Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about LIttle Art Theatre on Feb 23, 2012 at 10:34 am

This theater had another AKA. In 1947, a Motion Picture Herald item said that the 325-seat World Theatre, formerly the Olentangy, had been remodeled and was about to reopen. Operators Al Sugarman and Lee Hofheimer also operated the Avondale and Indianola Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Electric Theatre Joplin Valention Cover on Feb 23, 2012 at 9:44 am

dmccann: A Sainted Devil was released in 1924, three years before the Electric Theatre at 1514 South Main Street opened, so the handbill must have been issued by the earlier Electric Theatre at 515 S. Main Street. That is the house listed at Cinema Treasures under its later name, the Paramount Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rex Theatre on Feb 23, 2012 at 4:37 am

This house opened about 1915 as the Royal Theatre. The Prairie Style building was designed by the local architectural firm Peterson & Johnson. According to Rockford: 1920 and Beyond, by Eric A. Johnson, the house later operated as the Strand Theatre and then the Roxy Theatre before becoming the Rex.

The building originally had a “triumphal arch” entrance characteristic of small movie houses in the 1910s, and the peak of the arch could be seen above the streamlined marquee added later.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Feb 23, 2012 at 4:36 am

Rockford 1900-World War I, by Eric A. Johnson, gives the address of the Orpheum Theatre as 118 N. Main Street. It was converted into a movie house in 1915, after Orpheum vaudeville shows were moved to the new Palace Theatre across the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Studio Theatre on Feb 23, 2012 at 12:54 am

The Alfred Jones who designed this theater was not the Alfred E. Jones who remodeled the Theatre De Luxe in Dublin, Ireland, in 1936. The Spokane Jones was born in Chicago in 1872, while Alfred Edwin Jones of Dublin lived from 1894 to 1973.

Alfred Jones of Spokane formed a partnership with Joseph Levesque in early 1910, and a couple of years later moved to Arizona after contracting tuberculosis. He never returned to Spokane, and I’ve been unable to find any later information about him.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Studio Theatre on Feb 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm

This theater probably opened in late 1907 or early 1908 as the Washington Theatre, and was probably designed by local architect Alfred Jones. It was renamed the Empress Theatre in 1911.

The 1913 edition of Julius Cahn’s guide lists the Empress as a Sullivan & Considine vaudeville house, but provides no details. This page at BoxRec, the online boxing encyclopedia, cites a 1927 Spokane Spokesman Review item about fighter Young Stribling, which said that he had visited Spokane in 1911 as part of a family acrobatic troupe which appeared at Sullivan & Considine’s Empress Theatre, which had at that time been called the Washington Theatre.

A list of Sullivan & Considine houses at which Charles Chaplin appeared in 1911 (the text is mostly in German) has him appearing at the Washington Theatre in Spokane on April 24, 1911, and at the Empress Theatre in Spokane on September 24, 1911, so the name change took place between those dates.

A history of Spokane published in 1912 has the following information about local architect Alfred Jones:

“Mr. Jones also designed and was financially interested in the company that instituted the first moving picture showhouse in Spokane. They operated under the name of the Spokane Scenic Theater Company and opened the Scenic Theater at First avenue and Stevens street. Subsequently they built the Empress Theater. Mr. Jones was secretary and treasurer of the company and later promoted another organization known as the Arcade Amusement Company of which he was president. This company built the Arcade Theater on Riverside avenue.”
An item in the September 11, 1907, edition of the Spokane Evening Chronicle said that old buildings at a site on the north side of Riverside Avenue between Washington and Bernard were being razed in preparation for a new theater to be built by the Spokane Scenic Theatre Company. This must have been the Washington/Empress/Studio, which was on that block.

