Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Centre Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 5:54 am

This web page says that the Rich Theatre opened in 1923 in a building formerly occupied by an automobile dealership.

I wonder if the project listed in the January 6, 1919, issue of the trade journal Lumber ever got built:

“Montpelierâ€"S. A. Shreeve, architect, Col.-Hudson Building, Ogden, Utah, is preparing preliminary plans for 80x150 ft. brick theater on Main Street here. $70,000.”
Does anybody know if there were any other theaters operating in Montpelier during the 1920s?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gaslighter Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 4:32 am

For what it’s worth, the March, 1920, issue of The Architect & Engineer had this item, which might or might not have something to do with the origins of the Gaslighter Theatre’s building:[quote]“Bank to Erect Building

“Messrs. Wolfe and Higgins, Auzerais building, San Jose, are preparing plans for a bank building, stores and moving picture theatre, to be built at Campbell, near San Jose, for the Growers National Bank. Forty thousand dollars will be expended on the improvements.”[/quote]Perhaps only the part of the project that housed the bank was completed, or perhaps the original plans were discarded altogether and a different architect designed the building that was actually built. It’s a mystery someone from the area might be able to unravel.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about United Artists Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 4:01 am

I should note that the article I cited in my previous comment is in the December, 1919, issue of The Architect & Engineer, not the October issue. Here’s a direct link. Scroll up one page for a photo of the facade. Four interior photos are farther down, following the article text.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 3:45 am

I still can’t find confirmation that John Eberson designed or remodeled this theater. Eberson designed the third Majestic, opened January 29, 1923. The day Eberson’s Majestic opened, this theater was renamed the Palace, according to the book “Cinema Houston” by David Welling and Jack Valenti.

As the Palace it housed a stock company, and served various other uses, including stints as a church and as a theater for radio broadcasts, until it was remodeled in 1937 and reopened as the Zoe Theatre. The Zoe ran westerns for about a year, then foreign films, and even attempted a revival of vaudeville. After being closed for some time, the house reopened in 1945 as a Spanish language movie theater called the Neuvo Palacio, but soon closed its doors for the last time, on April 3, 1946. The theater was demolished to make way for an expansion of the Houston Chronicle building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 3:28 am

The Yosemite Theatre opened either in 1892 or 1893. The conversion of the house into the State Theatre took place in 1920. In a column listing projects in the works for 1920, the December, 1919, issue of the San Francisco-based professional journal The Architect & Engineer included Weeks & Day’s remodeling of the Yosemite Theatre in Stockton. The projected cost was $130,000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tulsa Theater on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:31 am

The first-quarter theater construction survey in Boxoffice of April 26, 1941, reported that the Griffith circuit had opened its new Tulsa Theatre in Tulsa.

Regarding cosmic ray’s comment of September 1, 2007, I think the Oklahoma Historical Society’s statements about these theaters come from notes accompanying the Griffith circuit’s collection of photos. The claim that the Main Street Theatre was “replaced” by the Tulsa Theatre probably only means that the Tulsa supplanted the Main Street in the circuit’s hierarchy of theaters in the city. The OHS can be faulted for not providing context for the statement, but there might not be much written information to work with in the photo collection.

I haven’t found a source to confirm this, but after seeing the Griffith collection photos of the Tulsa Theatre, and considering the fact that it was a Griffith house from 1941, I’d lay odds that this theater was designed by Jack Corgan and William J. Moore. It has the characteristic look of their work. Plus, Moore was R.E. Griffith’s nephew, and it’s known that Corgan & Moore designed other Griffith houses during this period. I would be surprised if the Tulsa turned out not to be one of their works.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tokay Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:27 am

The July 19, 1919, issue of trade journal The Lumber Manufacturer and Dealer reported that architect E.W. Houghton was preparing plans for a theater to be erected at Raymond, Washington.

The journal Engineering and Contracting reported on September 3, 1919, that George Reisner (spelling error) had awarded the contracts for the construction of the Tokay Theater at Raymond.

As no other theaters were being built in Raymond at that time, the Tokay must have been the Houghton project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Danforth Music Hall Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:25 am

The web page Eric Veillette linked to in his comment of Jan 23, 2011, has a scan of an ad for Allen theaters which includes an Allen’s Bloor. Does anybody know if that house is listed at Cinema Treasures under a different name? If it is, it’s missing the aka. I found an article about a Bloor Street Allen Theater in a 1919 trade journal, and I’d like to link to it on the appropriate Cinema Treasures page, if somebody can point me to it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regent Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:22 am

The Regent Theatre was expanded in 1919, so it probably opened earlier. The November 12, 1919, issue of trade journal Engineering & Contracting said that Mrs. Gertrude Richtey was investing at least $25,000 to build an addition to her Regent Theatre in Lyons. The addition was to be on Pearl Street, which is the street behind Church Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Brook Theater on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:17 am

Here is yet another web page with photos of the Brook Theatre. The accompanying text says that the Brook served as the home of the American Theatre Company (Tulsa’s leading theatre group) for fifteen years before being converted into a restaurant. ATC’s web site says the Brook became the company’s second stage in 1979, so fifteen years would be just about right if the restaurant conversion took place in the mid-1990s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:57 am

