Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Covina Theater on Feb 25, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Of the various theaters I attended in the San Gabriel Valley (almost all of them fairly old houses,) the only one that I remember having had a dedicated crying room was the Garvey, my childhood neighborhood house. I got to use it once when I was about four years old and freaked out because the movie started before my older sister had gotten back to her seat after going to talk to friends. The crying room worked. I quit crying as soon as I got there, but I think my sudden calm was from the fascination of seeing a new part of the theater that I hadn’t known existed.

Another theater, the Garfield in Alhambra, had two rooms with glazed windows overlooking the auditorium, one on each side of the house. They served as foyers to the rest rooms, and I only saw the one on the men’s room side. It had no seats as the crying room at the Garvey did, but it’s possible that the one on the women’s room side had seating so it could serve as a crying room. I never asked anybody who had been in it.

Of the theaters elsewhere that I attended, I don’t recall any crying rooms, except for the pair at the Los Angeles, but by that time I was a teenager and wasn’t really looking for them. Articles in post-WWII issues of Boxoffice about new theaters frequently mentioned them, though, and from that it appears that they became a pretty common feature during that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Villa Theatre on Feb 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm

There are no current listings for this theater at any of the movie web sites, and the house doesn’t appear in the Great Falls Tribune’s movie listings. It must have been closed.

Here is a fresh link to the article about the Villa Theatre in Boxoffice, March 3, 1958.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rio Theatre on Feb 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm

A Facebook user named Sarah mentions having seen “Roger Rabbit” at the Rio Theatre in 1988, so it was still open at least that late. I’ve found Myrtle Creek mentioned in Boxoffice only twice, both times in items from 1954 dealing with the Tri-City Drive-In, then operating south of the town.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rio Theater on Feb 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm

The second Rio Theatre is already listed at Cinema Treasures. I’ve found Myrtle Creek mentioned only once in Boxoffice, and only in a passing comment about a Tri-City Drive-In that was in operation south of town in 1954.

However, a book called “In Search of Western Oregon” (Google Books preview) mentions a Myrtle Theatre operating on Main Street near 2nd Street as early as 1917. Perhaps that’s the house that later became the first Rio Theatre?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Benedum Center for the Performing Arts on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:17 am

The Michel Legrand concert of February 7, 1976, mentioned by KingBiscuits in a comment above, was a benefit event, and marked the reopening of the house following a $500,000 renovation by operator Cinemette. The company planned to use the Stanley both for first run films and for live events, and already had seven concerts scheduled through spring of that year.

Boxoffice of March 1 that year said that the project included new seating, new carpeting, interior repainting and exterior cleaning, rewiring, and new lounges, as well as backstage improvements including new dressing rooms, a refurbished elevator, and reactivation of the hydraulic system that lifted the orchestra pit to become part of the stage apron. The stage featured 500 yards of new red velvet curtains. The creation of new aisles in the auditorium had reduced the seating capacity from 3,704 to 3,491.

The article gave the original opening date of the Stanley Theatre as February 27, 1928. Among other bits of information about the theater’s history was the fact that Dick Powell had served as its master of ceremonies for three years, doing four shows a day, until J.P. Harris arranged a screen test for him with Warner Brothers in 1932 and he departed for fame in Hollywood.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sky View Drive-In on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:37 am

rloeffler is correct. This drive-in was called the Sky-View, not the Sunset.

Groundbreaking for the drive-in project at 72nd and Hartman Avenue was to take place soon, according to an item in Boxoffice of May 8, 1954. Plans for the 1100-car facility had been drawn by Colorado Springs architect Deitz Lusk, Jr..

Boxoffice of August 28, 1954, said that the Sky-View Drive-In had opened the previous week. Owner-operators were Ralph Blank and William Miskell.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Exeter Street Theatre on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:36 am

Clarence Blackall was the architect for the conversion of the First Spiritualist Church into the Exeter Street Theatre in 1914, but the church itself had been built in 1884 from designs by the Boston firm Hartwell & Richardson. Henry Walker Hartwell and William Cummings Richardson (no relation to Henry Hobson Richardson) designed the church in the popular Romanesque Revival style.

