Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rapallo Theatre on Aug 4, 2015 at 8:07 pm

A drawing of the Colonial No. 1 and a photo of the Colonial No. 2 have been uploaded to this theater’s photo page by CharmaineZoe, plus there is an architect’s drawing of the Colonial No. 2 which I uploaded. They indicate that Brooksie is mistaken. The Colonial No. 1 had an alley to the right, as does the Plaza Theatre, and Colonial No. 2 had an alley to the left, as did the Rapallo Theatre. It must have been the Plaza that was built on the site of the Colonial No. 1.

This post from Cezar Del Valle’s Bijou Dream weblog is also a bit confused. The heading gives the address of the Colonial No. 2, at 525 George Street, but I believe that the photo on the page actually depicts the Colonial No. 1, and on the bottom of that photo it says “Australia’s first continuous moving picture show” and then “J. D. Williams Ams. Co., 610 George St. Sydney.”

610 George Street would be under the footprint of the Plaza Theatre. The Colonial No. 1 was an existing theater that J. D. Williams acquired in 1910, and which he then remodeled. The MPW photo must depict the house pre-remodel. The entrance is wider and the decorative details are different in CharmaineZoe’s drawing, so it must be a post-remodel view.

610 George Street was the main office of the J. D. Williams Amusement Company, according to an advertisement for the company that is one of many illustrations in a photo essay by Ross Thorne (PDF here.) The essay features vintage photos of the Colonial after it had been renamed Empress and the Victory after it had been renamed Rapallo.

There are also numerous color photos of the Victory/Rapallo by the author. Despite numerous Art Deco features, especially on the facade, the Victory was a very streamlined theater. Its interior could serve as a textbook example of the transition from Art Deco to Streamline Modern that took place through the 1930s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gates Theatre on Aug 1, 2015 at 1:26 pm

An L-shaped hotel with the theater tucked into the L seems most likely. But as the long side of the building was along Court Street, I think it’s likely that the theater ran north and south, with the stage at the north end and a side entrance for the stage at the northeast corner, behind the Woolworth building.

The July 26, 1922, issue of Fire and Water Engineering had a brief article about the fire that had recently occurred in the Orpheum. It doesn’t mention the hotel at all, though it gives the dimensions of the building as 100 X 25, which is surely an error and was probably meant to have read 100 x 125, which is what I’d say the modern building on the site is.

The listing for the Orpheum in the 1909-1910 Cahn guide says that it had 1,000 seats. The stage was 53 feet 6 inches between the sidewalls (which was probably the same width as the auditorium) and the distance from the footlights to the back wall of the stage was 27 feet 6 inches. Given those dimensions, and a lot 125 feet deep from High Street and only 100 feet deep from Court Street, plus the need to accommodate hotel rooms along both frontages, a north-south auditorium with the stage at the north end is more likely than an east-west configuration.

A guidebook published in 1907 lists a 900-seat theater called the Lyceum at 322 High Street in Portsmouth, and doesn’t mention an Orpheum Theatre. The Lyceum had to have been this house. The 1922 article about the fire says that the Orpheum building was 46 years old, which would give a build date of about 1876. I found the Lyceum mentioned in several publications from 1900, but so far none earlier. The house might have had a different name prior to that. It became the Orpheum sometime between 1907 and 1909.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gates Theatre on Jul 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm

I forgot to mention my source for the date. It was Robert Brooke Albertson’s Portsmouth Virginia (Google Books preview,) which features an early drawing of the hotel on page 27. The building was originally four storys, which is why there was a cornice at the top of the fourth floor, as seen in later photos. The top floor was a later addition, though why the new floor got no cornice atop it I don’t know.

The facade of the building is actually pretty characteristic of the commercial structures of the 1850s, being fairly plain and having smaller windows than later buildings usually had. As the 19th century progressed architecture not only became ever more elaborate, but windows tended to take up an ever larger proportion of the facades.

