Comments from Joe Vogel

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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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mariposa Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:41 am

The Mariposa might have opened in 1935. The California Index has a card citing a July 13, 1935, item in Motion Picture Herald saying that Frank Boeck and Ray Harper had opened a theater in Mariposa. I can’t find Mariposa mentioned in Boxoffice at all.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sixth Street Cinema on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:40 am

A careful reading of the newspaper article at the Rural Media Arts web site reveals that F.W. Schlageter was not the architect of the Masonic Lodge, but one of the trustees who was awaiting the architect’s plans. Because the scan of the article is small, and a bit fuzzy, the period could be mistaken for a comma at first glance.

I wonder if the theater that once operated on the ground floor of the Masonic Lodge could have been the Mariposa Theatre? We have no address for the Mariposa, so it could have been anywhere in town, including this building. Here is the Media Arts page that mentions the ground floor theater. The Sixth Street Cinema being on the second floor, the earlier house would not have been the same theater despite it having been in the same building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:16 am

Glinda: I’ve never been able to find any photos of the building or of the theater. I’d like to see some myself. The article from which I quoted in my earlier comment is in this book at Google Books. The brief biographies of both Louis Smilansky and Harold Smilansky both mention the Lincoln Square project, but the biography of Harold is the one with the description from which I quoted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Mar 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

In case you haven’t seen it, follow the “About this book” link at the upper left of the Cincinnatian page, then scroll down to the “Other Editions” section. Google Books provides full views of two more volumes of the Cincinnatian, from 1916 and 1917.

Also, you might be interested in the several editions of Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder available at Google Books.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:54 am

Motion Picture Times, to which I linked in my earlier comment, is no longer available on the Internet. Eventually, it will probably be reposted at Boxoffice Magazine’s own web site. So far they have posted only issues as far back as 1935.

I wonder if the Crystal Theatre opened by G.K. Jorgensen in 1911 was in an existing building. It seems likely in light of this article from the April 9, 1913, issue of trade journal American Architect and Architecture:

“Dallas.â€"G. K. Jorgensen will erect a new $100,000 moving picture theater on the site now occupied by the Crystal Theater on Elm St., between Stone and Ervay. Plans are now being prepared by Architect I. A. Walker, and will be ready for bidders about June 1.”
If Jorgensen was even considering demolishing the theater and replacing it, the building must have been more than two years old. I’ve found no later information about the project, so I don’t know if it was carried out or not, but if the building at 1608 Elm is still standing, as matt54 said it was a few months ago, it should be possible to get its year of construction from the city’s building department, or perhaps the local tax agency.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:15 am

The Grand’s official web site says the theater was designed by Boston architects Krokyn & Browne. Most sources, including Cinema Treasures, call the firm Krokyn, Browne & Rosenstein, but Rosenstein isn’t mentioned on the Grand’s web site. Rosenstein appears to have been the youngest of the three, and perhaps he had not yet become a partner at the time the Grand was designed.

I’ve found a bit about J. Frederick Krokyn, less about Arthur Rosenstein, but W. Chester Browne joined the advisory board of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute in 1948. He had been associated with Krokyn from 1936 to 1941, thereafter establishing his own practice. The January 31, 1948, Boxoffice item about Browne said that Krokyn & Browne (Boxoffice doesn’t mention Rosenstein either) had during that period done all the work for M&P Theatres and Graphic Theatres, as well as designs for many independent operators.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Art Cinema on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:14 am

Three small photos of the Black Rock Theatre can be seen on this page of Boxoffice, January 31, 1948. The house had been fitted with a new marquee by the Wagner Sign Service.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fairview Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Here are links to the pictures of the Fairview in Boxoffice of January 31, 1948, that I cited in my previous comment:

The cover of the Modern Theatre section, featuring a picture of the marquee and entrance.

The first page of Elsie Loeb’s article, with two photos; a close-up of the entrance showing the marquee soffit, and a shot of the lobby and concession stand.

Additional photos showing the auditorium and other interior areas of the house are on the next page but one (click the “next page” links at top or bottom) and additional text is on the page after that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 6:13 pm

hank.sykes: The directory, being an annual publication, probably went to press before the name was changed (in fact, most city directories were published late in the year previous to that which they were dated.) The magazine was a monthly, and would have had the latest information. That would give a probable date of early 1915 for the theater’s first name change.

