Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Villa Glen Theatre on Apr 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I see that the “official” web site is defunct. That site (Bijou Manager) had several pages about several other theaters in Glendale and the San Fernando Valley as well as the page about the Villa Glen.

The information that the building started out as a clubhouse built n 1923 is interesting. That would account for the wooden seats it had, which were mentioned at the now-vanished web site. That site was also the source of the 1978 closing date. It might have been wrong.

Knowing the building’s origin as the Tuesday Afternoon Club has allowed me to track down the name of the architect in the California Index. The building was designed by Alfred F. Priest, who was also the architect of the 1920 Glendale Theatre.

Southwest Builder & Contractor of March 31, 1922, provided the following description of the plans for the club building: “Auditorium and balcony to seat 900, banquet room, parlors, palm room, tea room, library, service department,; Spanish Style … cost $70,000.”

Thanks to Dan M and -DB for helping to fill the gaps in the Villa Glen’s history.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Apr 10, 2010 at 1:09 am

I’ve come across something about the State Theatre that doesn’t fit in with other pieces of information I’ve found, especially the information from Boxoffice I cited in my first comment of August 12, 2009.

A 1922 issue of the architectural journal Pencil Points ran an article about movie theatres penned by architect Emil M. Mlinar, a former associate of C. Howard Crane. Among the illustrations is a photo captioned “Proscenium of Loew’s State Theatre, Stockton, Cal. Weeks & Day, Architects.” The photo is recognizable as the same theater in the photo from the S. Charles Lee collection to which I linked in the second comment on this page.

So, assuming that the magazine didn’t make a mistake, the State Theatre opened as a Loew’s house, and was designed by the same firm as the Loew’s State in Los Angeles and the Loew’s State in Oakland. I can’t find a Loew’s State listed for Oakland at Cinema Treasures, so either it isn’t listed or it’s listed under another name and is missing the aka. The Fox in Oakland was designed by Weeks & Day, but I’ve never seen anything suggesting that it was ever a Loew’s house.

The volume of Pencil Points with the photos can be seen at Google Books. Here’s the link to the Stockton photo. Scroll up a few pages to see the Oakland photo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gaiety Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 9:30 pm

The recent opening of the Gaiety Theatre was noted in Boxoffice magazine of April 29, 1950. The original operators were the Jeanotte brothers (Leo and Albert), of Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan.

Grande Prairie, then a very small town (with a population of only 2,500 according to one Boxoffice item from 1949— it has over 50,000 now), was already home to the Capitol Theatre, which I’ve found mentioned in Boxoffice as early as 1938. A 1956 item said that the Capitol had installed a wide screen and that it had 490 seats.

In 1962, Ralph Norton, then owner of the Gaiety, purchased the Capitol Theatre, as reported in Boxoffice of February 19 that year.

The photo Chuck linked to in his comment of April 4, 2009, is not the Gaiety but the Jan Cinema, at 9820 100th Avenue. The Jan is still operating.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about States Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 9:17 pm

If Frank Joseph is still watching Cinema Treasures, and if he hasn’t already seen the item, he will probably enjoy reading the Boxoffice article about his grandfather in the March 17, 1956, issue. It mentions him.

If BWChicago is still frequenting this page, I have a question: Volume 17 of a trade journal called The Bridgeman’s Magazine lists A. Proskauer (who you identified above as the architect of the States Theatre) as the architect of an unnamed theater then (1917) being built in Terre Haute, Indiana. Do you know if this project was completed and, if it was, do you know which of Terre Haute’s theaters it was?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Owl Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm

The Owl was being operated by Nathan Joseph in 1956, according to an article about him in Boxoffice of March 17 that year. Joseph also operated the States Theatre at that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm

A March 17, 1956, Boxoffice article about long-time Chicago theater operator Nathan Joseph said that he opened the Lincoln Theatre, at 31st and State streets, in 1912. At the time the article was published, Joseph was operating the States and Owl theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm

The article to which BWChicago linked in a comment above identifies J.E.O. Pridmore as the architect of the Liberty Theatre. The article also says that the Liberty was not an aka for the Variety Theatre (which the article calls the Varieties Theatre in any case), but was a new building erected on the site of the earlier theater.

