Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hippodrome Theater on Feb 2, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I got the date of the partial collapse of the Hippodrome building wrong in my previous comment. It was October 26, 1914, not October 6.

There is another photo of the collapse at the Hippodrome in the November, 1914, issue of trade union journal The Bricklayer, Mason and Plasterer. The item quotes a Youngstown Vindicator article of October 27, 1914. The collapse was apparently confined to the arcade portion of the building, and the theater’s auditorium was not affected.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hippodrome Theater on Feb 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Construction of Youngstown’s Hippodrome was well along in the fall of 1914. On the afternoon of October 6, part of the structure failed while concrete forms were being removed, causing a partial collapse of the building. Three workmen were killed and three others injured.

The December 2, 1914, issue of trade journal Engineering and Contracting published a letter from Edward Godfrey, a leading structural engineer of the period and a long-time critic of what were then the standard methods used in reinforced concrete construction. The letter discusses the failure, and is accompanied by two photographs of the collapsed structure.

The Youngstown Vindicator must have had articles about the event, but unfortunately the issues that most likely carried them (October 7, 1914, and probably some later issues) are not available from the Google News Archive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hippodrome Theater on Feb 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

The June 21, 1914, Vindicator article linked above notes that the construction of the Youngstown Hippodrome was being supervised by the Cleveland architectural firm of Knox & Elliot. It doesn’t specifically state that they had drawn the plans for the building, but Wilm Knox died in 1915, and his obituary in The Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder attributed the design of the Youngstown Hippodrome to the firm. Knox & Elliot also designed the Hippodrome Theatre in Cleveland. John Elliot continued to operate the firm until 1925.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Harris Theatre on Feb 2, 2011 at 5:59 am

Both White’s New Theatre and White’s Gayety Theatre are listed (page 691) in Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide, edition of 1908-1909. White’s New Theatre was a very large ground floor house, with 1,898 seats and a capacious stage. The Gayety was a second floor house with 1,200 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Harris Theatre on Feb 2, 2011 at 5:40 am

The book McKeesport, by the McKeesport Heritage Center Volunteers, has an interior photo of a Whites Opera House, but gives its location as the corner of 5th and Walnut. The book doesn’t mention White’s New Theatre, but says that the Opera House was built in 1883, became the Gayety Theatre by 1907, and closed as the Orpheum in 1922. The building was replaced by a department store in 1941.

However, a book called Vaudeville Old and New lists both a White’s Opera House and a White’s Hippodrome Theatre as having been part of the B.F. Keith circuit in McKeesport, though it doesn’t give their years of operation. Confusingly, it also lists a Harris' Hippodrome Theatre in McKeesport, and that might have been the same house under different ownership at a later time. As the Opera House became the Gayety then the Orpheum, perhaps White’s New Theatre became the Hippodrome?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theater on Feb 2, 2011 at 4:47 am

The theater in this Romanesque Revival building was originally called the Gedney Opera House, according to this web page form the Buchanan County Historical Society. The Gedney Opera House was listed in various editions of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide. The Guide gave the seating capacity of this ground floor house as 850.

A History of Buchanan County published in 1914 says that the Gedney Hotel and Opera House were built in 1892, and that the project was designed by Chicago architect G.W. Sunderland. The Opera House opened on August 23, 1892, with a performance of Auber’s opera “Fra Diavolo,” presented by the Andrews Opera Company.

The historical society web site says that the Grand Theatre and Gedney Hotel block burned to the ground on March 3, 1945. The Malek Theatre was subsequently built on the site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Old Orchard Theater on Feb 2, 2011 at 4:19 am

Here is a fresh link to the Boxoffice article about the Old Orchard Theatre. The text begins on the following page, and a third page of text and photos follows two subsequent pages of advertising. An additional photo appears on the cover of that same issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Olympia Theater on Feb 2, 2011 at 4:09 am

The January, 1920, issue of trade journal “The American Organist” has a directory listing organists, mostly in the northeast. Among them is Alexander Bilbruck, organist at the Olympia Theatre, Portsmouth. It notes that until 1919 he had been organist at North Congregational Church in the same city.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Feb 2, 2011 at 3:56 am

The history section of the official web site for the Pix Theatre says that the Lyric was built in 1921 by George Smith. That means the Lyric Theatre at Lapeer that was mentioned in the April 16, 1918, issue of Michigan Film Review must have been a different theater.

Could this earlier Lyric have been the theater built in 1914 by George Smith, on a site adjacent to the site on which he built the Pix in 1941? The Pix history section doesn’t give the name of Smith’s 1914 operation, but as his second theater was called the Lyric perhaps he was reusing the name when he built this Lyric in 1921.

The site does say that Smith finally closed the second Lyric for good in the mid-1950s. For many years the Lyric and the Pix had operated mostly at different seasons, as the Pix was air conditioned and the Lyric was not.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theater on Feb 2, 2011 at 3:53 am

The 1920 edition of “Seaman’s Handbook for Shore Leave” (published by the United States Merchant Marine Social Service Bureau) lists the attractions of various port cities around the world. Under the heading Places of Amusement, the entry for Portsmouth, New Hampshire lists: “Colonial Theatre, Congress St. (vaudeville, moving pictures); Olympia Theatre, Vaughn St. (moving pictures.)”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cine Ambassador on Feb 1, 2011 at 3:42 am

There is a photo of the Ambassador on the cover of Boxoffice, August 6, 1955.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sidney Theatre on Feb 1, 2011 at 3:30 am

Here is a nocturnal photo of the new front of the Sidney Theatre, on the cover of Boxoffice, September 3, 1955. Chakeres Theatres had spent an estimated $500,000 remodeling the Sidney, which it had acquired from Stanley Warner Theatres the previous December.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Carnegie Theatre on Jan 31, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Here is a fresh link to the picture of the Little Carnegie on the cover of Boxoffice, October 4, 1952.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theatre on Jan 31, 2011 at 5:03 pm

milamp: The twin in the office building might have been the Skywalk Cinemas. I’ve just posted a comment on that page with a hyperlink to a 1973 Boxoffice article about the twin. Maybe you’ll recognize it from the pictures in the article.

