Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on May 6, 2009 at 11:37 pm

I don’t have time to read through all the comments, so pardon me if this information has previously been posted. The January 3, 1942, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an article about the recently-opened Grand Theatre in its Modern Theatre section.

From the photos with the article I’d say the Grand was definitely Art Moderne in style, rather than Art Deco. The article identified the architect of the new house as Michael J. DeAngelis. The seating capacity at opening was given as 850. Total cost of the project was a mere $65,000. The original owner was Kenneth Blakely.

An architect’s rendering of the Grand had earlier appeared in Boxoffice’s “Just Off the Boards” feature in the April 21, 1941, issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Del Oro Theatre on May 6, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Various issues of Boxoffice Magazine indicate that the Del Oro Theatre was not built by United Artists, nor operated by that chain during its early years. Construction was begun in 1941 by Golden State Theatres, but apparently the house was being operated by Albert and William Forman’s United Theatres Circuit later in the 1940s.

An item in the April 16, 1949, issue of Boxoffice said that a $36,000 damage suit against United Theatres and Del Oro manager Jack Keegan was being tried in Nevada County superior court. Mr. Terry T. Whitesides of Grass Valley alleged that he had fallen in the aisle of the theater on September 28, 1947.

I’ve been unable to discover when United Artists took over the house, but they were operating it when it was triplexed in 1975.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Darress Theater on May 6, 2009 at 7:16 pm

There are some interesting discrepancies among various sources of information about the theater and about Mr. Darress. The theater web site has a picture of Charles Darress. Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of May 14, 1979, has an article about recent two theater closings, the State being one of them, and it says that the theater was opened in 1922 by Clare Darress.

Then there’s this page about a landmarked house for sale in Boonton, which says the house was designed by “…Clair Darress, a famous architect of many homes in the area, and creator of the Darress theatre on Main Street.”

Whether Charles, Clare, or Clair, it seems reasonable that, being an architect, Mr. Darress would have designed his theater himself.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Linda Theater on May 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm

The February 8, 1941, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Phil Isley had opened the Bobby Walker Theatre on February 6.

Phil Isley’s daughter, Phylis, is better known by her movie name Jennifer Jones. Bobby Walker’s father was actor Robert Walker, co-star of Hitchcock’s “Strangers On a Train.” Bobby Walker also became an actor, appearing mostly on television. Robert Walker Jr. at IMDb.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Imperial Theatre on May 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm

The January 8, 1955, issue of Boxoffice said that the Imperial Theatre had been reopened after being completely remodeled and refurnished. A new 19x40-foot screen had been installed, along with a stereophonic sound system and acoustical plaster. The house was reseated with American Seating Company’s Bodiform chairs. The new seating capacity was given as 804.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about AMC Tysons Corner 16 on May 4, 2009 at 10:07 pm

The entire Tyson’s Corner expansion, including the AMC cinema, was designed by the architectural firm RTKL Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Serf Theater on May 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Checking the 1937 Boxoffice article again, I think it says that 800 chairs were shipped to the Serf Theatre. The scan is very blurry, but the Google cache in plain text says 800. The 1950 reseating thus probably reduced the total capacity to 726, rather than increasing it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Serf Theater on May 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm

The October 9, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Graham Brothers Theatre Supply Company of Denver had shipped various items to the new Serf Theatre in Las Vegas, New Mexico. These included 500 seats, 340 yards of carpeting, two blowers and motors, two curtains with tracks and controls, a sound screen, and complete booth equipment.

The Maloof Bros. were apparently the owners of the building, but the house was operated by Fox Intermountain Theatres when it opened, according to the October 23, 1937, issue of Boxoffice.

In its April 15, 1950, issue, Boxoffice said that the Maloof Bros. had closed the Serf Theatre for repairs when it was discoverd that the back wall was sagging. Fox Intermountain must have taken this opportunity to expand the theater, as the November 4, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that the company had reopened the Serf with 726 seats.

The remodeled lobby featured a wagon wheel chandelier with six brass lanterns, and the walls were decorated with murals depicting the Santa Fe Trail. The auditorium was painted in shades of aqua and turquoise, and the screen had a turquoise velvet curtain.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about North Valley Plaza 3 on May 4, 2009 at 9:09 pm

The August 28, 1972, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that United Artists had opened its U.A. Cinemas I, II, and III on August 4 that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about 41st Avenue Cinema on May 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Plans to build what would become the 41st Avenue Playhouse were announced in the August 21, 1972, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The item said that the three-screen house, the first of its kind in Santa Cruz County, would have approximately 1250 seats.

