Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theatre on Dec 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm

A 1916 ad for the Chicago-based Ascher Brothers theater circuit listed the Bijou Theatre and the Marinette Opera House in Marinette among their operations. The ad boasted that Ascher Brothers' theaters were “The Aristocrats of Photoplay Palaces.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pantages Theater on Dec 17, 2010 at 5:11 am

How did B. Marcus Priteca’s first and middle names get reversed in the architect field?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lakewood Center 16 on Dec 17, 2010 at 5:07 am

The major expansion of the Lakewood Center Theatres into the current 16-screen megaplex was the work of theater designer Dave Tanizaki, with GFBA Architects. The same team designed at least one other theater project, the Edwards Metro Pointe Stadium 12 in Costa Mesa, California, opened in 1996. This page at GFBA’s web site features a couple of exterior of the redesigned building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Edwards Bakersfield 14 Cinemas on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:59 am

Several legal journals of later 1910s make reference to a case involving a dispute over rent owed by a Bakersfield Theater Company to the Bakersfield Improvement Company during 1914. The L.A. library’s California Index contains quite a few cards mentioning early theaters in Bakersfield, though the name Bakersfield Theatre is not mentioned.

Bakersfield had a population of over 12,000 in 1910, and over 18,000 by 1920, so it supported several theaters during the 1910s. This web page mentions several theaters, though it doesn’t specify which were movie houses and which offered live entertainment: “In 1909 Chester Avenue was noted as ‘theater row’ where Morley’s, Parra’s, Scribner’s, Grogg’s, The Empire and The Lyceum offered flickering movies, vaudeville, concerts, slide shows and any other entertainment they could book.” Later it mentions a Union Theatre as well.

The California Index mentions theaters called the Rex, the Lyric, the the Hippodrome, the Kern, the California, the Pastime, and the Elite, as well as the Nile.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema 70 on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:01 am

Cinema 70 opened in 1963 as the Cooper 70 Theatre, according to a history of the Cooper circuit published by the Cooper Foundation, available as a 7.9MB .pdf file which can be downloaded from this page of their web site. The opening of the Cooper 70 was scheduled for November 22, but was delayed until the following night because of the assassination of President Kennedy that day.

The design of the Cooper 70 is attributed by the history to Mel Glatz, in association with architect Maynard Rorman. The team also designed the Ute 70 and Cooper 1-2-3 in Colorado Springs, the Cooper Twin and Wilshire Twin in Greeley, Colorado, and the additions to the Cooper Cinerama theaters when they were expanded into multi-screen houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theater on Dec 15, 2010 at 8:25 am

I should add that the photos I mentioned in my previous comment show the original architectural style of the Majestic to have been Italian Renaissance.

I’ve also had a chance to check the list of Crane’s theater projects that is included in Ms. DiChiera’s thesis, and it now seems very likely that C. Howard Crane was also the architect of the Duplex Theatre which I mentioned above. Crane was truly ahead of his time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Duplex Theater on Dec 15, 2010 at 7:57 am

The Masters thesis of Lisa Maria DiChiera, titled “The Theater Designs of C. Howard Crane” (available from the Internet Archive here) includes an appendix with a list which the text says “…consists of theater commissions received by the office of C. Howard Crane, as recorded in Crane’s project inventory book from the Crane archives collection, which is in the possession of Louis Wiltse, architect, Clarkston, Michigan. Omitted from the list are project numbers of commissions in the inventory book which were not for theaters.”

Most of the entries consist only of the project number and the name of the project. Project #96 in the list is named “Cary Duplex.” I’ve searched the Internet to see if the name Cary is mentioned in Connection with the Duplex Theatre, but so far haven’t found it to be. Still, given that the list includes only theater projects, that it was an early Crane project (#96,) that “Duplex” was not a common theater name, and that C. Howard Crane was by 1915 an established theater architect in Detroit, it seems very likely that the listed item was this Duplex Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theater on Dec 15, 2010 at 7:08 am

The Internet Archive has available a most interesting document. It is the Masters thesis of Lisa Maria DiChiera, and it is titled The Theater Designs of C. Howard Crane. Though the photos in the document were reproduced on the copying equipment available in 1992, they are clear enough to provide decent views. Beginning on page 80, there is a floor plan of the Majestic, a longitudinal section, two interior photos, and an exterior photo.

What amazed me about the photos of the auditorium is that the Majestic had only nine rows of seats in its orchestra section, and behind those were more than twice as many rows of stadium seating. So not only did Detroit get one of the world’s first twin theaters (the Duplex, also opened in 1915) but it also apparently got one of the first indoor theaters in the world that featured predominantly stadium seating.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theater on Dec 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm

The rewritten intro for this theater has the theater’s names out of order. The house opened as the Liberty (in 1919, according to the official web site,) was called the Mesa from sometime during the 1950s through at least the early 1970s, and the name Liberty was later restored.

