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The Roosevelt was apparently still operating as late as 1957, when the August 10 issue of Boxoffice listed it as one of the theaters in the Cincinnati area playing “The Ten Commandments” in that movie’s first post-roadshow engagements.
The earliest mentions of the Roosevelt I can find are from various 1929 issues of Movie Age when it was among the theaters listed in a series of ads for Photophone sound equipment.
A January 17, 1953, Boxoffice roundup of the previous year’s events in Cincinnati reveals the likely opening year of the Roosevelt to have been 1922. It reports this among the events for March, 1952: “Improper nailing when the ceiling was installed thirty years ago was blamed for the collapse of the plaster-covered metal ceiling lath at the Roosevelt Theatre, which injured about 60 patrons, none seriously. Jack Goldman, owner, estimated damage at about $2,500.”
Jack Goldman is mentioned frequently in Boxoffice. He’s mentioned as the operator of the Roosevelt in 1937, at which time he took over the Lincoln Theatre. The June 29, 1940, issue refers to him as “…owner of the Lincoln, Roosevelt and Beecher, all colored houses in Cincinnati….” The October 27, 1945, issue says that Goldman’s son-in-law, Joseph Miller “…is handling the Jack Goldman chain of colored houses while Goldman is taking a rest following illness.”
The February 9, 1946, issue of Boxoffice has an item datelined Cincinnati which refers to Goldman as “…operator of four colored theatres here….” It doesn’t give the names of the theaters, but the July 9, 1949, issue says that “Jack Goldman, who operates the Roosevelt, Lincoln and Regal theatres here has taken over the Roxy at Lockland, Ohio.” Apparently by then he had closed or sold the Beecher.
A May 21, 1965, Boxoffice item names Goldman as the operator of the Regal Theatre in Cincinnati, and says that he had been in the theater business for 27 years. I’ve found no mentions of him after that.
The June 29, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said “Maurice Chase will open his new house at Roselawn, Cincy suburb, June 30. It seats 500.” The July 27, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that Altec sound equipment had been installed at “…Maurice Chase’s Roselawn, suburban Cincinnati house recently opened.” The building was owned by the Harris Brothers, operators of the downtown State Theatre, but was to be operated by Chase under a lease.
The November 16, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that Louis Wiethe had purchased the twenty-year lease on the Roselawn from Chase. The October 1, 1942, issue said that Louis Wiethe had reopened the Roselawn, which he had closed the previous year.
The Roselawn apparently then remained open until Wiethe opened his much larger Valley Theatre at Roselawn in 1949. Then the Roselawn was closed again for several months, but the November 26 issue of Boxoffice said Wiethe had reopened it as an art house on the 23rd. After that I can’t find any references to it in Boxoffice, so I don’t know how long it survived as an art theater.
Thanks for the photo link. That was a nice Art Moderne front. It had probably been recently remodeled when the photo was taken.
The opening of the Penn Theatre had been set for April 16, 1938, according to Boxoffice Magazine of that date. The owners of the new 700-seat house were brothers Guy and John Oglietti, also operators of the Palace Theatre in Leechburg. The Ogliettis had demolished their 350-seat Cosmorama Theatre on the site of the Penn. The Penn was designed by Pittsburgh architects Joseph B. Smithyman and W.M. Braziell.
Smithyman and Braziell also designed the Pitt Theatre in Bedford, Pennsylvania, and at lest two other theaters. Both architects also designed other theaters independently.
The December 17, 1938, issue of Boxoffice said that the Pitt Theatre would be ready to open in about six weeks. The architects of H.R. Cromwell’s new house were Joseph B. Smithyman and W.M. Braziell of Pittsburgh.
Smithyman and Braziell also designed the Penn Theatre at Leechburg, Pennsylvania, and at least two other theaters. Both architects also designed other theaters independently.
The October 23, 1937, issue of Boxoffice reported that the State Theatre had opened recently. The house was jointly operated by the Great States circuit and Peter Kalleres.
Kalleres died in 1943, and his obituary in the January 23 issue of Boxoffice said that at the time of his death he was operating the State and Grand theaters in Gary in partnership with Balaban & Katz. He had earlier operated other theaters in Gary, and at least two theaters in other towns as well.
A Grand Theatre was in operation in Gary at least as early as 1919. The obituary of Peter Kalleres, long time Gary theater operator, in the January 23, 1943, issue of Boxoffice said that he had acquired the Grand in 1919, the year after he arrived in Gary.
The Tivoli was built in 1928 for Peter Kalleres. This was mentioned in his obituary, published in the January 23, 1943, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.
Boxoffice Magazine of July 5, 1941, announced that V.U. Young had bought two lots at 20-26 Ridge Road in Glen Park and planned to build a theater there. The January 10, 1942, issue of Boxoffice said that the Ridge Theatre had recently been opened by V.U. Young’s Gary Theatre Corporation. The new house seated 714 and had been built at a cost of $70,000.
