Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hoo-Hoo Theatre on Aug 10, 2009 at 5:49 am

Incidentally, not only has the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, from which this theater’s name was derived, outlasted the theater, it even has a web site.

It now occurs to me that, long ago, I saw a vintage postcard of a building called the Hoo-Hoo that was at one of the world’s fairs- probably San Francisco’s in 1915. I remember wondering then what it was, as the card had no explanatory details. Now I realize it was probably operated by this organization.

A special event took place at the Hoo-Hoo Theatre in 1940. The September 7 issue of Boxoffice announced it:

“A men’s burlesque bathing beauty review will be held at the Hoo-Hoo, Gurdon, September 10.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hoo-Hoo Theatre on Aug 10, 2009 at 5:04 am

An item datelined Gurdon, Ark., in the January 13, 1940, issue of Boxoffice was headed “The Hoo-Hoo Bows” and gave the opening date as January 4. The house had recently been purchased by K. Lee Williams, and had previously been called the Wright Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Theatre on Aug 10, 2009 at 3:19 am

I’ve found the New Theatre in Hope mentioned in Boxoffice as early as April 17, 1937. The operator was R.V. McGinnis, who later also operated a house called the New Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Saenger Theatre on Aug 10, 2009 at 3:01 am

The original Saenger Theatre in Hope burned on Easter Sunday, 1944. Malco Theatres, the operator, didn’t get government permission to rebuild until 1947. The January 17, 1948, issue of Boxoffice announced that the new Saenger had opened. As rebuilt, the house had 900 seats.

Back on November 6, 1926, an item in The Reel Journal said that the Saenger Amusement company was planning to build a $150,000 theater on the site of the Alice Theatre in Hope. The new theater was probably the Saenger. It was being designed by architects Witt, Seibert & Halsey. A December 4 Reel Journal item said that starting on December 15 construction bids would be taken for the new Saenger house to be built on the site of the old Alice Theatre on Second Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Monticello Theatre on Aug 10, 2009 at 12:22 am

The October 29, 1949, issue of Boxoffice reported that Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Muller were opening the Monticello Theatre on that date. The original auditorium had 500 seats. The house was being called the Monti Theatre in issues of Boxoffice as early as 1954.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Clement Theater on Aug 9, 2009 at 6:42 am

I can’t find the Clement mentioned in Boxoffice or any of its predecessors. The place must have closed.

If somebody wants to add the Broadway Theatre in Dover, the April 6, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said it had burned down on November 4, 1945, and was being rebuilt. However, when the new theater on the Broadway’s site opened it was named the Uptown. Lloyd Bridgham was the owner of both houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Aug 9, 2009 at 6:26 am

I found a reference to the Publix-Strand Theatre in Dover, N.H., in the May 27, 1930, issue of Motion Picture Times.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Aug 9, 2009 at 6:14 am

This theater operated as the State for about 17 years. From Boxoffice, February 23, 1935:

“The State is the new name for the Orpheum which was operated by Mike White for 25 years. Fred Couture is the new owner.”
From Boxoffice, March 20, 1954:
“The State, Dover, N.H., originally built as the Orpheum, will be converted into three stores. The theatre has been under lease to Lloyd Bridgham for the last five years, but he was forced to close the doors two years ago because of lack of patronage.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Aug 9, 2009 at 1:27 am

Mann was not the last operator of the Strand. An article about the destruction of the theater by fire on December 11, 1974, was published in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of January 13, 1975. The operator at the time was Joella Cohen of Omaha.

She also operated the Crest Theatre across the street from the Strand as a porn house, using its profits to support the Strand, which she operated at a loss as a family theater. The night the Strand burned it had been closed early because no customers had shown up for the last feature. Ms. Cohen had operated the Strand for eleven months, having picked up the lease after Mann dropped the house.

The item also mentioned that the Strand had been built as an opera house in 1890 and had undergone a major renovation in 1927.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Broadway Theater on Aug 8, 2009 at 6:33 am

The New Broadway had become a bowling alley by 1952, according to the February 23 issue of Boxoffice that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Aug 8, 2009 at 6:25 am

The February 23, 1952, issue of Boxoffice lists the Esquire as one of two Cleveland theaters that had been converted to broadcasting studios. The other was the Metropolitan.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Aug 8, 2009 at 6:25 am

The February 23, 1952, issue of Boxoffice lists the Metropolitan as one of two Cleveland theaters that had been converted to broadcasting studios. The other was the Esquire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Erie Theatre on Aug 8, 2009 at 4:49 am

The 1924 map of downtown Hugo to which Okie Medley linked above has been moved Here. You can also fetch any of the other photos in dead rootsweb links by changing the domain in their url from to

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dixie Theatre on Aug 8, 2009 at 4:30 am

There was a nickelodeon in Hugo called the Dixie, opened in 1909 by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fickensher. There was an article about the Fickenshers in the June 30, 1956, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, which said they sold the Dixie in 1910 and moved to Frederick, Oklahoma, to operate the Gem and Airdome theaters.