I had hoped to discover how the theater was configured (either it had been inserted into the hotel building, or the entrance ran through the hotel building to a new auditorium built behind the hotel, possibly extending all the way to Queen Street) but the oldest aerial view of the site from Historic Aerials dates from 1963, six years after the entire building was destroyed by fire on August 9, 1957. Maybe somebody who attended the theater will show up to tell us how the building was laid out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gates Theatre on Jul 30, 2015 at 9:51 pm

The Hotel Monroe building did indeed date from the mid-19th century, having been completed in 1855. It was originally called the Ocean House Hotel. I haven’t been able to discover when the theater opened, but the old Orpheum was in operation at this location by 1906.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Jul 27, 2015 at 1:19 pm

I figured that the owners of the Princess were most likely planning to move their operation to the new building but were unable get a permit to do so because of the problem with the fire exits. They ought to have hired a more knowledgeable architect.

In any case, the original Princess was clearly the one Bob Jensen intended to list, as he says it was in operation around 1920, but the page got sidetracked by MiltonSmith’s comment about the failed theater built in 1924. It seems more sensible that Cinema Treasures would have a page about a theater that actually operated than about one that never did.

But we still know nothing about the Princess Theatre that Bob submitted except that it was in operation by 1918, when it was mentioned in the August issue of Theatre Magazine, and was still listed in the 1922-1923 film yearbook. It’s quite possible that it was demolished to make way for the building that became the Benson Block, but we just don’t know that it was. It might have been in a different location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Magic Lantern Theater on Jul 26, 2015 at 1:40 pm

The Magic Lantern Theatre is no longer in the same building that was described in the 1941 MGM report. The history section of the theater’s web site says that the original building was demolished in February, 2007, and the last movies had been shown on October 8, 2005, ending 75 years of operation (actually 76 years, the house having opened as the Meserve Theatre on June 5, 1929.) The history page has a small vintage photo, probably dating from the 1930s.

The modern theater uses the address 9 Depot Street, but the original Theatre fronted on Main Street. Depot Street intersects Main Street twice, and the theater is on the southwest corner of the westernmost of those intersections. The original theater’s entrance was probably just about directly across the street from the end of Nulty Street, which is between addresses 132 and 140 Main Street. I would expect the theater’s historic address to have been approximately 135 Main, but Google street view fetches the address 79 US-302 for the location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jewel Theatre on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Mike, I think you forgot to close the space between the ] and the ( in the markdown code. Here’s a clickable link: Jewel theatre opening

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cumberland Theatre on Jul 25, 2015 at 1:42 pm

The link to the index of newspaper articles I posted in an earlier comment is dead and unfindable, but the information in it might have been inaccurate anyway. The page for the Cumberland Theatre at The Cinema Data Project cites the July 20, 1912, issue of Motography as saying: “‘Cumberland’ is the name of a new motion picture theater opened at Brunswick.” It’s possible that the Motography item was mistaken about the house being new and it was merely reopening, perhaps under a new name.

The rather small entrance to the Cumberland can be seen in the background of this photo from the Maine Memory Network. I’m unable to be positive about the name of the movie on the first poster on the theater’s wall, even using the zoom feature, but I suspect that it might be the 1927 feature Broadway Nights.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Memorial Theatre on Jul 23, 2015 at 12:27 pm

KenRoe: The architect spelled his surname with an extra “e” (Kelley.) Here is a brief biography.

Also interesting, Kelley’s house at Phillips Beach, Massachusetts, as featured in the May, 1917, issue of The Architectural Record (plans followed by three photographs on subsequent pages.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Marina Theatre on Jul 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Irene805: The Boxoffice article I cited was published in January, 1948, but as the article was about the quonset hut type of theater, not any particular theater, the movie houses it mentioned might have been built anytime in the previous few years.

