Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jul 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm

The Capitol was indeed the Dixie Theatre, according to Boxoffice Magazine. Late 1944 and early 1945 items in the magazine say that the late Hal Laurence, manager of the Capitol, had operated the house as the Dixie Theatre before selling out to Crescent Amusement, which retained him as manager, in 1938. However, there’s also a July 17, 1937, Boxoffice item mentioning the Capitol Theatre at Paris, so it must have been Laurence who changed the name.

The November 19, 1938, Boxoffice item about the sale said that the house had been erected and originally operated by the late T.B. Walker. The owner of the property at the time Crescent purchased it was Lavinia Walker, T.B.’s widow.

An item in the December 17, 1938, Boxoffice said that Crescent planned to build a new theater on the site, and the existing building would be “virtually dismantled.” But the January 13, 1940, issue said that the Capitol had been closed on January 6th to undergo a major remodeling, and that films booked for the house would be shown at Crescent’s Gem Theatre instead. The remodeled Capitol was back in operation later that year.

The December 1938 item also says that the theater had been built at the turn of the century, so I would imagine that Walker originally operated the house as a legitimate theater for touring companies, or as a vaudeville theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Jul 3, 2009 at 8:45 pm

The December 9, 1939, issue of Boxoffice mentioned that Ben F. Diggs was building a new theater at Paris to be called the Princess. The house was expected to be open by January 1, 1940. Another item in the same issue of Boxoffice said that the Princess would have its formal opening before Christmas. Both dates were premature. The January 13, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that the Princess had opened on January 5.

The September 14, 1940, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Crescent Amusement Company had bought the Princess from Ben Diggs, and would subsequently close their Gem Theatre, which they had opened only the year before.

In its issue of April 13, 1946, Boxoffice reported that the Princess Theatre at Paris had been destroyed by fire. I’ve found nothing about a rebuilding, but it must have been done as there are later mentions of the Princess being in operation.

The December 24, 1955, Boxoffice said that Crescent had closed the Princess. I’ve found no later mentions of the house in Boxoffice, so this closure might have been final.

Having noted all this, I have to add that Boxoffice indicates that there was an earlier Princess Theatre in Paris. Late 1944 and early 1945 items about the death of Capitol Theatre manager Hal Laurence say that he had come to Paris thirty years earlier to manage the Princess Theatre. They also reveal that Laurence had been the owner and operator of the Dixie Theatre, and was retained by Crescent as manager of the house after they bought it and changed the name to Capitol in 1938.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Jul 3, 2009 at 7:46 pm

I jumped the gun with my speculation about the motivation of Crescent Amusement in opening the Gem. The December 9, 1939, issue of Boxoffice says that the Princess was still under construction at that time and was expected to open January 1, 1940. The Gem was opened before the Princess.

I’ve been unable to find confirmation in Boxoffice that Crescent closed the Gem immediately after acquiring the Princess, but I find no mentions of the Gem after the September 14, 1940, article. Since it is listed as closed in the 1941 and 1943 editions of FDY they probably did close it in 1940. That means it was probably in operation for a little over one year, from late spring or early summer of 1939 to late summer or early fall of 1940.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Jul 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm

From the May 8, 1937, issue of Boxoffice: “GREENFIELD, TENN.— The Ruffin Amusement Company of Covington, Tenn. has leased the W.L. Hall building here for a modern theatre.”

A June 29, 1957, Boxoffice item about the 30th anniversary of the Ruffin Chain also says that the Palace opened in 1937. I can’t find anything about the earlier Palace Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Taylor Twin Cinema on Jul 3, 2009 at 6:38 pm

This web site says that the Taylor Theatre was “…built in 1925 by Charles Collins Benton.” As the owner/operator for whom the house was built was Samuel Taylor, they must mean that Charles Collins Benton was the architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Jul 3, 2009 at 6:24 pm

The May 27, 1939, issue of Boxoffice had this item: “There is an unconfirmed report that Tony Sudekum of the Crescent Amusement Company will soon open a new house in Paris, Tenn., to be known as the Gem. He is now operating the Capitol Theatre there.”

The September 14, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that Crescent Amusement had bought the Princess Theatre in Paris. The writer of the item apparently made a mistake in the line saying “Crescent already owns the Capitol and the Gem, but plans to close the Gem after purchasing the Capitol.” Obviously it should have said they intended to close the Gem after purchasing the Princess.

