Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crest Theatre on Apr 9, 2015 at 11:55 am

A book about the Park Hill neighborhood is reviewed on this web page and it mentions that the Crest opened as the Tower Theatre in 1949, and after its days as the Crest Theatre was converted into a Korean Presbyterian church.

The building was listed on LoopNet about a year ago, but now appears to be off the market. It might currently be vacant, but in Google street view the building looks to be in very good shape. It is an L-shaped theater with a fairly large auditorium running parallel to the street behind a row of storefronts.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Apr 9, 2015 at 12:25 am

The NRHP nomination form for the Lawrence Warehouse in Sacramento lists a number of other buildings designed by its architect, Clarence Cecil Cuff, and the Diepenbrock Theatre was among them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kim Theatre on Apr 8, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Linkrot repair: The 1911 photo of the National Theatre is now at this link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Here is a bit of additional information about the period when the Empire was operated by Stan Durwood’s AMC Theatres. It is from the NRHP Registration Form (PDF here) for the Mainstreet Theatre, and the details differ somewhat from the original conversion plans noted in the 1966 Boxoffice article:

“In 1967, Durwood split the Empire into two theaters, by adding steel girders to the front of the balcony and extending a deck from the balcony to the proscenium. This made a large theater upstairs with 1,005 seats. It was first called the Royal, and later the Empire I. The Empire II (first floor) continued as a Cinerama Theatre. In 1980, the upstairs was further split in two with a wall down the middle. Each theater seated about 400. A small lobby under the balcony had been converted earlier to a narrow theatre with a small screen seating about 100. It was called the Academy then later known simply as the Empire 1, 2, 3, and 4.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm

The Durwood circuit’s plans to convert the balcony of the Empire Theatre into a separate auditorium were reported in the October 24, 1966, issue of Boxoffice. Durwood had acquired the house from RKO in 1960 and subsequently remodeled and renamed it the Empire. An upstairs lounge had been converted into the 136-seat Academy Theatre prior to the twinning of the original auditorium.

Durwood’s plan was to continue operating the 900-seat ground floor theater as a Cinerama house called the Empire I, while the new, 1,200-seat theater in the former balcony and upper part of the auditorium, which was to extend to the top of the original proscenium, would be operated as a roadshow house called the Empire II.

The $300,000 conversion was designed by architects Hugh Hamlin and Charles Pike of the firm Northern & Hamlin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Menominee Theatre on Apr 8, 2015 at 9:39 am

This isn’t the old storefront theater pictured at Water Winter Wonderland. It isn’t in Marinette, Wisconsin, either. It turns out that Menominee changed its named streets and avenues to numbered streets and avenues at some point. Old Ludington Avenue is now Fifth Avenue, so the Menominee Theatre was at modern address 110 Fifth Avenue.

Google Maps doesn’t have a street view of that location, but there’s an oblique view from First Street and the building at 110 turns out to be the old Menominee Opera House. A non-profit group is currently raising funds for its restoration. They have a web site but it is being moved to a new server and isn’t available right now. There is a Facebook page with a few photos, mostly of fund raising events held in the theater, which is in pretty rough shape.

The Opera House has a Wikipedia page which says it was built in 1902, and was designed by architect George O. Garnsey. The Opera House hosted a variety of events and entertainments, including some movies, until closing in 1929, after which it was used as a civic auditorium until around 1945 when it was reopened as the Menominee Theatre.

A fire in 1950 led to the bankruptcy of the owner and the building was sold to a new owner who converted it into a warehouse. In 2004, the building was deeded to the Menominee Opera House Association, the group which is now gradually restoring it to serve as a performing arts venue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Menominee Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Water Winter Wonderland lists a Menominee Theatre but says it was on Main Street. There is a photo of Main Street with a storefront theater, presumably this house, though the sign on the building is generic.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Linkrot repair: The 1950 Boxoffice article about the Capri Theatre (and other Des Moines houses) is now here:

Page one

Page two

Page three

Page four

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:47 am

Although we have the seating capacity of the Majestic listed as 250, period sources indicate that the house opened with about 600 seats. Construction journals said the lot was 40x175 feet, and the theater had a balcony as well as a large stage. The seating capacity might have been reduced later, but if the figure 250 comes from the FDY I suspect that an inept typesetter might have carelessly transposed the 2 and the 5, and the house actually had 520 seats during its later years.

