Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Electric Theatre on Sep 5, 2009 at 4:12 am

The “From the Boxoffice Files, Twenty Years Ago” feature in the July 13, 1946, issue of Boxoffice included a paragraph about work being done by the Boller Brothers in 1926. One of the theaters they were designing was the Electric in Joplin. It was listed as a rebuilding project.

The Electric was mentioned frequently in the Box Office Reports feature in various issues of The Reel Journal in 1925. Then the July 17, 1926, issue says that the contract for remodeling the Electric had gone to Roy Huffman. The house was to seat 1,400 when completed. The July 31 issue reported that the remodeling of the Electric had begun. The October 9, 1926, issue of The Reel Journal reported that Grubel Brothers' New Electric Theatre had been opened on October 7.

Later there is a wildly different report of the size of the Electric. An October 2, 1937, Boxoffice item says that the Fox Midwest circuit had taken over operation of the Electric at Joplin, and gave the seating capacity as 350. I think this must have been an error.

I’ve been unable to find anything about the Electric from its later years, or how long it had been in existence before its 1926 rebuilding.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hiland Theatre on Sep 5, 2009 at 2:27 am

The May 6, 1950, report of the Hiland’s impending demise was premature. The June 3, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that instead of being closed the Hiland would operate on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday schedule. The house was operated by Associated Theatres. Later the Hiland became a full-time theater again for awhile, as the November 17, 1951, issue of Boxoffice names the Hiland as one of two Cincinnati area theaters that had reverted to weekends-only programming after having recently been reopened for full-time operation.

The June 19, 1954, issue of Boxoffice reported that Associated Theatres was installing wide screens at a number of its Cincinnati area theatres, including the Hiland. I don’t now how long the Hiland remained open after that, but following its appearance in a list of Associated houses in the November 27, 1954, issue I can’t find any more mentions of the Hiland in Boxoffice for many years.

Then it suddenly pops up again in the February 7, 1972, issue which reported that the Alpha Cinema in Cincinnati and the Hiland Theatre in Fort Thomas had been sold by Continental Amusements to a local company called Cinevest which was involved in both entertainment and real estate. That’s the last mention of the Hiland I’ve found.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theater on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:33 am

I’ve found the Liberty mentioned in Boxoffice as early as the June 10, 1939, issue, when it was being operated by C.F. Runbaugh (some later issues of Boxoffice spell his name Rumbaugh.) The Liberty changed hands a couple of times in the later 1940s, and then July 17, 1948 issues says that it had been sold to Albert Petry (later issues of Boxoffice often spell his name Petri, and at least once it is Petrie.) The last time I find the Liberty mentioned is in 1950, though Mr. and Mrs. Albert Petri (or Petry) are named often after that year as operators of a theater at Pagosa Springs.

Then starting in 1960, the Petris are suddenly cited as the operators of a theater in Pagosa Springs called the Mesa. Then the Mesa is the only theater in Pagosa Springs mentioned, which happens frequently until 1972, (with a single exception in 1970 which names the Petrys as owners of the Pagosa Theatre in Pagosa Springs- probably an error) and after that Pagosa Springs drops from the pages of Boxoffice until 1993, when an unnamed 180-seat theater there is offered for sale in a classified ad. That’s the most recent mention of the town I can find.

Even though the theater’s official web site says that the Liberty has been operating under the same name since 1919, I’m wondering if the Mesa was an aka for the Liberty and the original name was later restored? Operators of small town theaters are often theater buffs who move there from other places and they sometimes get the history muddled. Pagosa Springs is, and has been, a very small and rather isolated town, and it seems unlikely that it would have supported two movie houses into the 1970s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century 21 on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:31 am

The May 23, 1966, issue of Boxoffice attributes the design of the Century 21, on which construction had recently begun, to Denver architect Richard L. Crowther (though they misspell his name as Crowder.) A small rendering of the theater by the architect accompanied the article.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roosevelt Theatre on Sep 4, 2009 at 6:14 am

The Roosevelt was apparently still operating as late as 1957, when the August 10 issue of Boxoffice listed it as one of the theaters in the Cincinnati area playing “The Ten Commandments” in that movie’s first post-roadshow engagements.

The earliest mentions of the Roosevelt I can find are from various 1929 issues of Movie Age when it was among the theaters listed in a series of ads for Photophone sound equipment.

