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The Vali Theatre was rebuilt in 1971 after being gutted by fire. The rebuilt house seated 407 and was designed by Mel Glatz & Associates, according to a November 29, 1971, Boxoffice item which also said the opening was set for December. The January 4, 1972, issue of Boxoffice said that the new Vali had opened on Christmas Day. It was apparently still a single-screen house. The Vali was independently operated by George and Edna Kelloff, who were brother and sister.
The burned Vali was indeed the same theater as the Granada, which was closed by Atlas Theatres in 1965 and reopened as the Vali in 1966, according to the February 7 issue of Boxoffice that year.
George Kelloff had planned to open a theater in Monte Vista much earlier. The March 15, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said that Mitchell and George Kelloff had plans to build a new theater in Monte Vista, had purchased a site, and would proceed with the project as soon as materials became available, but this project is never mentioned again in Boxoffice. George Kelloff returned to the pages of Boxoffice when he opened the Star Drive-In in Monte Vista in 1955.
The Kelloff’s mother, Susan, was herself in the theater business for forty years. When she died, in 1967, an item in the November 20 issue of Boxoffice said that she had opened the Princess Theatre at Aguilar, Colorado, in 1925, and when it burned the following year rebuilt it as the Colorado Theatre. At the time of her death her son Mitchell was also an exhibitor, operating the Uptown Theatre in Pueblo, Colorado.
I think the two photos Lost Memory linked to above are both the same building. Note that the arrangement of windows and doors on the left side is the same in both photos, but the more recent photo shows that the building has been expanded on the right side, probably to accommodate another auditorium. I would surmise that the storefront next door was adapted for this purpose, and the two buildings then unified with a new facade.
The Truman Corners Cinemas quad was opened in 1972 by Mid-America Cinema Corp., and was a slightly larger version of the same company’s Blue Ridge Cinemas opened at Independence, Missouri, the previous year. The December 18, 1972, issue of Boxoffice said that the opening of the Truman Corners Cinemas was set for December 22.
The new house had 1,280 seats, divided 430, 430, 210, and 210. The Boxoffice item did not name the architects, but an item about the Blue Ridge Cinemas in the December 20, 1971, issue had named that four-plex’s architects as Fullerton, Carey, Kaster & Oman.
Mid-America was still operating this theater as late as 1979. I’ve been unable to discover when it was taken over by AMC.
The December 20, 1971, issue of Boxoffice gave the total seating capacity of the Blue Ridge Cinemas as 1,250. The house opened as a four-screener, and was owned by the Mid-America Cinema Corporation. An invitational premier was set for December 23, prior to the public opening.
A December 11, 1972, Boxoffice article about Mid-America Cinema said that the Blue Ridge quad had been the company’s first indoor theater. Mid-America had operated a number of drive-ins in the Kansas City area previously.
The 1971 Boxoffice item also names Fullerton, Carey, Kaster & Oman as the architects. Later the firm was just Fullerton, Carey & Oman, and also Fullerton, Carey, Oman & Alexander for a while. I’ve found a few references to this firm being one of two that designed a number of early AMC multiplexes.
jennifermichael is correct about the conversion year. The April 17, 1972, issue of Boxoffice ran an article saying that work was progressing on the conversion of the Carolina Theatre into a twin, with one auditorium on the main floor and the other in what had been the balcony. The article said that seating would be reduced to 921. The entire front of the house was to be rebuilt as well.
The final design of the project was done by Charles L.L. Guy, after preliminary work had been done by architect William B. McGee of the Asheville architectural firm Six Associates. Construction was done by a local company, Hendersonville Custom Builders.
The fire that destroyed the original Carolina Theatre was reported by the May 18, 1940, issue of Boxoffice to have taken place on May 10. The report said that only the walls were left standing. I’ve been unable to find anything in Boxoffice about the rebuilding and reopening, though.
But Wilby-Kincey must have found temporary quarters in Hendersonville during the rebuilding, as there are mid-1940 references to the company’s Auditorium Theatre there. If Hendersonville had a municipal auditorium, that was probably where the movies played until the new Carolina Theatre was completed.
There was an earlier theater called the Queen in Hendersonville. Its equipment and lease were offered for sale in a classified ad in the June 2, 1932, issue of New England Film News.
