Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Temple Theatre on Oct 30, 2010 at 3:28 am

The Birmingham Masonic Temple was completed in 1922. It was designed by architect Eugene H. Knight, according to his entry in a later edition of the AIA Historical Directory of American Architects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Oct 30, 2010 at 3:19 am

The web site Birmingham Rewound has some interesting information about the Strand and about its next-door neighbor, the Capitol Theatre. In 1948, the Capitol was renamed the Newmar Theatre, but a few years later that house closed, and the operators took over the Strand and renamed it the Newmar. This name remained until September, 1959, when the house went back to being the Strand. The Strand closed on November 28, 1962, and was demolished in August, 1963.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theater on Oct 30, 2010 at 3:16 am

Here is a photo of the Empire Theatre dated 1937. The triangular marquee and fake stone front in the 1980 photo Chuck linked to were installed in 1949, according to the page Stan Malone linked to earlier. The slicker ground floor features (looks like faux marble to me) and the dark coverings of the second floor windows dated from another remodeling in 1964. The Empire Theatre was demolished in 1984.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Oct 30, 2010 at 3:11 am

Here is a photo of the Capitol Theatre dated 1939.

The web site Birmingham Rewound says that the Capitol had earlier been called the Alcazar Theatre, and for the last few years of its operation (from 1948 until some time the early 1950s) was called the Newmar Theatre, a name that was moved next door to the Strand Theatre when the Newmar closed.

Here is a photo of the theater as the Alcazar, dated 1920.

The Strand was demolished to make way for a parking garage in 1963, and presumably the Alcazar/Capitol/Newmar came down at the same time, if it had not already been razed.

During its last few years as the Newmar, this small theater sported a splendid Streamlined Modern front with a rounded marquee. A photo of it is on the Birmingham Rewound page.

I’ve found text references indicating that the Alcazar was in operation in 1918, but it was probably several years old by that time. Its architectural style and narrow frontage mark it as being from the first wave of movie theater construction, so it probably predated the larger Strand next door by at least a year or more.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Michigan Theatre on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:30 am

The Michigan Theatre was on the south side of the street, which would give it an odd-numbered address. The correct address is 75 Michigan Avenue West. The Michigan Theatre opened October 21, 1941, and was demolished in October, 1984, according to this book.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garden Theater on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:26 am

Main Street is now called Michigan Avenue. The address for the Garden Theatre should be 39-41 Michigan Avenue West.

The Garden was one of seven theaters listed in the 1914 Battle Creek city directory. This timeline of events in Battle Creek says that the Garden Theatre opened in 1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:22 am

A biography of vaudevillian Joe Frisco says that the Strand Theatre in Battle Creek opened on August 14, 1915.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regent Theatre on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:15 am

Various 1918 issues of the Michigan Film Review gave tentative opening dates for this theater of around July 1, around September 1, late September, sometime in October, and finally November 21. I’ve found no explanation of the repeated delays.

The Regent was built for investment partners Berry and Montgomery, and was leased to Harvey Lipp and Glenn Cross, who were to operate the new house in partnership with W.S. Butterfield. Glenn Cross was to be the manager of the Regent.

Lipp & Cross had been listed in the 1914 Battle Creek city directory as operators of the Rex and Queen theaters. In 1918 they were also operating the Garden Theatre and the Strand, according to items in Michigan Film Review.

This timeline of Battle Creek events says that the Regent Theatre closed in 1955, but it doesn’t mention when the building was demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Theatre on Oct 28, 2010 at 6:57 am

This theater was designed by Perry E. Crosier, and is mentioned in a biographical sketch of the architect in the Northwest Architectural Archives at the University of Minnesota.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Oct 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

The Perry E. Crosier papers at the University of Minnesota include a listing for the Princess Theatre, 12 4th Street NE, with dates of 1920 and 1934. Both Perry Crosier and Harry G. Carter are credited.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Parkway Theatre on Oct 28, 2010 at 6:29 am

This theater is included on a list of buildings designed by architect Perry E. Crosier, held by the Northwest Architectural Archives at the University of Minnesota.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ludcke Theatre on Oct 28, 2010 at 5:50 am

A theater in St. Peter called variously the Grand Opera House or St. Peter Opera House is listed in various editions of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the edition of 1897, H.J. Ludeke (that spelling) is listed as the bill poster for the house, and in the 1899-1900 edition he is listed as the manager. In the 1906 edition, the spelling Ludcke was used.

The descriptions of the theater remained the same through this period, saying it was a ground-floor house and giving a seating capacity of 600 or 624. The Minnesota Digital Library has several photos showing the theater. The entrance was in a building that might have dated from as early as the 1860s, but could have been built as late as the 1890s if the town’s architectural taste was very conservative. The entrance is, in any case, of a theatrical style, so it probably wasn’t a converted storefront.

The auditorium was behind it in a fairly utilitarian building with a pitched roof. Auditoriums of that form were being built into the 20th century, but it could have dated from much earlier. Perhaps the original auditorium was destroyed and rebuilt in 1905, but it seems very likely that a theater occupied this site at least as early as the 1890s, and possibly earlier.

