Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about UA Quartet on Feb 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Boxoffice of August 30, 1971, has two pages about the UA Quartet. It includes a cutaway drawing showing how the four small auditoriums and new foyer had been arranged inside the gutted auditorium of the Roosevelt Theatre. There are also a few photos.

First page

Second page

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ohmann Theatre on Feb 9, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Here is the description of the new Ohmann Theatre that was published in the December 25, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Open Theater in Lyons.

In Lyons, N. Y., the new Ohmann moving picture theater was opened recently. This building was built for Ohmann Brothers, of Lyons, at a cost of $20,000. The new house is on the ground floor, located in the rear of the Wayne Press building in William street. The building is 80 by 60 and 35 feet high, and is reached from the street by a corridor 75 feet in depth with a canopy over the walk. The construction is of steel framework, covered with concrete and hollow tile. The floors are concrete and set with opera chairs. The main floor has a seating capacity of 800, and the balcony seats 175 more. The interior finish is of buff and oak.“

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm

As there is no place called South Chattanooga today, but this location is south of Chattanooga’s downtown, this item from the December 8, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture Worldis probably about this Strand Theatre:

“SOUTH CHATTANOOGA, TENN. — The Strand is the name of a new moving picture theater opened here by A. Solomon and A. J. Alper.”
The fire station that occupies the block now looks like it might have been built as long ago as the 1930s, so my guess would be that the Strand has been gone for a very long time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park 70 Theatre on Feb 9, 2015 at 2:58 pm

An article in the June 12, 1953, issue of The Mason City Globe-Gazette said that the Cecil Theatre opened on June 3, 1912.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dome Theatre on Feb 9, 2015 at 1:33 pm

The archives of the New York Architectural Terra Cotta Company also list Louis Boucherle & Son as architects of the Dome Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sun Theatre on Feb 9, 2015 at 12:49 pm

An article called Movie Theaters of Holdrege, by Patti Simpson (PDF here) says that the Sun Theatre opened in 1927 on the site of an earlier theater called the Crescent. The earlier history of the Crescent is a bit muddled, as there was a house of that name in operation by 1910, and probably in 1908, and it was at the Sun Theatre’s address. Simpson says that the Crescent Theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1924, and the Sun opened three years later at the same location. Old photos show that the front wall of both theaters was the same, so it’s possible that the Crescent was only gutted, though it might have lost its roof as well.

The building was either built, or perhaps merely enlarged, in 1915, when this item appeared in the December 4 issue of The Moving Picture World:“HOLDRIDGE [sic], NEB. — The Crescent is the name of a new moving picture theater opened here by L. C. Severns. It has seating capacity for 600 persons.”Simpson’s article says that an L. C. Severns bought the Crescent and another house called the Empress in 1914. It also cites a 1911 newspaper article saying that an A. J. Severn of Lincoln, Nebraska, had bought the Crescent early that year. The 1911 article might have simply gotten the newcomer’s name wrong.

The article mentions some other theaters in Holdrege, but doesn’t say if any were operating during the period between the burning of the Crescent and the opening of the Star, but there must have been at least one as Holdrege had a population of about 3,000 and was unlikely to have gone without a theater for so long. A house called the Majestic Theatre, later renamed the Magic Theatre, operated from 1927 until 1937. An earlier house Called the Empress opened in late 1912 or early 1913, and a house called the Sterling opened in 1908, but no closing dates are given for either. There were also two early houses called the Gay and the Edison, both apparently short-lived nickelodeons.

The article does not mention a theater called the Auditorium, which might have been a public facility but which hosted at least one movie, an event which was reported in the March 18, 1921, issue of The Film Daily. The Auditorium seated about 2,500, and almost the entire population of the town showed up for the single showing of the Cecil B. DeMille-Jesse Lasky production Something to Think About.

As for the Sun, it was taken over by Central States Theatres of Des Moines in 1937, along with the Magic Theatre, which the company closed. The Sun was operated by Central States until 1968, and then again briefly in 1970 until going independent again in July of that year. From 1971 until 2008, the house was operated by members of the Braner family. In December, 2008, the Sun was bought by the current owners, Strategic Community Investments Group LLC, who upgraded the house. SCIG is primarily a national residential real estate investment firm, so I doubt they operate the theater directly.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Theatre on Feb 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

Here’s an item from the December 4, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“YOUNGSTOWN, O. — A new fireproof moving picture theater, the Lincoln, located on Himrod avenue, between Murdock and Front streets, was recently opened to the public.”
Google Maps says the theater was between Murdock and Fruit, not Front, Streets.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Olympic Theater on Feb 8, 2015 at 6:37 pm

John Papulius, proprietor of the Olympic Theatre in Steubenville, was mentioned in the June, 1915, issue of The Ohio Architect, Engineer & Builder. Given that the theater was operated by a Greek, and Athenian is Greek, I have been wondering if this item from the February 14, 1914, issue of The Construction Record could be about the Olympic Theatre:


“Bids are now being taken on the construction of a one and two-story steel, brick and hollow tile building, to contain stores, offices and motion picture theatre at Steubenville, O., for the Athenian Amusement Company. Plans for the building were made by Architect Edward Bates Franzheim, Schmulbach building, Wheeling. The building will measure 60x115 feet and will contain two stores, four offices and theatre having a capacity of 700. Specifications will include ornamental iron, tile or terrazzo vestibule flooring, first floor flooring of concrete and second floor of white pine, metal ceilings, roof ribbed glass, patent store fronts, etc.”

