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This ad, headed “WANTED, HIGH-CLASS MUSICAL COMEDIES” appeared in the January 24, 1920, issue of The Billboard:
“20 to 35 people that can give two-hour Show; also Dramatic and Vaudeville
Companies. Percentage or salary. One to two weeks' stand. If you have the company I have the house. Let’s get together. Traveling independent companies of all kinds, let me hear from you, especially big Musical Comedies.
“GEO. C. BACKUS, Scott’s Theater, … HAMPTON, VA”
“GEO. C. BACKUS, Scott’s Theater, … HAMPTON, VA”
This web page has a colorized postcard of the Scott Theatre (click third thumbnail in the bottom row.)
A “Looking Back” type of feature published in the Vindicator on December 15, 2003, (online here) said that in December, 1963, Broumas Theatres opened two new movie houses at Lincoln Knolls Plaza and Boardman Plaza, and had a third house under construction at Liberty Plaza.
coldercase: Discovering the program at a given neighborhood theater on a given date is apt to be very difficult, if not impossible. As you’ve discovered, neighborhood theaters typically didn’t advertise in the metropolitan daily papers during the silent era.
Like small town theaters, neighborhood houses usually changed programs twice a week, and some theaters would have a monthly program printed up and distributed from the theater and from neighborhood stores. Some theaters did smaller weekly programs instead. In both cases, theaters would offset the cost by selling advertising space to local businesses.
These programs were undoubtedly thrown out by most people at the end of the month, though I’m sure a few pack rats saved a few of them, but if any have survived to this late date I’m not aware of them. Even if any copies have survived, there’s no telling where they might be. There are undoubtedly some programs in the hands of collectors of movie-related ephemera, but the odds that programs from any of these three theaters are among them are very small, and the chances of any of them being from August, 1924, vanishingly small.
By the 1920s a few districts of Los Angeles had daily or weekly neighborhood newspapers, but I’m not aware of any that were published for the area around these three theaters. Someone at the public library might know for sure if there was one or not, though even if there was there’s no guarantee that its archive still exists, or that any of these theaters advertised in it.
It’s also very unlikely that the business records of any of these theaters have survived, or the records of the distribution companies that provided films to them, though those records would certainly have told which theaters had which films on any given date.
As the Realart/New University was very close to the USC campus, I had hoped that there might be an ad for it in the school’s student newspaper, but in the three issues of The Southern California Trojan from August, 1924, that the USC Digital Library has online the only movie theater advertised was the California, at Main and 8th downtown.
I can’t think of any other sources that might have the information you want, but one thing that’s certain is that these neighborhood theaters would not have been showing first-run movies from the important studios. Big movies from big studios wouldn’t have been available to them until weeks or even months after they had finished their runs in larger theaters. Whatever they were showing in August, 1924, would have been something that had been shown in the downtown theaters earlier that year, unless they were movies from the “poverty row” studios (usually adventure films or westerns) that typically never got shown at the major theaters.
Newsreels being shown at the White Sands Theatre were mentioned in the January 20, 1938, issue of the Alamogordo News. Though I haven’t found any earlier mentions of the White Sands, I’m sure the house opened sometime in 1937.
The May 2, 1956, issue of the Alamogordo Daily News reported that the new Sierra Theatre would open the following day. The opening feature would be the comedy The Lieutenant Wore Skirts. The Sierra featured a 17x38-foot screen. The house was operated by Frontier Theatres.
The Iris Theatre’s building has a midcentury look, so I would say it is most likely the project that was listed simply as “Eagle Pass, Tex.— Cliff and W. C. Butler, a 600-seater” in the “New Theatres” column of Showmen’s Trade Review for January 1, 1949.
Here’s an announcement about the Masonic Lodge building in Rushville, from the “Contracts Awarded” section of the May 23, 1914, issue of The American Contractor:
“Moving Picture Theater, Store & Lodge Bldg.: 2 sty. & bas. $35,000. Rushville, Ind. Archt. Herbert Faltz, 1108 Indiana Pythian bldg., Indianapolis. Owner Masonic Temple Asso., Earl Payne, chm., building committee, Rushville. Genl. contractor Bert Anderson, Rushville. On second sty. brick work. Brick, Bedford stone trim. Tar & gravel roofing & sheet metal work to Model Sheet Metal Co. 811 E. 23d st., Indianapolis. Genl. contractor will do plastering & painting by day work.”
