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The old Rajah Temple was gutted by fire in May, 1921. The rebuilding project was extensive, costing approximately one million dollars and taking more than a year to complete. The five-bay facade of the original building was retained, though there were extensive alterations to its upper floors, but the rebuilt theater’s entrance was in a new annex that was erected adjacent to the surviving front portion of the original structure. The auditorium of the new Rajah Theatre was new construction as well.
The book “Reading in Historic Postcards” includes cards depicting the original and the rebuilt building on page 107. The text on the latter card says that the Austin organ installed in the rebuilt theater had cost $35,000.
The April 17, 1909, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about T.R. Bullock’s new theater:[quote]“AMUSEMENT PALACE FOR PROVIDENCE.
“A new motion picture house with a seating capacity of about twelve hundred will open soon in Providence, R. I., at 34 and 38 Richmond street. According to the plans now made by Mr. T. R. Bullock, the proprietor, it will be one of the finest in New England. The billiard and pool tables that formerly occupied the hall have been moved into new quarters and it will be the only building of its kind that has so many of the popular sports of the day under one roofâ€”-namely, billiards, pool, bowling, moving pictures, vaudeville and illustrated songs. It will be very unique in this way, as it will give our patrons a chance to bring their families to enjoy the theater while they are playing billiards or bowling. As all of the different entertainments are under one roof it does not make it necessary for anyone to leave the building to go from one entertainment to the other. The place will be known as Bullock’s Temple of Amusement, the name that Mr. Bullock has used since he opened the place four years ago. Mr. R. B. Royce will have charge of the house and assist Mr. Bullock in the management and booking of the vaudeville. Mr. Royce is well known to the Summer park people and sends greeting to all of his friends. Bullock’s Temple of Amusement Orchestra will furnish the music under the leadership of Mr. Geo. Wallace. Mr. Bullock has signed with the Motion Picture Patents Company, so that good pictures are assured. These will be changed on Mondays and Thursdays. It is expected that the house will open on May 11.“[/quote]
Here is a nice nocturnal view, ca.1973, of the original Colony Shopping Center with the theater at the far end. The entire strip has been demolished.
This theater was not a quonset hut. this photo shows a standard boxy theater building. Quonset huts were first built in 1941 in any case, and this theater is supposed to have been built in 1914.
In 1913, the Majestic Theatre was one of three Sacramento movie houses being operated by Charles William Godard, the others being the Acme, which he had opened in 1903, and the Liberty. In 1915, he opened the Godard Theatre on J Street.
The Acme Theatre was opened in 1903 by Charles William Godard, a former blacksmith. He enjoyed considerable success in his new enterprise, and by 1913 he was also operating the Liberty and Majestic (later Mission) theaters in Sacramento. In 1915, he opened his Godard Theatre, last known as the Rio Theatre.
Here is an extract from a biographical sketch of Mr. Godard published in 1913:
“The business with which Mr. Godard became identified in October of 1903 and which has engaged his attention from that time to the present, forms one of the well-known amusement ventures for which the city has gained a wide reputation. As proprietor and owner of three theaters, known as the Liberty, Majestic and Acme Theaters, he has developed the use of moving pictures for entertainment, amusement and education. Some of the films exhibited in his theaters are exceptionally fine and have attracted admiring comment from critics, while all have been selected with experienced judgment and artistic appreciation.”
The book “Sacramento: Indomitable City” by Steven Avella says that Charles W. Godard opened this theater in 1915. He had earlier operated a number of other Sacramento theaters. A History of California published in 1906 and revised in 1913 has biographical material on Godard. The 1906 edition says that he took over the Acme Theatre in 1903, and the 1913 edition adds the Liberty and Majestic to the chain of three theaters he was operating by then.
