Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Continental 10 on May 21, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I believe the architect’s name is currently misspelled above. It should be Garrett, with a double t. Calvin Garrett wrote an article about the original Continental Theatre in Oklahoma City for the March 21, 1966, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

While Boxoffice did sometimes (well, ok, frequently) misspell people’s names in articles, it would have been an extraordinary event for them to have misspelled an author’s name in a by-line.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about AMC Hawthorne Plaza 6 on May 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm

The recent opening of the Hawthorne 6 was the subject of a brief article in the May 9, 1977, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on May 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm

The February 3, 1951, issue of Boxoffice said that the Liberty Theatre had recently been reopened after remodeling and redecoration. When construction of the Liberty began in 1918, it was Wenatchee’s first brick theater. The first owner of the house was N.I. Neubauer.

The Boxoffice item about the reopening also mentioned three earlier movie theaters in Wenatchee. The first theater built to accommodate both movies and stage shows in town was the Wenatchee Theatre, opened in 1905 by Ed Ferguson. Later there was a Gem Theatre, located in the Olympic Hotel building, and then a Majestic Theatre. No opening dates are given for the latter two houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm

This is probably a duplicate listing. See my comment of today on the Ojai Playhouse page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ojai Theatre on May 20, 2009 at 9:58 pm

The April 11, 1966, issue of Boxoffice said that San Francisco theater man Arthur Glasgow had bought the Ojai Theatre and would rename it the Glasgow Playhouse, operating it as an art house after refurbishing it.

Boxoffice said that the refurbishment was to be done by the F.F. Shearer Co., with architect Arthur Drilsman, though they must have meant B.F. Shearer Co. and architect J. Arthur Drielsma. Some issues of Boxoffice got more than their share of errors.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theater on May 20, 2009 at 9:45 pm

The Tower Theatre was built by T&D Jr. Enterprises. The opening date of the theater was May 25, 1949, according to Boxoffice Magazine of May 29. The house had 946 seats, and the first manager was Mario Menconi. The Tower either supplemented or replaced the local Rialto Theatre, which Menconi had also managed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts Theater on May 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm

The architect of the 1951 moderne remodeling when the Mayfield was converted into the Fine Arts was Gale Santocono. The February 17 issue of Boxoffice ran the announcement, but managed to mangle the architect’s name into Gus Santascona.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bay Theatre on May 19, 2009 at 11:05 pm

An ad for the United States Air Conditioning Corporation in the May 17, 1941, issue of Boxoffice lists the Bay Theatre among the houses which had recently had the company’s equipment installed. There’s no indication whether the Bay was newly built or if it was an existing house merely getting new air conditioning equipment. In any case, there was apparently a Bay Theatre in National City before the 1944 opening date currently cited in the intro on this page.

The marquee and decorative tower on the Bay Theatre apparently date from 1951, as those particular features are mentioned in an item about an $80,000 remodeling of the house appearing in the April 21 issue of Boxoffice.

There were also two theaters called the National in National City. A card in the California Index cites and L.A. Times article of May 20, 1930, saying that the National Theatre had burned, with the loss estimated at $25,000. Either this house was rebuilt or another house was given the name, as a National Theatre is mentioned in several Boxoffice items from 1938 into the early 1950s. Then, an August 27, 1955, Boxoffice item says that the old National Theatre had been reopened by an independent operator who had renamed it the Abalee Theatre.

A third National City house was called the Star Theatre. The August 7, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that the 500 seat house was nearing completion.

The March 25, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that Harry Goldfarb operated three theaters at National City in conjunction with the Eastland circuit. The Star might not have been among them, though, as the November 20, 1948, issue of Boxoffice named the three theaters operated by the Eastland Circuit at National City as the Bay, the National, and the Vista. I think the Vista might have actually been in nearby Alta Vista, though. A 1938 Boxoffice item mentions a Vista Theatre operated by Harry Goldfarb, but places it in San Diego.

One more National City house was the Paradise Twin, opened on August 15, 1973, according to the August 27 issue of Boxoffice. Also, the September 18, 1972, issue of Boxoffice includes an unnamed 678-seat theater on Harbison Avenue in National City on a list of recent and current theater projects, but Boxoffice’s lists of this sort tend to contain a number of errors.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lux Theater on May 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm

The September 18, 1937, issue of Boxoffice had this to say about the Lux Theatre: “Souris & Ade are opening the Lux at Grants, N.M., a house of 518 seats. The town has been without a theatre since 1930.”