I’ve been unable to discover which downtown theater ran “Revenge of the Pink Panther” in 1975.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Skywalk Cinemas on Jan 31, 2011 at 4:54 pm

The October 15, 1973, Boxoffice article about the Skywalk Cinemas, mentioned in an earlier comment, can now be seen online here. There was also a photo of the theater on the cover of that issue’s Modern Theatre section.

Designed by the Cincinnati architectural firm of Gartner, Burdick, Bauer & Nilsen, the Skywalk Cinemas 1 & 2 was originally operated by Mid-States Theatres. The article failed to report the seating capacity, or to give the opening date.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Rey Theatre on Jan 30, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I don’t think there was a balcony, but there might have been a section of stadium seating. Vincent Raney designed many houses with stadium sections during that period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rita Theater on Jan 30, 2011 at 4:11 am

I’ve had to reconsider my assumption that there were two theaters called the Rita in Vallejo. It now seems more likely that the theater project from 1948 was the house that Rita operator Ray Syufy opened in 1949 as the El Rey.

The card in the California Index which was my source cited the 1948-1949 Theatre Catalog, listing an illustration of Vincent Raney’s plans for the Rita Theatre at Vallejo on pages 114-115. If somebody has that edition of the catalog, they could check the illustration and see if it looks like the Rita or the El Rey.

A Rita Theatre was in operation in 1940, and I’ve found no sources saying that the name was moved to a new theater at any time. Judging from the photos ken mc linked to, the Rita certainly looked as though it could have been built as early as 1940.

I haven’t found any sources identifying Vincent Raney as the architect of the Rita (other than the Theater Catalog I now suspect was actually reporting on the El Rey,) but the building looks like his style, and he definitely designed theaters for Syufy Enterprises through most of the second half of the 20th century, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he had designed Syufy’s first theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Rey Theatre on Jan 30, 2011 at 3:35 am

The El Rey was opened by Ray Syufy. CinemaTour has five photos, two from 1967 when it was operating as the Cine 21, and three later shots with the name Cine 3 on the vertical sign. It was apparently triplexed at some time before finally being converted into a church.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Grand Theatre on Jan 30, 2011 at 2:40 am

Here is the web page for architect Robert J. (not G.) Kitts at the Pacific Coast Architecture Database. There’s no biographical information, but three of his other projects are listed. The Internet is sadly lacking information about him.

The Palace Grand is the isolated building on the left in this 1915 view of Brand Boulevard north from Broadway. A sign for a jewelery store has been painted on the side wall.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jan 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Here is a 1982 photo of the Times Theatre after it had been renamed the Capitol.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theater on Jan 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Ken, the 1982 photo depicts the second Capitol Theatre, aka Times Theatre, which has been demolished. I linked to a photo of it in Boxoffice on the second Capitol page, and it’s the same building in the 1982 photo. Nobody has found a picture of the first Capitol yet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:29 am

This theater has a slightly earlier Cinema Treasures page under its final name, the State Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:24 am

The State Theatre was on the site of the Lycoming Opera House, a 1600-seat theater built in 1892 and destroyed by fire on May 31, 1915. Here is a pre-fire photo of the Lycoming Opera House, and here is a post-fire photo along with a picture of the stage before the fire.

It’s possible that parts of the opera house auditorium were incorporated into the new theater on the site, which probably opened within a year or two of the fire. Boxoffice of June 6, 1977, ran a brief article about the State Theatre, saying it had closed on March 22 after operating for 85 years (which would be 1892, the year the opera house opened.) The 1975 photo from American Classic Images shows that the State had an entirely different entrance building than the old opera house, but the old photos don’t show enough of the back of the building to determine whether or not any of the auditorium’s original walls survived the fire.

The March, 1917, issue of club journal The Rotarian had an item about the opening that January of a theater in Williamsport called the Majestic. Given the timing, I wonder if this could have been the house that later became the State? However, it could also have been one of the other Williamsport houses, such as the Rialto or the Park, both of which look as though they could have been built around 1917.

The Keystone Theatre was updated in 1959. The June 22 issue of Boxoffice said the seats had been reupholstered and re-spaced, new lighting had been installed, and projection equipment had been upgraded to complement the new 36x50-foot screen. The renovated house would switch to a first-run policy, according to manager Bernard Cross. Though the Boxoffice item says nothing about a name change for the house, the State marquee in the ACM photo looks like it would date from about this time, so the Keystone might have been renamed the State at the time of the 1959 remodeling.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about DuBois Playhouse on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:00 am

Here is a fresh link to the photo of the Harris DuBois Theatre in Boxoffice, October 15, 1938.

A post by user Foxfan on this page at a DuBois community forum says that this house was called the Pershing Theatre for a while before being renamed the Playhouse. The post also has some information about other theaters that have operated in DuBois.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Star Drive-In on Jan 27, 2011 at 3:32 am

Thanks for the correction, NYozoner. Boxoffice did sometimes leave out important details. I think the layout editors, working under tight deadlines, sometimes clipped sections out of articles to make them fit the space available on the page. That still happens a lot with weekly and daily publications.

From the aerial images on the page you linked to, it looks as though Blatt Brothers expansion of the operation amounted to almost a complete rebuilding of the original theater.