Civilian theater construction was highly restricted during WWII, and the government usually permitted new theater construction only to replace theaters that had been destroyed by some disaster, or in places that had military bases or large factories doing war-related work. I believe that Port Hueneme fell into the first category, so it’s possible that the Marina Theatre was built sometime during the war. But given its mention in a January, 1948, magazine article, it would have to have been in operation before the end of 1947 at the latest.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Memorial Theatre on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm

The NRHP Nomination Form (PDF here) for Brewster Memorial Hall says that the Romanesque Revival style building was designed by Boston architect James T. Kelley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tilton Theatre on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:56 pm

In the 1920s a 350-seat movie house called the Pastime Theatre was in operation in Tilton. The Cinema Data Project has pages for both the Pastime and the Tilton, but both pages describe photos depicting the theaters being in three story brick commercial blocks. Further, the MGM report Ron cites says the Tilton opened about 1910, but the Pastime is the only theater I’ve found mentioned in early trade journals. I suspect that Pastime was an aka for the Tilton Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arcade Theatre on Jul 22, 2015 at 6:59 pm

The June, 1914, issue of The Carpenters Trade Journal said that a three-story theater was to be built for the Arcade Theatre Co. in Salisbury. The project was designed by Philadelphia architects Hoffman & Henon. The lot was 174 feet deep, so the theater must have extended all the way through the block to Camden Street.

This page at the Salisbury News weblog indicates that the Arcade Theatre was on the south side of W. Main Street a few doors east of the Ulman Opera House.

The postcard view Don Lewis provided shows the theater almost directly across the street from the building with the portico which still stands at the northwest corner of St. Peters Street. The Arcade Theatre itself has been demolished, one of several Salisbury theaters destroyed by fire, though I don’t know what year the Arcade met its end.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theater on Jul 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

ROCKER4EVER: Google News Archive displays images in Flash, so you can’t right-click to copy. You have to take a screenshot (use “PrtScr” key in the top row of your keyboard on most computers) and then open an image editing program (I use IrfanView, but there are a number of others, and there is also Windows Paint, which can be used to save a screenshot) and save the screenshot to it. If you have Windows 8, you have a feaure that saves screenshots directly to files, as described on this page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about North Dekalb Theatre on Jul 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm

StanMalone: I’ve never been to Decatur, but I believe the quad you are referring to is the one listed here as the Market Square Cinema 4. That’s the impression I’ve gotten, anyway. There’s not much information on its page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wakefield Opera House on Jul 17, 2015 at 5:53 pm

The NRHP registration form for the Wakefield Town Hall (PDF here) says that this Romanesque Revival building was designed by Dover, New Hampshire, architect Alvah T. Ramsdell.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wakefield Opera House on Jul 17, 2015 at 5:51 pm

The Google map and street view I’m currently seeing on this page are miles and miles from the actual location of the Wakefield Opera House. I tired to link to a corrected view at Google Maps but it wouldn’t cooperate, so here is the correct location from Bing Maps. Unfortunately this is one of the places Bing Maps doesn’t have a good 360-degree bird’s-eye view available.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wakefield Opera House on Jul 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Official web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theater on Jul 16, 2015 at 8:30 pm

The Cinema Data Project has a page for the Empire Theatre. It has numerous snippets about the theater’s history, and one long excerpt from a 1991 article from the Manchester Historical Association, which includes this information:

“The Empire Theatre, Massabesic St., Manchester NH was operated by Delbert E. Smith and Earl C. Thompson who formed a partnership October 1913, renting a building from Andrew Bruno. Smith, who worked for the telephone company, supervised the theatre operation and Thompson kept the books…The first show was 15 Dec 1913, admission 5 cents for all at all shows.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regal Natomas Marketplace 16 on Jul 16, 2015 at 7:59 pm

The grand opening of the Regal Natomas Marketplace 16 was to take place on August 20, 1999, according to the August 17 issue of Sacramento Business Journal. The Natomas Marketplace complex, including the theater building, was designed by the local firm LPAS Architecture + Design, though Regal undoubtedly brought in a firm specializing in cinemas to design the theater interior.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Astor Theatre on Jul 16, 2015 at 4:11 pm

I’m not sure how long the Astor operated on a regular basis, but at least as late as early 1931 it was still capable of mounting shows and showing movies. The January 2, 1931, issue of The Troy Times had an ad for the Astor’s run of an Earl Carroll production called Unguarded Girls, touted as “A Gripping—Thought-Compelling Stage and Film Attraction Every Adult Should See.”

