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Boxoffice of January 9, 1954, had this article about the remodeling of the Rialto Theatre. It mentions the opening year as 1940, but gives the seating capacity as only 600. Design of the remodeling, which was carried out to convert the house to CinemaScope, was attributed to local architect Harold Long.
Robert Boller was the architect of a 1953 remodeling of the Orpheum. The project included removing the stage and installing a CinemaScope screen. Boxoffice of January 6, 1954, said that the auditorium’s capacity had been increased by 25 seats as a result of the project.
Boxoffice of January 6, 1954, said that Cine Payret’s recent presentation of “The Robe” was the debut of CinemaScope in Latin America. The strikingly modern lobby of the theater was featured on the cover of the Modern Theatre section of the same issue of Boxoffice.
The Arion Theatre underwent an extensive remodeling project in 1953. The modern design was done by the architectural firm of Liebenberg & Kaplan, according to Boxoffice of January 6, 1954.
Photos on this page, text on the following page.
Someone has started a web site about the Tivoli here. It’s set up as a weblog, but so far it has only two entries, both of them being articles from Boxoffice Magazine. There are a couple of photos, and also an e-mail address and a phone number.
The architectural style of the Indiana looks more 1920s than 1910s. A town as small as Washington probably wouldn’t have had a movie theater as large as the Indiana built as early as 1913. My guess would be that the Indiana Theatre was built in the 1920s, and most likely in 1926, when the organ was installed.
In Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide of 1897, the earliest edition available to me, there is a listing for an Opera House in Washington, managed by Horrall Bros., who are still listed as operators in the 1899-1900 edition. In the 1904-1905 and 1906-1907 editions the Opera House was listed as managed by Frank Green. Cahn lists the Opera House as a second-floor theater, and the Indiana looks like a ground floor theater, which is further indication that they were probably not the same house.
The 1893 issue of the entertainment trade journal The New York Clipper listed a house called Wise’s Family Theatre, which had been opened at Washington, Indiana, on November 14, 1892. It seems fairly likely that Wise’s Family Theatre, the Opera House of Cahn’s guides, and Palmer Bros. Grand on the postcard with the 1913 postmark, were all the same theater, and that it had changed operators several times.
Washington had a movie house called the Theatorium which was mentioned in the December 13, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World. I doubt that it became the Indiana Theatre either, but it is possible that the Theatorium was the Opera House, which could have been renamed sometime after the postcard above was printed, though it’s also quite possible that the Theatorium was an entirely different theater. Addresses would have to be found for both names to know for sure.
Given that the postcard ad shows the Opera House operating as a movie and vaudeville theater, and given that it was almost certainly not the Indiana Theater, I think it would be reasonable to give it a listing at Cinema Treasures.
Also, Kerasotes' web site doesn’t list any showdates for this theater. Has it been closed?
JimmiB: Please take a look at my recent comments on the Arcadia Theatre page. There’s a link to a 1909 magazine item about a theater, originally called the Victor, at 748 Penn Street. At first I thought it might have been the theater you knew in the 1950s as the stinky Ritz, but Ken Roe found a different address for the Ritz. It’s possible that the Victor didn’t last long, in which case you still might reconize the building as the location of some other business.
The street name in the header needs to be changed from Penn Avenue to Penn Street. There is a Penn Avenue in Reading, so the Google Maps link currently fetches the wrong location. The caption for the photos Lost Memory linked to in the preceding comment gives the location of the Park as the 1000 block of Penn Street.
The “Related Websites” link in the intro is dead, by the way.
FDY must have meant Penn Street, rather than Pennsylvania Street, since Penn Street is where the local commenters on the Park Theatre page (MikelD and JimmiB) place it. But it wasn’t the Victor in any case. I suppose it still might have once been the Princess/Arcadia, though.
The Irvin Glazer Theatre Collection contains a promotional piece for the Astor Theatre in Reading, which says that the new house was to be built on the site of the Arcadia. If that was the case, then the original Arcadia must have been demolished in 1927 or 1928.
As an Arcadia Theatre was still listed in the FDY as late as 1941 the name must have been moved to another theater when the original house was closed and demolished to make way for the Astor. An October 3, 1928, ad for the Arcadia Theatre in the Reading Eagle has the words “Formerly the…” (Princess? The scan is hard to read.)
The ad gives no address for the Princess/Arcadia, but it’s possible that the Princess was a theater that had been opened in 1909, originally called the Victor, which was located at 748 Penn Street. Here is a scanned clip of an item from The Moving Picture World, issue of April 17, 1909, telling about the New Victor Theatre. There is a small photo of the entrance. Perhaps someone from Reading will recognize it.
