Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:54 am

Motion Picture Times, to which I linked in my earlier comment, is no longer available on the Internet. Eventually, it will probably be reposted at Boxoffice Magazine’s own web site. So far they have posted only issues as far back as 1935.

I wonder if the Crystal Theatre opened by G.K. Jorgensen in 1911 was in an existing building. It seems likely in light of this article from the April 9, 1913, issue of trade journal American Architect and Architecture:

“Dallas.â€"G. K. Jorgensen will erect a new $100,000 moving picture theater on the site now occupied by the Crystal Theater on Elm St., between Stone and Ervay. Plans are now being prepared by Architect I. A. Walker, and will be ready for bidders about June 1.”
If Jorgensen was even considering demolishing the theater and replacing it, the building must have been more than two years old. I’ve found no later information about the project, so I don’t know if it was carried out or not, but if the building at 1608 Elm is still standing, as matt54 said it was a few months ago, it should be possible to get its year of construction from the city’s building department, or perhaps the local tax agency.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:15 am

The Grand’s official web site says the theater was designed by Boston architects Krokyn & Browne. Most sources, including Cinema Treasures, call the firm Krokyn, Browne & Rosenstein, but Rosenstein isn’t mentioned on the Grand’s web site. Rosenstein appears to have been the youngest of the three, and perhaps he had not yet become a partner at the time the Grand was designed.

I’ve found a bit about J. Frederick Krokyn, less about Arthur Rosenstein, but W. Chester Browne joined the advisory board of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre Planning Institute in 1948. He had been associated with Krokyn from 1936 to 1941, thereafter establishing his own practice. The January 31, 1948, Boxoffice item about Browne said that Krokyn & Browne (Boxoffice doesn’t mention Rosenstein either) had during that period done all the work for M&P Theatres and Graphic Theatres, as well as designs for many independent operators.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Art Cinema on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:14 am

Three small photos of the Black Rock Theatre can be seen on this page of Boxoffice, January 31, 1948. The house had been fitted with a new marquee by the Wagner Sign Service.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fairview Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Here are links to the pictures of the Fairview in Boxoffice of January 31, 1948, that I cited in my previous comment:

The cover of the Modern Theatre section, featuring a picture of the marquee and entrance.

The first page of Elsie Loeb’s article, with two photos; a close-up of the entrance showing the marquee soffit, and a shot of the lobby and concession stand.

Additional photos showing the auditorium and other interior areas of the house are on the next page but one (click the “next page” links at top or bottom) and additional text is on the page after that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 6:13 pm

hank.sykes: The directory, being an annual publication, probably went to press before the name was changed (in fact, most city directories were published late in the year previous to that which they were dated.) The magazine was a monthly, and would have had the latest information. That would give a probable date of early 1915 for the theater’s first name change.

Here’s a link to The Cincinnatian, Volume 1, issue 32. The list of theaters is search result 5 (Google’s page number 41, in case Google Books doesn’t bring the page up automatically.) Some of these theaters might not yet be listed at Cinema Treasures, and others are probably listed under later names. I’m not familiar enough with the Cincinnati portion of the database to figure out which might be which. Maybe you can recognize some of them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 4:21 am

A list of Cincinnati movie houses was published in the March 29, 1915, issue of The Cincinnatian, the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. The only house listed for Ludlow Road was the Clifton Theatre, at Clifton and Ludlow. In a comment above hank.sykes says the theater had originally been called the Clifton Opera House, but it was definitely showing movies as the Clifton Theatre by 1915.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crescent Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 4:07 am

The Crescent Theatre, at the above address, was on a list of Cincinnati movie houses published in the March 29, 1915, issue of “The Cincinnatian,” the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avenue Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 3:51 am

The Avenue Theatre, at the above address, was on a list of Cincinnati movie houses published in the March 29, 1915, issue of The Cincinnatian, the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. In that year it shared the 100 block of Fifth Street with three other movie houses; the Alhambra, the Colonial, and the Lubin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 3:45 am

Actually, the 1915 book had four theaters listed on West Fifth Street. In addition to the three noted in my comment above there was the Colonial at 128 West Fifth. That block must have been lively then, with four movie houses on it, and all on the same side of the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bogarts on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:33 am

The theater’s name is missing a “d” in the middle. All the sources that I’ve seen, period and modern, call it the Nordland Plaza or Nordland. It was probably located in one of Cincinnati’s old German neighborhoods.

