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Boxoffice of April 8, 1950, announced that the foundations had been laid for N.W. Hart’s new Marrh Theatre in North Augusta. The house was to be of steel and brick construction, and would have 794 seats.
It would be North Augusta’s first theater.
The Marrh opened abou t November 1, 1950, according to the caption of a small photo in Boxoffice of January 6, 1951.
The Marrh was closed for a while, though I’ve been unable to discover for how long, starting in either 1954 or 1955. Boxoffice of August 20, 1955, said that the house had reopened under new ownership after some interior remodeling and repainting. The new manager was T.W. Owings.
I haven’t found any later mentions of the Marrh in Boxoffice. The only mention of the Carolina Theatre at North Augusta I’ve found is from the issue of May 4, 1959. The operator of the Carolina was named Pierce McCoy. However, there is a Caroline Theatre mentioned in Boxoffice of September 25, 1961 (perhaps it was just a typo.) The item said that the house had been closed for some time but had been reopened September 14 by Horace Geisling. After that I find nothing about any theaters in North Augusta.
The Wedgwood was scheduled to open in March, 1967, according to a Boxoffice item published on the 20th of that month. It was the latest house in an expansion of the Interstate chain which had begun in 1965. The Wedgwood was originally a 900-seat single-screener.
The Boxoffice item listed the theaters that had already opened as part of the expansion: “…the Westwood, Richardson; Belaire, Hurst; Clear Lake, near Houston; Parkview, Pasadena; Northgate, El Paso; Westwood, Abilene; Lake Air Drive-In, Waco, and Wonder, San Antonio.” Projects slated to open later were the Ridgewood at Garland and the Northshore in Houston.
Photos of the Plains and three other Corgan-designed theaters appeared in Boxoffice of December 6, 1947. The other houses featured in the article are the Agnew and May theatres in Oklahoma City, and the Boomer, Norman, Oklahoma.
Photos of the Boomer and three other Corgan-designed theaters appeared in Boxoffice of December 6, 1947. The other houses featured in the article (on the two previous pages) are the Agnew and May theatres in Oklahoma City, and the Plains, Rosswell, New Mexico.
Photos of the May and three other Corgan-designed theaters appeared in Boxoffice of December 6, 1947. The other houses featured in the article are the Agnew, Oklahoma City; the Boomer, Norman; and the Plains, Rosswell, New Mexico.
Photos of the Agnew and three other Corgan-designed theaters appeared in Boxoffice of December 6, 1947. The other houses featured in the article are the May, Oklahoma City; the Boomer, Norman; and the Plains, Roswell, New Mexico.
Boxoffice of October 6, 1945, said that that Robb & Rowley’s Heights Theatre was under construction in Little Rock. It was one of four R&R projects then underway, and several more were in the planning stage.
At the time Western Amusement was building the Grove they already owned an existing theater called the Upland. As of July 6, 1946, according to a Boxoffice item of that date, the company was operating fourteen southland houses. They had just purchased Bard’s Adams and Bard’s Fremont from Mike Bard (this is the first time I’ve ever heard that there even was a Bard’s Fremont.) They had also acquired the San Gabriel Theatre in San Gabriel from O.W. Lewis.
Other Western Amusement houses mentioned by name were the Campus, Hunley, and Vista, all in or near Hollywood. The company also operated two theaters each in Victorville, Orange, and Fillmore, and a single house in Glendora.
Western Amusement was formed in 1944. It had originally been planned by Texas showman R.E. Griffith, who died before the company was organized, but Ted Jones, who had been associated with Griffith Theatres for many years, continued the project.
By the time the Grove opened, Western Amusement had expanded to 22 theaters, according to the February 22, 1947, Boxoffice item about the Grove’s opening. There is a small photo of the opening night of the Grove, at which Roddy McDowall acted as master of ceremonies.
The L.A. Library’s California Index has cards making reference to two theater names in Upland. They were the Lyric, in 1914, and the Colonial, in 1930. I haven’t found either mentioned in Boxoffice. Given the time spread, either or both might have been earlier names for the Upland Theatre, which I’ve found mentioned in Boxoffice no earlier than 1939.
It turns out that the Bristol Theatre had a late aka, though it might have lasted only a year or so.
Stanley Warner operated the Bristol Theatre until some time in 1977 or 1978 (the last mention of it as an operating SW house I’ve found is in Boxoffice of January 17, 1977.) After they closed the house, it was taken over by a local physician and movie buff, Dr. Brian Hennessey, who remodeled and reopened it in late 1978 as a cinema dinner theater. Dr. Hennessey’s plans were noted in Boxoffice as early as May that year, but the opening was long delayed. Boxoffice of October 23 said that the Carberry Cinema Classics Dinner Theatre had finally been opened. Seating had been reduced to 298, and the first movie shown was the Marx Brothers' “A Day At the Races.”