This weblog post has a small photo of the theater from the late 1950s, and the name Mesa is on the marquee. The Boxoffice items I cited in my previous comment indicate that the theater was still called the Liberty at least as late as 1950. The last mention of the Mesa in Boxoffice was from 1972, but as no names are given for a theater in Pagosa Springs after that, I don’t know when the name Liberty was restored.

I don’t know why the theater’s official web site says that the house has been called the Liberty since opening in 1919, when that photo of the building with the name Mesa on the marquee exists.

The blogger who posted the photo uses the spelling Petry for the name of the operator during that period. Boxoffice used the spelling Petry a couple of times, but used Petri more frequently. I’m not sure whether Albert Petri or Albert Petry is correct.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Davis Theatre on Dec 14, 2010 at 5:44 am

At Google Books a few days ago I came across a reference to Davis having an Alvin Theatre in New York in the late 19th century, but now I can’t find it. I’m wondering if it was another of those things I read too quickly and misunderstood. The earlier Alvin in New York might be a figment.

I’ve come across another interesting book, published in 1909, which has a few brief paragraphs about both Davises and B.F. Keith. The passage about Charles Davis is quite derogatory about his play, calling it “…perhaps the poorest vehicle in the way of a play that was ever inflicted on an audience.” A later paragraph makes reference to a conflict between Harry Davis and Keith in which Keith apparently attempted to take over Davis’s operations, but no details are given. It sounds like an interesting story, but I’ve been unable to find any source that tells it all.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lux Theatre on Dec 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I’m wondering why the Lux Theatre’s architectural style is classified as Neo-Vintage, which is a style that didn’t come into existence until after the theater was closed and demolished?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Dec 13, 2010 at 6:32 pm

On the Liberty Theatre page I noted that I found the Liberty mentioned in Boxoffice from 1939 until 1950, two years after it was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Petri. Then the Petris are noted as operators of a theater in Pagosa Springs in a few items from the 1950s, but the name of the theater is not mentioned. Then in 1960 Boxoffice said the Petris were operating a theater in pagosa Springs called the Mesa. The Mesa is mentioned frequently until 1972.

The two possible explanations are that the Petris renamed the Liberty sometime in the 1950s, or they closed the Liberty (or it was destroyed) and the Mesa was opened to replace it. Pagosa Springs was probably never large enough to support two theaters at once.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Davis Theatre on Dec 13, 2010 at 5:41 pm

That’s what happens when I read a source too quickly and I’m not fully awake yet. I forgot that I’d already noted on the Alvin (Gateway) Theatre page that Charles Davis had sold that house to B.F. Keith’s circuit in 1900 (I’ve been unable to discover what became of his Alvin in New York.)

The Davis Theatre obviously must have been named for Harry Davis. Over the years a number of his theaters, including the Davis, were operated in a pooling deal with the Kieth circuit. It was apparently through the deal with Keith that the Pittsburgh Alvin came under the Harry Davis company’s management.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Davis Theatre on Dec 13, 2010 at 7:15 am

I have to correct my previous comment. The Davis Theatre was built in 1915, six years after Charles Davis died. I’ve been unable to determine the exact relationship between Charles Davis and Harry Davis, but I know that after C.L. Davis' death, Harry Davis took control of his theatrical enterprises.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Davis Theatre on Dec 13, 2010 at 6:58 am

The Davis Theatre was built by, and named for, Charles Lindley Davis, an actor, playwright, and impresario who also built and operated the Alvin Theatre in Pittsburgh.

A 1922 book, History of Pittsburgh and environs, has this to say about Davis’s theater operations:

“The Harry Davis Stock Company, another Pittsburgh enterprise, controls the Alvin Theatre, presenting first class road companies, and under this management is also the Davis Theatre, built and opened in 1915, a member of the Keith’s circuit, where the highest class refined vaudeville entertainments are given. Under this management are also the Grand Opera House and the Lyric Theatre.”
Davis also controlled the Alvin Theatre in New York City.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Salem Theater on Dec 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Dave, the biography of the Koen brothers I linked to in my previous comment mentions the Comique and the Federal, and even gives the Federal’s opening date, March 23, 1913. John Koen’s first theater was a 144-seat storefront operation called the Cozy.

There’s a picture of the old Salem Theatre in this book, and the caption says the view is along Essex Street from Barton Square toward Washington Street. The Salem Theatre was on the right corner in the foreground, so it was about a block and a half east of the site of E.M. Loew’s later Salem. It opened in 1901, as one of Julius Cahn’s operations, and closed in the 1930s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Salem Theater on Dec 10, 2010 at 4:13 am

Does anyone know if E.M. Loew’s Salem Theatre was built on the site of an earlier house also called the Salem Theatre? There was a Salem Theatre in operation at least as early as the 1910s. During the silent era it was operated by the Koen Brothers, pioneer movie exhibitors in Salem and other towns in the area.

There’s a brief biography of the Koen Brothers in this 1922 book. It mentions several of their theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theater on Dec 10, 2010 at 3:57 am

The Empire Theatre was built in 1907 by Julius Cahn (the same Julius Cahn who was the publisher of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide.) The Salem Public Library has in its collection a “Program for Julius Cahn’s New Empire Theatre. Salem, MA: 29 August, 1907.” That might have been the opening night, though the source for the information (this page at the web site of Salem State University) doesn’t say.

