Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Proctor's Theatre on Nov 12, 2010 at 5:50 am

The December, 1914, issue of the magazine Architecture and Building featured four photos of Proctor’s Theatre in Mount Vernon:

The exterior and the auditorium

Two interior views, one of which appears to be the ladies lounge, and the other depicting a foyer and one of the ramps leading to the theater’s upper levels.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Nov 11, 2010 at 8:30 am

Judging from the photos, which show that the Strand had a false front on a building with a gabled roof, it probably dated from no later than the 1910s. It was most likely the new theater being built by E.G. Hower, as reported in the August 21, 1915, issue of The Motion Picture World.

Hower, the first person to exhibit movies in Trinidad, had been manager of the town’s opera house (closed in 1906, according to that year’s edition of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide) and had, in the early 1910s, operated a storefront movie house called the Crystal Theatre, located on Main Street. His 1915 project was to be the first theater in Trinidad built expressly to present movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cordova Theatre on Nov 11, 2010 at 7:53 am

Carl R. Berg, currently listed as the architect of the Cordova Theatre, was a Seattle artist and decorator who worked with the National Theatre Supply Company. He designed the decorations for the Cordova.

The Cordova Theatre was actually designed by the Spokane architectural firm Whitehouse & Price, who also designed the Wilma Theater in Wallace, Idaho. The firm also worked with Seattle architect Robert Reamer on the Fox Theatre in Spokane.

A PDF file (4.9MB) of the NRHP registration form for the Cordova Theatre includes a fairly detailed history and description of the theater, along with floor plans and several photos, including depictions of the original entrance and facade, prior to the 1950 remodeling.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Columbia Theater on Nov 11, 2010 at 6:33 am

Photos of the facade and auditorium of the Columbia Theatre appeared in the December 20, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World. Here is the text of the accompanying article:[quote]“According to information received, the Columbia Theater, of Portland, Oregon, is without peer. It is strictly a photoplay house.

“This magnificent building, which is entirely fireproof with the exception of the carpets and draperies, was built at a cost of $125,000. The building is constructed of concrete and steel and is located in the most central section of the downtown district. The record in construction was brokenas shifts were working night and day and within 90 days after the last shovel of dirt was excavated, this building was thrown open, and has ever since been the passing of leisure hours for Portland’s most exclusive society people.

“The inside is artistically decorated. The entire theater is carpeted. One of the features of this photoplay house is the beautiful ladies' rest room which is carried out in the Louis XV style, and cost about $5,000 to furnish. Nothing takes so well with the ladies as this lovely lounging place where the society ladies gather and then attend the entertainment en masse.

“Eleven hundred hidden lights are used inside. An interchangeable air system is employed where the air is changed twelve timci an hour by a process that is washed with the famous Bull Run water.

“The outside is of white terra cotta and brick and has a total outlay of 2000 lights. The seating capacity is 1200. Two No. 6-A Power’s machines are used. The operating booth is of steel with cement coating. The theater uses eight pictures a week from the General Film Company.

“The Columbia is owned by W. F. Foster and George W. Kleiser, and is managed by O. F. Bergner. who is a member of the Executive Board of the Moving Picture Exhibitors' League of Portland.”[/quote]

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Airdome on Nov 9, 2010 at 6:00 am

Here is another photo of the Cedarhurst Airdome, this from the August 2, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture Age. The operator of the Airdome, C.H. Pyatt, ran an indoor theater called the Lawrence during the winter months.

This book, The Five Towns, by Millicent Vollano, features the photo of the Airdome Warren linked to in an earlier comment, and its caption says that it opened in May, 1899, and featured vaudeville as well as movies.

The book also has a photo of the Playhouse (probably from around 1924, the year the theater opened) and says that it was located on Spruce Street. While the building does resemble the central section of the building that La Viola Restaurant now occupies, I’m sure they are not the same structure.

Both were designed in what I would consider a vaguely Mission Revival style (the book mistakenly calls the Playhouse building Art Deco, which for many people has apparently become a catch-all descriptive phrase for any theater architecture from before about 1960) and though the two buildings are similar, there are differences that could not have been remodeled away. The belief that the restaurant was formerly the Playhouse must be an erroneous local legend.

I think we can also lay to rest the idea that the Playhouse was built on the same site that the Airdome had occupied. The photo in Five Cities shows the building next door to the right of the theater and it had no resemblance to the structure adjacent to the Airdome in the Moving Picture Age photo. The building next to the Playhouse was small and flat-roofed, and looks like it was a frame structure. It also looked old enough that it would not have been a replacement for the more substantial masonry structure seen next to the Airdome in the 1913 photo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Nov 9, 2010 at 5:53 am

Three photos of this theater appear in the book Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The caption to the most recent of the photos, which probably dates from the early 1940s, points out the large “P” above the entrance to the theater, which indicated that the house featured Paramount films, though the name Paramount itself does not appear on the part of the building seen in the photo.