Though a November 27 Boxoffice item indicated that the theater had gotten a positive public response, I don’t think the house remained open very long. The last mention of it in Boxoffice is from January 1, 1979, in an item saying that Hennesey had named Sean Sullivan manager of the operation.
Boxoffice of August 31, 1970, says that the Westown was housed in a geodesic dome. The theater was designed by a Calfiornia architect named David Jacobson Jr., according to the Boxoffice item. I’m not sure if it’s the same David Jacobson who designed many buidlings in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, including a number of major projects for Donald Trump, but odds are it was.
There were two theaters on this site. The original Bristol Theatre burned down in 1939. Boxoffice of October 19, 1940, reported that Warners would open the new Bristol Theatre on or shortly after October 18. The new theater had been designed by John Eberson.
The actual destruction of the Cameo apparently didn’t take place until 1963. Boxoffice of August 19 that year said: “The former Stanley Warner Theatre on North Main Street has been demolished to make way for a redevelopment project.” Though it doesn’t mention the name Cameo, the item must refer to that house. I can’t find any indication that Stanley Warner ever operated an eponymous theater in Bristol.
Boxoffice indicates that this house opened in 1941. The December 8, 1940, issue of the magazine said: “Joe Faith of Terryville, Unionville, and Collinsville, will be ready to open his 700-seat theatre in Bristol in February… The house is being converted from a meeting hall.” The opening was delayed, though, and the March 15 issue of Boxoffice said the opening was scheduled for Wednesday of that week. In this item the seating was given as 650.
In 1945 and 1946 there are Boxoffice items saying that Joe Faith was presenting Vaudeville-film combination shows at the Carberry. These were mostly one-night-weekly events, booked into the house by a Hartford bureau run by Jack Gordon.
On January 15, 1955, Boxoffice reported that CinemaScope equipment had been installed in the Carberry, but the end was near. Joe Faith shuttered the Carberry in 1956, according to Boxoffice of August 4 that year. Later issues of Boxoffice indicate that the house remained dark for several years. A July 11, 1960, Boxoffice item about the closing of the Bristol Theater said that the Carberry had then been shuttered for four years.
The January 29, 1962, issue of Boxoffice carried a report that a Stanley-Warner subsidiary had purchased the Carberry from the Faith estate and planned to remodel and reopen the house. Boxoffice of February 4, 1963, included the Carberry on a list of theaters remodeled and reopened the previous year, but I’ve found no other items about the house during this period, nor any indication of how long it continued in operation.
Boxoffice of August 21, 1961, reported that the Cameo Theatre in Bristol was being razed to make way for an addition to the Southern New England Telephone Company building. The Cameo had been operated by Stanley-Warner, also operators of the Bristol Theatre.
Boxoffice of May 22, 1948, ran this item datelined Collinsville: “Millard G. Weaver, owner of the Cricket and the Sandy theatres here, has announced his candidacy for mayor. Weaver opened his first theatre in Collinsville in 1924 and three years ago replaced it with a modern house.”
Boxoffice of January 29, 1968, referred to the Cricket as “long closed” when it was mentioned in an article about houses that had been reopened the previous year. The Cricket was in operation at least as late as 1977, when it was mentioned in the April 4 issue of Boxoffice.
The Cricket actually operated intermittently well into the 1970s. Boxoffice of January 29, 1968, listed the Cricket as one of several dark theatres in the region that had been reopened the previous year. But the very next issue of Boxoffice, February 5, said: “Gay Johnson, it has been reported, has closed his Cricket Theatre in Collinsville, Ala.”
The Cricket shows up again in Boxoffice of December 8, 1975, which reported that Jim Tripp, operator fo the DeKalb Theatre at Fort Payne, had reopened the Collinsville house. Tripp operated the Cricket at least until spring of 1977, when the April 4 issue of Boxoffice mentioned it again. I haven’t found it mentioned any later than that.
Boxoffice of November 15, 1976, said that the Plaza 1 and 2 in Radford had opened in the 11th of that month. Each of the twin auditoriums seated 225. The house was operated by the Independent Theatres circuit.
Boxoffice of February 5, 1949, said that the Radford Theatre would reopen in about two weeks, following renovations. The major project had included the construction of a balcony, increasing the seating capacity of the house from 525 to 704.
Radford had two other indoor theaters in the late 1940s, one called the State, mentioned frequently, and one called the Virginian, which I’ve found mentioned by name only once. Both had apparently closed by the mid-1950s. Radford also had two drive-ins.
Before being remodeled in 1940, the Roxy was called the Princess Theatre. The name change was announced in the March 23 issue of Boxoffice.
When the Martin-Thompson Theatres partnership was dissolved in 1961, Boxoffice of May 15 reported that the Roxy was one of the houses that would thereafter be operated by Martin Theatres.