John DiStatsio was apparently not the first owner of the Liberty, unless there were two subsequent theaters of that name in Sacramento. The style of the building does look to be a bit earlier than 1916, though, so this was probably the same Liberty Theatre mentioned in this 1913 biography of Charles Godard, who was also operating the Majestic and Godard theaters at that time. Godard was also mentioned as operator of the Liberty in the trade publication Moving Picture World, issue of July 12, 1913.
The Liberty and its neighbor, the Capitol Theatre, can be seen in this 1962 photo. There is also a glimpse of the Liberty at the far left of this ca.1962 photo. The ornate facade in the photo Lost Memory linked to above had been replaced at some time by a moderne front and marquee.
That was the major problem with Vitrolite. It looked great as long as it held together, but it was very easily cracked. This is why they stopped making Vitrolite in the U.S. in the late 1940s.
And because Vitrolite was easily cracked and broken, it provided an unstable surface for other materials. Whenever a Vitrolite front has been replaced by something else, the Vitrolite would have to have been stripped off first, so the new material would have something stable to which it could be attached.
Boxoffice Magazine’s archive is no longer available at issuu.com, but some 3000 back issues in the vault on the magazine’s own web site are currently available for viewing. Here is a fresh link to the photo of the Farman Theatre (originally posted by Gerald DeLuca above) on the cover of the January 6, 1951, issus.
The photo of the Farnum shows that DeAngelis’s original facade treatment has been replaced by the rough stone facade seen in newer photos. DeAngelis chose to face the building a glassy tile, probably vitrolite, in three different colors (the photo is black and white, but three tones can be seen.) There was also a depiction of what appears to be an archer and a hunting dog above the marquee. Possibly this panel was designed by Oscar Glas, who did the murals inside the theater.
I don’t know if Boxoffice intends to keep its archive available to non-subscribers or not, but if they do then you can search for specific issues of the magazine by going to their home page, clicking on “The Vault” and then on the year of the issue you’re looking for, then the thumbnail of the particular issue.
The exterior style of the Lyceum is predominantly Romanesque Revival. I’ve never found any interior photos.
The address currently given for the Park Theatre can’t be correct. 446 W. Federal is on the edge of an industrial district just outside downtown, and is across the street from a pair of railroad tracks that run along the river. This would have been an odd location for a major theater.
I also found a 1904 reference to a proposed project on Champion Street which was on a lot said to be adjacent to the Park Theatre. Champion Street crosses East Federal Plaza, though not at the 400 block. I think the theater building was at the southeast corner of Federal and Champion. A 1948 Youngstown Vindicator item about the sale of the Park Theatre by Shea Theatre Corp. said that it had begun operating under lease as a burlesque house earlier that year, and that it was located on Champion Street. It might have had an entrance on Federal Plaza earlier in its history.
Early 20th century editions of The New International Encyclopaedea say that the Park Theatre was one of Youngstown’s prominent buildings. A 1910 book called History of the Western Reserve says that it was built in 1901. The Park Theatre was designed by Cleveland architect William S. Lougee, according to a 1918 book called A History of Cleveland and its Environs.
The Park ran movies as early as 1903, but offered primarily live theater during its early years, and continued to present plays at least as late as 1946. During its later years it had both a movie season and a theater season. It also presented vaudeville, concerts, and other live events at various times in its history.
A history of Youngstown published in 1921 features a thumbnail biography of Christopher W, Deibel, who built he Liberty Theatre. Here is an extract of the portion dealing with his career as a movie exhibitor:[quote]“For twenty years he was a merchant tailor. But he is best known for his theatrical ventures, and was one of the pioneer operators of moving picture shows in Youngstqwn. He named his first theater, a small place seating 186 people, the Dome. He had four successive theaters, each named Dome. The present theater of that name was begun by Mr. Deibel in 1912.
