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Lying deep within a very large PDF document prepared for the NRHP is the information that the Mode Theatre, built in 1936, was designed by architect William Pereira. The document also says that the Mode was the town’s “…first taste of Modern architectural design….”
Boxoffice of August 12, 1950, said that the Indiana Theatre was undergoing a $250,000 remodeling project. The design was by Indianapolis architect Alden Meranda, who had done a major remodeling of the Crump Theatre at Columbus, Indiana, in 1941.
In its issue of December 2, 1963, Boxoffice reported that the Indiana Theatre name had been moved to the former Von Ritz Theatre. A November 16, 1964, Boxoffice item says that Bedford Theatres had razed the former Indiana Theatre at Bedford, and adds that the house had been built in 1900. It also says that the Indiana was located on 15th Street.
The page with the photo linked in Lost Memory’s second comment above says that the Indiana Theatre had been called the Stone City or Stone City Opera House prior to 1924. This Rootsweb post says that the Stone City Opera House opened on May 16, 1901.
Boxoffice of July 4, 1960, said that the Von Ritz Theatre had been built on the site of an earlier theater, which had opened in 1927, and which had been destroyed by fire about 1930.
The original owner of the Von Ritz was a Bloomington, Indiana, real estate man who had the colorful name November E. Vonderschmidtt. In 1960, Mrs. Vonderschmidtt sold the house to H.E. McCarrell’s Enterprises, long-time operators of the Indiana Theatre in Bedford.
Boxoffice of December 2, 1963, said that the Von Ritz had become the Indiana Theatre. The former Indiana Theatre on 15th Street had been closed (it was demolished the next year.)
Boxoffice of May, 1983, has a brief item about the fire that destroyed the Palace Theatre, saying that it was opened in the 1920s as the Von Ritz and was later called the Indiana. It also says that the house had been converted to a triplex not long before the fire.
In news of other Bedford theaters, a June 5, 1978, Boxoffice article about 68-year-old Louie Fiddler mentions that Mr. Fiddler’s father had worked as a projectionist at two early-day theaters in Bedford, the Crystal and the Colonial. No further information about them was given.
I’ve also found an October 9, 1937, Boxoffice item saying that the Lawrence Theatre in Bedford, Indiana, had been reopened.
Boxoffice of August 12, 1950, said that the Princess Theatre would soon reopen after extensive renovation. The architect for the project was Frank J. Lapasso.
The item said that the Princess had opened in 1912, operated by the Royal Theatre Co., and was taken over by Great States Theatres in the 1920s. The renovated house would be operated by Publix Great States.
The August 12, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said the Flatirons Theatre would be ready to open about October 1. The new theater was designed by Lakewood, Colorado, architect Byron Kaufman.
From Boxoffice, August 31, 1970, an article about the National with several photos.
It looks like the Minturn didn’t open in 1937, but only got a name change. The May 8 issue of Boxoffice that year said that it had previously been called the Jewel.
The Minturn must have been doing OK in the 1960s, as the January 29, 1968, issue of Boxoffice said that operator Lloyd Greve had rebuilt the interior, added air conditioning, redecorated and installed new draperies.
Either Lloyd Greve or his father, John Greve, is mentioned as the owner or operator of the Minturn in all the Boxoffice items I can find mentioning the house from 1943 until 1971, when the September 13 issue said that Lloyd Greve had sold the theater to John T. O'Leary.
After this the Minturn changed hands frequently. The January 22, 1973, Boxoffice said that Michael Barry and Bill Pence would be opening the Minturn Movie on the 27th of that month.
A Michael Palmer had taken over by 1975, when the October 13 issue of Boxoffice reported yet another remodeling, one which gave the building “…a new front and marquee installation. The theatre is now done in a western motif.”
Boxoffice of January 29, 1979, reported that yet another operator, Jim Douras, had installed a new screen and automated the booth. I haven’t found the theater mentioned after that.
According to Boxoffice of May 7, 1949, the architect of the Metro was John J. McNamara, with Cairo architect Gaston Rossi as associate. The Boxoffice item said that Loews also operate a Metro Theatre in Cairo, which had opened in 1940.