Another item in the same issue lists various pieces of equipment and furnishings installed at the Lux by the Denver branch of National Theatre Supply Company. Neither item indicates whether the Lux was new construction or a renovation of an older theater— perhaps the one that had closed in 1930.

An item in the October 11, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said that C.E. Means, owner of the Lux Theatre, was planning a new theater for Grants. To be designed by Albuquerque architect Gordon Ferguson, and to seat 500, the new house would be called the El Sol. I find no other mentions of this theater, and don’t know if it was actually built or not.

J.C. West, who would later build the West Theatre in Grants, bought the Lux from C.E. Means in 1950. He might have closed the Lux for a time in the 1960s, as the September 14, 1964, issue of Boxoffice mentions him as the operator of the West Theatre and the Sahara and Trails Drive-Ins in Grants, but makes no mention of the Lux. Then the January 30, 1967, issue of Boxoffice said that J.C. West had opened the Lux after an extensive remodeling. He intended to operate the house with an art film policy.

West was still operating the Lux as late as February, 1970, when the Boxoffice issue of the 16th said that the house had to be closed for one night due to a fire in a furnace blower. That’s the last mention of the Lux I’ve found in Boxoffice. J.C. West is mentioned once more, but only as the operator of the West Theatre, in 1972.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about West Theatre on May 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm

The West Theatre apparently turned fifty years old this month. The May 18, 1959, issue of Boxoffice said that it had opened recently. The opening features were “Tarawa Beachhead” and “Crash Landing.” Boxoffice reported the cost of the new theatre as $125,000.

The owner of the West Theatre was J.C. West, Grants' theater magnate. He bought the Lux Theatre in 1950, and built the Sahara Drive-In in 1958. He also operated the Trails Drive-In at Grants.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts 3 on May 18, 2009 at 8:47 pm

The recent opening of the Fine Arts 3 was noted in the November 22, 1971, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The new house seated 400 patrons, and, like the Fine Arts 1 and 2, was operated by the Nutmeg Circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts 1 and 2 on May 18, 2009 at 8:40 pm

The original Fine Arts Theatre was acquired by Nutmeg Circuit in 1952, according to an item about a planned renovation of the house that appeared in the May 25, 1964, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

The April 8, 1968, issue of Boxoffice said that the Fine Arts II, adjacent to the Fine Arts Theatre, was nearing completion. The Fine Arts was being remodeled at the same time, but remained in operation through the remodeling. The two houses would share a common entrance. The seating capacity of the Fine Arts II was 410, and the capacity of the remodeled Fine Arts would be 700.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aloha Theatre on May 18, 2009 at 7:52 pm

The 1929 city directory lists the May Theatre at 6010 S. Broadway. I can’t find listings for a theater at this address in directories from the 1930s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about College Theatre on May 18, 2009 at 6:03 pm

The market in the 1955 photo was too far up the block to have been in the theater building. The theater was adjacent to the California Club’s building at the corner of 5th, and the market was several doors north. You can see it in the photo I linked to in my previous comment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Turner Theater on May 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm

The July 10, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Turner Theatre had recently been opened by the Stein circuit. The new house had 800 seats and was designed by Valdosta, Georgia, architect Felton Davis.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tekoa Empire Theater on May 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Bjarne Moe was the architect of the Tekoa Empire Theatre. The April 20, 1940, issue of Boxoffice Magazine had this to say in its item about visitors to film row in Seattle the previous week: “Bjarne Moe back from Tekoa where he was awarded contracts for the new theatre to be built by Rex Havel.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rena Cinemas on May 17, 2009 at 10:00 pm

The October 9, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Seattle architect Bjarne Moe was actively involved in 15 of the 17 theater projects then underway in the northwest, both new construction and remodelings. The Rena Theatre was one of the 16 projects listed by name.

Though the item didn’t specify that it was one of those designed by Moe, the Rena Theatre was listed as being owned by Moe-Simons Entertainment, so he probably did design it. See also comments posted today by Tom Hutchinson and myself on the Cinema Treasures page for the Garland Theatrein Spokane.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garland Theatre on May 17, 2009 at 9:56 pm

If Tom Hutchinson’s source is correct, then Bjarne Moe was the architect of the Garland Theatre. It would not be surprising for the Garland to be a Moe design, as he was probably the most prolific theater architect in the northwest during that period.

