Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lafayette Theater on Jan 22, 2011 at 4:46 am

According to James Trager’s book “The New York Chronology” the Lafayette Theater opened in November, 1912. It was designed by architect Victor Hugo Koehler. Only white patrons were admitted to the orchestra floor until August of 1913, when the Lafayette became the first New York City theater to integrate.

Incidentally, the Office for Metropolitan History’s Manhattan Database lists three theaters designed by Koehler that I’ve been unable to track down. They are: a 1902 project for a four story theater and loft building, 100x100, at the southeast corner of Grand and Chrystie; a 1913 two story movie theater, 41x90, at 11-13 W. 116th Street; and a one story movie theater, also 41x90, at 385-387 Third Avenue. Maybe somebody familiar with Manhattan will be able to identify these theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about University Theatre on Jan 16, 2011 at 4:17 am

Here are fresh links for the July 2, 1949, Boxoffice items posted above by ken mc and Gerald A. DeLuca:

Cover photo of the main floor lounge.

Page one of the two-page article about the University Theatre in the Modern Theatre section of the same issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rock Theater on Jan 16, 2011 at 3:32 am

Ridley & Glazier were the architects of the original 1925 Masonic Temple building, but according to the Medina Masonic Temple Company web site, the theater project of 1937 was the work of architect George Howard Burrows.

More than half the theater’s footprint is in this annex, including the stage house, but the rear portion of the theater is in the original 1925 building. The entrance is in a structure also added onto the south side of the Temple as part of the 1937 project.

The modifications converting the house to a two-screen theater were done in 1972.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Town Hall on Jan 16, 2011 at 2:40 am

East Providence’s Town Hall was a Romanesque Revival style building designed by William R. Walker & Son, the firm that designed the Toy (Avon) and Majestic theaters in Providence proper.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Westhampton Theater on Jan 16, 2011 at 2:18 am

The entry for architect A.O. Budina in the 1956 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists the Westhampton Theatre in Richmond as one of his projects from the year 1938.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theater on Jan 16, 2011 at 2:16 am

The entry for architect A.O. Budina in the 1956 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists a Halifax Theatre in South Boston among his works for the year 1938. I found a single 1945 newspaper reference to the Halifax Theatre being located on North Main Street. The house is also mentioned in Boxoffice of October 9, 1954, the year CinemaScope equipment was installed.

As the AIA Directory doesn’t specify if the project was for a new theater or a remodeling, is it possible that the Princess was called the Halifax for a while? Perhaps its Art Moderne facade was Budina’s 1938 project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Winfield Cinema I & II on Jan 16, 2011 at 1:17 am

Addendum: As Boxoffice ran a photo of the theater in 1950 (second photo at the top of this page) I’m not sure if the AIA Directory got the year wrong, or if Bihr’s project was only for some sort of alteration to the theater. He was apparently a contract architect for Fox Midwest for a number of years, handling many projects both large and small.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Winfield Cinema I & II on Jan 16, 2011 at 12:50 am

The entry for architect Samuel W. Bihr, Jr. in the 1956 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists the Fox Theatre at Winfield, Kansas, among his works. It gives the year of the Fox project as 1952.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rio Theatre on Jan 16, 2011 at 12:33 am

Judging from the photo of the facade that CWalczak linked to above, this 1950 theater was not Spanish Renneissance in style, but thoroughly modern. Maybe it was the original Rio that was Spanish.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Parliament Cinema on Jan 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm

The Bluebell was in operation at least as early as 1925, and probably earlier. “The Storms Below,” a biography of Canadian writer Hugh Garner, quotes a letter from a former childhood neighbor of Garner, who lived in the area in the 1920s, which mentions the matinees at the Bluebell Theatre. Google Books preview.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Jan 12, 2011 at 5:03 am

A 1956 Boxoffice item mentions that a Mr. Vernon Lawson had managed the State Theatre in Rapid City since 1935, so the house was at least that old.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rapid Theater on Jan 12, 2011 at 4:52 am

