Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about American Theatre on Oct 17, 2010 at 6:18 am

Here is An early photo of the American Theatre, from a 1916 book, “Theatres and Motion Picture Houses” by Arthur Sherman Meloy.

This was a remarkable building. Mahler and Cordell were certainly paying attention to what was going on in Midwestern architecture during the period. I don’t know of any other theater that displays so much of the Prairie style. It’s too bad this one has been lost.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Oct 17, 2010 at 5:33 am

Here is a photo of the Saxe Theatre, from a 1916 book, “Theatres and Motion Picture Houses,” by Arthur Sherman Meloy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regent Theater on Oct 17, 2010 at 2:26 am

The Regent Theatre opened on March 30, 1918. The new house was described in an article in the weekly trade journal Michigan Film Review, issue of April 16, 1918. That article and other items pertaining to the Regent can be read on this web page. There are also two photos of the Regent.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theater on Oct 17, 2010 at 2:23 am

A brief history of the Colonial Theatre can be read on this web page, which also has a few photos of the theater. The style of the building is, not surprisingly, colonial revival, though the auditorium, shown in one of the photos, was rather plain. The web page also notes that the theater opened in the summer of 1947.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Parsons Theatre on Oct 16, 2010 at 9:09 pm

CinemaTour says the Parsons Theatre was 1291 S. Parsons Avenue, and lists it as closed, but Google street view shows nothing resembling a theater in that area. There are a couple of vacant lots, though. It’s a very old neighborhood with small houses and a few apartment buildings and scattered businesses. The Parsons must have been a small neighborhood house from long ago which fell on hard times as the area declined. The theater has probably been demolished.

A search of Google Books brings up these snippets from a 1976 book by newspaper columnist Bob Greene: “I remember when I was 15, in Columbus, Ohio, my friends and I would go down to the Parsons Art Theater on a Friday night…. But the Parsons Theater was in 1962….”

The “Art” in “Parsons Art Theater” in 1962 didn’t refer to foreign films, though. In a 2001 Chicago Tribune column, Bob Greene revisited the events mentioned in his earlier book. The column is online. It doesn’t give any more information about the theater, except to reveal that it ran dirty movies.

They were undoubtedly the relatively tame filmed burlesque acts of the sort I recall seeing advertised at the Oaks Theatre in Pasadena in those days. The Oaks usually said “Nudie Cuties” on its marquee, and the poster cases featured pictures of chunky, big-breasted women sporting pasties that barely concealed their areolae. It all seems so quaint now. Perhaps the Parsons survived long enough to show real porn in later years, but if it did, Bob Greene isn’t saying.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hitching Post Theatre on Oct 16, 2010 at 4:56 am

We have an identity problem. The very reliable web site Los Angeles Theatres says that the Hitching Post and the Pussycat were two different theaters (turns out Kirk Besse was on the right track in his comment of July 22, 2007, above.)

Much of the information on the L.A. Theatres Santa Mocia Hitching Post page matches information I posted some time ago on the Cinema Treasures page for the Beverly Canon Theatre, which was once the Hitching Post Theatre in Beverly Hills. My source was Boxoffice Magazine, and I have no doubt the additional information from L.A. Theatres is correct.

The Hitching Post was at 1448 4th Street, not 1442 2nd, which was the address of the Pussycat Theatre (for which L.A. Theatres also has a web page.) The Hitching Post opened in the 1940s, was closed briefly in 1950, then reopened as the Riviera Theatre, an art house, though it probably continued to run westerns at matinees on weekends. The Riviera was apparently closed by 1953, and in 1954 the building had become a furniture store.

The Hitching Post/Riviera had been closed for almost two decades by the time the Pussycat opened, so it isn’t surprising that someone would mistake the Pussycat’s location for that of the long-gone Hitching Post, which must be what happened when William submitted this theater. The description above should be changed to correct the errors, and the Pussycat should probably get its own page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Oct 16, 2010 at 3:16 am

Evansville’s Grand Theatre opened as the Grand Opera House on October 17, 1889. The Romanesque Revival style building was designed by the firm of J.B. McElfatrick & Son, the leading theater architects of the period. The house originally seated 1,700. In its early years the Opera House hosted a variety of operas, stage plays, and civic events. From 1910 until 1922, the theater operated as part of the Orpheum circuit, presenting vaudeville and movies.

After a return to legitimate stage productions during the 1920s and the early 1930s, the Grand adopted a movie policy, though occasional live events were still presented. In January, 1940, a touring company presented the Broadway musical Golden Boy at the Grand, and this was the last major road show the house hosted. In 1958, grand opera returned to the Grand for one night, when the Wagner Opera Company presented their touring production of la Boheme on November 20. The last movies were shown in 1962.

Here is a page about the Grand Theatre (with several photos) from a web site about Evansville’s theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ohio Theatre on Oct 16, 2010 at 3:12 am

In the photos linked above, the letters are mostly hidden by the theater’s name on the newer marquee, but the building has the name Grand Opera House in what is probably terra cotta above the theater entrance. Marion’s original Grand Opera House was gutted by a fire on December 6, 1910, and the roof collapsed, as can be seen in this photo at the Gen Disasters web site.

