Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bama Theatre on Feb 23, 2018 at 3:11 pm

The correct address of the Bama Theatre is 216 Tallapoosa Street. A community theater group called Act II has taken over the house, which is owned by the City and until recently had been used as a gymnastics center, and is renovating it into an arts center to be called the Alexander City Theatre II. This is their web site which, like the theater project itself, is still under construction.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Feb 23, 2018 at 2:10 pm

The Princess Theatre at Albertville was mentioned in the March 4, 1922, issue of The Moving Picture World.

The June 12, 1919, issue of local newspaper The Sand Mountain Banner advertised a house called the Alberta Theatre. The 1914-1915 edition of The American Motion Picture Directory listed only one house at Albertville, that being the Electric Theatre, located on Main Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texas Theater on Feb 21, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Did Del Rio have two theaters called the Strand? The house that was rebuilt as the Rita Theatre in 1941 opened in 1931 as the Strand.

Prior to being called the Rio, the house that later became the Texas Theatre had been called the Victory Theatre. The name change was noted in the July 17, 1945, issue of the Del Rio News Herald.

The mission style theater in the photo currently displayed above must have been the first Texas Theatre. That assortment of display posters wouldn’t have been seen in the post-war era. If the other photo (the one uploaded by Don Lewis) is correct, the Victory/Rio/Texas is still standing in the 800 block of Main Street, and its address is probably 827 Main.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Feb 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm

115 W. Main Street was the address of the Arcade Theatre, which was one of four movie houses listed at Walla Walla in the 1914-195 edition of The American Motion Picture Directory. An early photo of the Arcade on this web page shows steps leading up the the doors- probably indicating that the auditorium floor had been built up at the rear rather than dug down to create a sloped seating area. If the Roxy was in the same building the more costly alteration was undoubtedly made later.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mayflower Theatre on Feb 20, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Prior to being called the Mayflower this house was called the Colonial Theatre. The June 24 issue of the Eugene Guard that year made reference to “…the Mayflower (formerly the Colonial)”.

A December 31, 1925, Guard retrospective of that year’s construction in Eugene said that “…the new Colonial theater was erected by Laura B. Paine….” The September 30 issue of the Guard had noted that the formal opening of the Colonial Theatre would take place that night.

The PSTOS page for the Mayflower, missing some information, doesn’t mention the original name of the theater, and says that its Robert Morton organ was installed in 1922. It’s possible that the organ was moved to the Colonial from some other theater. It was removed in 1936, according to a 1990 Portland Oregonian article featured on the page.

The PSTOS text says that in 1977 the Mayflower booked the original Star Wars, which played to packed houses in its small auditorium for weeks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mary Lee Theatre on Feb 20, 2018 at 12:45 pm

I haven’t discovered the name of their drive-in at Boswell, but the family’s County Amusement Co. had the Richland and Westmont Drive-Ins near Johnstown, as well as some indoor houses in that city.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Overbrook Theatre on Feb 19, 2018 at 7:24 pm

This house appears to have reopened after 1957 as the Art Overbrook Theatre. A house of that name in Philadelphia was mentioned in the First Statement of the New American Cinema Group, published in the summer of 1961. The Art Overbrook had, along with the Bleeker Street Cinema and New Yorker Theatre in New York, pledged to exhibit films distributed by the group. This information was cited in Film Culture Reader, edited by Adams P. Sitney, published in 1970 (Google Books preview). The Art Overbrook Theatre, 63rd and Haverford, was advertising in The Philadelphia Enquirer by June of 1959.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mary Lee Theatre on Feb 19, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Mary Lee Sheftic (an Anglicized, semi-phonetic spelling of the original family surname, Szewczyk), 1937-2015. Obituary.

The family also owned a house in Boswell called the Sheftic Theatre. The October 2, 1954, issue of Boxoffice said that the Sheftic Theatre, remodeled and equipped for CinemaScope after having been closed for several years, had reopened on October 1, while the Mary Lee had been closed on September 30.

