Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Auditorium Theatre on Aug 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ridge Theatre on Aug 30, 2009 at 8:52 pm

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about 20th Century Theatre on Aug 30, 2009 at 8:42 pm

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Guild Theatre on Aug 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm

The earliest mentions of the Guild Theatre in Boxoffice are in 1949, when it was already running foreign films. The most recent mention of the Eden Theatre I’ve found is from March 30, 1946.

The November 16, 1935, issue of Boxoffice reported that Willis Vance would open a new theater at Peebles Corner to be called the Eden. It was to have about 300 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Aug 29, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I think this page might duplicate this older one, which lacks an address for the theater. If so, then the Historical Society magazine got the opening year wrong. The theater opened in 1969.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about 62 Drive-In on Aug 29, 2009 at 11:04 pm

This Commonwealth circuit theater was designed, as usual, by Milton Costlow & Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avenue Theatre on Aug 29, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Conversion of the Avenue Theatre into the Cameo Theatre by the Commonwealth circuit took place in 1969. The May 19 issue of Boxoffice said that the changes included a radical floor redesign and a complete redecoration. A new facade was installed as well. The architects for the project were Commonwealth’s usual choice, Milton Costlow & Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ruskin I & II on Aug 29, 2009 at 10:43 pm

The May 22, 1967, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Commonwealth’s new Ruskin I and II would be located in an existing building which had formerly been a bowling alley. The two-screen house was to have 744 seats, divided 364 and 380. Construction was slated to begin June 1.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varsity Theater on Aug 29, 2009 at 10:18 pm

The Varsity opened on February 26, 1969, according to the March 17 issue of Boxoffice. The opening feature was “Romeo and Juliet.” Like most Commonwealth circuit theaters of the period, it was designed by Milton Costlow & Associates of Overland Park, Kansas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Holiday Drive-In on Aug 29, 2009 at 10:03 pm

The Holiday Drive-In never got mentioned in Boxoffice Magazine prior to 1969, though three other drive-ins operated in that town by Commonwealth were. I don’t think the Holiday dated from the 1950s.

The May 26, 1969, issue of Boxoffice ran an item about the proposed two-screen Holiday Drive-Ins in Springfield. The item said that the Holiday would be Commonwealth’s fourth location in Springfield. The circuit already had the Springfield Drive-In, the High-M Drive-In, and the Sunset Drive-In. A 20-acre parcel had been purchased for the Holiday Drive-Ins, one mile east of Kearny and Glenstone Junction. There was no mention of an earlier Holiday Drive-In.

The item also mentioned that Commonwealth was planning the Queen City Twin Drive-In at the same time. Both projects were designed by Milton Costlow & Associates.

However, after the Holiday Drive-In opened (on August 13, 1970) an item about it in the August 31 issue of Boxoffice made no mention of two screens. The opening feature was “Paint Your Wagon.” The item again mentioned the other three drive-ins that Commonwealth operated in Springfield.

An interesting sidelight to the Holiday Saga is revealed in an item in Boxoffice of August 26, 1968. It said that Commonwealth had begun the construction of a screen tower and other work for a fourth drive-in at Springfield, an 800-car situation to be located on the south side of Sunshine (misspelled Shushine in the item) between Ingram Mill and Blackman roads. This project was apparently not completed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Queen City Twin Drive-In on Aug 29, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Boxoffice announced in its issue of May 7, 1973, that construction had begun on the Queen City Twin. There was a small photo of the groundbreaking featuring three Commonwealth Theatres executives. The plans for the project were by Milton Costlow & Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Theatre on Aug 29, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Plans for the proposed Crest Theatre were announced in Boxoffice Magazine, February 1, 1965. The project was designed by Milton Costlow & Associates, architects of many theaters for the Commonwealth circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Island Twin Drive-In on Aug 29, 2009 at 7:55 pm

