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The part of my comment above about the Novato Theatre Company having been located in the old Novato Theatre is wrong. The Novato Theatre was to be used by another local arts organization, but that deal fell through.
This house actually opened as a single-screen called the 20th Century West Theatre in 1965. Here’s copy and paste from my comment on the Tower Theatre page from May 21 (because I’m too lazy to rewrite it here):[quote]“The 20th Century West Theatre is mentioned in the April 26, 1965, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, which says that "The Greatest Story Ever Told” was the first movie shown at the recently opened house.
“Originally built for independent operators Mr. and Mrs. William Blair, the theater was bought in 1968 by the Sonoma Theatre Corporation, headed by George Mann, Robert L. Lippert, and Charles J. Maestri. Sonoma Theatre Corp. also bought a twin-screen house elsewhere in Santa Rosa from the Blairs at the same time.
“The July 22, 1974, issue of Boxoffice said that Sonoma Theatres would expand the 20th Century West by adding two 400-seat auditoriums adjacent to the original 800-seat house, with all three sharing a common entrance and lobby. The theater would be renamed the Coddingtown Cinemas.
“Mike Rivest’s list of Sonoma County theaters says that the house was expanded to four screens in the late 1980s, was last operated by the United Artists circuit, and was closed about 2000.:[/quote]
My guess would be that the four-plexing was accomplished by splitting the original 800-seat house, but never having been there I can’t say for sure.
I think this theater was actually located in Novato, California. It was in the Pacheco Plaza Shopping Center on Ignacio Boulevard. The Census Bureau classifies Ignacio under Class Code U6, which essentially boils down to meaning that their Zip Code is officially in Novato.
The Boxoffice Magazine item about the opening of the Ignacio Cinemas was datelined Novato, and gave the location of the new house as Pacheco Plaza Shopping Center. The April 21, 1969, issue of Boxoffice said that the target date for the opening of the 300-seat, single-screen theater was May 28.
Currently, the Novato Theatre Company, formerly located in the old Novato Theatre, is presenting its productions in the Pacheco Playhouse, which might occupy the premises of the former Ignacio Cinema, though I’m not at all certain it does. The playhouse is at the least located in the same shopping center the cinema was in, though.
April 26, 1947, Boxoffice says “J.E. Friedrich, Rio Theatre, Soledad, expects to open the 528-seat stadium-type house around May 16.”
Cinema Tour has two photos.
This theater opened as the Hippodrome. The new theater was the subject of a brief article, with four photographs, in the October, 1919, issue of The Architect and Engineer, available to read or download at Google Books. The article begins on page 83.
The American Theatre in San Jose was mentioned in the August 17, 1929, issue of Movie Age. The earliest mention of the State Theatre in San Jose that I’ve found is in the July 23, 1938, issue of Boxoffice, in an item headlined “Good Business Follows Renovation at San Jose.” The item mentions that the house had previously been called the American, but doesn’t mention the earlier Hippodrome name.
The earliest mention I’ve found of the United Artists in San Jose is from the November 24, 1951, issue of Boxoffice, which names a number of movie stars scheduled to appear at a benefit premier to be held at what the item calls “..the new United Artists Theatre….”
A bit more detail of the early history of the house was revealed in an article in the February 3, 1945, issue of Boxoffice. This article said that the theater was built in 1918, and originally operated by the San Jose Hippodrome Company. Before 1925 it was acquired by the Liberty Amusement Company, which changed the name to American Theatre. It was then leased to National Theatres in 1925, the lease was sold to Redwood Theatres in 1933, then taken over by St. Claire Theatres in 1934. That must have been the company that did the 1938 renovation and renaming. Finally, in early 1945 the theater was sold to a group of San Francisco investors operating as San Jose State Theatre, Inc. (the subject of the Boxoffice article.)
There’s a misspelling in the architectural firm name at top. Harry L. Cunningham’s partner was named Matthew V. Politeo, not Polito as it currently says.
The August, 1984, issue of Boxoffice Magazine says that the Exeter Theatre was designed by architect Clarence H. Blackall.
