Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regent Theatre on Nov 15, 2010 at 5:12 am

The Grand Rapids History web site provides this page about the Regent Theatre. This theater was designed in the Italian Renaissance style by architect C. Howard Crane.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Waldorf Theater on Nov 14, 2010 at 4:07 am

An article titled “Motion Picture Theatrers” in the September, 1914, issue of The Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder not only mentions the Waldorf Theatre, but includes a floor plan, a sectional drawing, and a photo of the auditorium. The architect of the Waldorf Theatre was Ralph M. Hulett, of Cleveland, who was also the author of the article. The article says that the Waldorf was located in an existing building that was remodeled into a theater.

Here is a link to the illustrations.

Here is a link to the article (the entire volume of the magazine will open, so beware if you’re on a slow connection) which features two other theaters of Hulett’s design: the Empress Theatre in Akron, and the Reel Theatre in Cleveland (if those houses are listed at Cinema Treasures, they must be under later names, and are missing the aka’s.) In addition there are several drawings and plans of unnamed theaters, apparently intended as examples of the sort of designs the firm could provide to prospective customers.

There’s also a photo of a house called the Spreckles Theatre, also apparently designed by Hulett, but I’ve been unable to discover where this was located.

An earlier issue of the same magazine, from June, 1913, featured a portfolio of the work of Ralph Hulett which included this photo depicting the facade of the Waldorf Theatre.

A 1920 book of cases decided by the Ohio Court of Appeals included a case for the dissolution of the Waldorf Amusement Company. The text reveals that the corporation was chartered on May 10, 1913, and says that “From its organization the corporation operated a motion picture theater at 47 South Main street, Akron, Ohio, under the name of The Waldorf Theater Company.” The corporation leased the Waldorf, so the building must have been completed about the time the operating company was formed. Apparently the dissolution of the company was the result of its loss of the lease.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Phantasy Theatre on Nov 14, 2010 at 3:55 am

A guide prepared for the 5th annual Lakewood History Walk (Quick View at Google Documents) says that the Homestead Tehatre was built in 1916. A couple of other sources say it was built in 1917, so maybe it was begun in 1916 and completed in 1917. It’s definitely pre-1920, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Nov 14, 2010 at 3:44 am

The photo at the top of this page is from the American Terra Cotta Company’s archives. The company’s records list the Lyric Theatre was designed by the architectural firm of Helmle & Helmle.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Nov 14, 2010 at 3:41 am

Decorative tile for the Knights of Columbus Building (which included the Sherman Theatre) was supplied by the American Terra Cotta Company. The company’s archives lists the architect of the building as Leo W. Schaefer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theatre on Nov 14, 2010 at 3:38 am

The finding aid for the papers of the architectural firm of Toltz, King & Day (at the University of Minnesota Library) list the Tower Theatre among the firm’s works.

The finding aid lists eight projects by the firm that involved a theater. One of these was the Hamm Building and Capitol Theatre (see my comment earlier today on the Paramount Theatre page.)

The other projects listed are:

1) Como Theater, St. Paul; undated
2) Cherokee Theater, St. Paul; 1921
3) Friedman Theater, St. Paul; 1921
4) Hamm Building, St. Paul; 1919-1920
5) Ideal Theater, St. Paul; 1913
6) Unique Theater, Minneapolis; 1943 (apparently a remodeling job)
7) RKO Orpheum Theatre, St. Paul; 1939, 1947-1949, 1953-1955, 1958 (obviously various remodeling projects.)

There was also a listing for the Edyth Bush Little Theatre, 1939-1940, but that was a legitimate house not equipped for movies. It closed in 1975.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Nov 14, 2010 at 3:18 am

Here is a quote from the “Scope and Content Note” of the finding aid for the papers of the St. Paul architectural firm of Toltz, King & Day, at the University of Minnesota:

“There are plans and photos for the Hamm Building in St. Paul, Minnesota (1919-1920) that include drawings for the Capitol Theatre.”
I’m not sure what this indicates about the involvement of Rapp & Rapp in the design of this theater. It’s pretty clear from the finding aid that Toltz, King & Day designed the Hamm Building itself, but it doesn’t specify what sort of drawings of the theater are in the archive, or who drew them.

