Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pantheon Theatre on Nov 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm

The March 27, 1920, issue of Motion Picture News said that M. M. Stophlet and M. B. Stophlet were the architects of the Pantheon Theatre. Following a precedent set a few years earlier by Detroit architect C. Howard Crane, Stophlet & Stophlet gave the Pantheon Theatre a large section of stadium seating accounting for about half the capacity of the house. They would again use the stadium configuration in Toledo’s Ohio Theatre, opened in 1921.

As in the Ohio, the architects gave the interior of the Pantheon Theatre a very simple, almost austere, style with minimal decoration, and what there was being based mostly on Roman Classical elements. The front, on the other hand, was fairly ornate, with its eclectic details including elements suggestive of both the Italian Renaissance and the Gothic styles, but not exactly replicating either. The contrast between interior and exterior must have been quite startling for the theater’s patrons.

Manfred M. Stophlet appears to have been more frequently the lead architect on the firm’s projects, with the trade journals of the period more often attributing designs to him than to his brother Mark B. Stophlet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Nov 27, 2014 at 7:12 am

The May 7, 1921, issue of The Moving Picture World ran this article about the Strand Theatre the day it was scheduled to open:

“THE Saxe Amusement Enterprises, of Milwaukee, franchise holder in the Associated First National Pictures, Inc., for the Wisconsin territory, has announced May 7 as the opening date for its new theatre in Green Bay. The date was set on the same day that the contractors who are constructing the new house announced a definite time for the conclusion of their work.

“The new theatre has already been christened the Strand. In architecture and interior finish as well as appointments it is one of the finest in the Middle West. The seating capacity is 1,000 and roomy over-size concert chairs have been selected. The interior color scheme is an original conception with rose, crimson and gold predominating. The aisles will be Wilton carpeted. and the drapes and other furnishings have been specially selected to harmonize with the interior color scheme.

“The stage is twelve feet deep, eighteen high and twenty-four wide. The ventilation provides for 2,500,000 cubic feet of fresh air an hour. Simplex machines are being installed and a screen of the latest type as well as a $10,000 organ.

“It is the intention of the Saxe Amusement Enterprises to conduct the Green Bay theatre on the same lavish scale as it conducts its Strand in Milwaukee. E. J. Weisfeldt, whose arrangements of prologues and general presentation for the Milwaukee Strand, has made Weisfeldt synonymous with the best in picture shows in the Middle West, will perform the same duties for the Green Bay Strand.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Nov 26, 2014 at 9:38 pm

The Capitol Theatre opened on July 14, 1917, as the Allen Theatre. According to Reel Time: Movie Exhibitors and Movie Audiences in Prairie Canada, 1896 to 1986 by Robert Morris Seiler and Tamara Palmer Seiler, the Allen Theatre was designed by architect J. W. Kirkland. Page 153 of the book has photos of the Capitol’s marquee around 1960 and the Allen’s auditorium around 1920 (Google Books preview.)

The Allen Theatre in Brandon is one of three theaters pictured on this page of Motion Picture News for March 27, 1920.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theatre on Nov 26, 2014 at 9:22 pm

The Colonial Theatre can be seen at upper right of this page from Motion Picture News of March 27, 1920.

As Google Maps provides no street view for this location, here is a bird’s eye view from Bing Maps.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avon Theatre on Nov 26, 2014 at 9:15 pm

The Auditorium Theatre can be seen at the lower right of this page of Motion Picture News from March 27, 1920.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Waukesha Civic Theatre on Nov 26, 2014 at 9:08 pm

This web page about Waukesha’s movie theaters says that this house opened as the Empire Theatre in 1906 and the building was remodeled and became the Pix Theatre in 1940.

I can’t find any references to an Empire Theatre, or a Pix Theatre, in Waukesha during the 1920s or 1930s in any of the trade publications or in the local newspaper. I suspect that the Empire was converted to other uses for at least two decades, and then reconverted into a theater again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Nov 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm

A story in the May 2, 1947, issue of the Waukesha Daily Freeman said that the Park Theatre opened in December, 1920. An earlier house of the same name was in operation prior to 1912 at a location on Broadway. It had closed by 1917.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avon Theatre on Nov 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm

The opening of the Auditorium was a bit earlier than planned. The August 27, 1914, issue of the Waukesha Daily Freeman reported that the theater had been formally dedicated and opened on Monday, which would have been August 24. The opening production was the stage play Seven Keys to Baldpate. Another item in the same issue said that the Auditorium was to be equipped with a Wurlitzer organ to accompany silent movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avon Theatre on Nov 26, 2014 at 6:49 pm

This web page about Waukesha’s movie theaters says that “…the Auditorium was remodeled and christened ‘The Avon’ after the installation of Sound….”