Back in the early 1920s, Boswell had a house called the Elden Theatre, operated by Frank Elden, who died in 1923. In the late 1930s a house called the Vernon Theatre operated in opposition to the Mary Lee. Charles Szewczyk bought the Vernon from its operator, V. F. Scott, in 1940, noted in the September 20 issue of The Film Daily. The Vernon probably became the Sheftic, and might have been the old Elden. Charles Szewczyk/Sheftic also owned a drive-in in the vicinity of Boswell in the 1950s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lake Theatre on Feb 18, 2018 at 8:06 pm

The December 5, 1953, issue of Boxoffice ran a notice that a movie theater was being built at Powers Lake. The two-story building, 44x110 feet, on the east side of Main Street, would have a 400-seat theater and two storefronts on the ground floor and offices upstairs. The architect for the project was R.L. Ross.

The brick front of the building today shows marks where the marquee was removed. No address is displayed on the building, nor any business names, but it is on the lot south of the Country Store Fresh Foods, which is at 118 Main Street. If I had to guess I’d say the theater’s address was probably 114 Main, between the two storefronts which were probably 112 and 116.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dallas Cinema on Feb 18, 2018 at 6:26 pm

Here is the new web site for the Dallas Cinema. Interestingly, it’s operated by an outfit called Cinema Treasures, LLC, who also operate the Star Cinema in Stayton.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elite Theater on Feb 17, 2018 at 2:58 pm

The Majestic was a new theater built in 1916 by Crescent Amusement as a replacement for the Elite. As we don’t have an address for the Elite we don’t know if the Majestic was on the same site or not. It’s possible that the Elite was at another location and was merely closed and converted to another use when the Majestic opened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gentry Theatre on Feb 17, 2018 at 12:52 am

The Nu Theatre became the Gentry Theatre on February 20, 1932, according to the February 18 issue of the Journal-Advance newspaper, which said the new owners would open the renamed house that day. Then for a while the house was called the Flint Theatre. The May 2, 1946, issue of the newspaper said that Mr. Harry Wachter had bought the Flint Theatre from S. M. Underbill and intended to rename it the New Gentry Theatre after making renovations.

As the house had been advertised as the Gentry Theatre in late 1944, and the earliest use of the name Flint Theatre I’ve found is from early 1946, It’s likely that the temporary name change took place sometime in 1945.

I found a 1998 photo by Charlie Bookout captioned “Gentry’s ruined main street movie theater” and, as it had a Facebook share button, posted it to Cinema Treasures' Facebook page. It’s an interior shot, unfortunately, so we can’t use it to spot the building in Google street view, if it is still standing.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Maywood Theatre on Feb 16, 2018 at 7:47 pm

This PDF from the Kansas Historic Route 66 Planning Committee, dated 2011, says that Sapp’s Opera House and the Maywood Theatre were two different buildings. The 900-seat Opera House was upstairs in a three-story brick building at the southeast corner of Seventh and Main Street, and opened on November 2, 1890. It was destroyed by a fire on March 8, 1931. The PDF has a photo of it.

The PDF says that the “Old Maywood Theatre” was at 320 Main Street, and describes it this way:

“This two story building has a parapet front wall with a gently curved shape and concrete coping. The top and sides of the façade wall are covered with stucco, although the first story and second stories also have areas of clapboard siding. A series of vertical and diamond shaped elements decorate the stucco wall above the second story windows. A variety of double-hung and fixed windows have been installed at both levels. A flat metal canopy above the first story is anchored to the building wall by a series of cables. Centered on a block of early 20th century commercial businesses, this building is part of the continuous street wall lining the west side of the block. A concrete sidewalk with a very shallow curb runs in front of the buildings. A variety of changes have been made to this building including replacing windows and siding in the first and second stories. This building appears on the 1918 Sanborn Insurance Map as a Motion Picture and Vaudeville theater. A stage occupied the west end of the space, while a second story viewing gallery was located at the east end. By 1930 it functioned strictly as a movie theater, but was listed as Purkett’s Laundry & Master Cleaners in the 1944 directory. Estimated date of construction pre-1918.”
Although the document is dated 2011, I think the text must have been written long before. There is no building at 320 Main Street today, although there is one at 302 Main Street that somewhat resembles the theater as described in the article. Also, looking at historic aerials it has been decades since the west side of this block had a “continuous street wall” of buildings. There is also an issue with the 1944 directory listing of the theater’s location as a laundry, as the Maywood Theatre Company advertised in the local high school yearbooks in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Perhaps the theater moved to another location, or maybe just shared the original location with the laundry?

