Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mission Theatre on Sep 8, 2007 at 3:30 pm

This 1917 photo shows a glimpse of Tally’s Broadway Theatre, 833 S. Broadway, at far left. The Mission, at 840 S. Broadway, would have been across the street and down a bit. It probably occupied the oblong brick building adjacent to the primitive parking lot at lower left. I’m still unable to find a photo of the fronts of the buildings on the east side of that block of Broadway during the pre-Orpheum period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Sep 5, 2007 at 8:01 pm

The ornate facade of the Liberty Theatre can be seen in the ninth and tenth photos down on this page of Brent Dickerson’s “A Visit to Old Los Angeles” website.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Sep 1, 2007 at 3:56 pm

The page needs updating. The Rialto has two screens.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Aug 29, 2007 at 10:44 pm

This web page mentions in passing (in the caption to a photo of the city’s former Pantages Theater) that the Liberty Theatre in Great Falls was converted to office and retail space in 1978.

Another website has more information about Great Falls' Pantages Theater, which is currently unlisted at Cinema Treasures.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mansfield Theater on Aug 29, 2007 at 9:33 pm

The proper name of this house is now the Mansfield Theater. Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts is the name of the larger complex of which the Mansfield Theater is only one part. The correct seating capacity of the Mansfield Theater is 1785, with 922 on the main floor, 282 in the mezzanine loge section, and 581 in the balcony.

Here is the official web page of the Mansfield Theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Congress Theatre on Aug 29, 2007 at 8:22 pm

I don’t know if JustOldBob is still around, but if he is he might like to know that the name of one of the owners of the Congress was Harry Vinnicof.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Temple Theatre on Aug 29, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Ken: I think “Vennicoft” might be a misspelling of the name “Vinnicof”. The Vinnicof Theatre Circuit was around for a long time. They owned a half interest in the Garfield Theatre in Alhambra in the 1950s, the other half being silently owned by the Edwards Theatre Circuit. Vinnicof also operated the Grove Theatre in Garden Grove at that time. At least as far back as the 1930s they operated some theatres in the Eagle Rock-Highland Park area. In 1941, Harry Vinnicof bought the Congress Theatre a couple of miles down Vermont from the Temple.

There are some Vinnicofs who are still associated with the movie theatre business, one of them showing up on this page I found in Google search results. Maybe Cecil is one of Harry’s sons, or perhaps a grandson. There are also a Paul Vinnicof and a Robert Vinnicof who share the San Vincente address. They all appear to be lawyers who specialize in movie theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regal Theater on Aug 27, 2007 at 10:01 pm

The historic building which the Regal Theater occupied was dedicated in April of 1894, and was either the third or the fourth home of the Los Angeles branch of the German Turn Verein, or gymnastics movement, which exercised (no pun intended) wide influence during the 19th century not only in Germany but in other nations, and especially the United States. The L.A. Turners organization was established in 1871, and occupied at least two earlier buildings before erecting this Turn Halle on Main Street.

As the Turne Hall, the spacious, second floor (American) room with wrap-around balcony was used as a gymnasium, as a venue for athletic exhibitions, for balls and gatherings of various kinds, and for musical and theatrical performances. The Turners not only practiced and promoted gymnastics, but had a dramatic society, a men’s chorus, an orchestra, and maintained a library.

The Los Angeles Public Library’s photo collection includes this depiction of the Main Street Turn Halle, probably about the time of its opening (though the library mis-dates the photo as being from 1888, six years before the building was completed.) The three-floor structure was in the Richardsonian Romanesque style which was popular during the last two decades of the 19th century. The central arch opened to a broad staircase which lead up to the Turn Halle itself.

The only photo I can find of the space that became the Regal Theater’s auditorium is the one posted by ken mc above, showing the Main Street Gym as it appeared following the fire which led to the building’s demolition. By that time the space had probably been extensively remodeled, and the camera is looking away from the stage which once occuped one end of the hall, but the photo at least gives an idea of the size and shape of the room.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hippodrome Theater on Aug 27, 2007 at 5:21 pm

This is long, and not Hippodrome-related, but it relates to recent comments above about a theatre across Main Street from the Hip:

I don’t think Cinema Treasures has a page for the theatre at 323 S. Main yet. The Turn Halle (aka Turnverein Germania) at that location was L.A.’s third. All three of them appear to have served multiple purposes as the Turners' gymnasiums, as theatres and as ballrooms and meeting rooms. The first Turnverein was dedicated in 1872, the year after the L.A. chapter of the club was founded. It was demolished in 1887. I haven’t been able to track down it’s exact location, but one reference places it on Spring Street between 2nd and 3rd, so it might have been either at the location of the second Turnverein or the lot north of that where the first Los Angeles Theatre was built.

The second Turnverein was at 227 S. Spring Street, next door to the first Los Angeles Theatre (which was later the second L.A. Orpheum and then the Lyceum.) The two buildings can be seen in this photo from the L.A. library. Both of them date to 1887.

