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The Leaf Theatre opened on October 24, 1949, with 1022 seats- 700 on the main floor and 322 in a segregated balcony. The house was operated by Interstate Enterprises, according to items in Boxoffice Magazine on November 5 and November 19, 1949. These items attribute the design of the theater to Prentiss Huddleston & Associates, Tallahassee.
An Item in 1947 said that Kemp, Bunch & Jackson would design the new theater at Quincy, with Prentiss Huddleston as a local associate architect. A September, 1948 item names Prentiss Huddleston as the lead architect of the Leaf Theatre, with Kemp, Bunch & Jackson as the associated architects. The items about the opening don’t mention Kemp, Bunch & Jackson at all, so I don’t know how much, if any, input that firm had in the final design of the Leaf Theatre.
The plans had already been revised several times by early 1948, according to an item in Boxoffice of January 24 that year, due to repeated refusal by government authorities to issue a permit for construction of the theater as designed.
Interstate Enterprises, a company with theaters in Georgia and Florida, not to be confused with Texas-based Interstate Theatres, already operated two other theaters in Quincy, the Shaw and the Roxy, and later opened a drive-in there as well.
Boxoffice of August 26, 1950, announced that ground had been broken for a new theater on N. 4th Street in Baton Rouge. The house was being built for Gordon Theatres Inc., a local chain headed by Gordon Ogden. Architects for the project were the local firm of Bodman & Murrell (Ralph Bodman and Richard Murrell.) The house was expected to be open by January 1, 1951.
The successor firm to Bodman & Murrell, Bodman, Murrell, Landry & Webb, designed at least one theater that would be operated by Gordon Theatres' successor firm, Gordon-Perry Theatres, in 1964. There was also an intermediate firm called Bodman, Murrell & Smith. Other theaters might have been designed under one or another of the firms names, but I’m having a hard time tracking down information about them. Boxoffice has very few references on the subject.
This list of historic New Orleans buildings attributes the design of the Carver Theatre to the firm of August Perez & Associates (it’s listed third from the bottom.)
The article ken mc linked to says the University Cinema had existed since 1960, but Boxoffice of February 16, 1970, says that a University Twin Theatre was to be built in the University Shopping Center at Highland Road and State Street in Baton Rouge. Presumably it opened later that year. I’ve been unable to find any references to any other theaters being in the neighborhood, so I think the University Cinema 4 must have been that 1970 project.
The house was built for Theo Cangelosi, who also had an interest in the Broadmoor Theatre in Baton Rouge, though he was not a theater operator (the Broadmoor was leased to Gordon-Perry Theatres.) The University Twin was designed by local architectural firm Wilson & Coleman, and had 704 seats, divided 412 and 292. Completion of the project was expected by July, 1970.
The Orpheum in Mapleton is mentioned in Boxoffice in December, 1937, and in August and October, 1938. The first item names the operator as Ray Richards, and the last says it is Roy Reichard. I haven’t found either the Maple or the Princess mentioned in any issues from the 1930s.
Orpheum probably is an aka for the Princess/first Maple, though I wouldn’t yet rule out the possibility that the Princess closed and the Orpheum was a different theater that later became the Maple. I doubt that Mapleton was ever large enough to support two theaters at once, though.
kdinkcmo: The 1948 year of opening currently given in the intro is wrong. The Maple opened in 1950. Boxoffice Magazine ran a brief item datelined Mapleton in its June 25, 1949, issue which said: “Construction of a 50x100-foot brick building to house the new Mapleton Theatre has begun here. The business is owned by F. W. Kugel of Holstein and will be managed by F. D. ‘Doc’ Naulteus.”
Then the January 7, 1950, issue of Boxoffice had an item saying that the opening of the new Maple Theatre was scheduled for January 10. The first movie was to be “Challenge to Lassie.” Boxoffice said the house had 400 seats, but Boxoffice was frequently a bit off on seating capacity. Their items also had frequent spelling errors (“Doc” Naulteus might have been Nalteus or Nulteus or even Multeus, depending on which issue of Boxoffice you look at.)
I think Chuck probably got the 1948 date from the Boller Brothers Architectural Records (PDF here) which lists the Maple Theatre as a 1948 project. I think the Boller records give the year in which the firm began working on a given project, though, which is often not the year the buildings were completed.
Unless it was replaced at some time between 1928 and 1942, when F.W. Kugel bought it, the original Maple Theatre, closed when the new Maple Theatre opened in 1950, was called the Princess when it was sold to Mrs. Charles Weeks of Ord, Nebraska, by Harry Day in 1928. The information about that sale was reprinted in the “From the Boxoffice Files, Twenty Years Ago” feature in Boxoffice of August 28, 1948. Unless the name Princess was given to the 1950 Maple Theatre at some later date, this page should be renamed Maple Theatre and the aka Princess should go to a new page for the original Maple Theatre, which must have been at a different location.