The October, 1919, issue of Architect & Engineer published the death notice of architect Harry L. Cunningham of the firm of Cunningham & Politeo. It mentioned the T&D Theatre in Oakland as one of his designs.
Incidentally, Cinema Treasures currently misspells Matthew V. Politeo’s surname as Polito.
Don Meyers is correct about the address of the Figueroa Theatre. I’ve checked several old street directories and the address for the theater itself is always given as 4011 S. Figueroa Street. The Santa Barbara Avenue address must have been for the office section of the building above the shops.
I found additional Boxoffice references to the Gate Theatre, as well as a few non-Boxoffice mentions. The July 17, 1954, issue repeated that the Gate had been closed, and said that plans for its modernization had been discarded.
Then in the issue of December 4, 1961, there was an item saying that Diane Varsi, retired from her Hollywood film career, was making her theatrical debut and directing two short plays at the Sausalito Gate Theatre.
The Gate was apparently a playhouse for several years. I found a reference to the San Francisco Mime Troupe performing a Brecht play at the Gate in 1965, and one about actor George Ede playing Antonio in a production of “The Merchant of Venice” at the Gate in 1964.
Thinking about jerry kovar’s introductory paragraph, I suspect that the reason attraction board lettering on the Gate’s marquee said “Marin Theatre” when the signage said Gate in the 1955 photo is most likely that the Gate was closed and its attraction board was being used to advertise the Marin Theatre.
The October 24, 1953, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Gate Theatre had been closed by the Blumenfeld circuit. I found a 1945 Boxoffice item mentioning the Marin Theatre, and the Gate Theatre was also in operation at that time, so they were different theaters. Both houses were operated by Blumenfeld. It’s unlikely that Marin Theater is an actual aka for the Gate Theatre.
The December 24, 1955, issue of Boxoffice said that Fox West Coast was planning a $100,000 remodeling of the T&D which would make it one of the most luxurious theaters in the region, and that the Hi-Ho Theatre would be reconditioned and serve as the town’s theater until the remodeling was completed. But the planned renovation of the T&D was never carried out.
Instead, it looks like the T&D was shut down in 1957. The January 19 issue of Boxoffice that year said the Fox West Coast had applied for permits to demolish the auditorium of the T&D Theatre and convert its lobby into retail space.
The chain then renamed its Hi-Ho Theatre the Fox Theatre later that year. I’ve found no later mentions of the T&D in Boxoffice, but the former Hi-Ho continued operating as the Fox for many years.
The second sentence in my comment above should say the Hi-Ho opened in late June, 1941.
Various issues of Boxoffice Magazine indicate that the Hi-Ho Theatre was built for Arthur M. Miller in 1941. It opened early in June that year. In 1942, Miller sold the house to Fox West Coast’s T&D Theatres affiliate.
The January 19, 1957, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Fox West Coast planned to close its T&D Theatre in Paso Robles. Their intention was to demolish the auditorium and convert the lobby to retail space. The Hi-Ho Theatre would be renovated to become the chain’s main house in Paso Robles. The December 7 issue of Boxoffice that same year said that the Hi-Ho Theatre had been renamed the Fox Theatre.
There are frequent mentions of Al Stanford in issues of Boxoffice from 1951 until 1973, most often in connection with the Oaks Drive-In (not yet listed at Cinema Treasures, by the way.) The Fox is also mentioned frequently, but I can’t find a single mention of the third Paso Robles hardtop, the Park Theatre. However, Paso Robles currently has a 9-screen multiplex at 1100 Pine Street downtown called the Park Cinemas 9. It’s not listed here yet either.
An Orland Theatre at Orland was offered for sale in the classified section of Movie Age, issue of September 14, 1929. The asking price for the business, including the building, was $10,000. It was the only theater in the town. The moderne facade must be the result of a remodeling, unless the theater moved to a new building at some time. I can’t find a date for either a remodeling or a move.
The Orland Theatre is mentioned again in various issues of Boxoffice from 1939 to 1972, with most mentions concentrated in the early to mid-1950s. It changed hands and was closed and reopened several times, and apparently was always under independent operation.
Orland is a market town of about 6000 located in one of California’s major olive growing regions. The nearest operating movie theaters to the town today are located in Chico, about twenty miles east.