Following the closure of the theater, the auditorium space was filled with two additional floors. The 1995 fire did considerable damage to the upper part of the structure, and the subsequent repairs led to additional interior alterations. I don’t know how much, if any, of Clarence Blackall’s interior work from 1914 remains, but Hartwell & Richardson’s exterior has survived remarkably well for a century and a quarter.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

Boxoffice of November 13, 1961, had an item about the sale of the Strand Theatre at Seneca Falls. The seller was the village board, and the buyers were Oliver and Adelyne Acheson, theater operators from Syracuse. The Achesons intended to renovate the house and reopen it.

The item said the Strand had been “…built about 40 years ago by Fred Fisher and later was sold to the Schine Theatre circuit.” A later owner, Clinton Young, had sold the theater to the village.

The last mention I’ve found of the Strand in Boxoffice is from September 19, 1977, when it is mentioned in passing as one of the theaters operated by Conrad Zurich, who also operated the Hollywood Theatre in Syracuse.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Edwards Atlantic Palace 10 on Feb 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Yelp has posted customer reviews for the Atlantic Palace as recently as February 13. It’s still being operated as a sub-run house with a three dollar admission. As of today all ten screens are still lit up. The recent user reviews are mixed. A lot of people are happy about the bargain price, but many complain about the condition of the theater.

I think Regal might keep this theater open as long as possible. It’s the only big discount house in the area, and is probably pulling in customers from Pasadena (where the only discount house is the somewhat arty-indie Academy) as well as a big chunk of L.A.’s east side. Kids from Pasadena and El Sereno can easily reach this location by bus, which is probably a big plus for the daily matinees. Current offerings include kid-oriented movies on four of the ten screens, and all ten movies currently running are rated either PG or PG-13.

If local government’s budget crisis delays the start of construction on the county office building slated to be built on this site, the Atlantic Palace might continue operating for quite a while yet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Family Theatre on Feb 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm

The Family Theatre was listed in the 1916 Worcester City Directory at 122 Front Street. There are a few photos on this page. There’s also a comment from someone who says he attended the theater in the mid-1960s.

If the building was still standing in 1969, it was certainly then demolished to make way for the Worcester Center Galleria, an enclosed mall which is itself now being demolished.

When the Galleria was built, the block of Front Street on which the Family Theatre was located was closed, and the street bent at a 90 degree angle, so the marker on the Google Maps view doesn’t show the actual location of the theater. The project replacing the mall will reopen Front Street, so eventually the address at least will be returned to its original location.

The 1916 directory, by the way, lists fourteen theaters in Worcester, most of which are not yet listed at Cinema Treasures.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts on Feb 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm

The few descriptions of the 1926 expansion project I’ve found don’t give much detail about it, but as the seating capacity of the house was just about doubled it’s clear that the auditorium at least had to have been completely or almost completely rebuilt. A 90-degree turn in its orientation seems very likely. The history page of the official web site says that the Franklin Square’s auditorium extended about as far back from the street as the front of the balcony extended in the Poli Palace.

There was definitely an entirely new entrance lobby in 1926, adjacent to the original, but the old Franklin Square lobby (probably redecorated by Lamb) was also kept. A comment by Doug Ingalls (at the second link I posted in my previous comment) says that the Franklin Square’s entrance was used as an exit in later years, and that the second floor space above the original lobby, which had originally been the managers office, was used for storage during the years he was managing the building.

A later comment at the same page, by Dylan Kellet, says that, before the Showcase closed, the stained glass window on the second floor front was removed. He thought it was to be replaced by a reproduction, but this photo from the Hanover’s opening night (snagged from the collection linked to by Joe Tortorelli in his March 21, 2008, comment above) shows plain window glass where the stained glass used to be. I don’t know if the stained glass has since been replaced, or even if it is ever coming back. The original is probably in somebody’s house by now.

