Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Civic Detroit Theater on Dec 15, 2009 at 1:22 am

The Civic was the subject of an article in Boxoffice, July 19, 1941. There are several photos. The architect of the Civic was Kenneth S. Frazier, who also designed the Carmen Theatre in Dearborn the same year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sandburg Theatre on Dec 15, 2009 at 1:18 am

The remodeling of the Dearborn in the 1930s was the first such job undertaken for Balaban & Katz by the Pereira brothers, according to the final paragraph of this article in Boxoffice, June 20, 1942. The Pereiras returned in that year to again remodel the house, which was then renamed the Surf Theatre. The article includes two photos of the marquee, but unfortunately none of the interior.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Longmont Performing Arts Center on Dec 15, 2009 at 1:14 am

Boxoffice of September 16, 1939, said that Fox Intermountain Theatres had begun remodeling a building in Longmont for use as a theater. The project was to cost $60,000.

The December 9, 1939, issue of Boxoffice said that the new Fox in Longmont had opened December 5, with 710 seats. The July 19, 1941 issue of Boxoffice had an article about the new projection booth at the Fox in Longmont, installed when the house “…was being modernized recently.” There’s a small photo of the auditorium.

Also, I have to question the attribution of the design of the theater to the Skouras Brothers. Spyros Skouras certainly dictated the look of Fox theaters during this period, but I’ve never heard of any of the Skouras brothers actually being a designer. Spyros undoubtedly had a lot to say about the choice of architects and decorators for the various Fox houses built or remodeled during his tenure, but I’d be very surprised to learn that he or his brothers ever wielded the pencils themselves.

The 1941 item names George Frantz as chief of design and construction for Fox Theatres at the time of the Longmont project, and attributes the idea for the house’s suspended, circular projection booth to him. I don’t think Frantz was himself an architect. A few issues of Boxoffice refer to him as a “theatre engineer.” He apparently left the details of design to the various architects, such as Mel Glatz and Carl Moeller, who Fox either contracted with or employed in-house over the years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Community Theatre on Dec 15, 2009 at 1:10 am

A December 26, 1936, Boxoffice item about the plans to build this theater says that it was to be the second house in Walter Reade’s American Community Theatres project. The lot on which the theater was to be built was 90x278 feet.

Walter Reade announced the formation of the American Community Theatres Corporation in 1936, as reported in Boxoffice Magazine of October 10 that year (bottom center of left page.) Over the next few years the chain expanded rapidly.

It might be that all the early Community Theatres houses were designed in Thomas Lamb’s office. A January 8, 1938, Boxoffice item about the chain’s intention to build seven new theaters that year said that, following his return from a cruise, Reade would meet with Lamb “…to draw up plans.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broad Theatre on Dec 15, 2009 at 12:27 am

Boxoffice of December 26, 1936, ran an item saying that “…A. M. Ellis will operate the theatre in the 4800 block of Broad Street on which work was started this week.” The house was to seat 500, and the project was budgeted at $40,000.

The wording in Boxoffice being a bit vague, I thought this project was for an entirely new theater until I read the Cinema Treasures intro. Given the budget, this must have been a fairly extensive remodeling of the 1915 Broad Theatre. The architect for the remodeling was David Supowitz.

A couple of later issues of Boxoffice mention A. M. Ellis’s Broad Theatre when Ellis was involved in a clearance case against several major companies, including Warners, operators of the Logan Theatre down the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rogers Theatre on Dec 14, 2009 at 1:45 am

Well, so far that’s three to zero against the Boxoffice photos being of this Rogers Theatre. If they depict the Rogers Avenue Rogers, though, then the attribution of the design of that theater to Charles Sandblom must be wrong. Boxoffice often got some details wrong (that’s why I discounted their reported seating capacity of 600 in that article), but I don’t think they’d make a mistake about who sent them photos for publication, and the text of that article is quite clear that the photos were supplied by architect William Hohauser.

I wonder if maybe the Rogers on Broadway was an early Sandblom design, and that’s where the confusion came from? He was working independently (after leaving Thomas Lamb’s office) as early as 1921. On the other hand, from the descriptions above it doesn’t sound as though this Rogers Theatre had any architecture to speak of, and that makes it less likely to have been a Sandblom design. In fact the descriptions (wooden seats, sawdust on the floor) sound like it might have been a survivor from the nickelodeon days.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Symphony Space/Peter Jay Sharp Theatre on Dec 14, 2009 at 1:26 am

See this page from Boxoffice, January 11, 1936, for photos of the Symphony Theatre after it was remodeled that year. The project was designed by architect William I. Hohauser, who also wrote the article the photos illustrate.

