Showing 76 - 100 of 374 comments found
(Sheboygan Press, August 16, 1933)
Edward Benjil, formerly manager of the Fox theatre, has been appointed manager of the Orpheum theatre at Kenosha.
(Ludington Daily News, April 18, 1926)
FIREPROOF THEATER ASSURED LUDINGTON
Foltz & Co. of Chicago, Contractors, to Start This Week with Local Labor.
MODERN AND ATTRACTIVE BUILDING ON LYRIC SITE
Manager F. W. Hawley Announces New Home for Movie and Legitimate Drama.
Construction of Ludington’s new theater is scheduled to start this week.
Announcement that the contract has been awarded to Foltz & Co. of Chicago was made to The News Saturday by Frank W. Hawley, manager and stockholder.
To Have Large Stage.
Blue prints in Mr. Hawley’s office call for a fireproof structure, 50 feet in width on James street and running west 150 feet. Although to be devoted principally to movies, the new theater will be equipped to handle large productions with a stage 23 feet deep and full width of the building.
“The theater will be constructed as near fireproof as it is possible to make a building,” said Mr. Hawley. “It will be built of brick, stone, steel and concrete, with concrete roof and floors and tile partitions.
“Foltz & Co. are architects and builders of theaters. This firm has built theaters for Fitzpatrick, McElroy & Co. in Three Rivers and Alpena and is now erecting a combined theater, bank and store building for Fitzpatrick-McElroy in Chicago. The superintendent, E. J. Heckel, was here last week and wi11 return to start work this week.
Employ Local Labor.
“All local labor available will be employed.”
The front of the new theater will be attractive. It will have a height of two stories, with face brick and cut stone. There will be a marquise extending across the front over the sidewalk.
The lobby will be 20 by 40 feet. Off one side will be a ladies' waiting room and dressing room. On the opposite side will be the manager’s office and men’s wash room.
Details of the finishing and decorating of the lobby have to be worked out. Mr. Hawley says no pains will be spared to make it beautiful and to develop something out of the ordinary.
Just inside the entrance doors will be a series of boxes. The seats of the theater will be comfortable and roomy. There will be no balcony. The house will seat approximately 1.000.
Pipe Organ Equipment.
The orchestra pit will not accommodate a large orchestra but will have a place for the player of the pipe organ, which will be built with tubes on either side of the house.
Stage dressing rooms, furnace room, coal room, etc., will be located in the basement at the west side of the building. Access to the theater may be had by a 40-foot entrance off Loomis street and a 30-foot entrance from the alley to the south. “The contract calls for the completion of the theater by October first,” concluded Mr. Hawley.
The Lyric was closed March 26, 1926.
(Oakland Tribune, SUNDAY NOVEMBER 16, 1924)
New Theater at Elmhurst Opens on November 20
Magnificent Granada Theater Has Big Seating Capacity; Unique Features
The Granada Theater, a new motion picture palace located in the heart of East Oakland on East Fourteenth street at Eighty-ninth avenue, will he dedicated by Mayor Davie Thursday evening, November 20, it is announced.
The new theater will be operated by the Golden State Theatre and Realty Corporation, of which Robert A. McNeil is president with which corporation will be associated. John Peters, for the last ten years owner of the two smaller theaters now serving this territory
known as the Elmhurst district. L. J. and J. C. Toffelmier. pioneer
business men of Elmhurst, are the builders and owners of the theater.
With a seating capacity of 1200 persons, the Granada will be one of the most comfortable and modern motion picture theaters in the Eastbay region. It has been planned wiih the idea in view of providing every convenience for patrons in surroundings that are at
the same time luxurious and beautiful. To gain this end the builders have dealt most lavishly with the interior.
Upon entering the theater through a double row of doors, the patron will find himself in a broad, heavily carpeted lobby. From the lobby one ascends to the balcony by stairways at right and left or may enter the main auditorium through curtain-draped arches.
The full dimensions of the auditorium are immediately revealed, as the balcony projects but a short distance over the rear seat sections. Among the striking details are the lighting fixtures suspended from the ceiling. The larger fixtures are seven feet in diameter, provide a dual colored lighting effect and are of cathedral art glass and mica construction. Another bold feature which strikes the eye at once is the richly ornamented curtain which may be drawn across the screen. In harmony with the Spanish atmosphere of the Granada, a rakish Spanish galleon is emblazoned upon this curtain.
