Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tokay Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:27 am

The July 19, 1919, issue of trade journal The Lumber Manufacturer and Dealer reported that architect E.W. Houghton was preparing plans for a theater to be erected at Raymond, Washington.

The journal Engineering and Contracting reported on September 3, 1919, that George Reisner (spelling error) had awarded the contracts for the construction of the Tokay Theater at Raymond.

As no other theaters were being built in Raymond at that time, the Tokay must have been the Houghton project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Danforth Music Hall Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:25 am

The web page Eric Veillette linked to in his comment of Jan 23, 2011, has a scan of an ad for Allen theaters which includes an Allen’s Bloor. Does anybody know if that house is listed at Cinema Treasures under a different name? If it is, it’s missing the aka. I found an article about a Bloor Street Allen Theater in a 1919 trade journal, and I’d like to link to it on the appropriate Cinema Treasures page, if somebody can point me to it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regent Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:22 am

The Regent Theatre was expanded in 1919, so it probably opened earlier. The November 12, 1919, issue of trade journal Engineering & Contracting said that Mrs. Gertrude Richtey was investing at least $25,000 to build an addition to her Regent Theatre in Lyons. The addition was to be on Pearl Street, which is the street behind Church Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Brook Theater on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:17 am

Here is yet another web page with photos of the Brook Theatre. The accompanying text says that the Brook served as the home of the American Theatre Company (Tulsa’s leading theatre group) for fifteen years before being converted into a restaurant. ATC’s web site says the Brook became the company’s second stage in 1979, so fifteen years would be just about right if the restaurant conversion took place in the mid-1990s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:57 am

I’ve found two sources saying that the Grand Opera House in Tulsa burned in 1920. The first is this timeline from an Oklahoma genweb page. The second is more thorough, but also problematic as it gives the address of the theater as 117 E. 2nd Street. It is from the October, 1921, issue of the journal Safety Engineering:

“October 9, 1920. Tulsa, Okla. Grand Theatre building, 117 E. 2d Street. Opera house, stores and room. One 3-story building destroyed. Walls, brick. Floors, wood. Roofs, gravel. Cause, electric wiring. Fire started under stage in theater. Discovered by night watchmen at about 1:03 a. m. Alarm, night watchman passed up 3 fire alarm boxes to notify fire department. Duration, 3 hours. Stopped at fire wall. Fire was retarded by construction of building. Firemen handicapped by overhead wires. Private fire apparatus, six 3-gallon soda and acid extinguishers. Persons in building, 6. Killed, none. Injured, none. Means of escape, 75-foot aerial truck. Value of building and contents, $58,000. Property loss, $55,000. Papers were protected.”
Were there two different Grand Theatres in Tulsa, one block apart? The address discrepancy might be an error in the 1921 publication, or perhaps Tulsa renumbered its blocks at some time. The photos from before 1920 and from the much later period when the building had become a furniture store show that the facade of the theater was the same, fire or not. Presumably the building was only gutted. I’ve been unable to find any other sources providing information about the fire, or saying anything about the rebuilding of the Grand Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Thomas Theatre on Mar 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Three photos of the Thomas Theatre appeared in the January 12, 1912, issue of the professional journal The Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder. Here is an exterior photo, and here are two interior views of the auditorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theater on Mar 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm

The name Oklah was used for two theaters in Bartlesville, both opened in 1908. The 1909-1910 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide lists the Oklah Theatre with 820 seats; 433 on the main floor, 187 in the balcony, and 200 in the gallery. A biography of oil man Frank Phillips says that the Oklah Theatre opened on September 25, 1908.

Meanwhile, the book Bartlesville,Oklahoma, by Karen Smith Woods, has a photo of an Oklah Air Dome, which the caption says opened on May 3, 1908, and seated some 1500.

The photos of the Liberty and the Odeon at the Oklahoma History web site actually depict two different theaters. Searching on Liberty Bartlesville fetches two photos; one dated ca.1926 showing this building as the Liberty, and one dated ca.1940 showing the same building as the Odeon. Searching on Odeon Bartlesville fetches five photos; the same ca.1940 photo as the Liberty search, plus two interior photos dated ca.1930 (probably of the earlier Odeon) and two exterior shots dated ca.1937 and ca. 1940, both of which depict a different building than the Liberty, but the ca.1937 photo shows the same Odeon sign that was on the Liberty building in the first ca.1940 photo.

Some time around 1940, the name Odeon must have been moved from one theater to another. As the Liberty is the only Bartlesville house listed with the aka Odeon at Cinema Treasures, I don’t know if the first Odeon is still unlisted, or if it is listed under another name but is missing the aka.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theatre on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm

tlsloews: The Colonial Theatre is to the right of the big Romanesque style post office building that dominates the photo, but since the photo is dated 1915, it can’t be the Colonial Theatre on Woodward Avenue, which wasn’t built until 1917. Also, Woodward Avenue has always been a much wider thoroughfare than the narrow back street that the Colonial in the photo faces.