The story makes me suspect that Crescent Amusement opened the Gem only to weaken their Capitol’s rival house, the Princess, and the acquisition of the Princess was their goal all along.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about American Theater on Jul 3, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I wasn’t questioning your veracity, panhandle. You had me convinced that the American Theatre was indeed gone. I was just pointing out that the listed status needed to be changed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theatre on Jul 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm

The Royal Theatre became a three-theater complex in 1972. The January 30 issue of Boxoffice ran an article headed “Mississippi Triplex Sparkles In Debut” which said that the expansion was accomplished by adding two new auditoriums adjacent to the original 517-seat Royal, which had been built by Lloyd Royal in 1941, opening on January 4 that year.

The 1972 additions were called the Royal Cinema, which had 800 seats, and the Mini Royal, with 200 seats. The original Royal Theatre was reseated to accommodate 325 patrons with greater comfort. The new auditoriums were opened on January 17, 1972.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Jul 2, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I’ve found the Strand mentioned in Boxoffice Magazine as early as the July 6, 1940, issue. At that time it was being operated by the Manning & Wink circuit.

The most recent Boxoffice mention of the Strand I’ve found is in the January 31, 1972, issue, at which time it was still being operated by Martin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Athens Theatre on Jul 2, 2009 at 4:36 pm

A brief item in the January 18, 1941, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the new Athens Theatre had recently opened with the musical “Barnyard Follies” as the initial offering. The February 1 issue of Boxoffice said that the Athens was the eighth house of the Manning & Wink circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about American Theater on Jul 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm

If it fell into the street, I guess the status should be changed to demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theater on Jul 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

The October 13, 1956, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the 50th anniversary of the Bohemia Theatre. The item included the information that the Roxy was next door to the Bohemia, and had been built by the Cleveland Amusement Company, operators of the Bohemia, but that it had been a short-lived operation. As far as I’ve been able to determine, the Roxy’s operation was confined to some part of the 1930s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bohemia Theatre on Jul 2, 2009 at 3:49 pm

The October 13, 1956, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the 50th anniversary of the Bohemia Theatre. The house opened in 1906, operated by Jesse Steed. Later it was operated by Roy S. and H.E. Campbell, who installed sound in 1929. They later sold the house to the Cleveland Amusement Company, and then it was operated for a while by one of that company’s partners, Otis Renner, who in turn sold it to Crescent sometime in the 1940s. The Bohemia suffered severe damage in a fire in 1950 and had to be rebuilt. I’ve been unable to find any mentions of it after 1956.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Red Clay Theatre on Jul 2, 2009 at 3:18 pm

The Village Theatre was actually opened by Atco Corporation in 1969. Martin bought the house from Atco in 1971, according to the January 11, 1971, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The Village was apparently Atco’s first theater. They opened the 520-seat Jackson Square Theatre in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1970, and Boxoffice in its issue of May 4 that year described that house as being similar to the Village Theatre. I can’t find anything about Atco after 1972, so the company must have either changed its name, gone out of business, or been absorbed by some larger outfit.

The Red Clay Theatre’s web site no longer has any information about the theater, and the domain name might be for sale. They probably didn’t pay their web hosting bill. The site is currently a link dump. I can’t find any events scheduled for the house anywhere else on the Internet either. It looks like the live performance venture has failed.

Also, I can’t find any mention in Boxoffice about another Village Theatre in Cleveland.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lakeport Cinema 5 on Jul 2, 2009 at 1:59 pm

The Lakeport Cinemas in the 1986 photo is the former Lakeport Theatre, now the Soper-Reese Theatre. I didn’t know it had been twinned before closing.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about American Theater on Jul 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Unless the name was used for more than one theater in Bonham, the American was much older than the facade seen in the photos would suggest. Earl Moseley’s column in the July 14, 1956, issue of Boxoffice Magazine mentioned that long-time Texas theater man L.E. Holloway had worked at the American Theatre in Bonham in 1928.

A couple of late 1970 issues of Boxoffice ran items saying that the American Theatre had reopened after extensive remodeling. Perhaps the rippled facade dates from that time, or perhaps from an earlier remodeling, a $30,000 project mentioned in the July 17, 1948, issue of Boxoffice. It certainly wouldn’t have looked like that in the 1920s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Glendora Theatre on Jul 1, 2009 at 9:05 pm

The October 22, 1938, issue of Boxoffice said that H.E. Brookings had purchased the Beacon Theatre from the McDonald brothers.

The November 5, 1938, issue said that Brookings had changed the name to Glendora Theatre.