There are two additional photos on the following page, showing the auditorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 13, 2009 at 2:10 am

That information from the National Register of Historic Places interesting. I was not aware that Alexander Curlett had ever designed a theater. It must have been a solo work, too, as his father William Curlett, his former partner, had died in 1914.

The Rialto must have been his last, or nearly the last, project he designed before he formed his partnership with Claud Beelman, as everything else I’ve seen of his from 1920 to 1928 is attributed to Curlett & Beelman. The impression I’ve gotten from various sources has been that Aleck Curlett was the less talented member of that firm, but the Rialto is a pretty impressive building. Maybe he had more to do with the designs of the great Curlett & Beelman projects of the 1920s than I’ve been led to believe.

Now I’m wondering if some of the still-unattributed theaters around the southwest from the late 1910s might have been of his design.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Congress Theatre on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:46 am

If somebody wants to add the Community Theatre, it was a Thomas Lamb design. A brief item about Reade’s intention to build the house appeared in Boxoffice, December 26, 1936. The item is on the left page, about the middle of the middle column.

An August 7, 1937, Boxoffice item says this about the Congress Theatre: “Within a week after the opening of his new Community here, Walter Reade announced that he has purchased for $200,000 cash the Congress Theatre and office building which, when he takes possession late this fall, will give him two first-run theatres in this famed city of horse racing.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dale Theatre on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:33 am

The Dale Theatre was under construction when it was mentioned in Boxoffice, July 3, 1937. Later issues indicate an opening sometime between August and October that year. It was built for Harry Brandt.

Looking at the photos linked in the previous two comemnts, I fancy the Dale has a strong similarity to the Kent Theatre that was opened in Brooklyn during the same era. Harry Brandt was a partner in the Kent Theatre, which was designed by Charles Sandblom. Could the Dale be another Sandblom design? Boxoffice isn’t telling.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rogers Theatre on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:21 am

Perhaps someone who was in the Rogers Theatre at some time could look at the two top photos on the right-hand page of this scan of Boxoffice from November 11, 1936. I know the place might have been redecorated by the time anyone posting here saw it, but maybe somebody can confirm the location anyway.

As there were two theaters called the Rogers in Brooklyn, I’m not sure which of them these photos depict, though their accompanying text in Boxoffice says that the house depicted was designed by architect William I. Hohauser, and Cinema Treasures says that the other Rogers Theatre was designed by Charles Sandblom, so the Broadway location is more likely the one in the photos.

So, if the pictures do depict the Rogers Theater on Broadway, the architect for the remodeling in 1936 was William Hohauser.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Central Theatre on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:15 am

Two interior photos of the Central as it appeared on completion (or after a remodeling- the article doesn’t say) in 1936 are at the bottom of this page of Boxoffice, November 11, 1936. If the lobby and foyer were typical of the house, I’d say it was of Art Moderne design.

A May 15, 1937, Boxoffice item says that RKO had taken over the Central at Yonkers from Herman Sussman. A June 24, 1939, item says that RKO had dropped the Central and the house had been picked up by Harry Brandt. I believe Harry Brandt later controlled the Trans-Lux circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Penn Newsreel Theatre on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:02 am

A Boxoffice Magazine item of June 24, 1939, contains the terse line “The Penn Newsreel on 34th St. has been demolished.” I wonder if the building itself was knocked down, or if it was merely gutted and converted to some other use? It sounds from the description in the Times that the part of the theater on 35th Street at least had been newly built. It seems unlikely that a new building would have been destroyed unless the site was wanted by a developer for a much larger building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riviera Drive-In on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:34 am

Boxoffice of May 22, 1948, said that construction was underway on two new drive-ins at Herrin. The one being built for the Marlow Amusement Corporation was designed by the Evansville architectural firm of Warweg & Hagel.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Washington Theatre on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:25 am

The Washington was run by the local circuit, Premier Theatres, for many years, but in 1965 was taken over by Ted Graulich, operator of the Family Drive-In at Evansville. He took over the Ross Theatre at the same time.

After remodeling the Washington, as reported in Boxoffice, February 25, 1966 (the article features two small photos), Graulich renamed the house the Cinema 35. Seating had been reduced to 605.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beach Cliff Theatre on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:21 am

A small photo of the lobby of the Beach Cliff appears in a carpeting ad in Boxoffice, October 1, 1949. As this was thirteen years after the Beach Cliff opened (see my previous comment) the house must have been newly re-carpeted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ross Theatre on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:06 am

A photo of the Ross Theatre’s auditorium appeared in a May 6, 1950, Boxoffice article about theater seating.

The Ross Theatre was built by Will Ross, an Evansville builder and real estate developer. The July 17, 1948, issue of Boxoffice reported that Settos Theatre Company had taken a twenty-year lease on the house, then under construction.

