Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 26, 2017 at 6:17 pm

On our Kearse Theatre page I found this comment about the Rialto, posted by kencmcintyre on November 16, 2006. Perhaps the Rialto had not yet been added to the CT database at that time, but the comment has a long quote from some publication (Ken didn’t cite a source, but it was probably one of Charleston’s local newspapers) which belongs here, and since Ken isn’t around anymore I’ll post it:

“THEATER WON’T DIE – ‘Closed’ Rialto Reopens Friday

“The last film at the Rialto was ‘13 Ghosts.’ But the 43-year-old theater in the Morrison Building on Quarrier Street is not one of them. After a shutdown of four days, the Rialto will reopen tomorrow with ‘The Apartment,’ the picture being shifted from the Virginian, also a unit of Stanley Warner Corp.

“Newspaper ads last week announced that the Rialto would be closed last Sunday night, ending the four-decade life of the theater. John Cox, the Rialto’s manager, was transferred to the Warner Fairmont theater. William Wyatt, manager of the Virginian, was ordered by the Pittsburgh region office to take over the closing of the Rialto.

“Last Monday, Wyatt moved dozens of large cartons into the theater for packing of the seats. A filing case was removed from the Rialto office to the Virginian. ‘All I can say now is that the lease for the Rialto has been renewed with the Stanley Warner Corp.’ said John Morrison, an owner of the Morrison building. He declined to discuss prospective remodeling of the building, which at its birth in 1917 was the pride of Charleston for its elegance.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Dec 26, 2017 at 6:06 pm

This web page devoted to Quarrier Street starts with a photo of the block the Rialto was on. The theater’s vertical sign is prominent, but I see no marquee. I am having a hard time figuring how the theater fit into this rather dense block.

The caption under the photo says that the Rialto was built in 1917, and says that the auditorium was entered from the side, with the orchestra floor and screen to the left and a stadium style “balcony” to the right. Given the location of the theater entrance and the configuration of the building the entrance was in, I just can’t see how a 783-seat theater was shoehorned into the space.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Center on Dec 26, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Here is another early view of the Plaza Theatre, circa 1915.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Granada Theatre on Dec 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm

This item is from the Tuesday, January 3, 1928, issue of The Film Daily:

“Everett Opening Thursday

“Everett, Wash. — The new Granada, erected on the site of the old Rose, opens Thursday. It will have both Movietone and Vitaphone as features. R. F. Charles is general manager.”

R. F. Charles had previously been operator of the Star Theatre, a small house on Hewitt Avenue.

Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society’s Granada Theatre page says that a Wurlitzer Style B “Special” theater organ, opus #1769, was installed as part of the 1927 renovation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Balboa Theatre on Dec 25, 2017 at 4:31 pm

I believe that most of the Balboa Theatre building is still standing, though little, if any, of the theater remains intact inside the shell. The Balboa was built in conjunction with the adjacent Rumbaugh’s Department Store, on the corner of Wetmore Avenue and California Street. Rumbaugh’s was sold and re-branded as a Bon Marche store, a regional chain, in the 1940s. The Balboa closed in 1953 [May 3] and the department store expanded into the former theater space.

In 1994, three years after the Bon Marche closed, the building, under renovation and renamed the Port Gardner Building, was nominated for inclusion on Everett’s local historic registry. A document prepared at that time (PDF here) had a bit about the theater:

“During work on the building, remnants of the Balboa Theater were uncovered. On the south side of the building, these remnants had to be removed for seismic strengthening, but on the north wall the remnants have been preserved and could be restored.

“The Historical Commission recommended that there be administrative review for minor changes. Major changes would require Historical Commission review. The Commission also noted that they would like to see the remaining decoration from the Balboa Theater maintained. Any change to the interior that would remove or destroy the last remnants of the Balboa would have to be reviewed by the Commission.”

I don’t know if the surviving decorative elements of the Balboa have been preserved though the two decades plus since this report was written, but that the building itself is still standing, except perhaps for a small section at the southwest corner, as can be seen in Google’s satellite view, is pretty obvious.