Gay drapes are used throughout, and the painter’s artistic brush has traced delicate murals in the niches behind herioc-sized vases set into the side walls.
An interesting old coat of arms is used as a decorative design in
one part of the lobby. A new plaster treatment in the main auditorium
creates a most unusual effect. The main lighting for the auditorium is derived from concealed cornice troughs which permit the light to spread out over the decorated areas of the walls and ceiling in a pleasing manner.
A $26,000 Wurlitzer Hope-Jones organ of the newest type which in the hands of a skilled organist can mimic the human voice or a full
symphony orchestra, has been installed. The heating and ventilating
systems are of the most approved designs and everything has been installed in the operating room equipment to give a perfectly
projected picture upon the screen.
Wicker love chairs, with overstuffed leather cushions, will provide
the utmost comfort.
Topping the building will be a huge electric sign which will be visible for dozens of blocks in every direction.
The Granada Theater forms the nucleus for a new business center
in Klmhurst. it is believed by the men who have made their investment
at this location, it is geographically about midway between the terminals of the new street paving recently authorized for East Fourteenth street from Melrose to San Leandro, a distance of about five miles. For this purpose the city of Oakland and Alameda county have appropriated $300,0OO.
Besides the mayor, Commissioner Frank Colbourn and other city officials will participate in Thursday night’s dedication of the
new Granada. An elaborate program of motion pictures, music and other numbers is being prepared for the opening night’s two performances.
Many Other Eastbay Theaters Operated; More to Be Built by Company,
The opening of the Granada theater in the Elmhurst district
Thursday night, November 20, will add a new link to a huge chain of
more than fifty affiliated theaters in California.
The Granada, under direction of the Golden State Theater and
Realty corporation, will be in the hands of the men who with associated corporations also operate the State, Broadway, Varsity,
Rialto, Lincoln, Palace, Fremont, Casino, Fruitvale and two Alameda
Three additional neighborhood theaters in Oakland, of a class similar to the Granada, were announced recently by Mortimer Thomas, treasurer of the Golden State. One theater of 1500 seats capacity will be built on East Fourteenth street, near 38th avenue, in
the Fruitvale district. Another, also seating 1500 persons, will be
built on Park Boulevard at East Eighteenth street in the Lake
Merritt district. The third theater, for 1200 persons, will be located in the Diamond district, East Oakland, at Fruitvale avenue and Hopkins street.
In San Francisco, Robert A. McNeil, president of the Golden State
Theater and Realty corporation, and associates has just bought four
neighborhood theaters comprising the group serving the North Beach
part of the city. A magnificent new theater in the Sunset district
will be commenced by the same corporation January 1.
John Peters, owner for ten years of the two theaters in the vicinity
of the Granada, has an interest in the new theater, wherein he will
preside as manager. The Granada will add new responsibilities
for Charles H. Moser, district manager for the Eastbay theaters of the Golden State Theater and Realty corporation, main offices of which are at 150 Leavenworth street, San Francisco.
(Opening program: “The Border Legion” with Antonio Moreno; Larry Semon in “Kid Speed”; “Felix the Cat”; and “News Weekly”. Baby Boynton, child organist, playted the Granada organ.)
(Hammond Times, August 17, 1935)
INDIANA THEATRE REOPENS WITH MIDNITE PREVIEW
Change of Policy with Matinees Every Day Announced
Milt Herth, Popular Organist, Here for Premiere
At eleven-thirty o'clock tonite the curtain will rise on an event of community wide interest â€" the midnite reopening preview performance of the Neva Indiana Theatre. The reopening follows a week of supreme achievement with scores of skilled craftsmen redecorating the theatre â€" and with the country’s foremost engineers installing the New Miracle of the Talkies â€" Western Electric Wide Range Sound Reproduction. This is the only theatre in Northern Indiana with this latest sound improvement which reproduces every sound in its natural tone. The opening program which will be presented at both the midnite premiere tonite and all day tomorrow Sunday offers several
hours of complete enjoyment. Milt Herth, popular local and Chicago organist who has gained wide acclaim for many years in this territory, will preside at the Grand Wurlitzer Console. He has
prepared a special selection of hit songs which promises to keep the city humming for weeks to come.