A few years later V.U. Young was head of the Y&W (Young and Wolf) Management Corporation, which at the time of Young’s death in 1948 was operating 27 theaters in Indiana. Y&W was headed by Vern Young in 1968 when, according to the July 1 issue of Boxoffice, the circuit reopened the Glen Theatre after a $50,000 remodeling. I’ve been unable to find any mention of either the Ridge or the Glen in Boxoffice between 1950 and 1968.
The earliest mention of the Roxy I’ve been able to find is an item in the January 27, 1945, issue of Boxoffice which names the operator as Jim Bikos. The only other mention I’ve found is in the February 18, 1956, issue which says that the Roxy was being converted into a commercial building by the widow of the late Jim Bikos.
I’d say this information supports the claims by JRS40 and KenK that the Ridge and Glen were the same theater and the theater around the corner on Broadway was the Roxy. The Roxy is not yet listed at Cinema Treasures.
The Fox Cinemaland was designed by L. Perry Pearson and Paul Wuesthoff of Pearson & Wuesthoff, a Los Angeles firm soon to become Pearson, Wuesthoff, & Skinner. The April 15, 1968, issue of Boxoffice confirmed that the house had formally opened on April 10.
The architectural firm that designed the Cinemaland apparently designed most of NGC’s projects in the west and southwest from the mid-1960s into the 1970s. I’ve tracked down the names of almost ten of these projects so far, and expect to find more.
According to the Boxoffice article about its opening in the June 30, 1969, issue, the Fox Covina was designed by L. Perry Pearson and Paul Wuesthoff of the Los Angeles firm Pearson & Wuesthoff, which was soon to become Pearson, Wuesthoff, & Skinner.
As far as I’ve been able to discover, this firm designed most of the theaters built by National General in the west and southwest from about the mid-1960s into the 1970s. They also provided architectural plans for expansions carried out at many NGC theaters in the region during this period.
The architect of the original single-screen Fox Buena Vista Theatre, which was opened by National General in 1967, was Bud Magee. Photos of the Buena Vista and of the Fox Chris-Town Theatre in Phoenix, also designed by Magee, appeared in the May 15, 1967, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The house originally had 802 seats.
The expansion of the Buena Vista to a twin took place in 1972, when a second auditorium seating 554 was added. This project was the subject of an article in Boxoffice of June 12 that year. The article failed to name the architects of the expansion project, but it was almost certainly done by the Los Angeles firm of Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner, who were doing most of NGC’s projects in the west and southwest at the time, and had designed the similar expansion of the Chris-Town in Phoenix the previous year.
The architect of the original single-screen Fox Chris-Town Theatre was Bud Magee. Photos of this theatre and of the Fox Buena Vista in Tucson, designed by the same architect, appeared in the May 15, 1967, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The Fox Chris-Town opened with 922 seats.
In 1971, a second auditorium with 834 seats was added and the house, still operated by National General, became the Chris-Town 2 Theatre. Architects of the expansion project were Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner of Los Angeles, who were designing many of NGC’s new and expanded theaters in the west and southwest at this time. The expanded theater was the subject of an article in the August 30, 1971, issue of Boxoffice.
As I noted in my 2006 comment above, when Harkins Theatres expanded this complex to 11 screens in 1996, the design was done by architect Scott Walker of Phoenix-based CCBG Architects.
I’ve found the Madison mentioned by name in Boxoffice as far back as April 6, 1940, when manager Carl Presley announced that air conditioning would be installed. The building was probably still under construction at that time, and it was a replacement for Presley’s Dixie Theatre, which had burned early in 1940, according to Boxoffice’s issue of February 10.
The Dixie Theatre dated from at least as early as 1927, when it was sold to a Jim Warren. This was mentioned in a Boxoffice “Twenty Years Ago” feature in the October 25, 1947, issue.
The March 30 issue of Boxoffice said that Carl Presley was building a new, 350-seat theater at Huntsville. The house was actually owned by his father, M.B. Presley, of Savannah, Missouri, who, according to his obituary in the June 4, 1955, Boxoffice, owned three other theaters as well. Incidentally, the City of Huntsville’s web site lists Carl Presley as having been the town’s mayor in 1936-37.
Various issues of Boxoffice from 1954 to 1963 named Harley Gilliam as manager of the Madison. Then, various issues from 1966 to 1970 mention Joe Presley as operator of a theater at Huntsville, though the name of the theater is never mentioned.
The Madison is listed in a 1968 ad for Norelco as one of 341 theaters that had installed that company’s 35/70mm projection equipment.