The cornerstone of the third Turnverein, across Main Street from the Hippodrome’s site, was laid in October of 1893, and the building was opened in April of 1894. This photo from the L.A. library depicts the Main Street Turnverein (though the library dates the photo as being from 1888, six years before it actually opened.)

Another Turnverein hall was built in 1925 at Washington and Toberman, but the various articles referenced in comments above indicate that the Turners must have sold or leased out this location on Main Street well before then. I don’t know what year it was converted into the Main Street Gym.

I don’t know if the Los Angeles Turners Club still exists as an organization today, but it was around to celebrate its centennial in 1971 with a banquet at the old Turner Inn Hofbrau restaurant which I beleieve was on 15th Street. Also, the Washington Boulevard Turner Hall was later renamed Rodger Young Auditorium and was demolished in 1978.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 26, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Justin: “Rialto” has been a common name for theatres for quite a while, and South Pasadena’s Rialto was not the first of that name. The name is of Italian origin, and dates back more than 900 years when the Rialto Market was established in the city of Venice. It also became the name of the city’s most important bridge across the Grand Canal.

In the 17th century, the area around the bridge and the market became the center of the city’s theatre district, and the home of the most important opera companies in Europe. The fame of the district was so great that, in the English speaking word at least, “The Rialto” became a generic term to describe the theatre district of any city. Eventually, impresarios began giving the name to individual theatres, especially in the United States.

Something similar happened with the name “Strand”, which was the name of the street along which London’s theatre district formed in the 19th century. After it became famous, owners of theatres in many places began naming their houses The Strand in order to associate them with the glamour of London’s theatre district.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hippodrome Theater on Aug 26, 2007 at 2:37 pm

The Hippodrome itself was a vaudeville and movie theatre, but the upstairs of the building in front of the auditorium appears to have been a dance hall before it became the location of the Main Street Gym in the early 1950s. Here is the 1928 photo of the block of Main Street south of Third (this is the same photo that’s linked twice above) which shows a small vertical sign that reads “Dancing” on the near end of the Hippodrome’s building. The same sign can be made out beyond the theatre’s marquee in the June, 1943 photo to which ken mc linked a few comments back, on August 23.

So there’s evidence that there was a dance hall in the building from at least 1928 until at least 1943. I’d say there’s a good chance that this is indeed the Hippodrome Dance Palace. As the Main Street Gym, it’s address was 318 ½ S. Main, so that should be the address of the dance hall as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto now dark on Aug 25, 2007 at 8:28 pm

The balcony of the Rialto was locked for decades. The story I heard was that, in the 1970s, the South Pasadena City Fire Department threatened to close the place down because the big, leather loges occupying the last several rows of the main floor were not fire resistant. The management moved the loges to the balcony and brought the balcony seats down to replace them on the main floor. The loges were never rebuilt to meet fire codes, and thus the balcony remained closed.

It may be true that with better maintenance, and with air conditioning, the Rialto could have attracted bigger audiences in recent years, but I doubt that, adding the cost of those things, it could have been profitable. I won’t blame Landmark for shutting the Rialto down, or for not spending the fortune the theatre needs to be made even minimally presentable. The place could have gone under soon after Mann Theatres abandoned it, but Landmark kept it going for about three decades beyond when it might have been expected to be closed and demolished to make way for a parking lot. For that I’m grateful.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Aug 22, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Curlett & Beelman’s new Board of Trade Building was featured in a 1926 issue of Architectural Digest, so that must be the year it was built and thus either 1925 or 1926 would be the year the Gem was ground to dust.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roosevelt Theatre on Aug 22, 2007 at 10:41 pm

I found the 1935 photo from the USC archives. It shows the intersection of Main and Market Streets and, at the far end of the two-story building beyond the turreted U.S. Hotel on the corner, the marquee of the theatre can be seen. The address of the U.S. Hotel was 170 N. Main, and it was the last building in.the 100 block even though it was north of Market Street. The numbers changed at Temple Street, which then ended at Main Street and is out of camera range at left.

This offers a possible explanation of the theatre’s migratory address. If, sometime after 1940, the numbers on the east side of Main were adjusted to make Market Street instead of Temple Street the dividing line, then the numbers in the 200 block would have had to have been adjusted upward a bit to accommodate a 200 block address for the U.S. Hotel’s lot. Thus there would have been a change from 212 to 216 for the theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roosevelt Theatre on Aug 22, 2007 at 10:07 pm

OK, having reread vokoban’s comments of Aug 21 (and Ken Roe’s remarks at the beginning of the comment thread), it looks as though the name Roosevelt must have been given to the former Miller’s Theatre on South Main first, and then moved to the Electric Theatre on North Main sometime after 1939. I can’t account for the 1942 directory address of 216 N. Main for the Roosevelt Theatre, unless the buildings on the block were renumbered. The 1936 photo shows the theatre entrance at the very north end of its building, so it doesn’t seem likely that the door could have been moved northward.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roosevelt Theatre on Aug 22, 2007 at 9:53 pm

By 1939, the name Roosevelt Theatre had migrated to the former Miller’s Theatre at 842 S. Main. Both the California and Miller’s were originally under the same ownership and, since they both came to be operated by Frank Fouce in the 1930s, my guess is that Fouce had been running this theatre at 212 N. Main and then closed it when he acquired Miller’s and moved the name Roosevelt there.