Probably the year’s most tuneful musical comedy has been selected as the main screen feature for the occasion â€" “In Caliente.” This production heralds the return to pictures by Dolores Del Rio. Pat
O'Brien, Glenda Farrell, Edward Everett Horton all add to the glamor, melody and comedy of this hit picture. The Da Marcos, sensational dancers until recently featured at the Palmer House in Chicago, execute a number of applause provoking specialties. Walt Disney, creator of “Three Little Pigs,” offers his latest and finest achievement, an all technicolor cartoon â€" Mickey Mouse in “The Band Wagon."
Other interesting subjects and the latest News Events round out an opening program which will be a fitting tribute to the reopening of the theatre which is destined to be the pride of the Calumet region.
The New Indiana offers a new policy providing a long felt need in East Chicago â€” Matinee performances every day of the week running continuously from one to eleven-thirty o'clock. In spite of the fact that many thousands of dollars have been put into the improvements,
the New Indiana announces that there will be NO ADVANCE IN ITS POPULAR LOW ADMISSION SCALE. Matinees Monday to Saturday to 6:30 p.m.
20c, after 6:30 p.m. 25c; Sundays and Holidays the seats will be 20c till 3 p.m. and 25c after 3 p.m. Admission to children at all times will be 10c.
The opening week is replete with splendid programs. On Monday and Tuesday Joe E. Brown will appear in Ring Lardner’s sidesplitting comedy, “Alibi Ike.” The regular Monday evening Bank Nite Award will be held on the stage of the theatre. On Wednesday Karloff appears in Edgar Allen Poe’s weird narrative, “The Raven.” On the same program the patrons will enjoy the fifth elimination contest to select Miss East Chicago. This presentation will take place on the stage at 8:30 p.m. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the screen’s most glamorous stars, Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery, will appear in the stage and screen success, “No More Ladies.”
It is the sincere wish of the Lake County Times that the New Indiana Theatre prosper and continue to be one of the finest institutions of entertainment in the Calumet district.
MAYOR ROONEY ACCLAIMS NEW INDIANA THEATRE
Calumet Region! TO THE PEOPLE OF LAKE COUNTY
WHEREAS: It has been brought to my attention that the remodeled and newly decorated INDIANA THEATRE is about to reopen its doors.
AND WHEREAS: The management of that institution has seen fit to go to the extreme in its efforts to give to the people of our city something more than just a theatre â€" but a breathing, living
symbol of its confidence in our support.
AND WHEREAS: I am officially assured that we will continue to be favored with especially fine programs â€" embellished with the “New Miracle of the Talkies â€” Western Electric Wide Range Sound Reproduction.
THEREFORE, I, as Chief Executive of the city of East Chicago, on behalf of the new Indiana Theatre, do hereby request the cognizance of each and every citizen of our community in the praiseworthy
project of this institution.
ANDREW ROONEY, Mayor
(Racine Journal-News, September 20, 1915)
Arrested In Illinois
Harry G. Smith, jr., who cut a wide swath in Kenosha some months ago as manager of the Orpheum theatre on East Market street and who left the city without any previous announcement and left a number of worthless checks behind him, has been arrested at Moline, Ill., on charges of grand larceny. The former Kenosha theatre manager surrendered himself to the police at Moline Friday and it is declared that he gave up when he found that the Moline officials were tightening a web of guilt about him. He is charged with stealing an automobile valued at three thousand dollars from T. F. Wharton, one of the officials of the Deere Harvesting company at Moline. The automobile was stolen on the night of Saturday, May 22. The machine was recovered at Farmington, Ill., some days later and efforts had been made to repaint to prevent its being identified. Smith gave bonds of $1,500 following his arrest and he was held to the September grand jury.
(Racine Journal Times, March 29, 1948)
State Theater Being Remodeled
Remodeling of the State Theater, started some weeks ago, is expected to be completed soon.
Jack Yeo, operator of both of the Burlington theaters, said the interior of the theater will be completely remodeled. New sound equipment, a new screen and an air conditioning plant will be installed.
The floor of the lobby and the aisles will be newly carpeted and all of the seats repaired. The front of the building also will be renovated.
It is planned, Yeo said, to operate the State at least five nights a week. Up until now the theater has only been open on Saturday and Sunday nights.
(Racine Journal Times, January 13, 1950)
Downtown Theater Changes Hands
Two Ohio men announced today that they have bought the Mainstreet Theater business and will attempt to bring back vaudeville to Racine.
New owners of the Mainstreet are Joseph J. Lee of Dayton and Alvin Slutz of Cincinnati. They bought the Mainstreet from Standard Theaters of Milwaukee. The building itself, however, continues to be owned by the Advance-Mainstreet Corp., also of Milwaukee.
