Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Northgate Theatre on May 24, 2010 at 4:03 am

Note that it was John Graham Jr. who designed the Northgate Theatre. His father, John Graham Sr., was also a noted Seattle architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Northgate Theatre on May 24, 2010 at 3:54 am

Boxoffice of September 22, 1951, also names John Graham as the architect of the Northgate Theatre. The original operator was Sterling Theatres.

An ad for RCA carpet (who knew that RCA made carpeting for theaters?) in Boxoffice of October 4, 1952, features a photo of the Northgate’s lobby. The Native American motifs used in the otherwise moderne theater are seen.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Canaltown Cinema on May 23, 2010 at 3:20 am

The December 11, 1972, issue of Boxoffice said that the West Wayne Cinema was scheduled to open on December 27, 1972. It was one of the first theaters in a proposed circuit of hundreds of theaters that were to have been franchised by United General Theatres, a Los Angeles-based corporation that suffered the same quick demise as the other franchise outfits of the period such as Jerry Lewis Cinemas.

Despite having established quite a few theaters in its first three years of operation, United General collapsed amid charges of fraud and conspiracy, and in 1975 two of its executives, both of them also major stockholders, were fined and sentenced to prison terms.

Many of the UGT operations were 16mm houses, but the West Wayne Cinema was equipped with 35mm equipment. A 16mm UGT house was set to open at Niagara Falls the same day the Macedon house was to be opened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Genoa Theatre on May 22, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Marilee West: Thanks for the information about your father. He has had an impressively long career.

Here’s a corection of my earlier comment: The reference I cited, saying there was an architect named Derald West working at Lake Geneva in 1911, was the result of my misreading of information about an architect named William Woodworth. What the source actually said was that Woodworth, while working in a summer job at Derald West’s office, made drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Geneva Inn— which had been built in 1911. No more speed reading on the Internet for me.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Glenwood Theatre on May 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Two interior photos of the Glenwood illustrate this article in Boxoffice of March 20, 1967. Richard Wells of William Behrman and Associates engineered the building and designed the exterior of the Glenwood, but the interior was designed by architect Mel Glatz.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Spring Theater on May 22, 2010 at 5:09 am

Here are before and after photos of the remodeled Spring Theatre, formerly the Regent Theatre, in Boxoffice of March 20, 1967.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Monte Theatre on May 22, 2010 at 4:52 am

Boxoffice of January 31, 1953, reporting on a fire that had gutted the Monte Theatre, said the house had been built 16 years before by John Davis, and had been extensively remodeled as recently as 1951. At the time of the fire the Monte was being operated by the widowed Mrs. Davis and her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Thurber. The 500-seat theater was the only movie house in town. The March 21 issue of Boxoffice said that local citizens were working to help with the repairs, and the Jaycees were donating their efforts to repair or replace the damaged seats.

The December 29, 1956, issue of Boxoffice said that the Monte Theatre would be in operation only four days a week during the winter. Then on May 5, 1958, Boxoffice said that Mrs. Joe Thurber had closed the Monte Theater after three years of declining business. Finally. Boxoffice of June 12, 1961, reported that Kathryn Davis had sold the Monte Theatre building to F.R. “Bob” Brownell, who planned to remodel it for his business. The item didn’t say what sort of business Brownell Industries was in, but today the company is a purveyor of small arms supplies, as can be seen at their web site.

The Monte’s seats survived the theater and, according to Boxoffice of September 18, 1961, were purchased by the Toledo Community Theatre Guild and installed in the Wieting Theatre, then undrgoing renovation in Toledo, Iowa. The Wieting Theatre is still in operation, but I don’t know if it still sports the Monte’s old seats. If it does, it’s about time they replaced them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Glenwood Theater on May 22, 2010 at 3:18 am

The Glenwood Theatre was opened in 1966, according to Boxoffice of January 16, 1967. The original seating capacity was given as 1000. The number was probably rounded off. I’ve only found the Glenwood briefly mentioned twice in Boxoffice, and no other details about it were ever noted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Melba Theater on May 19, 2010 at 10:36 pm

The Melba Theatre was mentioned in Boxoffice of August 21, 1937. The house was still in operation in 1951, when the last mention of it I can find in Boxoffice appeared in the issue of July 28.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Flame Theatre on May 19, 2010 at 10:04 pm

The Mankato Free Press article about the Flame Theatre (link on the front page of the Wells web site) says that Sid Heath opened his theater in Wells in 1912 and operated it under various names until finally settling on State Theatre. Although the article says that the original theater burned down in 1960, the June 22, 1959, issue of Boxoffice mentioned the State Theatre having recently been destroyed in a fire. Most likely the Flame opened in 1960, though I can’t find the event mentioned in Boxoffice.