It was built for the Kindair Corporation, a local theater circuit based in Monterey, California. The recent opening of the house was noted in the July 30, 1973, issue of Boxoffice, but no details about the theater itself were given. The first movie shown was a benefit premier of “Sleuth.”

The Kindair circuit was apparently acquired by United Artists sometime in the 1980s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitola Theater on May 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

The Capitola Theatre was built for Arthur Mayer of San Francisco and Joseph Jacobs of Burlingame. Although construction of the Capitola began in late 1947, materials shortages delayed its completion, and it didn’t open until the summer of 1948. The start of construction was announced in the December 6, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, and the opening in the August 7, 1948, issue. The September 3, 1973, issue of Boxoffice said that the Capitola had celebrated its 25th anniversary on August 6.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Soquel Cinema on May 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm

The recent opening of the Osocales Theatre was announced in the September 25, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The October 2 issue of Boxoffice added that the theater had cost $60,000, was 50x100 feet in size, and seated 500.

I’m not sure if the May 6, 1950, Boxoffice item Ken cited just above referred to a replacement of 100 seats or an addition of another 100 seats. In any case, the building was large enough to accommodate the 500 seats it had on opening.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hiland Theater on May 3, 2009 at 8:47 pm

The April 15, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the J.T. Boutwell Company had installed 1,172 Kroelher seats in the Hiland Theatre, Albuquerque.

The November 27, 1967, issue of Boxoffice ran an article about Blanche Hatton, who had been managing theaters in Albuquerque since her arrival there in 1924. She became the first manager of the newly-opened Hiland in 1950, and held that post until 1963.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Falls Theatre on May 3, 2009 at 8:45 pm

From Boxoffice Magazine, November 28, 1977: “There will be five benefit showings of ‘The Gathering’ at the Falls Theatre in Chagrin Falls, where it was filmed.”

And from Boxoffice of August 27, 1979: “The Chagrin Falls Theatre has been torn down to make way for a new office building in Chagrin Falls….”

The town was not left without an indoor theater when the Falls was demolished, though. A 248-seat house called the Tanglewood Cinema had opened in the Tanglewood Shopping Center in 1973.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alamo Theatre on May 2, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Alamo Jack’s is now just The Alamo, and has a new web site. The site includes an early photo of the Alamo Theatre, plus a scan of an article from a local newspaper (though its hard to read, the scan being too small) which says that the Alamo Theatre opened in 1928 in space previously occupied by a retail store. The closing date given in the article appears to be 1968, but I wouldn’t swear to that. The information in the intro that the Alamo opened as the Newnan Theatre in 1937 is erroneous.

Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of October 2, 1937, says that the Lam Amusement Company had taken over the Alamo from its former operator, J.B. Meyers. The October 21, 1939, issue of Boxoffice said that the Alamo had reopened after a remodeling. The August 22, 1953, issue said that a wide screen had been installed in the Alamo.

I’ve been unable to find any specific references to the 1939 remodeling having been designed by Tucker & Howell, but as that firm had drawn the plans for remodeling Lam’s Gem Theatre in Newnan in 1935, as well as doing many other projects for the Lam Amusement Company over many years, it seems likely that they would have done the plans for the remodeling of the Alamo as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on May 2, 2009 at 11:00 pm

D'OH! The Alamo Theatre is already listed here. That will teach me (no, it probably won’t) to check such things before posting a comment. However, at least the Alamo’s web site reveals that the intro to the CT Alamo Theatre page has erroneous information, which can now be corrected.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on May 2, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Alas, Google Maps offers four choices for that address- North, South, East, and West Court Square. Google Street View’s truck only went down the west side of the square. Fortunately, on the west side of the square is a night club called The Alamo, which occupies an old theatre. Unfortunately, its address is 19 W. Court Square, which being an odd number means it’s not on the same side of the square as 22 Court Square would be. It’s not the Gem.

The 1935 Boxoffice item I cited in the intro for the Gem has a photo of the front, and it was in a mid-block building, while the Alamo is on a corner. The Alamo’s web site has an early photo of the theater it now occupies, and it was called the Alamo, not surprisingly. The building now has a modern marquee which probably dates from the 1940s or 1950s.

The web site also has a newspaper article about the club, but it’s too small to read easily. The Alamo Theatre apparently opened in 1928 in former retail space, and was converted back to retail space in (it looks like) 1969. It. too, should be listed in FDY.

So we have a second theatre in Newnan, but still don’t know the fate of the Gem, or its exact location. Looking down the north and south sides of the square with Street View, I can’t see any building resembling the Boxoffice photo of the Gem, so I’d guess it was on the east side, which is the side you can’t see with Street View, and one of the sides (along with the north, most likely) which has even numbered addresses. Thus we can’t be sure if it’s been demolished or not.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Portage Theatres on May 2, 2009 at 9:56 pm

I’ve found mentions of the Portage Theatre in Boxoffice Magazine as early as February 1, 1937, but it had been in operation for a decade by then. According to an architectural and historical survey of Portage, it was built by the Fischer-Paramount Theatre Company in 1927.