Lee and Slutz said they will retain the same name on theater, but are changing the policy to make the Mainstreet a family theater, with pictures suitable for family entertainment. They will introduce vaudeville with programs twice a month. The first vaudeville bill will be presented on Jan. 27, 28 and 29. Jerome (Jerry) Slutz, who has been managing a drive-in theater in Cincinnati, will be the new
manager of the Mainstreet. He is the son of Alvin Slutz. His father has been in the theater business since 1914. The new owners said they would paint, redecorate and renovate the Mainstreet. They will make the theater available on short notice to civic organizations planning dramatic or musical entertainment.
(Racine Journal Times editorial, March 4, 1954)
Must Face Cold Reality In Theater Project Here
By interesting coincidence an announcement was made in Milwaukee this week that one landmark of show business in southern Wisconsin is to be destroyed, while there is talk of reviving another, the Mainstreet Theater in Racine.
Owners of the old Davidson, one of the last legitimate theaters in this part of the state, revealed that the historic house will be razed soon to make way for a department store parking building. The Davidson’s demise will leave only the Pabst Theater, which is even older and more rickety, as a suitable place for legitimate drama, orchestra, ballet, opera and musical productions.
Racine’s Mainstreet, another theater in the “opera house” tradition, (although it was a movie house for most of its later years), seemed headed for the same fate. It has been closed for some time, and it is not in excellent condition. However, during the last few weeks there has been increasing interest in reviving the old building as a sort of cooperative civic theater. A recent meeting on the proposal to re-open the theater, sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, showed a surprising amount of interest from groups and individuals who are to study the possibilities.
But before civic enthusiasm project gets too hot, there should be a note of warning sounded: It will take more than enthusiasm and wishful thinking to reopen the old theater, put it in condition to operate and keep it open. It will take planning, organization, and hard, cold cash. How much of the latter no one knows accurately, and neither does anyone know where that cash is coming from. There has been some talk of $100,000 or $125,000 to buy the building and put it into condition, but that figure is not yet even an educated guess. The total cost will depend on a structural inspection of the building, as well as an inventory of its assets and needs. A realistic financial appraisal of needs should be the first step in the project.
It’s original name was the SUPERBA Theatre and was still under that name until at least mid-June of 1911, according to local newspapersm and probably a bit later as well.
(Ruthven Free Press, February 11, 1948)
W. R. ARNDT GETS LOT FOR THEATER
Will Build Theater Building on Lot Donated by Chamber of Commerce
The site of the former theatre in Ruthven has been turned over to W. R. Arndt, who has agreed to put up and operate a theater. The Chamber of Commerce purchased this lot some weeks ago with the intention of giving it to someone who would build a theatre building.
Plans for the new building call for a 40 by 80 foot all-steel building with a maroon porcelain front. The main entrance will be located in the middle of the front of the building, and the interior will be of sufficient size to accommodate 323 seats. Work on the new theatre building will start as soon as some of the construction material arrives.
The old theater building in Ruthven was destroyed by fire early last May, and the town has been without moving pictures since then, except for several weeks during the summer when shows were held at the school gymnasium.
(February 4, 1937)
Legion Theater Opens at Ruthven
Tuesday afternoon and night marked the opening of the American Legion theater which has been completely rebuilt following the fire last July. Since that time Ruthven has been without a show house. L. W. Nolan, who operated the establishment for two and one half years, has again leased the building and will have a show each night.
The members of Ruthven Post No. 33 of the American Legion sold tickets for the opening date at $1.00 each. The proceeds from the ticket sale will be added to the building fund. Besides the evening shows and matinee, there is a free show at 4:15 for all children up to high school age.
The new theater has an auditorium 56x25 feet, a lobby and a foyer. The interior of the building is finished in Nu-wood, hand carved in artistic design. Each side has a mural 12x35 feet painted by a Chicago artist. The lights have rainbow fixtures, which give forty different light combinations.
There are 25O seats of the air lock, springed type, each having 16 springs. They are fully upholstered in red leather and plush.
The screen is a Gardner gold fiber. The Shear system of speakers will he used for sound and the sound will be controlled from the auditorium.
(January 30, 1936)
Ruthven Theatre Screen Broken
The Ruthven Free Press reports that a $275 motion picture screen at the theatre at that place, was broken recently. The screen had been moved to the rear of the stage to permit its use for a home talent play. Parties who were replacing the screen let a step ladder fall against it and a large portion was broken out of the center of the screen.