The burned Carolina was probably the theater that was earlier called the Rex. Drawings and plans of the Rex can be seen here at the University of North Carolina web site. Accompanying text (click the “more” link to see it) says that it was the second Rex Theatre in Hendersonville, that it opened in 1924, and was rebuilt after a 1932, reopening in 1933, and then burned again in 1940. Design for the 1932 rebuild is attributed to architect Erle G. Stillwell, who had his offices in Hendersonville. The atmospheric style of the 1932 rebuild was said to “…resemble an Italian garden with elaborate decorations.” Though the site does not specify that the rebuilt Rex of 1933 was called the Carolina Theatre, I find the Carolina Theatre mentioned in Boxoffice as early as 1938, and haven’t found a single reference to the Rex.
The site also fails to say who the architect was for the 1940 rebuilding of the Carolina, but it seems very likely that it would have been Erle Stillwell once again. He was still practicing in Hendersonville in 1940, and was then a member of the advisory board of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute.
Boxoffice Magazine invariably places the Lincoln Theatre in Dupont (or, as Boxoffice usually spells it, DuPont.)
The Lincoln appears to have been a very old theater. An April 14, 1945, Boxoffice item about owner Louis Pilosi, who had died not long before, said that Pilosi had started his exhibition career in 1912 when he bought an interest in a theater in Old Forge, Pennsylvania. The item continues: “Not long after he sold out to Comerford and purchased the Lincoln Theatre in DuPont. He has continued to operate the Lincoln ever since.”
The most recent mention of the Lincoln I’ve found in Boxoffice is in the September 4, 1954, issue, which said “Comerford’s Lincoln in Dupont will reopen September 5.” There was also a Comerford Drive-In at Dupont by this time, so the Lincoln was probably kept closed during the prime drive-in season of summer.
I’ve found quite a few references to a Paramount Theatre in Joplin, but it was in operation at the same time as the Electric. The Paramount in downtown Joplin was a Publix-Dubinsky house in 1931, but was later operated by Fox Midwest. The downtown Joplin Paramount was demolished in 1965. I’ve been unable to find an opening date for it, though, or if it had been closed some time before the demolition. It’s possible that the Paramount was a renaming of an earlier Electric Theatre sometime in the 1920s or early 1930s.
I did come across something interesting in the “From the Boxoffice Files, Twenty Years Ago” feature in the June 14, 1947, issue. It said “The new South Main Street Theatre in Joplin was opened to the public on June 4. Harold Gibbons and C.W. (unreadable) are joint owners.”
Harold Gibbons is the guy Fox Midwest bought the Electric from in 1937, so this new theater probably was the Electric, and it was called the South Main Street Theatre on opening. If there was another Electric Theatre in Joplin, later renamed the Paramount, it might have still been in operation in 1927 and that would account for the Main Street Electric having a different name when it opened.
I’ve been unable to find either the Wasson Theatre or the Royal Theatre mentioned in Boxoffice. The owners should have taken the local Boxoffice stringers to lunch once in a while.
The Erlanger Theatre was built in 1926 and opened late that year. A brief notice about the opening, datelined December 28, was published in the New York Times. The item is in the on-line Times archive but it’s behind the paper’s pay wall and, not being a subscriber, I can’t read it. It’s only 108 words, so there might not be much other useful information in it.
I came across one reference to architect Russell Lee Beutell having designed the ornamental sculpture in the Erlanger, which suggests that the theater might have been designed by the firm of Daniell & Beutell, but I’ve been unable to find any confirmation of that. Somebody else might have better luck tracking it down.
The Northgate opened in 1956. The September 29 issue of Boxoffice gave the opening day as Thursday, which (assuming it was the previous Thursday) would have been the 13th. The 1000-seat, stadium-style theater was operated for its first seven years under lease by Augustine Cianciolo, who also operated the Plaza, Rosemary, Luciann, and Rosewood theaters.
An article about the Northgate in the March 2, 1957, issue of Boxoffice credits the Union Realty Company as the architect of the theater. A photo of the auditorium shows the 47-foot screen almost filling the 50-foot width of the theater, which probably made this one of the first movie houses with a wall-to-wall screen. Thoughtfully, the designers also provided a wheelchair section in the theater, long before such accommodation was required by law.
The December 16, 1963, issue of Boxoffice reported that Nat Reiss would take over full operation of the Northgate Theatre on December 20. The item also said that Cianciolo Theatres had operated the house until December 1, so perhaps it was closed for a few days. The theater was owned by the Belz family, owners of the Northgate Shopping Center.
The Rosewood was one of the theaters operated by Augustine Cianciolo, as mentioned in many issue of Boxoffice Magazine during the early 1950s.
The December 29, 1956, issue of Boxoffice said that Nathan Reiss had bought the Rosewood Theatre from its owner, Ben Bass, and would take over operation of the house from lessee Augustine Cianciolo on January 1, 1957.