The Nordland Plaza is mentioned in a few publications from the 1910s that are available at Google Books. The most useful is this, from the trade journal Domestic Engineering, issue of November 16, 1912, which indicates a probable early 1913 opening for the Nordland Plaza Theatre, and names the architects:

“One of the latest propositions is the Nordland Plaza, which will be built on Vine Street, near Charlton, several squares from the Columbia, as per plans by Architects Stewart & Stewart. The general contract has just been awarded to Oscar Schroeder and the plumbing to Henry Niemes, of 4112 Hamilton Avenue.”
A slightly earlier issue of another trade journal, The American Architect, also names Stewart & Stewart as the architects, and gives the address of the parcel where the theater was to be built as 2623 Vine Street.

As Bob Jensen noted above, the Nordland Plaza Theatre had a Wurlitzer installed in 1913. The stage end of the auditorium was pictured in an advertisement for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in The Moving Picture World, October 25, 1913. The ad says the Nordland’s unit was a Wurlitzer Motion Picture Orchestra.

Although the web site for Bogart’s, the club now occupying the theater, says that the house opened as the Nordland Plaza Nickelodeon, I can’t find any evidence elsewhere on the Internet that Nickelodeon was ever part of the name, or that the house even operated on a five-cent policy. I note that Bogart’s site also gives the year the theater opened as 1890, so I’m inclined to consider it an unreliable source.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:25 am

“The Cincinnatian,” a magazine published by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, listed in its issue of March 29, 1915, theaters then showing movies. The Alhambra was listed at 146 W. Fifth Street. As that’s the same address listed in the 1923 city directory, I suspect that 146 is the correct address.

The 1915 magazine listed three moving picture houses on Fifth Street: The Alhambra at 146, the Avenue at 122, and the Lubin at 140. Cinema Treasures has the Avenue and Lubin listed at those historic addresses, so it’s unlikely the Alhambra’s parcel was renumbered.

Moving Picture World of April 17, 1909, reported that the McMahon & Jackson Motion Picture Company had been incorporated at Cincinnati, with a capital stock of $10,000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Forest Theater on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:21 am

The Forest Theatre, at the above address, was on a list of Cincinnati movie houses published in the March 29, 1915, issue of “The Cincinnatian,” the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Glenway Theater on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:20 am

The Glenway Theatre, at the above address, was on a list of Cincinnati movie houses published in the March 29, 1915, issue of “The Cincinnatian,” the official publication of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chief Theater on Mar 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

J Street: Yes, the photos ken mc linked to are gone. Boxoffice Magazine no longer has its archive online at, which is where the link to the pictures went. Boxoffice has moved the archive to their own web site. I looked there for the article with the photos and couldn’t find it. Boxoffice published nine different regional editions of each its issues, as well as a national edition, and the edition now on their web site is apparently one of the regional editions, while the one that used to be at and had the photos in it was probably the national edition.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chief Theater on Mar 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm

J Street: “Rock Around the Clock” was released in 1956, but June Wilkinson wasn’t in it. If the movie you saw was in the early 1960s, it might have been “The Continental Twist” (1961) in which June co-starred with Louis Prima and Sam Butera. It’s even possible that “Twist” was double-billed with a re-release of “Rock,” and that’s why you associate June Wilkinson with the Bill Haley movie. In the days of double features, new movies that distributors feared might be weak at the box office were often paired with older movies that had been very successful.

Wilkinson was also the female lead in a 1962 comedy (and early example of soft-core near-porn) called “The Bellboy and the Playgirls,” which was co-directed by the young Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola also got a writing credit for some extra scenes. Apparently he couldn’t leave a script alone even in his early twenties.