“His most notable contribution, however, to the amusement resources of Youngstown came with the organization by him in February, 1918, of the corporation which established and built the Liberty Theater, at 202 West Federal Street. Fifty years earlier his father on the same site built the old Excelsior Block, which was razed by his son to make room for the Liberty Theater. Not only Mr. Deibel but the entire community take pride in the Liberty. It is not excelled by any other theater of its size in the United States in the matter of attractive equipment, comfort and bookings. It has a seating capacity of 1,800 people.”[/quote]Here is a link to the complete bio at Google Books. Scroll down to see a photo of Mr. Deibel. No photos of the theater, unfortunately.
The Orpheum Theatre in Leavenworth is included on this list of known Boller Brothers theaters as a 1909 project. It has been demolished. A history of Leavenworth published in 1921 said that the seating capacity of the Orpheum at that time was 1000.
Opened November 11, 1931, according to this web page (also in Spanish) which features a small color photo of a mural in the “vestibulo” (which I believe means lobby.) This was one of two murals painted for the theater by artist Alfonso Ponce de Leon. The other has been moved to a museum.
The article contains this sentence: “De la arquitectura original interior apenas queda nada.” I’m afraid the final three-word phrase means “almost nothing remains.” One line makes reference to a “…great beam and iron straps that hold up the walls” (Google translation.) It also notes that the seating capcity has been reduced to 500.
From my rusty Spanish and a couple of really awful computer translations, it appears that the theater hosted a few stage productions in the 1930s, then presented only movies until 1969, but today it is used for live theater. The article also says that the stage and dressing rooms are currently being renovated.
Architect Felipe Lopez Delgado’s design for this theater won the second prize at Spain’s 1932 National Exposition of Fine Arts.
The theater can be found at Google Maps with the address: Calle del Doctor Cortezo 5, 28012 Madrid, Spain.
Chuck: Mike Rivest has the Orpheum listed as a Dubinsky Brothers house from 1930 to 1935, and a Durwood house from 1935 to 1950.
kath2000: What little I know of C.F. Mensing I obtained from a few online sources. A brief biography in a history of Leavenworth County, published in 1921 was the primary source. An item in a 1924 issue of The Reel Journal named him as still being the operator of the Orpheum and Lyceum at that time. He was mentioned under the name Carl Mensing in a 1926 issue of the same publication. I also came across a patent for a golf club, filed August 1, 1927, by Carl F. Mensing of Leavenworth, Kansas, and granted March 13, 1928, so he must have still been in Kansas in late 1927. I’ve found no later references to him.
The Tucson Opera House was designed by architect Sidney Lovell, according to this book published in 1897, the year the Opera House was built.
The entry for Walla Walla architect Henry Brandt Gessel in the 1955 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists the Uptown Theatre in Richland among his designs, and gives 1950 as the year of the project. The Uptown was mentioned in Boxoffice of August 19, 1950, which said that it was soon to open and would have 1,250 seats.
The Rex Theatre was in North Fond du Lac, which is not part of the city of Fond du Lac. The Rex was listed in the 1921-1922 edtion of Wid’s Year Book.
This article about Fond du Lac’s Theaters from the city’s library says that the Henry Boyle Theatre was designed by architect Sidney Lovell. There is a photo from ca. 1910.
The photo of his tombstone at Find a Grave shows that the correct spelling of architect Lovell’s first name is Sidney.
Architect Lovell’s first name should be spelled Sidney. Find a Grave has a photo of his tombstone.
Both the 1910 and 1911 editions of the Chicago Daily News Almanac and Yearbook contain an ad for the Western Vaudeville Managers Association, which was headquartered in Chicago’s Majestic Theatre Building. The Crystal Theatre in Manitowoc is on the list of the association’s members, so it must have had a stage for Vaudeville shows.
Beginning in 1926, the original Mikdadow Theatre Building also held the studios of one of Wisconsin’s early radio stations, WOMT, as told on this web page. The owner of the both the theater and the radio station was Francis Kadow.
The Rialto is mentioned in an article in a 1931 issue of a journal called American Artisan. Local sheet metal worker George Bishoff had built a marquee for the house.