If Rapp & Rapp designed the theater and the local firm supervised construction of it as well as of the office building (which would seem a likely arrangement), they would probably have had copies of Rapp & Rapp’s drawings as a guide, and those might be what is in the archive. I wish the finding aid was more specific. None of the content of the collection is available online as far as I’ve been able to discover.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Casino Theatre on Nov 13, 2010 at 5:11 am

The street names might have changed. As another possibility, there’s a Green Street in East St. Louis, so maybe the magazine accidentally left the East off of the city name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ben Ali Theatre on Nov 13, 2010 at 3:38 am

Marilyn Dee Casto’s book “Actors, Audiences, and Historic Theatres of Kentucky” says that the Ben Ali Theatre was designed by architect William H. McElfatrick.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alamo Theater on Nov 13, 2010 at 3:36 am

Marilyn Dee Casto’s book “Actors, Audiences, and Historic Theatres of Kentucky” says that the Alamo Theatre was designed by Louisville architect D.X. Murphy. However, the Arcadia Publishing Company’s picture book Louisville, by John E. Findling, attributes the design of the Alamo to Joseph D. Baldez, an associate of the firm of D.X. Murphy & Brothers. As Casto’s book is published by the University Press of Kentucky, it might be more reliable, though an academic imprimatur is not always a guarantee of accuracy.

Dennis Xavier Murphy took over the practice of Henry Whitestone in 1880, and by the time the Alamo was designed he had formed the partnership with his brothers . The firm designed a number of important Louisville landmarks, including the twin-spired clubhouse at the Churchill Downs race track. I’ve found several sources which attribute the clubhouse as well to Joseph Baldez, then a 24-year old draftsman with the firm.

Casto’s book also says that Murphy designed the conversion of an existing building in Louisville into a theater for the Whallen Brothers, local vaudeville and burlesque impresarios, but doesn’t give the name of the theater or the year it opened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Casino Theatre on Nov 13, 2010 at 3:08 am

The August 15, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World has this item about John Karzin and the Casino Theatre:

“John Karzin, president of the McKinley Amusement Company, and proprietor of the Casino and Royal theaters, on Market street, reports that the Casino at 1620 Market Street is to be rebuilt. The present wall of the Casino will be used, but as it is only 50 feet In length, it will be extended 50 feet further, and the building, when completed, will be 50 feet wide and 100 feet deep at the back, and 25 feet wide at the entrance, giving an L shape to the auditorium. The new building will have a balcony, and the seating capacity will be 900, of which 268 seats will be in the balcony. The front will be of white enameled brick, with a canopy extending over the pavement. This will be the largest moving picture house on Market street, and will be ready for business when the airdome season closes. Mr. Karzin, owner of the Casino, also owns the Royal, across the street from the Casino, and a big airdome at 18th and Chestnut streets, besides being the president of the McKinley Amusement Company, that operates the Majestic theater at 1024 Franklin Avenue”
I don’t know if Mr. Karzin’s plans for the Casino Theatre were carried out or not. I’ve been unable to find any later references to the Casino.

I did come across one puzzling item in the November 7, 1908, issue of The Moving Picture World which is about a different St. Louis theater which was also called the Casino:

“The Casino, on Fourth Avenue, near Green Street, another link in the circuit of the Princess Amusement Company, and in which O. T. Crawford, of the Crawford Film Exchange, is interested, opened its doors this week. The new house is a revelation for St. Louis patrons of moving picture theaters and represents an investment of over $15,000.”
Cinema Treasures doesn’t have any other Casino Theatre listed in St. Louis, nor is it given as an aka for any St. Louis house, so I’ve been unable to identify this surplus Casino Theatre. It’s possible that the magazine just got the name wrong.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Nov 13, 2010 at 2:19 am

Marilyn Dee Casto’s book “Actors, Audiences, and Historic Theatres of Kentucky” says that the Diamond Theatre opened in 1921.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theater on Nov 13, 2010 at 2:04 am

Marilyn Dee Casto’s book “Actors, Audiences, and Historic Theaters of Kentucky” says that the Princess Theatre opened in 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Nov 12, 2010 at 5:00 am

The Broadway-Strand Theatre was designed by architect Arland W. Johnson. It opened January 26, 1913, with 1,488 seats, according to Andrew Craig Morrison’s book Theatres. A drawing of the house as the Broadway, by artist Anthony F. Dumas, was dated 1931, but I’ve been unable to find a copy of it on the Internet. I don’t know if the theater was still in operation at the time the drawing was made.

I found this house listed as the Broadway-Strand Theatre in a book published in 1922, and an ad for the Broadway Strand appeared in the January 30, 1924 issue of the Pinckney Dispatch, a suburban Detroit newspaper. The Cass City Chronicle, another suburban paper, mention the Broadway-Strand in its issue of July 10, 1925. The Lowville, New York, Journal-Republican of September 29, 1927, ran an item welcoming a new manager to the local Bijou Theatre. L.E. Slawson’s previous post had been as manager of the Broadway-Strand in Detroit. The Bijou was a Schine house, so perhaps the Broadway-Strand was being oeprated by Schine at this time, too.

