Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mayland Theatre on Apr 27, 2009 at 4:38 am

The original architect of the Mayland Theatre is no longer unknown. The December 27, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine announced that P.E. Essick and Howard Reif had a 1,600-seat theater under construction at Mayfield and Lander Roads. The as-yet unnamed theater was expected to open the following spring.

The Boxoffice item said: “Plans for the project were prepared by Paul Matzinger, Cleveland architect who has drawn plans for a majority of the Scoville, Essick & Reif Theatres.”

Other issues of Boxoffice indicate that, at the time the Mayland was designed, Matzinger was lead architect of the firm of Matzinger & Grosel. Matzinger was a member of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Apr 27, 2009 at 1:17 am

This page duplicates the page for the Mexico Theatre. I’ve dug up some history of the place in Boxoffice Magazine and will post it to the Mexico page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about United Artists Theatre on Apr 26, 2009 at 11:05 pm

I don’t remember ever seeing the original facade of the United Artists. The first time I saw a movie there, about 1961, it had already been clad in that aluminum skin seen in the 1980s photos. The entire house had been renovated, with new seats, carpeting, drapes, and all new fixtures in the rest rooms. It still had new theater smell.

Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the renovated theater in its February 6, 1961, issue, which said that U.A. had spent $250,000 on the changes. Of considerable surprise to me is the news that the house had been reseated as part of the renovation, reducing capacity to 756. The last time I went to a movie there, in the 1980s, by which time I was taller than I’d been in the early 1960s, the seating had seemed very cramped to me. It must have been incredibly cramped before the renovation.

As I’d been to that part of Pasadena a few times earlier, I must have seen the U.A. before the aluminum skin was put on the facade, but I don’t remember it. As aluminum skins went, it wasn’t a bad one, but I’m still grateful that Angel’s school supply peeled it off and restored the original detailing underneath.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Oroville State Theater on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm

The City of Oroville has moved its State Theatre web page again.

This is the new location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Capitan Theatre on Apr 26, 2009 at 7:28 am

Ken, you are right and USC is wrong. Those three pictures do depict the Downtown Paramount.

This is the El Capitan’s auditorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Apr 26, 2009 at 6:42 am

From Southwest Builder & Contractor, March 3, 1922: “Wieland, Mazurette & Wieland have prepared plans and have the contract at $25,000 for remodeling the garage at 719 10th St into a picture theater and store building for T.F. Griffin.”

This house was called the Lyric at least as late as 1949, when it was one of George Mann’s theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Isis Theatre on Apr 26, 2009 at 3:42 am

Boxoffice said, in its January 8, 1938, issue: “Asheville’s new $50,000 theatre, the Isis, held its formal opening December 27. The theatre was built by the Publix-Bamford Theatres and has a seating capacity of 555.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts Theatre on Apr 26, 2009 at 3:11 am

And from Boxoffice on October 26, 1946: “Printed invitations were sent by H.B. Meiselman and Phil Berler for the opening of the new Strand Theatre at Asheville on Thursday, October 24, reported to have been a successful affair.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts Theatre on Apr 26, 2009 at 2:55 am

From an article about Meiselman Theatres in the October 27, 1945, issue of Boxoffice: “Meiselman also announced a contract for the construction of the Strand Theatre on Biltmore Ave. at Eagle St. had been let to the Merchant Construction Company. He expressed the hope that the theatre will be ready for a New Year’s opening. The house will have 800 seats, with a 300-seat balcony set aside for Negroes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Laurel Cinema Cafe on Apr 25, 2009 at 8:20 am

As the entrance was mostly bricked up by 1988, it seems likely that Mr. Petrucci was unable to succeed in the theater business and just expanded his restaurant into the former theater space.

312 Main Street is for sale on LoopNet, according to Google, but the site is down for maintenance at the moment so I can’t get the details.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Laurel Cinema Cafe on Apr 25, 2009 at 6:43 am

The Laurel must have undergone a remodeling in 1948. The September 4 issue of Boxoffice said “The Laurel Theatre Corp. reopened its new Laurel in Laurel, Md., with ‘The Mating of Millie.’”

The April 26, 1976, Boxoffice said that Carlo Petrucci, owner of the Pal-Jack Restaurant adjacent to the Laurel Theatre had bought the house from Neighborhood Theatres. Petrucci planned to keep the theater operating.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Laurel Cinema on Apr 25, 2009 at 6:20 am

Boxoffice of December 8, 1975, announced that the Laurel Cinema had reopened as a twin on November 21. The auditoriums seated 424 and 476. It was being operated by District Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sierra Theater on Apr 24, 2009 at 7:31 am

The Sierra Theatre in Chowchilla opened in October, 1941, according to the February 14, 1942, issue of Boxoffice.

