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Boxoffice Magazine published an article about the opening of the Northgate in its issue of July 11, 1966. An invitational preview party was held on June 23, the night before the house opened to the public, and included a screening of “The Glass Bottom Boat.”
The Northgate was designed by Nesmith-Lane & Associates. I’ve searched the Internet and can’t find anything else designed by this firm other than the shopping center in which the theater was located and an El Paso warehouse for a Coca-Cola bottler. It’s likely that this was the only theater they designed.
Boxoffice didn’t give any addresses, and wasn’t clear on whether or not the orignial State was demolished to make way for the new one. The original State’s building might or might not still exist.
OMG! The slapped one of those 1970s modern-rustic fronts on it! What an appalling thing to do!
There were at least two Atlantic City houses called the Shore Theatre. This was apparently the last house to have the name. An article in the April 9, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Henry Waxmann’s Hollywood Circuit had moved the name Shore Theatre to the former Cinema. The previous Shore Theatre was then re-opened by an independent operator as the Beach Theatre (Crazy Bob got it right in his comment of Sept 18, 2006.)
Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find any other references to a theater called the Cinema in Atlantic City, but from the comments above it sounds like this must have been a pretty old house, and so it might have had still other names, and might not have been called the Cinema for very long before becoming the Shore.
It looks like there were actually three Embassy Theatres in Atlantic City, and it was an Embassy Theatre built in 1911 that later became the City Square Theatre (during the silent movie era- probably when the Embassy on the Boardwalk, later to be the Warner, opened), then the Shore Theatre (1947) and finally the Beach Theatre (1952.)
This Embassy, the last Atlantic City house of that name, opened in, or shortly before, 1942, with a newly-built auditorium accessed through a lobby located in the former bank building (see my comment of March 3 above.)
Also see my comment of today on the Beach Theatre page for further clarification. The aka’s on this page need to be removed, as this theater apparently never operated under any name other than the Embassy. The aka’s need to be added to the Beach Theatre page. Also, the name of the Embassy’s architect, Armand de Cortieux Carroll, needs to be added to this page.
The Beach Theatre was the subject of an item in the August, 1984, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The house had been closed since the previous November when a fire had done extensive damage to it and to adjacent buildings. There had been some hope that the Beach could be reopened, but real estate agents handling the building said that the only interest shown in it was from a potential purchaser who wanted to convert it to non-theatrical commercial use.
The item said that the house had opened in 1911 as the Embassy Theatre, had become the Shore Theatre in 1947, and was renamed the Beach Theatre in 1952.
An item in the February 15, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said that the old Embassy Theatre, which had become the City Square Theatre during the silent movie era, was being renovated for the Waxmann chain and would soon reopen as the Shore Theatre.
An April 9, 1952, Boxoffice item said that Henry Waxmann’s Hollywood Circuit had recently moved the Shore Theatre name to the former Cinema, and that the old Shore had then been reopened by an independent operator as the Beach Theatre.
The aka’s Embassy Theatre, City Square Theatre, and Shore Theatre need to be added to this page, and the aka’s currently on the Embassy Theatre page need to be removed. The Embassy, opened about 1942, was the third Atlantic City house of that name, and apparently never operated under any other name.
Chuck’s photo shows that the photo ken mc linked to and the photo CinemaTour has both depict the same theater. The Cinematour photo must be the most recent, and the front of the building was remodeled after the other two were taken- probably at the time the three-plex conversion was done in 1991. That corner tower is a dead giveaway, though. It’s clearly the same building in all three photos. It’s too bad they stripped off all that nice Spanish Colonial detailing.
The Strand was around for a long time. I’ve found mentions of it as far back as 1929, when the September 14 issue of Movie Age said the Strand in Hastings was to re-open on September 29, after having had sound equipment installed. Then there are mentions of the Strand in various issues of Boxoffice as late as December 13, 1976.
Google Maps satellite view is no help. It doesn’t get close enough to pick out individual buildings. Can’t find any pictures with Google image search, either.
But wait! Flickr to the rescue! It’s a quonset hut! (Thanks, Leah.)
An item about the recent reopening of the Niles Theatre after a five-month hiatus was published in the November 8, 1965, issue of Boxoffice. The item refers to the theater as being 28 years old, so that would give an opening date of about 1937.
Judging from the photos, the facade certainly looks like a 1930s Art Deco-influenced design. It’s hard to tell anything from the side wall, though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen bricks of quite that size and proportion in California before, and bricks that large usually don’t show up in pre-WWII buildings. That sort of brick must be peculiar to the Modoc Plateau, and might be almost any age. Those bands of concrete are odd, too. They might indicate a rebuilding, or they might not. It’s a puzzling building.
The August 28, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that E.W. Kugel, owner of the State, was replacing the theater with a new quonset hut building that would seat 450 patrons. It was expected to open in September.
Later, when Kugel opened the Maple Theatre in Mapleton, Iowa, Boxoffice ran an item about him in their issue of January 21, 1951. It said that Kugel had bought the original State in 1934, and had opened the new State in 1948.
The State is not specifically named in an ad which appeared in Boxoffice’s clearing house section on September 29, 1969, but the location of the theater for sale was Hosltein, Iowa. The 375-seat house, offered for $35,000, was described as a long-established business, on the market for the first time.
