Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Venice Theater on May 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm

The Venice Motion Picture Theatre Company was organized at Nephi in June, 1914, according to the Report of the Secretary of State of the State of Utah published in 1915. Given the name of the corporation, I don’t know what to make of the claim at Utah Theatres that the house was originally called the Ermo Theatre. They cite the source for the Ermo aka as an email from someone named Jerry Shepherd. The page also gives the Venice the aka Foote Theatre.

Editions of Julius Cahn’s Guide from 1903-1904 and 1904-1905 list an 800-seat, ground floor theater called the Opera House in Nephi, managed by a Mr. G.W. Toote. I think Toote in the Cahn guides was a typo, as there are many references to a Foote family residing in Nephi, but no other references to anybody named Toote. I’ve found a 1982 reference to a Richard and Shirley Foote, of the Venice Theatre Corporation in Nephi. Perhaps the Venice Moving Picture Theatre Company of 1914 was formed not to build a new theater, but to take over operation of G.W. Foote’s Opera House and convert it to movies?

Utah Theatres has a page for the Nephi Opera House, with little information other than a seating capacity of 500 and an operational period of 1903 to after 1912, which would not conflict with the opening of the Venice in 1915, if they were the same theater.

The September 4, 1918, issue of The Music Trades says that a large American Fotoplayer had been sold in Nephi, but doesn’t name the buyer. It’s possible the instrument was installed in the Venice Theatre, although I’ve come across a single reference to an Arlington Theatre operating at Nephi in 1915, so the Fotoplayer might have gone there.

If anybody wonders what a Fotoplayer is, watch this YouTube video for a sample.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Congress Theatre on May 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Here is a recent photo of the former Congress Theatre. It looks as though the street has been recently repaved, but the sidewalk still needs some work.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Glen Theatre on May 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Rereading my comment of Jan 4, 2009, I think the opening date of September, 1947, I cited from Boxoffice must have been a typo. The introduction says that The Show was operating during the depression, and the building in the photo A. Ratcliffe linked to is certainly of a style more characteristic of the 1930s than the late 1940s. Most likely the house opened in 1937, not 1947.

I’ve been unable to discover whether or not the building survived the tornado that struck Joplin last Sunday evening. One map of the tornado’s path shows its northern edge crossing Main Street near 13th Street, a short distance north of the Glen’s location. The former Wasson and Electric theater buildings are within a block of the Glen, so they would also have been in danger, as would the former Royal Theatre’s building, assuming it hadn’t already been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valley Theater on May 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Herman J. Bley must have had a relative in the business. The Moving Picture World of January 15, 1916, mentioned a Theodore V. Bley who operated the Fairmount Theatre in Cincinnati. This list of movie theaters from the March 29, 1915, issue of The Cincinnatian includes both the Valley and the Fairmount, which turns out to have almost directly across the street from the Valley, at 1515 Harrison Avenue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Berwick Theatre on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 am

The Strand/Berwick is located at the same address that was listed for the P.O.S.of A. Opera House in a 1905 city directory. This was a theater built in 1890 by the Patriotic Order Sons of America. The P.O.S. of A. Opera House, according to various editions of Julius Cahn’s guide, was a ground floor theater seating about 650. Unless the original building was destroyed, the Strand/Berwick Theatre must be the same house. The facade of the Berwick in the photos linked above does look fairly old, though it also looks rather plain for a theater built in 1890, so it might have been remodeled at some point.