A book about Rapid City architecture says that the Rex Theatre was built in 1928.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elks Theatre on Jan 12, 2011 at 4:29 am

The book Rapid City: Historic Downtown Architecture attributes the design of the Elks Lodge and theater to Sioux City architect John P. Eisentraut.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jan 12, 2011 at 3:37 am

The Capitol was in operation by the late 1920s, but no firm date for its opening has been established. The building was just a hotel with what looked like retail space on the ground floor in the 1915 photo, but the conversion of the ground floor to a theater had taken place by the time the ca.1927 photo was taken. It might have been converted any time during that period.

For me it’s a tossup whether or not the Capitol should have the aka Capri V. It did operate as part of the Capri V, but then the Capri V’s entrance was at the Capri Theatre’s address, not the Capitol’s address. In any case, one of the main functions of including the aka’s on theater pages is to facilitate searches of the site. Anybody who has found the Capri V page with a site search will read there that it incorporated the former Capitol, and the Capitol’s page is easy enough to find from that page. I can’t see that it would be either helpful or harmful to have Capri V as an aka on this page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri V Theatre on Jan 12, 2011 at 3:15 am

There’s a mistake in the last paragraph of my previous comment: The photo caption I mentioned that has the names of the other three theaters on the block belongs to the ca.1927 photo from the book “Ottumwa,” not to a 1942 photo.

As the Capitol was eventually incorporated into the Capri V, it might make sense to have Capitol Theatre listed as an aka, even though the Capitol had a long history as a separate house with its own address, and has its own page at Cinema Treasures. On the other hand, the information is already included in the description of the theater, and as the Capitol does have its own page I don’t think it’s essential for the name to be listed as an aka. Having aka’s listed facilitates searches of the site, but the Capitol’s own page will be easy enough to find.

The aka’s that should definitely be listed for this house are Ottumwa Theatre and Capri Theatre. As late as 1985 (see the American Classic Images photo from that year to which Chuck linked above) the Capri was still operating as a single-screen house under that name.

I’ve been unable to discover exactly when the two theaters were combined and remodeled into the five-screen Capri V. I’ve searched Boxoffice Magazine’s archive, but it contains surprisingly few items about Ottumwa, and I’ve found no items at all about either the Capri or the Capri V.

I’m not sure if the name Square Theatre should be an aka or not. Though it’s not absolutely certain, I think that the original Square Theatre building on the Capri’s site was probably completely demolished after the 1941 fire. Maybe, like the Capitol, it should have its own page, though there wouldn’t be much information to put on it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jan 11, 2011 at 4:47 am

The Arcadia Publishing Company’s book Ottumwa has successive photos from 1915 and ca.1927 showing the Capitol Theatre’s building before and after it had became a theater. The Capitol and Capri were in separate but adjacent buildings, and operated as separate theaters for several decades before being combined under the Capri name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri V Theatre on Jan 11, 2011 at 3:40 am

Here is a page for a CafePress store which sells objects with old photos and memorabilia on them. There are a couple of photos of the Capri, including one from 1942 when the house was called the Ottumwa Theatre (theater pictures are in rows four and five.)

Another old photo, in the Arcadia Publishing Company’s book Ottumwa, shows a theater called the Square in the location of the Capri. Another page of the book says that the Ottumwa Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1941, so the 1942 Ottumwa which later became the Capri must have been an entirely or substantially new building.

