Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crest Theater on Jun 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm

The December 27, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the new Crest Theatre would open in 60 days. It was being built for Phil Isley Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Theater on Jun 13, 2009 at 8:31 pm

The November 30, 1946, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the Lincoln Theatre, headlined “New Dallas Negro Theatre To Open Early in 1947.” The item said the new house was to have about 500 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vogue Theatre on Jun 13, 2009 at 8:22 pm

The March 21, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Vogue Theatre opened on March 21 with an invitation-only event for 500 guests. The public opening took place the following night, and the feature film “Blood on the Moon” was shown to a full house.

The Vogue was built by the Robb & Rowley circuit. The theater was in an entirely new building designed by the architectural firm of H.F. Pettigrew & Associates, but was located on the site of the 600-seat Bison Theatre which had been demolished to make way for the new house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Frolic Theater on Jun 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Either Boxoffice’s reports of May 15 and May 29, 1943, were exaggerated, or the Frolic Theatre was rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire that month. One item claimed a loss of $200,000. It also said that the Frolic had originally opened in 1921.

I can’t find any Boxoffice items about a rebuilding or reopening of the house, but the June 16, 1945, issue of Boxoffice says that Bill Cassidy was operating the Frolic Theatre in Midland, and the Frolic is mentioned in at least one 1951 issue of Boxoffice, so a theater of that name was operating in Midland for quite some time after the fire.

The handsome moderne facade in the historic photo Lost Memory linked to above was the work of the Dearborn, Michigan, architectural firm of Bennett and Straight, who remodeled the house in 1936. The project was the subject of an article by E.D. Straight in the October 17 issue of Boxoffice that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kinema Theatre on Jun 12, 2009 at 7:46 pm

The March 14, 1953, issue of Boxoffice said that the renovated Rivoli, formerly the Kinema, had been reopened by Gerald Hardy. It was to be operated as a first-run house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tryon Theatre on Jun 12, 2009 at 7:29 pm

From the caption of a small, blurry photo in the November 9, 1940, issue of Boxoffice Magazine: “A view of the Tryon in Tryon, NC., a mountain resort. When the old Tryon burned, C.W. Nessmith and Associates determined to erect a new house that would bring to this remote resort a theatre citizens would boast of. They succeeded beyond their expectations, apparently, for patronage is excellent.”

There’s no indication of when the earlier Tryon burned, or if it was in a different location, but the theater in the blurry photo is definitely the same building in the 1981 photo linked in Chuck’s comment above. Boxoffice contains no earlier mentions of the Tryon Theatre that I can find.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Monroe Theatre on Jun 12, 2009 at 7:09 pm

The Monroe Theatre was built for local exhibitor J.R. Denniston in 1937. It was designed by the Dearborn architectural firm of Bennett & Straight.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ward Theater on Jun 12, 2009 at 6:58 pm

The May 29, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that ground had been broken for the Ward Theatre. The house was being built for G.A. and Lee Ward, who already operated the Broadway Theatre in Mt. Pleasant.

The Ward Theatre, designed by the Dearborn firm of Bennett & Straight, was to have 900 seats, with 700 on the main floor and 200 in a mezzanine. The August 7, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Ward Theatre was scheduled to open Sunday, August 8.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Jun 12, 2009 at 6:26 pm

The Majestic was probably never one of the Denniston family’s theaters. Boxoffice Magazine gives conflicting dates, but it is clear that from at least 1931 until 1962, when it was sold to a Mr. Jack Rapp of Decatur, the Majestic was operated by Rene Germani.

An item about the sale in the June 25, 1962, issue of Boxoffice gives 1931 as the year when Germani began operating the house, but a December 3, 1955, article about Germani says that he built the Majestic in 1927. The 1955 article also says that the house was extensively remodeled in 1937, which would account for the rather moderne appearance of the facade in the photo Lost Memory linked to above.

There are dozens of references in Boxoffice during the 1940s into the early 1960s to Germani being operator of the Majestic, but I find no mentions at all of the Dennistons in relation to this theater even after Germani sold it. In fact I can find no mentions of the Majestic at all between 1962 and 1970.

Then the Majestic was offered for sale at $40,000 in the classified ad section of various issues of Boxoffice in early 1970. Apparently it was purchased by a porn operation. An item in the November 16, 1970, issue of Boxoffice said that a restraining order had been issued to prevent the reopening of the Majestic Arts Theatre at 1030 2nd St. in Monroe. The owner, manager, and projectionist had been cited for showing an obscene film the previous week, and the projectionist had been arrested.