This is a photo of the Dixie taken long after it had closed (the same as one of the photos in the now-dead link posted by Okie Medley above.)

I’m not sure if this nickelodeon was the same theater mentioned in the October 6, 1946, issue of Boxoffice which said: “C.L. Walker and L. McMillan are opening the Dixie Theatre at Hugo on November 17. This will be a second-run house and will seat about 500 persons.” The building in the photo doesn’t look big enough to have held 500 seats (though the figure might be a Boxoffice exaggeration) nor does it look as though it had been remodeled in the 1940s, as it probably would have been had it been reopened then. I’d guess there were two Dixie theaters in Hugo, and the photo depicts the silent era house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Galion Theatre on Aug 8, 2009 at 12:21 am

The July 16, 1949, issue of Boxoffice announced that the Galion Theatre had opened on July 7. The house was the ninth in the Modern Theatres circuit, operated by P.E. Essick and Howard Reif. The Galion Theatre included a 30-foot stage with facilities to accommodate road shows.

The item also mentions the State Theatre, which was also operated by Modern Theatres. The State had been closed for the summer (probably due to its lack of air conditioning) but was to be reopened in the fall with a policy of westerns and action pictures.

The article attributes the design of the Galion to “…Matzinger & Grosell, Cleveland architects who specialize in theatre construction.” This would be Paul Matzinger, who began practicing in Cleveland in 1902, and Rudolph Grosel (the Boxoffice item about the Galion misspelled his surname) who Matzinger took on as a partner in the 1940s. Though both architects are long gone, there is a successor firm called Jencen Architecture which specializes in retail design.

The firm designed a number of theaters for the Modern Theatres circuit, including the Mayland, but I also found a list of buildings designed by Matzinger before 1930 which includes a Park Theatre at 1207 Starkweather Avenue, Cleveland, built in 1907. This building is still standing.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wood River Theatre on Aug 7, 2009 at 7:28 am

The May 20, 1968, issue of Boxoffice ran an item about the planned construction of a new, 1000-seat theater in Wood River, to be called the Wood River Cinema and to be located on Edwardsville Road. It was a project of Cinema Systems, Inc.. But the item also included the following information: “The old Wood River Theatre, converted in the early 1960s to a shopping center and cocktail lounge, burned to the ground in January 1966. It had been built in 1917….”

Judging from the style of the Wood River Theatre building as depicted in the painting Bryan Krefft linked to above, I’d say 1917 is apt be the correct opening year. That sort of tapestry brick and terra cotta trim was long out of fashion by 1932. The marquee in the painting certainly looks like something that could have been put up in 1932, but a February 4, 1939, Boxoffice item said that the Wood River Theatre had reopened after a complete remodeling, so that might be a more likely date for the installation of the spiffy moderne marquee.

An August 21, 1954, Boxoffice item said that the Wood River Theatre was being fitted for CinemaScope. The house was then being operated by the Publix Great States circuit.

As for the proposed Wood River Cinema, after a few more items in Boxoffice late in 1968, reporting that plans had been completed, the name never appears in the magazine again that I can find. Most likely the project never got built.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Victory Theatre on Aug 7, 2009 at 6:02 am

To revive the discussion that took place in April, 2006, about the architect of this theater, at least one author (architectural historian Gerard R. Wolfe) credits both Albert E. Westover and John B. McElfatrick for the design of the Republic Theatre. The 3rd edition of Wolfe’s “New York: 15 Walking Tours” says that Westover designed the theater in 1899, and McElfatrick was responsible for the renovation of the house the following year. Wolfe does not mention the remodeling for David Belasco, which some sources say was done by Bigelow, Wallis & Cotton. He does mention that the 1995 restoration was done by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer.

For what it’s worth, the Wikipedia article on the New Victory also credits Westover (but only Westover) for the design, and cites the 4th edition of the “AIA Guide to New York City”, by Norval White and Eliot Willensky as a source. I don’t have the AIA Guide, but from the snippet views available at Google Books, it looks like the 4th edition doesn’t mention either McElfatrick or Bigelow, Wallis & Cotton in connection with this theater at all.

But another vote for McElfatrick & Sons comes from a PDF of a 1987 document from New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (available here) which is about the Hudson Theatre, but which mentions the Republic as one of the theaters designed by McElfatrick. This paper gives the building date as 1900, but both Wolfe’s Guide and the AIA Guide date the original construction to 1899.