The September 25, 1967, issue said that the Sierra had reopened after repairs and updating, and at that time had 474 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sierra Cinema on Apr 24, 2009 at 7:18 am

The June 17, 1968, issue of Boxoffice Magazine published a small rendering of the Sierra Theatre, then under construction. The caption said the house would have 700 seats (the November 11 issue gives the seating capacity as 630), and be designed for easy conversion into a twin, and though it would open showing 35mm films it would also be pre-wired for conversion to 70mm movies with multi-track sound. I guess they were hedging their bets.

The November 4, 1968, issue of Boxoffice said that the opening of the Sierra was scheduled for November 6, with the Peter Ustinov film “Hot Millions” as the first feature.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hiland Theatre on Apr 24, 2009 at 6:45 am

That’s a corner building, so if that was the Hiland then the photo Ken linked to in the first comment above can’t be of this theater.

The May 17, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Brotman Bros. Corp. had closed the Hiland Theatre and would use some of the seats to replace older ones at the circuit’s Paradise Theatre, also in Moline. The building was to be converted to some other use.

I’m not familiar with Moline, so I can’t say if the theater mentioned in this Boxoffice item from April 5, 1941, pertains tot he Hiland Theatre or not: “There’s a new business block on the program for the East Highland district in Moline, Ill., and it’s reported to include plans for a 900-seat theatre.” Then, from a column in the July 19 issue of Boxoffice: “You can mention that new Moline theatre and the Brotman Brothers in the same breath and nobody will look startled.” I wish the Boxoffice columnists had been less coy.

In any case, the earliest mention of the Hiland by name that I can find in Boxoffice comes from the October 10, 1942, issue, which only says that the Hiland’s owner, Bill Brotman, had been a guest at a party thrown by the Quad Cities Theatres Association.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aztec Theatre on Apr 24, 2009 at 5:42 am

Sorry. Used HTML instead of BBS code, so the block quote failed in that comment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aztec Theatre on Apr 24, 2009 at 5:39 am

Either the Aztec or the Juarez Theatre was probably the new house being built by L.J. Montague, owner of the Valley Theatre in Edinburg, as reported in the March 18, 1930, issue of Motion Picture Times. The new theatre was intended to serve the Spanish-speaking population of the area, and was to have 350 seats.

The Aztec is mentioned frequently in various issues of Boxoffice in the 1940s, but without details. Then the house underwent a remodeling in 1966 and was reopened as an art house called the Century. The August 8, 1966, issue of Boxoffice reported on the change:<blockquote>“Manager Jim Longoria has changed the name of the Aztec Theatre to Century following a name-seeking contest won by Aron Pena of Edinburg. Pena won ten passes to the theatre, which officially opened under its new name Saturday, July 23 with ‘A patch of Blue.’

“Longoria also is manager of the Citrus and Juarez theatres in Edinburg.”</blockquote>The Aztec might have also briefly been called the Alameda Theatre. A review of the Mexican movie “El Gallo de Oro” by manager Mike Benitez of the Alameda Theatre, Edinburg, was published in the “Exhibitor Has His Say” section of Boxoffice on November 22, 1965. That’s the only mention of the Alameda in Boxoffice, but if it wasn’t the Aztec under another name then there was a fourth theater in Edinburg around that time. The Citrus and Juarez are accounted for at that time.

Edinburg had three theaters in operation in 1970, when an item about the Citrus Theatre appeared in the October 26 issue of Boxoffice. The item said that Jimmy Longoria, manager of the Citrus, “…also manages the town’s two other theatres.” The two others were not named in the item, but one was certainly the Juarez, and the other most likely the Aztec/Century.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Citrus Theater on Apr 24, 2009 at 5:05 am

I’ve come across a 1942 Boxoffice article mentioning the Valley Theatre in Edinburg, so that lets out a 1940 name change. However, as early as 1930, L.J. Montague is named as the owner of the Valley Theatre, and then in issues of Boxoffice from 1946 L.J. Montague is reported to have sold his three Edinburg theaters, the Citrus, Aztec, and Juarez. I’m pretty much convinced that the Valley did become the Citrus.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Juarez Theatre on Apr 24, 2009 at 4:46 am

Many issues of Boxoffice Magazine from the 1940s and 1950s mention a Juarez Theatre in Edinburg, but none mention a Juraz Theatre. I suppose it’s possible the name has been changed from Juarez to Juraz. Maybe somebody stole an “e” from the sign and they couldn’t afford to replace it, so they shifted the remaining letters about?

The March 18, 1930, issue of Motion Picture Times ran an item saying that L.J. Montague, owner of the Valley Theatre, was building a new 350-seat house that would show Mexican movies. This might have been either the Juarez or the Aztec. Both of those houses were in operation by 1942, and I’ve found no mentions of either of them by name earlier than that year. Montague also operated the Aztec, until 1946, when he sold all three of his Edinburg houses.

