Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Annex Theatre on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm

According to Boxoffice of January 15, 1955, the Carl Floyd Theatres circuit had recently taken over operation of the Annex. Floyd took over the Winter Garden Theatre and the Starlite Drive-In at the same time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jeff Theatre on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:29 pm

The September 27, 1941, issue of Boxoffice said this: “The Jeff Theatre, operated by W. H. Castay, will be one year old September 29.”

“Bill” Castay (whose first name was actually Walter, not William) also operated the Arrow Theatre in New Orleans, and operated the Jeff Theatre at least as late as 1950. He was still operating the Arrow in 1959, but I haven’t found the Jeff mentioned later than 1952.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Overton Theatre on Feb 17, 2010 at 12:56 am

The only mention of a Paul Horton in connection with Overton I’ve been able to find in Boxoffice is in the brief September 5, 1953, item which said that the Redwood Drive-In had opened.

A January 14, 1956, Boxoffice item said that James Brakeall had bought the Overton Theatre from Bill Hall, who had “…operated the theatre for more than twelve years….”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Criterion Theater on Feb 17, 2010 at 12:54 am

The Criterion got a thoroughly modern look in a 1950s remodeling which Boxoffice featured in a multi-page article in its issue of August 7, 1954. There are several photos, but there is only one small “before” shot among them.

The credits section of the article attributes the design of the project to architect Dietz Lusk Jr., and though it doesn’t specify the firm of Boller & Lusk I think the partnership was still in existence in 1954.

Incidentally, the Boller Brothers Architectural Records in the Western Historical manuscript Collection attribute the original design of the Criterion to Robert Boller, not Carl. By the time the Criterion was built, Carl had already moved to California and Robert was handling the firm’s theater projects in the Midwest.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lynn Theatre on Feb 17, 2010 at 12:04 am

When in the planning stage, this house was to be called the Texan Theatre, and that was the name on the vertical sign in architect Jack Corgan’s rendering of the proposed house, displayed in the “Just Off the Boards” feature of Boxoffice Magazine, March 1, 1947. The theater was being built for Lynn Smith, local associate of H.J. Griffith’s Theatre Enterprises Inc., and he apparently got the house after himself instead of using the name Texan. Smith also operated the Crystal Theatre in Gonzales.

The Boxoffice item gives the seating capacity as 900, and I think that’s probably much closer to the mark than the 1,200 given in the article from the San Antonio Express-News. The satellite views (the best is at Historic Images- the views at Google and Bing are both too blurry) show that the building is not very large, so even the Boxoffice claim of 900 could have been a bit exaggerated, as is often the case.

Anyway, by calc’s count in the comment of last May 27, the current seating capacity would be 435, if you include the 12 wheelchair spaces.

Boxoffice of October 2, 1948, gave the opening date of the Lynn Theatre as September 29.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Langley Theatre on Feb 16, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Twinkletoes: After you enlarge the pages by clicking on the magazine, then click on the + sign in the bar that will appear at the top of the page, and that will enlarge them. Whether you’re using regular page view or Issuu’s full-screen feature, you must click on the magazine before the bar will appear. Right and left arrows at the sides of the page will turn the pages of the magazine. The Langley article is three Boxoffice pages long.

If the site isn’t working well for you, it might be your web browser. I find that Issuu gets a bit odd when I use Opera, but it works fine with Firefox. I’ve never tried it with Internet Explorer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Comet Theater on Feb 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm

1955 must have been the year the name was changed. Boxoffice of March 19 that year said that CinemaScope had been installed at the Cameo in Columbus, making it the last theater in the J. Real Neth circuit to be modernized.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Comet Theater on Feb 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Here is a photo of the interior of the Vernon Theatre from the magazine Popular Mechanics, June, 1926.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about American Theatre on Feb 16, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Multiple references in Boxoffice to the 1937 project as the New American Theatre suggest that there was a previous American Theatre in Mount Carmel, but I’ve not found any specific references to the earlier theater of that name, nor anything revealing whether the 1937 project was a rebuild of the earlier American or was entirely new construction either on the same site or at a different location. After 1939, the new house is always referred to simply as the American Theatre.

I haven’t found any references to the Palace Theatre in Boxoffice at all. The American and the Uptown are the only Mount Carmel theaters it mentions until the Carmel Drive-In shows up in 1950. The Palace might not have operated past the silent era.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Showtime Cinemas on Feb 16, 2010 at 7:29 am

Various issues of Boxoffice through the year 1939 reported on the progress of Frank Barnes' new theater at Carmi. I haven’t found the opening date, but the sound system had been installed by November 11, 1939, so the house must have been completed later that year or very early in 1940. The architect for the project was Oliver W. Stiegemeyer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxana Cine on Feb 16, 2010 at 6:28 am

Boxoffice of November 4, 1939, said that Albert Critchlow’s new theater at Roxana was being designed by St. Louis architect Oliver W. Stiegemeyer.