An item about the Grand Island Twin appeared in the April 17, 1972, issue of Boxoffice. It was apparently a second screen added to Commonwealth’s existing drive-in. The Boxoffice item said that the project would “…add 450 speakers to the present service.” It also said that a new concession area and restrooms would serve both theaters. The project was designed by Milton Costlow & Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Shore Theatre on Aug 29, 2009 at 7:27 pm

The Shore Theatre was designed by architect Paul Matzinger. An article about the recently opened house appeared in the May 27, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Antioch 2 Theatre on Aug 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm

The Antioch was built for Commonwealth Theatres in 1966. The May 9 issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported that the house would have 910 seats, and was designed by Milton Costlow & Associates. Construction was slated to begin June 15, and completion was expected by November 1.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varsity Theater on Aug 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm

The Varsity underwent major remodeling in 1965, after the original owners, Mr. and Mrs. McCurdy, sold the house to the Commonwealth Theatres circuit.

Boxoffice Magazine of October 4 reported that the Kansas City firm of Milton Costlow & Associates designed the $100,000 project, which involved the demolition of the proscenium to expand the auditorium into the former stage area, the removal of the original ceiling, and the rearrangement of the lobby and foyer.

Space formerly occupied by tenants in the building would be used for theater facilities as well. The house would be entirely reseated and carpeted, and the booth would be equipped for both 35 and 70mm projection.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crescent Theatre on Aug 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Boxoffice published the obituary of J.M. Ensor in its issue of July 3, 1937. It credits him with being one of the organizers of the Tri-State Association of Motion Picture Theatre Owners of America and an early member of the Independent Theatre Owners Association of Arkansas. He died on June 25, at the age of 67. He had operated the Crescent Theatre for 22 years.

The January 28, 1956, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Crescent Theatre had been closed and would be demolished to make way for a bank’s parking lot. The Crescent had been in operation for forty years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Directors Guild of America Theater on Aug 29, 2009 at 12:11 am

As some of the comments above have said, this theater was designed by architect William I. Hohauser. An article about the new Normandie, with three small photos, appeared in the March 8, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 28, 2009 at 11:32 pm

The listed address of 27 W. Church Street must be wrong, then, or maybe Orlando has renumbered the lots on that block. Mako’s, the bar in the building in the Flickr photo, is listed at 27 W. Church, and Antigua is at 41 W. Church. If the Rialto was in the location where the high rise is now, then its address must have been in the high 40s or the 50s.

Of course it’s also possible that the Rialto had two locations, starting out as a storefront theater in that old brick building at 27 W. Church and then moving down the street to a purpose-built theater building in the 1930s.

I found this 1938 map of Orlando which locates the Rialto just where Jeff D says it was, assuming that what looks like an entrance to underground parking on the south side of the street now is at the location of the short street that ends at Church Street on the map. The black building was apparently opposite the end of that street (I can’t read the street’s name on the map) and that would put the Rialto’s location right where the high rise is now.

Can anybody confirm the address of the Rialto?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Seville Theatre on Aug 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I’ve been unable to find the Strand in South Portland mentioned in Boxoffice Magazine, thought here was a Strand in Portland that got mentioned a few times. I found a single mention of the Seville Theatre in South Portland, in the October 9, 1937, issue, which said that the operator, Russell Mack, had gotten married.

The South Portland theater that got the most exposure in Boxoffice was called the Cape Theatre, a 450-seat house opened in September, 1938. It was operating as late as 1958, but after that is mentioned only twice that I can find, and those mentions are retrospective.

But the Cape was not the only theater operating in South Portland in 1944, when the August 12 issue of Boxoffice reported that Leon Gorman had sold the Cape Theatre to Ralph Snider of the R.E. Snider Circuit. “Snider now operates three houses in South Portland,” the item said. It’s possible that the Strand/Seville was one of the unnamed two.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Blue Heaven Theater on Aug 28, 2009 at 9:18 pm

The July 19, 1941, issue of Boxoffice mentioned Mr. L.M. Fong, who was opening the Blue Heaven Theatre in Marianna.