An ad for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. in Boxoffice of May 7, 1949 featured a picture of the entrance and marquee of the Daniel Webster Theatre. The caption named the architect of the theater as Michael J. DeAngelis.
Boxoffice of May 7, 1949, said that the architect of Underwood & Ezell’s new Trail Drive-In was Jack Corgan.
The second paragraph of my previous comment should read “…a February 11, 1974 Boxoffice item.”
The former West Park Theatre was scheduled to open soon as the Parkway Theatre, according to Boxoffice of November 16, 1935. It had been entirely remodeled inside and out. The house had been closed for about two years before the remodeling began, according to an earlier Boxoffice item. I’ve been unable to discover when the West Park opened.
The Parkway was closed for several months following a fire in late 1973, according to a February 11, 1973, Boxoffice item announcing its reopening.
In addition to the Parkway and Roxian, McKees Rocks supported at least three other theaters. These were the Orpheum (Shea’s Orpheum), open before 1935 and closed in 1959; The Regent, open before 1935, in which year it suffered a fire, and closed in the spring of 1956; and the Colony, 720 Broadway, apparently opened in 1931 and closed in April, 1952.
An article about the Durkee circuit’s new Ambassador Theatre appeared in Boxoffice of December 14, 1935. The only photographs in the article depict the front and the projection booth, but there is considerable description.
The Sandra Theatre opened on July 23, 1939. A few months later a photo of its front appeared in the November 11 issue of Boxoffice. The theater was designed by one of Wichita’s leading architects of the period, Lorentz Schmidt, who was better known for designing many schools throughout Kansas. The Sandra was probably his only commercial theater design, though he undoubtedly had much practice with school auditoriums.
The Sandra Theatre was built for husband and wife T.H. and Merta Slothower, who operated it until 1942 and then leased it to Fox, according to and article about the Slothowers in Boxoffice of March 29, 1952. The April 1, 1950, issue of Boxoffice called this the Fox Sandra Theatre, and said that it was switching to an art film policy. It was seldom mentioned in Boxoffice after that, though the Slothowers were mentioned frequently, operating several theaters in the region into the 1970s.
Here is a three page article about the Beekman, with several photos, in Boxoffice, June 7, 1952.
Page 15-A of the newspaper Mike Rivest linked to just above says that the Majestic was designed by architects Pettigrew & Worley.
Boxoffice had a photo of the auditorium of the Park Theater, taken about an hour after the ceiling collapsed.
Seeing the size of the place in the photo, I’d say 390 was closer to the actual seating capacity than 1,200 is, even though Boxoffice itself gave 1,200 as the capacity in another issue. A picture is worth a thousand words- or in this case, minus eight hundred or so seats.
The Pines Theatre was originally operated by the Jefferson Amusement Company, and replaced an earlier house at Silsbee the circuit had bought in 1937. This was a 300-seat theater called the Palace, which was condemned in 1947.
Was there a theater built at Bluefield in 1917 or 1918? The March 6, 1917, issue of The Ohio Architect Engineer and Builder has this item: “Architects C.C. and E.A. Weber… have completed preliminary plans for a theater and arcade…. The structure will be two stories and basement, 129x62 feet and will be erected in Bluefield, W. Va….”
A cursory search of Boxoffice turns up half a dozen theaters in Bluefield not yet listed on Cinema Treasures. The Weber brothers' project might have been any of them, or might have been the Colonial. I found one Boxoffice item about a fellow who began his theater career working at the Colonial in 1919, so it must have opened in the teens, not the twenties.
Chris and Edward Weber were well known architects in the region in the early 20th century, and designed Kentucky’s governor’s mansion, among other notable structures.
A.N. and Emil Zeiler opened the Paris Drive-In on June 5, 1950. In the opening announcement in Boxoffice of June 17, the surname Zeiler was misspelled as Seiler. A.N. Zeiler (his first name was Aloysius, though Boxoffice usually refers to him as Ollie) was usually mentioned as the manager for the first few years.
