Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Dec 7, 2014 at 10:22 am

The Bijou Theatre was operating at 27 E. Market Street by 1909, but sometime later moved to 35 W. Market. The Corning Evening Leader of October 4, 1920, said that the Bijou would close for two weeks after that night’s show and then, after renovations, would reopen as the Regent Theatre. The Regent was still in operation at least as late as 1927, but closed sometime after that and remained dark until reopening as the Palace.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Globe Theatre on Dec 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm

The diary of Frances Hubbard Flaherty, wife of documentary film maker Robert Flaherty, and later a screenwriter herself, mentions a visit to the Globe Theatre in New Haven on January 30, 1916.

The Globe is mentioned in the May 2, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Edward Raffile, popular manager of the Globe Theatre in New Haven, has turned it into a first-run house. Ye scribe always recalls the Globe with pleasure as the house having an excellent organ and organist.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lenox Theater on Dec 6, 2014 at 9:13 pm

The imminent opening of the Lenox Theatre was noted in The Moving Picture World of May 2, 1925, though the theater’s name was misspelled:

“Hartford’s newest photoplay theatre has been named the Lennox and will be opened early in May. It is understood that Jack Sanson, now manager of the Lyric Theatre, Hartford, will take charge of the new house. The theatre seats 900.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Premier Theatre on Dec 6, 2014 at 8:53 pm

In 1926, the May 2 issue of The Moving Picture World reported the rebuilding of the long-closed Premier Theatre:

“The Premier Theatre in Fall River, Mass., rebuilt by William J. Dunn at a cost of $100,000, opened recently. It had been closed for over six years. There are approximately 1,000 seats. The policy will be first-run photoplays.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century Theatre on Dec 6, 2014 at 10:38 am

Michael Shea would take over operation of the Century Theatre in Buffalo on December 22, according to the December 14, 1928, issue of the Corning Evening Leader.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kenmore Theater on Dec 6, 2014 at 9:12 am

Buffalo architects Edwin P. Bacon and William C. Lurkey established their partnership in 1922.

The May 2, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the contract for the construction of the Kenmore Theatre had been let:

“A contract has been let to the Rowland Corporation of Kenmore, N. Y., for the erection of a theatre and business building in Delaware avenue between Chapel and Landers roads. Work will begin immediately and the house is expected to open in the fall. It will seat 1800. There will also be a public hall seating 900, bowling alleys and sixteen stores. The cost will be $300,000. The stock in the building corporation is being taken mostly by Kenmore people, the plan being to make it a community theatre.”
In 1936, the Kenmore Theatre became part of the Shea circuit, as was noted in the September 3 issue of The Film Daily:
“The Kenmore Theater, sole film house in Kenmore, 20,000 population suburb just north of Buffalo, was taken over this week for operation by Buffalo Theaters, the Shea organization. Negotiations for the lease covered several months. Mitchell Fitzer of Syracuse has held it for more than five years, with Ephraim Bettigole as resident manager. Carl Rindcen, now at Shea’s Kensington, will assume management of the Kenmore on Saturday. Bettigole is expected to join the Fitzer organization in Syracuse.”
The only photo of the Kenmore Theatre I’ve been able to find is on this page of the Ken-Ton Bee web site, where it is partly seen in the background, obscured by a parade float.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mid-City Theater on Dec 6, 2014 at 7:54 am

The opening of the Mid City Theatre was mentioned in the May 2, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World :

“Paul Rutishauser opened his Mid-City Theatre on West Madison street, Chicago, last month. Many film folk turned out to congratulate him upon his fine little 300-seat house.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vista Theater on Dec 6, 2014 at 7:38 am

The May 2, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World had this announcement: “The New Vista Theatre of Max Weiss at Rio Vista, Cal., is nearing completion.”