The January 11, 1960, issue of Boxoffice reported that William Shapiro had taken over operation of the Rosewood on a lease from owner Nathan Reiss. After that the Rosewood is only mentioned retrospectively in one 1963 item, so it must have closed by then.
The December 8, 1945, issue of Boxoffice said that work had begun on the Esquire Theatre, and the project would be completed as soon as possible, which might have been quite a while given the difficulty in obtaining building materials during the immediate post-war period. The owner of the theater was James Catsoodas. The architect for the project was Claude Northern.
The June 2, 1958, issue of Boxoffice reported that Augustino Cianciolo had announced that the Luciann Theatre would be closed within the next 60 days and converted into a 16-lane bowling alley. Cianciolo also opened a new 20-lane bowling alley near his Plaza Theatre the same year.
To expand on my comment above, I’ve found an item in Boxoffice of October 26, 1961, which said that Augustine Cianciolo had sold the lease on the Plaza Theatre to General Drive-In Corp. of Boston, the company which was later renamed General Cinema and became one of the leading builders of multiplex theaters.
Also, an interesting bit about Gus Cianciolo turns up in the March 19, 1955, issue of Boxoffice. When the Plaza Theatre received the print of “A Star is Born” missing 36 minutes the studio had cut because they thought the movie was too long, Gus asked the studio to provide his theater with the original, three hour and ten minute version, only to be told it was not going to be released. Most theater operators were happy to run truncated versions of movies as they could get in more showings and sell more tickets. Cianciolo must have been a real movie fan.
The March 22, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine has an article about Augustine “Gus” Cianciolo and the new Plaza Theatre, then nearing completion, which Cianciolo would operate under lease. It said that the Rosemary had been operated by Gus’s father, Michael, and that Gus had taken over full operation of the house in 1939. Michael Cianciolo probably did open the Rosemary in 1932, as the Boxoffice article said that Gus, 31 years old in 1952, had “grown up” at the Rosemary, helping out at the theater from the age of 11.
The item also mentioned that the Cianciolos opened the Luciann Theatre in 1941. Gus was still operating both of these houses in 1952 when the Plaza opened. Michael Cianciolo died in 1943, according to a brief notice in the August 7 issue of Boxoffice that year.
Mike Cianciolo apparently ran a Memphis movie house called the New Theatre prior to operating the Rosemary. The New Theatre at Memphis, operated by Mike Cianciolo, was listed in the March 11, 1930, issue of Motion Picture Times, in an item about theaters that had installed quiet, talkie-friendly ventilation systems during the previous year. I don’t see the New Theatre listed at Cinema Treasures yet.
The architect of the Plaza Theatre was Everett D. Woods, who also designed the Poplar-Highland Plaza shopping center in which the theater was located. An article about the theater in the November 7, 1953, issue of Boxoffice also attributed the decoration of the Plaza Theatre to Woods. The shopping center and theater were built by developer L. Hall Jones, and the theater was first operated under lease by Augustine Cianciolo, operator of the Rosemary and Luciann theaters in Memphis.
Architects Cantin & Cantin designed the Rheem Theatre, and it opened in June, 1957. Photos of it were published in the October 19, 1957, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. It was a 1000-seat house with a large stadium section. The auditorium walls featured extensive murals, and the house had what was then the largest installation of rocking chairs in the United States, being the only theater west of the Rockies that was entirely seated with them.
The Rheem was also unusually spacious for its time, with row spacing of 42 to 44 inches, and the seats had extra-wide arm rests. As Gary Parks commented above, despite its late construction date the Rheem had the style of the luxurious Art Moderne theaters of the 1940s; but it also had the spaciousness which has only become standard in recent years, so it was both a throwback and well ahead of its time. The owner of the theater, Donald Rheem, could clearly afford the best of everything, and Cantin & Cantin certainly provided it.
The Orpheum in Joplin is mentioned in various issues of The Reel Journal as early as 1925. If the theater was built for the Orpheum vaudeville circuit, it could date back quite a bit farther. Orpheum expanded very rapidly in the region through the first two decades of the 20th century.
Like other major downtown Joplin theaters, the Orpheum was long operated by Fox Midwest. In 1952 it was of many Fox houses put up for sale to meet the requirements of the consent decree in the Federal antitrust case against the company.
After closing the house for awhile, Fox finally disposed of the business and leased the theater to an independent operator named P.D. Crockett. According to the August 28, 1954, issue of Boxoffice, Crockett intended to reopen the Orpheum on September 2. I’ve been unable to find any later references to the Orpheum in Boxoffice.