The Ross Theatre opened at Christmas, 1949, according to a Boxoffice item of August 26, 1950. After less than a year of operation by the Settos chain, Will Ross, dissatisfied with Settos management, arranged to have the lease transferred to the local Premier circuit, operated by Isadore and Jesse Fine. This item said that the Ross had 1,006 seats, including those in the cry room.

Premier operated the Ross for quite some time, but by 1965 the house, along with the Washington Theatre and the Family Drive-In were being operated by Cinema Theatres, a local company headed by Ted Graulich. In 1971, as reported in the March 15 issue of Boxoffice, all three theaters were renamed, The Ross becoming the Cinema 1. In the issue of February 26, 1973, Boxoffice reported that all three theaters were having their original names restored to prevent confusion with a twin Cinema 1 and Cinema 2 which had opened in Evansville. The Ross Theatre was then to be called Ross-Cinema 1.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about American Theater on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:02 am

An American Theatre in Evansville was mentioned in The Reel Journal of August 8, 1925. Though no address was given, the building in the photos linked above was certainly old enough to have been around in 1925, so it was probably the same American Theatre.

A fire broke out in the projection booth of the American in 1950, reported by Boxoffice of July 22. The only casualty was a print of Monogram’s “Lucky Losers.” As this was a Dead End Kids movie, the loss was negligible.

The July 9, 1955, Boxoffice said that new owners Harry Coleman and William Wunderlich, who had taken the American over from the Fine circuit (Premier Theatres) would spend $12,000 on remodeling the house. But the theater was nearing its end.

The American operated under the name Gay-Mark (or Gaymark- Boxoffice uses both forms) Theatre for the last year or so of its existence. The name change was announced in Boxoffice of October 29, 1955. In its September 15, 1956, issue, Boxoffice reported that the Gaymark Theatre had been converted into a burlesque house.

The burlesque policy apparently didn’t last long. In its December 29, 1956, issue Boxoffice said that the owners of the Gaymark had shuttered the house after a weekends-only, triple-feature policy had failed to pay off. That was probably the end of the American. I haven’t found the theater mentioned in Boxoffice after that under either name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:00 am

The architect for the conversion of the Century Theatre into the Paramount in 1948 was Rochester’s own Michael J. DeAngelis. There’s a picture of the post-renovation lobby in Boxoffice, May 22, 1948.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Raymond Theatre on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:56 am

The 1940 remodeling after which the Raymond Theatre became the Crown Theatre was featured in Boxoffice Magazine, May 22, 1948. There are small before and after photos of the lobby and auditorium, though the scan is a bit fuzzy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Green Lake Theatre on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:38 am

Unfortunately, Issuu’s scan of the magazine loses part of the text in the fold between pages, but Boxoffice of October 16, 1937, ran an illustrated article about the new Green Lake Theatre. There’s even a photo of the architect of the house, the prolific Bjarne Moe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:36 am

Boxoffice of February 26, 1938, said that A.G. Constant was building a 1,350-seat theater on Park Avenue in Mansfield. The architect was Victor A. Rigaumont.

Though it didn’t give the opening date, Boxoffice of October 1, 1938, said that more than 2,500 people had turned out for the opening of the Park Theatre, and that all of the 1,300 seats were filled for the first show. Presumably, the opening was in September.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victoria Theater on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:32 am

There was also a Victoria Theatre on Liberty Avenue at Garrison Way in downtown Pittsburgh. See this 1920 photo. The project index of the John and Drew Eberson archives lists a Victoria Theatre in Pittsburgh designed by John Eberson ca. 1912. It must have been one or the other of these two theaters. The only Eberson-designed house in Pittsburgh I can currently find listed at Cinema Treasures is the Perry, built in 1938.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avon Lake Theater on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:29 am

The Avon Lake Theatre opened on Thursday, April 21, 1949, according to an article in the April 30 issue of Boxoffice. The 1,200 seat house was designed by Cleveland architect W.S. Ferguson. It was originally operated by Meyer Fine’s Associated Theatres circuit.

A two-page article with photos of the Avon Lake ran in Boxoffice of September 3, 1949.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beach Cliff Theatre on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:25 am

Plans for this as-yet unnamed theater located on Detroit Road in Rocky River were announced in Boxoffice Magazine of September 19, 1936. Cleveland theater architect W.S. Ferguson was designing the project for the Rocky River Development Company. Projected seating capacity was 1,227.

I’ve been unable to find the exact opening date, but the September 4, 1937, issue of Boxoffice said in a brief item that 2,000 people had attended an “open house” at the new Beach Cliff Theatre.

So far, the only picture of the theater I’ve found from the period of its opening is a shot of the projection booth that was the frontispiece of the Modern Theatre section of Boxoffice, October 16, 1937.