It’s also possible that the Victor eventually became a theater called the Ritz, which was mentioned in comments on the Cinema Treasures page for the Park Theatre. The comments only say that the Ritz was on Penn Street somewhere between 7th and 9th. Perhaps it is listed in an FDY from the 1950s. If the Ritz was at 748 Penn, then it must have been the Victor, and maybe the Princess and Arcadia as well.
The street name in the header needs to be changed from Pennsylvania Street to Penn Street.
The address currently given for this theater is wrong. JimmiB says (the preceding comment) the Warner was across the street from the Astor and a couple of doors from the Embassy. The Embassy had an odd numbered address and the Astor an even numbered address, so the Warner must have been odd numbered as well. In the 1945 photo ken mc linked to above, the Progressive Outfitting Co. next door to the Warner’s entrance looks like it has an address of 751, so the theater must have been at 753 Penn.
The old Rajah Temple was gutted by fire in May, 1921. The rebuilding project was extensive, costing approximately one million dollars and taking more than a year to complete. The five-bay facade of the original building was retained, though there were extensive alterations to its upper floors, but the rebuilt theater’s entrance was in a new annex that was erected adjacent to the surviving front portion of the original structure. The auditorium of the new Rajah Theatre was new construction as well.
The book “Reading in Historic Postcards” includes cards depicting the original and the rebuilt building on page 107. The text on the latter card says that the Austin organ installed in the rebuilt theater had cost $35,000.
The April 17, 1909, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about T.R. Bullock’s new theater:[quote]“AMUSEMENT PALACE FOR PROVIDENCE.
“A new motion picture house with a seating capacity of about twelve hundred will open soon in Providence, R. I., at 34 and 38 Richmond street. According to the plans now made by Mr. T. R. Bullock, the proprietor, it will be one of the finest in New England. The billiard and pool tables that formerly occupied the hall have been moved into new quarters and it will be the only building of its kind that has so many of the popular sports of the day under one roofâ€”-namely, billiards, pool, bowling, moving pictures, vaudeville and illustrated songs. It will be very unique in this way, as it will give our patrons a chance to bring their families to enjoy the theater while they are playing billiards or bowling. As all of the different entertainments are under one roof it does not make it necessary for anyone to leave the building to go from one entertainment to the other. The place will be known as Bullock’s Temple of Amusement, the name that Mr. Bullock has used since he opened the place four years ago. Mr. R. B. Royce will have charge of the house and assist Mr. Bullock in the management and booking of the vaudeville. Mr. Royce is well known to the Summer park people and sends greeting to all of his friends. Bullock’s Temple of Amusement Orchestra will furnish the music under the leadership of Mr. Geo. Wallace. Mr. Bullock has signed with the Motion Picture Patents Company, so that good pictures are assured. These will be changed on Mondays and Thursdays. It is expected that the house will open on May 11.“[/quote]
Here is a nice nocturnal view, ca.1973, of the original Colony Shopping Center with the theater at the far end. The entire strip has been demolished.
This theater was not a quonset hut. this photo shows a standard boxy theater building. Quonset huts were first built in 1941 in any case, and this theater is supposed to have been built in 1914.
In 1913, the Majestic Theatre was one of three Sacramento movie houses being operated by Charles William Godard, the others being the Acme, which he had opened in 1903, and the Liberty. In 1915, he opened the Godard Theatre on J Street.
The Acme Theatre was opened in 1903 by Charles William Godard, a former blacksmith. He enjoyed considerable success in his new enterprise, and by 1913 he was also operating the Liberty and Majestic (later Mission) theaters in Sacramento. In 1915, he opened his Godard Theatre, last known as the Rio Theatre.
Here is an extract from a biographical sketch of Mr. Godard published in 1913:
“The business with which Mr. Godard became identified in October of 1903 and which has engaged his attention from that time to the present, forms one of the well-known amusement ventures for which the city has gained a wide reputation. As proprietor and owner of three theaters, known as the Liberty, Majestic and Acme Theaters, he has developed the use of moving pictures for entertainment, amusement and education. Some of the films exhibited in his theaters are exceptionally fine and have attracted admiring comment from critics, while all have been selected with experienced judgment and artistic appreciation.”
The book “Sacramento: Indomitable City” by Steven Avella says that Charles W. Godard opened this theater in 1915. He had earlier operated a number of other Sacramento theaters. A History of California published in 1906 and revised in 1913 has biographical material on Godard. The 1906 edition says that he took over the Acme Theatre in 1903, and the 1913 edition adds the Liberty and Majestic to the chain of three theaters he was operating by then.