During the 1910s, Berwick had houses called the Palace Theatre, mentioned in a book published in 1915, and the Lyric Theatre, mentioned in a 1913 magazine article as having been recently remodeled. I haven’t found any references to the Opera House later than 1908, so either the Palace or the Lyric (or both) might have been the Opera House renamed, and thus an aka for the Berwick, but I’ve been unable to connect either name with an address.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Maya Theater on May 11, 2011 at 6:45 am

Looking at the photos of this theater, I think it’s almost certain that this is the theater mentioned in Southwest Builder & Contractor of November 1, 1940: “Theater (Dinuba)— Leo L. Smith, 249 N. K St., Dinuba, has started work on a theater at Dinuba for Hollywood interests…cost $35,000. S. Charles Lee, architect.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Redding Theater on May 11, 2011 at 6:26 am

Now that I know that C.C. Dakin designed this theater, I’m especially sorry I never got to see it. Here is a 1923 picture of Pul Elder’s Book Shop in San Francisco, designed by Dakin a few years after the Redding Theatre. Though his work fell into obscurity in the later 20th century, it has recently been rediscovered, and those of his buildings which have survived are much appreciated by aficionados of California architecture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Redding Theater on May 11, 2011 at 6:10 am

The claim made on the Cascade Theatre web site that the Redding Theatre was built in 1910 was wrong. This article by Renee McKean, about Redding’s Armory Hall, which was destroyed by fire in 1915, says that after the Armory Hall was destroyed, the Redding Chamber of Commerce arranged with M. Leonardini to build the Redding Theatre.

Here is an item from The Moving Picture World of July 15, 1916:

“REDDING, CAL.â€"M. Leonardini, owner of the Paragon block on California street, is having plans prepared bf C. C. Dakin, First National Bank building, Oakland, Cal., for a theatre building, costing between $20,000 and $25,000.”
Given the fact that the front of the Redding Theatre was designed in a style that was typical of the 19th century, and was out of date by the 1900s, it’s possible that Leonardini’s project was to build an auditorium behind his existing business building, the Paragon Block. It would explain why the theater’s facade was so old fashioned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cumberland Theatre on May 11, 2011 at 5:10 am

I totally screwed up the first sentence of my previous comment with sloppy cut-and-paste editing. It should say this: Here is a web page with an index of articles from Brunswick newspapers that are available on microfilm from the local library.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on May 11, 2011 at 4:45 am

The Los Angeles Times of February 2, 1923, reported that the Strand Theatre had opened at Dinuba. Southwest Builder & Contractor of May 26, 1922, reported that the Strand had been designed by Fresno architect Ernest J. Kump. Modern sources usually refer to him as Ernest J. Kump, Sr., as his namesake son also became a noted architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Powers Theatre on May 11, 2011 at 3:30 am

Here is a vintage photo of the Powers Theatre. The caption says that it “… started as the Gem Opera House in the 1920s….” but an item in [em]The Moving Picture World[em] of July 15, 1916, indicates that the house was built to show movies: “CARIBOU, ME.â€"Astte & Page has the contract to erect a two-story moving picture theatre, 45 by 96 feet, for P. J. Powers, to cost $10,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cumberland Theatre on May 11, 2011 at 3:16 am

There is a web page an index of articles from the The Cumberland Theatre that are available on microfilm at a local library. It lists an article about the Cumberland Theatre published in 1949. The abstract indicates that the house was built in 1910, and remodeled in 1949.

The Cumberland Theatre is mentioned frequently in various 1920 issues of Bowdoin College’s student newspaper, The Bowdoin Orient. Some of its ads were for live theater performances. The newspaper also carried ads for a movie house called the Pastime Theatre, but no addresses were given for either house.

The Cumberland and the Pastime were both mentioned in the November 22, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World The postcard book Brunswick and Bowdoin College, by Elizabeth Huntoon Coursen, has photos of both the Cumberland and the Pastime (search using the spelling theater.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on May 11, 2011 at 3:12 am

The Leavitt Theatre was under construction in late 1910. In its issues of November 5 and November 19 that year, trade journal Domestic Engineering carried items about the letting of the plumbing contract and the installation of a heating plant.

Frank C. Leavitt was one of Sanford’s leading citizens, a coal and wood merchant, and the owner of quite a bit of property, including the town’s most important business block, but that didn’t stop him from getting into trouble with the law. He opened Sanford’s first movie theater in a billiard parlor on the fourth floor of the Leavitt Building in 1908, and apparently some locals were not pleased with the new entertainment. The official report of the state’s attorney general, covering cases for two years through November 30, 1908, included a report that Frank C. Leavitt had been charged with exhibiting obscene pictures.

