Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garland Theatre on May 18, 2009 at 12:56 am

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 18, 2009 at 12:39 am

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 11:04 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The Roosevelt Shopping Center in the 1935 photo has been replaced by a modern strip mall.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 3:03 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 11:36 pm

Somebody will smoke it out eventually.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mason Theatre on May 16, 2009 at 9:50 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 9:34 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 9:16 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Weed Palace Theater on May 16, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Though later issues of Boxoffice Magazine call it simply the Weed Theatre, the earliest references to this house I can find in Boxoffice date from 1945, and these call the house the New Weed Theatre. All these items have to do with the installation of new projection equipment. The August 11 issue says “The New Weed Theatre in Weed will soon be equipped with an improved projection room.”

That Moderne front doesn’t look like anything built in the 1920s, even in a major metropolis, let alone a small town like Weed. If the theater dates from the 1920s, a major remodeling must have been done. That would probably account for the use of the name New Weed Theatre in the 1945 articles. The name dates to at latest 1937, as a card in the California Index cites a Motion Picture Herald item from June 12, 1937, about the New Weed Theatre.

So, there should be aka’s of Weed Theatre and New Weed Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plumas Theater on May 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm

The September 17, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Plumas Theatre had recently opened. It was owned by Randall Goldenson, who also operated the Tobin Theatre at Tobin, also in Plumas County.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aurora Fox Arts Center on May 16, 2009 at 2:18 am

That comment should read page 265, which is page 23 of the Modern Theatre section. There are two additional photos on the following page. Issuu renumbers the pages for the digital version.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aurora Fox Arts Center on May 16, 2009 at 2:03 am

Photos of the Fox appear on page 271 of the November 15, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The original auditorium, like its replacement, was a quonset structure, but Charles D. Strong’s designs for the facade and decoration were all decidedly Moderne.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vogue Theatre on May 16, 2009 at 1:47 am

Photos of the Vogue appeared in the Modern Theatre section of Boxoffice Magazine, November 15, 1947. The accompanying text said that the new theater had opened in May that year (the May 3 issue of Boxoffice had said that the opening was scheduled for May 22.) The Vogue was designed by the architecture firm of White & Boenish, with Warner Brothers building engineer D. Leonard Halper supervising.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Theatre 1536 on May 16, 2009 at 1:19 am

I can’t see any building resembling the theater in Google street view. It must be gone. There’s a newer building with six store fronts which looks like it occupies the theater site and a couple of adjacent parcels as well, though it has the address 1534 E. Grand. The building next door is definitely not the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Patio Theater on May 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

The December 3, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that construction had begun on a new theater for Alvin and Harvey Hatch at Half Moon Bay. Opening was scheduled for spring of 1950. The Patio Theatre, with 500 seats, was on the magazine’s July 22, 1950, list of new theaters recently opened. Just three years after opening, Harvey Hatch closed the house due to lack of business, according to the September 26, 1953, issue of Boxoffice.

The Patio was reopened by a new owner, Loren Powell, on May 14, 1954, according to the May 22 issue of Boxoffice. The house did well enough to install CinemaScope later that year. By 1956, Boxoffice is saying that Ward Stoops is the owner of the Patio, and in the early 1960s, various issues name the owner as Tesco Tesi.

The June 22, 1970, issue of Boxoffice said the Patio was temporarily closed for refurbishing and redecorating. I’ve found nothing about it after that.

Although the Patio may have had a Spanish theme, I doubt that a suburban concrete block theater built in 1949 would have qualified as full-blown Spanish Renaissance in style. I can’t find any photos of it, but I’d imagine it was some sort of Spanish Moderne style.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Manor Theatre on May 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm

The opening of the Manor Theatre is mentioned in the November 15 and November 22, 1941, issues of Boxoffice Magazine. The exact date is not given, but appears to have been shortly before the 15th. The house was built for Harvey Amusements. 10,000 booklets about the theater were distributed door-to-door in San Mateo to publicize the opening. I wonder if any of them are still around?

