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The 1993 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report for the Jaffe Theatre (now City Cinemas Village East) listed the Bluebird Theatre among the other Manhattan works of architect Harrison G. Wiseman.
Here are two photos showing the exterior and auditorium of the Alhambra Theatre, from the January, 1918, issue of the trade journal Architecture and Building.
The caption attributes the design to architect Arthur G. Carlson alone, though he was in partnership with Harrison Wiseman from about 1915 until about 1926, during the period the Alhambra opened.
Here are two photographs of the Lyric Theatre from the January, 1918, issue of the trade journal Architecture and Building. The architect of the Lyric was Giles P. Greene, and the engineer was Elwyn E. Seelye, co-founder of this venerable engineering firm. Seelye wrote an article about concrete theater construction for the same issue of the magazine. Here is the section of it that describes the Lyric:[quote]“Because of the difficulty in getting structural steel two of the theatres which are illustrated in this issue are built with reinforced concrete and the balcony framing has been carried out in this material.
“The Lyric Theatre at Endicott, N. Y., is the first example of this type of construction. The building is at present built for moving picture use only but provision is made in the plan to add a stage. The proscenium opening has been constructed, the opening being at present closed in with a temporary tile wall which is plastered and which now serves as a picture screen. The stage house can be built at any time hereafter without interrupting the business of the theatre except for the short operation of tearing out the temporary enclosure of the proscenium opening. The facade of the structure is a non-bearing wall of brick. The side walls are built with reinforced concrete columns which carry the roof trusses, tile blocks being laid up between the columns. The roof is non-fireproof but the ceiling of the theatre is covered with metal ceiling.
“The feature of the construction is the balcony. This has a clear span between walls of 52 feet 4 inches. The construction consists of a reinforced concrete girder system with diagonal girders forming a figure K in plan. The arms of the K support cantilever girders as shown in the plan. This system of framing eliminates the use of large cantilever girders and reduces the moment on the .main girder. The cross girders and cantilever girders are framed over the main girder and are an integral part of the girder. The main girder which is 1 foot, 4 inches in width and 6 feet, 3 inches in depth is figured to carry a live and dead load of 210 tons. It is reinforced with 16 one-and-a-quarter-inch rods and 110 stirrups. The slab of the gallery is a cylindrical surface composed of reinforced concrete joists with clay tile fillers supported on the main girder. The steps are formed of cinder concrete floor fill with a cement finish for holding the seats. The balcony seats 336.
“The location of the projection room in the mezzanine under the upper portion of the balcony makes possible almost right angle projection of the pictures on the screen which gives the minimum of distortion. The location of this room is clearly seen in the illustration of the interior on plate 22. Provision has been made to convert the space before the projection booth into two boxes by the use of a removable section of rail, if a legitimate performance is given in the house. Giles P. Greene is the architect of this building, Elwyn E. Seelye the structural engineer and the contractors the Architectural Contracting Company.”[/quote]This building is remarkably plain for a theater of the period. Compared to the ornate theaters other architects were designing, Green’s Lyric seems quite severe.
There’s next to nothing about architect Giles P. Greene on the Internet. He was apparently a 1911 graduate of Yale, was from Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and designed the base for a WWI monument in Brooklyn. I can’t find anything about any other buildings he designed. Maybe he died young, before architectural tastes shifted to favor the relative austerity he displayed in the Lyric.
According to the January, 1918, issue of the trade journal Architecture and Building, the Arena Theatre was designed by the firm of Eisendrath & Horwitz.
According to the January, 1918, issue of the trade journal Architecture and Building, the Village Theatre was designed by the firm of Eisendrath & Horwitz.
When I began exploring downtown Los Angeles in the early 1960s, the bus I took to the depot at 6th and Main ran along Los Angeles Street, and I must have passed by the Globe’s building, at the southeast corner of 5th, more than a hundred times. I probably walked through this intersection fewer than a dozen times, though, as it was the heart of skid row.
I have only a vague memory of the building, which seemed a typical business block of the late 19th-early 20th century. It gave no clue to its former life as a movie theater. But I do remember the business in the corner shop, at 200 E. 5th. It was the Victory Liquor Store, and in those days underage would-be drinkers would go the east 5th Street and pay one of its denizens to buy them a bottle. The Victory was the place the purchases were most often made. That accounts for the majority of my pedestrian visits to the area.
Some daring souls made solo booze runs to the neighborhood, but I was not among them. I always went with friends. Waiting for whoever had spotted us as hooch hunters and offered to buy a bottle of Smirnoff or Ronrico for us, we would usually stroll along 5th Street, passing right by what had once been the entrance to the Globe, and none of us ever had a clue that it had ever existed. I suppose we were too busy keeping an eye out for the squad cars that came by far too frequently.