The July 2, 1949, issue of Boxoffice said that the Juarez Theatre was being remodeled, and that its seating capacity would be increased from 400 to 600. The July 23 issue the same year said that the expansion of the building had been completed and new seats were being installed.

The most recent mention of the Juarez I’ve found in Boxoffice is from 1966. As I said above, there are no mentions of a Juraz Theatre at all.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Citrus Theater on Apr 24, 2009 at 3:40 am

An October 7, 1968, Boxoffice Magazine item about the remodeling of the Citrus Theatre shows that the house was in operation at least as early as 1940. The exact wording is “The ticket booth torn down in the current updating was built in 1940….” So it’s possible that the Citrus was built in 1940, or it might have been an older theater that was remodeled in 1940.

The earliest mention I’ve found of the Citrus Theatre is in a 1946 issue of Boxoffice. There are several mentions of a Valley Theatre in Edinburg in the 1930s, and this might have been the house mentioned in the magazine’s “From the Boxoffice Files; Twenty Years Ago” column in the July 3, 1948, issue, which said “Construction work on the $90,000 theatre and office building to be operated by Ed F. Brady in Edinburg, Tex., will be started July 1.” As I can’t find any post-1930s mentions of the Valley Theatre, it seems likely that it became the Citrus after a 1940 remodeling.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pixy Theatre on Apr 24, 2009 at 2:25 am

“Mickey Mouse is still in the closet” is phrase I never expected to read, even on the Internet.

Boxoffice Magazine carried conflicting information about the Pixy Theatre fire, and in the same article, at that. The headline in the July 29, 1944, issue read “Pixy Destroyed By Fire; Damage at $7,000,” but the first line of the article said “Fire completely ruined the Masonic Building, including the Pixy Theatre, on a recent early morning, causing damage estimated as high as $75,000.”

The item also said “The booth fell from its supports into the first floor area,” which sounds pretty dire. Photos show that the building obviously survived, though the theater was apparently gutted. The reopening of the Pixy was announced in the April 21, 1945, issue of Boxoffice, which didn’t give the exact date, saying only “last week.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cine El Rey Theatre on Apr 24, 2009 at 12:35 am

The December 3, 1938, issue of Boxoffice Magazine carried an article about the opening of the Azteca Theatre in McAllen. To be operated by Interstate Theatres, the new house had been converted from an existing building on which Interstate had taken a five year lease, and was intended to serve the Spanish-speaking population of the region. Guests at the opening included the Mexican vice-consul.

My guess would be that the Azteca Theatre was a precursor of the Cine El Rey. It is not yet listed at Cinema Treasures. No address was given in the Boxoffice article.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Apr 24, 2009 at 12:08 am

I’ve found mentions of the Broadway as early as the May 8, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. At that time, and for many years after, it was operated by Frank Ullman. The Broadway was later operated by Western Amusement Co., but the July 20, 1957,issue of Boxoffice said that Ullman was resuming ownership of the house.

I’m quite sure that the address the 1955 Film Daily gave for the Broadway, 431 Broadway, is the correct one. Google Street View shows a building with a box office still intact at that address. At the time the Street View photo was taken, the building was occupied by a church.

Here’s something to add to the address confusion. Southwest Builder & Contractor of August 7, 1936, said that Sterling Construction Company of El Segundo had received the contract to erect a movie theater for Frank Ullman, at 533 Broadway in El Centro.

One issue of Boxoffice mentions Ullman owning an Aztec Theatre in El Centro, but many more issues mention his Aztec Theatre in Calexico, so the reference to El Centro that one time might have been a mistake. In any case, Cinema Treasures has no other theaters listed on Broadway in El Centro. My guess would be that either Southwest Builder got the address wrong, or El Centro renumbered its blocks between 1936 and 1955, and the 1936 article pertains to the Broadway.

I don’t know what became of Frank Ullman. I’ve found no mentions of him in Boxoffice after 1957. The Broadway Theatre was apparently closed for a time in the mid-1960s, as the March 7, 1966, issue of Boxoffice mentions a Sidney Seymour who had reopened the Broadway in El Centro.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varsity Theater on Apr 23, 2009 at 6:00 am

Boxoffice Magazine of September 24, 1949, included the Varsity in its list of recently opened theaters. The new house had 550 seats, and was being operated by Mike Chikiris.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garfield Theatre on Apr 23, 2009 at 5:25 am

Some friends dragged me to see the King Kong remake at the Garfield. I think it was the only time I ever saw the place packed. I’d have liked to see the original King Kong there.

I also remember the Tabu Isle, which was already looking pretty seedy in the 1950s. It must have been a favorite haunt of people who drank too much, as I can recall several occasions when, walking back to the car after a movie, we would find that some hapless bar patron had thrown up on the sidewalk.