The caption of the 1942 photo says that the same block of Main Street with the Capitol and Ottumwa theaters then also had theaters called the Rialto, the Empire, and the Strand.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Zephyr Theatre on Jan 11, 2011 at 2:58 am

The Zephyr Theatre building had been drastically altered by the time the photo Milton linked to above was taken. A CafePress store that sells objects with old photos and memorabilia on them has this photo depicting how the Zephyr originally looked as Wetherell & Harrison designed it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jan 8, 2011 at 4:09 am

Boxoffice Magazine of October 15, 1938, had an article about theater remodeling which featured a photo of the Times Theatre’s new facade. It can be seen on this page at the magazine’s archive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Cape Theatre on Jan 8, 2011 at 4:01 am

Mike Rivest has a grand opening ad for the Fox Cape, undated, but the opening feature was the 1930 release “Good News.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about York Theatre on Jan 8, 2011 at 3:57 am

This theater might have existed before 1930. Prior to building the Strand Theatre in 1925, Nathan Appell Enterprises operated at least two other theaters in York, both of which were in operation during the mid-1910s. These were the Orpheum and the York Opera House. I haven’t found either name mentioned after the 1910s, so either one of these might have been renamed the York.

The Opera House was quite a distinctive building (a vintage postcard site currently has this card listed for sale), so a photo of the York would quickly reveal if it was the same theater or not. Or if DennisZ is still around maybe he’ll recognize it. His comment does say that the Holiday was an elaborate theater.

Nathan Appell was a partner in a project to build a four-story theater building in York in 1920. The project was mentioned in the December 20, 1920, issue of the industrial trade journal Power. If this project was completed, it might have been the York. Again, a photo of the York would reveal if it was in a four story building.

During the mid-1910s, York also had at least four theaters not operated by Appell; the Scenic, the Hippodrome, the Wizard, and the Jackson. There might also have been a theater called the Alhambra, though this might have been one of the others, renamed. With the exception of the Jackson, which Appell bought in 1926 and renamed the Capitol, any of these might also have been taken over by Appell and been renamed the York. As with the Orpheum and the York Opera House, I’ve found no references to those five theater names in York later than the 1910s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Jan 8, 2011 at 3:33 am

I’ve found the Quirk Theatre mentioned in issues of the Fulton Times as early as April, 1913. I haven’t yet found an article about the opening of the theater, but there must be one. An article in a 1989 issue of the Oswego Valley News said that the Quirk Theatre had been built “…just before World War I….” The house was built by a prominent Fulton citizen, Edward Quirk, who also served at least one term as the town’s mayor.

The September, 1912, issue of trade union journal The Lather listed a theater project at Fulton in its construction news column. The architect for the project was Leon H. Lempert. As the local newspapers give no indication of any other new theaters opening in Fulton around this time, the project was almost certainly the Quirk.

The name State Theatre first appears in the local newspapers in 1935. The October 31 issue of the Fulton Patriot said that the renovated theater had been opened the previous night.

In 1941, the theater was more extensively remodeled. Congratulatory ads placed in the June 20th Oswego Palladium-Times, another local paper, included one from the Belgian Art Studios in New York which said that all the murals and other decorations in the remodeled theater were by Oscar Glas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jan 8, 2011 at 3:25 am

The Theatorium was showing movies at least as early as 1908. An item in the September 19 issue of The Moving Picture World that year said that the Theatorium was enjoying such success that it had been compelled to double its floor space.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Family Theater on Jan 8, 2011 at 3:05 am

The construction news column of the August, 1912, issue of The Lather, a trade union journal, said that a three story theater was to be built at Batavia. The architect was Leon H. Lempert.

Given the timing, and the restrained classical style of the Family Theatre’s facade, so characteristic of Lempert’s designs during that period, it seems very likely that the project listed in The Lather was this theater. The earliest mentions of the Family Theatre I’ve found in Batavia newspapers are from early 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theatre on Jan 7, 2011 at 5:22 am

I came across a collection of photos of Boston buildings designed by the architectural firm of Peabody & Stearns which includes Chickering Hall, so that firm designed the original building as well as its 1912 expansion into the St. James Theatre. (This page is large. Not recommended for dial-up connections.)

This PDF of a scan of an article from a 1901 issue of The Music Trade Review has two drawings of Chickering Hall. The text says that the original 800-seat auditorium was 55x80 feet, and the stage 19x37 feet, so the alterations to convert the hall into a theater with over 1600 seats must have been extensive.