Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Point Theatre on Apr 7, 2014 at 9:53 am

lalain: The construction of a balcony is always a possibility. It’s also possible that there was always a balcony or gallery of some sort, but the operator chose not to use it until business picked up, and then it was opened, or maybe a new operator took over the house and opened it. It’s also possible that Film Daily got the count wrong, and later adjusted it up or down. I don’t know where the Yearbooks got their seat counts, but I suspect that it was from either the theater operators or managers, or from the film distributors. I think some of them just didn’t bother to make an accurate count, or just didn’t report it correctly. I know that there were a lot of mistakes in the books.

There’s also a possible explanation for why a theater would drop out of the Yearbook’s reports even though movies were still being shown there. The Yearbooks only counted commercial theaters that got their movies from regular distributors. There used to be a company that rented 16mm prints of movies to individuals, schools, civic organizations, clubs, and towns without regular theaters. I went into their office on Hollywood Boulevard once in the early 1960s and picked up one of their catalogs, but I can’t remember the name of the company. There might have been other such companies in other parts of the country. It’s possible that after the Point Theatre was no longer viable as a commercial theater, some civic group began renting movies to show. They would not have been allowed to charge for admission (the company would rent films only to non-profit groups), but they could have accepted donations from the patrons.

Also, the Stone Opera House was definitely in Binghamton. It is listed at Cinema Treasures under its later name, the Riviera Theatre. But it’s also quite possible that the hall the Point Theatre was in was also called the Opera House when it was built. It might sound pretentious today, but in the 19th century every small town wanted an opera house, and when they built any sort of public hall that’s what they would call it, more often than not.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Apr 6, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I don’t think the Capitol Theatre has been demolished. The last photo on this page of Dyersburg Street scenes shows the Capitol on the east side of Main Avenue in the second building south of Market Street.

The address of the building at that location, now housing the offices of a law firm, is 202 S. Main Avenue, and the building does look old, though the brick of the facade has been carefully restored and repointed. The theater entrance has been closed up with brick matching the old structure, but it is slightly lighter in color. If you go south of the building and look along the side it looks like the stage house is still there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Frances Theatre on Apr 6, 2014 at 6:39 pm

It would be worth the trouble of getting good grades to have a theater named after you.

I think the Palace must have been at the northeast corner of Court Street and Mill Avenue, opposite the town’s “skyscraper.” The building there has the same pedimented parapet on the front, although the whole structure has been plastered over, losing all its nice brick and stone details.

The photos of the Ritz don’t give enough context to tell where it was, though they show that it had buildings on both sides.

The last photo on page three of the “Street Scenes” collection shows the Capitol Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Frances Theatre on Apr 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm

The “Theater Gossip” column of the September 26, 1932 issue of the St. Petersburg, Florida, Evening Independent said that, on October 3, the “Francis” Theatre in Dyersburg, Tennessee would be the site of the world premier of the movie The Cabin in the Cotton, which was based on a novel of the same name by Dyersburg native Henry Harrison Kroll (scan at Google News.)

I’ve seen this theater referred to as the Francis as often as it is the Frances, including by angelamatlock, whose father once operated the theater, in an earlier comment here. Does anyone have a photo of the marquee, or a scan of an advertisement for the house?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema 4 on Apr 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm

When AMC sold the Cinema 4 to a local investment group, there was a stipulation that the building would never again be used as a movie theater, according to this article at the web site of NBC TV affiliate WPSD.

The former theater has since been converted into a gun shop and indoor firing range, so I guess it still sounds like movies are being shown in it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Apr 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

The Facebook account “Greenville Texas Revisited” has an album of theater and theater-related images here (if the link works, Facebook being Facebook.) There are photos of the Texan, the Crystal, the Opera House, the Rialto, and the Lyric.

The caption to the Lyric photo says that it had two locations. The one in the photo was on Stonewall Street, just south of Washington. It doesn’t say which of the two theaters was earlier, but the hats and dresses on the women in the photo look to be from the 1910s, so the Lee Street location, having been called the Savoy in the 1910s, must have been the second Lyric.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aurora Theatre on Apr 5, 2014 at 10:09 am

And there is the very photo on our page!