A January 17, 1953, Boxoffice roundup of the previous year’s events in Cincinnati reveals the likely opening year of the Roosevelt to have been 1922. It reports this among the events for March, 1952: “Improper nailing when the ceiling was installed thirty years ago was blamed for the collapse of the plaster-covered metal ceiling lath at the Roosevelt Theatre, which injured about 60 patrons, none seriously. Jack Goldman, owner, estimated damage at about $2,500.”

Jack Goldman is mentioned frequently in Boxoffice. He’s mentioned as the operator of the Roosevelt in 1937, at which time he took over the Lincoln Theatre. The June 29, 1940, issue refers to him as “…owner of the Lincoln, Roosevelt and Beecher, all colored houses in Cincinnati….” The October 27, 1945, issue says that Goldman’s son-in-law, Joseph Miller “…is handling the Jack Goldman chain of colored houses while Goldman is taking a rest following illness.”

The February 9, 1946, issue of Boxoffice has an item datelined Cincinnati which refers to Goldman as “…operator of four colored theatres here….” It doesn’t give the names of the theaters, but the July 9, 1949, issue says that “Jack Goldman, who operates the Roosevelt, Lincoln and Regal theatres here has taken over the Roxy at Lockland, Ohio.” Apparently by then he had closed or sold the Beecher.

A May 21, 1965, Boxoffice item names Goldman as the operator of the Regal Theatre in Cincinnati, and says that he had been in the theater business for 27 years. I’ve found no mentions of him after that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roselawn Theatre on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:36 am

The June 29, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said “Maurice Chase will open his new house at Roselawn, Cincy suburb, June 30. It seats 500.” The July 27, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that Altec sound equipment had been installed at “…Maurice Chase’s Roselawn, suburban Cincinnati house recently opened.” The building was owned by the Harris Brothers, operators of the downtown State Theatre, but was to be operated by Chase under a lease.

The November 16, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that Louis Wiethe had purchased the twenty-year lease on the Roselawn from Chase. The October 1, 1942, issue said that Louis Wiethe had reopened the Roselawn, which he had closed the previous year.

The Roselawn apparently then remained open until Wiethe opened his much larger Valley Theatre at Roselawn in 1949. Then the Roselawn was closed again for several months, but the November 26 issue of Boxoffice said Wiethe had reopened it as an art house on the 23rd. After that I can’t find any references to it in Boxoffice, so I don’t know how long it survived as an art theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Normandie Theatre on Sep 3, 2009 at 7:33 am

Thanks for the photo link. That was a nice Art Moderne front. It had probably been recently remodeled when the photo was taken.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Penn Theatre on Sep 2, 2009 at 8:03 am

The opening of the Penn Theatre had been set for April 16, 1938, according to Boxoffice Magazine of that date. The owners of the new 700-seat house were brothers Guy and John Oglietti, also operators of the Palace Theatre in Leechburg. The Ogliettis had demolished their 350-seat Cosmorama Theatre on the site of the Penn. The Penn was designed by Pittsburgh architects Joseph B. Smithyman and W.M. Braziell.

Smithyman and Braziell also designed the Pitt Theatre in Bedford, Pennsylvania, and at lest two other theaters. Both architects also designed other theaters independently.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pitt Theatre on Sep 2, 2009 at 8:00 am

The December 17, 1938, issue of Boxoffice said that the Pitt Theatre would be ready to open in about six weeks. The architects of H.R. Cromwell’s new house were Joseph B. Smithyman and W.M. Braziell of Pittsburgh.

Smithyman and Braziell also designed the Penn Theatre at Leechburg, Pennsylvania, and at least two other theaters. Both architects also designed other theaters independently.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Sep 2, 2009 at 7:26 am

The October 23, 1937, issue of Boxoffice reported that the State Theatre had opened recently. The house was jointly operated by the Great States circuit and Peter Kalleres.