The single-story building next door (105 S. Third) to the Majestic’s site looks to be modern construction in a period style, rather than a renovation of an older building, and I suspect that part of that building occupies part of the Majestic’s site. In Google street view the vacant lot looks to be only about 25 feet wide.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:24 am

The theater description should probably include the fire in the mid-1940s (the official web site says 1945) which destroyed the house for a second time, and the subsequent rebuilding and reopening in 1947. I suspect that almost the only part of the Lillian Theatre remaining might be the east wall, adjacent to the parking lot, and possibly part of the back wall.

The east wall was most likely a common wall with an adjacent building erected at the same time as the second Lillian (the 1914 fire destroyed a number of buildings in the area) and would have to have been retained to support that building when the theater was rebuilt following the 1940s fire. The west wall along First Street looks like more modern brickwork and might date from 1947. There is some possibility that the Franklin Street facade dates from the Speight & Hibbs remodeling in 1941, which was to include a new front for the theater, but I’ve found no sources to confirm that it does.

Back in 2007 msimpson83 asked if there were plans to demolish the Roxy and replace it with an entirely new theater. The official web site say yes, alas. The project has not yet gotten underway, probably due to the difficulty of raising funds in the slack economy of recent years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fort Plain Theatre on Apr 6, 2015 at 10:07 pm

The Fort Plain Standard of Thursday, January 13, 1927, published the obituary of Dr. Charles Jackson. One paragraph concerns the Fort Plain Theatre:

“Dr. Jackson is mainly responsible for Fort Plain’s present theatre. The Fritcher opera house burned on May 4, 1911, which event left Fort Plain without a theatre. The Brunswick hotel, opposite the Jackson home, was burned about 1910. Dr. Jackson’s keen mind at once sensed the availability of the site of the hotel as a location for a theatre. He interested a number of business men and a stock company was formed and the construction of the present theatre was started in the fall of 1911. Dr. Jackson subsequently bought a controlling interest in the company and made his son, Harvey H. Jackson, the manager of the theatre. Later managers were Gros & Zielley, Saxton & Lombard, Saxton & Rickard and V.F. Saxton. The theatre was sold to W.C. Smalley in 1921. Dr. Jackson always maintained a great interest in the theatre. Dr. and Mrs. Jackson nursed the beautiful Boston ivy, which overspreads the northern wall and which is the finest example of this handsome vine in this section.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jamaica Theatre on Apr 6, 2015 at 9:50 pm

While I think that the 1921 project described in my previous comment was most likely the Jamaica, there was project for a 1,200 seat house at Centre and Perkins Streets in 1915 for the Hyde Square Theatre Company. It was still in the design stage according to the March 27 issue of The American Contractor, so perhaps the bids were too high and it remained unbuilt. MarkB’s insurance map shows that the Jamaica was down the block at the corner Barbara Street, in any case.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Apr 6, 2015 at 8:44 pm

The May 13, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Crescent Amusement Company planned to replace its Elite Theatre in Clarksville with a new house at Third and Franklin Streets. The new house might have been the Majestic. The April 29 issue of Domestic Engineering had said that architects Marr & Holman were preparing plans for a theater at Clarksville for the Crescent Amusement Company.