It’s surprising how frequently the Glendora is mentioned in Boxoffice from the 1940s through the 1950s, and almost every time it gets mentioned it is changing owners. Various owners after Brookins included: Sid Smith; Tony Blanco; Dave Fred and Perry Morgan; W.G. McKinney; B.G. Meyers; the Western Amusement Company (for almost six years, 1945-1951); Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Dover; Joe Pokorny; Willard Blunt; and finally Fed Stein, whose Statewide Theatres operated the house from at least 1960 to 1967.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Donner Theatre on Jul 1, 2009 at 9:02 pm

From the January 9, 1961, issue of Boxoffice: “When fire destroyed the Donner Theatre at Truckee recently, seven families living in the second-floor apartments were left homeless. The cause of the fire was not determined.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lando-Grand Theatre on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:59 pm

The Lando Theatre was offered for sale or rent by the Lando Realty Company in an ad in the November 8, 1940, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. There is a photo of the theater, and the way the building was arranged on the steeply sloping site makes me suspect that this might have been a reverse theater, with the screen and stage at the front of the house instead of the back.

This place seems to have switched names frequently. The July 7, 1931, issue of Exhibitors Forum said that the Lando Theatre, Central Avenue, had been renamed the Grand. It apparently became the Granada in 1934, when it was leased by Hendel and Rosen, who opened the New Granada in 1937.

The September 18, 1937, issue of Boxoffice carries an item saying that the Lando-Grand Theater on Center Avenue, formerly the Granada, had been reopened.

Then the August 5, 1939, issue says that the Former Lando-Grand Theatre had been reopened as the Central Theatre.

In its issue of September 21, 1940, Boxoffice said that William Lando was reopening his Lando-Grand Theatre on Center Avenue after the previous operator had failed.

In any case, the last name under which I find any mention of the house is Lando-Grand (probably chosen to differentiate it from the Warner Grand/Stanley Grand operating in Pittsburgh at the same time) so that’s probably the name under which it should be listed at Cinema Treasures. That would, of course, also help differentiate it from the New Granada Theatre. The Lando appears to have been known as the Granada only from 1934 to 1937 in any case.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Howard Theatre on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I found a mention of the Howard Theatre as early as the March 21, 1942, issue of Boxoffice. The item said that Beverly Richards, 22, was the new manager of the Iowa and Howard Theatres at Jefferson, both operated by the Pioneer Theatre Corporation of Minneapolis. She was the first woman ever named manager by the company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jefferson Theatre on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:38 pm

The Jefferson was the fourth theater opened in Oak Ridge. Its recent opening was announced in the November 4, 1944, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The Ridge, Center, and Grove Theatres had already opened. All four were being managed for the Recreation and Welfare Section of the Clinton Engineering Works by Walter Morris, a Knoxville theater owner.

The September 1, 1945, issue of Boxoffice says that seven theaters had been built at Oak Ridge by that time. Only the Middletown and Jefferson theaters were mentioned by name. The July 10, 1948, issue said that the Middletown Theatre in Oak Ridge had closed due to lack of business.

The May 4, 1952, Boxoffice mentioned the Skyway and Elza Drive-Ins at Oak Ridge, but I’ve been unable to discover if they were built by 1945, so they might or night not have been the other two theaters in the town. I got the feeling the two missing theaters were hardtops, though. Oak Ridge reached a population of about 75,000 during the war and could easily have supported seven walk-in theaters.

In 1952, a segregated theater was opened at Oak Ridge. The February 2 issue of Boxoffice gives the name as the Gambles Valley Theatre, and the seating capacity as 338. The item said it was the first Negro theater in Oak Ridge. The May 3 issue of Boxoffice said that a theater had recently opened at Gamble Valley in Oak Ridge.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grove Theater on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:14 pm

The December, 1981, issue of Boxoffice mentions a Grove 1-2-3 Theatre in Oak Ridge, along with the Ridge Theatre, both being operated by the Greater Huntington Theatre Corporation. Does anyone know if this was the original Grove Theatre triplexed? There’s also a possibility that the Ridge Theatre was triplexed at a later date.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ridge Theatre on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:09 pm

The August, 1993, issue of Boxoffice makes a reference to a Ridge 1-2-3 Theatre in Oak Ridge. Was the Ridge Theatre triplexed, or was this a new theater?

The December, 1981, Boxoffice had mentioned the Grove 1-2-3 and Ridge Theatres at Oak Ridge. Both were operated by the Greater Huntington Theatre Corporation.

The Ridge Theatre dated to the early 1940s, having been already in operation when it was mentioned, along with the Grove and Center theaters, in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of November 4, 1944, in an item about the opening of the Jefferson Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Theatre Off Broadway on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:18 pm

The November 8, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said that the Kingdom Theatre had changed its name to the Grove and was now operating seven days a week instead of two to four days.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Granada Theater on Jun 30, 2009 at 7:06 pm

A photo of the Granada Theatre was featured in an ad for Texlite porcelain enamel products appearing in the March 2, 1946, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The ad named the architect of the Granada as Raymond F. Smith.