It’s unfortunate that Lamb’s 1926 facade is entirely gone (in fact his entire 1926 addition, from the street back to the auditorium wall, was demolished) but at least a partial, ghost version of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting’s 1904 facade is still there. Luckily, Lamb’s interior fared better.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paris Cinema on Feb 19, 2011 at 7:32 am

Preservation Worcester provides this page about the Capitol Theatre, with four small photos of interior details and a few paragraphs of text. The Capitol was placed on the organization’s “most endangered” list in 2005.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elm Street Theatre on Feb 19, 2011 at 7:30 am

Worcester Magazine published this article about S.Z. Poli and his new theater on Elm Street in its issue of December, 1912. There are photos of both the facade and the auditorium.

swellshades: The captions of the Dumas drawings in Morrison’s book often give the name of the architect of the theater depicted. Is that the case with the drawing of Poli’s Elm Street?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts on Feb 19, 2011 at 7:22 am

The description of this theater says that the Poli “…was built on the site of the Federal Square Theatre….” But according to this history page at the Hanover’s official web site, the Poli was an expansion and extensive rebuilding of the Franklin Square Theatre, which was built in 1904. As the Hanover incorporates parts of the original Franklin Square’s structure, Franklin Square Theatre should be listed as an aka. The history page also says that the house was called Poli’s Grand Theatre for a while before the rebuilding of 1926.

Here is a web page with information about the Franklin Square Theatre. There are also two photos, one early view of the Franklin Square’s facade, and one from the 1960s showing the interior of the Poli.

Lamb’s 1926 rebuilding extended the front of the building, but retained at least part of the narrow facade of the original Franklin Square Theatre, which was eventually covered over in a later remodeling but was revealed by the recent conversion into the Hanover Theatre. A 1907 edition of Sweet’s Indexed Catalog of Building Construction contains an ad for Sleep, Elliot & King, the Boston and New York company that did the ornamental plaster work for the Franklin Square Theatre, and a list of their projects reveals that the original architects of the house were the Worcester firm of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tarpon Theatre on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:26 am

Boxoffice of April 22, 1939, ran this item, datelined Tarpon Springs: “Construction has started on an 800-seat theatre in the Taylor Arcade.”

I’ve found the Tarpon Theatre mentioned in Boxoffice at as late as January 7, 1956, when the manager was a fellow named Paul Lycan.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theater on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

There is a photo of the former Grand Theatre on this page.

Here is a close-up of the marquee.

Behind the shallow, brick-walled front of the theater, which looks like a later addition, the main, wooden section of the theater looks as though it might have been built as a church. I wonder if this building has come full circle?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Madison Theatre on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm

So far the only photos of the Madison Theatre I’ve seen are those already linked here. There undoubtedly are interior photos in existence, but if any are available on the Internet I’ve been unable to find them. Your best bet would probably be to contact the Jefferson County Historical Society (this page of their web site says that their research library is closed through the end of February and they won’t be able to respond to inquiries until it reopens.)

They don’t have a photo exhibit online, but the information page about their photograph collections says that over 4,000 images have been scanned and are available for viewing in their library. It’s possible that an interior shot of the Grand is among them.

There’s a digital catalog, but it isn’t available online either. You can contact the historical society (use the “Contact Us” link found at the bottom of each page of their web site) and I’m sure they easily can check the catalog to see if a photo of the Grand is in the collection. If there is a digitized photo, they can make a print of it and ship it to you. They don’t have a price list on the web site so I have no idea how much that would cost.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinerama Theater on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:29 am

The December 7, 1964, Boxoffice article about the Cinerama Theatre can be seen online here. Three additional photos of this Richard George Wheeler design are on the subsequent page (click “next page” link.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Northlake Festival Movie Tavern on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:03 am

The conversion of the Northlake 8 into the Movie Tavern was designed by the Dallas architectural firm Partners in Architecture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Movie Tavern Richie Road on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:03 am

The conversion of the Commerce Park 8 into the Movie Tavern at Richie Road was designed by the Dallas architectural firm Partners in Architecture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinemark Robinson Township on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:55 am

The Cinemark Robinson Township was designed by the Dallas architectural firm Partners in Architecture, which has designed several projects for Cinemark and for other chains.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bayne Theatre on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:50 am

The Bayne Theatre probably did originally open in either 1932 or 1933. Its interior was remodeled in 1965, and an article in Boxoffice of April 12 that year said that the theater was 33 years old. In 1965 the house was being operated by Crockett-Pender Theatres, which was spending $35,000 for the renovation. The Bayne was scheduled to reopen on Easter Sunday.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:43 am

Here is a rendering of the Liberty Theatre in Boxoffice, December 23, 1968. The caption said that a twin was being built for the 900-seat theater, and the project was to be completed sometime in the spring. Durkee Enterprises operated the house, which was located in the Liberty court shopping center. Boxoffice doesn’t make clear how long the existing single screen house had been in operation.

