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The November 15, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said that 5000 people turned out for the well-publicized grand opening of the Circle Theatre. A live outdoor show was presented as well as an indoor stage show, featuring such regional celebrities as Ernest Tubb and his Grand Ole Opry show. Interstate Theatres even presented a fireworks display to give their new house a proper launch.
The California Index has several cards about the National. It was built by the National Theatres Syndicate in 1931, located on Main Street at Stanislaus Street, and designed by the San Francisco firm Bliss & Fairweather. It was closed for a while in 1935, but Motion Picture Herald of May 18 that year said that it was being reopened by Joe Merrick of San Francisco. It was mentioned again in the February 2, 1936, issue, but the Index provides no details on that one.
The problem is I can’t find the National mentioned in Boxoffice at all, which makes me wonder if perhaps its name was changed.
I did come across a very interesting item in the April 24, 1967, issue of Boxoffice which said that the old Star Theatre on lower Market Street was being torn down after 50 years. It was the oldest surviving movie house in Stockton, and the last of four old movie theaters which had once thrived in the south end of downtown, the others being the Lincoln, the Imperial, and the Liberty.
I recall seeing this neighborhood in the late 1960s, just as they were beginning to demolish it for an urban renewal project. It was a splendid section of several square blocks of substantial masonry commercial and residential buildings. Glimpses of the area can still be seen in the original version of “All the King’s Men” in which Stockton sat in for Baton Rouge. The area appeared in a number of other movies as well, the last of them probably being John Huston’s noirish boxing movie “Fat City” which was filmed during the latter part of the demolition period.
The June 28, 1947, issue of Boxoffice says: “July 1 is opening of the new Pismo Beach Theatre, operated by Westland Theatres. Al Chamberlin will manage the first-run house.”
The Ward (or Ward’s) Theatre is mentioned as early as 1929 in Movie Age, and is mentioned quite a few times in Boxoffice in the 1930s and early 1940s. The most recent mention of it in Boxoffice is in the February 9, 1946, issue, in an item not about the theater itself but about the owner’s daughter who had been hospitalized after driving her car into the front door of a local bank.
That the Ward vanishes from the magazine before the Pismo opened is another indication that the Pismo was probably the Ward rebuilt. Another indication is a card in the California Index citing a 1948/1949 theater catalog which attributes the design for the remodeling of the Pismo Theatre to architect Vincent G. Raney.
The June 5, 1954, issue of Boxoffice had information about the State Theatre, as well as other theaters in Stockton:
“The Fox State in Stockton closed last week. The oldest public showhouse in Stockton, the Fox State was originally known as the Yosemite. Negotiations are reported underway for leasing of the property by Joseph Blumenfeld of Blumenfeld Theatres. Blumenfeld has reported that if the deal goes through he will move the Esquire Theatre to the State site. Blumenfeld’s Sierra was recently closed to make way for two new stores, and the Esquire is scheduled to be closed to make room for the new J.C. Penney store.”
The Index also contains references to a number of other Stockton theaters not yet listed at CT, including a National Theatre, a Rialto Theatre, a Lyric Theatre, a Roxy Theatre, a Garrick Theatre, a Hippodrome Theatre, and an Avon Theatre. Some might not have been movie houses, and others might be only missing aka’s for listed theaters, but I think most are just missing.
An illustrated article about the Fairview Theatre appeared in the January 31, 1948, issue of Boxoffice. The house had opened the previous Thanksgiving Day. It was built for the Fairview Theatre Company, headed by Morris Fine, vice-president of the Associated Theatres Circuit. The first manager of the new house, Ed Wise, had been with Associated for twenty years. The Fairview was operated by the Associated circuit at least as late as 1960.
Photos of the Fairview’s auditorium (which was indeed without a balcony) were published with the article. The design by Fox & Fox was decidedly Art Moderne, not Art Deco. Also, an October 11, 1947, Boxoffice item said that the American Seating Company had installed 1,789 seats in the Fairview. That’s probably an accurate seat count.
The Fargo Theatre was damaged by a fire on March 19, 1937. The April 3 issue of Boxoffice said that repairs were proceeding rapidly and the theater would reopen soon. The theater was owned by Charles Fargo and was then being operated by the Fred Anderson circuit.
The latest mention of the Fargo I’ve found is from 1939, and the earliest mention of the Geneva is from 1943.
The Valos circuit had the Geneva Theatre extensively remodeled in 1947, and an illustrated article about the theater by the decorator on the project, Hanns Teichert, was published in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of June 19, 1948.
So far the only mention of the Palace I’ve found in Boxoffice is from the May 7, 1949, issue, which said that the house had been sold to Margaret Hedgecock by R.J. Barrett.
The November 9, 1957, issue of Boxoffice carried a list of theaters in Arkansas that had recently been closed by the United Theatres circuit, and the Rialto was among them. The Hope Drive-In was closed at the same time.
That means that the New Theatre probably wasn’t operating before 1935 either. The earliest mention I’ve found of it is in 1937. Hope apparently had two movie houses opened in the mid 1930s.
The April 17, 1937, issue of Boxoffice announced that the Rialto Theatre at Hope had opened the previous Thursday. It was located in the rebuilt New Grand Theatre building. I’ve found the New Grand mentioned in issues of The Reel Journal going back as far as 1925, but don’t know how long it was closed before being rebuilt as the Rialto.
The Rialto opened with 450 seats, including those in its segregated balcony. It was originally operated by Malco Theatres.
Incidentally, not only has the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, from which this theater’s name was derived, outlasted the theater, it even has a web site.
It now occurs to me that, long ago, I saw a vintage postcard of a building called the Hoo-Hoo that was at one of the world’s fairs- probably San Francisco’s in 1915. I remember wondering then what it was, as the card had no explanatory details. Now I realize it was probably operated by this organization.
