F. W. Woodley, manager of the Optic Theater. Cost, $25,000.”
Train & Williams also designed Tally’s Broadway Theatre across the street, opened in 1909, and the Hyman (Garrick) Theatre, up the block at the corner of 8th Street. All three of the theaters on this block that the firm designed had been demolished by the end of the 1920s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alcazar Theater on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:26 am

The timing and location are right for the following announcement in the “Building News” section of the January 8, 1913, issue of The American Architect to have been about the Alcazar Theatre:

“Naugatuck.—Plans are being prepared by Architects Clark and Beckwith for a new moving picture theater to be erected on North Main St. by Julius Barbario. The new theater will be erected on the east side of North Main St.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Norval Theatre on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:22 am

The office of Ohio’s Secretary of State included on its list of new corporations formed in 1919 the Norval Theatre Company, of Cleveland.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:20 am

The Isis Theatre was mentioned in the October 18, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Opera House on Oct 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm

wolfgirl500: Of the theaters you listed, the only one I’ve been able to find any details about is the Rex, which is mentioned in a footnote in Richard Abel’s book “Americanizing the Movies and "Movie-Mad” Audiences, 1910-1914.“ (This book has numerous references to Youngstown, but I don’t have a copy and the Google Books scan has only limited preview available.) The note says that Harry Warner built the Rex in partnership with local grocer David Robbins. This happened after the Warners returned to Youngstown from Pittsburgh.

Abel’s book also cites the “Correspondence: Youngstown, O.” section of The Moving Picture World, pages 650-51 of the issue of November 25, 1911, which Abel says has an extensive summary of vaudeville and movie theaters in Youngstown. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find that issue of MPW on the Internet, so I don’t know if any of the theaters you listed are mentioned in it.

There is one passing mention of the Bijou in the book “Haunted Hollywood: Tinseltown Terrors, Filmdom Phantoms, and Movieland Mayhem,” by Tom Ogden. It says that the Bijou was the second movie house opened by the Warner brothers, not long after they opened their first house in New Castle. This was before they went to Pittsburgh, so it must have been in 1907.

Also, it has occurred to me that the increased seating capacity of the Grand Opera House in 1898, noted by Ron Salters, might have been the result of whatever alterations were made to the theater by Lempert & Son. That project might also have resulted in the change of color of the facade, as shown in the vintage postcard you posted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Opera House on Oct 29, 2011 at 12:05 am

Plympton Ross Berry was presumably the principal architect of the Grand Opera House, as well as its builder, but this is one of the theaters with which the Rochester, New York firm of Leon H. Lempert & Son was involved, as it was listed in the advertisements that firm placed in various publications of the late 19th and early 20th century.

I’ve been unable to discover when Lempert & Sons worked on the Youngstown project, or what the extent of it was, but I think it must have been alterations of some sort. The theater was built in 1872, and I’ve found no references indicating that Leon Lempert senior was active as an architect that early, and Lempert junior was born sometime around 1868.

In fact, in the early 1870s the elder Lempert was the scenic artist and stage designer at the opera house in Rochester, and for a while became its manager. In 1878, he was busy cajoling Rochester’s well-to-do to replace their aging theater with something more modern, according to an interview he gave to a Rochester newspaper that year. He expressed some very definite opinions about how he thought theaters should be designed.

When the city’s Lyceum Theatre was finally built in 1887, Lempert oversaw its decoration, and additionally designed 36 complete sets of scenery for use in the house.

It’s possible that Lempert senior did not become directly involved in archtiecture until Leon Lempert junior became a licensed architect, and the firm of Lempert & Son was formed, sometime in the late 1880s or early 1890s (if anybody can come up with the founding date of the firm, please let me know. There’s very little about the Lemperts on the Internet, despite the large number of theaters attributed to their firm.)

Plympton Ross Berry appears to have had no formal architectural training, but there are many sources indicating that he did design the buildings that his company erected. Dreck Spurlock Wilson’s book “African-American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary, 1865-1945” attributes twenty major projects in Youngstown and New Castle to Berry, the Grand Opera House among them.

From the photo, it looks to me that the Opera House had a cast iron front. Cast iron facades in ornate styles were still very popular during the 1870s, and modules in various historic styles were available from catalogs published by their manufacturers. After being installed, they were usually painted, sometimes in rich polychrome schemes.

The Renaissance-Baroque facade of the Grand Opera House looks like it was painted white or ivory, with trim that might have been gold or black or some vivid color. I’d love to see a color picture of it, if one exists. Perhaps there is a tinted postcard of it somewhere.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Oct 28, 2011 at 9:20 am

This house opened as Saxe’s Orpheum Theatre. It was featured in the February 24, 1912, issue of The Moving Picture World. The article said that prior to its conversion into a movie theater the building had housed a beer garden operated by the Schlitz company. The theater opened on December 15, 1911.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Ripon Theatre on Oct 28, 2011 at 9:01 am

An item in the January 13, 1912 issue of The Moving Picture World said that the operators of theaters at Waupun had leased the Ripon Theatre in Ripon and would convert it to a motion picture house. It gave the location of the theater as the “…west side of the public square….”

“Public square” refers to the extra wide block of Watson Street with the parkway down the center. The Campus Theatre is on the east side of that block, and has an odd number, so the Ripon Theatre of 1912 would have been on the even-numbered side of the 100 block.

The Ripon Theatre was probably the former Grand Opera House, seen in this early photo and in this later one which shows the whole west side of the square. I’ve been unable to discover when the Opera House was built, but it is mentioned as early as 1888. In the 1897 and 1900 Cahn guides it is listed as Stone’s Opera House. I don’t know what became of the Opera House, but there are no three storey buildings on that block today.

The postcard Don Lewis linked to shows the 200 block of Watson Street in the foreground, looking north toward the square.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri V Theatre on Oct 28, 2011 at 8:37 am

The Ottumwa Theatre built on this site in 1941 to replace the earlier Ottumwa Theatre, which had been destroyed by a fire, was designed by the Des Moines architectural firm Wetherell & Harrison. There is a photo of the theater in this PDF of two forms the firm submitted to the AIA in the 1940s. The photo, which also shows part of the adjacent Capitol Theatre, is about 2/5 of the way down the unpaginated document.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tiger Theater on Oct 28, 2011 at 8:30 am

The Tiger Theatre’s entrance building is still standing. 319 S. Main is now occupied by a pizza parlor. The auditorium was probably on what is now a parking lot on Lyon Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ro-Na Theatre on Oct 28, 2011 at 8:04 am

Unfortunately, the Google camera car didn’t drive along 3rd Street in Ironton, so the the only street views of the Ro-Na that are available are either from Washington Street, across a parking lot, or from 2nd Street, showing the back of the building. There are loads of photos of the theater on the web, though, easily found with an image search on Ro-Na Ironton Ohio.