By the late 1940s, the Manor was being operated by Blumenfeld Theatres. It was bought by Roy Cooper Theatres in 1961, according to an item published in Boxoffice of August 14 that year.

According to the October 25, 1971, issue of Boxoffice, Cooper’s West Valley Theatres had adopted an all seats 50-cents policy for the Manor, following the lead of the El Camino in San Bruno and several other Bay Area houses operated by Dan Tocchini’s Associated Theatres.

I’ve been unable to find any later mentions of the Manor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ivar Theater on May 14, 2009 at 7:46 pm

The Ivar did show at least one movie before 1971, when it began running adult films. In March, 1967, the Ivar began the exclusive Los Angeles run of Arch Oboler’s 3-D science fiction movie, “The Bubble.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on May 13, 2009 at 10:45 pm

The Palace was sold at auction to Dubonet Realty Co. of Newark for $34,210 late in 1951, according to Boxoffice Magazine, December 15 that year. The house had been owned by Walter Reade. The building’s contents, including projectors, amplifiers, seats, and other furnishings, were sold to SOS Cinema Supply Corp. for a mere $210.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Diamond Cinemas 8 on May 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm

This theatre was designed by architect Thomas Berkes. This list of theaters he designed gives the seating capacity of this multiplex as 1,800.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grande 4-Plex on May 13, 2009 at 2:16 am

The Laemmle Grande 4-Plex was designed by architect Thomas Berkes, whose Woodland Hills-based firm has been designing movie theaters in California since the 1980s. Here’s a partial list of their theater projects. The Grande is listed as having 800 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Village Drive-In on May 12, 2009 at 11:32 pm

The Village Drive-In was built for the Redwood Theatres circuit in 1952. The concession area, rest rooms, and projection booth were located at the rear of the lot, giving the projectors a throw of 530 feet. The building was of modern rustic design, with brick, stone, and rough-sawn redwood on the exterior, and a split shake roof.

Interiors featured wood panelling and exposed wooden beams. The lot was surrounded by an eight foot high redwood fence in a basket weave pattern. Boxoffice Magazine published a two-page article about the Village Drive-In in its issue of January 3, 1953. The architect for the project was San Francisco theater designer Gale Santocono.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Art Theatre on May 12, 2009 at 12:56 am

At extreme right in the 1939 USC photo, is that the Burbank Theatre’s vertical sign that says “Mexico” on it? Though the marquee is hard to read, it looks like it says “Peliculas” on the first line.

I checked the city directories for 1938 and 1939, and the Burbank is listed in both (under the “Theatres” section rather than “Motion Picture Theatres” and there is no Mexico Theatre listed for either year. The Burbank is listed under Motion Picture Theatres in the 1942 directory.

Unfortunately the L.A. Library doesn’t have a 1940 directory online, or I’d check that. If the Burbank was a Spanish-language movie house called the Mexico, it must have been for a very brief time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on May 10, 2009 at 1:15 am

The May 29, 1937, issue of Boxoffice mentioned that Dave Cantor had built the Park Theatre in Highland Park the previous year. In 1937, Cantor was buying the Canoga Theatre from its original owner, Nate Scheinberg.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gold Front Theater on May 9, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Several issues of Boxoffice from 1950 mention the opening of the Gold Front Theatre. The Bowling Alley was apparently pre-existing. A couple of the Boxoffice items say that the theater was “…built over the Gold Front bowling alleys….” The building in the photos does look too old to have been built in 1950, so the theater was probably located in converted retail space. The house opened in June. Boxoffice gives the seating capacity as 780 in some items and 888 in another.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Joyce Theater on May 9, 2009 at 1:17 am

The Joyce Theatre, which had been converted into western art gallery called the Montana Trails Gallery, was destroyed on March 5, 2009, by a gas explosion which leveled three historic downtown Bozeman buildings and severely damaged others.

Cinematour Forum post on the event.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle article (in case you have to be logged in to Cinematour to see their posts. I can’t remember if non-members can read them or not.)