The supermarket was in the theater building (in the present Street View it’s got a “For Lease” sign on it.) Street View is stranded in the parking lot, but give it a couple of clicks and you can see the theater’s former emergency exit doors on the back of the building. The marquee is still on the front of the building, too, but covered with a plain surface.
This web page from the Texas Historical Association has a brief biography of Sam Schwartz, who opened the Aztec Theatre in 1915 and whose family operated the house until its closing in 1982. The architect and contractor for the Aztec was Leonard F. Seed.
ArleenDel is correct. This Facebook page has a photo showing the Yolanda Theatre, and it was mid-block. A comment down the page says that it was on Main Street between Jefferson and Adams Streets. It also says that the building is still standing, but comparing Google street view with the vintage photo it looks like the upper part of the building, including the original roof, has been removed.
The arched front on the building in the old photo was characteristic of movie theaters of the early 1910s, so I would guess that the Yolanda was a very early house, though it might have operated under some other name early in its history. So far the only theater name I’ve found for Eagle Pass in the early trade publications was a house called the Star, mentioned in 1918.
The Plaza Theatre was eventually twinned. A Groceteria.com message board about a supermarket in Ridgeview Plaza includes a comment from someone who saw Top Gun at the twin cinema in the mall in 1986. Another comment says that the twin operated as a discount house during its last days, but it doesn’t say when that was.
The five-week run of Queen Elizabeth in 1912 and the movies shown in 1913 might not have been the only movies at the Powers, though they are the only ones I’ve found mentioned in period publications. There are quite a number of theaters listed at Cinema Treasures that only showed movies intermittently. Though they were never full-time movie theaters, having them listed here doesn’t bother me.
I’ve actually considered submitting the Geary Theatre in San Francisco (the adjacent Curran, also primarily a legitimate house, is already listed) and the Biltmore in Los Angeles, both of which ran a few movies over their long careers (the Biltmore was actually built with a projection booth as part of the original plans, though it was seldom used.)
An article in the September 28, 1987, issue of the Hazleton Standard-Speaker said that the Family Theatre closed in 1955.
A brief history of Trans-Texas Theaters is part of the inventory of the company’s papers at the Austin History Center and can be read online at this link (the collection itself is not available online.) The history says that the Southwood Theatre opened on February 17, 1967, and was designed by architect Leon Chandler.
The site of the Lyceum was on a tour of Patchgoue that was organized for the town’s centennial in 1993. This is the description from the brochure for the tour (rather large PDF here) which reveals the fate of the theater:
“Turn left onto Lake Street. The apartment building to your right was once the location of the Lyceum Theater. In 1893, this building was a social and entertainment center. It developed into a regular theater with a large stage to the north and the gallery to the south on Lake Street, which was destroyed by fire in the early 1920’s.”
I’ve found no indication that the Powers Theatre showed movies on a regular basis, but the house did run at least some movies. The April 11, 1912, issue of Chicago paper The Inter Ocean said that Famous Players' production of Queen Elizabeth, starring Sarah Bernhardt, was having its American premier at the Powers Theatre. The June 1, 1913, issue of the same publication listed the Powers as one of several Chicago legitimate houses that were then running pictures. Other houses had resorted to vaudeville to get through a slow theatrical season.
Still, the Powers remained primarily a legitimate house. The Moving Picture World of January 15, 1916, had a brief article for which Harry J. Powers was interviewed on the subject of the effect of movies on live theater. Powers said that his house was having an excellent season with plays, and even claimed that the existence of movies had improved business for legitimate theaters.
PhilipTM: DonLewis claims a copyright on the scan of the photo he uploaded to Cinema Treasures, so you’d have to get his permission to publish it in a book. However, the scan copyright is independent of any copyright that might exist for the original photo. The lettering of the town’s name at the bottom of the photo indicates that it was a postcard, and it might or might not still be covered by a copyright issued to the original publisher.
If you click Don’s link in his comment of November 1, 2012, you can fetch a large image in which the attraction board under the marquee can be seen to be displaying the movie title When Were You Born? That movie was released in 1938, so I would guess that the photo was probably taken and published no later than 1939. Not all postcards were copyrighted, so this image might have been public domain from the beginning, but if it was copyrighted in 1939 then the copyright would have to have been renewed in 1967 in order to still be in effect.
