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I have to clarify my previous comment as to the location of the New Liberty. The entrance of the theater was on Main Street, but the building ran through the block and the auditorium section was actually on Commerce Street, across from the Majestic Theatre. The Hippodrome Theatre was across Main Street from the New Liberty.
Comparing Don’s postcard with some other photos of Fort Worth, I now think the Odeon might have been in the block north of 10th Street, rather than the block south of 10th Street. The theater south of 10th Street, across from the New Liberty, was the Hippodrome, seen at left in this photo. Street View is still looking in the direction of the Odeon, but its site was less than a block away, now buried under the convention center building.
Don’s link got lost, so here it is again. Judging from the surviving landmarks, the Odeon must have been on the west side of Main Street in the block south of 10th Street (the 1100 block.) That would have put it across the street from the entrance to the New Liberty Theatre, which was in the second building south of 10th Street. Everything along Main Street south of 9th Street (including the street itself) was obliterated when the Tarrant County Convention Center was built.
Because the intersection of 10th and Main is entirely gone, Google Maps will never be able to find the Odeon’s actual location, so I’ve set Street View to the Convention Center’s entrance at 9th and Main Streets. The theater was a full block south of this location.
The book Fort Worth, Outpost on the Trinity, by Oliver Knight, Cissy Stewart Lale, says that the Odeon Theatre was built by J.S. Phillips in 1910, and was the first purpose-built movie theater in Fort Worth. I found the Odeon mentioned in the December 13, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World, still being operated by J.S. Phillips, who was by then the national vice president of the Motion Picture Exhibitors' League.
Jan Jones' book Renegades, Showmen & Angels: A Theatrical History of Fort Worth from 1873-2001 gives a timeline for the New Liberty Theatre. It opened on September 7, 1924, as the Ritz Theatre, a legitimate house. In January, 1926, the house converted to vaudeville as the Pantages Theatre. The vaudeville programming was not a great success, and until 1928 the Pantages circuit offered varied programs of movies, road shows, and performances by the circuit’s own stock company, the Pantages Players, until finally giving up the lease.
In 1928, the house became the Civic Repertory Theatre, a venture which lasted only nine weeks. November, 1929, brought another repertory company to the house, and it operated briefly as the Plaza Theatre. Finally, in 1930, the house was sold to Leon Lewis, who renamed it the New Liberty and operated it as a movie house until 1948.
The New Liberty theatre was on the southeast corner of 10th and Main Streets, across the street from the second Majestic Theatre. Google Maps will not be able to find this location as the entire intersection, along with several others downtown, was obliterated when the city’s convention center was built.
Erie Avenue has been renamed Denison Parkway. I’ve found three historic references to theaters being built on Erie Avenue:
The May 1, 1910, issue of The American Contractor said that bids were being taken for a theater to be built on West Erie Avenue. The project was to include a third storey that would be used as a 14-room addition to the Hotel Cascade.
A notice in the January 22, 1921, issue of The American Contractor contracts had been let for a 1,268-seat theater at 14 E. Erie Avenue for the Liberty Theatre Company. I’ve also found a reference to a Liberty Theatre being designed for the Schine circuit in 1928 by Victor Rigaumont on a site at at 16-18 Erie Avenue, so it’s possible that the original Liberty was replaced by a new building at that time.
American Classic Images also has photos of a Corning Cinema, which might have been a later name for the Fox. Unfortunately, no address is given so I don’t know if this one was on Erie Avenue or not.
The Glenwood Theatre was designed by architect Louis Allmendinger. Notice that the construction contract for the project had been let was published in the January 22, 1921, issue of The American Contractor.
coweyhere’s link fetches a Flickr “this page is private” notice, so here is a hyperlink to the picture in the photostream page.
Here is a black-and-white night view, ca. 1935, of the Uptown’s marquee and vertical sign, from the Jane Froman papers.
A long article about Columbia’s movie theaters published in Columbia Business Times (currently online here) has a few lines about the Uptown. It says that the house opened in 1907 as the Bijo Dream, and operated for twenty years under that and three subsequent names: Broadway Odeon, Cozy and Uptown. From 1927 until 1935, the building was used for retail business, and then was reopened as the Uptown Theatre.
I’m not sure if “Bijo” is a mistake or not, as the text uses the name in two different locations, but it’s possible that it should read Bijou Dream, which was a popular name for theaters during the nickelodeon era.
Here is a hyperlink to the article RobbKCity mentioned in the previous comment. It is from the March 11, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. There are small photos of the facade and the auditorium. The article doesn’t give an exact opening date, but implies that the Linwood had opened not too long before the article was published.
The April 6, 1922, issue of Manufacturers Record ran this item dated Kansas City: “Capitol Enterprises will expend $50,000 to remodel Linwood Theater, 3034 Prospect Ave.”
None of the buildings on this block now resemble the Linwood Theatre building in the 1916 MPW photo. I’m quite sure the theater has been demolished.
An article in The Moving Picture World of January 1, 1916, said that the St. Louis Amusement Company had opened the Ritz theater at 208-210 N. 6th Street as an all-picture house on December 11, 1915. The Ritz operated from eleven o'clock each morning until eleven o'clock at night, with the admission price being ten cents at all times.
A comment on the Fox Theatre page by kencmcintyre quotes a 1968 Times article saying that the Iris Theatre was scheduled to reopen as the Fox Theatre on December 20 that year.
I’d forgotten that kenmc already posted this comment three years ago, quoting from a 1968 Times article about the renaming of the Iris. It was December 20, 1968, when the house reopened as the Fox.
PDDET is mistaken about the date when the second Iris was renamed the Fox. It was the Iris at least as late as 1962. Here is a photo of the Iris with “2 Academy Award Winners” on the marquee, and the award winners are Two Women and The Hustler, both of which won their Oscars in the ceremony held on April 9, 1962.