A 1949 Boxoffice item about the post-tornado repairs to the house said that, prior to opening the Roxana, Mr. and Mrs. Critchlow had operated the Temple Theatre in Alton, Illinois.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Feb 16, 2010 at 5:52 am

It’s fitting that this theater should have been converted into the fire department. It was built to replace an earlier Roxy Theatre, which had burned on February 1, 1938. The original Roxy was a single floor house with 425 seats, according to the February 26, 1938, Boxoffice item about the project, and the rebuilt Roxy would seat approximately 800, including balcony seating. The architect of the rebuilt Roxy was Oliver W. Stiegemeyer.

The original Roxy bore the name before 1932. It was mentioned in The Exhibitor’s Forum, issue of October 13, 1931.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Joy Theatre on Feb 16, 2010 at 5:48 am

A photo of the Joy Theatre appeared in a photo feature called “Activities and Interests of Boys and Girls” in Popular Science, November, 1917.

Here’s the page at Google Books.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Temple Theatre on Feb 16, 2010 at 5:34 am

Many news items about the Temple Theatre, dating from 1899 to the 1920s, can be seen on this web page about theaters in Madison County. In addition, there is a 1955 photo of the Temple, the caption of which says that it had been built in 1890, and that the first talking picture seen in Alton had been shown there in 1913 (this might have been one of the movies made using the Gaumont Chronophone system, first used commercially in 1910.)

The Temple Theatre was partly owned by Alton’s Odd Fellows Lodge. It operated primarily as a live theater for most of its history, though the news items on the Madison County page indicate that movies were shown there during the theatrical off-season at least as early as 1908. The Temple began falling dark for long periods in the early 1920s. I’ve been unable to discover when it became a regular movie theater.

A boxoffice item of March 19, 1938, says that plans for the repairs on the Temple Theatre, recently damaged by fire, were being prepared by St. Louis architect Oliver W. Stiegemeyer. Given the Victorian look of the theater in the 1955 photo, it’s obvious that Stiegmeyer’s plans did not include any major alterations to the facade. I don’t know if there were any extensive interior alterations as part of the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about American Theatre on Feb 16, 2010 at 5:28 am

The March 11, 1939, issue of Boxoffice reported that the American Theatre in Mount Carmel had been badly damaged by fire. The item said that a print of the Republic film “Forged Passport” had been destroyed. Owner Theodore Coleman had been vacationing in Florida when the fire took place.

It looks like the theater was only two years old when the fire struck. Boxoffice’s survey of construction in the ST. Louis area published on October 16, 1937, lists the New American Theatre, 700 seats, Mt. Carmel, Ill., for Theodore Coleman. Boxoffice gives no details, so I don’t know if this was entirely new construction or an alteration of an existing theater.

It apparently took some time for repairs. Boxoffice of July 22, 1939 said that Brenkart projection equipment and an RCA sound system had been purchased for the American Theatre. Boxoffice of September 30, 1939 said that the New American Theatre had recently been outfitted by Ramsey Theatre Supply of St. Louis.

The rebuilt American had an impressive Art Deco facade. A photo of it was featured in a May 25, 1940, Boxoffice article on theater fronts. The photo is here (lower right corner.) The text pertaining to the American is on the following page. It says that the design for the rebuilding was done by St. Louis architect Oliver W. Stiegemeyer.

A March 8, 1947, Boxoffice article about St. Louis’s film row said that Theodore Coleman had opened his first theater, the Joy in Mount Carmel, in 1916, when he was 14 years old.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Langley Theatre on Feb 16, 2010 at 12:23 am

Here is an article about the Langley Theatre with several photos, in the Modern Theatre section of Boxoffice, May 3, 1952.

The article says that the auditorium had 972 Kroehler Push-Back chairs, and the nursery and private party room upstairs on either side of the projection booth each had 27 chairs, so total seating on opening would have been 1,026.

Architect John J. Zink’s design for the Langley was one of those interesting early 1950s hybrids, the style moving toward Midcentury Modern, but with considerable Art Moderne influence lingering.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crescent Theatre on Feb 16, 2010 at 12:20 am

Probably a 1915 opening (22 years before 1937.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Graham Cinema on Feb 15, 2010 at 6:28 am

The February 1, 1941, issue of Boxoffice said that upon completion of the remodeling of their Alco Theatre in Graham, Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Thompson would close their Graham Theatre for a complete renovation. The same issue mentions the Graham among a number of theaters that were to be reseated. The September 13 issue of Boxoffice reported that the Graham would be reopened on the 15th.

