Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about United Artists Theater on Sep 10, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Max: That photo was actually uploaded by John Rice. His most recent comment at CinemaTreasures is on this page, so that’s where you’d probably be most likely to catch him (I don’t think CT sends notifications of comments made on photo pages.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theater on Sep 9, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Some interesting digital images generated by laser scans of the Grand Theatre can be seen in this PDF.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victor Theater on Sep 9, 2014 at 11:35 am

The June 24, 1916, issue of The American Contractor said that work had begun on the rebuilding of the Avenue Theatre in McKeesport for the new lessee, H. A. Victor. The architect for the project was H. J. Lehman of McKeesport.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Comique Theatre on Sep 9, 2014 at 11:31 am

This theater was built for Samuel H. Thal, according to an item about it in the January 31, 1914, issue of The Construction Record, which said that architect Gustave Niehaus [sic] was preparing the plans.

The same column listed another theatre project by Niehus (again with his name misspelled as Niehaus,) saying that he was ready to take bids on a one-story brick picture theater to be built at at Fifth and Ringgold Streets for James Montgomery and Earl R. Lines. We don’t have a theater listed at that location, and I haven’t been able to track down a name for it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Evanston Theatre on Sep 9, 2014 at 11:05 am

The January 31, 1914, issue of The Construction Record had this item that must have been about the Evanston Theatre:

“Cincinnati, O — Architects J. G. Steinkamp & Brother, 414 Walnut street, have plans in progress for a one-story brick nickelodeon, to be erected on Montgomery road and Dana avenue, for Andrew Niedenthal, Montgomery road. Cost, $15,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theater on Sep 9, 2014 at 10:53 am

There was a theater called the Majestic in Ellwood City at least as early as 1910, when the house appeared several times in lists of current vaudeville engagements published in various issues of Variety.

The June 26, 1914, issue of the New Castle News said that many improvements were being made to the Majestic Theatre in Ellwood City.

The Majestic Theatre was destroyed by a fire on January 11, 1984. The last movie shown was Return of the Jedi. There is a photo of the fire on this page of the Ellwood City Ledger web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Las Cruces Community Theatre on Sep 8, 2014 at 1:10 am

The December 21, 1941, issue of the Las Cruces Sun-News mentioned Guy Frazer as the architect of the new State Theatre, which was scheduled to open Christmas Day. This must have been Guy L. Frazer of the El Paso, Texas, firm Frazer & Benner.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Sep 8, 2014 at 12:17 am

The January 1, 1940, issue of the Clovis News-Journal said that the formal opening of the new State Theatre would take place at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, January 3.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Schenley Theater on Sep 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm

The 1924 ad must have been for the reopening of the Schenley as a movie house under new management. An item in the June 28, 1958, issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said that the theater “…was acquired in 1924 by the forerunners of the present Stanley-Warner Corporation.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nixon Theatre on Sep 7, 2014 at 11:28 am

The historical sketch of Pittsburgh’s first Nixon Theatre on this web page gives the address as 417-425 Sixth Avenue, and says that it was designed by Chicago architect Benjamin H. Marshall.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lona Theater on Sep 7, 2014 at 11:16 am

Carl: As far as I’ve been able to discover, there were only two big theaters with stages operating in Sedalia in the 1920s. If your wife’s grandmother was a professional dancer, she probably would have appeared at either the Lona/Liberty Theatre, or at the Sedalia Theatre, an older house opened in 1905 (not yet listed at Cinema Treasures.)

On the other hand, if she was an amateur performer she might have appeared at one of the small movie houses in town, of which there were several, most of them operating for no more than a few years, some for only a few months. Some of them are sure to have had had small stages, and all had at least a piano for music, and would have hosted such events as local talent shows, and probably presented local singers on a fairly regular basis. Live music was a big part of the shows at movie theaters before talking pictures came along.

