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The L.A. Public Library’s photo database includes a number of pictures of Loew’s State under construction, including this one.
This must be the theatre referred to in the December, 1917 issue of Architect & Engineer, which announced the erection of a “Class C theater to seat 1500 persons for Mr. James Hamblen; on Park street near Encinal Ave”
The August 22, 1936 issue of Motion Picture Herald mentions this theatre, but under the name Neptune Palace Theatre. The item says that Mr. Archur Richards would expend $8000 on alterations to the Neptune Palace Theatre in Alameda.
Motion Picture Herald issue of May 30, 1936, contained an item in its “Better Theatres” section announcing that Nasser Brothers intended to remodel the Strand, with plans by architect F.F. Amandes. If it re-opened little more than a month later, on July 10th of that year, the remodeling must not have been extensive.
I suspect the picture dated circa 1920 to be in error. One of the store fronts bears the words “…Liquor Company” on its awning, and prohibition was already in effect in 1920. Also, the building looks too new, and the street to tidy to depict a 1920 scene. This shot is probably a bit earlier- probably pre-WWI.
The 1919 date for the other picture raises some questions, too. David Belasco opened his new theatre on Hill Street in 1926, and yet this picture shows a blade sign on the old theatre that reads “Follies.” If this picture is from 1919, then Belsaco must have abandoned this theatre before his new one was built, or must have renamed the theatre himself while still operating it.
I see no evidence of construction around the site of the City Hall farther up Main Street, and I believe that clearance of those blocks had begun by 1926 (the building having been completed by April of 1928.) Also, the cars parked along the street don’t look like mid-late 1920’s models. The 1919 date for this photograph is probably correct.
That second picture is especially interesting. It shows the “Teatro Mexico” sign on the wall of the fly tower— or is that the back wall of the auditorium? I’ve ever seen a ground plan of the place, so I don’t know how far back from Main Street the auditorium began. Other early theatres, including the Mason, the Hippodrome and the Burbank all had their auditoriums well back from the street- partly occupying lots that actually fronted the next streets over. Everything on the block has been obliterated, so it would take an old ground plan (such as one of the Sanborn Insurance Maps) or an aerial photograph to find out how the theatre was arranged on its site.
richhd5: It’s not unusual for a good-sized city to have two theatres bearing the same name. This is probably a different Rialto than the one you attended on the other side of town, which apparently is not yet listed at Cinema Treasures.
You could add it to the database yourself. Just click the “Add Theatres” link at the top of this page and fill out the information on the web form. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the details of the theatre. Many theatres are posted here with only scant information, and other people then add what they know about it in comments.
You are not the only person who remembers the Rialto at Goodyear and Market. It is one of the theatres mentioned in the 1972 memoirs of Charles Hermann, a long-time Akron projectionist.
This is the order in which Sid Grauman acquired his theatres in Los Angeles: The Million Dollar was opened in 1918. In 1919, he acquired Quinn’s Rialto and had it remodeled (by William Woolett, architect of the Million Dollar and the Metropolitan.) In 1922, he opened the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The Metropolitan opened in 1923. The Chinese was the last of his Los Angeles area theatres, opening in 1927.
Los Angeles grew rapidly during this period, the populations of both the city and the metropolitan area just about doubling in the decade before the onset of the depression in 1930. Financing was easily acquired for all sorts of building projects, and the tremendous popularity of both vaudeville and movies made big theatres a very profitable investment at the time.
I just noticed a typo in the third paragraph of the theatre’s description. The appearance by Edwin Booth was not in 1877 (before the theatre even opened!), but in 1887.
ken mc: The library must have mislabeled the picture to which you linked in your Nov 30 comment. It has to be earlier than 1936. The picture shows above the theatre entrance the name “Grand Opera House” which, by 1936, had not been used for decades. From the pristine condition of the white stone facade (and the floor-length dress of the woman at the far left), I’d guess that the picture actually shows the theatre within a few years of its 1884 opening.
If you refer to the concave wall with giant fluting above the marquee, that was a common feature of many buildings, whether theatres or retail shops, all around Los Angeles during the Art Moderne period. Another theatre with a similar feature was the Arden in Lynwood, a few miles southeast of downtown. If you refer to that splendid round marquee, that was a feature of several theatres that occupied corner locations, including the RKO Hillstreet, the Warner Downtown, and the Wiltern.
The Wardman is listed here as Whittier Village Cinemas. It’s still open, and has been multiplexed.
Ah, much improved. I see that the recent comments are no longer showing discrepancies either. The caching system is more sophisticated than I’d expected.