In the first comment at the Strand Theatre (Detroit) page, ken mc mentions finding a reference to a lawsuit involving the Broadway-Strand in the late 1920s. I think this theater might have been called by its original name until only a year or two before it closed. I’ve been unable to find any period references to a Broadway Theatre in Detroit other than the 1931 drawing by Dumas, and I’ve found only retrospective references to the Broadway-Strand after 1927.

I did find a 1922 reference saying that the Broadway-Strand Theatre had been built by Max Bartholomaei, Son & Company, building contractors.

There is also this photo from Wayne State University’s Virtual Motor City collection. It had a very nice Beaux Arts-Renaissance Revival facade.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Huntington Theater on Nov 12, 2010 at 2:57 am

The only theater listed for Huntington in the 1900-1901 edition of Julius Cahn’s theatrical guide is the Opera House, a second-floor theater with 800 seats. The proscenium was 30' wide and 16' high. Only gas lighting was listed.

The 1904-1905 edition of the guide lists the New Huntington Theatre, a gound-floor house with 1,100 seats, electric light, and a proscenium 36' wide and 28' high. As the Opera House is no longer listed, the New Huntington must have replaced it.

I notice that in the photos from after the moderne remodeling, the marquee only says The Huntington, so the “New” must have been dropped until it was restored by the current owners.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Proctor's Theatre on Nov 12, 2010 at 2:50 am

The December, 1914, issue of the magazine Architecture and Building featured four photos of Proctor’s Theatre in Mount Vernon:

The exterior and the auditorium

Two interior views, one of which appears to be the ladies lounge, and the other depicting a foyer and one of the ramps leading to the theater’s upper levels.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Nov 11, 2010 at 5:30 am

Judging from the photos, which show that the Strand had a false front on a building with a gabled roof, it probably dated from no later than the 1910s. It was most likely the new theater being built by E.G. Hower, as reported in the August 21, 1915, issue of The Motion Picture World.

Hower, the first person to exhibit movies in Trinidad, had been manager of the town’s opera house (closed in 1906, according to that year’s edition of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide) and had, in the early 1910s, operated a storefront movie house called the Crystal Theatre, located on Main Street. His 1915 project was to be the first theater in Trinidad built expressly to present movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cordova Theatre on Nov 11, 2010 at 4:53 am

Carl R. Berg, currently listed as the architect of the Cordova Theatre, was a Seattle artist and decorator who worked with the National Theatre Supply Company. He designed the decorations for the Cordova.

The Cordova Theatre was actually designed by the Spokane architectural firm Whitehouse & Price, who also designed the Wilma Theater in Wallace, Idaho. The firm also worked with Seattle architect Robert Reamer on the Fox Theatre in Spokane.

A PDF file (4.9MB) of the NRHP registration form for the Cordova Theatre includes a fairly detailed history and description of the theater, along with floor plans and several photos, including depictions of the original entrance and facade, prior to the 1950 remodeling.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Columbia Theater on Nov 11, 2010 at 3:33 am

Photos of the facade and auditorium of the Columbia Theatre appeared in the December 20, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World. Here is the text of the accompanying article:[quote]“According to information received, the Columbia Theater, of Portland, Oregon, is without peer. It is strictly a photoplay house.

“This magnificent building, which is entirely fireproof with the exception of the carpets and draperies, was built at a cost of $125,000. The building is constructed of concrete and steel and is located in the most central section of the downtown district. The record in construction was brokenas shifts were working night and day and within 90 days after the last shovel of dirt was excavated, this building was thrown open, and has ever since been the passing of leisure hours for Portland’s most exclusive society people.

“The inside is artistically decorated. The entire theater is carpeted. One of the features of this photoplay house is the beautiful ladies' rest room which is carried out in the Louis XV style, and cost about $5,000 to furnish. Nothing takes so well with the ladies as this lovely lounging place where the society ladies gather and then attend the entertainment en masse.

“Eleven hundred hidden lights are used inside. An interchangeable air system is employed where the air is changed twelve timci an hour by a process that is washed with the famous Bull Run water.

“The outside is of white terra cotta and brick and has a total outlay of 2000 lights. The seating capacity is 1200. Two No. 6-A Power’s machines are used. The operating booth is of steel with cement coating. The theater uses eight pictures a week from the General Film Company.