Kalleres died in 1943, and his obituary in the January 23 issue of Boxoffice said that at the time of his death he was operating the State and Grand theaters in Gary in partnership with Balaban & Katz. He had earlier operated other theaters in Gary, and at least two theaters in other towns as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Sep 2, 2009 at 7:18 am

A Grand Theatre was in operation in Gary at least as early as 1919. The obituary of Peter Kalleres, long time Gary theater operator, in the January 23, 1943, issue of Boxoffice said that he had acquired the Grand in 1919, the year after he arrived in Gary.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tivoli Theater on Sep 2, 2009 at 7:15 am

The Tivoli was built in 1928 for Peter Kalleres. This was mentioned in his obituary, published in the January 23, 1943, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Glen Theater on Sep 2, 2009 at 6:56 am

Boxoffice Magazine of July 5, 1941, announced that V.U. Young had bought two lots at 20-26 Ridge Road in Glen Park and planned to build a theater there. The January 10, 1942, issue of Boxoffice said that the Ridge Theatre had recently been opened by V.U. Young’s Gary Theatre Corporation. The new house seated 714 and had been built at a cost of $70,000.

A few years later V.U. Young was head of the Y&W (Young and Wolf) Management Corporation, which at the time of Young’s death in 1948 was operating 27 theaters in Indiana. Y&W was headed by Vern Young in 1968 when, according to the July 1 issue of Boxoffice, the circuit reopened the Glen Theatre after a $50,000 remodeling. I’ve been unable to find any mention of either the Ridge or the Glen in Boxoffice between 1950 and 1968.

The earliest mention of the Roxy I’ve been able to find is an item in the January 27, 1945, issue of Boxoffice which names the operator as Jim Bikos. The only other mention I’ve found is in the February 18, 1956, issue which says that the Roxy was being converted into a commercial building by the widow of the late Jim Bikos.

I’d say this information supports the claims by JRS40 and KenK that the Ridge and Glen were the same theater and the theater around the corner on Broadway was the Roxy. The Roxy is not yet listed at Cinema Treasures.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Cinemaland Theatre on Sep 1, 2009 at 7:32 am

The Fox Cinemaland was designed by L. Perry Pearson and Paul Wuesthoff of Pearson & Wuesthoff, a Los Angeles firm soon to become Pearson, Wuesthoff, & Skinner. The April 15, 1968, issue of Boxoffice confirmed that the house had formally opened on April 10.

The architectural firm that designed the Cinemaland apparently designed most of NGC’s projects in the west and southwest from the mid-1960s into the 1970s. I’ve tracked down the names of almost ten of these projects so far, and expect to find more.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Covina Theater on Sep 1, 2009 at 7:30 am

According to the Boxoffice article about its opening in the June 30, 1969, issue, the Fox Covina was designed by L. Perry Pearson and Paul Wuesthoff of the Los Angeles firm Pearson & Wuesthoff, which was soon to become Pearson, Wuesthoff, & Skinner.

As far as I’ve been able to discover, this firm designed most of the theaters built by National General in the west and southwest from about the mid-1960s into the 1970s. They also provided architectural plans for expansions carried out at many NGC theaters in the region during this period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Buena Vista Theater on Sep 1, 2009 at 6:55 am

The architect of the original single-screen Fox Buena Vista Theatre, which was opened by National General in 1967, was Bud Magee. Photos of the Buena Vista and of the Fox Chris-Town Theatre in Phoenix, also designed by Magee, appeared in the May 15, 1967, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The house originally had 802 seats.

The expansion of the Buena Vista to a twin took place in 1972, when a second auditorium seating 554 was added. This project was the subject of an article in Boxoffice of June 12 that year. The article failed to name the architects of the expansion project, but it was almost certainly done by the Los Angeles firm of Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner, who were doing most of NGC’s projects in the west and southwest at the time, and had designed the similar expansion of the Chris-Town in Phoenix the previous year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chris-Town Theatres on Sep 1, 2009 at 6:40 am

The architect of the original single-screen Fox Chris-Town Theatre was Bud Magee. Photos of this theatre and of the Fox Buena Vista in Tucson, designed by the same architect, appeared in the May 15, 1967, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The Fox Chris-Town opened with 922 seats.

In 1971, a second auditorium with 834 seats was added and the house, still operated by National General, became the Chris-Town 2 Theatre. Architects of the expansion project were Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner of Los Angeles, who were designing many of NGC’s new and expanded theaters in the west and southwest at this time. The expanded theater was the subject of an article in the August 30, 1971, issue of Boxoffice.