One of the photos is from the late 1940s (judging from the cars on the street) and shows the entrance building of the theater, but the taller auditorium building appears to be gone. I can’t tell from the photo if the auditorium was demolished or simply had its upper portion removed. It’s possible that the the auditorium was demolished in the 1940s after the State Theatre opened (a town of St. Peter’s size probably couldn’t have supported two movie houses), but that the entrance building survived until 1961 as retail space.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tracy Theatre on Oct 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm

The photo is probably from 1939. The movie “Missing Daughters” was released that year. The “Jack London Hit” on the marquee could have been “Mutiny on the Elsinore” which was made in 1937 but not released in the U.S. until February, 1939, according to IMDb. Another London tale called “Torture Ship” hit the screen in October, 1939. The marquee looks brand new in that photo.

I don’t know who Norvell was, though, and the Internet isn’t helping, but the name rings a vague bell. Was he a mentalist? An illusionist? Probably something of that sort if he was doing a stage act that was not part of a larger vaudeville show.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theater on Oct 26, 2010 at 1:15 am

San Antonio Theatres: Now & Then does have a page for the Princess Theatre. It opened in 1912 as the Orpheum and was renamed the Princess the following year, operating under that name until it closed in 1929. Then it was either remodeled for use as a department store (according to the San Antonio Theatres web site) or razed and the department store built in its place (according to a note in a book called “Saving San Antonio” by Lewis F. Fisher.)

The web site has three photos, and a drawing by the theater’s architect, Atlee B. Ayres. The address was 215 E. Houston Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Oct 25, 2010 at 3:37 am

Here is an early photo of the Hippodrome. The movie on the poster leaning against the building is “The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin”, a film released in 1918. Even if the photo comes from a later year, the style of the building is characteristic of the 1910s, at the latest. I’m sure it isn’t the house that became the Fox, but an earlier theater.

The Fox is undoubtedly the building that is mentioned in two Southwest Builder & Contractor items (July 17 and October 2, 1925) that are cited in the California Index at the Los Angeles Public Library. This project was designed for West Coast Theatres by architect Lewis A. Smith. The Fox building, despite the later alterations which stripped it of its original decor and moved its entrance to the stage house end of the theater, is in its form typical of Smith’s 1920s designs.

The opening must have taken place in either late 1925 or early 1926. The new theater was built partly on the Hippodrome’s site, but is considerably larger than the old Hippodrome. A postcard dated July 4, 1926, (unlinked, as it is at an unstable auction site url) shows the new theater in place. The furniture store seen in Don Lewis’s photo of theold Hippodrome (comment of Sep 4, 210) is also seen. Another postcard (also at an auction site, but probably more stable) is very pale, but shows the new, theater with Hippodrome on its vertical sign.

It’s possible that the original Hippodrome had a different name earlier in its history. The California Index includes cards referencing theaters in Taft called the Optic (having a cooling system installed, according to Southwest Builder & Contractor, February 16, 1916) and White’s Savoy Theatre (opening announcement, The Rounder, September 2, 1911.) The name Hippodrome is not mentioned in the Index in connection with any Taft theater.

There is a possibility that another theater had been built in Taft in 1924. Southwest Builder & Contractor of August 1 that year said that the contract had been awarded to erect a theater and store building at the corner of 4th and North streets in Taft, for the Valley Investment Company. There is currently a building which might have been a theater, on the southwest corner of that intersection, which now houses an automobile agency.

Another theater project, a 1600-seat house for National Theatres which was proposed for the corner of 4th and North streets in 1925 probably didn’t get built, but the southwest corner of that intersection is now a parking lot large enough to have accommodated a theater of that size.

Not theater related, but interesting, is the information on this web page from the Kern County Museum. It says that before it was renamed Taft in 1909, the town was called Moron. I’ll politely refrain from further comment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Temple Theatre on Oct 24, 2010 at 5:07 am

Volume 13 of the trade journal Ohio Architect and Builder has this item:

“SANDUSKY— R. H. Shively is about ready for bids for a masonic temple and theater for the Ohio Temple Co., at Chicago Junction, O. Four-stories, brick, stone trimmings, opera chairs, curtains, plaster ornaments, combination fixtures and steam heat. Cost, $40,000.“
R.H. Shively, whose office was in Sandusky, was the architect of the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Moose Theatre on Oct 24, 2010 at 4:46 am

Google Books provides a snippet view of the 1939 Film Daily Yearbook, which shows two theaters listed for Norwalk, Ohio; the Forum, with 600 seats, and the Moose, with 800 seats. A 1935 Boxoffice item I cited in a comment on the Norwalk Theatre page said that the Forum had been built in 1934.