Fortunately he was found not guilty, or it might have ended his promising career as a movie exhibitor, and the Leavitt Theatre might never have been built.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on May 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Is 721 10th Street South the confirmed address of the 1935 Park Theatre?, There was a New Park Theatre opened in 1913 at 822-825 10th Street South, a block away from this house. There was a photo of it in the July 12, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World. Google street view shows what looks like the same building still standing, though it gives the approximate address as 884 10th Street South. Theater-style exit doors can be seen on the back of the building, which abuts East 14th Street.

From the aerial view, it looks as though County Road 33 might once have ended at 10th Street, or maybe ran straight south to end at Grant Street, but was later cut diagonally through the 700 block to connect with Park Avenue South. If the Park Theatre moved to a new building in the 700 block of 10th Street in 1935, that building might have been demolished in the 1960s if such a road project was carried out then.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ramona Theatre on May 9, 2011 at 5:22 am

Here is another view of the Ramona Theatre building, which also shows the building next door, location of the former Fox (or Rex, or both) Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theater on May 9, 2011 at 5:14 am

Here is a view of the Majestic Theatre’s auditorium, from an ad in the Catalogue of the First Exhibition of the Louisville chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1912.

A very similar view is here, illustrating an article about the Majestic’s lighting which was published in the August 10, 1912, issue of the trade journal Electrical Review and Western Electrician.

The most thorough history of the Majestic’s early years can be read in this article from The Moving Picture World of March 4, 1916. It reveals that the original 650-seat theater, opened in 1908, continued to operate during most of the part of 1911 when a new 1,200-seat theater was built over and around it, only closing for three weeks during which the old building was dismantled and carried out of the new building piece by piece. In 1915, a new, more ornate entrance was created for the theater. There is a photo of it, as well as another photo of the auditorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on May 9, 2011 at 4:38 am

An article on Cleveland movie houses in the July 5, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World has a few lines about the Alhambra Theatre:[quote]“One of the largest and prettiest theaters in Cleveland, built originally for pictures, is the Alhambra, at Euclid avenue and East 105th street. The house now seats 1,100 and during the summer a balcony with 400 seats is to be added. The house was built five years ago.

“Originates Children’s Matinees.

“Jack Greenbaum, manager since the Alhambra-Doan Company took over the theater, fourteen months ago, originated the "children’s matinee” idea in Cleveland. Special programs for children are shown every Saturday. School teachers aid Greenbaum in the selection of the pictures for the children.“[/quote]The line claiming that the Alhambra ”…was built five yeas ago" (about 1911, then) contradicts the citation from Gary Marmorstein’s book in Bob Beecher’s comment on Mar 26, 2007, saying that an organ was installed in the Alhambra by Mitchell Mark in 1907. Not knowing Marmorstein’s source for the earlier date, I can’t say which is correct, but the 1916 magazine’s article might have been hastily written and thus would be more prone to error.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ambridge Theatre on May 9, 2011 at 3:08 am

The February 15, 1965, issue of The Film Daily said that a bank had taken an option on Stanley Warner’s Ambridge Theatre and that the house might soon be closed. It was the town’s only operating theater. Boxoffice of October 4 the same year said that the Ambridge Theatre Building would be razed sometime that month.

“Invasion of the Mind Snatchers: Television’s Conquest of America in the Fifties,” by Eric Burns, a native of Ambridge, said that the town had four theaters in operation at the beginning of the 1950s, but only two by the end of the decade.

I’ve found the Ambridge Theatre mentioned as early as 1929, so it was in operation by then.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ramona Theatre on May 9, 2011 at 2:03 am

ronp: I’m wondering if the newspaper you cite was perfectly legible. Is it possible that it actually said Rex, rather than Fox? (Scans of old newspapers are often a bit messy, assuming your source was a scan.) There was definitely once a Rex Theatre in Buhl. It was mentioned in the October 25, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World. Even if it did say Fox, the Fox might have been the Rex, renamed. It would have been a cheap change for the signage.