The 1914-1915 edition of The American Motion Picture Directory listed three theaters at Galena: the Globe, the Midway, and the Pearl, which was the only one given an address, that being 705 S. Main Street. It’s possible that Pearl was an aka for Sapp’s Opera House.

The October 7, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item that could have been about the Maywood Theatre:

“Galena, Kans. — The finishing touches are being put on the new moving picture theater for L. H. Moore. It will have seating capacity of 800. A Wurlitzer pipe organ will also be installed.”
The 1920-1921 edition of Wid’s Year Book lists only the Palace Theatre, operated by N. W. Houston, at Galena. Perhaps an aka for the Maywood?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Flamingo Theatre on Feb 14, 2018 at 12:46 pm

The Flamingo Theatre opened the week of January 10, 1947, according to an item in that day’s issue of Film Daily.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Oldham 8 Theatres on Feb 13, 2018 at 2:30 pm

The building with the large cross above the entrance in Google street view was the location of the Oldham 8 Theatres. For the time being, the old theater facade can still be seen if you move street view left along First Street and then down Parker Drive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Griffith Theater on Feb 12, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Here is a quote from this article in the April 14, 2014 issue of the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“Before Oldham 8, there was Griffith Theater — named after D.W. Griffith — a cinema that opened in the 1930s on Main Street in La Grange. It burned down in the 1950s, said Nancy Stearns Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County Historical Society. It was never rebuilt.”
The fire actually took place on January 17, 1960, and a photo of the event was published in the following day’s edition of The Courier-Journal. Ms. Theiss' statement that the theater “burned down” was only a slight exaggeration. An article from 1960 says that the back wall and roof of the theater caved in, but it is clear that most of the facade survived.

Comparing the newspaper photo with Google’s current street view, it can be determined that the Griffith Theatre was at 123 E. Main Street, in a building now occupied by a dress shop called the Couture Closet. Some details of the building facade survived the fire, though a distinctive parapet was removed. Architectural details of the adjacent buildings are also recognizable.

The Griffith Theatre should not be confused with the D.W. Griffith Theatre, opened in 2017 in the local Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum, which shows movies related in some way to Oldham County, including movies directed by Griffith, twice a month. Silent era Director David Wark Griffith was a native of Oldham County.

The Griffith was not the first movie house in La Grange. A house called the Grand Theatre was mentioned in the September 7, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texas Theater on Feb 10, 2018 at 2:18 pm

Originally called the Princess Theatre, it was most likely opened in 1915 or 1916, as it was not listed in the 1914-15 edition of American Motion Picture Directory, which was published in early 1915, but was being mentioned in trade journals in 1916.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Rey Theater on Feb 9, 2018 at 11:27 pm

The El Rey, dark for some time, is reopening tomorrow night, Saturday, February 10, 2018, with live performances. Here is their web site. Proceeds from this event will go to continuing renovations of the house.

Sunday night the theater will present the 1938 film Robin Hood, much of which was filmed in Chico’s Bidwell Park.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texas Theater on Feb 9, 2018 at 6:37 pm

The 808 seats we currently have listed for this house belonged to the Texas Theatre that burned in 1962. The Palace Theatre was listed in FDY with 525 seats from its first appearance in 1928 until the 1955 edition when it dropped to 519.