The Free Press article also says that Sid Heath held a contest to choose a name for the new theater he built to replace the burned State, and Flame Theatre was the winning entry. That’s quite a sense of humor they have in Minnesota.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carmike Stadium Cinema 6 on May 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Since posting the comment above, I’ve come across scores of web sites saying that there was a Cine 4 at this address. Most of these web sites are of the “directory” type, which commonly replicate each others content just so they’ll have something to wrap around their advertising, and it’s possible that they are all just repeating the same error, but in the absence of any reliable source saying that the Excellence Theatres proposal to expand Cine 2 to six screens in 1988 was actually carried out, it’s possible that the house did operate with only four screens until 2004. There are also quite a few sites reporting a Cine 6 at this address, but they might have been posted since 2004, and could also be errors if the name was changed to Stadium Cinema 6 that year.

Once again the Internet proves to be a reliable source of confusion and contradiction. Somebody familiar with Mankato, or at least with access to reliable local sources, will have to clear this up.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Maverick 4 on May 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm

On the Mankato Free Press web site there’s an article about the Maverick 4, dated May 16, 2010. (I tried linking to the article itself, but the link wouldn’t work.) It looks like the theater is not dead, despite the lack of updates to its web site.

The guy operating the theater is a 29-year-old named Ulysses Awsumb, which at first I took to be a pseudonym. But Awsumb is indeed a real surname, which is totally, uh, awesome, (though I do realize why Thomas Pynchon never gave the name Ulysses Awsumb to one of his characters- critics would have accused him of stretching his symbolic puns to the breaking point.)

Anyway, Mankato Place, the complex the theater is in, is owned by Ulysses' father, Gordon Awsumb, so maybe the family pockets are deep enough to keep the house going for a while. Here’s a quote from the article:

Since November, ticket sales have doubled. In March alone, sales were almost triple what they were in November. “On a Friday night, we are seeing anywhere from 400 to 500 people,” Awsumb says. “During the weekend, we’re getting about 2,000 people. And we have gone from 10 to 20 people on weekdays to about 80.”
It does sound promising. The article also says that Awsumb is in the process of launching a new web site for the theater, so maybe the current movie listings will be back soon. Still, that doesn’t explain why the Internet movie listing sites currently only show the Carmike and Cinemark houses in Mankato.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mayland Theatre on May 19, 2010 at 6:14 am

Thanks, CWalczak. I’ll post the Boxoffice link to the Lakeshore 7 page as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carmike Stadium Cinema 6 on May 19, 2010 at 5:31 am

Here’s what I’ve been able to puzzle out about theaters that have operated at this location. A twin called the Camelot 1 and 2 opened at Stadium Road and Warren Street in 1970. It had 475 seats in each auditorium. In 1973 the house was taken over by Carisch Theatres, and the name was changed to Cine 1 and 2. A few years later it was being called simply Cine 2.

In 1988, Carisch Theatres was taken over by Essaness Theatres, which about that time renamed itself Excellence Theatres. The Cine 2 might have been renamed the University Square Cinemas, either before or after Essaness took it over. Essaness/Excellence had plans to add four more screens to the house, according to a 1988 Boxoffice article. I haven’t been able to discover when the additional screens opened, or if any splitting of one or both original auditoriums was involved.

Excellence Theatres didn’t last very long. The circuit was absorbed by Carmike Theatres in 1992.

A review of the current theater on the web site Insider Pages says that it underwent a complete remodeling in 2004, being converted to stadium seating. That’s the only source I’ve found saying that this was a remodeling job, but then I can’t find any sources at all saying that the original theater was demolished to make way for a new building, so I suspect that the current theater does incorporate the original 1970 building and its four-screen addition from around 1988. If it does, then the aka’s Camelot 1 and 2, Cine 1 and 2, and perhaps University Square Cinemas can be added. I’m not sure if the place was actually called University Square Cinemas, or if the writer of the single 1988 Boxoffice item that mentioned it mistook the location of the house for its name. Eventually somebody familiar with Mankato will probably visit this page and let us know.