The opening name Washington Theatre was apparently moved to this house from another theater. A February 26, 1906, item in the Spokane Evening Chronicle said that John Considine and Timothy Sullivan were planning to visit Spokane, and said that their theater in that city was called the Washington. I don’t know the location of the first Washington Theatre, or what became of it after the name was moved, but it might not have been very old at the time. A Washington Theatre Company was incorporated at Spokane on May 15, 1905, with capital of $20,000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Auditorium on Feb 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

OK, the PDF I linked to has a map showing the address of the parcel on which the Town Hall was located as 36-38 S.Main Street. The post office was probably at 38 and the Auditorium at 36.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Auditorium on Feb 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Further correction: The correct address of the Auditorium might have been 36 S. Main. I can’t find the actual address anywhere on the Internet, but a 1964 photo in this PDF (a very large file) shows the block and singles out the building next door as having the address 34 S. Main. I think the Town Hall/Auditorium’s address must have been higher rather than lower, but I’m not positive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Auditorium on Feb 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

A correction on the address I gave in my previous comment: 22 S. Main Street is actually the location of a bank. The Town Hall was apparently at 32 S. Main.

I’ve come across a document which says that the old Perry Town Hall was destroyed by a fire in 1983, and its site is now occupied by a parking lot. The building had been listed on the NRHP.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Auditorium on Feb 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

The Perry Auditorium is located in Perry Town Hall, 22 S. Main Street. It is a two story red brick building of vaguely Georgian Colonial Revival style. The auditorium is on the ground floor, and an assembly room used for dances and other community events is upstairs. The post office was also originally in the building.

A vintage postcard of the Town Hall will briefly display on this page of the Town’s web site (just refresh the page if the picture goes away.)

A book called History of the Town of Perry, published in 1915, says that the Town Hall was built in 1898, and even though the building was not yet completed, a local amateur stage production of a comedy called The Henrietta was presented there on the nights of December 30 and 31 that year.

The Auditorium at Perry advertised in the December 5, 1908, issue of The Billboard that it was seeking attractions, and boasted that Perry was “…the best show town in Western New York.” The promoter doing the soliciting was George H. Holmes, who gave as an address a PO box in Hornell, NY.

A 1966 issue of Motion Picture Herald published this notice: “Philip Scoville of Geneseo, who operates theatres in Olean, LeRoy, and Lima, NY, and Frank R. Versage, of Mt. Morris, have re-opened the Auditorium Theatre in Perry, NY.” I’ve been unable to discover how long this operation was able to continue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Iowa Theatre on Feb 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm

There are two photos of the Iowa Theatre after its post-flood renovation on this page of the web site of Ryan Companies US, Inc., the construction firm that did the restoration and associated remodeling. The design of the project was by OPN Architects.

The book Cedar Rapids: Downtown and Beyond, by George T. Henry and Mark W. Hunter, says that the Iowa Theatre closed as a movie house in 1983.

Local banking house Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust is sponsoring a classic movie series at the Iowa Theatre (schedule here). TCR’s web site doesn’t say anything about the medium of presentation, but the bank’s web site says Movies are projected digitally in HD via a state of the art Blu-Ray projector whenever available in that format. Still, it’s only five bucks (the bank also gives away a limited number of tickets free) and you do get to see the movies in a classic theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theater on Feb 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Cedar Rapids: Downtown and Beyond, by George T. Henry and Mark W. Hunter, says that the Plaza Theatre opened in the summer of 1967 with The War Wagon, and closed in December, 1987.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Music Box Theatre on Feb 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

The photo currently displayed on this page depicts the later Music Box Theatre on Broadway, not the Music Box Theatre on Alder Street.

The November 2, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News had an article about the remodeling of the Peoples Theatre and its reopening as the Alder Theatre. The People’s Theatre opened in 1911, and was owned by J. J. Parker. The 1929 rebuilding was extensive, involving the complete reconstruction of the balcony in order to remove columns on the first floor, and the moving of the entrance from the front of the building to the corner of 9th and Alder.

The rebuilding project was designed by the architectural firm of Bennes & Herzog, the same firm that designed the Hollywood Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Keith's Theatre on Feb 20, 2012 at 7:39 pm

It is possible that Rapp & Rapp did some work on this theater for the Keith-Albee circuit after it took the house over from the original operators, Sullivan & Considine, but the original architect of the Empress Theatre was Lee DeCamp, according to a list in the Grand Rapids Buildings Collection of the Grand Rapids Public Library.