(July 9, 1936)
Legion Theatre Closed For Lack of Support
The Legion theatre which has been under the management of Lyle Nolan for the past two years closed last Saturday night. Lack of proper support is the reason given for the closing of the Ruthven theatre. The equipment in the Legion theatre is reported to be better than some county seat towns.
Mr. Nolan had the reputation of giving the public many of the latest and best motion picture productions. He has not as yet announced any plans for the future.
(July 30, 1936)
Ruthven Theatre Damaged
Last Sunday evening fire of an unknown origin damaged the Electric theatre at Ruthven to such an extent that it could not be used until rehabilitated. The fire broke out on the roof and more than an hour’s time was taken in controlling the blaze.
(February 21, 1949)
Fire Demolishes Ruthven Theater
Ruthven, Ia. â€" (&)â€" Five destroyed the Palo Alto theater here Saturday, causing damage estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. The fire broke out while the heater was closed and there were 10 injuries reported. The theater, a quonset structure, opened last summer to replace the Legion theater which burned down about two years ago.
(November 28, 1957)
Ruthven Theater Gutted By Fire
The Palo Alto theatre in Ruthven was gutted by fire on Thursday night, Nov. 14th. The building was made of quonset ateel and is owned by Mrs. Viola Arndt. The Ruthven Free Press states “that it seems theatres are destined to burn in Ruthven. This being the fourth time in the last ten or twelve ysars.‘’
(May 20, 1949)
FIRE DESTROYS RUTHVEN THEATER; LOSS OF $30,000
Ruthven, Ia.â€"(AP)â€"The Palo Alto theater in Ruthven was destroyed by fire Saturday afternoon. Preliminary estimates placed the loss at $20,000 to $30,000.
The fire broke out while the theater was closed and there were no reports of any injuries.
The theater was opened last summer following its erection to replace the Legion theater which burned down about two years ago.
Witnesses said the fire was discovered when a huge cloud of oily smoke billowed out the back of the structure. Altho the cause had not been determined it was believed the heavy smoke came from the oil-burning furnace. All of the interior of the structure was destroyed and the concrete block and steel roof exterior was still standing.
A large crowd gathered to watch firemen fight the blaze. The theater is owned by W. R. Arndt.
(May 3, 1947)
Ruthven Theater Is Destroyed by Fire; Loss $10,000
Fire destroyed the Ruthven theater yesterday, with loss estimated at $10,000. Origin of the blaze was not determined immediately although it was believed the fire started after an explosion. The building was insured, but not the furnishings or equipment. The theater was owned by Lyle Nolan.
(September 8, 1960)
Vacant Theatre Burns at Ruthven
The interior of the vacant theatre at Ruthven was gutted by fire Aug. 28. A similar fire damaged the building two years ago. The property was owned by Mrs. Viola Wagner and had been sold to out-of-town buyers who had been dismantling the equipment on Saturday.
(The Daily Northwestern, Friday, November 18, 1927)
MAKE PLANS FOR THEATER OPENING
Officials of Raulf and Fischer Companies Visit Oshkosh to Arrange Details
With but a few days remaining before the opening of the beautiful new Fischer theater, officials of the Raulf company, the architectural firm and the theatrical company paid a visit to Oshkosh Thursday, to arrange the final details. Included in the party were Charles Raulf, Frank Fischer and Clarence Keller.
They declared that the progress on the theater had been even more rapid than they had expected and that there is not the slightest doubt as to the theater opening at the scheduled time.
So sure are the workmen, employed in putting in the finishing details at the building, that thousands of dollars have been wagered by them that tne theater will be completed in time for the formal opening.
SHOW FIRST BELEASE.
Mr. Fischer declared that arrangements have been made with Carl Laemmle, former Oshkosh man, now head of the Universal Pictures corporation, so that a picture just being completed at Universal City will be rushed to Oshkosh for the opening. The picture, he stated, is now in the cutting room at the studio and will be sent to Milwaukee by airplane, arriving there Monday. It will be exhibited in no other city prior to its showing in Oshkosh, and, in fact, will be seen here thirty days before it is released to any other theater, he declared. This was made possible only because of Mr. Laemmle’s interest in his “old home town.”
Work on the interior of the theater is being pushed rapidly and already the show house has taken on the beautiful appearance that will greet the theatergoers at the opening next Wednesday.
