Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Aug 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm

So he did, and in the very first comment, at that. I must have been too dazed by five o'clock in the morning to notice it.

Seeing the satellite and aerial views of Long Beach at Bing and Google maps is just flabbergasting. Practically everything I remember having been there is gone. Southern Californians used to criticize Long Beach for being dull and bland (one friend of mine used to call it Dubuque-By-the-Sea) but I always liked it (and I probably would have liked Dubuque, too.) It’s too bad that so few of its own citizens liked it enough to save more of it from the redevelopers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Aug 26, 2010 at 5:25 am

The street name in the address has to be changed to Ocean Boulevard. Ocean Avenue is way over on Terminal Island, so that name misdirects the Google Maps link.

Also, I think it might have been W. Ocean Boulevard rather than E. Ocean Boulevard, but I’m not sure. Maybe somebody local will remember which direction the theater was from Pine Street.

I also came across an old photo of this theater in which the marquee bore the name Stanley, so that must have been an aka around 1940. See the movie clip titled “Pacific Electric Trolley Waltz” on this page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about San Gabriel Mission Playhouse on Aug 26, 2010 at 4:32 am

Arthur Burnett Benton drew the original plans for this Mission Playhouse in 1921, and the cornerstone was laid in 1923, but the progress of construction was slow and the building was not completed until 1927, when it opened on March 5.

I’ve come across several sources (a scholarly tome by William Deverell, published by the University of California, for one) claiming that, by 1926, Benton had become too ill (he died in 1927) to complete the project, and it was taken over by William J. Dodd and the firm Dodd & Richards (architects of the Kinema Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, later to become the Fox Criterion.)

Dodd is said to have substantially altered the design, so he should probably be credited along with Benton as the architect. Dodd & Richards also designed a 1929 addition to the playhouse, a project that added a curio shop and exhibition gallery.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about City Terrace Cinema on Aug 26, 2010 at 3:21 am

-DB, that’s definitely the Terrace Theatre in City Terrace. I don’t remember ever having seen it, but I recognize the neighborhood. Other than the loss of the theater and a few other buildings, and a few new buildings added, it changed remarkably little between the 1950s and the 1980s, when I became familiar with it. Alas, the trolly buses were gone by then, too.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Analy Theatre on Aug 25, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Richard Hardina’s intro to the El Rey Theatre says that the Analy Theatre was located on North Main Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Rey Theatre on Aug 25, 2010 at 5:36 pm

The marquee Mike and tlsloews admire was installed in the early 1960s, after the Edwards circuit took over operation from Fox West Coast, who had at that time operated the house for well over a decade. Edwards had operated the El Rey for a while earlier, too, under an arrangement with leaseholder Fox.

The 1951 USC photo ken mc linked to above has been moved and is now here. It gives only a glimpse of the side of the older marquee, a boxy, neon affair probably installed in the 1930s. The original, triple-arched entrance of the Temple Theatre, seen in the photo at the top of this page, was long gone by the time I first saw the place.

The architects of the Temple were Walker & Eisen, by the way, as noted in Southwest Builder & Contractor of June 4, 1921. The Temple opened in December, 1921.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Streets of Indian Lake Stadium 16 on Aug 25, 2010 at 6:18 am

That long name is the way it’s listed on Regal’s web site, but I’d bet that nobody in Hendersonville ever calls it that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Acorn Theatre on Aug 23, 2010 at 7:37 am

I believe there was a Ventura Boulevard in Thousand Oaks at one time. Before the freeways were built, Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles County was U.S. Highway 101, and I think road had the same name as it passed through Ventura County. Most of the old road, which was originally part of El Camino Real, was gradually converted into the Ventura Freeway over the years. In a few places bypasses were built.

My memory of the area in the pre-freeway era is very dim, and the changes since have been drastic, but I suspect that the oldest part of Thousand Oaks was one of the areas bypassed, and that the business street that was once Highway 101/Ventura Boulevard is probably the street now called Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Unfortunately I have no old maps of the area to check.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empress Theatre on Aug 23, 2010 at 7:34 am

The actual architect for the Empress Theatre was Lee DeCamp. The Kansas City Journal of February 1, 1910, said that pouring of the foundations for the new theater of the Sullivan and Considine vaudeville circuit was to begin that day. I’m not sure what role the Boller Brothers filled in the project, but it was most likely to supervise construction for DeCamp, whose office was at the time located in Cincinnati.