I’d say if it’s an entirely new building, it should have its own page, as long as it shows movies. However, in the photo on this page at the center’s web site you can see that they’ve only got a big digital setup for movies.
The .pdf with the theater’s technical specifications says they have a 12'x20' high-definition screen and are equipped for Blu-Ray digital DVD playback. I guess 12'x20' is about as big as the screens many movie theaters had for decades, and probably bigger than the screens in some of the early multiplexes, so presentation is probably decent.
The .pdf has a few photos. I wish they’d given as much architectural attention to the outside of the new building as they did to the interior, which is not half bad. The facade looks strip mall dull, though, even with the restored marquee in place.
A Town and Country Cinema opened as a 600-seat single-screener in the Town & Country Shopping Center in Southern Pines in 1966. Originally operated by Stewart & Everett Theatres, it was one of at least two theaters designed about this time for the chain by Charles H. Wheatley & Associates. S&E was then operating over 70 theatres in North Carolina and Virginia, the Sunrise in Southern Pines among them.
The June 6, 1977, issue of Boxoffice listed among new theater projects completed in 1976 a 325-seat Town & Country Cinema 2, at Southern Pines, for Stewart & Everett Theatres. This was apparently either a second screen added to (or carved from) the original Town and Country Cinema, or an entirely new twin built as a replacement for the 1966 single-screen house. Boxoffice does not specify. Old reports or ads from the area’s newspaper(s) could undoubtedly clear this up.
The January 22, 1968, issue of Boxoffice said that Chakeres Theatres' University Cinema in Morehead had opened on January 11th. The item gave the seating capacity as 750.
The Mills was probably called the Cozy prior to 1940. A December 9, 1939, Boxoffice item said that L.H. Mills was taking over the Cozy Theatre in Morehead. By 1943, Boxoffice is mentioning Lou Mills as operator of the Mills Theatre in Morehead.
Warren Schafer, operator of the Trail Theatre in Morehead, operated the Cozy for about two months in 1939 before selling it to Mills, then bought the Mills Theatre from Mills early in 1944. I don’t find the Cozy mentioned after 1939 or the Mills mentioned before 1942. They were probably the same theater. In 1948, Schafer sold both houses to Chakeres Theatres.
A July 15, 1939, Boxoffice item said that all three of the theaters in Morehead had escaped damage from recent flooding. Though none of the theater names were given in the item, the third theater must have been the Morehead College Theatre, which a 1935 Boxoffice item said was operated as a regular movie theater, open to the public, operated in the school’s auditorium by a professor.
This 1935 item also mentions a “…defunct Blue Eagle….” in Morehead, whose operator had unsuccessfully sued the college to prevent it from competing with has privately-owned theater. By the early 1940s Boxoffice was saying there were two theaters in Morehead, so the College operation, last mentioned by name in the magazine in 1938, must have shut down by then.
The most recent mention of the Mills I’ve found in Boxoffice is in the December 15, 1952, issue, when Chakeres Theatres announced plans for a new drive-in at Morehead. The Trail, a 400-seat house opened by Schafer in 1937, is mentioned as late as 1954, when CinemaScope was installed.
I found a reference to this theater as the Lillian in the February 22, 1941, issue of Boxoffice. The item said that Crescent had acquired the theater three years earlier. They were having the house remodeled. Plans were by the local architectural firm of Speight & Hibbs. A new facade and marquee were planned, so this may be when the name was changed.
In any case, the theater had been renamed the Roxy by 1946, when its destruction by fire was reported in the January 19 issue of Boxoffice. So far I’ve been unable to find anything in Boxoffice about the reconstruction, but I suspect that Speight & Hibbs did the design for that, too. From the photos it certainly resembles their other work of the period.
Photos of the Josephine Theatre appeared in the November 15, 1947, issue of Boxoffice. The architects were Noonan & Noonan (the only theater that firm ever designed, as far as I’ve been able to discover.) The style was a rather severe take on Art Moderne, not Art Deco.
The 1938 photo has vanished, but here’s one dated 1940. The Ritz in the photo burned in 1947.
The new, Art Moderne style Ritz, designed by the Clarksville, Tennessee, architectural firm of Speight & Hibbs, opened in 1948 as reported in Boxoffice of October 16 that year. The Ritz was operated by the Ruffin Amusement Company, also operators of the Rex Theatre in Hickman.
It looks to me like all the photos linked above depict the Dickson Theatre. The Roxy was an older theater, operating at least as early as 1939. It closed in 1952, a year after the Dickson Theatre opened.