Prior to 1928 Ballinger had a house called the Maeroy Theatre, also with 525 seats, so I suspect its disappearance from the listings after 1927 and the appearance of the Palace in 1928 indicates a name change sometime before the 1928 FDY went to press. The Maeroy was mentioned in the January 13, 1923, issue of The Moving Picture World as having installed a new Wurlitzer organ, so it was in operation under that name at least that early.

The names I’ve found for theaters in Ballinger prior to 1923 are the Queen, the Cosy (which was on 7th Street), the White City Airdome, and the Princess, which was operated in 1916 by a Roy Reeder. A web page that has now gone missing said that today’s Texas Theatre (the former Palace) “… originated [as] Roy Reeder’s Princess Theater.” Unfortunately the snippet Google has saved from the missing page doesn’t provide any other details.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Feb 9, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Though destroyed in 1946, the Ritz appears in the 1948 Film Daily Yearbook in the “Negro Theaters” listings. Most likely FDY simply hadn’t kept its records up-to-date, which was not unusual.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Queen Theatre on Feb 9, 2018 at 5:32 pm

The Queen was one of three movie houses in Ballinger that was mentioned in an item in the July 1, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Theaters Consolidate at Ballinger.

“Ballinger, Tex. — Two picture houses in Ballinger have been consolidated recently and now operate under one management. Roy Reeder, who operated the Princess theater and the White City airdome, and D. Cohen, who managed the Queen theater.”

The Queen was also one of two houses listed in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory, though no address was given (the other house was the Cosy, 127 Seventh Street.) The Queen was listed in issues of Film Daily Yearbook in the later 1920s, but always with 400 seats.

The Queen was still listed in the FDY from 1937 through 1943, but with only 300 seats, and always listed as closed. It vanished from the listings in 1944. I suspect that the Queen was closed when the first Texas Theatre opened in 1936, and never reopened. The streamline modern facade on the building now probably dates from the building’s conversion to retail use sometime in the 1940s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ironbound Theatre on Feb 9, 2018 at 12:58 pm

The ground floor retail shop (a shoe store in current Google street view) and the martial arts studio upstairs are still located in the Ironbound Theatre’s entrance building fronting on Ferry Street. The bakery, parking garage (and perhaps some other uses unidentified by any signage) occupy various parts of the former auditorium along Jackson Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ironbound Theatre on Feb 8, 2018 at 5:41 pm

The side wall Ironbound Theatre’s large former auditorium can be seen in street view from Jackson Street. It has been subdivided into a number of spaces, one of which is a garage for a bank and another the Maranatha Bakery.

In satellite view the structure appears to be about 80x100 feet, which indicates that it is probably the theater project of that size at Jackson and Ferry streets that was noted in the March 12, 1921, issue of The American Contractor. Newark Architect John B. Acocella was preparing the plans.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Smalley's Theatre on Feb 8, 2018 at 4:27 pm

The building in which Smalley’s Theatre was located was built in 1885 as Klinkhart Hall, with retail space and the local post office on the ground floor and an opera house upstairs. Today it is under restoration as Klinkhart Hall Arts Center, and is located at 191 Main Street. A movie theater was first established on the ground floor in 1925. The auditorium, though in rough shape, still has its seats in place today. There is a photo at the link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Smalley's Theatre on Feb 8, 2018 at 3:56 pm

William Smalley called this house the Cameo Theatre or Smalley’s Cameo Theatre until sometime in 1933. The October 18, 1939, issue of the St. Johnsville Enterprise and News says that the former Rex reopened as the Cameo on October 15, 1924.

The earliest ad calling it simply Smalley’s Theatre that I’ve seen in the Enterprise and News is in the November 22, 1933 edition, though it might have been renamed anytime after the previous ad I’ve seen for Smalley’s Cameo, which appeared in February.

The Rex Theatre was in operation by 1917, the year the October 24 issue of the Enterprise said that the price of an adult admission was being raised to fifteen cents. Smalley’s Theatre was extensively rebuilt in 1939.