The May 10, 1971, issue of Boxoffice said that the restraining order had been made permanent, but the July 5 issue that year said that the obscenity charges had been dropped after the earlier ruling had been reversed by an appeals court judge. After that I find no mentions of the Majestic in Boxoffice, so I don’t know how long it survived as a porn house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Camelot 1-2-3 on Jun 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm

The remodeling shown in the 1979 photo concealed the original Art Moderne facade as designed by Bennett & Straight. The Circle Theatre was give a two-page spread in the January 8, 1938, issue of Boxoffice, with photos of the lobby rotunda, the spacious 1,800-seat auditorium, and the original facade with its intricate massing.

Bennett & Straight also designed the Midway Theatre in Dearborn.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Odeon Carlton on Jun 12, 2009 at 3:49 pm

The Odeon-Toronto was featured in an illustrated article in the April 2, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. This Odeon, like many others of the period, was designed by architect Jay I. English, who died before its completion.

The Odeon opened September 9, 1948. The first film shown was “Oliver Twist.” Boxoffice, in its issue of September 11, 1948, gave the seating capacity as 2,400, but the 1949 article said the auditorium seated 2,231.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rose Theatre on Jun 12, 2009 at 2:11 pm

The opening date of 1941 currently given is wrong. The Rose had recently opened when it was featured in the April 2, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The all aluminum pre-fab metal building was built by the Reynolds Metal Company, and adapted for theater use by Fairfield Enterprises Inc., designers and builders. The 600-seat house was built for $60 a seat, compared to a cost of $150 to $200 a seat for conventional theater construction at the time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Jun 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm

The Park Theatre was the subject of a brief article in the April 2, 1949, issue of Boxoffice. The compact house featured a stadium seating section to maximize capacity on a small lot. The Park was built for the Panero Theatre Company and was designed by architect Vincent G. Raney.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Minaret Cinemas on Jun 11, 2009 at 8:48 pm

The Plaza needs to be added then, but under what name?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Heights Theater on Jun 11, 2009 at 8:17 pm

This theater is now a church called Centro de Jubilo, located at 3103 Falls Drive, Dallas, TX 75211. Here’s a Google Street View of the building.

The February 19, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Robb & Rowley Theatres had asked for bids for construction of the Heights Theatre. The new house adjacent to the Westmoreland Village shopping center was to have 800 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wynnewood Theater on Jun 11, 2009 at 7:41 pm

That’s definitely a July 3, 1951 opening. The June 30, 1951, issue of Boxoffice said that Rowley United Theatres had been scheduled to hold its annual managers meeting at the Adolphus Hotel and at the new Rowley Wynnewood Theatre on the 28th and 29th, so I guess the managers got a preview of the house.

The July 21, 1951, issue of Boxoffice reported that the opening had been a great success, with a capacity house for the first show.

I’ve been unable to find the name of the architect of the Wynnewood, but the theater was built by the Dallas construction firm of Vivrett & Vivrett.

The Wynnewood Theatre installed Todd-AO equipment in 1958 for the Dallas road show run of “South Pacific”, which opened April 16 and ran at the house for over a year. One Boxoffice item from 1959 said that the management ran a special shuttle bus to downtown hotels to bring patrons to the theater’s suburban location.

“Windjammer,” mentioned in a comment above, began its run at the Wynnewood on January 25, 1961.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Minaret Cinemas on Jun 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Could this be the cinema that opened as a single-screen house called the Plaza Theatre on Thanksgiving Day, 1978? The Plaza was the subject of a brief article in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of February 5, 1979.

Located in a newly-developed shopping center called Sherman Plaza, the 300-seat Plaza Theatre was designed by the center’s architect, Bruce Kassler, with some input from the design department of the Filbert Company, a Glendale, California, theater services company that outfitted the new house.

I’ve been unable to find any later issues of Boxoffice mentioning a theater at Mammoth Lakes, so I don’t know if the Plaza was twinned and became the Minaret or not.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gentry Cinema on Jun 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm

It was a different Johnny Jones. The Johnny Jones of Checotah was also referred to as J.P. Jones in some Boxoffice items. J.P. operated his theaters through WWII according to various items in Boxoffice, while according to an item in Boxoffice of November 17, 1945, the Johnny Jones of Shawnee was about to be discharged from the service and resume operations of his theaters there.

The Checotah Johnny Jones must have been the older of the two. When his business partner, Jack LeMasters, retired in 1952, J.P. sold his interests in Checotah and bought the Beverly Theatre in Prairie Grove, Arkansas. He and his wife were still operating the Beverly in 1959, when Boxoffice mentioned that the house was operating five days a week with two changes. After that I find no mentions of J.P. Jones, but Johnny Jones of Shawnee was mentioned in Boxoffice as late as 1974.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gentry Cinema on Jun 9, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Checotah had a population of a little over 2000 when the Gentry Theatre opened as the town’s second house in the spring of 1941, according to the May 31 issue of Boxoffice Magazine that year.