Yay caching! The site seems much speedier to me, so far.
To Lost Memory: The discrepancy you noticed in the number of updated theatres from one page to another is probably not a bug; it’s most likely just characteristic of the way caching works on the site. You’ll notice that the list of recent comments differs on various pages, too. I suspect this is because a page is re-cached complete, including its sidebar, at the time a new comment is made. Thus, the recent comments and updated theatres and all the other sections in the sidebars are cached just as they are at that moment. If you go from a page which was cached five minutes ago, it shows sidebar updates to that moment. If you then go to a page that was cached twenty minutes earlier, that page will show the sidebar updates as they were those twenty minutes ago.
This could probably be changed if the sidebars are loaded separately from the rest of the page, but it might not be worth the trouble to make the major change in the site’s design that might be needed to do that, merely to eliminate something that isn’t really much of a problem. Personally, I don’t mind the discrepancies at all. They’re a small price for such a great improvement in performance.
A brief history of the No Nothing Cinema, from the web site Shaping San Francisco, which also features, among its extensive collection of vintage photographs, a few pictures of other San Francisco theatres.
The correct name of the architect of the Fox Westwood Village Theatre is Percy Parke Lewis. P.P. Lewis was granted a certificate to practice architecture in California in May of 1924. In 1928, he became a charter member of the Certified Architects Association of Beverly Hills. As far as I’ve been able to learn, the Village was his only theatre project. I’ve found references to his designs for Christian Science Churches in West Los Angeles (1934) and Beverly Hills (1938- this in association with engineer Floyd Stanbery); a 1930 residence in West Los Angeles; and a Westwood Village store building for the Potter Hardware Company, also 1930.
The Village Theatre was a joint project of Fox-West Coast Theatres and the Janss Investment Company, developers of Westwood Village. Ground was broken for the theatre in November, 1930, and it opened on August 14th, 1931.
To add to the confusion, there was another New York City theatre, on 125th Street, which is listed at Cinema Treasures as the Gotham. It was built in 1903 and demolished in 1965.
I think that Chuck1231’s picture might be of the theatre listed at Cinema Treasures under the name Movieland, which was at Broadway and 47th and was called the Gotham from 1944-1951.
Interesting. That picture from the Pomona Library includes a Van de Kamp’s bakery up the street, but it’s missing its windmill.
Anderson is about ten miles south of Redding along highway 99/Interstate 5. The theatre building was still there about 25 years ago, the last time I was in Anderson, but I believe it had by then already been closed for some time, and I don’t remember it being called the Valley. The theatre was right across the street from the Southern Pacific’s main line to Oregon, and I believe the small building on the left in that photo is the old Anderson railroad station.
Here is a picture (from the L.A. Public Library collection) of the Garnett Theatre, taken about 1909, when it was still called Tally’s New Broadway.
Though the style of the Tumbleweed is designated above as “Atmospheric,” it was not a true atmospheric theatre. The ceiling did not depict a sky, but was a structure of open trusses and exposed rafters, as can be seen in this photo from the S.C. Lee collection at UCLA. The style of the theatre, both inside and out, could be more accurately described as Rustic.
Arian: There were several Los Angeles area theatres owned by the Chotiner circuit. The one at 8th and Vermont was Chotiner’s Parisian, later operated as the Fox Parisian.
Incidentally, Max Chotiner was married to silent movie actress Alice Calhoun, who was herself half-owner of the Marcal Theatre (listed here under its final name, the World Theatre) in Hollywood.
The only Grass Valley theatre currently listed at Cinema Treasures is the Del Oro. It is located on Mill Street, and the caption of your picture indicates that the Montez was on West Main Street, so they must not be the same theatre.
The address of the Metropolitan Opera House is 858 North Broad Street. The theatre is included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Apparently, the theatre continued to present some stage productions even after being converted to show movies, as I found a reference to this being the location of the American stage premier of Stravinsky’s opera “Oedipus Rex” which opened at the Metropolitan on April 10th, 1931.
The architect to whom this entry attributes the Metropolitan, John B. McElfatrick, died in 1906. Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts web site attributes this theatre to his son, William H. McElfatrick.
The Philadelphia Architects and Buildings web site has an interesting biography of John McElfatrick, and also one of William McElfatrick which includes a page of his projects, with the Metropolitan being the first listed. The firm of J.B. McElfatrick & Son was apparently engaged by Oscar Hammerstein to draw the plans for this theatre in 1907, after J.B. McElfatrick died.