Here’s a link to The Cincinnatian, Volume 1, issue 32. The list of theaters is search result 5 (Google’s page number 41, in case Google Books doesn’t bring the page up automatically.) Some of these theaters might not yet be listed at Cinema Treasures, and others are probably listed under later names. I’m not familiar enough with the Cincinnati portion of the database to figure out which might be which. Maybe you can recognize some of them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 4:21 am

A list of Cincinnati movie houses was published in the March 29, 1915, issue of The Cincinnatian, the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. The only house listed for Ludlow Road was the Clifton Theatre, at Clifton and Ludlow. In a comment above hank.sykes says the theater had originally been called the Clifton Opera House, but it was definitely showing movies as the Clifton Theatre by 1915.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crescent Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 4:07 am

The Crescent Theatre, at the above address, was on a list of Cincinnati movie houses published in the March 29, 1915, issue of “The Cincinnatian,” the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avenue Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 3:51 am

The Avenue Theatre, at the above address, was on a list of Cincinnati movie houses published in the March 29, 1915, issue of The Cincinnatian, the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. In that year it shared the 100 block of Fifth Street with three other movie houses; the Alhambra, the Colonial, and the Lubin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 3:45 am

Actually, the 1915 book had four theaters listed on West Fifth Street. In addition to the three noted in my comment above there was the Colonial at 128 West Fifth. That block must have been lively then, with four movie houses on it, and all on the same side of the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bogarts on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:33 am

The theater’s name is missing a “d” in the middle. All the sources that I’ve seen, period and modern, call it the Nordland Plaza or Nordland. It was probably located in one of Cincinnati’s old German neighborhoods.

The Nordland Plaza is mentioned in a few publications from the 1910s that are available at Google Books. The most useful is this, from the trade journal Domestic Engineering, issue of November 16, 1912, which indicates a probable early 1913 opening for the Nordland Plaza Theatre, and names the architects:

“One of the latest propositions is the Nordland Plaza, which will be built on Vine Street, near Charlton, several squares from the Columbia, as per plans by Architects Stewart & Stewart. The general contract has just been awarded to Oscar Schroeder and the plumbing to Henry Niemes, of 4112 Hamilton Avenue.”
A slightly earlier issue of another trade journal, The American Architect, also names Stewart & Stewart as the architects, and gives the address of the parcel where the theater was to be built as 2623 Vine Street.

As Bob Jensen noted above, the Nordland Plaza Theatre had a Wurlitzer installed in 1913. The stage end of the auditorium was pictured in an advertisement for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in The Moving Picture World, October 25, 1913. The ad says the Nordland’s unit was a Wurlitzer Motion Picture Orchestra.

Although the web site for Bogart’s, the club now occupying the theater, says that the house opened as the Nordland Plaza Nickelodeon, I can’t find any evidence elsewhere on the Internet that Nickelodeon was ever part of the name, or that the house even operated on a five-cent policy. I note that Bogart’s site also gives the year the theater opened as 1890, so I’m inclined to consider it an unreliable source.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:25 am

“The Cincinnatian,” a magazine published by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, listed in its issue of March 29, 1915, theaters then showing movies. The Alhambra was listed at 146 W. Fifth Street. As that’s the same address listed in the 1923 city directory, I suspect that 146 is the correct address.

The 1915 magazine listed three moving picture houses on Fifth Street: The Alhambra at 146, the Avenue at 122, and the Lubin at 140. Cinema Treasures has the Avenue and Lubin listed at those historic addresses, so it’s unlikely the Alhambra’s parcel was renumbered.

Moving Picture World of April 17, 1909, reported that the McMahon & Jackson Motion Picture Company had been incorporated at Cincinnati, with a capital stock of $10,000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Forest Theater on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:21 am

The Forest Theatre, at the above address, was on a list of Cincinnati movie houses published in the March 29, 1915, issue of “The Cincinnatian,” the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Glenway Theater on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:20 am

The Glenway Theatre, at the above address, was on a list of Cincinnati movie houses published in the March 29, 1915, issue of “The Cincinnatian,” the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chief Theater on Mar 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

J Street: Yes, the photos ken mc linked to are gone. Boxoffice Magazine no longer has its archive online at, which is where the link to the pictures went. Boxoffice has moved the archive to their own web site. I looked there for the article with the photos and couldn’t find it. Boxoffice published nine different regional editions of each its issues, as well as a national edition, and the edition now on their web site is apparently one of the regional editions, while the one that used to be at and had the photos in it was probably the national edition.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chief Theater on Mar 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm

J Street: “Rock Around the Clock” was released in 1956, but June Wilkinson wasn’t in it. If the movie you saw was in the early 1960s, it might have been “The Continental Twist” (1961) in which June co-starred with Louis Prima and Sam Butera. It’s even possible that “Twist” was double-billed with a re-release of “Rock,” and that’s why you associate June Wilkinson with the Bill Haley movie. In the days of double features, new movies that distributors feared might be weak at the box office were often paired with older movies that had been very successful.