The Liberty had a nearby competitor, not yet listed at Cinema Treasures. Boxoffice of July 26, 1965, reported that Broumas Theatres had opened a house called the Plaza Theatre on July 14. It was located in the Liberty Plaza shopping center, which was right down the street from Liberty Court. The Plaza Theatre was renamed the Randallstown Theatre in 1973.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema 1 on Feb 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

The trade journal The Moving Picture World published the following item about the Quimby Theatre in its issue of April 5, 1913:[quote]“QUIMBY’S $60,000 EXCLUSIVE PICTURE HOUSE.

“The following excerpt is from a letter of W. C. Quimby: ‘If any dubious person should doubt that money invested in a comfortable, sanitary and fireproof moving picture theater for the exclusive presentation of photoplays is not a good investment, he ought to visit Zanesville, Ohio, and look over my new $60,000 moving picture theater.’ Judging from the number of beautiful photographs illustrative of interior and exterior views which Mr. Quimby has sent us, it looks as though Mr. Quimby had spent over twice the amount that he says he has, and they further point out the fact that Mr. Quimby’s faith in the stability of the picture business is any-
thing but weak.

“The plot of ground upon which the structure stands has a frontage of 70 feet and a depth of 132 feet. It is modern in every respect and is built of fireproof material throughout. Nothing has been left undone for the benefit of patrons in the way of convenience. Mr. Quimby opened his new house around the first of June, 1912, and has been playing to crowded houses ever since. He has turned crowds away in the summer and is doing it yet. People from neighboring towns come to his house in automobiles. It has a seating capacity of 750 persons.

“The lobby is beautifully lighted and standing in conspicuous places are neatly framed posters of the pictures constituting the day’s programme. There are check rooms for women’s and men’s garments, wraps, etc. The checking system of the house is so perfect that a man may have his cigar checked and get it back in good condition when the entertainment is over. The ushers and attendants are examples of refined etiquette and neatness of appearance. As
one sits in the luxurious leather opera chairs watching the pictures, he breaths nothing but the purest of air, for the ventilating apparatus of the theater is perfect. It is cool in
the summer and the right temperature of warmth permeates the place in the winter.

“In justice to Mr. Quimby’s excellent management, a word ought to be said of the music which he gives to his patrons. When the theater was built he installed a $4,500 Wurlitzer Unit orchestra. After using this instrument for about six months, Mr. Quimby was so well pleased with it that as a Christmas present to his patrons he bought and installed a $3,500 pipe organ. These instruments are played by a competent musician, and the audiences express great satisfaction over the music. Mr. Quimby has recently installed his own electric light plant, which is saving him about $150 a month. He was compelled to do this on account of the exorbitant rates charged by local lighting companies. Mr. Quimby is also the owner of other large houses playing to vaudeville and moving pictures. The admission prices to the new house are five and ten cents.”[/quote]

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Shoppers World on Feb 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

The October 4, 1952, Boxoffice article about the construction of the Cinema is now online here, at the magazine’s own web site.

In a comment near the top of this page, dwodeyla said that the walls of the Cinema were built of “…panels of a straw and clay mixture…” The Boxoffice article says that “…the exterior of the theatre is no more than a thin skin of asbestos board held in place by thin aluminum strips.” The clay-like substance was probably some form of gypsum, and would have been used to hold the asbestos fibres in place. I hope dwodeyla didn’t discover the fibrous nature of the material by scraping at it.

Theater designer Benjamin Schlanger would not be the one who chose to use the asbestos panels in this building. That would have been Ketchum, Gina & Sharp, the architectural firm that designed the structure itself.