The Olympic Theatre appears to have been the right size to have been the 1914 project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Penn Theatre on Feb 8, 2015 at 3:28 pm

The Orpheum Theatre in Altoona was built in 1908, but the site already had a theatrical history, noted in a 1990 publication about Altoona, Railroad City, from the National Park Service (Internet Archive scan):

“In 1887 Louis Plack built the Mountain City Theatre, a four-story brick building, on the corner of 11th Street and 12th Avenue; it burned in 1889 and was rebuilt as the Phoenix Block, an office building. In 1906 the building was converted back into a theater and reopened as the Lyric, managed by the Keith Vaudeville Company. Destroyed by fire in 1907, the theater was again rebuilt and subsequently named the Embassy, Penn, and Orpheum.”
Although this item in the March 7, 1908, issue of Variety doesn’t mention the name Orpheum, many later references indicate that the Orpheum was the Wilmer & Vincent house in Altoona until at least 1914:

“When the new vaudeville theatre opens at Altoona, Pa., on Monday, March 9th, it will be considered as one of the Wilmer & Vincent chain. The firm has been booking the attractions for the house. Under some arrangement entered into, Wilmer & Vincent hold an interest in the theatre, as well as Henry B. Harris, and others.”

The house was known as the Embassy Theatre by 1927, and most likely retained that name until becoming the Penn in 1933. The Penn Theatre was demolished in 1951.

This page at GenDisasters has a photo of the burned out Lyric Theatre, the Orpheum’s predecessor. I don’t know if any part of the Lyric building was incorporated into the Orpheum’s construction.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Olympic Theater on Feb 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Several construction trade journals from late 1914 indicate that the theater being built on Eleventh Avenue in Altoona for A. Notopoulos had been designed by the Altoona architectural firm of Shollar & Hersh. Frederick James Shollar and Frank Austin Hersh were among Altoona’s most successful architects during the first third of the twentieth century.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ohio Theater on Feb 8, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Although the Elks Club bought the gutted Opera House building in 1911, and had plans for rebuilding the theater by late 1912, the project was not completed until 1914. The house,originally leased to Gus Sun, opened as the Alhambra Theatre on November 9 that year. This web page has a photo showing part of the original entrance of the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Market Street Theatre on Feb 8, 2015 at 10:14 am

Items about a remodeling job at the Market Street Theatre appeared in the May 20, 1916, issue of The American Contractor. The project was designed by local architectural firm L. Boucherle & Son. Louis Boucherle and his son Paul established their partnership in 1911, according to the February 15 issue of The American Architect that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century Gateway 12 on Feb 7, 2015 at 11:18 pm

There are loads of photos at CinemaTour, which also says that the Century Gateway 12 opened on May 15, 1992.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century Cinema on Feb 7, 2015 at 1:12 pm

The Century Cinema in Corte Madera was opened in December, 1969, by Blumenfeld Theatres, in partnership with Cinerama Corporation of America, and was originally known as Cinema 1. The house featured a 56-foot curved screen and continental seating, and was designed by architect William B. David.

Anything but a typical shopping center theater of the period, the free-standing house on its raised podium, with its white columns and mansard roof, was designed to recall the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center (the Cinema 1’s front originally featured large windows which have since been filled in with red brick, greatly lessening the effect.) David was using a regional style that came to be called Hollywood Regency, which had been pioneered in the 1940s by architect John Elgin Woolf.

Hollywood Regency became a fad in the 1960s, especially in southern California, when block after block of Spanish style bunglows, Tudor and Norman cottages, and nondescript small office complexes around the region were remodeled and suddenly sprouted faux mansards, thick, arched window reveals, and non-functional shutters frequently painted in shades of pale blue, green, or gray, all in emulation of the pricey mansions Woolf had designed for a long list of people in show business. Even many of the dingbat apartment blocks that were put up at the time sported Hollywood Regency facades.