The description currently says that the Iris was renamed the Fox in 1955. This house was still called the Iris at least as late as April, 1962. Here is a photo of the Iris with “2 Academy Award Winners” on the marquee, and the award winners are Two Women and The Hustler, both of which won Oscars in the ceremony held on April 9, 1962.
I can’t swear to it, but I think the remodeling/renaming took place in 1964. I do know that the tacky false front they slapped on the building when the theater was renamed was pure sixties.
The Champion Theatre has been demolished. It was two doors down from the Famous Theatre, which is still standing.
The Champion Theatre was listed in the 1921-22 edition of the Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide. The owner or manager was P. A. Engler, also listed as owner or manager of the Frolic Theatre. The only address given was 1774 Fourth Avenue, apparently the location of Mr. Engler’s office. CinemaTour lists the Frolic Theatre at 1720 Fourth Avenue. Though the Cahn guide lists both houses as picture theaters, the Frolic frequently presented live music shows.
This item from the February 17, 1915, issue of Engineering and Contracting could be about the Plaza Theatre:
“A theater costing approximately $100,000 will be erected by Edward W. McDonough on N. 7th St., near Orange St. Plans have been prepared by Henry Baechlin, architect, 665 Broad St., city.”
Here’s an item from the March 20, 1920, issue of Real Estate Record and Builders Guide:
“Henry Baechlin, 665 Broad st Newark, has completed preliminary plans for a 1-sty brick, limestone and terra cotta moving picture theatre, 105x165 ft, seating 3,300, in Ferry st, between Polk and Merchant sts, for Joseph Stern, 207 Market st, owner. Cost, about $350,000.
Ads in the November 21, 1916, issue of The Mansfield News include both the Arris and Grand Theatres, so Grand was probably never an aka for the Arris. The first Park Theatre was not listed, so that remains a possible aka for the Arris. The White Way Theatre was also advertised, so the Ritz building dates from at least that early. Other theaters advertised included the Opera House, Alvin and Royal, all showing movies.
A number of earlier comments have noted the narrowness of the Akron Civic Theatre’s entrance, but I don’t think anyone has commented on why it is so narrow, or why it is designed in such a different architectural style than Eberson’s Moorish-Spanish theater. In fact, the theater’s entrance was designed by a different architect, C. Howard Crane, and it was built about a decade before the theater itself.
Originally, the current theater entrance was intended to be only one entrance to a large project called the Hippodrome Arcade, which was to have included a glass-roofed galleria lined with thirty shops as well as a theater with some 3000 seats. As told in this Akron Beacon Journal article, the Hippodrome Arcade Company was founded in 1917 by L. Oscar Beck, but the project proved to be too ambitious, and the company collapsed in 1921. Only the entrance building with its Italian Renaissance facade was completed.
In late 1926, Marcus Loew bought the property at a sheriff’s auction. Crane’s original plans were abandoned, and Loew’s Akron Theatre was built on part of the site that Beck had intended for the shopping arcade (the original plans had the Hippodrome Theatre at the far end of the arcade, adjacent to Water Street, where there is now a parking lot.) Crane’s original entrance building was only slightly modified when the new theater was built, and thus retains its Italian style.
In most cases when a theater building’s owners took over operation of the business, it was because they were unable to find any reliable operators willing to lease the house from them, so that probably was the case with the Duplex. A tremendous number of theaters were built in Detroit during the 1910s, so the city probably had too many seats for several years, despite its rapid population growth.
This must have been true for the Duplex, which had to compete not only with other neighborhood theaters such as the Norwood, opened the same year, but with the Regent, a larger and more palatial house that opened nearby on Woodward Avenue in 1916.
I’ve rechecked the Crane project list in Ms. DiChiera’s thesis, and it looks like the Cary Duplex proposal dated from either 1912 or 1913. As project #96, it comes after the Comique Theatre (project #94,) opened in 1912, and before the Liberty Theatre (project #115,) which opened in 1913. Given the period, it wouldn’t have been the proposed theater on Gratiot Avenue announced in 1916.
Possibly the Cary Duplex project was an earlier proposal for a twin-auditorium theater that didn’t get built. The Duplex Theatre of 1915 was probably the project noted in this item from the September 5, 1914, issue of The Music Trade Review:
:“The Grand Boulevard Theater Co. which will build a picture theater on Grand boulevard, Detroit, has been incorporated for $100,000. The principal stockholders are Fuller Claflin, E. Henry Griffin, and Daniel H. Kerney.”
James C. Ritter’s obituary in the December 1, 1951, issue of The Billboard said that he was one of the organizers and an officer of the Co-Operative Theatres of Michigan.
The obituary of James C. Ritter in the December 1, 1951, issue of The Billboard says that he built the Boulevard Theatre in 1911. A list of C. Howard Crane’s theater designs lists a “Ritter Theatre” as project #79, which would date it to about 1911. The house was most likely open by 1912.
The Oakland Theatre in Pontiac is on a list of theaters designed by C. Howard Crane as project #247. Plans for the Oakland Theatre were announced in the June 3, 1916, issue of Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record, which said that construction was underway. The article described the seating arrangement of the house as being “amphitheater” style. The Oakland was one of several Crane-designed houses from the 1910s which featured this type of seating.
The July 8, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Oakland Theatre had been designed in the “Adams” style of architecture, and said that the project was being rushed to completion, and the theater was expected to be open by early October. The rush was apparently in vain, as an item in the April 16, 1918, issue of Michigan Film Review said that the Oakland had been in operation for one year as of March 27, which would give an opening date of March 27, 1917.