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There’s an article in the February 2, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine about a Corral Theatre that was located near the Fort Worth, Texas, suburb of Forest Hills. It says that this open air walk-in theatre had recently been completed by owner J.C. Wilson, to replace his Forest Theatre which had burned the previous year.
A couple of photos show rough plank walls and wooden bench seating, and a “chuck wagon” that served as the concession stand, located near the screen. I can’t find anything else about it on the Internet, but it must have been built in imitation of this theater in Wimberly.
The February 2, 1952 issue of Boxoffice Magazine has an ad for Heywood-Wakefield theater seating featuring the Ridgeway, with a couple of interior photos and one of the exterior, all grey scale.
The text says that the theater was both designed and decorated by Alfons Bach. Alfons Bach Associates (the firm he founded in 1932) did design the Ridgway Center, as the shopping mall in which this theater was located was called. There is supposed to be material on this project in the Alfons Bach collection at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in New York City, but I don’t know if it’s accessible to the public. It’s not online.
Bach was one of the major figures of modern design, and a co-founder of the American Designers Institute. Here’s a brief biography.
The Kent Theatre opened earlier than 1955. It had “recently” opened, according to the February 2nd, 1952 issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The owner was J. Harper Kent, and the theatre featured a private lounge for members of the Kent family and their guests. A big fish in a small pond, I suppose. The article gives the seating capacity as only 400.
There is also mention of another theatre in Bathurst, a 350 seat house called the Opera House and then the Capitol, which had been operated by a Mr. Peter Leger “…for about 40 years.”
The Columbia was said to be one of the first three nickelodeons in Peoria, according to an article in the February 2, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The article said that the Columbia closed forever after its last show on December 31, 1951. At the time it closed, it had long specialized in “B” movies, and was the longest-running theater in the city at the time, having operated for almost half a century.
Opened on January 24, 1952, according to the February 2nd issue of Boxoffice Magazine that year. It was described as being on the south side of Broadway between 33rd and 34th Streets, but the exact address was not given. Total seating capacity of main floor and balcony was given as “approximately 1750.” The architects were Walter C. Wagner and Joseph H. Potts. The theatre was owned by M. Switow & Sons, described as a company operating “…approximately 24 indoor and outdoor theatres….” in the region.
Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of February 2, 1952, announced the opening of this theatre. The owner and manager of the Ritz was named as Jack Guest, and the article said that there were 500 seats on the main floor, and that there was also a small, segregated balcony.
It also described the theater’s unusual snack bar, which included counter seating, plus booth seating for fourteen patrons, and offered a short order menu including waffles, sandwiches, as well as soda fountain concoctions. There’s no mention of whether or not the snack bar was open to patrons seated in the balcony, but I think we can assume that it was not.
Paragraph 7 of this legal document about a 1955 lawsuit by the owner of this theater, has this information: “…Marlow’s Amusement Corporation, another plaintiff, owns and operates Marlow’s Drive-In Theater, near Herrin, and has so owned and operated it since May 7, 1949; that it is a modern drive-in theater accommodating 1,000 cars, being one of the finest in southern Illinois.”
In 1955, the operators of this theater filed a lawsuit against a goatload of movie companies and Fox Midwest Amusement Company (a large theater circuit in the region.) The third paragraph on this web page has this information: “… Grand Opera Company has since 1917 owned and operated Marlow’s Theater in Herrin, Williamson County, Illinois; that Marlow’s is a large modern building with 1,400 seats, equipped to exhibit feature first-run motion pictures, is located in Herrin’s business district, and has a drawing potential from among persons residing within a radius of 25 miles.”
A February 2, 1952, article in Boxoffice Magazine about fire damage to the Capitol Theatre in Benton mentions in passing that, like the Capitol, the Star was at that time run by the Fox Midwest theater circuit.
The February 2, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported that the Capitol Theatre in Benton had suffered heavy smoke and water damage during a conflagration which destroyed an adjacent four story building which contained, among other things, the theater manager’s office. The Capitol’s electric sign (whether this was a vertical sign or the name sign on the marquee is not specified) was also destroyed. Flames were prevented from entering the auditorium by what the article calls “a stout firewall.”
Whittier,Ca1987: Currently, Cinema Treasures doesn’t have the ability to post more photos, and the site’s policy forbids users to post them directly in comments. The best way to share your theater photos with Cinema Treasures users is to get yourself a free account at Flickr or one of the other free image hosting services, upload your photos there, and then put ordinary links to them in comments here.
Lost Memory (belated reply to your comment of Sept 24): Whittier once had its own street numbering system, centered on Greenleaf Avenue and Philadelphia Street, but long ago adopted the county numbering system that starts from 1st and Main Streets in downtown Los Angeles. The address at top should be updated so Google Maps can find the right location.