The placing of the seats is also being accomplished in a rapid manner. While much is to be done before the doors will be thrown open Wednesday, day and evening shifts will work every day until next week.
The interior throughout promises to be one of beauty and attractive with its brilliant coloring and atmospheric effects, and Oshkosh citizens are looking forward to the opportunity of visiting the new motion picture palace with a considerable amount of interest.
The HOLLYWOOD did close in April 1952 but managed to reopen again for a time later as a Friday, January 3, 1954 ad has “Mississippi Gambler” paired with “Bonzo Goes to College” for the weekend with adult admission at 50 cents and children’s tickets at 14 cents.
Gus Sun mural looms large â€" just like the vaudeville legend
Sun’s secretary recalls him as a shrewd businessman
(Photo caption:) Ginny Snyder laughs as she stands in front of the giant Gus Sun mural being painted on the back of the Regent Theatre. She was Sun’s secretary in the 1940s.
By Andrew McGinn, Staff Writer
Thursday, May 14, 2009 SPRINGFIELD â€"
If there needs to be further justification for the painting of a 6,000-square-foot mural on the back of a downtown building of some guy juggling, try this â€" in 1947, it was reported that Warner Bros. was thinking about making a movie based on the life of that guy.
Gustave Ferdinand Klotz.
Better known as Gus Sun.
Sun later said that he wanted Bob Hope to play him in the movie, which wouldâ€™ve been appropriate â€" as the ruler of a vast vaudeville empire centered in Springfield, Sun gave Hope his first break.
Only the movie never happened, presumably because it wouldâ€™ve been a casting nightmare.
Sun also helped the Marx Brothers, the Ritz Brothers, W.C. Fields, Al Jolson, Will Rogers, George Burns, Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion in â€œThe Wizard of Ozâ€) and Edgar Bergen (and his puppet, Charlie McCarthy) on their way to fame.
But the biggest, most logical, question remains â€" who wouldâ€™ve played his secretary?
After all, it only seems fair to include the woman who took his dictation, got him tickets every year to the Kentucky Derby, hired bandleader Glen Gray to play his 50th wedding anniversary and addressed all 500 of his Christmas cards.
â€œIâ€™d love to see that address list now,â€ said Ginny Snyder, who worked as Sunâ€™s secretary for close to a decade. â€œIf I looked at the list, itâ€™d all come back to me.â€
At age 84, Snyder is one of the last links (quite possibly the last) to the Gus Sun Booking Agency, the now-defunct theatrical institution that chose Springfield as its home in 1906.
â€œI donâ€™t feel like it,â€ she said.
Increasingly, the mural-in-progress on the back of the vacant Regent Theatre â€" home to Sunâ€™s agency from 1920 onward â€" is just another piece of public art dedicated to someone nobody actually knew.
â€œHe loved to talk about the old days,â€ recalled Snyder, who went to work for Sun in 1942. â€œIâ€™d give the world to have the stuff he dictated to me.â€
At the time, it was the twilight of Sunâ€™s dynasty.
â€œWhen I went up there, the vaudeville days were over,â€ Snyder said. â€œIt was the end of an era.â€
Once believed to have been the nationâ€™s largest individual user of telegraph and telephone services, the agency was down to three offices (in Springfield, Detroit and Des Moines, Iowa) from a high of 10.
During the heyday of vaudeville, the Sun booking agency had provided a circuit of 275 theaters with entertainers â€" many of whom became world famous.
According to legend, Sun once visited a Hollywood set and realized that 12 of the 17 people there once worked for him.
But by the early 1940s, the agency had switched to booking acts into county and state fairs.
â€œWe had high-wire acts,â€ Snyder said. â€œWe had the Sensational Kays.â€
They were a husband and wife high-wire act.
â€œShe wore pantaloons,â€ Snyder said, â€œso nobody could tell she was pregnant.â€
There were flying acts, dog acts, juggling acts and more.
â€œOne of the most elaborate acts was Will Hillâ€™s Elephants,â€ Snyder said.
The name probably speaks for itself.
â€œThen there were the Zacchinis,â€ she said. â€œThey were the people who got shot out of a cannon.â€
The agency mightâ€™ve just been a shell of its former self, but Sun was still at the helm, although most of the daily work had been overseen since 1930 by general manager Bob Shaw, a former vaudevillian himself.