In addition, the article says that the Liberty was called the Grand Theatre from 1960 until 1977, and that the building has been demolished (apparently in 2007.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Northridge Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

The comments above saying that the Fox Northridge has not been demolished are correct. The County Assessor gives a build date of 1963 for the structure currently at this address. That has to be the theater. As noted in my earlier comment, Clarence J. Smale was architect, with Carl G. Moeller as designer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Washington Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm

The claim in the opening paragraph of the Pasadena Star-News item quoted by DB above that the Washington was “…the Southland’s first multi-use project….” is odd considering that multi-use buildings were commonplace in cities everywhere (including Southern California) long before 1924 and only became rare after priggish zoning laws began restricting them (which was not long after the Washington was built.)

Even more disturbing is the later revelation that the writer got this odd misconception from the director of Pasadena Heritage. One would expect the head of an organization devoted to historic preservation to have more knowledge of urban history.

Kids these days! And get off my lawn! </cranky old guy rant>

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loma Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Reports in Boxoffice in August, 1963, said that Charles Minor had closed the Loma Theatre. Equipment from the house was advertised for sale in the classified section of the August 5 issue of Boxoffice. The ad said that the operators had lost the lease on the building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loyola Theater on Apr 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm

-DB: Carl G. Moeller, who collaborated on the Inglewood Fox with architect S. Charles Lee, and who also worked on the Crest in Fresno, was almost certainly part of the design team for the Loyola, though Clarence Smale is the architect of record.

Moeller was the Fox circuit’s chief designer during the period when these theaters were built and, though he is listed on the Pacific Coast Architectural Database as an interior designer, he apparently also had a major influence on the exterior appearances of the many theater projects he worked on.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about SFA Theater on Apr 9, 2010 at 4:56 am

Boxoffice of August 5, 1950, said that the SFA Theatre had opened on July 20. That item gave the seating capacity as 558, but an item on September 9 said the house seated 658.

Marshall Matteson, a 1940 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State College, was the operator of the SFA Theatre from its opening until at least 1972, when he was mentioned in the August 14 issue of Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Main Theater on Apr 9, 2010 at 4:42 am

Boxoffice of February 24, 1951, ran an item about the grand opening of the Main Theatre. The date of the event was not mentioned, but it had apparently taken place earlier that month. The item gave the seating capacity of the Main as 1,100, adding that it was the largest movie house in the area.

An April 8, 1950, Boxoffice item had given the name of the architect of the Main Theatre as L. C. Kyburz. It’s likely that Kyburz designed a number of other theaters. He was a long-time stockholder in the Jefferson Amusement Company, and sat on its board of directors. The J. Evan Miller collection of Cinemrama Theatre plans also attributes the Windsor Cinerama Theatre in Houston to Kyburz.

A July 11, 1953, Boxoffice item about the closing of the Texan Theatre in Nacogodoches said that a Nacogdoches house called the Stone Fort Theatre had been closed when the Main opened, but was still fully equipped. The Main, the Stone Fort, and the Texan were all operated by East Texas Theatres. In the 1930s there had also been a theater called the Rita at Nacogdoches.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texan Theater on Apr 9, 2010 at 4:37 am

Boxoffice of July 11, 1953, announced that the Texan Theatre at Nacogdoches had been closed. Long operated by East Texas Theatres, the house had originally opened in 1928 as the Austin Theatre. It was being mentioned as the Texan in Boxoffice at least as early as 1938.

The Texan was being remodeled and would be reopened as a first-run house by H&H Enterprises, according to Boxoffice of May 1, 1954. This item mentioned 300 seats being installed. An April 23, 1955, Boxoffice item said that a 200-seat balcony for Negro patrons would be installed at the Texan. I haven’t found the Texan mentioned after that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Old Town Theatre on Apr 9, 2010 at 1:08 am

The Old Town Theatre was designed by the Wichita firm Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture. The firm has designed seven projects for Warren Theatres (all listed on SPTA’s web site.)

In addition to the five Warren locations currently listed at Cinema Treasures, the company operates the Palace West and the Warren’s Movie Machine at Towne West Mall (both locations are in Wichita.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Piqua Cinema on Apr 4, 2010 at 11:27 pm

The 1980 photo shows the Piqua Cinema (its later name) as a twin theater. Boxoffice mentioned the reopening of the Piqua Cinema as a twin in its issue of August 16, 1976.