It’s an odd little building. The top section is pure Greek Revival, but the lower two floors are Italianate, of a style that was some thirty or forty years out of date by 1917. It looks like it might have been a church that was altered and converted into a theater, with the lower two floors being an addition to a free-standing temple-style building.

I don’t know what theater it is. Cinema Treasures doesn’t list Colonial as an aka for any other Detroit theater, and of course it would have lost the name Colonial by the time this Woodward Avenue house opened in 1917. Either this theater is unlisted, or it’s listed under a later name and missing the aka.

I found a May, 1912, reference to a Colonial Theatre on the northwest corner of Lafayette Avenue (now Lafayette Blvd.) and Shelby Street, which must have been the theater in the photo. The Post Office was on W. Fort Street between Shelby and Washington, and Lafayette was the street behind it. The theater would have been in the 200 block of West Lafayette. I’ve clicked through the the first 100 of the 184 theaters listed for Detroit to see if one of them is in that block, but with no luck, and I think I’m getting carpel tunnel syndrome. Does anybody want to click through the remaining 84? If it isn’t there, it’s unlisted. Of course, it’s possible the house never even operated as a movie theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Star Theatre on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:57 am

The related web site link no longer works. The Gem Theatre is gone. As told in this weblog post by Kim Harrold, the theater was bought by a developer who promised to promised to repair the roof so there would still be something left of the theater to restore eventually, but instead the building was neglected until it had deteriorated too far to be saved. The Gem Theatre was demolished in February, 2010.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Campus Theater on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:54 am

If this theater opened as the Campus in 1914, it didn’t keep the name for long. The August, 1915, issue of professional journal The Architect & Engineer mentioned that the construction firm of Gaspard & Hamilton, builders of the Majestic Theatre in Berkeley, had been dissolved. It must have been the same Majestic Theatre, as the item said that it had been designed by architect W.H. Ratcliffe, Jr..

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Skyview Drive-In on Mar 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm

The Skyview Cruise-In was built in 1948, according to the caption of its picture in the Arcadia Publishing Company book “Lancaster,” by Connie L. Rutter, Sondra Brockway Gartner.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm

The Arcadia Publishing Company’s book “Lancaster” has a 1906 photo of this theater as the Hippodrome. An earlier page has a later photo giving a partial view of the Liberty Theatre marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sugg Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I noticed that windowless building across 4th Street. It does look like it could have been a theater, though it might also have been a large bank. They were often windowless, too.

While trying to dig up more information about the Sugg, I came across references to a Wagner (or Wagoner) Opera House in Chickasha. It was listed in early 20th century editions of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide, and it’s apparently still standing at 328 W. Chickasha Avenue. The first entry on this page of The Steel Guitar Forum says that a Barry Thomas was renovating the Wagner for use as a guitar shop. The entry is dated 2003.

I can’t find anything else about Barry Thomas, and there’s no guitar shop at this location listed on the Internet, so maybe his plans didn’t work out. I don’t know if the Wagner/Wagoner ever operated as a movie house, but it’s quite possible that it did. It’s possible that it operated under a different name, and was the location of one of the several theaters listed for Chickasha without addresses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sugg Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Thanks, Ray, and thanks to Google Books for making all those old magazines available. I actually found the Sugg Theatre photo while looking for something else.

But after comparing the various photos, and the bird’s eye view at Bing Maps, and the Google Street View, I’m sure the Sugg/first Washita and the second Washita were at different locations. The first of the pre-fire photos at Oklahoma History, and the 1913 postcard I linked to above, show a tall building next door to the Sugg, and there’s no trace of it in this circa 1950 photo of the second Washita, even though the buildings next door to it and down the block look quite old. The Sugg was free-standing, too, while the second Washita butted against other buildings on both sides.

The only five story building in Chickasha today that could be the one in the old photos of the Sugg is the one at the southwest corner of Chickasha and 4th. The lot just south of it on 4th has a one-story building that occupies a footprint that matches up with the old photos of the Sugg Theatre (see the bird’s eye view at Bing Maps.) In Google Street View, it’s clear that the building at the corner of Chickasha and 4th is the same one you can see a corner of in the 1913 postcard I linked to. The detailing around the street floor windows is identical. The Sugg/first Washita had to have been on that lot just south of it, on South 4th Street.

In Google Street View, the building on the Sugg’s site is only one story, but is faced with the same type of brick as the Sugg. Street View shows a bit of the northern side wall, and it looks like it drops down from the street, as a theater building would. Bing’s birds eye shows part of the back wall, and there appears to be a theater-type exit door on it. I think there’s a good chance that this building could be the remains of the Sugg Theatre, chopped down to one floor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gym Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:33 am

Could this be the Gem Theatre? A Gem Theatre at Sherman was the subject of a brief item in The Moving Picture World, December 6, 1913 (scroll down a bit.) There is a small photo of the 350-seat house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ideal Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:18 am

The original Ideal Theatre was pictured in The Moving Picture World, December 6, 1913. The brief text said that the theater had opened three years earlier and seated 250.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jewel Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:07 am

A Jewell Theater (with double “l”) in Okemah is listed in the 1912-1913 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide. The seating capacity was listed as only 460, though.