A 1910, pre-fire postcard view (unlinked as it’s at an unstable e-Bay URL) shows that most of the original facade of the Grand Opera House survived. Other than the loss of an ornate cornice, parapet, and pediment, and the ground floor detail that was covered up or removed in a later remodeling, it is still substantially the same facade today. The Grand Opera House was rebuilt at the same time that a new Elks Lodge was built on an adjacent lot. Here is a paragraph from a history of the Marion Elks Lodge (that page includes a small photo showing part of the original marquee of the theater) on the BPOE web site:

“In 1910, the Grand Opera House on South State Street suffered a major fire. As Marion Lodge 32 had previously purchased the adjacent lot, it was decided to purchase the burned theater building, renovate it, and erect a new building beside it to house business rental properties on the first floor, a Club Room on the second floor, and a Lodge Room on the third floor. This, the current home of the Marion Elks Lodge 32, was completed in 1914 at a cost of $60,000.”
This page at the Marion Elks Lodge web site has a photo of the Lodge building and the adjacent theater building, and a link to another more recent photo showing the theater without the Ohio marquee. The theater entrance has been closed in. None of the web sites say what the auditorium is being used for, or whether or not it is even intact.

The part of the Elks' project that included the theater is probably the one listed in the construction news section of the August, 1912, issue of The Lather, the trade journal of the Wood, Wire, and Metal Lathers' International Union. The item reads: “Marion, O.— Store, Theatre and Lodge Hall. $35,000. Archt., Frank L. Packard, 1212 New Haydn Bldg., Columbus, O.”

If this theater was indeed designed by Frank Packard, it would be a good candidate for inclusion on the NRHP. Not only does the building appear to be in good condition, but Packard was probably Ohio’s leading architect in his day. Here’s a web page with photos of some of his other buildings (scroll down for photos— no theaters among them that I can see.) Click on Packard’s photo near the top of the page to read a brief biography.

The surviving pre-fire facade would have to be attributed to the original architect, of course, who might or might not have been Packard himself. I’ve been unable to discover when the building was built, but the Grand Opera House was listed in the 1897-1898 issue of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide. Packard began practicing in Columbus in 1892, originally in partnership with Joseph W. Yost, who had practiced in Columbus since 1882. Packard became sole owner of the firm in 1899.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Oct 16, 2010 at 2:46 am

A history of Indiana published in 1922 contains a brief biography of Terre Haute architect M. H. Johnson, Jr., and the Orpheum Theatre is included in a list of buildings designed by him and his firm, Johnson, Miller & Miller.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Warner Theatre on Oct 16, 2010 at 2:39 am

The February, 1921, issue of a trade journal called The Clay-Worker said that the new Pantages Theatre then under construction in Memphis would be opened “…within a few weeks.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's Palace Theatre on Oct 16, 2010 at 2:35 am

The February, 1921, issue of trade journal The Clay Worker said that the new Palace Theatre in Memphis had opened to the public on Saturday, January 15.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Oct 16, 2010 at 2:33 am

I can’t find anything about the colors of the interior of the Granada, but the facade was certainly colorful according to a rather effusive report in the trade Journal Brick and Clay Record, issue of December 13, 1921:[quote]“BEAUTIFUL TILE WORK IN ‘MOVIE’ THEATRE

“What is probably the most luxurious picture theater west of Chicago was opened in San Francisco, Cal., November 17. It is happily named the Granada and represents an investment of more than $1,000,000. The building is in Spanish-Colonial style and equipped throughout like a king’s palace. One of the most distinctive features of the Granada is the work in colored tiling in the facade around the great windows. This work was done by Eri H. Richardson of San Francisco, who has scored a triumph which has caused most favorable comment among architects of this city. Some go as far as to say that the facade tiling is not unworthy of some of the great masterpieces of the fifteenth century, the materials being translucent, turquoise blue, golden luster, rose and iridescent hues. The tiles mere made by Richardson from original designs, the motif being California fruits and flowers. The original suggestions were offered by a Moorish pattern of a design in the Alhambra and these were supplemented by color ideas obtained from the workings of a kaleidoscope. The two fine towers of the facade are distinctively characteristic of the Spanish-Colonial churches in Mexico, and are laid in a herringbone scheme of yellow enameled tiles with blue dots, and offer a brilliant bit of color to crown the rich polychrome beauty of the whole design.”[/quote]I’d love to see color photos of the facade before the tile work was lost (as it apparently was by the time the 1965 photos were made.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Twin Theater on Oct 16, 2010 at 2:15 am

Does anyone have information on a Liberty Theatre in Hamilton? It was under construction when mentioned in the trade journal Brick and Clay Record, issue of December 13, 1921. The side walls of the new theater were being built of brick salvaged from the town’s Rivoli Hotel, which had burned two years earlier.