The house went by the name Gem Theatre in its early days (the oldest photo is dated 1920, but the building looks as though it dates from the 1910s) and it was later called the Dewey Theatre, which is the name painted on the side wall in a photo that is probably from the 1930s. The house is mentioned as the Paramount Theatre in a couple of issues of Billboard from the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The architectural style of the facade is Mission Revival, and it is suggestive of the Alamo, as was the case with so many small town Texas theaters from the early 20th century. I’ve found no photos more recent than the one from the early 1940s, but a Bird’s-Eye view at Bing Maps shows that the facade is largely unchanged from those earlier photos.

The actual location of the theater is the north side of East Don Tyler Avenue, a few doors west of Shawnee Avenue. Don Tyler Avenue might once have been called Main Street, but Google Maps doesn’t know that, and the current link fetches up an entirely different town. Google has no Street Views available for Don Tyler Avenue, either, so the closest view you can get there is looking west along the block from the corner of Shawnee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Nov 9, 2010 at 4:42 am

A larger version of the photo I linked to in my previous comment appears in the book Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The caption says the name Grand was changed to Lyric in 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Nov 8, 2010 at 6:50 pm

This theater opened as the Grand. Look at this photo of the Lyric Theatre, then compare this photo from the August 2, 1913, issue of the trade journal The Moving Picture Age, depicting the theater when it was called the Grand. The caption reveals that the Grand opened on June 5, 1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lorraine Theatre on Nov 7, 2010 at 6:42 am

Although the interior of this theater could certainly be classed as Art Deco, the facade, apart from the marquee and boxoffice, is not. The building’s front is splendidly classical, and deserves to be noted as Beaux Arts in style.

Should the Lorraine close, it won’t be the first theater Hoopeston has lost. The August 14, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World mentions a Princess Theatre and a Lyric Theatre in operation at Hoopeston. I would assume that both are long gone. There was also the McFerren Opera House, which was listed in the 1906 edition of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide. A booklet published for Hoopeston’s centennial in 1977 said that the opera House had burned down on February 20, 1937.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Nov 7, 2010 at 5:49 am

According to a brief biography of Tacoma architect Roland Borhek, the Rialto was the second theater he designed in the city. In 1914, he had designed the Colonial Theatre, though that house went through a couple of significant remodeling projects before finally being demolished.

I noticed that the PSTOS page Chuck linked above to misspells Borhek’s first name (it should be Roland, with only one “l”) which is probably where the misspelling currently in the theater description on this page came from.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Nov 7, 2010 at 5:37 am

Actually, the PSTOS page for the Colonial/Broadway doesn’t even mention Borhek. It’s their page for the Rialto that misspells his name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Nov 7, 2010 at 5:34 am

A brief biography of Tacoma architect Roland Borhek credits him with the original 1914 design of the Colonial Theatre, as well as that of the Rialto Theatre in 1918. The PSTOS page chuck linked to misspells his first name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Savoy Theatre on Nov 6, 2010 at 7:39 am

Andrew Craig Morrison’s book Theaters mentions the Savoy Theatre. The book has a drawing of the Savoy by artist Anthony Dumas, which is dated 1928. The caption also gives the name Woods Theatre as an aka for the house. The caption says that the Savoy opened in 1907, and seated 1,500.

The drawing is not visible in the Google Books view, but it can currently be seen online at this web page at Pop Art Machine. The theater’s entrance was in the Hotel Dunlop’s building, which was located at the north corner of Boardwalk and Ocean Avenue.

The “Theatrical Notes” column of The New York Times, July 5, 1920, mentions a play opening at A.H. Woods' Woods Theatre in Atlantic City, so the house had gotten its new name by that year, but the 1924 billboard ad ken mc linked to above calls the house the Savoy again. I’ve only found references to the house as the Woods Theatre dating from 1920 through 1922. A.H. Woods must have operated the house for just a few years under a lease.

I’ve been unable to discover any references to the Savoy later than 1928, so it’s possible that there was another name change, or perhaps the theater didn’t survive past the 1920s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Acme Theatre on Nov 6, 2010 at 6:10 am

While the Acme/Wayne was on South Center Street, the Variety Theatre mentioned in the introduction was actually on North Center. The Variety’s marquee was still on the building when the camera truck went by to take the current Google Street View pictures.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alkrama Theatre on Nov 6, 2010 at 6:07 am

Google Maps' little pin misplaces this address by half a block. The Alkrama Theatre building is the one with the red roof in the satellite view. Its back wall abuts the Carolina Theatre & Grille, which fronts on the next street to the east.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

An interesting coincidence: I saw a couple of Ava Gardner movies yesterday (she’s November’s “star of the month” on the Turner Classic Movies channel) and just now, when I did a Google search on the Paramount in Goldsboro, I found a biography of her that says that in 1940, when she was attending Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) in nearby Wilson, North Carolina, a fellow named J.M. Fordham took her to a movie at the Paramount.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Acme Theatre on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:33 am

The correct address of the Acme/Wayne Theatre is 111 S. Center Street, not N. Center. The theater building and its neighbors as depicted in the photo Chuck linked to can be seen in the 100 S. block on Google Street View.