Also, note that Carmike’s official web site calls this house the Stadium Cinema 6, not the Cine 6. Web sites that haven’t been updated in years indicate that it was called Cine 6 before the 2004 remodeling, so that should be another aka.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Willowbrook Cinema on May 19, 2010 at 4:09 am

The Little Cinema page should also be listed in Wayne. Its map link doesn’t work either.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Maverick 4 on May 19, 2010 at 4:04 am

Yes, it’s very confusing. I spent a couple of hours searching the Boxoffice database, hoping to find evidence that the Mall 4 was renamed the Cine 4, and that the Cine 2 was renamed the University Square Cinemas, but never found them. The Carisch circuit had multiplexes in other cities with the name Cine followed by a number. It’s quite possible that they had, for a time, both a Cine 2 and a Cine 4 operating in Mankato.

One thing I forgot to include in my comment above is that Boxoffice made a reference to the Mall 4 in Mankato in its issue of February, 1985, so if that house was renamed Cine 4 it happened between then and the time of the single reference to a Cinema 4 at Mankuto, in the february, 1991, Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Time Theatre on May 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Boxoffice of July 10, 1937, said that Publix was then operating the State, Grand, and Time theaters in Mankato, so we’ll have to push the opening date of the Time back at least two years.

A December 7, 1929, item in Movie Age said that Publix then had control of all four theaters in Mankato. The names given were the Grand, the State, the Lyric, and the Orpheum. I’m wonderng if the Time Theatre could have been either the Lyric or the Orpheum renamed?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Maverick 4 on May 18, 2010 at 11:35 pm

This house was never a twin. Carisch Theatres operated a twin called the Cine 2 in Mankato from 1973 until at least 1985, but various Boxoffice items show that the Mall 4 and the Cine 2 were different theaters. The Mall 4 might have been renamed the Cine 4 at some point (I’ve only ever found that name used once in Boxoffice, in the February, 1991 issue), but it was opened as a quad by Carisch Theatres in 1978. The smallest of its auditoriums had 112 seats and the largest seated 278, according to an item in Boxoffice of May 22, 1978.

The 1978 item about the opening of the Mall 4 said that Carisch had closed the State and Town theaters on Wednesday, May 3, and that films apt to attract large audiences would be booked into the circuit’s Cine 2, which had 475 seats for each screen.

The Cine 2 had opened as the Camelot 1 and 2 in 1970, and had been acquired by Carisch in 1973. The twin was located at Stadium Road and Warren Street, which is now the location of the Carmike Cine 6. So far I’ve been unable to determine if the Cine 6 is entirely of recent construction or if it incorporates the old Cine 2 building.

The Cine 2 might have been renamed the University Square Cinemas by 1988, when Carisch Theatres was sold to the Essaness circuit of Chicago. Essaness (soon to rename itself Excellence Theatres) planned to add four screens to the University Square, according to the July issue of Boxoffice that year. It isn’t clear from the item whether or not the University Square was indeed formerly the Cine 2, but given the Cine 2’s location near the campus it does seem likely that it was.

That’s as much as I’ve been able to puzzle out from Boxoffice. Someone personally familiar with Mankato will have to fill us in on the details about which of these theaters had which names, and when.

The Maverick 4 seems to have been open for at least part of 2010. It was being operated as a discount house by an outfit called Spectrum Cinema. The “current movies” page of their web site hasn’t been updated since February 3. However, a page about the movie “Dawning” dates from April 5, so the house might be holding special showings intermittently. I can’t find any events scheduled for specific dates, though. Maybe Cinema Treasures should add the category “In Limbo” to the existing categories of “Open” and “Closed.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Willowbrook Cinema on May 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Before Hollywood revamped its rating system to eliminate the X rating, which had been co-opted by the porn industry, a number of mainstream movies (“Midnight Cowboy” for example) did get an X rating, and the Willowbrook did run some of those films. One Boxoffice item from 1970 reported on the local controversy that erupted in Wayne when the Willowbrook Cinema ran the X-rated Swedish film “I Am Curious (Yellow)” It’s likely that the Little Cinema also ran early X-rated films too, though I don’t know if they ever ran out-and-out porn.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Willowbrook Cinema on May 18, 2010 at 2:13 am

Here’s something from Boxoffice of September 22, 1969: “Spyros Lenas is scheduled to open his newest indoor, a 1,500-seater in the Willowbrook Shopping Center complex Wednesday (24).” Other Boxoffice items give a seating capacity as low as 1,200 for this house, though.

As far as I’ve been able to discover, Lenas' house was the first movie theater in the Willowbrook Shopping Center. The house appears to have been quite successful in its early years. Boxoffice of August 24, 1970, reported that the Willowbrook Cinema had just completed a six month area exclusive run of “Hello Dolly,” with five months as a hard ticket road show event and one month as a continuous performance presentation.