The May 23, 1942, issue of Boxoffice reported that L. Man Fong was putting on a “Chinese Relief Show” at the Blue Heaven Theatre on the 26th and 27th. Chinese movies would be shown, with English translation provided. Film exchanges were asked to make donations to the Chinese Relief Fund.

The Blue Heaven Theatre was offered for sale in a classified ad in the July 4, 1953, issue of Boxoffice. That’s the most recent I’ve found it mentioned in the magazine.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Imperial Theatre on Aug 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Here’s a change from the usual conflagrations Boxoffice was so fond of reporting. The headline in the September 25, 1972, issue read “Rain Storm Causes Roof Of Theatre to Cave In.” The item reported that the Imperial Theatre, which had suffered the disaster the previous month, had been dark since December, 1971.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dixie Theatre on Aug 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm

The most recent mention of the Dixie in Boxoffice is an item in the December 29, 1956, issue saying that the owner, T.E. Smith, had closed the theater.

A theater was opened in Marmaduke in 1938 by Tom Ford, but the September 24 issue of Boxoffice that year said that the new house, set to open the following Friday, was to be named the Marmaduke. I can’t find the name Marmaduke Theatre in any later issues of Boxoffice, but then the earliest mention of the Dixie I’ve found is from 1947. Most likely the Marmaduke and the Dixie were the same house in any case.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Aug 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Puzzling information datelined Kenedy from Boxoffice, June 5, 1937:

“Remodeling of the old Rialto Theatre was completed this week by Hall Industries and the opening set for June 10, it was announced by Boyd Atkinson, local Hall manager. The house name, however, will be changed to ‘The Rex.’ New upholstered chairs and projection equipment are to be installed.”
The Rex is mentioned again in the April 5, 1941, issue of Boxoffice, which says:
“BOXOFFICE has been informed that the building formerly occupied by the Rialto, Kenedy, is being remodeled to serve as a cafe, according to its owner, August Loos of that city. The only other theatre in Kenedy is the Rex.”
But by 1958, Boxoffice is once again publishing items about the Rialto Theatre, and I find no mentions of the Rex after 1941. Possibly the Rex resumed its former name. But the Rialto was probably the nameless theater mentioned in a May 2, 1936, Boxoffice article about Henry Hall, which said:
“In Kenedy, a small town of about 2,500 population, he built a magnificent 1000-seat theatre, a credit to a key city.”
Motion Picture Times of March 11, 1930, listed the Rialto as one of the Texas theaters which had recently installed RCA sound equipment. As near as I can figure from these various items, there have been two Rialto Theatres in Kenedy, but the lack of follow-up items to so many Boxoffice articles about the town leaves their history somewhat ambiguous.

I’ve also found these bits about other theaters in Kenedy: The April 20, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said: “Jack Farr has just opened the new Bear in Kenedy, Texas.” That’s the only mention of the Bear I’ve found.

Motion Picture Times of May 13, 1930 said: “B.F. Mumm, who lost the Grand at Kenedy by fire, starts this week to rebuild the theatre….” The fire had taken place in March, according to an earlier issue of the magazine. A 1948 “From the Boxoffice Files” feature cited a 1928 item saying that B.F. Mumm had purchased the Grand Theatre in Kenedy. Aside from that retrospective item, I’ve found no mention of the Grand after 1930.

There were also two mentions of what was probably a Spanish language theater in Kenedy. The December 1, 1945, issue of Boxoffice mentions Juan Monsivais of the Carpa Theatre in Kenedy, and the October 3, 1953, issue mentions Juan Monsivais of the Monsivias Theatre in Kenedy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cameo Theatre on Aug 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm

The July 5, 1941, issue of Boxoffice mentioned the Cameo as one of several theaters opened in recent months by the Florida State Circuit.

The January 18, 1947, issue of Boxoffice ran this item datelined Orlando: “The Cameo Theatre in Colonialtown, closed during the war years, has been reopened. The theatre is booked to show return engagements.”

Those are the only mentions of the Cameo I’ve been able to find in Boxoffice.