There’s a very small photo of the building when the theater was still in operation on this web page. The page says that the first Vista Theatre, which this house replaced, was located in the 100 block of Main Street and was in operation by 1923.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Almo Theatre on Dec 5, 2014 at 9:53 pm

The Almo Theatre was in operation by 1925, when this item appeared in the May 2 issue of The Moving Picture World:

“A. Swan of Silverdale, Wash., has acquired the Rex, Poulsbo, and is having it remodeled. This will furnish competition to J. M. Almos' Almo Theatre.”
J. M. Almos was still operating the Almo in 1942, although this item from the January 2 issue of The Film Daily misspelled both his name and that of his theater:
“Contract Is Let For New Theater In Northwest

“Poulsbo, Wash. — J. Alamos has let contract for a new theater here to take the place of the Alamos Theater. Work will be started early this year.”

I’ve found nothing later in the trade journals indicating that Mr. Almos completed his new theater. The timing was inauspicious. The Federal government was soon to place restrictions on all construction that did not contribute to the war effort, and the only way a new theater could have been built in Poulsbo at that time is if it was already well under way when the restrictions were established, or if the local population had grown much larger as the result of the establishment or expansion of a nearby military base or war-related industry.

The January 11, 1944, issue of The Film Daily reported that T. E. (a later item says T. F.) and G. B. White (the latter mentioned in an earlier comment by Arthur) had taken over operation of the Almo Theatre from J. Almos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Squire Theater on Dec 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm

In 1941, the Esquire Theatre company, operators of the Squire Theatre, were involved in an arbitration case with five major film companies and the operators of the rival Playhouse Theatre. Esquire had filed a claim that the 30-day clearance given the Playhouse was unfair. As part of their case they compared the condition of their newer theater with that of the old Playhouse which had grown a bit shabby. An article about the case in the July 19, 1941, issue of Showmen’s Trade Review included this description of the Squire:

“…approach to the theatre is made through a store on Middle Neck Road, 20 feet wide and 80 feet long, which has been subdivided into a series of vestibules and lobbies, and this terminates in an auditorium approximately 70 feet in width by 135 feet in length. The auditorium is divided into two parts, the lower level and the stadium level, the lower level containing approximately 660 seats, and the stadium containing 330 seats.

“After leaving the entrance lobbies, one approaches a large promenade which terminates in a lounge approximately 16 by 30 feet in size, off of which are anterooms, and the toilet facilities for ladies and gentlemen.

“Part of the original lot, which was 90 feet in width, has been devoted, to exit facilities and boiler room and heating and cooling apparatus. The stadium is completely fireproof in construction, as is the projection booth and the adjacent spaces in the projection booth.

“In addition to the adequate lighting facilities throughout the auditorium Acousticon units for hard of hearing have been installed on 20 chairs.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Goshen Theater on Dec 4, 2014 at 6:33 pm

The Goshen Theatre was opened on the evening of March 10, 1939, according to that day’s issue of the Middletown Times Herald. The house was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb with a “…Colonial atmosphere…,” but from the description it sounded more rustic-Early American: the lobby was floored with flagstone, its walls were paneled with knotty pine, and it featured a fireplace with a Dutch screen.

The exterior sounded like it was a more orthodox Colonial Revival, though: “The brick exterior on South Church street, facing the Village Park, was painted white and a cupola surmounted the roof, to be topped later with an iron weather vane depicting a harness horse and sulky.”

An advertisement for the Goshen Theatre in the same edition of the paper boasted that its seats were farther apart than those of Radio City Music Hall. The Goshen was apparently not to be a first-run house, though. The opening feature was A Man to Remember, which had been released in October, 1938.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Main Street Theater on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

This item from the January 25, 1921, issue of The Moving Picture World indicates that J. A. Nordquist bought the original Main Street Theatre that year:

“Galeton Block Sold

Galeton, Pa.— Mr. and Mrs. J. Albert Nordquist have purchased the Main St. theater block from John L. White. The lease does not expire until some time next year, when the new owners will take possession.“