Once our skid row personal shopper had delivered our illicit bottle and collected his payment, we’d scram as fast as possible, unaware of the theatrical history to which we’d been so close: 1908’s most beautiful motion picture theater in the state!
I’ve checked the 1963 City Directory to see if a listing gave any indication about what might have occupied the theater’s space then. 202 E. 5th is listed as the Golden Gate Cafe. I don’t know if it occupied the theater’s auditorium or not. The frontage of the building had been converted to nondescript storefronts, and the next two addresses were probably also in the former theater’s building. 204 E. 5th was occupied by one H.H. Kemp, and 208 was listed as the Veterans Club. There was no listing for 206. I wonder if the Veterans Club could have occupied the Globe’s auditorium? Perhaps there are some veterans around who remember.
This is from an item datelined Brooklyn, in the trade journal Engineering & Contracting, issue of June 9, 1915: “Robert T. Rasmussen, architect… will let contracts at once for a 3-story, 88x169-ft theater here for the Bay Ridge Theater Corp…. estimated to cost $200,000.”
A 1917 book called Past and Present of Adams County provides this information about early movie theaters in Hastings:[quote]“The first moving pictures exhibited in Hastings was during the street fair of 1899. The first moving picture theater was opened at 214 North Hastings Avenue, the present location of the clothing store of Harry Proffitt, by Fred Hayter, associated with Mrs. C. S. Epley, the present proprietor of the New Edison. This theater was called The Nickel and the opening date was June 3, 1907. Mr. Hayter continued in the business about two years and then went to California where he was engaged in the same business. In the fall of 1916, he purchased the Plaza, which is the continuation of his original house.
“The Brach Theater was erected by William Brach and is the first elaborate, exclusive moving picture theater to be erected in Hastings. The house was opened October 8, 1916. Charles A. Beghtol is the proprietor.
“Next to the Plaza, the Wonderland is the oldest moving picture house in Hastings. It was opened at the present location on Second Street about a year and a half after the opening of the Nickel, by B. F. Livengood who managed the house for an Omaha man. For about two years the Gay Brothers, Stanley C. Gay and Sidney F. Gay were the proprietors. It was bought from the Gay brothers by W. A. Walden who was the owner for several years. Since the spring of 1916 Mrs. Walden has been the owner of the Wonderland.”[/quote]As no addresses are given for the New Edison and the Wonderland, it’s possible that either name could have been an aka for the State (the Brach was later the Strand.) The photo of the State linked in Lost Memory’s comment near the top of this page show that it was in a fairly old building. Maybe somebody with access to old directories or newspapers for Hastings could check to see if either the New Edison or the Wonderland shared an address with the State.
The Adams County Historical Society provides this web page with information about the Strand. There are also two photos.
A brief history of the Rivoli, and two photos, can be seen on this web page from the Adams County Historical Society. It says that in 1995 the
Alexandria Hotel portion of the complex in which the the Rivoli was located was demolished to make way for the additional screens of the current Rivoli 3.
The Kilgen organ from the Rivoli was installed in the Mayfair Triplex, West New York, NJ, in 1998. There are no longer any movielistings for the Mayfair on the Internet, so it probably closed earlier this year. There’s no word on what will become of the organ now if the theater doesn’t reopen. Maybe the Rivoli could get it back?
This was the Los Angeles Theatre listed in the 1897-98 Cahn guide. The Orpheum in the guide was the former Grand Opera House on Main Street, in later years later renamed the Grand Theatre. In 1903, the Los Angeles Theatre became the Orpheum, which it remained until the circuit opened its new Orpheum Theatre on Broadway in 1911.
If a theater called the Los Angeles is listed in editions of Cahn’s guide from the years around 1907-1910, it would be the theater listed at Cinema Treasures as the Capitol.
The Filmarte’s career as a movie house ended by 1952. Daily Variety of July 14, 1952, reported that Fox West Coast Theatres had leased the Filmarte Theatre to a “telepix producer.” That was most likely Columbia’s television subsidiary, Screen Gems, which produced Art Linkletter’s “House Party” for television.
IMDb says that Linkletter’s show aired from CBS Television City, but that must have been in later years. Television City didn’t begin operating until November 16, 1952, and “House Party” had begun airing on September 1 that same year, so it most likely aired from the Filmarte from its first show until some time no later than 1962, when Steve Allen’s syndicated nightly show began using the venue.
The Filmarte had aka’s of Art Linkletter Playhouse and Steve Allen Playhouse during its TV studio years, but of course never operated as a movie theater under those names. I’m not sure if the house continued in use for television after Allen’s show was canceled in 1964.
Bob Feigel: Yes, the Filmarte is gone. The building now on the Filmarte’s’s site was erected in 1993. I don’t know what became of the salami imprint.