“The Columbia is owned by W. F. Foster and George W. Kleiser, and is managed by O. F. Bergner. who is a member of the Executive Board of the Moving Picture Exhibitors' League of Portland.”[/quote]

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cedarhurst Playhouse on Nov 9, 2010 at 3:00 am

Here is another photo of the Cedarhurst Airdome, this from the August 2, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture Age. The operator of the Airdome, C.H. Pyatt, ran an indoor theater called the Lawrence during the winter months.

This book, The Five Towns, by Millicent Vollano, features the photo of the Airdome Warren linked to in an earlier comment, and its caption says that it opened in May, 1899, and featured vaudeville as well as movies.

The book also has a photo of the Playhouse (probably from around 1924, the year the theater opened) and says that it was located on Spruce Street. While the building does resemble the central section of the building that La Viola Restaurant now occupies, I’m sure they are not the same structure.

Both were designed in what I would consider a vaguely Mission Revival style (the book mistakenly calls the Playhouse building Art Deco, which for many people has apparently become a catch-all descriptive phrase for any theater architecture from before about 1960) and though the two buildings are similar, there are differences that could not have been remodeled away. The belief that the restaurant was formerly the Playhouse must be an erroneous local legend.

I think we can also lay to rest the idea that the Playhouse was built on the same site that the Airdome had occupied. The photo in Five Cities shows the building next door to the right of the theater and it had no resemblance to the structure adjacent to the Airdome in the Moving Picture Age photo. The building next to the Playhouse was small and flat-roofed, and looks like it was a frame structure. It also looked old enough that it would not have been a replacement for the more substantial masonry structure seen next to the Airdome in the 1913 photo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Nov 9, 2010 at 2:53 am

Three photos of this theater appear in the book Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The caption to the most recent of the photos, which probably dates from the early 1940s, points out the large “P” above the entrance to the theater, which indicated that the house featured Paramount films, though the name Paramount itself does not appear on the part of the building seen in the photo.

The house went by the name Gem Theatre in its early days (the oldest photo is dated 1920, but the building looks as though it dates from the 1910s) and it was later called the Dewey Theatre, which is the name painted on the side wall in a photo that is probably from the 1930s. The house is mentioned as the Paramount Theatre in a couple of issues of Billboard from the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The architectural style of the facade is Mission Revival, and it is suggestive of the Alamo, as was the case with so many small town Texas theaters from the early 20th century. I’ve found no photos more recent than the one from the early 1940s, but a Bird’s-Eye view at Bing Maps shows that the facade is largely unchanged from those earlier photos.

The actual location of the theater is the north side of East Don Tyler Avenue, a few doors west of Shawnee Avenue. Don Tyler Avenue might once have been called Main Street, but Google Maps doesn’t know that, and the current link fetches up an entirely different town. Google has no Street Views available for Don Tyler Avenue, either, so the closest view you can get there is looking west along the block from the corner of Shawnee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theater on Nov 9, 2010 at 1:42 am

A larger version of the photo I linked to in my previous comment appears in the book Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The caption says the name Grand was changed to Lyric in 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theater on Nov 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm

This theater opened as the Grand. Look at this photo of the Lyric Theatre, then compare this photo from the August 2, 1913, issue of the trade journal The Moving Picture Age, depicting the theater when it was called the Grand. The caption reveals that the Grand opened on June 5, 1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lorraine Theatre on Nov 7, 2010 at 3:42 am

Although the interior of this theater could certainly be classed as Art Deco, the facade, apart from the marquee and boxoffice, is not. The building’s front is splendidly classical, and deserves to be noted as Beaux Arts in style.

Should the Lorraine close, it won’t be the first theater Hoopeston has lost. The August 14, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World mentions a Princess Theatre and a Lyric Theatre in operation at Hoopeston. I would assume that both are long gone. There was also the McFerren Opera House, which was listed in the 1906 edition of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide. A booklet published for Hoopeston’s centennial in 1977 said that the opera House had burned down on February 20, 1937.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Nov 7, 2010 at 2:49 am

According to a brief biography of Tacoma architect Roland Borhek, the Rialto was the second theater he designed in the city. In 1914, he had designed the Colonial Theatre, though that house went through a couple of significant remodeling projects before finally being demolished.

I noticed that the PSTOS page Chuck linked above to misspells Borhek’s first name (it should be Roland, with only one “l”) which is probably where the misspelling currently in the theater description on this page came from.