Many Sullivan and Considine houses were called the Empress, and a number of these were designed by DeCamp. Among them was the Empress in Sacramento, California, which was later renamed the Hippodrome, and then gutted and rebuilt as the Crest in the late 1940s.

An item in the August 7, 1915, issue of Moving Picture World said that DeCamp had by then designed more than forty theaters, and had several more in the works. His most recent commission was for a theater to be built at London, Ontario, for Canadian showman C. H. Bangs.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empress Theatre on Aug 23, 2010 at 6:35 am

This page at the Empress Theatre’s official web site names the architect of the theater as William A. Jones.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Culpeper Movies 4 on Aug 21, 2010 at 4:04 am

The city of Culpeper required this infill project to resemble the surrounding vintage buildings of its historic downtown, thus the faux-Vicotrian detailing. The design was by Kansas City-based TK Architects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about 21st Street Warren Theatre on Aug 21, 2010 at 3:59 am

A digital IMAX auditorium is being added to the 21st Street Warren Theatre. The 600-seat IMAX is expected to open by mid-December. The project will include remodeling and updating the theater’s existing 17 auditoriums as well.

A June 3 item on the Wichita Eagle web site includes three renderings of the project.

An August 20 Wichita Eagle item has photos depicting the progress of construction.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Streets of Indian Lake Stadium 16 on Aug 21, 2010 at 3:31 am

Three photos of the Regal Cinemas 16 at Indian Lake are displayed on the web site of the project’s designers, the Kansas City firm TK Architects (click on “Cinemas” then “Traditional”)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Acorn Theatre on Aug 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I’ve found four references on the Internet to a California architect with the surname Polley, but his middle initial was “A” in all cases. There could have been an R. W. Polley as well, but if there was I’ve been unable to find him mentioned on the Internet.

A document about the former Carnegie Library in Oxnard, Ventura County, says that the building’s basement was remodeled in 1949, with plans drawn by local architect R. A. Polley. Another document names R. A. Polley as architect for alterations to a commercial building in Oxnard in 1952.

The California Index contains a card referring to an item in Architect & Engineer of June, 1931, saying that Rudolph A. Polley, of Santa Barbara, had received a license to practice architecture in California.

A web page for the Elks Club of Santa Maria says that their former lodge hall (since demolished) erected in 1939 had been designed by L. N. Crawford and Rudolph Polley. The site of the hall now has a marker (pictured) which notes L. N. Crawford and R. A. Polley as architects of the vanished structure.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Analy Theatre on Aug 19, 2010 at 5:40 am

William Wolf was one of the architects who sometimes signed off on theater plans actually done by William B. David, who was not a licensed architect. The Analy might be one of those theaters (the Altos Theatre in Los Altos, opened the same year as the Analy, was definitely a David design with Wolf as architect of record.) I recall seeing the Analy mentioned in Boxoffice several times, but I don’t recall any details about it and can’t check them now as I no longer have access to the magazine’s archives.

The Analy was built for Dan Tocchini Sr., who was the operator of several Nothern California theaters, including Sebastopol’s El Rey. Tocchini’s theater circuit is still in operation as SR Entertainment, headquartered in the Northern California town of Santa Rosa, and headed by Daniel F. Tocchini. There is a brief history of the company on their web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Town Hall Theatre on Aug 19, 2010 at 4:46 am

Quincy’s historic Town Hall was converted into a movie theater in 1936, according to an item in Motion Picture Herald of July 25 that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nob Hill Theatre on Aug 15, 2010 at 5:17 am

A card in the L.A. Library’s California Index cites an item about a San Francisco house called the Nob Hill Theatre in Motion Picture Herald of November 17, 1934.

As it seems unlikely that Jack Tillmany’s 1944 opening date for this theater is incorrect, I would imagine that the item concerned an earlier theater of the same name. Has anybody got a San Francisco directory from the period they could check for an address? The earlier Nob Hill Theatre might be missing from Cinema Treasures, or it could be a missing aka for another theater in the neighborhood that’s already in the database.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theater on Aug 15, 2010 at 5:13 am

The April 20, 1912, issue of the regional entertainment magazine The Rounder reported the grand opening of San Francisco’s Majestic Theatre.