DeCamp was for several years the supervising architect for the Sullivan & Considine circuit, and designed many of the Empress Theatres the chain operated. He also maintained an office in the Empress Theatre Building at least as late as 1918.

The Sullivan & Considine circuit, financially overextended, was falling apart as the Grand Rapids Empress was being built. In 1914, Marcus Loew made a bid to take over the circuit entirely, but this deal fell through and the more than 100 Sullivan & Considine houses in the United States and Canada were subsequently divided among several other circuits, including Pantages, Orpheum, and Keith-Albee.

Lee DeCamp designed at least one other theater in Grand Rapids, this in 1915, but I’ve been unable to track down which one it was, assuming the project was carried out. He was also designing two theaters in Battle Creek and one in Alpena in 1917, according to an item in an issue of The Music Trade Review that year, which gave Grand Rapids as the location of his office.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Feb 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm

According to a survey of historic buildings in downtown Portland, the original architect of the Empress Theatre in 1913 was Lee DeCamp. The aptly-named DeCamp was rather peripatetic, and at various times had offices in Denver, Portland, Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Cincinnati, as well as at least one branch office in Canada.

DeCamp designed at least two other theaters called the Empress, in Kansas City, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. DeCamp was for some time the supervising architect for the Sullivan & Considine vaudeville circuit, which favored the name Empress for its theaters. This might have accounted for his propensity to move from city to city. Many other Sullivan & Considine houses were undoubtedly designed or remodeled by DeCamp but are not yet attributed to him.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Feb 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm

A splendid night shot of the Pantages Theatre illustrates this article about vaudeville in Spokane, published by the Spokesman-Review in 2005.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ishpeming Theatre on Feb 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

This must be the Ishpeming Theatre that E. J. Butler was operating about a decade before he built the Butler Theatre. It was listed as a new house in the 1906 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide. The 1913 edition of the guide gave a breakdown of the seating arrangements: 403 seats in the orchestra, 176 in the balcony, 350 in the gallery, and 92 in the boxes. In 1916, an item in The Moving Picture World noted that Butler was showing Triangle comedies at the Ishpeming Theatre and Triangle dramas at the Butler Theatre.

The Ishpeming Theatre was remodeled in 1929 at the time sound equipment was installed. Both the Butler and Ishpeming Theatres are mentioned by various publications into the 1930s. Ed Butler died in 1937, and the Butler Theatre was taken over by Fox Midwest, and the Ishpeming Theatre was probably taken over by Fox as well, but I’ve been unable to find any specific references to it.

I can’t find the house mentioned in the trade publications after the 1930s, but the Ishpeming Theatre was apparently in operation at least as late as 1965, as E-Yearbooks has a copy of the local high school yearbook from 1965, and it contains a courtesy ad offering congratulations from the Butler and Ishpeming Theatres.

Historian Robert Archibald, a native of Ishpeming, in his 1999 book A Place to Remember: Using History to Build Community, made reference to Ishpeming’s two downtown theaters, saying that one had closed and the other had been demolished for a parking lot. As the Butler Theatre is still standing, the Ishpeming Theatre has to be the one that had been demolished by 1999.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gayety Theater on Feb 20, 2012 at 4:43 am

A small photo of the Gayety Theatre can be seen here, in the March 11, 1916, issue of the trade journal Electrical Review. The brief article was about the theater’s electric sign.

The photo actually shows the side entrance to the theater’s gallery, on Wyandotte Street. Its main entrance was around the corner on 12th Street, as seen in this postcard view from before the electric sign was installed.