USC having changed the URLs for its photos, my link from October 5, 2006, above no longer works. I can’t find the 1935 photo I linked to, but here’s a 1936 shot which shows the Electric/Roosevelt Theatre in the background. Only the generic name “Theatre” is displayed on the marquee, and the names of the movies appear to be in Spanish.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tally's Electric Theatre on Aug 22, 2007 at 9:18 pm

The Electric Theatre at 212 N. Main is listed here as the Roosevelt Theatre, which was apparently the last name under which it operated. I don’t know if Thomas Tally had anything to do with it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tower Theatre on Aug 21, 2007 at 10:29 pm

The 2004 Urban Areas photo fetched up by TerraServer shows a building with the unmistakable outlines of a large theatre still standing at the Tower’s location. User doug sarvis must have been correct that it was merely converted to retail use, not demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Estella Theater on Aug 21, 2007 at 10:21 pm

Also, given the solid evidence that the Hidalgo was at 373 N. Main Street from 1915 to 1936, and the absence of any printed evidence in directories or newspapers that it ever moved to the 500 block, the name Teatro Hidalgo should probably be removed as an aka for this theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Estella Theater on Aug 21, 2007 at 10:11 pm

I guess this is the best we can do for now:

A 1931 photo of the Plaza Church. The Estella (if still there then) was probably in the single-story building just this side of the Coca-Cola sign.

A 1946 photo. The half-building at the left looks like an open-front grocery store in this picture, but I think it must have been where the Estella had been located.

The page for the much-discussed Teatro Hidalgo is right here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Teatro Hidalgo on Aug 21, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Here is a ca1926 photo from the L.A. library collection which depicts the orchestra of the Teatro Hidalgo.

The front of the Hidalgo faced east, down Arcadia Street,which ended at Main Street. The photo to which ken mc linked above shows, at far left, a corner of the distinctive awning of the Baker Block, which was at the southeast corner of Arcadia and Main Streets.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Estella Theater on Aug 21, 2007 at 4:35 pm

A 1924 aerial view of the Plaza neighborhood the L.A. shows the buildings adjacent to the Plaza Church. The Estella would have been in one of those, and if the bakery. La Esperanza, was at 511 ½ then the most likely place for the theatre to have been would have been in the building second to the left from the large structure at lower right bearing the “Brunswig Drug Company” sign on its wall (its lower immediate neighbor is the Garnier Building, which housed the bakery.) I can’t find a picture of the front of that building that probably housed the Estella anywhere, but this c1926 shot shows the building immediately adjacent to the church.

I think it was user wdl posting on the Grand Theatre page who originally recalled the Hidalgo being located between the bakery and the church. Unless the Hidalgo moved late in its history to the former location of the Estella, he must have misremembered. The photo of the Hidalgo Ken linked to last year shows, at far left, a portion of the distinctive awning of the Baker Block, which was a block south of the plaza at the southeast corner of Main and Arcadia Streets (just out of view at right on the aerial photo I linked linked to.) That whole area was obliterated in the 1940s to build the freeway slot.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Oriental Theatre on Aug 20, 2007 at 8:29 am

This theatre is listed in the 1929 Los Angeles City Directory by the name West Coast Hollywood Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fuji Kan Theatre on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:01 am

Still operating as a Japanese movie house in 1963 when it was listed in the city directory as the Kinema Theatre.

Actually built in 1925, according to this page at the ArchitectDB.

Closed during the early years of WWII, it reopened as the Linda Lea Theatre in 1945, featuring movies and live acts catering to the largely African-American population which had filled the apartments and houses vacated by the interned Japanese-American population. Some information about it can be seen on this page of the Bronzeville L.A. website.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hippodrome Theater on Aug 17, 2007 at 4:43 pm

The Westminster was gone before 1963, and a fast food stand had been built on that corner of 4th and Main. Among the stand’s specialties was that Los Angelean version of the loose meat sandwich, the taco burger. With its soft bun and finely shredded lettuce, it was a perfect viand for the toothless derelict seeking a cheap repast. The heavy, tomato-based sauce and the Mexican spices in the ground meat admirably disguised its probable origin as worn-out dairy cow.

Patrons could sit at the wooden tables adjacent to the building and devour their dripping meals while gazing across the vast, paved expanse to the east and north, which included the site where the Hippodrome’s auditorium had once stood. The sharp-eyed might even discern the form of a bum taking a leak against a distant wall. Ah, the good old days before all the romance was gone from downtown.