Given the date of renovation and reseating, I think this theater might have been around before 1935, perhaps under a different name. I can’t find any Boxoffice items about theaters in Graham from before 1941, though.

Boxoffice of October 7, 1963, said that Stewart & Everett Theatres had taken over the Graham Theatre from Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Thompson, who had operated the house for 36 years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theater on Feb 14, 2010 at 7:40 am

The Victoria Theatre turns out to be a missing aka for the Colony Theatre. See my comment of this date on that page for additional information.

The Royal apparently never had an aka, and is not yet listed at Cinema Treasures. Here’s a page about it at the UNC web site. All the pertinent information is there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colony Theatre on Feb 14, 2010 at 7:29 am

This house opened January 12, 1914, as the Victoria Theatre. It was designed by architect Burett H. Stephens, who had designed Wilmington’s first purpose-built movie house, the Bijou, opened in 1912. After closing in 1924, the Victoria was remodeled and reopened as the Carolina Theatre the following year.

The latest mention I can find of the Carolina Theatre in Boxoffice dates from December 13, 1952, and the earliest mention of the Colony I’ve found is from November 9, 1954, so the name was changed between those dates.

There is a page about the Victoria in the “Going to the Show” section of the University of North Carolina’s DocSouth project. It links to their page about the Carolina, but I don’t see anything there about the house as the Colony.

Boxoffice of November 25, 1974, recaps the history of the Victoria/Carolina/Colony in one of two articles about the closing of the house (left column, right-hand page), which took place on October 31 that year. Note that both the Boxoffice article and the UNC’s Carolina Theatre page misspell the architect’s name as Stevens rather than the correct Stephens. Additionally, Boxoffice gives the year of the name change from Victoria to Carolina as 1930, not 1925 as stated at the UNC page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theater on Feb 14, 2010 at 6:43 am

The Bijou’s 1912 building was designed by architect Burett H. Stephens, who also designed the Victoria Theatre and the Royal Theatre in Wilmington. The Royal must be the one mentioned in comments by andrewb and debid above above. The Victoria might be the Victory mentioned in andrewb’s comment. Apparently neither of these theaters is listed at Cinema Treasures yet.

An impressively detailed history of the Bijou is available as part of the “Going to the Show” section of the University of North Carolina’s DocSouth project. There are several photos, including the two that were probably displayed at the now-dead links Lost Memory posted in 2006.

Among the abundant information on the UNC page, it says that the original Bijou, located at 205 N. Front Street, operated from December 22, 1906, until February 11, 1912, on which date its roof collapsed during a freak snow storm. This was while the new Bijou was still under construction.

The new Bijou opened on May 30, 1912. It had seats for 600 white patrons on its main floor, and had 200 seats for black patrons in its balcony. The balcony was raised and expanded in 1922, but the new seating capacity is not mentioned. The Bijou closed in 1956 and was demolished in 1963.

Architect Burett H. Stephens died the same year the Bijou closed. He had relocated to New Bern, North Carolina, by 1945, where he reestablished his practice. A successor firm, Stephens Architecture, P.A., is still in operation there. Unfortunately their web site doesn’t present any information about the founder or his works.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Cinema III & IV on Feb 14, 2010 at 6:39 am

The Capri Cinema and Capri-70 Cinerama is how a Boxoffice article of March 26, 1973, styled this twin. The article was about the opening of the new Capri Terrace by the Simpson Operating Company, the same chain that operated the earlier Capri cinemas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Eastgate Theater on Feb 14, 2010 at 6:36 am

The recent opening of the single-screen Fox Eastgate was noted in Boxoffice of August 1, 1966. Neither this nor two earlier items about the house had any photos, but shots of the auditorium and the projection booth appeared this page of the April 22, 1968, issue of Boxoffice. The Fox Eastgate was designed by the local architectural firm Fischer-Koscher-Bowden.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Seville Theatre on Feb 13, 2010 at 12:33 am

The L.A. County Assessor says the building on the southwest corner of West Blvd. and 64th Street (that would be the church) was built in 1994. The building facing West Blvd. north of 64th Street dates from 1941. The Seville Theatre has undoubtedly been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Niguel Theatre on Feb 13, 2010 at 12:30 am

Boxoffice of April 12, 1965, reported that the Niguel Theatre, to be operated by South Coast Theatres, would have 478 seats. The project was designed by San Clemente architect Ricardo A. Nicol.