An October 9, 1954, Boxoffice item said that operator Bill Slepka had installed CinemaScope in both of his Okemah theaters, the Jewel and the Crystal.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sugg Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 4:43 am

The name currently given for this house might be wrong. There is a photograph of a Sugg Theatre in Chickasha, published in The Moving Picture World, issue of December 6, 1913. The recently opened house seated 923, and included two balconies, the upper one a segregated section for black patrons. It was named for one of its original owners, a cattle rancher.

I found two other mentions of the Sugg Theatre on the Internet, including this postcard, postmarked 1913.

This 2003 memoriam for Lois Ruth Badgley says that her first job was playing piano to accompany silent movies at the Sugg Theatre. As she was born in 1913, the time period must have been the 1920s (unless young Lois was uncommonly precocious.)

The name Soggs Theatre is on the Internet only here and at Roadside Oklahoma, which I have not found to be the most reliable source of information. CinemaTour doesn’t have the house listed under either name. I’ve not found the theater mentioned under either name in the Boxoffice archive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 4:40 am

Though Chickasha has many theaters listed at Cinema Treasures, the only one I can find mentioned in the Boxoffice archive is the Rialto, which is either not listed here or is listed under another name and missing its aka. A Rialto is listed for Chickasha at both CinemaTour and Roadside Oklahoma, but without an address.

The brief Boxoffice item, from October 9, 1954, says that Rialto manager Horace Clark had re-roofed the building, and had installed CinemaScope and 300 reconditioned seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mariposa Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:41 am

The Mariposa might have opened in 1935. The California Index has a card citing a July 13, 1935, item in Motion Picture Herald saying that Frank Boeck and Ray Harper had opened a theater in Mariposa. I can’t find Mariposa mentioned in Boxoffice at all.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sixth Street Cinema on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:40 am

A careful reading of the newspaper article at the Rural Media Arts web site reveals that F.W. Schlageter was not the architect of the Masonic Lodge, but one of the trustees who was awaiting the architect’s plans. Because the scan of the article is small, and a bit fuzzy, the period could be mistaken for a comma at first glance.

I wonder if the theater that once operated on the ground floor of the Masonic Lodge could have been the Mariposa Theatre? We have no address for the Mariposa, so it could have been anywhere in town, including this building. Here is the Media Arts page that mentions the ground floor theater. The Sixth Street Cinema being on the second floor, the earlier house would not have been the same theater despite it having been in the same building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Theatre on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:16 am

Glinda: I’ve never been able to find any photos of the building or of the theater. I’d like to see some myself. The article from which I quoted in my earlier comment is in this book at Google Books. The brief biographies of both Louis Smilansky and Harold Smilansky both mention the Lincoln Square project, but the biography of Harold is the one with the description from which I quoted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Mar 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

In case you haven’t seen it, follow the “About this book” link at the upper left of the Cincinnatian page, then scroll down to the “Other Editions” section. Google Books provides full views of two more volumes of the Cincinnatian, from 1916 and 1917.

Also, you might be interested in the several editions of Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder available at Google Books.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:54 am

Motion Picture Times, to which I linked in my earlier comment, is no longer available on the Internet. Eventually, it will probably be reposted at Boxoffice Magazine’s own web site. So far they have posted only issues as far back as 1935.

I wonder if the Crystal Theatre opened by G.K. Jorgensen in 1911 was in an existing building. It seems likely in light of this article from the April 9, 1913, issue of trade journal American Architect and Architecture:

“Dallas.â€"G. K. Jorgensen will erect a new $100,000 moving picture theater on the site now occupied by the Crystal Theater on Elm St., between Stone and Ervay. Plans are now being prepared by Architect I. A. Walker, and will be ready for bidders about June 1.”
If Jorgensen was even considering demolishing the theater and replacing it, the building must have been more than two years old. I’ve found no later information about the project, so I don’t know if it was carried out or not, but if the building at 1608 Elm is still standing, as matt54 said it was a few months ago, it should be possible to get its year of construction from the city’s building department, or perhaps the local tax agency.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:15 am

The Grand’s official web site says the theater was designed by Boston architects Krokyn & Browne. Most sources, including Cinema Treasures, call the firm Krokyn, Browne & Rosenstein, but Rosenstein isn’t mentioned on the Grand’s web site. Rosenstein appears to have been the youngest of the three, and perhaps he had not yet become a partner at the time the Grand was designed.

I’ve found a bit about J. Frederick Krokyn, less about Arthur Rosenstein, but W. Chester Browne joined the advisory board of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute in 1948. He had been associated with Krokyn from 1936 to 1941, thereafter establishing his own practice. The January 31, 1948, Boxoffice item about Browne said that Krokyn & Browne (Boxoffice doesn’t mention Rosenstein either) had during that period done all the work for M&P Theatres and Graphic Theatres, as well as designs for many independent operators.