Most probably the building was merely gutted, but since blocks of old buildings such as this one share common walls with their neighbors, it’s difficult to tell how much of the interior of this one might have been destroyed by the fire. The floors and/or roof might have been gone altogether, or just moderately damaged. A heavy masonry facade and rear wall of a narrow building that’s part of a row will often survive a fire that completely destroys the interior.
The earliest mention of the Niles Theatre I’ve found in Boxoffice Magazine comes from the August 10, 1946, issue, which said that the house had reopened after a complete renovation.
However, the California Index has a card referencing the March 26, 1932, issue of Motion Picture Herald, saying that Edward Niles had taken over the Alhambra Theatre in Alturas. Unless Niles later built a new theater, then Alhambra must be an aka for this house.
The original single-screen Suniland Theatre was designed by architect Robert E. Collins, according to an item in the September 30, 1963, issue of Boxoffice Magazine which announced that construction had begun on the project.
The Tower Theatre was rebuilt in 1937. I don’t know if it was a ground-up rebuilding or merely an extreme remodeling job. An article about Wometco Theatres in the April 16, 1938, issue of Boxoffice Magazine mentioned in passing that Robert E. Collins had been the architect for the rebuilding of the Tower Theatre the previous year.
Boxoffice Magazine agrees with the L.A. Times. Their April 16, 1938, issue said that architect Robert E. Collins was drawing the plans for a new Savoy Theatre in Nassau to replace the one that had recently been destroyed by fire. The seating capacity of the new Savoy was to be 650.
A photo of the new Art Moderne entrance of the Savannah Theatre appeared in the November 21, 1951, issue of Boxoffice magazine. According to the caption, the rebuilt theater had been designed by Florida architect Robert E. Collins, with local architect Carl E. Helfrich associated.
A photo of the front of the Florida Theatre was published in the November 24, 1951, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The caption identified the architects of the modern house as the Jacksonville firm of Kemp, Bunch, and Jackson.
The firm, founded in 1946, was the successor to the firm of architect Roy A. Benjamin, and the company is still in operation as KBJ Architects.
The Center Theatre was under construction and expected to open in March, according to the January 6, 1940, issue of Boxoffice. The architect was Robert E. Collins.
The July 11, 1953, issue of Boxoffice Magazine says that the State Theatre in Hastings had been destroyed by a fire. The owner planned to reopen the State at a different location in Hastings, but a later issue of the magazine says that he had decided instead to buy the Colonial Theatre in Hamburg, Iowa.
In issues of Film Daily Yearbook prior to 1941, the State should appear under its former name, the Cornhusker Theatre. It had been remodeled and renamed by a new owner that year, according to Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of December 13, 1941.
A tiny glimpse of the Webster Theater can be seen in this photo. It looks like the original Orpheum Theatre building is still standing next door. They could put a second screen for the Webster in there and have a hundred-year-old theater, sort of. But then, even having a 93-year-old theater is pretty impressive these days.
Under the headline “Brookfield Theatre Unveiled by Nutmeg,” the August 31, 1970, issue of Boxoffice Magazine published the following item: “The independent Nutmeg Theatre Circuit has opened the newly constructed, 800-seat Fine Arts Theatre, Brookfield (suburban Danbury). Derek Hilton is resident manager. Robert Smerling and Norman Bialek head the circuit.”
The seating capacity might never have been as high as 650. The figure Boxoffice published for the Varsity might have been exaggerated, as was often the case. Still, in the 1940s, theater owners did tend to cram the seats pretty close.
But whether the Varsity’s stated capacity was exaggerated or not, I’m sure the Art had fewer seats, as by the 1960s patrons were demanding more comfort, meaning bigger seats spaced farther apart. Judging from the satellite view of the building, I don’t think they could have put in more than 300 seats in that space and maintained the level of comfort a 1960s audience would have wanted, so your estimate probably wasn’t that far off.
The into definitely needs to be rewritten. It currently isn’t about the theater at all.
And while we’re at it, Modern or Mid-Century Modern (the latter more often referring to interior design, but increasingly used to describe buildings as well) should definitely be added to the choice of architectural styles available when submitting theaters to the site. The more issues of Boxoffice from the 1940s on I look at, full of photos of totally modern theater buildings, the more obvious it becomes to me that hundreds of theaters were built in purely modern styles. It doesn’t make sense to call them At Moderne, because most of them have left every trace of that style behind.
What we should call some of the recent multiplexes and megaplexes that borrow heavily from Art Deco and Art Modern, I don’t know. I guess Neo-Deco or Neo-Moderne might do, but I’ve come to think of them as Mannerist Moderne, since they usually have an exaggerated “referential” quality to their designs, characteristic of Mannerism.
But I don’t think any architecture critic has used that appellation.
In the 1970s, the late critic C. Ray Smith wrote a book called “Supermannerism,” which was mostly about architect Paul Rudolph, but the term appears never to have stuck as a stylistic appellation. I think he was on the right track, though. The works of more recent celebrity architects such as Michael Graves look Mannerist as hell to me.
I’ve searched all the usual sources and can’t find any references to either Roy Chase or R.E. Struve as architects, and few references to them of any sort. The California Index contains one card citing a 1928 L.A. Times article saying that R.E. Struve was financing the construction of a building at Encinitas, and there’s a PDF about the coast highway citing a couple of 1925 Oceanside Blade articles saying that Roy Chase had built a hotel there. As far as I’ve been able to discover, neither Chase nor Struve was an architect, but both were local developers.
Until some convincing evidence turns up, I’m inclined to say that the actual architect of this theater remains unknown.