As for the Chief, I still can’t reconcile the reported seating capacity of 328 with the reports and photos (which I can no longer find) in Boxoffice, or with the various comments above by people who actually attended this theater. It had to be way bigger than that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Iowa Theatre on Mar 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Both the Iowa Theatre and the Strand Theatre were mentioned in Boxoffice of June 5, 1954. The Iowa Theatre was to be fitted out for CinemaScope, and the Strand was to be closed for the summer. The item also mentions the Grinnell Drive-In, which had been reopened for the season. All three houses were operated by George Mart.

“Grinnell in Vintage Postcards” also has a photo (page 32) of the Opera House/Colonial as the Iowa Theatre, ca.1949-1950 judging from the cars on the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Iowa Theatre on Mar 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm

What I gather from a 1989 monograph on Grinnell’s theaters (PDF file here) is that the Colonial Theatre was at the southwest corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue; was built in 1901 as the Opera House; had become the Colonial Theatre by 1912, when it began showing movies on nights when no live events were scheduled; presented the first talking pictures in Grinnell in 1929; had become a full-time movie theater by the mid-1930s; was at some later time renamed the Iowa Theatre; might have been called the State Theatre in its last years; was closed in 1960, and the building was later demolished by Grinnell College.

The paper is primarily about the Strand Theatre, and the Mart family which operated the Strand for most of its history, and the information about the Colonial is sparse and scattered. There is also a little bit of information about other theaters in Grinnell; Preston’s Opera House, and the Bijou, Lyric, and Star theaters. An Airdome is also mentioned.

There is a photo of the Colonial Theatre in the Arcadia Publishing Company’s book “Grinnell in Vintage Postcards.” The caption gives 1902 as the year of construction and gives 800 as the original seating capacity. It also says that the demolition took place in the 1970s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rivoli Theater on Mar 20, 2011 at 2:09 am

The Rivoli Theatre was probably at the northwest corner of Logan Boulevard and Burgoon Road. A book called “Altoona and Logan Valley Electric Railway” has a photo of a streetcar coming around the bend on Logan Boulevard (see the Google map for the bend’s location,) approaching Burgoon Road, and the caption says the Rivoli is out of view on the left. The photo shows part of a parking lot that might have belonged to the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Stella Theater on Mar 20, 2011 at 1:34 am

A book published in 1921, “The Story of Council Grove on the Santa Fe Trail,” says that T.W. Whiting built the Stella Theatre in 1916 and gave the deed on the property to the daughter, Mrs. Glen Kelly, for whom the theater was named. The house was sold to W.R. Bratton in 1921. A book from 1912 reveals that Whiting’s full name was Thomas Wilbert Whiting.

Boxoffice of September 18, 1954, said that Cle Bratton was remodeling the Ritz Theatre at Council Grove. The item said the the Chief Drive-In would remain in operation until the Ritz reopened on October 31. Cle Bratton and the Chief Drive-In are mentioned in Boxoffice again in 1956.

The Ritz was being operated by Mary Picolet by 1986, when she was quoted in this Chicago Tribune article (which only mentions the theater in passing, but is about an event too entertaining for me not to link to it.) I’ve also found Mary Picolet mentioned as operator of the Ritz as late as 1997, so she might have run the place right up until its closing.

The 1912-1913 edition of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide listed an earlier theater in Council Grove, the Etta Opera House. I don’t know what became of it after 1921, when it was serving as an armory, or if it ever operated as a movie house, but small town opera houses of that era frequently did present movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Minski's Columbia Theatre on Mar 19, 2011 at 4:00 am

I’ve found two photos of the third Orpheum at Google Books, both showing only the front. I don’t think either of them are in the San Francisco Public Library’s digital collection.

Page 13 of this 1912 book has a medium-close photo of the Orpheum’s entrance, showing the elaborate detail of the marquee.

Page 22 of this 1912 volume of Architectural Record has a front-on view of the theater’s facade (the caption missnames Lansburgh as Landsberger.)