Jeff’s introduction for this page says that the theater’s building is now the location of the OK Bar, and the Internets say that the OK Bar is at 1516 S. Main. The building probably includes the addresses 1514-1518. The bar’s sign is readable in Google street view. That’s why I assumed that was the Electric’s building. But when I first looked at Google street view I did think the gray building Cosmic Ray mentioned was the former theater, as it looks like it could have been one.
The gray building’s actual address probably isn’t the 1532 Google Maps appears to give it, though. I think Google Maps got the addresses off a bit, as it often does. Also, Joplin is one of those places that puts odd numbers on the east sides of streets instead of the west sides, so the gray building is probably at about 1507-1511 S. Main. I’m still wondering if it could have been another theater though.
Very odd. The building that now houses the OK Bar doesn’t look big enough in Google street view or Bing Maps bird’s eye to have held 1522 seats, but it certainly looks large enough to have held way more than 300. It has a barrel roof so it’s hard to tell if it had a balcony or not, but having a balcony is the only way a theater with that footprint could have held even 1400 seats.
Also, I found one later mention of the Electric in Boxoffice, from March 22, 1947, when it was one of a number of Missouri theaters showing “The Best Years of Our Lives.”
Several articles in various issues of Boxoffice from 1948 mention Harry Pace and the building of the Sunset Theatre. Prior to building the Sunset, Harry Pace operated the Sumner Theatre, for which the Sunset was a replacement. Pace bought the Sumner from L.L. Wells in 1944, according to Boxoffice Magazine of December 2, 1944.
The opening of the Sunset was announced in the December 11, 1948, issue of Boxoffice. The item had very little information about the theater, but quite a bit about Harry Pace. He was born in Elkpoint, South Dakota, and played professional baseball in the South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa State leagues for twelve years prior to buying his first theater, the Cottage Inn at Orange City, Iowa, in 1916. After that he operated many different theaters in many Iowa cities until 1941, when he went to California for three years, finally returning to settle at Sumner in 1944.
Pace operated the Sunset until 1957, when he sold the property to a group of local businessmen who leased the theatre to William DeHaven and Fred Yungtum, according to an item in Boxoffice of March 2, 1957. These partners apparently failed, as the house was soon leased to a Mr. and Mrs. Gene Phelps, and then to Mrs. Lloyd Johnston, Harry Pace’s daughter. By 1963, the house was being operated by the local Jaycees club, as reported in the July 15 issue of Boxoffice that year. The October 24, 1966, issue reported that the Sunset had closed due to lack of patrons. After that Boxoffice must have lost interest in Sumner, as I don’t find it mentioned again.
Tantalizing is a September 14, 1940, Boxoffice columnist’s mention of “…Gilly and Ruby Wells' boy….” having “…taken over the Opera House at Sumner, Ia.” The Sumner Theatre must have been known as the Opera House before it was operated by L.L. Wells. The item says that it had previously been operated by a member of the Cass family, who apparently operated theaters in a number of Iowa locations. Then the February 11, 1950, issue of Boxoffice reported that there were plans to convert the old Opera House at Sumner into a chicken hatchery. Strange fate for a theater.
A May 19, 1958, Boxoffice article about the closing of the Avalon that year said that before building the Avalon in 1936, F.E. Price had operated the Strand and Rex theatres in Marysville. It added that by 1958 these two houses had been closed for several years.
The February 16, 1970, issue of Boxoffice says: “Charles Van Fossen, formerly Palace Theatre manager, Columbus, is the new manger of the Avalon Theatre, Marysville, opening in a few weeks after renovation. I’ve found no other mentions of Van Fossen’s project in Boxoffice.
The “From the Boxoffice Files, Twenty Years Ago” feature in the July 13, 1946, issue of Boxoffice included a paragraph about work being done by the Boller Brothers in 1926. One of the theaters they were designing was the Electric in Joplin. It was listed as a rebuilding project.
The Electric was mentioned frequently in the Box Office Reports feature in various issues of The Reel Journal in 1925. Then the July 17, 1926, issue says that the contract for remodeling the Electric had gone to Roy Huffman. The house was to seat 1,400 when completed. The July 31 issue reported that the remodeling of the Electric had begun. The October 9, 1926, issue of The Reel Journal reported that Grubel Brothers' New Electric Theatre had been opened on October 7.
Later there is a wildly different report of the size of the Electric. An October 2, 1937, Boxoffice item says that the Fox Midwest circuit had taken over operation of the Electric at Joplin, and gave the seating capacity as 350. I think this must have been an error.
I’ve been unable to find anything about the Electric from its later years, or how long it had been in existence before its 1926 rebuilding.