The 1914-1915 edition of the American Motion Picture Directory lists the Main Street Theatre in Galeton at 37 Main Street. It doesn’t specify East or West, but East Main is lined mostly with old houses while the greatest part of Galeton’s surviving business buildings are on West Main, so 37 W. Main is probably where the theater was.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Strand Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I live in California, formerly in suburban Los Angeles but now in a backwater in the northern Sierra foothills. I can’t really claim the knowledge as mine, though, as it’s all stuff I’ve dug up on the Internet, mostly at the Internet Archive which has a large collection of old theater industry trade journals.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Playhouse on Dec 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

The September 8 meeting robboehem referred to laid an egg according to this item from Newsday of September 10. Mayor David A. Fox said that there were still too many questions about the developer’s plans that had not been answered, and the hearing was postponed indefinitely. I can’t find anything more recent about the project on the Internet, so maybe the fate of the Playhouse is still undecided.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Greer Theatre on Dec 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

This page has some photos of the Greer Theatre building taken after the theater was closed, and some reminiscences by former employee Don Fortner.

In the early 1940s, the Grand Theatre was operated by Bill Drace, who was a favorite of the editors of the trade journal Showmen’s Trade Review. The magazine published several items about his activities in 1941 and 1942, including a reproduction of three pages from the theater’s flyer, Grand Movie News, on this page of their October 3, 1942, issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kenton Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Schine’s Kenton Theatre opened in September, 1929, according to the October 5 issue of Motion Picture News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ohio Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm

The October 9, 1943, issue of Showmen’s Trade Review said that the Ohio Theatre in Kenton had been completely destroyed by fire several weeks previously. Owner W. D. Ward was negotiating for reconstruction of the house. This was probably due to wartime building restrictions which required builders to get permission from a Federal agency for any projects not vital to the war effort. I haven’t discovered how long it took Mr. Ward to get his theater rebuilt.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Strand Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm

The Strand was a Keith vaudeville house from 1915 until switching to movies near the end of the silent era, according to this item from the October 5, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News:

“Strand, Dayton, To Re-Open; Cincinnati News

“STRAND, Dayton. Ohio, a Keith house since 1915, which closed recently after silent movies had proved a failure, will reopen middle of October equipped with sound. A new 10-year lease has been secured, and improvements are being made by the Fox interests who recently acquired the house in the Keith-Libson-Heidingsfeld deal. G. Claude Miller will be retained as manager.”

The November 23 issue of the same journal had a bit more about the deal in which Fox acquired the Strand:
“Additional Fox Shares For Purchase Of Libson Chain

“Fox Film Corporation has made application for the listing of an additional 51,360 shares of Class A common stock on the New York Stock Exchange, the additional shares to be used in the transaction through which Fox acquires the Libson & Heidings circuit of twelve theatres in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.”

Late 1929 was a terrible time for Fox to be issuing new shares, so it’s likely that he was unable to sell them and the deal collapsed. He lost control of his entire company in 1930. As the Strand became an RKO house, and RKO was a descendant of the merged Keith-Albee and Orpheum vaudeville circuits, the house apparently went back to its previous owners.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valentine Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Ah, I didn’t see the “a” and imagined that it said “the.” Reading too fast again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Two things I picked up from a Topix forum page about Point Pleasant: the Alpine Theatre did become the Park Theatre, and it was located at 320 Main Street, now the location of a bar called the Double D Lounge. Thanks to Lady old timer for the information.

The Double D Lounge building has a wide entrance that would have been the lobby, and there’s still a stage house on the back of the building. The upper floor facade has some brick detail characteristic of the 1920s, when it was opened. This item about the new house is from the February 11, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News:

“New West Va. Theatre To Open April First

“Point Pleasant’s new motion picture theatre, being built in Main Street, opposite the post office, by the Lyric Amusement Company, of which Ross Filson is local manager, will be ready for opening by April 1st, it has been announced by Manager Filson.

“The theatre building will be 40 by 135 feet in size, and will be constructed so that a balcony can be added when needed. At present a small apartment will be in front of the second story. A foundation capable of holding three stories is being constructed by the Lyric company.

“Brick and fire-proof tile are being used in the outer walls.