The page also says that the Auditorium was opened in 1914. This is confirmed by the August 1, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World: “The new Auditorium theater on East Main street in Waukesha, now in course of construction, is expected to be opened early in September.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Almo Theatre on Nov 25, 2014 at 1:02 am

The Almo Theatre was operated by Aronson & Brown in 1919, according to the April 5 issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Aronson & Brown also have two theatres in Raleigh, the Alamo,[sic] seating 400, admission 10 and 20 cents, running Paramount and Select; the Grand with Tabloid comedies and serials, seats 1,000, admission 15 and 25 cents. These men are two of the oldest showmen in the South. They say the public wants clean pictures; nothing suggestive goes here.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Superba Theatre on Nov 25, 2014 at 12:58 am

The unusual cohabitation of a bank and a theater at Raleigh was described in the April 5, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Runs Bank and Theatre.

“Raleigh, N. C., has the distinction of having the only theatre in the United States that has a combination movie house and bank doing business on the same premises. In an interview with R. G. Allen, the proprietor, he said the reason for this is the saving of valuable space. Under the old plans of the theatre ten feet of the most valuable land in North Carolina was practically wasted. Five feet on the north side of the lobby was being used for a women’s room, five feet was also used for janitor’s room. With the change the women’s room was eliminated and used for an entrance.

“The five feet used for the janitor’s room was changed to an exit. The space under the lobby has been changed into a directors' room for the bank, which also contains a vault. The bank is right on the inside of the lobby. The sign on the outside of the theatre reads ‘Allen’s Superba Theatre, and the City Bank.’ This house has a five-piece orchestra; also a pipe organ which cost $5,500. The service used is Fox, Goldwyn, First National and Metro. Business is great. Mr. Allen is a tireless worker, and is a courteous man. He told me hard work is his middle name.”

An inventory of historic buildings in Raleigh’s downtown says that the Superba Theatre was converted into the Eckerd Drug Store in 1930.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Granby Theater on Nov 24, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Numerous web sites say that Jake Wells built the Granby Theatre in 1901. An ad for Jake Wells Enterprises in the August 2, 1912, issue of Variety gave the Granby Theatre Building, Norfolk, as the location of the company’s headquarters, though they also maintained a booking office in New York City. The Granby Theatre was one of three theaters in Norfolk that was listed in the 1909-1910 Cahn guide.

The opening of the Granby Theatre as a movie house was noted in the March 18, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Norfolk, Va.—The Granby theater, opened recently in Norfolk by George Karanicholas, is one of the handsomest theaters in the State. It is reported that at the initial showing of pictures there were 6,121 paid admissions and so great was the crowd that it was necessary to secure the aid of the police to keep things in order. The theater has a seating capacity of 1,500.

“The foyer is richly carpeted in red, bordered by shadow box portraits of moving picture stars, and potted plants. The interior color scheme is carried out in old rose and subdued smoke. The chairs are dark green. The screen is 18 feet by 22 feet, is in the center of an attractive proscenium made and painted by a New York firm of scenic artists, and is said to be the largest in the section.

“An indirect system of lighting is used and the ventilating system Is one of the best. A seven-piece orchestra is employed and the music is excellent. Every convenience for patrons is furnished. There is a very attractively furnished retiring room for the ladies and a handsome fountain has been installed in the lobby. A more complete description of this theater will appear in a succeeding issue of the Moving Picture World.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theater on Nov 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

The Roxy Theatre is on this map of Norfolk’s business district from circa 1950.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cataract Theatre on Nov 24, 2014 at 1:33 am

The original Cataract Theatre opened as a 600-seat house called the Arcade Theatre on December 8, 1909, and was expanded to 1,600 seats in 1912. The March 21, 1921, issue of the Niagara Falls Gazette had a bit of the theater’s history:

“The Cataract Theatre was purchased by Mr. A. C. Hayman and Mr. Joseph A. Schuchert in 1910 from the Crick Realty Company, the Crick interest retaining part ownership until a later date, at which time they disposed of their holdings for many times more, than their original investment. At the time of purchase it was known as the Arcade Theatre having a seating capacity of 600.

“This theatre was remodeled in 1912 and the accomodation increased to 1,600 seats at an expense of $95,000. The Cataract Theatre is now catering to 20,000 theatregoers weekly, and during the summer of 1920 this theatre catered to capacity houses daily.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Nov 24, 2014 at 1:19 am

The March 21, 1921, issue of the Niagara Falls Gazette had an article about the plans of the Cataract Theatre Company to build a large new house to be called the Strand adjacent to their Cataract Theatre. The new Strand would operate as a moving picture theater while the Cataract would become a vaudeville house. (The page with the story can be seen in this PDF file.)

The July 9, 1921, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the new house being built at Niagara Falls by the Cataract Amusement Company had been designed by Buffalo architect Henry L. Spann.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about 96th Street Theatre on Nov 24, 2014 at 12:06 am

This house might have been rebuilt, or perhaps the business moved to this address from another location, in 1921. This item is from the July 9 issue of The Moving Picture World that year:

“NEW YORK.-William Harowitz has plans by Nathan Langer, 81 East 125th street, for two-story brick moving picture theatre, 43 by 100 feet, to be erected at 1703-5 Third avenue, to cost $30,000.”
A column headed “Incorporations” in the May 6, 1921, issue of Variety had this item:
“New Third Avenue Theatre Corp., Manhattan, $16,000; W. and F. Harwitz, T. Cumiskey; attorney, H. B. Davis, 522 Fifth avenue.”
The Manhattan New Building Database lists a permit issued for a theater at this address in 1921, and designed by Nathan Langer, but records it as a one-story building rather than two-story.