The Pacific Coast Architecture Database (University of Washington) dates the Winema Cinema to 1919. An article about the theater appeared in the December, 1920, issue of Architectural Record. Additionally, an illustration and floor plan of the house were published in the June, 1925, issue of Architectural Forum.
The May 29, 1949, issue of Boxoffice magazine confirms that this theater was designed by William B. David, with William W. Wolf as listed architect. The item said that the same operators (the Menlo-Mayfield Theatres division of Westside Theatres) planned to build a similar theater by the same designer in Mountain View.
The Lake must have been the as-yet-nameless theater listed as being under construction at Barberton in the October 9, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. Owners were named as F.N. Gaethke and Harold Makinson (though Boxoffice misspelled his name as Makeson. Many other issues give the spelling Makison.)
Makinson was Barberton’s theater magnate in those days. The June 3, 1939, issue of Boxoffice said that H. Makinson owned the Lake, Park, and Lyric Theatres in Barberton. In 1940 he bought the town’s other house, the Pastime Theatre. The May 25 issue of Boxoffice that year noted that Makinson then owned and operated all the theaters in Barberton.
The October 11, 1947, issue of Boxoffice lists four Barberton Theatres and two in Canton, all operated by Makinson and Gaethke, involved in a lawsuit filed by several major movie distributors. The Barberton theaters listed were the Park, Lake, Lyric, and Pastime. By that time, the Pastime had already been closed and converted to retail space, according to the January 25 issue of Boxoffice that year. I’ve been unable to discover if the Lyric was still in operation at that time, but Boxoffice contains no later mentions of it that I can find.
After 1947 I find no mentions of Makinson or Gaethke in Boxoffice, but quite a few of Vincent Lauter, operator of the West Theatre and the Magic City Drive-In (opened 1950) who apparently became Barberton’s new theater magnate.
Incidentally, the Lake Cinemas' web site says the house closed in 1980, not in the 1950s as the introductory information currently on this page states.
Bway: The Pantages is operated by Nederlander Theatres, but I believe the building is still owned by the Forman family, owners of Pacific Theatres. This is Nederlander’s web page for the Pantages.
The Pantages received a thorough renovation in 2000, after which it reopened with Disney’s “The Lion King”, but as far as I know that’s the only Disney production the house has hosted.
Disney operates the El Capitan Theatre at the other end of Hollywood. I think that building is also owned by the Formans.
The Martin Theatre in Wildwood opened November 10, 1949. The architect was Howell C. Hopson, according to the November 19 issue of Boxoffice.
Various issues of Boxoffice indicate that Hopson also designed the Lake Theatre at Tavares, Florida, which was built for Martin in 1948, but that house isn’t listed at Cinema Treasures. I can’t find any other theaters designed by Hopson.
A couple of issues of Movie Age from 1929 mention a Sylvan Theatre in Wildwood. A 1941 issue of Boxoffice mentions a Wildwood Theatre at Wildwood, Florida. A couple of 1948 issues of Boxoffice mention a Corbett Theatre there.
Architect H. Ryan’s first name was Henderson. He also designed Seattle’s Liberty Theatre.
The Liberty Theatre was designed by architect Henderson Ryan, with engineer Henry W. Bittman. Scans of plans, drawings, and cross sections of the Liberty can be seen at the University of Washington Library’s Digital Collections. Use the search term Liberty Theatre.
The size and elaborate decoration of the Liberty, with the fact that it was designed specifically for the exhibition of movies, having neither a fly loft nor an orchestra pit, made it one of the very first theaters that could truly be called a movie palace.
Architect Henderson Ryan also designed the Neptune Theatre in Seattle and the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis, Oregon.
It’s good to know the El Dorado did exist, but the news of its location brings new confusion. Here’s a photo of the Fairchild Building with the antique emporium that occupies the Empire Theatre’s space. The caption says it’s a twin of the Upper Fairchild Building, which is the building the El Dorado was in according to the first of those articles.
But where is (or was) the Upper Fairchild Building? Is it just the other half of the Fairchild Building, meaning the theaters would have been practically next door to each other? Does anybody know?