Bob Feigel: The theater from which Steve Allen’s show was televised was the old Filmarte Theatre, a few blocks south at 1228 Vine Street. In the 1950s it was also the venue for Art Linkletter’s show.
The Los Angeles Herald of September 3, 1905, ran an article about Los Angeles architects. It credited the design of the original Los Angeles Theatre (by then called the Orpheum) to architect J. Lee Burton.
Burton was one of Southern California’s most successful architects in his day, designing many buildings in the then-popular Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne styles. He used an odd and rather awkward hybrid of the two for the Los Angeles Theatre.
The January 2, 1910, issue of the Los Angeles Herald said that architects Train & Williams had been engaged to draw the plans for Thomas Tally’s new theater on Broadway adjacent to the Majestic Theatre.
A few years later, Train & Williams designed the Hyman Theatre (aka Garrick) at 8th and Broadway, across the street and up the block from Tally’s Broadway, so there were two Train & Williams-designed theaters on this block until the Garrick was demolished in 1927. The firm also designed the Strand Theatre in Pasadena, which has also long since been demolished.
The January, 1913, issue of the trade journal The Architect and Engineer of California said that architect William H. Crim had designed the new Wigwam Theatre that was to be built in San Francisco’s Mission District.
The July 5, 1913,issue of the trade journal The Moving Picture World ran an article, the first few paragraphs of which dealt with the Angel Theatre. It is available online here, at Google Books.
The tire store mentioned in the intro is in a modern building, not the former Madison Theatre. The Madison was located across the street. Comparing the ca.1940 photo I linked to against the modern Google Street View, you can see that the building that was next door to the Madison is still there. The Madison’s site has been a parking lot for fifty years.
I’m not sure the Grand Opera House opened in the 1890s. It might have been earlier. The 1897 edition of Cahn’s Guide is the earliest available to me. The caption of the photo I linked to only says that the opera house was in a building from the 1850s that originally housed a church. It doesn’t give the year it was converted into the opera house.
Given the fact that the non-curchlike facade was probably built as part of the conversion into an opera house, and that its style is the Italianate that was popular through the 1870s but went out of fashion in most places during the 1880s, it seems quite possible that the Grand Opera House opened in the 1870s, and probable that it was in operation by the late 1880s.
Concerning the address, it should be 224 West Main Street. Madison has an eccentric street numbering system. On the east side of town, odd numbers are on the north sides of streets, and on the west side odd numbers are on the south sides of streets. The Madison Theatre was on the north side of Main on the west side of town, so it had an even number.
Here’s an item from The Moving Picture World of August 17, 1915:
“The Little Grand, Madison, Ind., has the white brick front about completed.”
The question is, was the Little Grand’s auditorium on the same footprint as the Ohio’s? If it was, chances are that the Ohio was built entirely inside the shell of the Little Grand after the fire. From what I’ve read here and at other web sites I’ve had the impression that the Ohio was entirely new construction, but it would have been very odd for that white brick facade to have been used on a building erected in 1938, so most likely the front survives from the Little Grand.
MusicForMovies: I’ve found that the Grand Theatre and the Little Grand Theatre were different houses. The Grand was originally called the Grand Opera House and had opened in the 19th century. It was later renamed the Grand Theatre (possibly around 1928), and finally became the Madison Theatre, probably in 1940. It was demolished in 1960. Here is its Cinema Treasures page.
I’ve finally puzzled this out. The Grand Theatre is already listed here as the Madison Theatre. It never burned down. The theater that burned— whether it burned in 1928, 1936, or 1937— was always called the Little Grand Theatre, and this page should be changed to reflect that.
The organ mentioned in the current intro was undoubtedly installed not in the Little Grand, but in the Grand.
After some thought, I’ve realized that 1940 was probably the year the Grand Theatre was renamed Madison Theatre. I’m not sure when the Grand Opera House became simply the Grand Theatre, but it might have been sometime around 1928, when an organ was installed.
This page has a photo of the Madison Theatre, and considerable information about it. The building was erected in the 1850s as a church and later altered to become an opera house (it was listed in Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide, issues of of 1897 and 1906, as the Grand Opera House, with 900 seats.)
The house began showing movies early in the silent era. The site doesn’t give a closing date, but says that the Madison was demolished in 1960. The address is given as 222-224 W. Main Street.
This list of major fires in Madison, from the Jefferson County Public Library, says that the Little Grand Theater (Ohio Theater) burned on December 27, 1928. No other theater fires are on the list. This contradicts the Ohio Theatre’s official web site, which says the Little Grand burned in 1936.
A 1911 book published by the Indian Department of Inspections lists four movie theaters in Madison: The Little Grand Theatre, Gray’s Theatre, the Star Theatre, and the Wolwager Theatre (It’s online at Google Books.)