The August, 1937, issue of the trade publication Architect & Engineer attributed the design of the remodeling of the Majestic Theatre to architect S. Charles Lee. The project is not mentioned in the online finding aid for the S. Charles Lee collection at UCLA, though. I know that a significant percentage of Lee’s papers were stolen from him. Those pertaining to the Tower project must have been among them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Towne Cinema on Aug 13, 2010 at 4:02 am

Interesting that Eugene Mathewson was the architect the 1928 State/Towne Theatre. Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer of July 11, 1914, reported that Mathewson was the architect of the major remodeling that year of the Fresno Theatre, the State’s predecessor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about La Tosca Theatre on Aug 13, 2010 at 4:01 am

La Tosca was still in operation at least as late as the early 1970s. It was included in the Independent Theatres listings in the Los Angeles Times of February 10, 1971. I don’t know what kind of movies it was showing then, as its listing carried only the note “Call theatre for program.” I do recall the theater showing mostly German movies through the 1960s.

The La Tosca Theatre is also listed in the Los Angeles City Directory for 1973. Unfortunately I don’t have access to directories between 1973 and 1987, so I can’t find the year in which it vanished from the listings. It was not listed in 1987 though.

Also the page still needs the 1915 aka of Photoplay Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Springs 3 Theatre on Aug 10, 2010 at 3:39 am

A number of published sources I’ve seen, including Douglas Gomery’s 1992 book “Shared Pleasures: A History of Movie Presentation in the United States” say that Henry Plitt sold his theater circuit to Cineplex Odeon in 1985, not 1987. Gomery says that Cineplex took over operation of the former Plitt houses in August, 1985.

The book also notes that Plitt bought ABC-Paramount’s Northern division theaters in 1974 and the circuit’s Southern division houses in 1978.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Aug 7, 2010 at 5:46 am

I have now come across multiple references to George Edwin Bergstrom having been one of the architects of Grauman’s Metropolitan Theatre. Both Soutnwest Builder & Contractor and the national trade publication Engineering and Contracting mention his involvement in the project. The latter publication’s issue of April 27, 1921, carries this item, which mentions Bergstrom supervising construction on the project in conjunction with engineer R.C. Mitchell.

Various items in Southwest Builder & Contractor indicate that William Lee Woollett designed the interiors of the Metropolitan Theatre, but that the lead architect on the project was Bergstrom. Woollett probably designed the details on the facade of the building as well, but I haven’t found any specific sources saying he did. Woollett was apparently the sole architect on the later project creating a Broadway entrance for the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Senator Theatre on Aug 7, 2010 at 5:14 am

Leonard F. Starks was involved in the project that eventually became the Fox Senator Theatre at least three years before the house opened. When the project was announced in the June 29, 1921, issue of the trade publication Engineering and Contracting, it was to be called the Paramount Theatre, and Starks was already the lead architect. Though a native of California, Starks had been working for some time in New York City in the office of theater architect Thomas Lamb.

This thumbnail biography of Leonard Starks from the Historic Fresno web site doesn’t mention the Paramount specifically, but tells of the intention of the Famous Players corporation to build a chain of theaters on the west coast. The proposed Paramount was undoubtedly one of these. Famous Players had contracted with Lamb’s office for architectural services, and Starks was to return to California to oversee design and construction. When the plans for the chain fell through, Starks resigned from Lamb’s firm and set up his own practice in Sacramento.

Starks' partnership with E. C. Hemmings was formed in 1923, and Hemmings died the following year. The Senator Theatre might have been their only major project together.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Aug 7, 2010 at 3:53 am

Southwest Builder & Contractor of May 27, 1921, said that the plans for this theater were being prepared by Walnut Park architect A.H. McCulloh.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Huntington Theatre on Aug 6, 2010 at 3:03 am

The announcement of plans for the Huntington Theatre appeared in Southwest Builder & Contractor of July 7, 1920. The architect for the project was Edward J. Borgmeyer.