Wilkinson was also the female lead in a 1962 comedy (and early example of soft-core near-porn) called “The Bellboy and the Playgirls,” which was co-directed by the young Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola also got a writing credit for some extra scenes. Apparently he couldn’t leave a script alone even in his early twenties.

As for the Chief, I still can’t reconcile the reported seating capacity of 328 with the reports and photos (which I can no longer find) in Boxoffice, or with the various comments above by people who actually attended this theater. It had to be way bigger than that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Iowa Theatre on Mar 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Both the Iowa Theatre and the Strand Theatre were mentioned in Boxoffice of June 5, 1954. The Iowa Theatre was to be fitted out for CinemaScope, and the Strand was to be closed for the summer. The item also mentions the Grinnell Drive-In, which had been reopened for the season. All three houses were operated by George Mart.

“Grinnell in Vintage Postcards” also has a photo (page 32) of the Opera House/Colonial as the Iowa Theatre, ca.1949-1950 judging from the cars on the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Iowa Theatre on Mar 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm

What I gather from a 1989 monograph on Grinnell’s theaters (PDF file here) is that the Colonial Theatre was at the southwest corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue; was built in 1901 as the Opera House; had become the Colonial Theatre by 1912, when it began showing movies on nights when no live events were scheduled; presented the first talking pictures in Grinnell in 1929; had become a full-time movie theater by the mid-1930s; was at some later time renamed the Iowa Theatre; might have been called the State Theatre in its last years; was closed in 1960, and the building was later demolished by Grinnell College.

The paper is primarily about the Strand Theatre, and the Mart family which operated the Strand for most of its history, and the information about the Colonial is sparse and scattered. There is also a little bit of information about other theaters in Grinnell; Preston’s Opera House, and the Bijou, Lyric, and Star theaters. An Airdome is also mentioned.

There is a photo of the Colonial Theatre in the Arcadia Publishing Company’s book “Grinnell in Vintage Postcards.” The caption gives 1902 as the year of construction and gives 800 as the original seating capacity. It also says that the demolition took place in the 1970s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rivoli Theater on Mar 20, 2011 at 2:09 am

The Rivoli Theatre was probably at the northwest corner of Logan Boulevard and Burgoon Road. A book called “Altoona and Logan Valley Electric Railway” has a photo of a streetcar coming around the bend on Logan Boulevard (see the Google map for the bend’s location,) approaching Burgoon Road, and the caption says the Rivoli is out of view on the left. The photo shows part of a parking lot that might have belonged to the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Stella Theater on Mar 20, 2011 at 1:34 am

A book published in 1921, “The Story of Council Grove on the Santa Fe Trail,” says that T.W. Whiting built the Stella Theatre in 1916 and gave the deed on the property to the daughter, Mrs. Glen Kelly, for whom the theater was named. The house was sold to W.R. Bratton in 1921. A book from 1912 reveals that Whiting’s full name was Thomas Wilbert Whiting.

Boxoffice of September 18, 1954, said that Cle Bratton was remodeling the Ritz Theatre at Council Grove. The item said the the Chief Drive-In would remain in operation until the Ritz reopened on October 31. Cle Bratton and the Chief Drive-In are mentioned in Boxoffice again in 1956.

The Ritz was being operated by Mary Picolet by 1986, when she was quoted in this Chicago Tribune article (which only mentions the theater in passing, but is about an event too entertaining for me not to link to it.) I’ve also found Mary Picolet mentioned as operator of the Ritz as late as 1997, so she might have run the place right up until its closing.

The 1912-1913 edition of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide listed an earlier theater in Council Grove, the Etta Opera House. I don’t know what became of it after 1921, when it was serving as an armory, or if it ever operated as a movie house, but small town opera houses of that era frequently did present movies.