The trade journal Movie Age said in its issue of January 5, 1929, that Milwaukee theater man Leonard K. Brin had taken over eight Fischer-Paramount houses, including the Portage and Home Theatres in Portage.

I found a mention of a Brin Theatre in Portage in the March 16, 1929, issue of Movie Age, but I’ve also found mentions from the same period of a Brin’s Portage Theatre, and the Home Theatre and Portage Theatre operated by L.K. Brin, so it’s unclear whether or not there was a temporary name change at one or the other of the houses.

In any case, the Portage closed for a while early in the 1930s, until it was reopened by F.J. McWilliams.

The Portage was operated by McWilliams at least through the 1950s. One Boxoffice item mentioned that he had entered the exhibition business since 1907. He also operated the Home Theatre in Portage, as mentioned in various issues of Boxoffice from the late 1930s into the early 1950s. In 1952, McWilliams built the 15/61 Drive-In. Later the theaters were operated by Jack McWilliams, presumably F.J.’s son.

The historical survey I cited above said that the triplexing of the Portage Theatre took place in 1985.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Le Sueur Theater on May 2, 2009 at 7:38 pm

From Boxoffice, March 27, 1972: “Chet Werner, owner-operator of the Le Sueur Theatre, was featured in a New-Herald article recently…. His father, William J. Werner, purchased the old Snow Opera House in 1923 and converted it into a motion picture theatre. The building, located at the same site as the present Le Sueur Theatre, burned to the ground in 1933. The present showhouse was constructed in 1934.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Midwest Theater on May 1, 2009 at 11:43 pm

From Boxoffice Magazine, March 30, 1946, datelined Scottsbluff: “William Ostenberg will open his new 920-seat, $200,000 Midwest Theatre here on April 24. The theatre is on the location of the Egyptian, which was destroyed by fire last year.”

The Midwest was also the subject of a three-page article in the June 24, 1946, issue of Boxoffice. The architect of the new house, Charles D. Strong, was a member of the advisory staff of the magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theater on Apr 30, 2009 at 11:08 pm

The Empire Theatre was located within the walls of the Rex Theatre, which was gutted by fire in 1943. Due to wartime restrictions on construction, rebuilding was delayed until permission was granted by the War Production Board. The February 17, 1945, issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported that the board had authorized rebuilding to continue. A spring, 1945 opening was expected.

After the Empire was closed, the theater was converted to retail space for three shops, and the former stage was used for storage until it was converted into a dance studio, which it remains today.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Isle Theatre on Apr 30, 2009 at 9:47 pm

The Isle Theatre is open again, showing movies, and here is their web site. The site says the house was built in 1921, when it opened as the Zim Zim Theatre. It was remodeled in 1935 and renamed the Isle Theatre. It was closed in 1997 and restored recently. A sports bar has been added to the back of the building.

The March 24, 1951, issue of Boxoffice Magazine told of an earlier remodeling of the the Isle Theatre, saying that it was virtually a new theater, everything having been torn out and replaced and the interior and entrance rebuilt.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Queen Theater on Apr 30, 2009 at 7:24 pm

The Queen is mentioned in a Boxoffice Magazine item about L.J. Mason published in the August 7, 1948, issue. It says: “Mason opened his first theatre, the Star, in 1924 at Harlingen…. He opened the Queen in McAllen a few years later with John D. Jones as his partner.”

The Queen was still in operation in 1957, when the August 10 issue said that it was being managed by Lew Bray Jr., whose father had bought the house in 1952.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Heights Theatre on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Judging from the Art Moderne facade and the somewhat grungy looking side walls seen in those photos, I’d say the theater was probably just gutted by the 1969 fire rather than “burned to the ground” as the Times article had it.

The July 14, 1969, issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported on the fire investigation and said that the fire had definitely been set by an arsonist. The Boxoffice article said that the fire had “…destroyed the $90,000 theatre….” That vertical sign must be from the early 1950s at the latest, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vigilante Theater on Apr 29, 2009 at 9:14 pm

The Rio became the Vigilante in 1947. A small photo showing the new name on the marquee appeared in the June 14 issue of Boxoffice Magazine that year. The caption said: “SIX GUN ATMOSPHERE— Having donned a strictly western dress, Helena’s Rio Theatre has changed its name to the Vigilante and now caters to those who like their westerns rough and ready, all at reduced prices.”