The January 26, 1976, issue of Boxoffice said that the Madison Theatre had been remodeled and reopened by Kevin Hatfield and John Ogden. Opening day had been January 16.
Boxoffice reported on June 5, 1952, that the Ritz was being converted into 19 apartments. It was just one of half a dozen quad cities theaters that had recently been closed, according to Boxoffice. The others were the LeClaire and Hiland in Moline, the Majestic in East Moline, the Spencer in Rock Island, and the Iowan in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Leo Yassenoff, the Y in F&Y, was also the head of the Academy Theatres Circuit. F&Y designed and built the theaters Academy had built, and remodeled many that the circuit acquired from other operators.
I’ve tracked down quite a few theaters designed by F&Y and posted comments on their pages here, but the only one that’s been updated with the information is the Geauga Cinema. I think maybe I make most of my comments at the wrong time of day for them to get noticed.
A rather grim sidelight about Leo Yassenoff that I ran across on the Internet is that he was the great-grandfather of Dylan Klebold, of Columbine High School infamy.
The architectural firm of Pearson & Wuesthoff designed the 400-seat second auditorium opened at Edwards Newport in 1971. This was reported in the August 24, 1970, issue of Boxoffice. They might have designed the Newport itself, though I’ve been unable to track down any confirmation of this. The same firm designed Edwards Harbor Twin Cinemas in 1970, and a number of other theater projects during that period.
The Edwards Harbor Twin Cinemas was designed by the firm of Pearson & Wuesthoff according to the report in Boxoffice Magazine, August 24, 1970.
NRHP’s web site is more reliable than many, but I’ve found typos and misspellings there before, and have probably failed to recognize a few others that I’ve seen. The F&W/F&Y mistake was easy for me to spot because I’ve seen so many references to F&Y in Boxoffice.
The November 13, 1948, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Melody Theatre would be ready to open in about two weeks. The owners were Gene Higginbotham, Leroy Carter, and John T. Hanni.
The problem is that there’s no convincing evidence that there was a Holiday Drive-In at Springfield in the 1950s. Nobody claims to have seen it, or even to have seen ads for it. Everybody is repeating second-hand reports of its existence.
The reports in Boxoffice all point to new construction on a virgin site in 1969 for the Holiday, and the complete absence of any mention of the Holiday in earlier issues of the magazine, when three other drive-ins in town were all mentioned more than once, also makes me skeptical of its existence. Somebody will have to dig up an ad or a directory listing from before 1969, or an eyewitness who actually saw the place before 1969, to convince me that there was an earlier Holiday Drive-In in Springfield.
The Livingston Theatre was designed by the Columbus firm of Alcox & Stritzel (Larry Alcox and Fred W. Stritzel.) The August 10, 1946, issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported that the house was nearing completion and was expected to open that fall.
The Livingston was to be operated by Fred W. Rowlands, president of Livingston Enterprises, who operated a chain of suburban Columbus theaters including the Main, Columbia, Parsons, and Hollywood.
The contractors on the project were Mulligan & Case, of Columbus, who also designed and built the Main Theatre.
The Auditorium Theatre, then operated by Shae Theatres, was to be closed on May 5, 1947, for an extensive remodeling, according to Boxoffice Magazine of April 26. The project was to include an expansion of the auditorium to increase seating from 800 to 1,160.
The original plans for the project had been done by Columbus architect Harry Holbrook, who died before the project began. The completion of the project was handled by Larry Alcox and Fred W. Stritzel of the Columbus firm of Alcox & Stritzel.
The January 24, 1948, issue of Boxoffice reported that Shae’s Auditorium Theatre in Newark was open again after having been closed for almost a year for a complete rebuilding.
This house was designed and built by the theater division of F&Y Construction, later known as F&Y Building Services. Boxoffice Magazine of November 9, 1940, reported that construction had begun, and the theater was expected to open by March 1, 1941.
The copy from the National Register of Historic Places posted by Lost Memory on Feb 4, 2007, contains an error. F&W Construction should read F&Y Construction (known as F&Y Building Services beginning in 1942.) The November 9, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that ground had been broken for Willis Vance’s new theater, to be called the 20th Century. Both the design and the construction of the house was being done by the theatre division of F&Y Construction.
There’s an F&W Construction Co. operating in Ozark, Alabama, but I can’t find any company of that name connected with Cincinnati. F&Y, however, designed dozens of theaters in the Ohio area.
The individual architect to whom NRHP attributes the 20th Century Theatre, Fred W. Stritzel, might have been working at F&Y during the period when the theater was built. After WWII he formed the Columbus, Ohio, firm of Alcox & Stritzel with architect Larry Alcox. That firm designed at least two theaters, the Livingston in Columbus and the 1947 rebuild of the Auditorium in Newark, Ohio. I’ve been unable to discover anything else about Fred Stritzel.