Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Towne Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm

The Abbott Theatre opened in 1950, according to that year’s construction reports in Boxoffice. It was a Dipson circuit house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Weedsport Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm

The Construction report in Boxoffice of August 22, 1936, listed the Weedsport Theatre and gave its opening month as March. The operator was named Earl Zimmer, and the house had cost an estimated $50,000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dipson Theater on Mar 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm

In Google Street View or Bing Maps Bird’s-eye view I don’t see any buildings resembling any of those in the photo. A big chunk of downtown Batavia has been demolished and replaced by one of those enclosed shopping malls, so it’s likely that the Dipson Theatre is gone.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dellinger Theater on Mar 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Boxoffice of July 11, 1936, said that Dipson Theatres had bought the property of the Dellinger Theatre, which had been destroyed by fire the previous year. However, a later issue of Boxoffice called the theater the Dillinger, so we still don’t have a confirmation of either spelling.

Dipson had no immediate plans for the property, the July 11 item said, but it was reported that they were considering building a new theater on the site. I’ve been unable to find any later Boxoffice items about this project, and it was apparently never built. A 1950 Boxoffice item ken mc cited on the Lafayette Theatre page says that, until three years before, the Lafayette and the Family had been the only theaters operating in Batavia.

It’s possible that the Dipson Batavia Theatre was eventually built on the site of the Dillinger-Dellinger, but then the Dipson has a very narrow front in between two much older buildings. I’d expect a late 19th century opera house to have a wider frontage.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Franjo Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm

The Buffalo area construction report in Boxoffice of August 22, 1936, lists the Avon Theatre at Boonville as one of three new houses being built in the region that year. The estimated cost of the project was $125,000, and the owner was Joseph Sternberg. The September 12 issue of Boxoffice said the Avon was expected to be open around Christmas. The opening might have been delayed a few weeks, as was often the case with new theaters.

A report in the Boonville Herald of May 11, 1939, said that the Avon Theatre had been renamed the Franjo Theatre. Boxoffice of May 27 said that Joe Sternberg had made up the new name from a combination of his and his wife’s names.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mancuso Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Here is a fresh link to the rendering of the Mancuso Theatre in Boxoffice of January 5, 1946.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Jeff, the view in the old photo is from 10th Street toward 9th Street, so if the candy store was in the white building next to Grant’s, the Strand’s address would have been a smaller number than the candy store’s. But the photo shows that the first Strand was definitely in the 900 block of State Street.

In Google Street View there’s a modern high-rise at the 10th Street end of the block. The buildings at the 9th Street end of the block have been replaced by what looks like a fairly recent building with a mirrored glass front.

The lots in between are occupied by what looks like a single modern building with a Rite Aid and a store called Thrifty Shopper. From its location on the block, I’m pretty sure the Strand was somewhere in the footprint of this building.

There is currently space for lease in this building, and the real estate site listing it says the building was built in 1925. As the Strand was in operation by 1916, either the real estate site is wrong about the construction date or the space for lease isn’t the Strand’s building.

The building’s address is 914-916 State, and I found an Internet listing for Rite Aid at 916 State. The Thrifty Shopper has closed since the Google camera truck went by and I can’t find an address for it, but it must be the space for lease at 914. It looks like they’ve renumbered all the lots, since Rite Aid’s entrance is closer to 10th Street than it is to 9th Street.

The Strand’s historical address was probably about 920, but the address today could be 914, or 916. Still, I’m not sure if the Strand’s old building is in this remodeled cluster or not. Alteration has been so thorough that even if a wall or two of the Strand is still in there, it would probably be unrecognizable as such. If the Strand has not been completely demolished, it has probably been virtually demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fields Corner Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 6:13 am

Boxoffice of December 11, 1954, reported that the Fields Corner Theatre had been razed. It said that the house had been closed for several years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Mar 8, 2011 at 6:12 am

The Liberty in Dorchester is listed in the “Theatre Construction, Openings and Sales” column of Boxoffice, October 8, 1949. The house had been remodeled for ATC Theatres and reopened as an art house. ATC (American Theatres Corporation) was a chain headed by Sam Pinanski, formerly of M&P Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dover Theater on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

The Music Makers circuit acquired the Dover and Community theaters in Toms River from SWK Theatres in 1976, according to a report in Boxoffice of October 18 that year. Music Makers planned to give the 800-seat Dover a complete modernization and redecoration. It would operated as a first run house with a $3.00 admission price, while the larger Community Theatre would become a sub-run house charging $1.50.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Alley on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Boxoffice of May 28, 1979, said that the recently opened Cinema Alley Twin in Toms River was a client of Montclair, New Jersey, booking Agent Cinema Services.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vista Theatre on Mar 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Mike: Thanks for the comment. We’ll be glad to have any information you can provide about this theater or the Virginia. The Virginia Theatre also has a page at Cinema Treasures, but is listed under its last operating name, Cinema 19.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theater on Mar 6, 2011 at 6:34 am

The finding aid for the Interstate Theatre collection at the Dallas Public Library lists the Tower Theatre as a project designed by architect W. Scott Dunne, with drawings dated August 10, 1936. The project included the “[c]onversion of building at Elm St., Pacific and St. Paul.” That would be the Tower Petroleum Building, which Dallas Architecture says was designed by architect Mark Lemmon.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema West on Mar 6, 2011 at 5:53 am

The finding aid to the Interstate Theatre Collection at the Dallas Public Library lists the Austin Theatre as designed in 1938 by the architectural firm of MacKie & Kamrath. The Austin is also listed in the finding aid to the Karl Kamrath Collection at the University of Texas in Austin. This aid also features brief biographies of Karl Kamrath and Fred MacKie.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Shaker Theatre on Mar 6, 2011 at 5:20 am

Here is a new link to the September 4, 1954, Boxoffice article about the new look at the Shaker Theatre. The subsequent three pages have additional photos of architect Jack Bialosky’s Midcentury Modern makeover of the damaged house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Granada Theatre on Mar 6, 2011 at 5:10 am

Here is a fresh link to the June 2, 1956, Boxoffice article about the remodeled Granada Theatre.

