Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kimo Theatre on May 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Here’s additional information about the Kimo. Its art house period began long before the 1960s. An item in the February 2, 1959, issue of Boxoffice says that “And God Created Woman” had been running at the Kimo for a full year. A later paragraph in the item says:

“The engagement is the outstanding one in the theatre during the tenure of the Dickinson operation which began in 1944. The Kimo then became the first art film theatre in Kansas City and one of the first in the midwest. Other ‘milestone’ engagements have been ‘The Red Shoes,’ ‘Lili,’ ‘Henry V,’ and ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets,’ each of which ran about six months.”
By 1968, various issues of Boxoffice are mentioning a Kimo South Theatre, also an art house operated by Dickinson. I’ve found the Kimo itself mentioned as late as the issue of March 10, 1969. I don’t know of the Kimo South was at a different location, or if Dickinson twinned the Kimo. The 1984 photo of the Dove does show an attraction board typical of 1960s twin theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kimo Theatre on May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm

The closing of the Kimo in 1952 had indeed been temporary. The March 3, 1956, Boxoffice says a new air conditioning system had been installed in the Kimo Theatre at Kansas City, resulting in a considerable increase in patronage during the summer of 1955.

This was a two-page article about the air conditioning systems in the Kimo and in the new Sierra Theatre in Alamogordo, N.M., then under construction. There are a couple of interior photos of the Kimo, and the article says that the house had 515 seats, and that the auditorium was 40x70 feet.

The Kimo name remained during the theater’s art house era, at least until 1967, when Boxoffice reported in its January 23 edition that “A Man and a Woman” was still doing good business in its eighth week at the Kimo.

I think the 1984 photo must depict the Kimo. The setbacks of the inner pair of display boxes is the same as the earlier photo of the Deco facade, and the lobby is the same width and has the same configuration. That remarkably ugly fake mansard with its cheap shingles was a common feature on buildings remodeled in the 1960s. I wonder if the remodeling took place before the house began showing porn? If so, I’d consider it an architectural premonition of the theater’s future screen fare.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varsity Theatre on May 27, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Harry Hart’s Boxoffice Magazine column of December 6, 1952, mentioned that Wil-Kin Theatre Supply had installed Cycloramic screens in three houses, including the Varsity. I don’t know if that indicates that the Varsity was then under construction or not. At least one of the other two theaters getting one of the screens, the Carolina in Charlotte, was an existing house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carolina Theatre on May 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Apparently, this is not the Carolina Theatre that opened in 1927. Boxoffice Magazine of October 17, 1942, has this item, datelined Chapel Hill: “The new Carolina, seatng 1,145, was opened here October 15 by the Wilby-Kincey circuit, which also operates the Pick and Village locally. The latter was known as the Carolina before the new unit opened.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Swissland Cinema on May 26, 2009 at 11:00 pm

That’s a nice 1930s Moderne facade, but the side wall looks like much older construction. Note the bricked-up arched window. It looks like the theater was built in an existing building, or using at least one surviving wall from an earlier building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Globe Theater on May 26, 2009 at 10:46 pm

The January 20, 1958, issue of Boxoffice ran an item mentioning the Globe: “Herschel Gilliam, better known as ‘Wild Bill,’ was in the exchange area here and said that he finally had to install CinemaScope equipment in his Globe Theatre at Ardmore. Gilliam is very optimistic about the future of motion picture theatres, especially in Ardmore. Theatres there are helped a lot by patronage from the Air Force base a few miles from town.”

Perhaps Wild Bill was over-optimistic. The Oklahoma City news column in the June 1, 1959, issue of Boxoffice mentions among visitors to film row “…Herschel ‘Wild Bill” Gilliam, Globe Theatre, Ardmore, who will close about June 1.“ The item doesn’t specify if this was a temporary closing or a permanent closing, but I’ve found no items about the Globe in later issues of Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Yale Theater on May 26, 2009 at 10:29 pm

From Boxoffice Magazine, September 21, 1946: “The Yale Theatre, which has been closed for remodeling the last five months, is due to open late this month, Sam Caporal, owner-operator, said. The house will be completely new from front to back, and will have an additional 300 seats, making the seating capacity about 800.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Las Vegas Cinerama on May 25, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Rich and Claud: “My Fair Lady” was filmed in Super Panavision 70, one of the early competitors of Mike Todd’s Todd-AO. It was released in both 70mm and in a 35mm anamorphic version for theaters lacking 70mm equipment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about California Theatre on May 25, 2009 at 4:33 pm

I totally screwed up one of the dates in my previous comment. In paragraph three, it should read October 20, 1945, not October 20, 1949.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tulare Theatre on May 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm

With regard to the photo of the State, a couple of 1973 issues of Boxoffice said that the former State Theatre in Tulare was being refurbished for use as a retail shop. The address was 225 E. Kern Avenue. Today there’s a photo studio and frame shop called Gainsborough Studio operating at 227 E. Kern, which appears to be in the theater building, though the facade has been substantially altered.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Monroe Theater on May 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm

The Monroe was probably the theater mentioned in the August 26, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, in an item that said that Chris Velas of the Pleasant Valley Theatre Company had a 650-seat theater under construction in Woodsfield (another issue of Boxoffice, after the house had opened, gives the seating capacity as 500.) The item also said that Jesse Shannon was opening his Life Theatre at Woodsfield that week.