The two big houses undoubtedly presented some local talent as well, but probably not on a regular basis. One example of the use of local talent (dancers, as it happens) is noted in an item from trade publication The Reel Journal of January 30, 1926. It was about the publicity campaign for the MGM production The Merry Widow, which was being handled by a Mr. Bishop. In Sedalia, he came up with a clever stunt:

“Bishop arranged a contest with the Sedalia Republican, the feature of which was to find out why blonde widows re-marry quicker than brunettes, and saw to it that when the picture came there would be a prologue presentation for it, given gratis by two professional dancing teachers, who were well repaid for their work by the advertising they received.”
This major movie (a “blockbuster” of its day) would undoubtedly have appeared at either the Sedalia or the Liberty. A prologue was usually a good-sized production, requiring several dancers, and the two dancing teachers putting it on might have had their better students performing in it. If it went over well, the same arrangement might have been made with theater operators for similar presentations to accompany other movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Starzz Drive-In on Sep 6, 2014 at 10:05 pm

David and Noelle Soren’s list of known Boller theatres includes an unnamed drive-in at Sedalia designed in 1948. Unless two drive-ins in Sedalia began construction that year it must have been this one that was designed by Boller Brothers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Sep 6, 2014 at 9:39 pm

The 1960s aluminum false front has been peeled off of the Fox Theatre and replaced with a retro-style front that might more closely resemble the original Streamlined style of the building. The building has been converted into the Fox Theater Event Center, though the photo gallery at their web site shows that the historic interior of the building has been entirely lost. It’s pretty much just the shell of the theater, and a marquee with the name Fox on it.

CinemaTour has a photo of the renovated front. CinemaTour claims that the Fox was also known as the Sedalia, but the Sedalia Theatre was a different house, at Third and Massachusetts, which opened in 1905 and faded away in the 1930s, and was finally destroyed by a fire in 1977. I’m pretty sure the Fox was always called the Fox, but the Sedalia was called the Fox Sedalia in the early 1930s, around the same time the Liberty was called the Fox Liberty.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lona Theater on Sep 6, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Information about the Lona Theatre is a bit sparse on the Internet, but it is clear that this was at least the second house of that name in Sedalia. A nostalgia piece in the January 1, 1942, issue of The Sedalia Democrat says that on December 30, 1917, the Lona Theatre, at 412 S. Ohio Avenue, was showing a William S. Hart movie. I’ve found references to the Lona Theatre in The Moving Picture World as far back as 1914.

An article from the December 18, 2013, Democrat says that the new Lona Theatre was formally opened on August 12, 1920, with 1,500 seats. I’ve been unable to discover what became of the first Lona Theatre when the new house opened. The building at its address has the name “Story’s Central” and the date 1882 on its parapet, so the earlier Lona Theatre was a storefront movie house.

The new Lona Theatre, though suited for vaudeville and legitimate productions, was also equipped for movies from the beginning, and the August 16, 1920, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the house had opened with the feature film One Hour Before Dawn as part of the program.

The house had been renamed Liberty Theatre by no later than January, 1926. Later that year the Liberty and the local Sedalia and Strand Theatres became part of a Kansas City-based chain called American Theatres. In 1928 and 1929, when sound was installed, the house was advertised as the New Liberty Theatre.

At least as early as mid-1930 and as late as July, 1933, the house was being advertised as the Fox Liberty Theatre. Later in the decade it was simply the Liberty again, but apparently it remained a Fox Midwest house until 1940. On September 15, 1940, after the opening of the new Fox Theatre, the New Liberty Theatre advertised that it had returned to local control. By the next year it had reverted to being called simply the Liberty Theatre once again.

A review of local events of 1954 in the January 14, 1955, issue of The Sedalia Democrat notes that the Community Players theater group had moved into the Liberty Theatre in November. I’ve found no evidence that it ever operated as a movie house again.

The Lona Theatre was obviously designed by an architect with classical training, but nobody seems to know who it was. The renovation as a performing arts house in the 1980s was handled by local architect Neal Reyburn.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Sep 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm

The Thursday, September 5, 1940, issue of The Sedalia Democrat said that the new Fox Theatre would open Friday evening at 7:30.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Warner Theatre on Sep 6, 2014 at 1:06 am

The Warner Theatre might have operated in two different locations, or it was rebuilt in 1946. The January 10, 1947, issue of The Film Daily ran this item:

“Warner Opens in Salem, Ky.