In various issues of Boxoffice Magazine, Bjarne Moe is named as the architect of the Bungalo Theatre in St. Maries and of the Empire Theatre in Tekoa. An item in one issue of Boxoffice strongly suggests that he designed the Rena in Kellogg.

A few other theaters designed by Moe are listed in my December 29, 2008, comment on the Cinema Treasures page for the New Ritz Theatre in Ritzville, Washington.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bungalo Theater on May 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm

The August 5, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Seattle architect Bjarne Moe had the contract to design the Bungalo Theatre for Fulton Cook. It probably opened the next year.

The August 3, 1940, issue of Boxoffice quoted Bjarne Moe as saying that Fulton Cook had completed the remodeling of his old theater at St. Maries for occupation by the U.S. Forest Service. Neither the name nor the address of Cook’s former theater were given.

The Bungalo was in operation at least into 1955, when the April 16 issue of Boxoffice reported that Fulton Cook had bought land for the construction of a new drive-in theater, and named him as the manager of the Bungalo Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Playhouse Theater on May 17, 2009 at 8:04 pm

1015 42nd Street is the wrong address for this theater. On Google Maps, this address shows up in the middle of a residential district with houses that must have been built in the 1920s at the latest.

The current occupant of the Roosevelt Theatre is the playhouse Lost Memory linked to above, at 831 42nd Street. That was the address given for the Roosevelt Theatre in a Boxoffice Magazine item of January 6, 1951, at the time the building was sold to the little theatre group that eventually moved into it. However, Google Maps fetches up a couple of hundred feet south of the building when you use that address.

The Roosevelt Shopping Center in the 1935 photo has been replaced by a modern strip mall. The theater’s entrance arch seen in the photo is also gone, but there is still matching stone on the facade of the theater itself, which is set back from the street behind a small parking area.

The June 21, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Roosevelt Theatre would be taken over by the Community Drama Association in July, and would reopen as their playhouse after some remodeling. The last operator of the Roosevelt as a movie house was Tri-States Theatres.

Google Street View (click “full screen” icon upper right of view to embiggen.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about River Oaks Theater 4 on May 17, 2009 at 12:03 am

According to Boxoffice Magazine, July 31, 1978, this theater was designed by the Chicago firm of Finck, Stowell & Frolichstein.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Weed Palace Theater on May 16, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Somebody will smoke it out eventually.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mason Theatre on May 16, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I’ve just noticed ken mc’s comment on the Pacific Electric Theater above. All my knowledge of the place comes from a conversation overheard between two bus drivers in the 1960s. As our bus was pulling into the 6th and Main station one day, the driver was telling a much younger off-duty driver riding to work that, back in the Pacific Electric era, he had gone to union meetings held the old P.E. Theatre next to the station. Apparently Metropolitan Coach Lines and then the MTA had discontinued the policy of letting the union hold meetings there.

The primary function of the place seems to have been business related, in any case. I had no idea they’d ever shown movies there. From the description of the event, it sounds like the company let Mr. Ferenz four-wall the house. I wonder if that was done frequently?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plumas Theater on May 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

In fact there was a Greenville Theatre in Greenville, but the only mention I can find of it in Boxoffice is from the October 24, 1942, issue. It says: “The schoolchildren of this small town contributed 25,345 pounds of scrap for their admission to the matinee staged by Harry West, manager of the Greenville.”

I wish the photo of the Plumas was a bit clearer so I could make out the movie posters. Knowing what was showing would at least give a clue to the earliest date the photo could have been taken.

Greenville was never much more than a wide spot in the road, though it was a metropolis in comparison with Tobin. Mr. Goldenson must have lived very frugally. The whole region was so thinly populated that I doubt either theater ever had a full house. Still, 25,350 pounds of scrap. People in the region must not have tidied up since the gold rush era.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Weed Palace Theater on May 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Oh, there should probably also be an aka of Palace Theatre. The only reference to the name I can find comes from the May, 1985, issue of Boxoffice, which refers to “…Main Street Amusement’s Palace Theatre in Weed, Calif….” but there might be old ads or listings confirming the name somewhere. I’ll be on the lookout for them.