Johnny Jones, operator since the early 1930s of what had been Checotah’s only theater, the Cozy, then hastily remodeled an existing building into yet another theater. Called the State, this 300-seat house lasted only a few months before being destroyed in a fire that also claimed five other businesses, according to the August 16, 1941, issue of Boxoffice.

The Cozy had been offered for sale in the January 7, 1930, issue of Motion Picture Times, so it dated from the 1920s or earlier. The ad claimed 600 seats for the Cozy. I’ve been unable to find an address for the house, which continued to operate until at least 1954.

In 1950, Jones partnered in the construction of the 69 Drive-In with Dick and David Crumpler, then operators of the Gentry. The Crumplers took over operation of all three theaters in 1952 when Jones moved to Arkansas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Maple Theater on Jun 9, 2009 at 5:47 pm

There were two Maple Theatres. The original house was purchased by K.M. McDaniel and Forrest White in the early 1940s, and three years later they hired Dallas architect Raymond F. Smith to design a new Maple Theatre. Construction of the new house was underway in August, 1945, according to an item in the August 11 issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The new Maple was to have 900 seats (a later issue of the magazine reported 850 seats), and was to be set back from the street to allow room for a 200-car parking lot.

The January 19, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said that McDaniel had been in town to inspect progress on the project, and reported that, barring bad weather, the new theater would be opened that summer.

The March 5, 1938, issue of Boxoffice had said that the original Maple Theatre had been sold to Armbruster & Thompson (the partners from whom McDaniel and White later bought the house) by R.H. Clemmons. Clemmons had owned the Maple only briefly, having bought it from C.J. Stevens who, Boxoffice said, had opened it the previous year.

Aerial photos at Historic Aerials show that the large building now on the site of the second Maple Theatre was there in 1972. The next most recent aerial is from 1956, and the theater and its enormous parking lot are recognizable.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Frog Theatre on Jun 9, 2009 at 5:34 pm

The August 11, 1945, issue of Boxoffice Magazine announced that permission to build the TCU Theatre had been granted by the War Production Board. Construction was to begin as soon as plans were completed and materials could be procured. Plans for the new independent house, owned by W.V. Adwell and A.J. Wylie, were being drawn by architect Jack Corgan.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts Theater on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

The January 19, 1946, issue of Boxoffice magazine said that architect Raymond F. Smith was preparing plans for a new theater to replace the National Theatre in Bridgeport.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Built for B.R. McLendon’s Tri-States Theatres, this deluxe house was to replace Tri-States' Lyric Theatre as Idabel’s first-run theater, and would take the name of the company’s old State Theatre a half block south.

The new State was designed by Dallas architect Raymond F. Smith, according to Boxoffice Magazine, February 16, 1946. The theater was to be completed later that year, and was to have 1100 seats, with 850 on the main floor and 250 in a balcony.

On the opening of the new house, the earlier State Theatre was to be closed and converted to retail space, and the Lyric would be refurbished and become a second-run theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rio Theater on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:03 pm

The Scott Theatre was designed by architect Raymond F. Smith. Like the earlier Rio down the block, it was owned by Maggie Scott. The announcement of Smith’s plans was made in Boxoffice Magazine of December 21, 1945. The difficulties of postwar construction delayed the completion of the house.

The February 1, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said that the formal opening of the Scott Theatre was scheduled for that night. The opening feature at the new house was to be the Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire musical “Blue Skies.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nixon Theater on Jun 9, 2009 at 1:31 pm

The Nixon Theatre has a somewhat confusing history. The August 7, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported that the Nixon Theatre had burned down the previous Monday, and that owner D.P. Luckie was remodeling another building into a theater to replace it. On August 21, Boxoffice reported that Luckie had opened the new location, which had 325 seats.

Then there’s an item in the December 21, 1945, issue of Boxoffice saying that Raymond F. Smith was designing a theater to be built at Nxon for Rubin Frels. The October 12, 1946, issue of the magazine announced that Frels' new house had opened, but the scan of the page is so bad that I can’t read the name of the new theater.

What is certain is that later issues of Boxoffice name Frels as the operator of the house, so the Nixon Theatre in the photos is probably the 1946 building designed by Raymond F. Smith. Boxoffice offers no clue as to whether or not this building occupied the site of either of the earlier theaters of the same name.