Then the June 29, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that the Monroe Theatre had been ordered to suspend operations until building requirements were met. No details were given about what requirements the theater had failed to meet, but the item said that the house had been completed within the last six months and had been in operation only a short while.

Several later issues of Boxoffice have items about the Monroe, usually mentioning the operators, a Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Fliehman. I’ve found no mentions of the Monroe later than May 14, 1962, when an article quoted excerpts from a letter written by Mrs. Fliehman excoriating the Academy Awards show.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Swissland Cinema on May 23, 2009 at 8:56 pm

From the August 26, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine: “At Woodsfield this week Jess Shannon, exhibitor there, was opening his new 600-seat house, known as the Life.”

In 1954, Joe Shannon of the New Life Theatre is quoted in several ads appearing in Boxoffice, praising the benefits of CinemaScope for small town movie houses.

From the January 7, 1956, issue: “J.J. Shannon, manager, reports the reopening of the Newlife Theatre, Woodsfield, Ohio….”

The December 11, 1978, issue of Boxoffice quotes a regional buyer and booker named Jack Talley as saying that the Swissland Cinema in Woodsfield was being opened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metro Theatre on May 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm

That new building belongs to the Salvation Army and is apparently some sort of rehab center. It has the same address as the theater, so (assuming the theater address is correct) the Metro is gone. The Salvation Army building looks no more than a few years old. Unfortunately, Historic Aerials only has a 2004 photo for the location, and it’s too blurry to tell if the theater was still there then or not. I’m quite sure it wasn’t there on May 11 this year, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metro Theatre on May 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Now I’m really confused. I can’t find a photo from 4/28/09. The photo Don Lewis linked to was dated as having been taken on May 11, 2009. Assuming it does depict the Metro, and the date is correct, we’d also have to assume that the Metro was demolished, the new multi-story building seen in Google Street View was built, and Google came by to take new photos of the block, all in the last 12 days.

I’m not saying that such a thing couldn’t happen in Texas. Just that it’s very unlikely.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mecca Theatre on May 23, 2009 at 4:19 pm

A couple of 1940 items from Boxoffice Magazine concern the Mecca Theatre. The issue of September 7 says that Cumberland Amusement Co., operators of the Strand, had leased a building on Lincoln Street and planned to convert it into a movie theatre. The December 14 issue specifically names the Mecca, saying it was scheduled to open on the day of publication. The house was to have 400 seats.

The Army’s Camp Peay, later renamed Camp Forrest, was located near Tullahoma, and the arrival of some 20,000 recruits as WWII approached created a demand for new theaters in the town.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metro Theatre on May 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm

There’s some confusion here. The Cinema Treasures link on the Flickr photo page for the 2009 photo goes to the Brownwood Lyric Theatre page, even though the photo is captioned Metro Abilene. It isn’t the Lyric, but I don’t think it’s the Metro either. It doesn’t resemble the building in the 1984 photos at all.

The Google Maps link above goes to the wrong location. If fetches up in the 800 block. After finding the actual location of 1726 Butternut on Google Maps and checking the Street View, there’s nothing resembling the building in either of the 1984 photos, or the one in the 2009 photo. If we’ve got the correct address, the Metro must have been demolished. I have no idea what building the 2009 photo actually depicts.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Swiss Theater on May 22, 2009 at 11:45 pm

The Swiss Theatre opened in the summer of 1948, according to an item in the October 23 issue of Boxoffice Magazine that year. The 449-seat theater was designed by the Evansville, Indiana, firm of Warweg and Hagel. Other issues of Boxoffice give the name of the original operator of this independent house as Silver Rayley (or Raley- their spelling is inconsistent.)

At various times, Tell City also had theaters called the Royal, the Rialto, and the Ohio.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Northgate Twin Theatres on May 22, 2009 at 9:41 pm

The Northgate Theatre was featured in an article in the January 21, 1963, issue of Boxoffice magazine. A preview of the house was held on December 21, 1962, with a screening of “Jumbo” for an audience of invited guests. The public opening of the theater took place on Christmas Day.