The shows were continuous from 1 to 5 and 7 to 11. In between they probably gave the “Special Performances for Male Adults Only” that the ad noted. All seats were 50c.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Jul 6, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Chris is correct. The Palace Theatre was not in the building at 606 Main Street now occupied by the Magenta Theatre. This web page shows a very early photo of the Palace, and gives the address as 605 Main Street. The building is still standing, and the theater entrance is now occupied by the zoomNet Postal + store. The Palace opened on February 10, 1909, according to this page at HistoryLink.

The 1909 photo is earlier than the photo we currently have on this page, which probably dates from around 1913, but although the front of the theater was redesigned during that time it is the same building, as can be seen by the stairs at right leading down to the basement then occupied by the New Palace Billiard Hall.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Jul 6, 2015 at 7:33 pm

This web page about the Odd Fellows Hall says that the Romanesque Revival style building was designed by architects Pugh & Gray (Walter D. Pugh and John Gray.) During its early years the theater was listed in the Cahn guides as the Grand Opera House.

The IOOF maintained its quarters in the building until 1995, long after the theater had closed. The building was placed on the NRHP in 1988. This PDF contains the NRHP nomination form, with a detailed description of the building and its history. The house showed movies as early as 1911, though live events were presented throughout the theater’s history. In the 1970s, the original stage (which had lost the upper part of its fly loft to an expansion of the third-floor IOOF lodge in 1936) was removed and replaced with a wrestling ring. The stage was reinstalled in the 1980s as part of a failed effort to convert the Grand into a venue for the Salem Theater of Performing Arts.

The original interior of the house by Walter D. Pugh was largely destroyed in an extensive 1935 remodeling by architect James W. DeYoung, which included an extension of the balcony and the addition of some Art Deco design elements to the interior. In 1928, DeYoung and his then-partner Knud Roald had served as supervising architects for the construction of the Rapp & Rapp-designed Paramount Theatre in Portland, and that commission led to several other theater commissions for DeYoung, including the Grand remodeling.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Jul 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm

The Palace Theatre had not been demolished when Google’s street view camera last passed by, nor when the satellite view currently displayed was made. As far as I know it is still standing today. The building runs along the east side of Coal Street, stretching the entire block from Bertsch Street to Patterson Street. Google Maps shows only the view from Patterson Street, where the large stage house sits. Half a dozen photos from the John Lewis collection, including views of the entrance, can be found on this page at CinemaTour.

The location, as well as the size and shape of the building and its architectural details, which include a tapestry brick front, very popular in the late 1910s and early 1920s, indicate that the Palace Theatre was this project noted in the “Contracts Awarded” column of the July 1, 1922, issue of The American Contractor:

“Theater & Hall Bldg.: $100,000. 3 sty. 50x150. Coal & Patterson sts., Lansford, Pa. Archt. John T. Simpson, Essex bldg., Newark. Owner Panther Valley Amusement Co., Vincent Quinn, pres., Lansford. Brk., limestone trim. Gen. contr.. mas. & carp. wk. let to King Lumber Co., Charlottesville, Va.”
John T. Simpson was licensed as both an architect and engineer. He established an architectural practice in Newark in 1913, but had been an engineer prior to that. Judging from the notices in various trade journals of the period he specialized primarily in school buildings. The Palace might have been his only theater project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victoria Theater on Jul 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm

An article in the August 8, 2001, issue of Allentown daily The Morning Call said that it would be at least a month before the remains of the former Victoria Theatre in Lansford would be removed. The theater building, long used for the storage of automobile tires, had partly collapsed on July 13 that year.

The article said that the theater building had been a “century old” at the time of the collapse. That means it must have been the old Lansford Opera House, the only large theater in the town during the early years of the 20th century. The opera house was in operation by 1908, as it was listed in the 1908-1909 Cahn guide, and was also mentioned in issues of The Billboard that year. The Opera House was still listed in the 1922 Cahn guide. The earliest reference to the name Victoria Theatre I’ve found is from 1932, and I’ve not yet found the house mentioned under either name between those years.

CinemaTour has about eighty photos of the Victoria from the John Lewis collection, showing the house both before and after the collapse. Thumbnails are at this link.