I’ve found two sources saying that the Grand Opera House in Tulsa burned in 1920. The first is this timeline from an Oklahoma genweb page. The second is more thorough, but also problematic as it gives the address of the theater as 117 E. 2nd Street. It is from the October, 1921, issue of the journal Safety Engineering:

“October 9, 1920. Tulsa, Okla. Grand Theatre building, 117 E. 2d Street. Opera house, stores and room. One 3-story building destroyed. Walls, brick. Floors, wood. Roofs, gravel. Cause, electric wiring. Fire started under stage in theater. Discovered by night watchmen at about 1:03 a. m. Alarm, night watchman passed up 3 fire alarm boxes to notify fire department. Duration, 3 hours. Stopped at fire wall. Fire was retarded by construction of building. Firemen handicapped by overhead wires. Private fire apparatus, six 3-gallon soda and acid extinguishers. Persons in building, 6. Killed, none. Injured, none. Means of escape, 75-foot aerial truck. Value of building and contents, $58,000. Property loss, $55,000. Papers were protected.”
Were there two different Grand Theatres in Tulsa, one block apart? The address discrepancy might be an error in the 1921 publication, or perhaps Tulsa renumbered its blocks at some time. The photos from before 1920 and from the much later period when the building had become a furniture store show that the facade of the theater was the same, fire or not. Presumably the building was only gutted. I’ve been unable to find any other sources providing information about the fire, or saying anything about the rebuilding of the Grand Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Thomas Theatre on Mar 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Three photos of the Thomas Theatre appeared in the January 12, 1912, issue of the professional journal The Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder. Here is an exterior photo, and here are two interior views of the auditorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theater on Mar 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm

The name Oklah was used for two theaters in Bartlesville, both opened in 1908. The 1909-1910 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide lists the Oklah Theatre with 820 seats; 433 on the main floor, 187 in the balcony, and 200 in the gallery. A biography of oil man Frank Phillips says that the Oklah Theatre opened on September 25, 1908.

Meanwhile, the book Bartlesville,Oklahoma, by Karen Smith Woods, has a photo of an Oklah Air Dome, which the caption says opened on May 3, 1908, and seated some 1500.

The photos of the Liberty and the Odeon at the Oklahoma History web site actually depict two different theaters. Searching on Liberty Bartlesville fetches two photos; one dated ca.1926 showing this building as the Liberty, and one dated ca.1940 showing the same building as the Odeon. Searching on Odeon Bartlesville fetches five photos; the same ca.1940 photo as the Liberty search, plus two interior photos dated ca.1930 (probably of the earlier Odeon) and two exterior shots dated ca.1937 and ca. 1940, both of which depict a different building than the Liberty, but the ca.1937 photo shows the same Odeon sign that was on the Liberty building in the first ca.1940 photo.

Some time around 1940, the name Odeon must have been moved from one theater to another. As the Liberty is the only Bartlesville house listed with the aka Odeon at Cinema Treasures, I don’t know if the first Odeon is still unlisted, or if it is listed under another name but is missing the aka.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theatre on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm

tlsloews: The Colonial Theatre is to the right of the big Romanesque style post office building that dominates the photo, but since the photo is dated 1915, it can’t be the Colonial Theatre on Woodward Avenue, which wasn’t built until 1917. Also, Woodward Avenue has always been a much wider thoroughfare than the narrow back street that the Colonial in the photo faces.

It’s an odd little building. The top section is pure Greek Revival, but the lower two floors are Italianate, of a style that was some thirty or forty years out of date by 1917. It looks like it might have been a church that was altered and converted into a theater, with the lower two floors being an addition to a free-standing temple-style building.

I don’t know what theater it is. Cinema Treasures doesn’t list Colonial as an aka for any other Detroit theater, and of course it would have lost the name Colonial by the time this Woodward Avenue house opened in 1917. Either this theater is unlisted, or it’s listed under a later name and missing the aka.

I found a May, 1912, reference to a Colonial Theatre on the northwest corner of Lafayette Avenue (now Lafayette Blvd.) and Shelby Street, which must have been the theater in the photo. The Post Office was on W. Fort Street between Shelby and Washington, and Lafayette was the street behind it. The theater would have been in the 200 block of West Lafayette. I’ve clicked through the the first 100 of the 184 theaters listed for Detroit to see if one of them is in that block, but with no luck, and I think I’m getting carpel tunnel syndrome. Does anybody want to click through the remaining 84? If it isn’t there, it’s unlisted. Of course, it’s possible the house never even operated as a movie theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Star Theatre on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:57 am

The related web site link no longer works. The Gem Theatre is gone. As told in this weblog post by Kim Harrold, the theater was bought by a developer who promised to promised to repair the roof so there would still be something left of the theater to restore eventually, but instead the building was neglected until it had deteriorated too far to be saved. The Gem Theatre was demolished in February, 2010.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Campus Theater on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:54 am

If this theater opened as the Campus in 1914, it didn’t keep the name for long. The August, 1915, issue of professional journal The Architect & Engineer mentioned that the construction firm of Gaspard & Hamilton, builders of the Majestic Theatre in Berkeley, had been dissolved. It must have been the same Majestic Theatre, as the item said that it had been designed by architect W.H. Ratcliffe, Jr..