The UNC library web site’s “Going to the Show” database lists the Acme Theatre at 111-113 S.W. Center, saying it opened about 1914 (the S.W. in the address means it was on the west side of South Center.) The database doesn’t mention the Wayne Theatre. It doesn’t mention the Paramount, the Carolina, or the Variety, either. Apparently it only gives original names of the theaters included in it— at least those in Goldsboro.

The December 20, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World included the Acme Theatre at Goldsboro on a list of theater subscribing to the American Motion Picture Supply League. The decorative tile work on the Acme’s facade is of a style that was popular in the 1910s, and is probably the theater’s original decoration.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about James Theater on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:27 am

The University of North Carolina’s web site about theaters, “Going to the Show,” lists the James Theatre as having been an African-American house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Nov 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm

The book also gives the date of the ad below the theater’s photo as 1911, but the version of “A Tale of Two Cities” that starred William Farnum wasn’t released until 1917.

I like the Arcadia Publishing Company’s historic picture books, but some of them do look to be rush jobs with sketchy editing.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Peoples' Theatre on Nov 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm

The book is A Brief History of the Town of Maynard, Massachusetts by William H. Gutteridge. The photo is on page 75, and the theater is also mentioned briefly on page 64.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Laguna South Coast Cinemas on Nov 3, 2010 at 9:03 am

A Historic Resources Inventory prepared for the State of Califronia in 1981 included the South Coast Theatre, and the report said that this this house opened as the New Lynn Theatre in 1935, and that the architect was James Conway. (This 9.8MB PDF file includes the data on the theater, along with numerous other buildings in Laguna Beach.)

It looks as though the 1930 rebuilding planned for Mr. Aufdenkamp by architect Walter J. Saunders was not carried out. The report also includes the information that the original Lynn Theatre, opened in 1915 on this same site, was moved to a lot on Ocean Avenue and operated there while construction of the new theater was underway. If the projected 1930 rebuilding of the original Lynn, which called for a large steel and concrete structure, had taken place, the building would probably not have been moved. The original Lynn was most likely a wood-framed building of the sort typical in Laguna Beach during its early years.

Although the Historic Resources report calls James Neil Conway a “distinguished theatre architect”, I’ve been unable to discover any other theaters he designed. Almost the only source of information about him on the Internet is this page from the Pacific Coast Architecture Database, and no theaters are among the five projects it lists. He was apparently a designer by profession, not a licensed architect. That means he would either have had a licensed engineer working with him on this project, or have had someone who was licensed to sign off on his plans, but I’ve been unable to discover who that was.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Comerford Theatre on Nov 2, 2010 at 7:13 am

I don’t think Anthony F. Dumas was the architect of this theater. He did a drawing of it, but that was quite some time after it was built. So far I’ve been unable to discover who the actual architect was.

The Theatre Historical Society has this page about Dumas' drawings, sixty of which are in the Society’s archives.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about J. Frank Dobie Theatre on Nov 2, 2010 at 7:04 am

There’s a misspelling in the architect field above. Mr. Spillman’s first name is spelled Beverly, not Beverley. Apparently there’s no differentiation between male and female forms of the name in America.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Irving Theatre on Nov 2, 2010 at 6:12 am

On opening, this house was called the Luzerne Theatre, and it was later known as the Majestic Theatre, according to the book Theaters, by Andrew Craig Morrison. The Luzerne opened on February 9, 1908. The house was designed by architect William H. McElfatrick, and it originally seated 1,626.

This theater was located at 206 South Main Street. (Incidentally, Google Maps will not map this location. It fetches up a location a couple of miles down the road. I’d suggest using Bing Maps, which puts this address only a couple of lots north of where it actually should be.)

The theater might have become the Majestic about 1912, as a list of charters of corporations I found includes a Majestic Theatre Amusement Company that was chartered on November 11 that year, for the purposes of “…maintenance of a theatre in Wilkes-Barre….”

According to this timeline of Wyoming Valley history from Wilkes University, the Irving Theatre opened in 1923. The timeline does not mention this being a name change, nor is the name Majestic Theatre ever mentioned, although the opening of the Luzerne Theatre in 1908 is mentioned. Still, I trust Morrison’s book, which appears to be very well researched.

Here is a news item from September 3, 1923, noted in the 1924 Almanac of the Wilkes-Barre Record, a daily newspaper: “Irving theatre on South Main street, formally the Majestic, now the leading theatre in Wilkes-Barre owing to the sale of the Grand for commercial purposes, opens with Oliver S. Morosco’s production Willis M. Goodhue’s comedy drama ‘Dust.’”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Penn Theatre on Nov 2, 2010 at 5:47 am

Posted to soon. I found this timeline of Wyoming Valley history from Wilkes University which says that Poli’s Theatre was renamed the Penn Theatre in 1931.