As implied by the opening name New Empire Theatre, there had been an earlier Empire Theatre in Salem, also operated by Cahn and his associates. I’ve been unable to discover the location of that house, or what became of it when the New Empire opened.

By 1918, Frank Katzos was listed as operator of the Empire Theatre in an official document publishing the results of State inspections of places of amusement (the empire’s condition was listed as “Good.”) By 1922, the house had come under the control of the Koen Brothers, pioneer movie exhibitors in Salem and its vicinity. A brief biography of John Edward Koen, with additional information on his brother William Henry Koen, can be found in this History of Essex County at Google Books. It mentions several of their other theaters, which included the Salem Theatre and Federal Theater in Salem.

I’ve found references to plays being mounted at the Empire under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project during the 1930s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Berwyn Theatre on Dec 9, 2010 at 4:13 am

Douglas Deuchler’s book Berwyn has a larger black-and-white version of the picture of the Parthenon Theatre at the top of this page, and identifies it as a 1924 postcard. That’s probably correct.

Another Arcadia Publishing Company book, Czechs of Chicagoland by Malynne Sternstein, identifies another view of the Parthenon as one of a series of photos depicting Czech communities around Chicago published by photographer by E.F. Macha in 1925.

The architectural style of the building would have been retardataire for the late 1920s. I’d guess that the Parthenon opened in the early twenties, or maybe even the later 1910s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Granada Theater on Dec 9, 2010 at 4:07 am

The building in that photo does not look like it would have been built in 1935. The style is characteristic of the 1910s-1920s. If the Granada is known to have opened in 1935, it must have operated under a different name earlier. It might even have been the Dawn Theatre, a recently-opened movie house mentioned in a book called “The Story of Streator” published in 1912, though it might also have been one of the two other theaters besides the Plumb Opera House and the Majestic that were then operating in the town.

More research needs to be done on the Granada. I’ve found nothing else about it on the Internet. I’ve found two magazine items mentioning proposed theaters in Streator, one in 1920 and one in 1922. One of those might have become the Granada, assuming either got built. I’ve also come across references to there having once been a theater called the Lyric in Streator, but they don’t say when it was in operation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Dec 9, 2010 at 3:35 am

A book titled “The Story of Streator” published in 1912 mentions the Majestic Theatre and Mr. C.A. Day, who opened the house in 1907 and was still operating it in 1912. The house presented vaudeville, stock companies, and movies.

The book mentions that at that time there were four vaudeville or movie houses in Streator, in addition to the Opera House, but names only the Majestic and a recently-opened five-cent movie house called the Dawn Theatre, seating 450 and operated by Charles Vance.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theater on Dec 8, 2010 at 4:57 am

The Royal Theatre was built in either 1938 or 1939, according to the NRHP Registration form for the Lihue Post Office.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Indiana Theatre on Dec 7, 2010 at 4:46 am

To correct a misunderstanding, Thomas Harley is an architect, and he reopened the Indiana Theater and became its operator after it had been closed for over two decades, but he did not design it. In fact the theater was built long before he was born. I don’t think there have been any major alterations to the house since he reopened it, either.

This theater has gone through some drastic changes over the years. A 1936 photo of the theater in the Arcadia Publishing Company’s Indiana, Pennsylvania shows a three story building with a classical facade. By the 1940s, the building had lost its upper floors, and there was a tall, streamilne moderne blank wall above the theater entrance. In the recent photos, the wall is gone.

A few items in issues of Boxoffice over the course of 1969 said that the Manos circuit, then operating the Indiana, had plans to build a second auditoriun as a “piggyback theater” above the house, but obviously nothing came of that plan.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Dec 7, 2010 at 4:22 am

The Ritz is already listed under its later name, the Manos Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Manos Theatre on Dec 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

The photo shows that the Manos Theatre was in a very old building. I would not expect a building of that style to have been built as late as 1928, when the theater organ was installed, and it could have been built as early as the 1900s or 1910s. The auditorium could have been built behind an existing commercial building, of course, but this could also be an earlier theater that has had multiple names.

Arcadia Publishing Company’s book Indiana, Pennsylvania mentions five theater names in the town, but is very short on both details and photos. It doesn’t mention the name Ritz Theatre.

There’s a photo of a theater called the Star, located on 7th Street, which was demolished to make way for a department store in 1915. There’s a photo of the entrance of the Manos Theatre in 1956. There’s a photo of the Indian Theatre from 1936.

Most interesting is a theater called the Globe. There’s a photo apparently depicting the original Globe, built in 1909, which suffered a fire in 1912. The Globe then moved to a different (unspecified) location. The caption says the new Globe was later called the Strand. What I’m wondering is if the Globe/Strand later became the Ritz and then the Manos?

Boxoffice of July 31, 1967, said that the Manos Theatre in Indiana, Pennsylvania, had celebrated its thirtieth anniversary on the 19th of that month, so it must have lost he name Ritz in 1937.