John DiStatsio was apparently not the first owner of the Liberty, unless there were two subsequent theaters of that name in Sacramento. The style of the building does look to be a bit earlier than 1916, though, so this was probably the same Liberty Theatre mentioned in this 1913 biography of Charles Godard, who was also operating the Majestic and Godard theaters at that time. Godard was also mentioned as operator of the Liberty in the trade publication Moving Picture World, issue of July 12, 1913.
The Liberty and its neighbor, the Capitol Theatre, can be seen in this 1962 photo. There is also a glimpse of the Liberty at the far left of this ca.1962 photo. The ornate facade in the photo Lost Memory linked to above had been replaced at some time by a moderne front and marquee.
That was the major problem with Vitrolite. It looked great as long as it held together, but it was very easily cracked. This is why they stopped making Vitrolite in the U.S. in the late 1940s.
And because Vitrolite was easily cracked and broken, it provided an unstable surface for other materials. Whenever a Vitrolite front has been replaced by something else, the Vitrolite would have to have been stripped off first, so the new material would have something stable to which it could be attached.
Boxoffice Magazine’s archive is no longer available at issuu.com, but some 3000 back issues in the vault on the magazine’s own web site are currently available for viewing. Here is a fresh link to the photo of the Farman Theatre (originally posted by Gerald DeLuca above) on the cover of the January 6, 1951, issus.
The photo of the Farnum shows that DeAngelis’s original facade treatment has been replaced by the rough stone facade seen in newer photos. DeAngelis chose to face the building a glassy tile, probably vitrolite, in three different colors (the photo is black and white, but three tones can be seen.) There was also a depiction of what appears to be an archer and a hunting dog above the marquee. Possibly this panel was designed by Oscar Glas, who did the murals inside the theater.
I don’t know if Boxoffice intends to keep its archive available to non-subscribers or not, but if they do then you can search for specific issues of the magazine by going to their home page, clicking on “The Vault” and then on the year of the issue you’re looking for, then the thumbnail of the particular issue.
The exterior style of the Lyceum is predominantly Romanesque Revival. I’ve never found any interior photos.
The address currently given for the Park Theatre can’t be correct. 446 W. Federal is on the edge of an industrial district just outside downtown, and is across the street from a pair of railroad tracks that run along the river. This would have been an odd location for a major theater.
I also found a 1904 reference to a proposed project on Champion Street which was on a lot said to be adjacent to the Park Theatre. Champion Street crosses East Federal Plaza, though not at the 400 block. I think the theater building was at the southeast corner of Federal and Champion. A 1948 Youngstown Vindicator item about the sale of the Park Theatre by Shea Theatre Corp. said that it had begun operating under lease as a burlesque house earlier that year, and that it was located on Champion Street. It might have had an entrance on Federal Plaza earlier in its history.
Early 20th century editions of The New International Encyclopaedea say that the Park Theatre was one of Youngstown’s prominent buildings. A 1910 book called History of the Western Reserve says that it was built in 1901. The Park Theatre was designed by Cleveland architect William S. Lougee, according to a 1918 book called A History of Cleveland and its Environs.
The Park ran movies as early as 1903, but offered primarily live theater during its early years, and continued to present plays at least as late as 1946. During its later years it had both a movie season and a theater season. It also presented vaudeville, concerts, and other live events at various times in its history.
A history of Youngstown published in 1921 features a thumbnail biography of Christopher W, Deibel, who built he Liberty Theatre. Here is an extract of the portion dealing with his career as a movie exhibitor:[quote]“For twenty years he was a merchant tailor. But he is best known for his theatrical ventures, and was one of the pioneer operators of moving picture shows in Youngstqwn. He named his first theater, a small place seating 186 people, the Dome. He had four successive theaters, each named Dome. The present theater of that name was begun by Mr. Deibel in 1912.
“His most notable contribution, however, to the amusement resources of Youngstown came with the organization by him in February, 1918, of the corporation which established and built the Liberty Theater, at 202 West Federal Street. Fifty years earlier his father on the same site built the old Excelsior Block, which was razed by his son to make room for the Liberty Theater. Not only Mr. Deibel but the entire community take pride in the Liberty. It is not excelled by any other theater of its size in the United States in the matter of attractive equipment, comfort and bookings. It has a seating capacity of 1,800 people.”[/quote]Here is a link to the complete bio at Google Books. Scroll down to see a photo of Mr. Deibel. No photos of the theater, unfortunately.