Also, the theater should have the aka of Bruen’s Whittier Theatre, which was the name on the stage house, and the name under which it was often advertised when Hugh Bruen still operated it.
The Februay 2, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine had a brief item saying that this theater had opened recently. The manager was named Harold Warren, and the theater was being operated in partnership with Famous Players Canadian.
Floyd B. Bariscale has posted an extensive entry about this theater, with many images, here, as part of his ongoing series of pieces about Los Angeles landmarks.
Here’s the current link to the undated photo of the Tujunga Valley Theatre from the USC archives.
Comparing the nearby buildings in the third small photo from the bottom in the right panel on this page with other photos and the information from the L.A. County Assessor’s office, I think the address of this theatre was probably 9945 Commerce Avenue (called Sunset Boulevard at the time the theater was built.) Unfortunately, the Assessor’s office doesn’t have an original build date for the building on that lot now- only an effective build date of 1940. It’s possible that part of the Jewel Theater building was incorporated into the current building at that time.
Also, I think this house might have opened as the Tujunga Valley Theatre and then gotten the spiffy new facade and bigger marquee and the name change to Jewel Theatre a couple of years later. Note the brick building to the left of the theater in the 1925 Oviatt Library photo, as opposed to the shed-like building on that site in the undated USC photo. I think the building may be a bit older than whoever wrote the text for the Oviatt Library photo’s caption thinks it is.
This 1929 bird’s-eye view of Tujunga shows the south side of the Jewel, on the left side of the street, a few doors north of Foothill Boulevard (bottom of picture.) You can see the shadow of the marquee on the sidewalk, and a couple of small figures walking just beyond it.
As this theater is located in the auditorium of the former Riviera campus of Santa Barbara College of the University of California, the architect of the building can be identified as Alfred Eichler. The auditorium building was designed in 1926.
Eichler, who had briefly practiced architecture in Los Angeles after attending the Beaux Arts Institute of Design, joined the Division of Architecture of California’s Department of Public Works in 1925, the same year the college (then Santa Barbara State Teachers College) was devastated by a major earthquake. Eichler became the principal architect for the rebuilding the college, and designed most of the early buildings at both the Riviera Campus and the Mesa Campus (now the location of Santa Barbara City College.)
Eichler designed hundreds of projects for the State of California before retiring in 1963. As he never returned to private practice, it’s likely that the Riviera is the only building he designed which is now a movie theater, though he probably designed many auditoriums for various state facilities.
Southwest Builder & Contractor’s issue of June 23, 1939, carried an item saying that Clifford Balch was preparing plans for a remodeling and expansion of the State Theatre at Santa Barbara. Work was to include a 57 foot extension at the rear of the building.
The August 29, 1941 issue of SwB&C mentioned that the owner of the State Theatre was, at that time, Earl O. Calvert. Calvert was also the owner of the Lompoc Theatre in the Santa Barbara County town of Lompoc, and a few years later opened the La Mesa Theatre there, as well.
Listed in the 1929 Los Angeles City Directory as the University Theatre.
Here are three aka’s for the Sierra Theater. It was listed as the Eagle Theatre, at 5060 Eagle Rock Blvd., in the 1929 Los Angeles City Directory. An L.A. Times article of December 28, 1928, on the occasion of its sale by John Sugar, refers to it as the Eagle Rock Theatre.
Since the former Yosemite Theatre, more recently called the Eagle Theatre, did not open until May of 1929, this means that the Sierra was indeed the United Theatre bought by Sugar in 1926. So, this was called the United Theatre, probably from its as-yet-unknown opening date until (probably) some time in 1926; the Eagle Rock Theatre from (probably) 1926 until 1928, and the Eagle Theatre from 1928 or 1929 until… whenever the next name change came.
The 1929 L.A. City Directory has the Triangle Theatre listed at 842 S. Main. It’s an aka. I suspect that the address of 832 S. Main in that 1931 Times article (cited in the third comment at top) was a reporter’s typo.
If Fred Miller retired after selling this house to Loew’s, he didn’t stay retired for long. He built the Figueroa Theatre in 1925, and was connected in some way with the Carthay Circle between 1926 and 1929 (see my comment of May 28, 2007 on the Alhambra Theatre page.)
With regard to Miller’s 1924 deal with Loew’s, note that the January 10, 1925 Screen News flyer for the California and Miller’s Theatres that silentfilm linked to on June 12, 2008, above, names Fox West Coast Theatres as the operator of the theaters.
The ca.1917 photo (panel two of a three-photo panorama) I linked to in the comment at the top of this page has been moved. For now it’s right here. I’m thinking that, if the theater had more than 500 seats, then there must have been a long lobby under the hotel, and the auditorium was probably at right angles to it, behind the hotel. Look at this photo, which is the third panel in the panorama. There’s no way that 500+ seats could have been squeezed into the ground floor of the hotel itself, what with the need for columns to support the floors above. The back building (with all the mushroom vents on the roof) looks to have been at least 50' by 100' and could have accommodated that many seats.