I don’t think that postcard copyrights were renewed very often, as the business depended on having fairly recent images on the racks. But don’t take that as legal advice. The back of the card would tell if it was ever under copyright, but finding out for sure if any copyright was renewed might be difficult since Don’s card was obviously published long before 1967. Don might know the copyright status of the original. You’d probably have a better chance of getting in touch with him if you send him am message at Flickr than waiting to see if he responds to your comment here. He might not be getting emails notifying him of new comments on this page.
In the heading we have the Balboa listed as demolished, but I’m doubtful that it was. Today the address 2814 Wetmore belongs to Karl’s Bakery & Cafe, but that was not the building the theater was in. The second photo on the PSTOS page for the Balboa shows that the theater was in the building adjacent to the tall structure on the corner of California Street that was occupied by the Rumbaugh-MacLain Department Store.
The caption of this photo showing the Balboa’s lobby in 1929 says that the theater closed on May 12, 1953, and its building was taken over by the adjacent department store. The photo is from the Everett Public Library, probably a reliable source of information.
The department store and the theater’s site are now both occupied by Trinity Lutheran College. I think it’s very likely that the Balboa’s shell (probably including its roof) still exist, though the interior was undoubtedly converted to two floors and the old auditorium floor leveled by the department store. If it had a fly tower, that has been removed. The ramps and lack of doors and the shape of the ceiling in the lobby photo make me suspect that the Balboa had a section of stadium seating at the back of the auditorium. The department store would surely have torn all that out.
As Karl’s Bakery is at 2814 Wetmore, the theater’s address would have been a bit smaller, probably 2010-2012. The college, with its entrance in the former department store, uses the address 2802.
Linkrot repair: The Boxoffice articles mentioned in my previous comment have been moved. The April 1, 1950, article about the remodeling is now here:
The October 7, 1950, article about theater lighting which is illustrated by a photo of the Randolph Theatre’s lobby is here:
It’s possible. The trade journals did sometimes just announce a “new theater” when the house was only renovated and renamed, perhaps with a new owner. The Vogue was opened by Wally Johnson, who operated it until 1957.
Friend being a very small town it’s likely that the Plaza closed in 1940 when a new, 252-seat house called the Vogue was opened. The Vogue’s opening was noted in the November 22 issue of The Film Daily.
An item in the November 20, 1940, issue of The Film Daily said that Greenville’s new Lake Theatre, then under construction, was expected to open around December 1. The 400-seat house was being built on the site of another theater called the Bijou, but the item didn’t say what had become of the Bijou, so it might only have been a rebuilding of an existing theater. The opening advertisement in the December 22 issue of the Greenville Delta Democrat-Times gave the address as 224 Washington Avenue.
The Lake Theatre built in 1940 lasted only 20 years. The December 18, 1960, issue of the Greenville Delta Democrat-Times said that demolition of the theater was underway, and that Gulf State Theatres would build a new, larger Lake Theatre on the site. Local architect H. E. Norwood was drawing the plans.
The article also indicated that the Bijou had dated back to the silent era and was a reverse theater. Other articles in other issues of the paper indicate that the Bijou was in operation by 1914.
The November 22, 1940, issue of The Film Daily had a brief item saying that Doris Meyer and Harry Schwartz had opened their new, 500-seat Clark Theatre at Winchester, Kentucky.
Looks like Warner Film Center let the domain name lapse and it has been taken over by a spam site.
The June 10, 1916, issue of The American Contractor had this item about the Poli Theatre in New Haven:
“Theater (alts. & add.): $100,000. 3 sty. 150x125. Church St., New Haven, Conn. Archt. Thomas W. Lamb, 644 8th av., New York City, & 112 Water st.,. Boston. Owner Sylvester Z. Poli, 23 Church St., New Haven. Plans to be revised. Brick (fireproof constr.), struct. & orn. iron, gravel rfg.”
“NEW HAVEN, CONN.—J. O. Loughlin, Hartford, has received the contract for the erection of new theater at 23 Church St. New Haven. E. W. Maynard, Arch., 226 Tremont St., Boston. Cost, $90,000.”
The theater was virtually gutted for Thomas Lamb’s rebuilding in 1917. The only photo I can find depicting any of E. W. Maynard’s original 1905 design is on a postcard that is displayed on this page of a stamp collecting web site. As the card is for sale I don’t know how long the link will last.