The Dickson Theatre opened on July 11, 1951, according to the July 21 issue of Boxoffice. The new house was owned by Mrs. Helen Bruster (a couple of issues of Boxoffice use the spelling Brewster, apparently an error) according to an announcement in Boxoffice of August 19, 1950. The Dickson Theatre was designed by the Clarksville, Tennessee, architectural firm of Speight & Hibbs. Various seating capacities were given in various issues of Boxoffice, ranging from 750 to 950.
Mrs. Bruster also operated the older Roxy Theatre, from at least 1939, per mentions of it in various Boxoffice issues. The Roxy was last mentioned in the October 18, 1952, issue of Boxoffice, which said: “Helen Bruster announces the Roxy, Dickson, Tenn., has been closed permanently.”
Helen Bruster also opened the Dickson Drive-In at Dickson in 1955, according to Boxoffice of October 1 that year.
In 1932 there was a Gaiety Theatre in Dickson, mentioned in New England Film News of May 12. Perhaps an earlier name for the Roxy? A theater called the Plaza opened in Dickson in late 1966, and was still operating in 1977.
There is currently a multiplex in Dickson called the Roxy 8 Movie Theatre, so the name survives even if the old Roxy is history.
I’ve been unable to find out anything about the Aurora Theatre in Boxoffice, but between 1943 and 1947 there are a few references to Glen Caldwell being the operator of the Princess and Caldwell Theatres in Aurora. I wonder if he reopened the former Aurora under the name Caldwell when the Princess burned in 1943, then kept it open for a few years after the Princess was rebuilt? None of the Boxoffice items I’ve read are telling.
Architect Irving Karlin’s middle initial is M, not R.
Irving M. Karlin also designed the State Theatre at Logansport, Indiana, and the rebuilding of the Orpheum Theatre in Ottawa, Illinois.
An item about the Clover Theatre, as yet unnamed, appeared in Boxoffice, August 17, 1940. The item gave the location as Cloverdale Road and Fairview Avenue. The new house for R.B. Wilby’s Alabama Theatres was designed by Montgomery architect William J. Okel. Okel designed a few other theaters but I’ve not yet tracked them down.
Additional photographs of the Varsity illustrate an article about the recently-opened house in Boxoffice of August 17, 1940.
The Plaza Theatre was remodeled and redecorated at a cost of $25,000 in 1940, as described in an illustrated article in Boxoffice Magazine of August 17 that year. The architect for the project was Larry P. Larsen.
An article in the August 17, 1940, issue of Boxoffice has a paragraph mentioning the Rose Theatre and its owner-operator, F.R. Thompson. Mr. Thompson was celebrating his 59th birthday and had recently completed construction of a new house for himself and his wife. Quoth Boxoffice writer Rene Clayton: “Mr. Thompson, who is a very fine architect if we are to judge by the Rose which he designed and built practically single-handed, designed and built the new Thompson home as well.”
The Georgia Theatre must be the project mentioned in the August 17, 1940, issue of Boxoffice. Headed “625-Seat Negro Theatre Planned in Memphis,” the item gave the location as the corner of Georgia and Mississippi avenues. Designed by architect Raymond B. Spencer, the new house was slated to cost $35,000.
The June 15, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that the new State in Logansport had opened on June 8. It was operated by the Alliance Theatre Corporation, also operators of the Roxy and Paramount at Logansport.
A photo of the auditorium of the State Theatre illustrated an advertisement for American Avion Theatre Chairs in the August 17, 1940, issue of Boxoffice. There were 1074 seats in the State. The architect of the theater was Irving M. Karlin, Chicago.
The Orpheum Theatre in Ottawa was rebuilt in 1937, several years after it had been virtually destroyed by a fire. Three walls of the original building remained standing, and the side walls were incorporated into the new theater by architect Irving M. Karlin. The surviving facade wall was demolished. Karlin wrote an article about the project which was published in the October 16, 1937, issue of Boxoffice. The new Orpheum was designed in the Moderne style.
The State Theatre (its original name) was opened in 1950, before November 4, when an article about it, written by decorator Haans Teichert, appeared in Boxoffice Magazine. Designed by Cleveland architect George Ebeling and decorated by Rex M. Davis of the Teichert Studios, the State Theatre was originally operated by the Cuyahoga Falls Amusement Company, headed by Moe Horowitz of the Washington circuit. The Loew’s circuit did not acquire the State until 1968, according to an item in Boxoffice, March 17, 1969.
George Ebeling designed numerous theaters in Ohio between the late 1930s and his sudden death in 1951, and was for a time a member of the advisory board of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute. Among theaters he designed were the Lake Theatre in Painesville, the Yorktown Theatre in Cleveland, the Mapletown Theatre in Cleveland, and the Mentor Drive-In at Mentor, Ohio.
Albert A. Weis took over the Grand Opera House in 1910, according to an item in the New York Times of June 28 that year. The article said that Weis controlled a circuit of theaters in Texas, Mississippi, and adjoining states.