The Northgate Theatre was built and owned by the developers of the Northgate Shopping Center, and was first operated by Consolidated Theatres of Charlotte. The theater was designed by the Raleigh architectural firm Leif Valand & Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Theatre on May 22, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Boxoffice Magazine of July 19, 1941, said the Clover Theatre had opened on Friday (the 19th was a Saturday that year.) According to Boxoffice, the theater had “…ultra-modern appointments and decorations.” The seating capacity was given as 700. The first manager was Don W. Randolph, formerly of Asheville, N.C., and the projectionist was B.P. Bopkins.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fleur Cinema & Cafe on May 22, 2009 at 8:06 pm

That should read “Esseness” rather than Essanass. My mind has been wandering into Beavis and Butthead territory again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sierra III Theatre on May 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm

The Sierra Three was opened by Fridley Theatres in 1973, according to the April 30 issue of Boxoffice that year. By 1977, the house was being operated by Dubinsky Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fleur Cinema & Cafe on May 22, 2009 at 4:46 pm

The Fleur Four Theatre was actually opened in 1970, and was originally operated by Dubinsky Brothers Theatres. The November 2, 1970, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Irwin Dubinsky had spent the day of October 26 checking on the progress of the Fleur Four, and that the planned opening date was November 18. The new four-plex would have 1,250 seats.

The Dubinsky circuit, based in Lincoln, Nebraska, grew rapidly in the 1970s. They apparently operated the Fleur Four until the company was bought out by Chicago-based Excellence Theatres (formerly Essanass Theatres) in 1989. At the time of the sale, Dubinsky operated 127 screens. Carmike Cinemas took over management of Excellence Theatres in 1992.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theater on May 21, 2009 at 11:29 pm

I’ve never been to Santa Rosa, but the 20th Century West Theatre is mentioned in the April 26, 1965, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, which says that “The Greatest Story Ever Told” was the first movie shown at the recently opened house.

Originally built for independent operators Mr. and Mrs. William Blair, the theater was bought in 1968 by the Sonoma Theatre Corporation, headed by George Mann, Robert L. Lippert, and Charles J. Maestri. Sonoma Theatre Corp. also bought a twin-screen house elsewhere in Santa Rosa from the Blairs at the same time.

The July 22, 1974, issue of Boxoffice said that Sonoma Theatres would expand the 20th Century West by adding two 400-seat auditoriums adjacent to the original 800-seat house, with all three sharing a common entrance and lobby. The theater would be renamed the Coddingtown Cinemas.

Mike Rivest’s list of Sonoma County theaters (PDF file here) says that the house was expanded to four screens in the late 1980s, was last operated by the United Artists circuit, and was closed about 2000.

Try putting the address into Google Maps and looking at the current building in Street View. It looks about the right size to have held a triplex with 1600 seats, but it contains retail stores now.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beaver Theater on May 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm

In 1945, the Ritz was bought by Robert J. Mattecheck and Harold Gunness. The new owners planned to remodel the house, according to the December 15, 1945, issue of Boxoffice.

Then the December 10, 1949, issue of Boxoffice said that R.J. Mattecheck and Harold Gunness were selling the Beaver Theatre at Beaverton to Harold Fix.

I can’t find any mentions of a Ritz Theatre in Beaverton later then 1945, nor any mentions of a Beaver Theatre in Beaverton before 1949, so the most likely explanation is that Mattecheck and Gunness changed the name from Ritz to Beaver when they remodeled.

There are a few more items mentioning the Beaver in the 1950s, and then nothing for a long time. As early as 1953, the owner was named as J.J. Taggart.

Finally, the September 16, 1968, issue of Boxoffice says that Jay and Joy Taggart had reopened the former Beaver Theatre as an art house called the Film Fair. This is the only mention of the Film Fair I’ve found, so I don’t know of it was successful or not. In any case, if the Ritz and the Beaver were the same house, and there were no later name changes, Film Fair was the last name for the theater.

The last article I mentioned contains these entertaining lines, by the way: “In remodeling the Beaver Theatre here, he decided on an ‘adults only’ policy because of the difficulty in operation. With a general picture policy the small Beaver had become a ‘baby sitting’ operation.” (cue Butthead laugh: huhhuhhuh huhhuhhuh.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Continental Theater on May 21, 2009 at 9:27 pm

The architect’s surname is currently misspelled in the info section at the top of this page. The correct spelling, Calvin Garrett, can be found in the by-line of the article he wrote about the house for Boxoffice Magazine in 1966, which is linked in rodesideok’s comment of July 23, 2005, above.

To very belatedly answer Michael Coate’s question from the same day, the article comes from the March 21, 1966, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. An earlier article, in the September 13, 1965, issue of the same publication, when the Oklahoma City Continental was nearing completion, said that construction was already underway on the Tulsa and Denver Continentals as well.