The single-screener was twinned in 1977, and was then advertised in conjunction with the adjacent Little Cinema 1 and 2 as the Willowbrook 4 or the Willowbrook Quad. It’s mentioned frequently as a Lenas operation from 1969 to 1978, but I’ve been unable to find anything about it as a Loew’s house. I haven’t found it mentioned in Boxoffice under any name after 1978.

I’ve posted about the Willowbrook Cinema on the Cinema Treasures page for the Little Cinema, which gives the same address as this page does.

The Willowbrook Shopping Center was designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm Welton Becket and Associates, architects of the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Cinema on May 18, 2010 at 2:12 am

The June 15, 1970, issue of Boxoffice reported that Spyros Lenas would soon open a 250-seat automated theater on the site of a former restaurant behind his Willowbrook Cinema. This became the house that was called the Little Cinema. Later Boxoffice reports gave the seating capacity of the first Little Cinema as 300.

Boxoffice of June 12, 1972, has an item saying: “DeVisser Theatres announced the grand opening of Little Cinema II, its third theatre in Willowbrook Shopping Center in Wayne, N.J.. All three theatres, including the Willowbrook Cinema and Little Cinema I are owned and operated by Spyros Lenas.”

Boxoffice of December 13, 1976, says this: “Lenas' Willowbrook Cinema in Wayne, which is adjoined by Little Cinema 1 and 2 is advertising that a fourth unit soon will be constructed alongside the existing three. The multiples are all located on the main mall inside the Willowbrook Shopping Center.”

But instead of building a fourth auditorium, the original Willowbrook Cinema was split. Boxoffice of December 19, 1977, said that Lenas' Willowbrook Cinema had reopened as a twin, with approximately 560 seats on each side. They were designated as Cinemas 3 and 4, with the two Little Cinema auditoriums designated as Cinemas 1 and 2. This item said that the originaal Willowbrook had seated about 1200 as a single-screen house, though Boxoffice items at the time of its construction had said that it seated 1,500.

I think the theater listed on Cinema Treasures as Loews Willowbrook must actually be Spyros Lenas' original Willowbrook Cinema (that page gives it the same address as the Little Cinema.) As all four theaters were adjacent, either the Willowbrook Cinema should be listed as being in in Willowbrook, or the Little Cinema should be listed in Wayne. Or, since the whole complex was last advertised as the Willowbrook Cinema 4, maybe they should share a single Cinema Treasures page.

Here is an article about Spyros Lenas (right-hand page) in Boxoffice of August 31, 1972. Lenas was also the operator of the Anthony Wayne Drive-In, adjacent to the Willowbrook center. The Loews six-plex built in 1982 might have been erected on the site of the drive-in, but I’ve been unable to confirm this.

The Willowbrook Shopping Center was designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm Welton Becket and Associates, architects of the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on May 17, 2010 at 7:31 pm

This weblog post from the Augusta Chronicle says that architect G. Lloyd Preacher designed the Rialto Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mercury Theatre on May 17, 2010 at 2:46 am

An article about the Mercury Theatre appeared in Boxoffice of August 5, 1950. There are four photos. The decoration of the house was by the Hanns Teichert Studios of Chicago, and the architects were the Cleveland firm of Matzinger & Grosel (Paul Matzinger and Rudolph Grosel.)

The opening date of the Mercury Theatre was May 18, 1950. The style should be listed as Art Moderne rather than Art Deco. Boxoffice of May 20, 1950, gave the original seating capacity as a generous 1,600.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mayland Theatre on May 17, 2010 at 2:43 am

Here is an article by Hanns Teichert, whose firm decorated the Mayland Theatre. The January 7, 1950, Boxoffice article includes photos of both the Mayland and a theater called the Lake, which was located in an eastern suburb of Cleveland not named in the magazine. Like the Mayland, the Lake was designed by the architectural firm of Matzinger & Grosel. I’ve been unable to determine of the Lake is listed at Cinema Treasures yet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Madison Theatre on May 17, 2010 at 2:38 am

The Madison Theatre in which the organ was installed in 1921 (noted in Lost Memory’s first comment above) must have been a different theater, perhaps a predecessor to this house. This Madison Theatre opened September 1, 1949. Boxoffice of September 10 that year said that the new house for the Modern Theatres circuit (formerly Scoville, Essick & Reif) had been designed by Cleveland architects Matzinger & Grosel.