This is a Google Street View of the location I think the Aurora Theatre might have been.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aurora Theatre on Apr 5, 2014 at 10:02 am

The April, 2011, issue of a publication called The Town Flyer has a photo of the Aurora Theatre on page 22 (embedded PDF at a site called ReadBag here.) The author of the caption is under the impression that the Nixon and the Aurora were the same theater. The photo is definitely the Aurora, though.

The caption says that the theater was at the foot of Starr Road. There are no buildings resembling the theater in that area today, but there is a building resembling the neighbor to the left of the theater in the photo. In current Google street view it is occupied by a hair salon called Style Unlimited, which is at either 754 or 758 Little Deer Creek Valley Road (web sites disagree.)

The lot next door, where the theater could have been, is vacant. The side wall of the surviving building has the stair-step pediment of the neighbor in the photo, and shows signs of having had the same decorative strip along the front parapet (street view is a bit blurry, and the building facade itself looks badly weathered.) My guess is that the Aurora Theatre has been demolished, but someone local should probably confirm the location before we say that it has.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Los Angeles Theatre on Apr 5, 2014 at 8:40 am

Wrong theater, gd14lawn. The theater at the Ace Hotel, where CS&N are playing tonight, is the Theatre at the Ace Hotel (former United Artists Theatre) a few blocks south of the Los Angeles Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Apr 4, 2014 at 10:28 pm

A contretemps in Greenville reported in the October 17, 1934, issue of Motion Picture Daily:

“Greenville Amusement Co., operating the Rialto and Colonial, Greenville, Texas, complained against the Jefferson Amusement Co. and East Texas Theatres, Inc., Beaumont, on overbuying.

“A. W. Lilly, complainant ; J. C. Clemmons, president of Jefferson; J. M. Gordon, attorney for Jefferson; and Otis U. Sullivan of East Texas were on hand for the hearing.”

Jefferson Amusement/East Texas Theatres, Paramount affiliates, operated the Texan and Rita Theatres in Greenville. The grievance board found in favor of Greenville Amusement, and Jefferson appealed, which occasioned this longer article from the October 22 issue of MPD:
“Texan Worried Over Overbuying Appeal

“Fears that Jefferson Amusement Co. of Beaumont, Tex., will invade towns of from 8,000 to 15,000 population if an overbuying decision against the company is reversed by Campi on appeal were expressed by Jack Lilly, president of Greenville Theatre Corp., prior to his return to Texas.

“Lilly stated that the Dallas grievance board’s decision in favor of the Greenville company which filed the overbuying complaint against Jefferson was unanimous and if Code Authority reverses the verdict of the local board Jefferson will bottle up independents in towns ranging from 8,000 to 15,000.

“‘A theatre must have a split of major first run product in small towns and cannot exist without it,’ Lilly said. He said he also feared a price war between ‘A’ and ‘B’ houses if independents cannot get major films.

“‘If we cannot get top line product we will be forced to cut admissions to meet competition from theatres showing major output. Subsequently the 'A’ houses will reduce their prices to meet ours until we are licked,‘ he asserted.

“‘Independents in Texas are vitally interested in the action of Campi on this case,’ he added. ‘We have been in Greenville for 15 years. Along comes Jefferson, builds a new theatre in the town and takes away major product. If they can do this in Greenville and get away with it they will continue the same procedure elsewhere,’ Lilly said.

“Code Authority will hand down a decision on this appeal on Oct. 25.”