A house called the New Third Avenue Theatre was in operation in 1873, when it was advertised in the March 3 issue of The New York Clipper. No address was given, but it was probably not at this location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Senate Theater on Nov 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Two photos of the Senate Theatre from the Illinois Digital Archives:

Front view, January, 1949

Marquee and entrance by night, 1946

This 2009 article about the centennial of Kerasotes Theatres indicates that Gus Kerasotes bought the Gaiety Theatre and renamed it the Senate in 1929. The Senate was the last theater operating in downtown Springfield when it closed in 1983.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Town Theatre on Nov 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm

The Town Theatre apparently reopened last night. I opened their Facebook page and the top entry, posted 21 hours ago, said “Don’t miss out on opening night.” They ran a double feature of American Graffiti and Dirty Dancing, so it probably isn’t going to be a first-run house. I don’t see any other movies scheduled, either, so they might be open only part time for now. Earlier posts include some photos of the theater being fixed up for the reopening.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Florine Theatre on Nov 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm

The history of the Florine Theatre and other houses in Flora is recounted in a comment by Konrad Schiecke on this page (which also has a couple of photos) of the Cinematour Forum.

The Florine Theatre was on the site of the Opera House, opened in 1911. In 1921 the Opera House became the Orpheum, and the name was changed to Florine Theatre in 1935. The house burned in 1936 and was rebuilt on a larger scale. It was in operation until 1957, and in the late 1970s the building was destroyed by another fire. It had to have been on the vacant lot next door to Etchison’s Appliance shop, which is at 128 W. North Avenue.

The May 5, 1921, issue of The Flora Journal-Record had a front page story about the plans of the new owners of the Opera House which can be read here at the Illinois Digital Archives.

On August 18, the paper published this shorter article about the progress of the project:


“Work on the new Orpheum Theatre is rapidly nearing completion and the management hopes to have the grand opening about September 1st. The building when completed will rank with any of the largest theatres in architecture features and will have everything that is needed to put it in Class A.

“Two features of the new theatre —the ladies' rest room and steam heat, will be appreciated. The stage will have new and beautiful scenery and also the latest lighting effects and stage equipment to accommodate any vaudeville or road show. The projection booth will have the latest and best equipment, with two new machines, which will show a complete picture without a stop. Watch the Journal-Record for the opening date.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theater on Nov 22, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Here is a photo of the auditorium of the Orpheum Theatre.

This advertisement says that the Orpheum would open on Thursday, December 24, 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Theatre on Nov 21, 2014 at 9:16 pm

The New Theatre burned in 1941 and was rebuilt. This is the news from the October 10 issue of The Film Daily:

“England, Ark. — This community’s New Theater, recently destroyed by fire, will be rebuilt, according to an announcement by Terry Axley, owner. The building which housed the theater was owned by the G. W. Morris estate. Axley estimated that loss of building, theater equipment and impairment of business amounted to some $50,000. Approximately $2,500 had been spent on the theater recently.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lee Theatre on Nov 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm

The October 10, 1941, issue of The Film Daily had this item:

“Lee Theater In Debut

“Roanoke, Va. — Dan Weinberg has opened his new Lee Theater here. House, seating 800, will use first-run pictures. Ashton Rudd is manager.”

There are no buildings at the street in the 1900 block of Williamson Road in Google’s street view. It looks as though an automobile agency has taken over the entire block on both sides of the street for car lots and the Lee Theatre has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cattaraugus County Center For the Performing Arts on Nov 21, 2014 at 9:02 pm

The October 10, 1941, issue of The Film Daily says that John and Drew Eberson designed the new theater being built at Salamanca for the Schine circuit:

“Schine Realty Corp. has awarded contract for erection of new fireproof theater, seating 1,142 persons, in Salamanca, N. Y., to the Benz Engineering Corp. of that city. Work has already been started. John and Drew Eberson are the architects for the house.”
I still don’t know why this project is missing from the Wolfsonian’s Eberson Archive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Nov 21, 2014 at 8:21 pm

The NRHP registration form for the Blue Fox Theatre says that it was built on the lot west of the Lyric Theatre. With only 300 seats, the Lyric probably didn’t occupy the entire lot to the east of the Blue Fox, so it was probably the second door from the corner, which would make its address about 106 W. Main Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theatre on Nov 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm

A list of recently chartered companies that was published in the January 13, 1948, issue of The Film Daily included two theaters in Easley:

“COLONY THEATER, Easley, S. C; to operate motion picture theater; capital stock $25,000; Nena Pearl Armistead, president.

“AVALON THEATER, Easley, S. C; to operate motion picture theater; capital stock $10,000; Harold E. Armistead, president.”

The Colony was nearing completion in November, 1947, so the charters were apparently issued around the time the theaters opened.