The Piqua Theatre was bought by Chakeres Theatres in 1969 and completely remodeled that year. The Piqua Cinema was the subject of an article in Boxoffice of January 12, 1970. There are five photos. Unfortunately the article says nothing of the theater’s history other than that it was once operated by Schine and then by the Panther organization.

A vanished e-Bay item turned up in Google search (but without a cache unfortunately) was listed as “Milady’s Style Parade and Recipe Book for 1935 with Photos of Favorite Movie Stars-Compliments of Schine’s Piqua Theatre-Piqua, Ohio”, so the house is at least that old.

Piqua was the home town of the singing group the Mills Brothers, and this web page says that they made their first public appearance in an amateur show at May’s Opera House in Piqua. The Schine circuit also once operated a 711-seat house in Piqua called the Miami Theatre, and it appears that it was the Miami, not the Piqua, which had once been May’s Opera House, and the renaming apparently took place by 1934. Schine operated the Miami at least as late as 1957. I’ve been unable to discover what became of it after that.

Another interesting thing the Internet reveals about Piqua is that ca.1915-1917 there was a movie house there called the Favorite Theatre which, in collaboration with a local druggist named George Kiefer, issued a series of trading cards featuring photos of the movie stars of the day.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about La Parisien Theater on Apr 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm

An article about the Shafer Theatre, with photos and a floor plan, appeared in Boxoffice of January 6, 1940.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cowtown Drive-In on Apr 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

There is an article about the Cowtown Drive-In in the February 3, 1951, issue of Boxoffice. It was owned by Southwest Theatres, a company headed by C. A. Richter, who had opened the first drive-in in Texas in the late 1930s.

The Cowtown Drive-In was designed by Harvey A. Jordan, who was also the contractor. The owners and the designer posed in front of the screen tower for a photo that appeared as the frontispiece of the Modern Theatre section of the same issue of Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Apr 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

The Scott Theatre is already listed at Cinema Treasures under its current name, the Ross Country Jamboree.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Apr 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Photos of the Strand Theatre ran in Boxoffice of January 6, 1940. The Moderne design was by the theater’s owner/operator, William Luckett of Scottsburg, Indiana.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cine Metro on Mar 30, 2010 at 2:35 am

Cine Metro was actually built in 1936. It was designed by architects Jorge Arteaga Isaza and Sergio Larrain Garcia-Moreno. I’ve been unable to discover if Larrain was the father of the noted Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain, born at Santiago in 1931, but I suspect that he was.

Source (a large .pdf file of an essay on modern architecture in Chile.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cine Oriente on Mar 30, 2010 at 2:26 am

This house was built in 1935 as the Teatro Oriente, and was designed by architects Carlos Cruz Eyzaguirre and Escipion Munizaga Suarez.

Source (a large .pdf file of an essay on modern architecture in Chile.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Teatro Real on Mar 30, 2010 at 2:24 am

Originally operated by Paramount, the Teatro Real was designed by architects Fernando Valdivieso Barros and Fernando De la Cruz.

Source (a large .pdf file of an essay on modern architecture in Chile.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kearsley Theatre on Mar 28, 2010 at 4:30 am

The Kearsley Theatre was designed by architect George J. Bachman, according to Boxoffice of December 10, 1949. The listing also noted that Bachman was part-owner of the theater with T. J. Daly.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Genoa Theatre on Mar 28, 2010 at 4:17 am

A small rendering of the Genoa Theatre accompanied a brief article about the recently-opened house in Boxoffice of December 3, 1949.

This item said that the theater was designed by Gerald M. West of Chicago and Genoa City. But a Boxoffice article of September 3, 1949, had given the architect’s name as Derald West, which is apparently correct. I found a reference to an architect named Derald West practicing in Lake Geneva as early as 1911, and there is a Derald M. West currently listed as practicing architecture in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Given the unusual first name I can’t imagine them not being related. Given the time span, there could have been another Derald West in between them.

As Louis Rugani noted in the fourth comment on this page, Genoa Theatre is the correct name of this house.