I was unable to find anything about the outcome of the appeal in later issues of the magazine. In any case, Jefferson Amusement did eventually take over Jack Lilly’s Greenville theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rita Theatre on Apr 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Have we got the right location for the Rita Theatre? The last comment (by Jawaha75243) on this photo of the Texan Theatre at Flickr says that “…the Rita… was the first building to the east of Kress right across from the courthouse.” That would put the Rita at the northwest corner of Lee and Johnson Streets, a block east of Stonewall Street. That lot is now the site of an outdoor café associated with the Landon Winery, which has taken over the old Kress building. I’ve been unable to find any other references to the location of the Rita Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Apr 4, 2014 at 11:36 am

An article titled “Touring Texas Small Towns” in the September 30, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World has a paragraph about E.J. Lamkin, operator of the Savoy:

“At Greenville I found to my surprise that the city had turned around since my last visit there five years ago. E. J. Lamkin, who is perhaps the oldest exhibitor in Texas, has for numerous years back been the leading amusement man in this city. I do not recall any man in the business who has been at it longer than Lamkin. He opened the first show in Greenville about fifteen years ago, and has had first one and then sometimes two and sometimes three shows at one time there. Since five years ago the business part of town has shifted several blocks leaving what was once the old Savoy Theatre now away off on a side street. Needless to say it is not there now. Mr. Lamkin has built one of the most magnificent little theatres in Texas in the heart of the city. It is the most perfectly ventilated place I was ever in and he has two expert musicians with some kind of musical contrivance that furnishes the best music I have ever listened to. It sounds really like an orchestra and yet there are but two musicians, but they are certainly artists. I understand that these are not bought contrivances but were invented by the&e two geniuses. Mr. Lamkin also has another theatre across the street and his competition houses are run by a local corporation. These houses were formerly managed by Johnny Jones, now of Amarillo, but I was unable to find the present manager while in Greenville, as it was very late at night. All the theatres in Greenville are up-to-date as befits one of the most up-to-date little cities in Texas. Cement roads extend for ten miles in every direction and I could still see the bright glow of Greenville even when I was forty miles away.”
The March 18 issue of MPW had mentioned an E. J. Lumpkin, operating the Colonial Theatre in Greenville. An item in the local newspaper in 1921 refers to a Mrs. E. J. Lamkin, so I would imagine that is the correct spelling. The Colonial Theatre was at 2608 Lee, so it was probably the house “across the street” from the Savoy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Apr 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

The Savoy Theatre in Greenville, Texas, was playing vaudeville in early 1920, as noted in the January 31 issue of The Billboard.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rita Theatre on Apr 4, 2014 at 10:44 am

The Rita Theatre is mentioned in the October 17, 1934, issue of Motion Picture Daily. The Rita was operated by Otis U. Sullivan in partnership with J. C. Clemmons' Jefferson Amusement Company. Sullivan and Jefferson Amusement also operated the Texan Theatre at Greenville. The company was a Paramount affiliate.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theatre on Apr 4, 2014 at 9:54 am

The earliest (and only) mention of the Colonial Theatre on this timeline of Greenville history is November 16, 1914, when the house presented the first amateur movie made in Greenville.

The Colonial Theatre was mentioned in the March 18, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. E. J. Lumpkin was the operator.

The Greenville Morning Herald had advertisements for the Colonial and two other movie theaters on this page of its issue of October 2, 1918.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Monte Theatre on Apr 4, 2014 at 8:27 am

Google Street View shows that the modern address where the El Monte Theatre’s entrance used to be is 11006 Valley Mall. Current ground floor tenants are a pharmacy and what might be a clothing outlet or might be a garment industry sweatshop, or maybe both.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fremont Theatre on Apr 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

The January 16, 1939, issue of The Film Daily reported that a new theater being built at Fremont, Michigan, for Harold Hedler would be completed about March 1. The architect was Joseph Krenek, who was also the contractor. The 468-seat house opened as the Oz Theatre, and was listed under that name in the Film Daily Yearbook at least as late as 1970. Sometime between then and 1982, when this photo was taken, it was renamed the Fremont Theatre. Its site is now partly occupied by a pedestrian passage to the parking lot behind the shops along the block.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Frolic Theater on Apr 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm

The fire at the Frolic Theatre in April, 1943, is confirmed by an article in the January 6, 1944, issue of The Film Daily. The Frolic was one of the theaters suffering a fire the previous year that had received permission from the War Production Board to rebuild. This is the portion of the article dealing with the Frolic:

“The second approval was for reconstruction of the Frolic Theater, Midland, Mich., owned by W. A. Cassidy of that city. Cost for repair of extensive fire damage to this 1,008-seat theater, which occurred last April, is estimated at $21,500. In justifying this application OCR pointed out that booth equipment and second hand chairs were on hand, that the Midland area now has a population of 20,000 with an additional 5,000 expected. (Dow Chemical has a large plant in Midland). Little additional critical material is required and the local labor situation is reported favorable, with all public utility connections available.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loma Theatre on Apr 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm

The Loma Theatre was rebuilt in 1944 following a disastrous fire the previous April. The delay was the result of wartime restrictions on civilian construction projects. The January 6, 1944, issue of The Film Daily said:

“Approval was granted by WPB also for construction to replace a burned theater at Coloma, Mich., With Mrs. Louis Alquire permitted to erect a new 584-seat house. The fire there occurred last April, too. Coloma, site of several important food processing factories, is now without pix facilities, and the theater has served, in fact, as the only public hall in the town. Omission of marquise was recommended. Booth and sound equipment is on hand, with opera chairs to be second hand and rebuilt. There is no great difficulty on materials or labor, and utilities connections are available.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Fremont Theatre on Apr 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm

In the 1939 Film Daily Yearbook, Fremont has a house called the Ideal, with 300 seats. In 1940, it has houses called the New, with 300 seats, and the Oz, with 468 seats. The Oz is the house at (approximately) 32 West Main, and the New must be the Ideal renamed, and is probably house at 7 East Main. Its marquee in the period photos says New Fremont on it. Both the Oz and the New are listed in FDY through 1947, but in 1948 only the Oz is listed, so the New Fremont must have closed in 1947 or 1948.

The Ideal Theatre is listed in the FDY as far back as 1926 (the first year the Yearbook provided a complete list of theaters,) but was in operation earlier. It was mentioned in multiple issues of Michigan Film Review in 1918. I haven’t discovered how much earlier the Ideal existed. A theater was operating in Fremont by 1915, when a movie and vaudeville house called the Lyric was gutted by a fire, as reported in the December 8 issue of The Moving Picture World. It could be that the Lyric reopened as the Ideal.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Fremont Theatre on Apr 3, 2014 at 10:23 am

There were at least two houses called the Fremont Theatre in Fremont. The one in the photo Lost Memory linked to in the previous comment was the second. It was on West Main Street (approximately 32 W.,) and has been demolished. The theater in the photo at the top of our page was the older one (though its marquee says New Fremont on it) and its building is still standing at 7 E. Main Street, now housing the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce. I’ve set Street View to that location.

Fremont also had a small multiplex called the Fremont Cinemas, located at 1027 W. Main Street, last operated by NorthStar Cinemas, but it closed a couple of years ago.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Boone Theatre on Apr 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm

The January 27, 1939, issue of The Film Daily had the Boone Theatre in Columbia,Missouri, on its “Theatres Planned” list. The projected cost of the 400-seat house was only $10,000. Judging from that, and the photo we have, I suspect that this was an old building being converted into a theater on a low budget. It might even have been an old theater long closed being reopened under a new name. The item said that the architect for the project was named Dick O'Rear.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Monte Theatre on Apr 2, 2014 at 8:34 pm

ArchitectDB says there is a “d” in the architect’s name: Heitschmidt. He worked on some pretty impressive projects, but usually as the associate of some better known lead architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Apr 2, 2014 at 8:22 pm

The Park Theatre was on the “Theaters Planned” list in the January 16, 1939, issue of The Film Daily:

“Fargo— Park, 300 seats, 504 Front St.; Builder: H. C. Aamoth; Architect: Joe Rosette; Operator: Gordon Aamoth.”
I can’t find anything about Joe Rosette on the Internet. Rosette is a real surname, or I’d be inclined to think the magazine had made a mistake.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Apr 2, 2014 at 3:51 pm

The Strand must have been the Schine house listed in the “Theaters Planned” column of the January 16, 1939, issue of The Film Daily: “Oswego, West Second St.; Builder: Schine Theater Corp.; Architect: J. Eberson; Cost: $200,000.”