As I noted in my 2006 comment above, when Harkins Theatres expanded this complex to 11 screens in 1996, the design was done by architect Scott Walker of Phoenix-based CCBG Architects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Madison Theater on Sep 1, 2009 at 5:12 am

I’ve found the Madison mentioned by name in Boxoffice as far back as April 6, 1940, when manager Carl Presley announced that air conditioning would be installed. The building was probably still under construction at that time, and it was a replacement for Presley’s Dixie Theatre, which had burned early in 1940, according to Boxoffice’s issue of February 10.

The Dixie Theatre dated from at least as early as 1927, when it was sold to a Jim Warren. This was mentioned in a Boxoffice “Twenty Years Ago” feature in the October 25, 1947, issue.

The March 30 issue of Boxoffice said that Carl Presley was building a new, 350-seat theater at Huntsville. The house was actually owned by his father, M.B. Presley, of Savannah, Missouri, who, according to his obituary in the June 4, 1955, Boxoffice, owned three other theaters as well. Incidentally, the City of Huntsville’s web site lists Carl Presley as having been the town’s mayor in 1936-37.

Various issues of Boxoffice from 1954 to 1963 named Harley Gilliam as manager of the Madison. Then, various issues from 1966 to 1970 mention Joe Presley as operator of a theater at Huntsville, though the name of the theater is never mentioned.

The Madison is listed in a 1968 ad for Norelco as one of 341 theaters that had installed that company’s 35/70mm projection equipment.

The January 26, 1976, issue of Boxoffice said that the Madison Theatre had been remodeled and reopened by Kevin Hatfield and John Ogden. Opening day had been January 16.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Sep 1, 2009 at 3:53 am

Boxoffice reported on June 5, 1952, that the Ritz was being converted into 19 apartments. It was just one of half a dozen quad cities theaters that had recently been closed, according to Boxoffice. The others were the LeClaire and Hiland in Moline, the Majestic in East Moline, the Spencer in Rock Island, and the Iowan in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about 20th Century Theatre on Sep 1, 2009 at 3:24 am

Leo Yassenoff, the Y in F&Y, was also the head of the Academy Theatres Circuit. F&Y designed and built the theaters Academy had built, and remodeled many that the circuit acquired from other operators.

I’ve tracked down quite a few theaters designed by F&Y and posted comments on their pages here, but the only one that’s been updated with the information is the Geauga Cinema. I think maybe I make most of my comments at the wrong time of day for them to get noticed.

A rather grim sidelight about Leo Yassenoff that I ran across on the Internet is that he was the great-grandfather of Dylan Klebold, of Columbine High School infamy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Edwards Big Newport 6 on Sep 1, 2009 at 2:56 am

The architectural firm of Pearson & Wuesthoff designed the 400-seat second auditorium opened at Edwards Newport in 1971. This was reported in the August 24, 1970, issue of Boxoffice. They might have designed the Newport itself, though I’ve been unable to track down any confirmation of this. The same firm designed Edwards Harbor Twin Cinemas in 1970, and a number of other theater projects during that period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Edwards Harbor Twin on Sep 1, 2009 at 2:51 am

The Edwards Harbor Twin Cinemas was designed by the firm of Pearson & Wuesthoff according to the report in Boxoffice Magazine, August 24, 1970.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about 20th Century Theatre on Sep 1, 2009 at 12:58 am

NRHP’s web site is more reliable than many, but I’ve found typos and misspellings there before, and have probably failed to recognize a few others that I’ve seen. The F&W/F&Y mistake was easy for me to spot because I’ve seen so many references to F&Y in Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Melody Theater on Aug 31, 2009 at 5:46 am

The November 13, 1948, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Melody Theatre would be ready to open in about two weeks. The owners were Gene Higginbotham, Leroy Carter, and John T. Hanni.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Holiday Drive-In on Aug 31, 2009 at 5:38 am

The problem is that there’s no convincing evidence that there was a Holiday Drive-In at Springfield in the 1950s. Nobody claims to have seen it, or even to have seen ads for it. Everybody is repeating second-hand reports of its existence.

The reports in Boxoffice all point to new construction on a virgin site in 1969 for the Holiday, and the complete absence of any mention of the Holiday in earlier issues of the magazine, when three other drive-ins in town were all mentioned more than once, also makes me skeptical of its existence. Somebody will have to dig up an ad or a directory listing from before 1969, or an eyewitness who actually saw the place before 1969, to convince me that there was an earlier Holiday Drive-In in Springfield.