A 1909 issue of The Architect and Engineer has an article about the Orpheum’s ventilation systems. No pictures, but it provides a rather thorough description of the structure’s “lungs.”

Another 1912 book has a brief biography of Lansburgh, though it only mentions the Orpheum in passing.

The Orpheum is mentioned in quite a few other public domain books that can be read at Google Books (at least in the U.S.– some books are blocked in other countries) but they don’t give many details, and I’ve found no other photos in any of those I’ve looked into.

The Orpheum was designed while Lansburgh was still part of the firm of Lansburgh & Joseph, in partnership with architect Bernard Julius Joseph.

The name Minski is puzzling me. The famous New York City burlesque king was named Minsky. Was some San Franciscan actually named Minski, or was the operator just trying to associate his theatre with Minsky’s in the public mind, while trying to avoid getting sued by the actual Minsky?

The only other place on the Internet I can find the name Minski’s Columbia Theatre is this page (scroll way down to reach the O'Farrell Street section,) which gives a different name history for the house than the one in the description above:[quote]“Orpheum 1909-1929 – designed by G. Albert Lansburgh
Orpheum Theatre
Columbia 1930
Erlanger’s Columbia 1931-1934
Minski’s Columbia 1935
Columbia 1936-1937”[/quote]The page is unsigned, but says “The information on this list was compiled from vertical files in the Art and Music Center of the San Francisco Public Library, city directories, motion picture directories, daily papers, and the very meticulous research of Jack Tillmany.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Congress Hall on Mar 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

This 1908 book mentions the Congress Hall Scenic Temple in South Boston, managed by James F. Powers. Apparently the house used both names simultaneously, probably to differentiate itself from other theaters in the area called the Scenic Temple.

There are many references to Scenic Temples in Boston, but there were multiple theaters using the name and I’ve been unable to sort them out. A 1914 Moving Picture World item concerns a William Bradstreet, who was planning to rebuild his Scenic Temple Theatre in Boston. He was said to be the owner of a chain of theaters in the area, so he might have operated the Congress Hall house and other Scenic Temple locations as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Winthrop Hall Theatre on Mar 19, 2011 at 12:34 am

Comedian Fred Allen’s memoir, Much Ado About Me, mentions Winthrop Hall in Upham’s corner being an upstairs theater. In 1914, when Allen first appeared on the theatre’s stage as a juggler, Winthrop Hall was presenting nightly shows consisting of a two-reel comedy, a feature picture, and three acts of vaudeville.

Here is a vintage postcard of Uphams Corner, probably from the early 1920s. Winthrop Hall is the red brick building at center, with the gabled roof and stubby corner tower as described above. The style of the building is Romanesque Revival.

The Winthrop Hall Theatre is listed in a 1918 Boston business directory. Winthrop Hall is listed in the 1929 Film Daily Yearbook, but I’ve only got a snippet view so I don’t know if it was listed as closed or not. I haven’t found it mentioned in Boxoffice at all.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about SouthSide Works Cinema on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:36 pm

The Baltimore architectural firm Development Design Group, Inc., designed this Neo-Vintage project. The historical inspiration is predominantly Art Deco.

SouthSide Works Cinema appears to still be operated by Cleveland Cinemas, a small, regional chain which took over in 2006, two years after the house opened. SouthSide Works Cinema is mentioned on this page of their web site. It is not included in the site’s movie listings section (probably because all the chain’s other theaters are in or near Cleveland or Akron,) but that page has a link to the SouthSide Works' own web page.

The building is owned by the Stoffer Organization, developers of the entire SouthSide Works project. The current general manager of the cinema is named George Petrus.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Greene 14 + IMAX on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm

This multiplex was designed by the Baltimore architectural firm Development Design Group, Inc.. Rave now bills the house as the Greene 14 + IMAX.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about AMC Classic Centro Ybor 10 on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm

The Centro Ybor 20 was designed by the Baltimore architectural firm Development Design Group, Inc., which has been designing Muvico’s themed theaters since 1997.