While I haven’t found any source confirming that this project was the Majestic, the Majestic was the only theater near the intersection of Third and Franklin other than the first and second Capitol Theatres, and the first Capitol wasn’t built until 1928.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Apr 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm

The Lillian Theatre was opened by Joseph Goldberg in 1912 or 1913. A major conflagration destroyed the house at the end of 1914 and it was rebuilt, as reported in the April 3, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World:


“At Clarksville, Tenn., work was begun on March 8 preparatory to rebuilding the Lillian theater, destroyed by fire on December 30. A good deal of debris from the fire had to be removed before excavation could be started. The architects for the new house are Joseph & Joseph, of Louisville, Ky., who have built about thirty high class motion picture houses in Louisville and various cities through the South. The new theater will cost in the neighborhood of $20,000. The bulk of the stock is owned by the Colonial Amusement Company, of Nashville, Tenn.. but a part of it has been sold to the Clarksville investors, who took small blocks of a few shares at $10 a share.”

The October 23 issue of the same publication had this item about the Lillian:

“At Clarksville, Tenn., the new Lillian theater has been completed at a cost of approximately $20,000 and will be ready to open during the next few days. The theater is one of the prettiest small houses in the state. The old Lillian theater was burned last fall in a fire which destroyed a large section of the principal business portion of the city.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carlson Theatre on Apr 5, 2015 at 9:03 pm

Also, I see from the Google map that Mayville doesn’t have a street called Main Street. The main business district is along Erie Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carlson Theatre on Apr 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

The March 11, 1947, issue of The Dunkirk Evening Observer had an article about a fire in the building which housed the Carlson Theatre, but the theater suffered only some smoke damage. The article said that the theater, which was operated by Blatt Bros., was on the second floor.

That opens the possibility that the Carlson was the old Swetland Opera House, an upstairs theater dating from around the turn of the century. An ad in the December 29, 1933, Observer touted a New Year’s dance being held at the Carlson Theatre Hall, which suggests it had a flat floor, which was not an unusual feature of old opera houses in small towns. The most recent mention of the Opera House I’ve found is from 1929, and the earliest mention of the Carlson Theatre Hall is 1933, so there would be no overlap between them.

A February 3, 1949, article about Blatt Bros. in the Altoon Tribune listed the May Theatre in Mayville as the only one of the chain’s houses outside Pennsylvania. In 1950 Blatt Bros. opened the Lakewood Drive-In near Mayville. As the 1947 article is the most recent mention of the Carlson Theatre I’ve found and the 1949 article the earliest mention of the May Theatre, there is no overlap again so it is possible that they were the same house. Still, as the Carlson was an upstairs theater, it is possible that Blatt Bros. decided to replace it with a new theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Apr 5, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Idc402000: Thanks for posting the article. My Boxoffice links have been broken twice as the magazine has moved from one site to another and then changed its own urls. The links to pages at are gone forever, but I’ve found that the links to the magazine’s own web site can be fixed by going into your browser’s address bar and replacing the part of the url that says- www.boxofficemagazine -with- pro.boxoffice -while the remainder of the url remains the same.

Carthage Press has apparently removed its weblog section altogether, but that particular page has been preserved by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, though without the photo that accompanied the original text.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Apr 5, 2015 at 1:46 am

Here is a description of the Bordentonian Theatre from the July 10, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World:


“The Bordentonian theatre, Bordentown, N. J., was recently opened to the public. The theatre is of Gothic architecture and is 221 feet in length and 43 feet in width, and cost about $30,000. It has a seating capacity of 700 and is absolutely fireproof in construction. E. K. Minnick, of Bordentown, who for more than twenty years has been interested in the theatrical business, and who managed the only other theatre of which Bordentown could boast, the Park Street Opera House, is managing the new theatre for the owners, the Mercantini Brothers.”