The Roxy’s building looks about old enough to have been the Liberty, and Hamilton is quite a small town and might never have supported two theaters. Perhaps Liberty is an aka? A theater predating the original Roxy in New York would certainly have opened with a different name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hippodrome Theater on Oct 14, 2010 at 2:57 am

The Arcadia Press book “Around Pottstown” (Google Books preview here) has a photo of the Hippodrome dating from ca.1917, though I think it might be a bit earlier. There’s a horse and carriage on the street, but no cars. The book also has a ca.1949 photo of the Hipp, which by then sported a moderne front.

Flickr user Liatris displays this colorized version of the ca.1917 picture. Adjacent in the photostream is a cropped close-up of the theater entrance.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Granada Theatre on Oct 14, 2010 at 2:54 am

There was a Boz Theatre in Boise, so the local source saying that this house once had that name could be true. A history of Idaho published in 1914 said that W. Fred Bossner arrived in Boise in 1909 and began operating his first Boz Theatre.

In 1910 he opened the New Boz Theatre, which was exclusively a movie house and considered the leading such enterprise in the state. No address is given, so I can’t be sure it was the same theater that later became the Granada. The only other mention of the New Boz Theatre I’ve found on the Internet is one saying that, in 1911, noted feminist and radical Emma Goldman gave a speech there.

If the theater was also once the Strand then, assuming PSTOS is correct, it was also once called the Majestic.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Oct 13, 2010 at 8:20 pm

The stage house roof is intact on the bird’s-eye view of the theater at Bing Maps, too. In the bird’s-eye, the structure on the roof that resembles a skylight looks more like it might have been part of the building’s ventilation system. It looks like it is partly covered with sheet metal, but some of the metal is missing, exposing an underlying framework.

In the 2008 photo, note the shadows falling from the two beams that cross the missing stage floor. The one on the left extends almost straight down, while the one on the right is at more of an angle. These shadows are consistent with light falling from the left section of the stage house roof, where that skylight-like structure is.

From the bird’s-eye view it doesn’t look like there’s any glass in the structure where the light gets in. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t bode well for the building. If it’s entirely open, then water can get in. Maybe the hole has been plugged since the various photos were taken, but if it hasn’t, water will soon destroy the building’s integrity. The Majestic could soon be unsalvageable— if it isn’t already.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regal Visalia Stadium 10 on Oct 13, 2010 at 4:15 am

This theater opened in 1998. It was designed for Signature Theatres by San Francisco architects Uesugi & Associates, principals Daniel T. Uesugi (founder, 1978) and (since 1994) Erin K. Uesugi.

There’s a small photos of the Signature Theatres Visalia 10 with its original signage on this page of the Uesugi & Associates web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Platinum Theatres Dinuba on Oct 13, 2010 at 3:53 am

The Platinum Theatres Dinuba 6 was designed by the San Francisco architectural firm Uesugi & Associates. The firm was founded by Daniel T. Uesugi, AIA, in 1978. His daughter, Erin K. Uesugi, AIA, joined the firm in 1994. Uesugi & Associates has designed or remodeled more than 80 cinemas in the western United States, Hawaii, and Asia.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about UA Emery Bay Theater on Oct 13, 2010 at 3:21 am

An October 1, 1989, article in the Oakland Tribune indicated that United Artists' 10-screen Emery Bay Theatre complex had been open for some time. The shopping center in which it was located had been launched the previous year.

The article gave the seating capacity as 3,600, but it might be a bit lower now. Currently, Regal lists this house as the Emery Bay Stadium 10, and I’m not sure it had stadium seating when it opened. The Tribune article didn’t mention it. If it has been renovated for stadium seating it’s likely the capacity was reduced a bit.

This multiplex is one of several designed for UA during that period by San Francisco architect Daniel T. Uesugi, of Uesugi & Associates. The firm has designed or remodeled more than 80 cinemas since its founding in 1978.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about UA 150 on Oct 13, 2010 at 3:16 am

CWalczak: It was the drawing you linked to that made me realize that this theater was probably a Vincent Raney design. That’s his drawing style. The attribution in the AIA Directory then came up immediately in a Google search. I don’t know how I missed it before.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Epic Theatres of Hendersonville on Oct 13, 2010 at 1:09 am

There are two photos of this theater on the web site of TK Architects, the designers of the project (click on links reading “Cinemas” then “Traditonal” then “Commercial Revitalization”). The caption gives the seating capacity as 2300.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Here is an early interior photo of the Empress Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kalispell Stadium 14 on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:09 pm

One large and two small photos of the Signature Stadium 14 can be seen in this album at the theater’s Facebook page.

The Kalispell project, like many Signature multiplexes, was designed by the San Francisco architectural firm Uesugi & Associates. The firm has designed or remodeled more than 80 cinemas in the western United States, Hawaii, and Asia. The firm was founded by Daniel T. Uesugi in 1978. His daughter, Erin K. Uesugi, joined the firm in 1994.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about UA Marketplace 6 on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm

The architect of the Marketplace 6 was Daniel T. Uesugi, of San Francisco-based Uesugi Associates. The firm designed several projects for the United Artists circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about UA Westwood 4 on Oct 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm

This building originally housed an automobile dealership. The conversion into a theater was designed by San Francisco architect Daniel T. Uesugi, Uesugi & Associates. It was one of a number of projects Uesugi designed for the United Artists circuit.