Either way, I doubt that this theater had any connection to William Fox. I don’t think the Fox Intermountain chain, which included Idaho in its territory, was even founded until several years after the Buhl house was closed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ramona Theatre on May 9, 2011 at 1:41 am

The Ramona Theatre has an official web site. The “About Us” section features a nice photo of the restored auditorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Scenic Temple on May 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

The Scenic Temple was definitely in operation by 1908, as contemporary sources indicate that it was used as a dispensary distributing station during the Chelsea fire, which began on April 12 that year (see The Burning of Chelsea, published in 1908.)

Here is a link to the Scenic Temple listing in the 1908-1909 Cahn Guide. It notes that Chelsea still had no regular theaters, but there were two other movie houses in town; the Star and the Theatorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lafayette Theatre on May 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I wonder if the name “Stueal” on the 1909 building permit for this theater was actually “Wuest” written by someone with a sloppy hand? Stueal might be a real surname, although Ancestry.com’s immigration records find only one person of that name. The form on which it was found could have been a bureaucratic error, of course. I can’t find any other references on the Internet to anyone named Stueal, except in results from Cinema Treasures.

I’ve found several references to Gustav P. Wuest, though, in publications from the 1910s as well as in a couple of documents prepared for nominations of buildings to the National Register of Historic Places.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Schenley Theater on May 7, 2011 at 5:27 am

The Arcadia Press book Oakland, by Walter C. Kidney, attributes the design of the facade of the Schenley Theatre to Henry Hornbostel. As Hornbostel did design (or collaborate on) other buildings in the Schenley Park neighborhood, it’s possible that he did collaborate on the theater project as well.

The April 8, 1915, issue of Engineering News has an article with structural drawings of the Schenley Theatre and a description of its construction. The article also says that the Davis Theatre in Pittsburgh, then under construction, had been designed by the same architects and engineers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on May 7, 2011 at 5:02 am

In an item in the January 5, 1914, issue of the journal American Stone Trade, architect Henry Hornbostle, to whom two sources that I know of attribute the design of the Liberty, was said to have “approved” the plans of the Schenley Theatre, a project designed by the architectural firm of H.E. Kennedy & Company.

On the Sheridan Square Theatre page, a comment by Denis McNamara (probably this architectural historian, by the way) says that architect Edward J. Schulte, who was working in Kennedy’s firm during the period when these theaters were built, listed the Sheridan Square, Schenley, and Liberty on his resume.

Despite the source I cited in my earlier comment above, and the book about Hornbostel reviewed here, I’m now wondering what roles Hornbostel and Schulte each played in the design of the Liberty. Unfortunately, there is much more information about the Schenley than the Liberty on the Internet, so I’ve been unable to track down any references from the 1910s that would confirm Schulte’s involvement in the project.

I’ve found nothing published prior to 2002 that mentions Hornbostel in connection with the Liberty, either, and I still find it odd that so restrained a classicist as Horbostel would have designed a theater that, as described by the book review to which I linked, featured “…white, glazed terra cotta tiles framing an American flag composed of red, white and blue light bulbs.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Schenley Theater on May 7, 2011 at 3:18 am

Additional information about the Schenley Theatre from the January 5, 1914, issue of American Stone Trade: “Ground was broken this week for the new Schenley Theater to be built by Harry Davis and John P. Harris in Forbes street, opposite the Hotel Schenley, from plans by the H. E. Kennedy Company of this city and approved by Architect Henry Hornbostle. The theater in many respects will be one of the most artistic in this city.”

This, coupled with the information from Denis McNamara about Edward Schulte (see my previous comment) leads me to question the attribution of the design of the Liberty Theatre to Henry Hornbostle. I’ll comment further on the Liberty page.