Mr. and Mrs. Emil Zeiler were the operators of the Paris Drive-In when Boxoffice of August 11, 1975, ran an item about the drive-in’s 25th anniversary.
A June 5, 1954, Boxoffice article about the installation of a miniature train at the Paris Drive-In is interesting for providing one of only three references I’ve found to a second drive-in at Paris. It says that Zeiler “…got his first competition….” that year. An August 8, 1953, item datelined Paris says that the K. Lee Williams circuit had bought a site for a 500 car drive-in which would be completed by the next summer. A January 25, 1960, item about the Logan Theatre says that the Williams circuit also operated the Strand and Auto theaters at Paris.
Boxoffice of July 31, 1948, said that C.H. and William Glenn Balch were preparing plans for a drive-in at Bell Gardens for Pacific Drive-Ins.
As the firm of Balch & Balch had been dissolved a few years earlier, and William Glenn Balch had formed a partnership with Louis L. Bryan in 1946, I’m not sure if the inclusion of Clifford Balch in the notice was not just an error by somebody at Boxoffice who didn’t know about the elder Balch’s retirement.
In any case, William Balch had already designed other drive-ins and was almost certainly the lead architect on the Bell Gardens project. Balch & Bryan had several drive-in projects underway in 1948.
The Balch in the firm of Balch, Bryan, Perkins, Hutchason was William Glenn Balch, the considerably younger brother of theater architect Clifford Balch. Following the dissolution of the firm of Balch & Balch, in 1946 Clifford Balch formed a partnership with Louis L. Bryan. Balch & Bryan became Balch, Bryan, Perkins, Hutchason, Architects in 1953, with the addition of partners John Loring Perkins and W.K. Hutchason.
Here is a Boxoffice article about the Star Theatre. It notes that William Glenn Balch had “…designed over 180 southland theatres over the last 25 years….”
A small night photo of the Los Feliz appeared in Boxoffice of June 29, 1935. The caption attributes the design of the theater to architect Clifford Balch.
Boxoffice of July 31, 1948, said that Los Angeles architects Russell & Samaniego were preparing plans for a theater to be built by Griffith Enterprises on Imperial Highway in Inglewood. I’ve been unable to find the opening year for the Imperial, but the theater won an award for its signage from the Wagner Sign Company in 1950.
The partnership of architects George Vernon Russell and Eduardo J. Samaniego was in existence from 1946 to 1950. They designed at least one of the department stores that J.C. Penney was putting up in suburban business districts around Southern California during this period (the one at Van Nuys.) As those J.C. Penney stores all looked much alike, perhaps they designed others as well. I’ve been unable to discover if they designed any theaters other than the Imperial.
Russell was one of the architects of the Sunset Plaza shopping center (1934-1936) on the Sunset Strip, in collaboration with Charles Selkirk, who had been one of the architects of the Alex Theatre in Glendale. George Russell was also the original architect of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas (1945), though he was ousted before the Flamingo was completed, when Bugsy Siegel took over the project from its originator, William Wilkerson.
George Russell’s partner Eduardo Samaniego had an interesting connection to the movies. His older brother, Ramon Samaniego, became an actor during the silent era, adopting the more easily pronounced screen name Ramon Novarro.
Another interesting movie connection involving the Imperial is that the theater was taken over not long after it opened by Phil Isley, whose daughter was actress Jennifer Jones. Isley had cause to regret this attempt to break into the California market, as the Imperial and two other recently built luxury theaters he acquired there, the La Tijera and the California, lost more than a million dollars over a period of three years, according to an article (lower left corner) in Boxoffice of December 20, 1952.
The Imperial had a rather sketchy history, opening and closing several times under different operators. At least it survived as a theater longer than Isley’s La Tijera, which was converted into a bowling alley less than three years after it opened. I’ve been unable to identify the location of the third Isley house mentioned in the Boxoffice article, the California. Does anybody know which California Theatre it was?
Photos of the marquee and auditorium of this splendid little Art Moderne theatre can be seen in this Boxoffice article from December 6, 1941. There is also a ground-floor plan of the Grove and its parent theater, the Redlands, which shows the relationship between the two houses.