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Skyview Drive-In on Mar 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm

The Skyview Cruise-In was built in 1948, according to the caption of its picture in the Arcadia Publishing Company book “Lancaster,” by Connie L. Rutter, Sondra Brockway Gartner.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm

The Arcadia Publishing Company’s book “Lancaster” has a 1906 photo of this theater as the Hippodrome. An earlier page has a later photo giving a partial view of the Liberty Theatre marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sugg Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I noticed that windowless building across 4th Street. It does look like it could have been a theater, though it might also have been a large bank. They were often windowless, too.

While trying to dig up more information about the Sugg, I came across references to a Wagner (or Wagoner) Opera House in Chickasha. It was listed in early 20th century editions of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide, and it’s apparently still standing at 328 W. Chickasha Avenue. The first entry on this page of The Steel Guitar Forum says that a Barry Thomas was renovating the Wagner for use as a guitar shop. The entry is dated 2003.

I can’t find anything else about Barry Thomas, and there’s no guitar shop at this location listed on the Internet, so maybe his plans didn’t work out. I don’t know if the Wagner/Wagoner ever operated as a movie house, but it’s quite possible that it did. It’s possible that it operated under a different name, and was the location of one of the several theaters listed for Chickasha without addresses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sugg Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Thanks, Ray, and thanks to Google Books for making all those old magazines available. I actually found the Sugg Theatre photo while looking for something else.

But after comparing the various photos, and the bird’s eye view at Bing Maps, and the Google Street View, I’m sure the Sugg/first Washita and the second Washita were at different locations. The first of the pre-fire photos at Oklahoma History, and the 1913 postcard I linked to above, show a tall building next door to the Sugg, and there’s no trace of it in this circa 1950 photo of the second Washita, even though the buildings next door to it and down the block look quite old. The Sugg was free-standing, too, while the second Washita butted against other buildings on both sides.

The only five story building in Chickasha today that could be the one in the old photos of the Sugg is the one at the southwest corner of Chickasha and 4th. The lot just south of it on 4th has a one-story building that occupies a footprint that matches up with the old photos of the Sugg Theatre (see the bird’s eye view at Bing Maps.) In Google Street View, it’s clear that the building at the corner of Chickasha and 4th is the same one you can see a corner of in the 1913 postcard I linked to. The detailing around the street floor windows is identical. The Sugg/first Washita had to have been on that lot just south of it, on South 4th Street.

In Google Street View, the building on the Sugg’s site is only one story, but is faced with the same type of brick as the Sugg. Street View shows a bit of the northern side wall, and it looks like it drops down from the street, as a theater building would. Bing’s birds eye shows part of the back wall, and there appears to be a theater-type exit door on it. I think there’s a good chance that this building could be the remains of the Sugg Theatre, chopped down to one floor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gym Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:33 am

Could this be the Gem Theatre? A Gem Theatre at Sherman was the subject of a brief item in The Moving Picture World, December 6, 1913 (scroll down a bit.) There is a small photo of the 350-seat house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ideal Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:18 am

The original Ideal Theatre was pictured in The Moving Picture World, December 6, 1913. The brief text said that the theater had opened three years earlier and seated 250.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jewel Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:07 am

A Jewell Theater (with double “l”) in Okemah is listed in the 1912-1913 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide. The seating capacity was listed as only 460, though.

An October 9, 1954, Boxoffice item said that operator Bill Slepka had installed CinemaScope in both of his Okemah theaters, the Jewel and the Crystal.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sugg Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 4:43 am

The name currently given for this house might be wrong. There is a photograph of a Sugg Theatre in Chickasha, published in The Moving Picture World, issue of December 6, 1913. The recently opened house seated 923, and included two balconies, the upper one a segregated section for black patrons. It was named for one of its original owners, a cattle rancher.

I found two other mentions of the Sugg Theatre on the Internet, including this postcard, postmarked 1913.

This 2003 memoriam for Lois Ruth Badgley says that her first job was playing piano to accompany silent movies at the Sugg Theatre. As she was born in 1913, the time period must have been the 1920s (unless young Lois was uncommonly precocious.)

The name Soggs Theatre is on the Internet only here and at Roadside Oklahoma, which I have not found to be the most reliable source of information. CinemaTour doesn’t have the house listed under either name. I’ve not found the theater mentioned under either name in the Boxoffice archive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 4:40 am

Though Chickasha has many theaters listed at Cinema Treasures, the only one I can find mentioned in the Boxoffice archive is the Rialto, which is either not listed here or is listed under another name and missing its aka. A Rialto is listed for Chickasha at both CinemaTour and Roadside Oklahoma, but without an address.

The brief Boxoffice item, from October 9, 1954, says that Rialto manager Horace Clark had re-roofed the building, and had installed CinemaScope and 300 reconditioned seats.