Interestingly, the Hudson’s architectural pedigree was once in question as well, and the Preservation Commission researcher checked the theater’s plans on file at the New York Buildings Department and found that while McElfatrick did the early drawings, most of the Hudson’s design was attributable to the firm of Israels & Harder. Somebody will probably have to check the building records for the Republic as well, before we can be sure who did what to it and when.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center on Aug 6, 2009 at 4:56 am

The Astro Theatre opened in June, 1962, according to the June 25 issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The theater had been mostly dark since 1952, with the exception of a few stage shows and the brief period when it had housed Omaha’s professional bowling league. In March, 1962, the theater was leased from Creighton University by Dubinsky Bros. Theatres of Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Dubinskys were responsible for the hasty remodeling. As the Astro the house seated 1465, reduced from the nearly 3000 it had previously held.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theater on Aug 5, 2009 at 7:06 am

I wasn’t questioning the opening date the newspaper gave. I was just disappointed that Boxoffice didn’t run an item about the event. The magazine ran very few items about Marysville’s theaters, unfortunately. Other towns in the valley often got better coverage.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alpha Theatre on Aug 5, 2009 at 6:00 am

The remodeling was quite extensive, so Lee should be credited. Also the aka Maybell Theatre should be added.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Aug 5, 2009 at 4:03 am

Quirk Theatre is definitely an aka for the State. This page of Fulton postcards at Rootsweb includes one showing the Quirk Theatre. It’s recognizable as the State’s building, and the card looks to be from the 1920s or earlier.

This history of the Fulton Elk’s lodge mentions the Quirk Theatre: “The Elks Old Time Minstrel Shows always packed the Quirk Theater several nights each year.”

The July 22, 1968, issue of Boxoffice said that the State Theatre building had been taken over by the City of Fulton for non-payment of taxes. It was by then the only movie theater in Fulton, and city officials said they wanted to keep it open by any means short of actually operating it.

Various issues of Boxoffice from 1943 into the 1950s say that the State was a unit of the Oneida-based Kallet circuit. A June 8, 1964, item refers to the State saying it “..had been operated by Kallet.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theater on Aug 5, 2009 at 2:15 am

Boxoffice Magazine mentions the Tower twice in December, 1940. The December 14 issue said that the Tower would be opening on Christmas Day, but the December 21 issue said that the opening had been moved back until the middle of January. I can’t find anything in Boxoffice about the actual opening, though.

The last mention (in fact the only mention I can find) of the Liberty in Boxoffice is in the September 23, 1939, issue which mentions that the employees of the house had given operator Harry Hunsacher a birthday party.

The most recent mention of the Tower I’ve found in Boxoffice is a line in the March 7, 1958, issue which said that the house had been closed. The Tower had been closed for at least part of 1957 as well. The December 21 issue of Boxoffice that year said that it had been reopened by the United California circuit.

Here’s a photo of D Street north from 1st in the 1920s, showing the Tower’s predecessor at right. The source identifies the theater as the Atkins. Here’s a photo of the same theater dated 1908, when it was called the Marysville Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:45 am

This page duplicates the slightly earlier Fox Theatre page.

The October 28, 1950, issue of Boxoffice ran an item headlined “Revamped Strand Opened As Fox in Rawlins, Wyo.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wellman Theater on Aug 3, 2009 at 5:04 am

The church’s statement that they are located in the former Wellman Theatre is what makes me wonder if the name Wellman was not moved to the New Mock about 1963, the last year the name New Mock appeared in the Boxoffice in anything other than a retrospective context. It would make more sense if the older and smaller theater had been closed and the New Mock remained open under the name Wellman. Boxoffice never says anything about the name being switched at that time, but Boxoffice doesn’t always cover every small town change. But if the church building is the old Mock/Wellman then it must have been a fairly new building when Wellman bought it in 1934, or even the back section has been extensively remodeled. It just doesn’t look like pre-1930s construction.

Girard’s practice of putting odd numbers on the south sides of east-west streets confused me. The building next door I was referring to that might have been the Wellman is east of the church, not west of it, and would have had a smaller number. But while there are several buildings on that block that might have been the former Mock/Wellman, I don’t see any other than the church that look like they could have been the New Mock. They just aren’t big enough. They also look too old to have been built as replacements for a building that still existed in 1963.

New England Film News of April 12, 1932, mentions Mock’s Theatre, Girard, Ohio, in a list of theaters that had installed RCA sound equipment. It looks like both names were used at various times.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Curtain Call Dinner Theater on Aug 3, 2009 at 1:06 am

The original owner/operator of the Tustin Theatre was Saul Mahler. An item in the June 11, 1962, issue of Boxoffice said that the house was scheduled to open on June 20. A special preview show was to be held on the 19th.