After posting my previous comment I discovered another project designed by architect Jack Bialosky, that being a remodeling of the Shaker Theatre, Cleveland, following a fire in 1954.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Mar 6, 2011 at 4:39 am

The entry for the firm Brinkman & Lenon in the AIA’s Historical Directory of American Architects lists the Strand Theatre building among their works. Fred A. Brinkman was one of Kalispell’s leading architects for many years, operating his own practice before establishing a partnership with Percy H. Lenon.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Mar 6, 2011 at 4:21 am

A PDF of a walking tour of Kalispell from the Montana Historical Society has information about the Liberty Theatre. The Liberty was designed by local architect Marion Riffo, and opened on January 24, 1921. The first movie shown was “Humoresque.” The house had an organ, but the text doesn’t say what kind.

The original owner of the Liberty was Marius Anderson. Anderson Theatres eventually operated other houses in Kalispell as well: the Strand Theatre, the Gateway Cinemas, and the Midway Drive-In. The family-owned company was sold in 2000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pella Opera House Theatre Center on Mar 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Julius Cahn’s guides list this as a second floor house. While many such theaters did run movies for a while during the first two decades of the 20th century, most of them didn’t operate as movie houses for very long. Patrons preferred the newer theaters that had their auditoriums on the ground floor.

I’ve been unable to discover the original architect of the Pella Opera house, but the plans for the renovation begun in 1988 were by Wetherell Ericsson Architects, the successor firm to Wetherell & Harrison, designers of many of the classic movie theaters in Iowa.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre Iowa Center for the Performing Arts on Mar 5, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Plans for the restoration of the Ritz Theatre were done by the Des Moines firm Wetherell Ericsson Architects. The successor firm to Wetherell & Harrison, designers of many theaters in Iowa, Wetherell Ericsson merged with RDG Planning Design in 2007. RDG’s web site has this page about the Ritz. They give 2012 as the expected year for the completion of the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Mar 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

This house is open again under its old name, the Lyric Theatre. Google Showtimes and other web sites say that “Just Go with It” is playing today at 2:00 and 7:00 PM.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Mar 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm

The entrance of the recently remodeled Strand Theatre was pictured on the cover of Boxoffice, April 7, 1958.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm

This theater was still called the News-View as late as 1954, when the August 21 issue of Boxoffice said that operator John Wolfburg was renting the house to packagers of television shows during the morning hours. The packagers used the showings primarily to promote their offerings to advertising agencies, prospective sponsors, and TV station programming directors, and the viewing public was admitted for free to provide an audience.

I have no memory of the house as the News-View, but I’m sure it had become simply the New-View by the early 1960s. The earliest mention of it under that name I’ve found in Boxoffice is from November 28, 1966, which mentions that operator Harry Wineberg was running “Born Free” at the house.

The nomenclature for this theater is a bit complex. Note in this ca.1950 photo (the same one linked above by ken mc, and misidentified by the web site as being in New York City) that the hyphenated name “News-View” is on the facade in large letters. At the top of the marquee is a small sign in script reading “Tele-View” and the marquee says “Newsreel Theatre.” It’s possible that the “Tele-View” signage was added only in 1941, after the Tele-View Theatre east of Vine Street was converted into the Hitching Post Theatre. The News-View and Newsreel Theatre signs were thus on the house at the same time, rather than being two different aka’s. All the old references to the house I’ve found call it the News-View Theatre (though usually without the hyphen) rather than the Newsreel Theatre.

The exterior features of the News-View building remained pretty much the same into the 1970s. The Ritz facade and marquee actually date from the mid-‘70s remodeling of the house by Pussycat Theatres. The Ritz Theatre page at Historic Hollywood Theatres has a small photo dated 1972 showing that the only significant changes from the ca.1950 photo were the removal of parts of the signage: the “S” from the name on the facade and the “Tele-View” sign, and the replacement of the marquee’s “Newsreel” with “New-View.”

Boxoffice mentions the New View frequently from 1970 through 1973, and never hyphenates the name, but I recall seeing it hyphenated in the ads and listing in the L.A. Times. It was certainly hyphenated on the theater’s signage.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Massac Theatre on Mar 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm

The URLs have been changed for the weblog posts by Michael Allen that I linked to in my previous comment:

Post about the New Merry Widow Theatre in St. Louis.

Post about the Massac Theatre.

I’m still trying to track down any confirmation of the surmise that Jack Shawcross was the architect of the Massac Theatre, but so far no luck.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kiowa Theatre on Mar 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Kiowa being a very small town, this was probably its only theater and thus the house that Boxoffice of January 30, 1954, reported had been damaged by a fire and explosion which “…ripped the box office off the front and broke windows.” The fire was brought under control within thirty minutes, so the building must have survived and been reopened. The theater had been built five years before, the item said, and had cost $30,000. The owner-operator was named Fred Collier. Unfortunately, Boxoffice doesn’t give the name of the theater.

This item is the only mention of Kiowa I’ve found in Boxoffice but, as this theater had been opened in 1948 or 1949, I’d surmise that it was most likely a replacement for an earlier, probably much older, theater, which was either closed or demolished.