The style was rarely used for theaters, though, so the Century Cinema is a pretty rare type. It’s a bit ironic that it is going to be knocked down just when a revival of Hollywood Regency decor has gotten underway.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about AMC Loews Foothills 15 on Feb 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Local firm CDG Architects designed the 8-screen expansion of the Cineplex Foothills 7, according to this page at the web site of the builders, BFL Construction.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century Gateway 12 on Feb 7, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Like other Syufy/Century houses until 1996, the Century Gateway 12 was designed by architect Vincent G. Raney. The builders of the theater, BFL Construction, have three photos on this page of their web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century Park 16 on Feb 7, 2015 at 12:03 pm

The architect for both the original 12-screen Century Park Cinemas and the later expansion to 16 screens was Vincent G. Raney, architect for Syufy/Century Theatres until his retirement in 1996. Two photos from the 16-screen expansion can be seen on this page of the web site of BFL Construction.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kachina Theatre on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:59 pm

The architect of the Kachina Theatre was Ray Parrish, according to the article about the house in the April 10, 1961, issue of Boxoffice, which can be seen on this web page at

incinerama lacks internal links, so if anyone wants to explore the site here’s their front page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's Delancey Theatre on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:31 pm

AndrewBarrett: It has just occurred to me that johndousmanis was probably talking about standpipe pumps, which were part of a theater’s built-in firefighting equipment, required by law in New York. It wouldn’t have had anything to do with the organ. Standpipe is another name for a fire hydrant.

theatrefan: I’ve just noticed in Street View that there is a white square with an X through it painted on the front wall of the theater, with the words “ABOVE STORE.” I wonder if that could be an indication that the building is vacant above the first floor? It’s quite possible that in this neighborhood, which was very low rent for a long time, only the ground floor was ever converted for other uses.

No new windows have been cut into the upper parts of the walls, so it certainly wasn’t converted into offices. In fact a few old windows (maybe for the mezzanine lounge, manager’s office, or rest rooms) that must have been part of the original design have been sealed up. I’d say the chances are pretty good that something remains of the upper part of the theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beverly Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 1:20 pm

A brief item in the April 21, 1971, issue of Bloomington, Illinois' daily paper The Pantagraph noted the death of architect J. Fletcher Lankton and said that he had “….designed Peoria’s Varsity and Beverly theaters as well as numerous other theaters in the Midwest.” So far I’ve been able to identify only one of those numerous other theaters, that being the Esquire in Springfield, Illinois. Kerasotes was a partner in the Esquire, along with Frisina Theatres. As George Kerasotes hired Lankton for two of his own projects, it seems very likely that some of those other theaters he designed were also Kerasotes houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 1:05 pm

The January 15, 1938, issue of The Film Daily notes that the Esquire Theatre was owned by the “Frisina Kerasotes Circuit,” so the two chains were partners in this theater from the beginning. The article also says that the Esquire, which cost &150,000, was designed by Peoria architect J. Fletcher Lankton. There is also this description of the original appearance of the theater:

“The front of the house is built of Vitrolite glass bricks and ivory structural glass with chromium strips. The sidewalk is done in colored terrazo [sic] and the marquee embraces a combination of four colored neons and flashing lights.”
Judging from that, the Streamline Modern Esquire might have resembled the Varsity Theatre in Peoria, which Lankton designed for Kerasotes Theatres in 1939.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fiesta Theatre on Feb 5, 2015 at 2:31 am

The Autumn, 2009, issue of the Jackson County Historical Society’s quarterly journal had an article about Kansas City’s neighborhood theaters (PDF here.) It says that the Lindbergh Theatre opened on Christmas Day, 1928. The theater had a $25,000 Robert Morton organ, and was built for Abe Baier, who also operated the Bagdad Theatre. The house was named for aviator Charles Lindbergh. The auditorium had been built behind a row of existing stores which were remodeled in the Spanish style then popular.

In December, 1941, the house was renamed Fiesta Theatre. It operated until May, 1953. In August of that year Baier leased the building to the operator of a dance hall, and after remodeling and the leveling of the floor it was opened as the Town Hall ballroom. The ballroom was still operating in the early 1970s, but the building had been demolished by 1980.

An item in the August 6, 1928, issue of the perpetually frustrating trade journal The Film Daily gave the name of the architect of Baier’s new theater as C. F. Cons, but the Internet provides no other references to an architect of that name. I suspect that this was yet another of the magazine’s plethora of typos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 1:41 am

The original Royal Theatre in Pacific was in operation by 1913, and was frequently mentioned in the Pacific Transcript. The paper also noted in its issue of August 24, 1928, that construction had started on the new Royal Theatre. The August 6 issue of The Film Daily had reported that St. Louis architectural firm Gill & Jackson had prepared the plans for the new theater about to begin construction at Pacific.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Millwald Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 1:22 am

The August 6, 1928, issue of The Film Daily said that the “Millward” Theatre in Wytheville, Virginia, was nearing completion.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metropolitan Theater on Feb 5, 2015 at 12:58 am

The Metropolitan Theatre was built in 1928. The March 5 issue of the Fitchburg Sentinal said that owner Frank Tragia had leased the house, still under construction, to an unnamed operating company.

There is a photo of the Metropolitan Theatre on page 70 of Thomas K. Hazzard and Diane M. Sanabria’s Leominster (Google Books preview.)

The July 15, 1928, issue of The Film Daily said that the theater being built at Leominster by Frank Tragia had been designed by a Worcester architect named John S. Balzara. I’ve been unable to find any other references to an architect of that name, or even of any similar name, and I think that the magazine might have gotten it wrong. Maybe somebody familiar with architects of the period in the region can figure it out.