The September 12, 1925, issue of Motion Picture News had this item about the reopening of the house as the Fox Theatre:
“JACOB FOX, executive of the Fox Amusement Company and successfully operating theatres in Riverside, Beverly and Burlington, New Jersey, has reopened the Bordentonian theatre and renamed it the Fox. The Bordentonian was at one time under the management of the Mercantini Brothers who are local merchants of Bordentown. Their other enterprises taking up too much of their time, the Mercantini’s leased the theatre to the United Theatres of America, a Newark corporation that after a short period, gave up the project. Since then the house has been dark up until the time that Mr. Fox added it to his circuit. The whole theatre has been completely renovated and reconstructed, the lobby being entirely changed, new lighting fixtures installed, new scenic equipment, and many other changes made to make the house more comfortable. Feature pictures will be shown with changes on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.”
Here is a photo of the house as the Sharon Theatre. It appears to be closed, and the photo probably dates from around 1960.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Apr 5, 2015 at 12:32 am

Calling all reclusive old fogies (presumably, old bats were welcome, too.) From The Moving Picture World, July 3, 1915):

“The management of the Crystal Hall theater, of Bardstown, Ky., in an effort to interest the recluses in motion pictures, has advertised that the shows at the theater will be free of charge to all persons over 65 years of age. This offer expires July 1, but in the meantime it is hoped that numerous old fogies will become interested.”
No word on accommodation for duffers, codgers, geezers or coots.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arco Theatre on Apr 4, 2015 at 11:52 pm

The May 28, 1949, issue of Boxoffice had a photo of the Melody and Arco Theatres from the opening night of the Melody.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Melody Theatre on Apr 4, 2015 at 11:50 pm

The May 28, 1949, issue of Boxoffice had a photo of the Melody and Arco Theatres from the opening night of the Melody.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Apr 4, 2015 at 11:33 pm

The Spring, 2014, issue of quarterly newsletter Preserving Bardstown (PDF here) contains excerpts from an interview with a Mr. J. Robert Crume on February 26, 1967. Mr. Crume said that Crystal Hall was operated by Sisco and Mann from 1912 to 1928, and by Sisco and Arnold after that. In 1938 the theater moved to a new location.

The local newspaper, The Kentucky Standard, was advertising the house as the Crystal Theatre by 1915. Here is a representative listing from December 28, 1916:

“Thursday, A Rough Knight and The Lion and the Girl.

“Friday, The Deserter, featuring Charles Ray.

“Saturday and Monday, 6 reel show, title not yet known.

“Tuesday, Kasey at the Bat, featuring De Wolf Hopper.

“Wednesday, Gloria’s Romance, Muster Suffers, Athletic Series.

“Thursday, The Snow Cure, Her Marble Heart.”

Bardstown had a Sunday blue law, so the theater operated only six days a week.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Apr 4, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Here is an early photo of Ware Auditorium. A guidebook to Downtown Northfield (PDF here) says that the auditorium was designed in the Federal Revival style by Minneapolis architect Henry Carter.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tany Theater on Apr 4, 2015 at 5:30 am

Tauy Theatre was to be the name of this house according to the item in the January 3, 1941, issue of The Film Daily:

“E. Van Hyning is building a new theater in Ottawa, Kan., and will name it the Tauy Theater. He operates other houses at Iola. Parsons and Independence, Kan.”
The Tauy Theatre can be seen in the penultimate picture on this web page featuring scenes of Ottawa during a flood in 1957.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theatre on Apr 4, 2015 at 5:04 am

The Royal might have been the new house the Spencer chain was planning to build at Truro in 1941, noted in this item from the January 3 issue of The Film Daily that year:

“Truro, N. S. Is Getting Third Spencer Theater

“St. John, N. B.— The Spencer circuit, with headquarters in the local Strand, mother house of the group, already operating the Strand and Capitol, in Truro, N. S., will start construction on a third Truro theater early this month.

“A lot, 59x130 feet, has been purchased as the site. There will be about 800 seats, all on one floor. This circuit already has 21 houses.

“Truro is the center of unusual activity because of the establishment of new army and air force camps at Debert, about 10 miles away, and with Truro as the nearest town.”

The Strand dated back to at least as early as 1925. In 1916, Truro had a house called the Princess, and in 1907 one called the Electric.