The Norwalk Reflector, the local newspaper, has available on its web site various items headed “Blast From the Past” which give capsule news reports from the paper’s archives. The earliest date of any of these that mention the Moose Theatre comes from March 27, 1926. The most recent item cited that mentions the Gilger Theatre is from February 19, 1916; earlier than the 1919 boxing matches Lost Memory cited in the first comment here.

The “Blast” feature is by no means exhaustive, but the multi-year gap between the last mention of the Gilger and the first mention of the Moose is another indication that the Moose might have been the Gilger, renamed sometime between 1919 and 1926.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Emerson Theater on Oct 24, 2010 at 3:25 am

The correct address of the Emerson Theatre is 4630 East 10th Street.

The 1986 Boxoffice article Mike Rogers cited above was mistaken about the Emerson having been built in 1931. According to The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, and as Chuck said in the second comment on this page, the house opened as the Eastland Theatre in 1928, and was renamed the Emerson in 1931.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Oct 24, 2010 at 3:05 am

The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis says that this theater was briefly known as the Empress Theatre from April, 1937, until December of that year, when it became the Fox Theatre.

Here is a photo, probably from the late 1930s.

This earlier photo of the house as the Colonial shows what must be an end wall of the auditorium. It was a sizable theater which probably extended the length of the hotel building in front of it, and must have originally had more than the 300 seats currently listed above.

Here’s an interior photo showing the doors leading from the foyer onto the main floor of the auditorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century's Baldwin Theatre on Oct 23, 2010 at 7:20 am

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Friday, March 17, 1933, said that the new Baldwin Theatre would open that night. The opening feature was to be “Flesh” with Wallace Beery. The Baldwin Theatre was the 24th house in the Century Theatres chain, which had been founded more than twenty years earlier by A. H. Schwartz.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Oct 23, 2010 at 6:49 am

Trade journal The Moving Picture World reported in its issue of December 27, 1913, that the Allen Theatre in Calgary had opened on November 14. The December 6, 1919, issue of the same publication had an article about the Strand’s sixth anniversary.

A couple of modern print sources I’ve seen give the theater’s opening year as 1911, but they are mistaken. Another modern source, probably more reliable, says that the Allens opened a film exchange in Calgary in 1911, so that event was probably what led to the erroneous year for the theater opening.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Desert IMAX Theatre on Oct 22, 2010 at 6:01 am

The Desert IMAX Theatre was designed by the Seattle architectural firm Stricker Cato Murphy Architects. The firm has designed a number of large-format theaters, several for institutional settings (Seattle Maritime Museum and the Minnesota Zoo, for example) and a few commercial venues as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Oct 22, 2010 at 5:46 am

The Strand Theatre is at center about half a block away in this 1939 photograph.

The Strand can also be seen in this earlier photo from about 1920, a composite panorama showing a long stretch of the block it was on. The Strand Theatre was located at 153 Main Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ben Ali Theatre on Oct 22, 2010 at 5:16 am

The front of the Ben Ali Theatre can be seen at the right in this photo dating from the 1940s. The movie “Barbary Coast Gent” was released in 1944, according to IMDb.

Here is a 1942 photo taken at the premier of the film “A Yank On the Burma Road”.

This PDF file (3.7MB) containing photos of historic buildings in Lexington includes a small photo of the Ben Ali Theatre, but is interesting mostly for the information that the interior of the house was designed by the Tiffany Studios in New York City. Given the fact that Tiffany Studios designed in the Art Nouveau style well into the 20th century, it seems quite likely that this was the interior style chosen for the Ben Ali Theatre. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find any interior photos of the theater to confirm this surmise.

The Ben Ali Theatre suffered a destructive fire in 1916, and a lawsuit over the insurance claim resulted. The suit was covered in a 1922 book published by the Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Company, and its report revealed that the theater auditorium had been built behind an existing building. The entrance building looks to date from the late 19th century, judging from its architectural style. This appears to be a hybrid of the Romanesque Revival, popular in commercial and institutional buildings of the 1880s and 1890s, and the Queen Anne style, which was popular mostly for residential construction at about the same time.

Here is another photo, this from the later 1940s. It is dominated by the larger building which stood next door, but a fairly good view of the theater can be seen at far right. This photo best reveals the architectural style of the facade.

Lexington has long been one of the most preservation-conscious cities in the United States (and one of very few that chose not to eviscerate its downtown with a freeway) so it is especially unfortunate that this historic theater was lost.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about LIttle Art Theatre on Oct 21, 2010 at 1:50 am

I’ve been unable to find any specific references on the Internet to a Piccadilly Theatre in Columbus, but a book published by the State of Ohio in 1918 lists among the corporations formed since 1917 a Piccadilly Company, located in Columbus and capitalized at $10,000. Among the five corporate partners listed is Will D. Harris, who was mentioned in numerous publications of the period as a theater manager. This was most likely the company formed to build the Piccadilly Theatre. Given the time of incorporation, and assuming no delays in the project, the theater was probably in operation before 1920.

Internet search results turned up a single reference to this house as the Olentangy Theatre, in a 1942 book about the consent decree, but the passage is not accessible due to copyright restrictions.