“The seating capacity of the new theatre will be 608.”

At the time the Alpine circuit bought the house from Ross Filson in early 1936 it was called the State Theatre, but it might have originally been called the Lyric, unless Lyric was only the name of the earlier theater that Filson operated. It might also have been called the Strand (see my comment of April 20 for the rather confusing history of theater names and capacities in Point Pleasant as reported by the FDY) but that’s not certain either.

What is certain is that the Alpine was renamed the Park Theatre, probably in 1946 or 1947, and operated under that name into the 1950s. In another Topix forum post someone mentions seeing Old Yeller at the Park Theatre, so the house was open at least as late as 1957.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valentine Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm

As the Valentine Theatre is primarily a live performance venue, and pretty solidly booked, I don’t see how the lack of a digital projector could be a problem for them. It certainly isn’t going to close.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm

The Rialto is mentioned in the October 5, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News:

“The Rialto, at Greer, S. C. is closed on account of a fire last Thursday night. Projection room and front were damaged. Rialto is operated by C. A. Herlong.”
The Rialto Theatre was located at 302 Trade Street. The building is now occupied by Rialto Office Suites. A photo on that page shows that there is a photography studio on the ground floor where the theater once was.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Greer Theatre on Dec 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm

This page at Landmark Hunter says that Grand Theatre was another name for the Greer Theatre. There is a photo of the house as the Greer. Unless the town had two houses called the Grand, or two houses called the Greer, this page (or the Greer page) is redundant.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Woodstock Theatre on Dec 2, 2014 at 9:13 pm

As in 2002 the Woodstock Theatre expanded into the building that was once occupied by the Beverly Theatre, at 211 Main Street, shouldn’t the name Beverly be listed as an aka?

A document prepared for the Woodstock Historic Preservation Commission (PDF here) has a history of the theaters in Woodstock. The Beverly Theatre opened in 1920, and occupied the building that had been occupied by the first Princess Theatre, so maybe Princess should also be an aka.

The second Princess Theatre, which was demolished in 1927 to make way for the Miller Theatre, had been built in 1913 and opened that year as the Palace Theatre. The Princess moved into the 429-seat building some time later. The document says that the building was demolished:

“In 1927, John Miller demolished the second Princess Theater along with the E.J. Field Hardware store that was located between the two theaters and a new, larger theater was constructed.”
However, as the Palace/second Princess Theatre building was only 14 years old in 1927, I think it’s possible that it was not entirely demolished. It was not unknown for theater buildings to be expanded sideways in those days, and I suspect that it might have happened in this case, although I’ve found no historic documentation that this was done. It was usually more economical to leave at least part of a sound structure standing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at least the north wall of the Woodstock Theatre turned out to be a remnant of the old Palace.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Warner Theatre on Dec 1, 2014 at 5:59 pm

The opening as the Orpheum took place on February 3, 1921. This is an article from the March 1, 1921, issue of The Associated First National Franchise, the house organ of First National Pictures:

“Associated First National attractions have a new home in Oklahoma City, Okla.

“The Orpheum, seating 2200 people, has been opened to the public, and is declared by those who have seen it to be one of the finest motion picture theatres in the country. It represents an investment of $500,000, one-fifth of which is in furnishings.

“John Sinopoulo, long prominent in Oklahoma City as a showman, is one of the principal owners of the Orpheum. His brother, Pete, is manager of the house.

“‘Passion’ is one of the attractions which First National put into the Orpheum. On the opening day, February 3, seven thousand people paid admission at four shows, according to the local newspapers. One paper estimated that, judging by remarks made by patrons, many people would attend two and three times during the engagement, and that then all who wished to see the attraction would not be able to get in.”

The May 8, 1920, issue of The American Contractor said that plans for the rebuilding of the Overholser Opera House in Oklahoma City had been prepared by the St. Louis firm of Kennerly & Steigemeyer. George Hancock Kennerly and Oliver William Steigemeyer were in partnership from 1913 to 1933.