â€œWhen I went up there, at 19, (Sun) was getting ready to celebrate his 75th birthday,â€ Snyder said. â€œHe was wonderful to me. All of them were wonderful to me.
â€œIn those days, people didnâ€™t think that show people were all that great. I liked them because they were themselves. Show people are just different. They accept you for your face value.â€
And as a hunter and avid cook, Sun could whip up some mean hasenpfeffer (pickled rabbit).
When someone floated the idea of writing a book about Sunâ€™s life â€" like the movie, it never happened â€" he called on his secretary to dictate the details of his life.
â€œHe never dictated a little,â€ Snyder said. â€œHeâ€™d get started … â€
A Toledo native, he told of opening Springfieldâ€™s first movie theater in 1904, and how, in order to convey to people that it was a family-friendly endeavor, he parked a baby buggy outside.
â€œHe was shrewd,â€ said Snyder, who still uses shorthand to this day. â€œHe wasnâ€™t educated, but he was shrewd.â€
He talked often of Bob Hope â€" one of his vaudeville success stories.
â€œHe loved to talk about Bob Hope,â€ Snyder said. â€œI used to write to Bob Hope at least once a year. He liked to have that feeling, that he gave him his start.â€
Hope wasnâ€™t the only one â€" Snyder remembers plenty of autographed photos on Sunâ€™s office wall, from the likes of singer Sophie Tucker, bandleader Ted Lewis and Fanny Brice, the comedian whose life later inspired the musical â€œFunny Girl.â€
For Snyder, who eventually left the agency in 1951 to start a family (Sun died in 1959 at age 90), it was as close to a dream job as she would get.
â€œI was always just fascinated with carnivals,â€ she said. â€œI said I always wanted to work for the circus, and I would have in a minute.â€
True to the mural, by Yellow Springs artist Jason Morgan, Sun might have become a millionaire impresario, but once a circus juggler always a circus juggler â€" even behind closed office doors.
â€œEvery once in a while,â€ Snyder said, â€œyouâ€™d hear those balls go thump, thump.â€
(Tuesday, August 24, 2009, Springfield News-Sun, Springfield, Ohio
(Racine County Argus, January 6, 1876)
The Opening of Belle City Opera House
Monday night the Belle City Opera House was opened by the McKee Rankin Combination. As was supposed, the house was crowded. The play was fine. Racine people will always patronize a first-class entertainment, now that they have a good house to go to. The Belle City Hall, as remodeled, makes a fine little Opera House, only a few improvements being necessary to make it as good as any, and the people appreciate it. The order that was kept in the large audience during the evening was extraordinary, past experiences taken into consideration.
The Chief of the Police and Chief Engineer of the fire department were present as policemen. At one time the gallery crowd commenced their tramping. Fred, immediately went up and calling order, addressed the crowd in a neat style, telling them to the effect that such disturbauces must be discontinued, or the officers should use their full authority to arrest all, any one and every one engaged, also stating they should call for assistance to enforce the statement. A grand applause followed, and perfect order reigned thereafter. So much for the police.
(Racine Sunday Bulletin, June 12, 1960)
Belle City Opera Became the Rex
The 70-year-old house still stands, in use now as a bowling alley. The structure is one of several in the Downtown area to play major roles in Racine’s entertainment history.
Its name was changed twice, however, as the stage show glories of the old Belle City Opera House began to fade. In later years it was called the Racine Theater and then the Rex, as it became the first large movie house in the city.
H. W. Knopke, whose father owned the tavern just north of the Belle City Opera House, recalls: “Most of the big stars of the time were here â€” Lillian Russell, Sarah Bernhardt, Robert Mantell.“ Racine audiences saw the top shows because leading performers and their troupes stopped in the city for a one-night stand between their Chicago and Milwaukee appearances.
Among the shows presented from the Belle City House’s stage during May of 1890 were the Postage Stamp Company’s performance of “A Social Season” on the 3d, Arden Benedick in “Story of the Dead” on the 10th, J. S. Murphy in “Kerry Gow” on the 16th, Charles H. Hall in “Knute Knutson” on the 19th and Ezra Kendall in “A Pair of Kids” on the 23d. Hohenstim and Fisher and Master T. K. Jones presented a six-day series.
(Racine Journal News, July 31, 1914)
The Crystal theatre is going to offer a $500 piano as a prize in a contest which they are going to put on in the near future. Watch for the announcement. The piano is now on display at the drug store of Flack & Miller.