Here is a photo dated 1945, after the theater had converted from burlesque to movies and the enormous electric sign had been removed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cedar-Lee Theatre on Feb 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm

The January 3, 1926, issue of The Film Daily carried a brief notice of the opening of this theater:

“Cleveland — The Cedar-Lee theater, the seventh and newest house operated by Dr. B. I. Brody and his associates, was opened Dec. 28. It is a 1,200 seat house, located in Cleveland Heights. Dr. Brody has leased it for 17 years at an aggregate amount of about $300,000. The opening attraction was ‘A King on Main Street.’”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Le Rose Theatre on Feb 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Jeffersonville Indiana, by Garry J. Nokes, says that the Le Rose Theatre was built in 1920. If the claim is correct, the item that appeared in the July 5, 1919, issue of The American Contractor was probably about the Le Rose:

“M P. Theatre (stg. cap. 800): $18,000. 1 sty. 70x90. Jeffersonville. Ind. Archt. J. J. Gaffney. 437 S. 2nd St.. Louisville. Owner M. Switow. 408 Fourth st. Brk.. non-frpf.. comp. rfg. Drawing plans. Excav. Owner builds by day work.”
The Le Rose is more than 90' deep, though, and has considerably more than 800 seats, and the entrance building is two stories, not one. It’s possible that Mr. Switlow decided to build it bigger, or it might have been expanded later.

There are photos on the Internet of a few buildings designed by J. J. Gaffney, and the facade of the Le Rose does appear to be characteristic of his style (he seems to have been very fond of red and orange toned face brick set off with stone or cast stone trim.) But given the difference between the project described in the journal item and the Le Rose as it was built, maybe we should only put down James J. Gaffney as the possible architect of the Le Rose. Maybe someone with access to other sources can use this information as a starting point for further research.

Here is a 1928 photo of the auditorium of the Le Rose Theatre. It looks to me as though it might have had a section of stadium seating at the back. It was a very handsome interior, although the clerestory windows must have precluded movie matinees, unless there was some way of blacking them out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ideal Theatre on Feb 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

The February 10, 1912, issue of The Moving Picture World had the following item about the Ideal Theatre:

“The Ideal Amusement Company, of Louisville, Ky…. has made arrangements with S. P. Ostrander, architect, to draw up plans for the establishment of an elaborate and commodious theater in Louisville.

“This new theater will be built of brick and will be absolutely fireproof throughout and will have a seating capacity of 1,400. It will cost when completed $50,000 and will be located at 2315 West Market Street. The building will be a frontage of 80 feet and a depth of 150 feet. The stage will measure 32 x 28 feet. This house has been so constructed that during the hot spell in the summer time it can easily converted into an airdome.”

I’ve been unable to find any other references to an architect named S. P. Ostrander, so he must never have become well known.

Here is a 1938 photo of the Ideal Theatre’s lobby.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Shaker Square Cinemas on Feb 19, 2012 at 11:10 am

Three photos of the Shaker Square Cinemas can be seen here, on the web site of Mesbur+Smith Architects, the Toronto firm responsible for the 1999 renovations.

The auditorium had been carved into five screens in 1983, and the original lobby had been destroyed by a fire at some point. When Cleveland Cinemas took control of the house in 1999, the earlier multiplexing was torn out and replaced with a new six-screen configuration with stadium seating, and John Eberson’s original Art Moderne lobby design was restored.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gateway Film Center on Feb 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

There are three color renderings of the Drexel Cinemas/Gateway Film Center on the web site of its designers, Mesbur+Smith Architects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cascade Picture Palace on Feb 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

The historical marker for the Cascade Theatre is at 11-15 S. Mill Street, according to this web page. I don’t know if that means the theater was at that exact address or not, but as it was a very small house it might well have been located in a storefront on the side street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 18, 2012 at 11:31 am

Here is a 1948 photo of the Strand.

The September 9, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World had an item about a Strand Theatre in Athens, but I’m not sure it was the same house:

“The old Palace theater has been remodeled, and is now known as the Strand. This house runs Metro pictures, and is owned by Manning & Wink, who operate several houses in Georgia and Tennessee.”
The Strand building in the various photos looks a bit too modern to have been operating in 1916, though it might have been remodeled again later, of course.