“Salem, Ky. — The new Warner Theater here, built and owned by L. Conyer, has opened. The new modern streamlined 350-seater cost approximately $25,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ute Theatre on Sep 6, 2014 at 12:30 am

David and Noelle Soren’s piece about the Ute Theatre on their “Favorite Boller Theatres” page says that the Rialto, which dated to 1911, was razed for the construction of the Ute, which opened on June 12, 1935. Noelle’s research is usually pretty thorough. But I suppose it’s possible that the side walls of the Rialto were left standing. It’s costly to take down side walls in the middle of a block of old buildings as it can damage adjacent structures if it isn’t done carefully.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theatre on Sep 5, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Oops. Chosen was probably a typo on the page I was citing, and it was J. T. Ghosen to whom Gordon Phillips sold the Royal in 1929. I should have noticed that. That will teach me not to delay breakfast until so late in the morning (well, probably not.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Steuben Theatre on Sep 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm

The third thumbnail from the bottom in the right column on this web page shows the Steuben Theatre in 1939. This was the year it became a Warner house. It had a nice Streamline Modern marquee and glass tile front.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Babcock Theater on Sep 5, 2014 at 11:08 pm

The October 24, 1923, issue of the Hornell, New York Evening Tribune said that excavation had begun for the foundations of a theater to be built adjacent to the Bath National Bank in Bath. The bank is now called Five Star Bank, and is still standing at 44 Liberty Street. The building just north of it has the name Babcock on its parapet. The theater entrance was to have been in the middle bay of the building, so the address was most likely 48 Liberty Street.

The article said that Bath had been without a theater since the Park Theatre had burned down the previous year. The new house was to be operated by Associated Theatres, a circuit based in Rochester. This Facebook pagehas a photo showing part of the marquee of the Babcock Theatre advertising the 1939 film Union Pacific.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theater on Sep 5, 2014 at 11:02 pm

The April 3, 1940, issue of The Film Daily reported that Warner Brothers had dropped the Majestic Theatre in Hornell when their lease ran out, and operation of the house had reverted to the local owners, Mr. and Mrs. Fred F. Peters. The chain had leased the Steuben and Strand Theatres in Hornell in 1939, according to the April 10 issue of the Daily. The July 7, 1942, issue said that the Majestic had been acquired by Nikitas Dipson.

Scroll down this web page to find a photo of the Majestic, and another of an early storefront theater called the Lyric. Both houses were in operation in 1916.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Sep 5, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Scroll down this web page to see a 1939 photo of the Strand’s auditorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ozark Theater on Sep 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm

The Ozark was probably the unnamed theater in this brief item in the May 29, 1930, issue of The Sedalia Democrat:


J. Thomas Ghosen, of 1022 West Sixteenth street, has contracted to construct a $15,000 theatre at Eldon, Mo., and began work Monday. The plans and specifications were drawn by Leroy H. Parrish, of Jefferson City, Mo.“

Ghosen operated several theaters in central Missouri from the 1920s into the 1950s, some independently and some in partnership with the Commonwealth circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theatre on Sep 5, 2014 at 1:50 pm

The Uptown Theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1946 and replaced with anew house the following year. The January 10, 1947, issue of the The Film Daily ran this item:

“In Clinton, Mo., Frank Woodruff & Son, general contractors, are pushing construction of the new Uptown theater being erected by J. T. Goshen, of Sedalia, Mo. as a replacement for his theater destroyed by fire July 11… . New house will be a 700-seater.”
(The correct name of the owner was John T. Ghosen, not Goshen.) The May 16, 1947, issue of the Daily had this follow-up item:
“Clinton — F. W. Woodruff & Son, general contractors for the new theater being erected here for J. T. Goshen, who also operates the Uptown Theater in Sedalia, Mo., are receiving bids from sub-contractors for various kinds of work. The house, designed by Robert O. Boller, will cost upwards of $40,000. It will replace a theater destroyed by fire several months ago.”
The July 3 issue of the Daily said that “Aug. 15 has been set as the date for opening of J. T. Ghosen’s new theatre in Clinton, Mo.”

One thing I am wondering is if the Uptown was rebuilt at the same location, or if perhaps the new theater Ghosen had built to replace it was actually the Crest Theatre, which we have listed as the Heartland Community Theatre,opened in 1947? It would have been unusual for a town as small as Clinton to have two new 600+-seat theaters opened in one year as late as 1947, especially since the Lee Theatre was still in operation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Starzz Drive-In on Sep 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm

The October 15, 1948, issue of The Sedalia Weekly Democrat said that the contract had been let for grading at the site of the Sedalia Drive-In Theatre, which was expected to open the following spring. Uptown Theatre owner J. T. Ghosen was interested in the project. Ghosen operated a number of theaters in central Missouri on his own, but also operated several in partnership with the Commonwealth circuit.