A special event took place at the Hoo-Hoo Theatre in 1940. The September 7 issue of Boxoffice announced it:
“A men’s burlesque bathing beauty review will be held at the Hoo-Hoo, Gurdon, September 10.”
An item datelined Gurdon, Ark., in the January 13, 1940, issue of Boxoffice was headed “The Hoo-Hoo Bows” and gave the opening date as January 4. The house had recently been purchased by K. Lee Williams, and had previously been called the Wright Theatre.
I’ve found the New Theatre in Hope mentioned in Boxoffice as early as April 17, 1937. The operator was R.V. McGinnis, who later also operated a house called the New Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee.
The original Saenger Theatre in Hope burned on Easter Sunday, 1944. Malco Theatres, the operator, didn’t get government permission to rebuild until 1947. The January 17, 1948, issue of Boxoffice announced that the new Saenger had opened. As rebuilt, the house had 900 seats.
Back on November 6, 1926, an item in The Reel Journal said that the Saenger Amusement company was planning to build a $150,000 theater on the site of the Alice Theatre in Hope. The new theater was probably the Saenger. It was being designed by architects Witt, Seibert & Halsey. A December 4 Reel Journal item said that starting on December 15 construction bids would be taken for the new Saenger house to be built on the site of the old Alice Theatre on Second Street.
The October 29, 1949, issue of Boxoffice reported that Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Muller were opening the Monticello Theatre on that date. The original auditorium had 500 seats. The house was being called the Monti Theatre in issues of Boxoffice as early as 1954.
I can’t find the Clement mentioned in Boxoffice or any of its predecessors. The place must have closed.
If somebody wants to add the Broadway Theatre in Dover, the April 6, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said it had burned down on November 4, 1945, and was being rebuilt. However, when the new theater on the Broadway’s site opened it was named the Uptown. Lloyd Bridgham was the owner of both houses.
I found a reference to the Publix-Strand Theatre in Dover, N.H., in the May 27, 1930, issue of Motion Picture Times.
This theater operated as the State for about 17 years. From Boxoffice, February 23, 1935:
“The State is the new name for the Orpheum which was operated by Mike White for 25 years. Fred Couture is the new owner.”
“The State, Dover, N.H., originally built as the Orpheum, will be converted into three stores. The theatre has been under lease to Lloyd Bridgham for the last five years, but he was forced to close the doors two years ago because of lack of patronage.”
Mann was not the last operator of the Strand. An article about the destruction of the theater by fire on December 11, 1974, was published in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of January 13, 1975. The operator at the time was Joella Cohen of Omaha.
She also operated the Crest Theatre across the street from the Strand as a porn house, using its profits to support the Strand, which she operated at a loss as a family theater. The night the Strand burned it had been closed early because no customers had shown up for the last feature. Ms. Cohen had operated the Strand for eleven months, having picked up the lease after Mann dropped the house.
The item also mentioned that the Strand had been built as an opera house in 1890 and had undergone a major renovation in 1927.
The New Broadway had become a bowling alley by 1952, according to the February 23 issue of Boxoffice that year.
The February 23, 1952, issue of Boxoffice lists the Esquire as one of two Cleveland theaters that had been converted to broadcasting studios. The other was the Metropolitan.
The February 23, 1952, issue of Boxoffice lists the Metropolitan as one of two Cleveland theaters that had been converted to broadcasting studios. The other was the Esquire.
The 1924 map of downtown Hugo to which Okie Medley linked above has been moved Here. You can also fetch any of the other photos in dead rootsweb links by changing the domain in their url from rootsweb.com to okgenweb.org.
There was a nickelodeon in Hugo called the Dixie, opened in 1909 by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fickensher. There was an article about the Fickenshers in the June 30, 1956, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, which said they sold the Dixie in 1910 and moved to Frederick, Oklahoma, to operate the Gem and Airdome theaters.
This is a photo of the Dixie taken long after it had closed (the same as one of the photos in the now-dead link posted by Okie Medley above.)
I’m not sure if this nickelodeon was the same theater mentioned in the October 6, 1946, issue of Boxoffice which said: “C.L. Walker and L. McMillan are opening the Dixie Theatre at Hugo on November 17. This will be a second-run house and will seat about 500 persons.” The building in the photo doesn’t look big enough to have held 500 seats (though the figure might be a Boxoffice exaggeration) nor does it look as though it had been remodeled in the 1940s, as it probably would have been had it been reopened then. I’d guess there were two Dixie theaters in Hugo, and the photo depicts the silent era house.
The July 16, 1949, issue of Boxoffice announced that the Galion Theatre had opened on July 7. The house was the ninth in the Modern Theatres circuit, operated by P.E. Essick and Howard Reif. The Galion Theatre included a 30-foot stage with facilities to accommodate road shows.
The item also mentions the State Theatre, which was also operated by Modern Theatres. The State had been closed for the summer (probably due to its lack of air conditioning) but was to be reopened in the fall with a policy of westerns and action pictures.
The article attributes the design of the Galion to “…Matzinger & Grosell, Cleveland architects who specialize in theatre construction.” This would be Paul Matzinger, who began practicing in Cleveland in 1902, and Rudolph Grosel (the Boxoffice item about the Galion misspelled his surname) who Matzinger took on as a partner in the 1940s. Though both architects are long gone, there is a successor firm called Jencen Architecture which specializes in retail design.
The firm designed a number of theaters for the Modern Theatres circuit, including the Mayland, but I also found a list of buildings designed by Matzinger before 1930 which includes a Park Theatre at 1207 Starkweather Avenue, Cleveland, built in 1907. This building is still standing.