Various items in Boxoffice present a somewhat puzzling picture of the theaters in Alma. Here is an item from March 18, 1939, datelined Alma: “The Strickland Bldg here has been leased to Mr. Stein, owner of the Alma Theatre for 10 years. It is being remodeled and will be converted into a theatre.” That’s the only mention of the Alma Theatre I’ve found, and I’ve been unable to find any more mentions of the theater that was supposed to open in the Strickland Building either.
Then Boxoffice of June 24, 1946, said: “James E. Smith expects to open his new Bacon Theatre in Alma, Ga., about the first of August.”
In 1948, several items were published about a lawsuit filed by the Bacon’s operating company, the Alma Amusement Company, against several film companies and L. A. Stein. I haven’t found how the case was decided.
A September 23, 1974, Boxoffice item has a puzzling number in it. It says: “Charley King, staff advisor at AIP, may have set a record for a leisuretime activity. He has been booking the little Bacon Theatre in Alma, Ga., for 36 years for a small group of Alma businessmen who keep their theatre going as a community project.” If the Bacon opened in 1946, I don’t see how, 28 years later, Mr. King could have been booking it for 36 years. Did Boxoffice get the number wrong, or was there an earlier Bacon Theatre?
A September 8, 1961, Boxoffice item contradicts some of the information in the 1968 item I cited in my comment above. It says: “A. Carl Schmidt of Hillsdale is completing construction on a new Strand Theatre at Alma on the site of the one destroyed by fire last November, and will open October 1. The new house will have 800 seats, compared to 900 in the destroyed house.”
There was a Columbia Theatre operating in Kittanning at least as early as 1931, when it was mentioned in the April 21 issue of Exhibitors Forum.
The last mention of the Columbia I’ve found in Boxoffice is from the issue of October 12, 1964, which said that the house had reopened after a summer shutdown. It would operate Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, running double features. The owner/operator was Joe Brody. This item said the Columbia had 500 seats.
This house was probably a Manos Theatres operation, taken over by Carmike later. Boxoffice of April 17, 1978, said that architect Edgar Kwalwasser was designing a triplex to be built in the Franklin Village Shopping Center for the Manos circuit.
I can’t find anything in Boxffice about the opening of the house, or any other items which would confirm that it opened before 1982, or that it was originally a triplex, or that it was originally a Manos operation. But I don’t think Carmike was operating in Pennsylvania in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Carmike took over the Manos chain in 1993. Also, Mike Rivest lists the Franklin Village house as having been operated by Manos before Carmike took over.
Boxoffice of December 23, 1974, said that architect Bernard J. Liff was designing the twin cinemas that were to be built in the downtown Pittsburgh development called The Bank. The house was to be operated by Morgan American Management Corporation. Liff was also the lead architect for the Eastland Mall Theatre at North Versaille, Pennsylvania, and might have designed other theaters as well. He launched his practice in the mid-1930s.
An October 7, 1975, Boxoffice item about the plans of the Manos circuit to build a quad in Altoona mentions the Twin 40 Cinema at Uniontown. It had been designed by the same architect who was handling the Altoona project, Edgar Kwalwasser. The Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania, architect had also designed the circuit’s Laurel 30 at Greensburg Pennsylvania and Twin Cinema at Elkins, West Virginia.
In 1978, Kwalwasser was the architect for a Manos triplex in Kittanning (Boxoffice, April 17, 1978), and designed a two-screen addition to the Laurel 40, originally a single-screener (Boxoffice of March 20.) In 1970, Kwalwasser had designed a 470 seat house for Manos at Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Uniontown’s Twin 40 was opened in 1973. According to the item about the opening in Boxoffice of June 4, the first movies shown were “Class of ‘44” in Cinema 1 and “Man of la Mancha” in Cinema 2.
I’ve been unable to discover when the Twin 40 was expanded to six screens. The Manos chain had 19 theaters with a total of 80 screens when it was absorbed by Carmike in 1993.
Boxoffice of April 27, 1964, said that this theater was being designed for the Associated Theatres circuit by architects Liff & Justh. The finding aid for the J. Evan Miller Collection of Cinerama Theater Plans, which lists the Eastland, gives the firm’s name as Liff, Justh & Chetlin.
An obituary for Bernard J. Liff (he died in 2008) uses the plural “theaters” in listing the types of buildings he designed, but so far I’ve been able to find only one other theater project he was connected with. Boxoffice of December 23, 1974, said that he had been hired to design two cinemas for the downtown Pittsburg project called The Bank, which I guess would be the Bank Cinemas I & II.
A January 11, 1965, Boxoffice article about the opening of the Eastland (originally a single-screen house seating about 900) says that its projection room was equipped to run any process except three-strip Cinerama. It also says that the screen was only 40 feet wide, which seems rather small for even single-strip Cinerama, but as the house is included in the Miller collection I suppose it must have shown a Cinerama movie at least once.
Little more than a year after the opening of the Eastland, Boxoffice of January 17, 1966, said the the Eastland II was to be built adjacent to the original theater. The new auditorium was to have about 600 seats.