The May 6, 1950, report of the Hiland’s impending demise was premature. The June 3, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that instead of being closed the Hiland would operate on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday schedule. The house was operated by Associated Theatres. Later the Hiland became a full-time theater again for awhile, as the November 17, 1951, issue of Boxoffice names the Hiland as one of two Cincinnati area theaters that had reverted to weekends-only programming after having recently been reopened for full-time operation.
The June 19, 1954, issue of Boxoffice reported that Associated Theatres was installing wide screens at a number of its Cincinnati area theatres, including the Hiland. I don’t now how long the Hiland remained open after that, but following its appearance in a list of Associated houses in the November 27, 1954, issue I can’t find any more mentions of the Hiland in Boxoffice for many years.
Then it suddenly pops up again in the February 7, 1972, issue which reported that the Alpha Cinema in Cincinnati and the Hiland Theatre in Fort Thomas had been sold by Continental Amusements to a local company called Cinevest which was involved in both entertainment and real estate. That’s the last mention of the Hiland I’ve found.
I’ve found the Liberty mentioned in Boxoffice as early as the June 10, 1939, issue, when it was being operated by C.F. Runbaugh (some later issues of Boxoffice spell his name Rumbaugh.) The Liberty changed hands a couple of times in the later 1940s, and then July 17, 1948 issues says that it had been sold to Albert Petry (later issues of Boxoffice often spell his name Petri, and at least once it is Petrie.) The last time I find the Liberty mentioned is in 1950, though Mr. and Mrs. Albert Petri (or Petry) are named often after that year as operators of a theater at Pagosa Springs.
Then starting in 1960, the Petris are suddenly cited as the operators of a theater in Pagosa Springs called the Mesa. Then the Mesa is the only theater in Pagosa Springs mentioned, which happens frequently until 1972, (with a single exception in 1970 which names the Petrys as owners of the Pagosa Theatre in Pagosa Springs- probably an error) and after that Pagosa Springs drops from the pages of Boxoffice until 1993, when an unnamed 180-seat theater there is offered for sale in a classified ad. That’s the most recent mention of the town I can find.
Even though the theater’s official web site says that the Liberty has been operating under the same name since 1919, I’m wondering if the Mesa was an aka for the Liberty and the original name was later restored? Operators of small town theaters are often theater buffs who move there from other places and they sometimes get the history muddled. Pagosa Springs is, and has been, a very small and rather isolated town, and it seems unlikely that it would have supported two movie houses into the 1970s.
The May 23, 1966, issue of Boxoffice attributes the design of the Century 21, on which construction had recently begun, to Denver architect Richard L. Crowther (though they misspell his name as Crowder.) A small rendering of the theater by the architect accompanied the article.
The Roosevelt was apparently still operating as late as 1957, when the August 10 issue of Boxoffice listed it as one of the theaters in the Cincinnati area playing “The Ten Commandments” in that movie’s first post-roadshow engagements.
The earliest mentions of the Roosevelt I can find are from various 1929 issues of Movie Age when it was among the theaters listed in a series of ads for Photophone sound equipment.
A January 17, 1953, Boxoffice roundup of the previous year’s events in Cincinnati reveals the likely opening year of the Roosevelt to have been 1922. It reports this among the events for March, 1952: “Improper nailing when the ceiling was installed thirty years ago was blamed for the collapse of the plaster-covered metal ceiling lath at the Roosevelt Theatre, which injured about 60 patrons, none seriously. Jack Goldman, owner, estimated damage at about $2,500.”
Jack Goldman is mentioned frequently in Boxoffice. He’s mentioned as the operator of the Roosevelt in 1937, at which time he took over the Lincoln Theatre. The June 29, 1940, issue refers to him as “…owner of the Lincoln, Roosevelt and Beecher, all colored houses in Cincinnati….” The October 27, 1945, issue says that Goldman’s son-in-law, Joseph Miller “…is handling the Jack Goldman chain of colored houses while Goldman is taking a rest following illness.”
The February 9, 1946, issue of Boxoffice has an item datelined Cincinnati which refers to Goldman as “…operator of four colored theatres here….” It doesn’t give the names of the theaters, but the July 9, 1949, issue says that “Jack Goldman, who operates the Roosevelt, Lincoln and Regal theatres here has taken over the Roxy at Lockland, Ohio.” Apparently by then he had closed or sold the Beecher.
A May 21, 1965, Boxoffice item names Goldman as the operator of the Regal Theatre in Cincinnati, and says that he had been in the theater business for 27 years. I’ve found no mentions of him after that.