The Rosslyn Hotel occupied all three of the buildings on the 400 block in vokoban’s “then” picture, plus the annex south of 5th Street. The Rosslyn began with this building, then took over took over the Lexington Hotel next door, then built the New Rosslyn on the corner. I think the older buildings remained part of the Rosslyn right up until they were demolished.
No theaters are listed on this stretch of Avalon Boulevard in the 1929 City Directory, but the Avalon Theatre is listed at 5244 Avalon Boulevard in the 1936 directory, and at 5258 Avalon in the 1938 directory, then at 5256 Avalon in the 1942 directory.
None of these addresses are currently in use, but the building at the northeast corner of Avalon and 52nd Place has an address of 5224, so something numbered 5244-5258 would probably have been on the southeast corner of Avalon and 52nd Place, a lot now listed as 5250 S. Avalon and occupied by a building (currently containing a church) built in 1936. The residential complex south of it, built in 1985 and occupying three lots, has an address of 5270 S. Avalon. In the 1956 Los Angeles Street Directory, 5250 Avalon is listed as the Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, and the next address south of it is the Avalon Fountain Grill, at 5260 Avalon. There is no Avalon Theatre listed.
It seems that there’s been some adjusting of addresses on this block over the years, and it’s possible that the church at 5250 S. Avalon is located in the former Avalon Theatre, (even though the building now doesn’t look much like a theater in the Google Maps street view.) If this is true, then the Avalon must have opened in 1936, the year this building was erected, and is not demolished. Also, it’s a pretty small building, so the 450 seats mentioned by Harry Lime in the first comment above would be more likely than the 650 currently given.
Boxoffice Magazine issue of March 2, 1935, ran an item saying that Matty Radin, operator of the Cameo and Acme theatres in New York, as well as the Auditorium Theatre in Baltimore and the Majestic Theatre in Boston, had converted the Belasco in Washington to a movie house, and that it would feature foreign films. His other theatres were all showing foreign films, and the Belasco was to be the fifth theater in a proposed chain of twelve cinemas bringing foreign films to eastern and mid-western cities.
I’ve been unable to find out if Radin was able to fulfil his plans for expansion, but there are a couple of references to his New York theaters in articles published by the New York Times in the late 1930s. Apparently he ran a lot of Soviet movies during the period, and The Times refers to him as “Tovarich” and “Commissar” Radin.
The Blue Mouse got an Art Moderne makeover in the mid 1930s, according to an item in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of March 9, 1935. A photo shows the new facade, featuring a building-wide marquee that sported the name “John Hamrick’s BLUE MOUSE Theatre” with Blue Mouse in block letters and the rest in cursive script, all set with neon. The article says that the entire project was handled by a theatrical outfitting company from Seattle called B.F. Shearer Company.
I just noticed that although the President website gives 111 Broad Street as the address, and their map on this page shows it in the block north of 2nd Street, the Google Maps link places this address south of 3rd Street. Somebody in Manchester needs to get on Google’s case about their mis-location of the town’s addresses.
Although the New Georgia Encyclopedia article on architects Tucker & Howell refers to this house as the Manchester Theatre, I think the builder must have decided to name it the President before it opened. Also, it was open by 1935. Perhaps the encyclopedia’s construction dates of 1935-1937 refer to alterations in the latter year?
In any case, an article about the President Theatre appears in the Modern Theatre section of the November 16, 1935, issue of the trade publication, Boxoffice Magazine, with a small photograph of the exterior. It says President on the vertical sign.
The facade of the building featured four bays, defining three shop fronts and the theater entrance in an end bay. Above the theater entrance was a masonry and plaster tower painted in stripes and bands of black and white, and the theater’s vertical sign was attached to it. The tower was surmounted by a large ornamental lantern. The facade, box office and vestibule were covered in black and white Carrera glass.
The lobby featured a color scheme of red, black and silver, and had a terrazzo floor. Walls and ceilings of the auditorium (which was at right angles to the entrance, and had a small balcony) were covered in custom-made, fluted panels of Celotex (a synthetic board made of sugar cane residue.) The article doesn’t mention a color scheme in the auditorium.
The article names Oscar S. Oldknow, of Atlanta, as the owner of the building. Oldknow had become vice president of Fox Theatres in 1930, but I’ve been unable to find how long he remained associated with that company. By 1936, he had a house in Bel Air, California, which had been designed by theater architect S. Charles Lee. I don’t know if Oldknow had moved to California permanently by that time, or was prematurely bi-coastal.