For a number of years the entire complex was occupied by Trinity Lutheran College, but more recently (August, 2017, according to this article on their web site) an outfit called Funko (“Purveyors of Pop Culture”) has installed its headquarters and a retail store in the complex. Perhaps someone living in, or near, or visiting Everett can check the place out and see if those remnants of the Balboa’s decor that were still intact in 1994 have survived.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victory Theatre on Dec 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Since Google Maps has chosen to do something weird and limiting with the street view image it fetches for this page, here is a quick link to a street view that can actually be moved around normally.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Victory Theatre on Dec 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

A document prepared for the City of Benicia (very large PDF here) and containing a survey of historic resources says that the building at 918 First Street, currently occupied by the Benicia Antique Mall, was built as a theater in the late 1930s. The document doesn’t give the theaters name, but I think that’s the most likely location to have been the Victory Theatre.

If you look at the corner building from the side street, it actually has a pretty low roof, disguised on the First Street side by a false parapet, and would have been ill suited for a theater. The building at 918 has a higher roof, and extends back farther.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Dec 24, 2017 at 4:32 pm

The Majestic was built by former Benicia mayor William Crooks, probably as an investment, and it is likely that a deal was made, possibly even before the project was underway, for a theater operator to lease it. The lessee might have been the operator of the Orpheum, or someone else, but either way it’s unlikely that Crooks would have been concerned about the fate of the Orpheum.

I’ve done some searches on the Peoples Theatre in Martinez but have found nothing. Many small nickelodeons came and went quickly in those days, so it might have been one of those.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Dec 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm

A pair of small photos of the Majestic’s entrance and box office can be seen on this web page. The Majestic was built by former Benicia mayor William Crooks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Novelty Theatre on Dec 24, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Advertisements for Typhoon brand ventilation systems published in issues of The Moving Picture World in early 1921 list the Novelty Theatre in Martinez as one of the houses in which the company’s equipment had been installed. A notice about the installation of the new ventilation system by contractor A. Gattuan had appeared in the July 31, 1920, issue of Domestic Engineering.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theatre on Dec 24, 2017 at 2:53 pm

I found a reference to the Curry Theatre in the May 26, 1914, issue of Coast Banker (scan at Google Books.)

I also found this item in the January 5, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“MARTINEZ, CAL. — New moving picture house in Curry street has been opened under the management of H. E. Case.”
As I can’t find a Curry Street anywhere in Martinez today, I’m wondering if Ferry Street was once called Curry Street, or if this item simply mistook the name of the theater for the name of the street. I also don’t know why they said it was a new moving picture house, unless this was a different theater, which seems unlikely. Given the MPW’s propensity for errors I think it’s possible that this is when the Curry, under new ownership, was renamed the Royal, and the magazine just got the story garbled. I’ve been unable to find any other references to H. E. Case.

The Royal was in operation at least as late as June 17, 1926, when it was mentioned, along with the Novelty Theatre, in that day’s issue of the Oakland Tribune.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Dec 24, 2017 at 1:32 pm

AndrewBarrett: You will probably be interested in this item I ran across in the February 9, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The new Florence theater, soon to be opened in Pasadena under the management of D. B. Schumann, is installing a two-manual and piano-manual pipe organ built by the Seeburg-Smith factories at Chicago. This firm is practically a newcomer on the coast and especially in the South, although it is very well known in the East and throughout the Middle West. C. R. Dibble Company of Los Angeles made the sale, and is superintending the construction.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Dec 23, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Ah, now that the historic photo has been posted it looks like the building was extended upward to add a second floor sometime after the Orpheum closed, so it’s possible that it was erected specifically as a theater in 1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Dec 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm

714 is the old, bay-windowed building adjacent to the Majestic Theatre. The building looks to have been built earlier than 1913, and so the National/Orpheum was probably a storefront conversion, closed and reconverted to retail space when the Majestic opened in 1920.

The building is currently occupied by Training Loft 714, a weight loss and “body transformation studio” (outside California aka, a gym.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Chief Theatre on Dec 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Comparing aerial views from 1965 and more recently at Historic Aerials, it is apparent that the Chief Theatre has been converted into the United Methodist Fellowship Hall, at 102 I Street. The old stone building of the original church as seen in the vintage photo is still standing at the corner of I and Elm. A new building, built sometime between 1999 and 2003, connects the old church with the fellowship hall, forming a courtyard on the I Street side of the complex.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theatre on Dec 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm

After being vacant for many years, the Park Theatre building was renovated for use as office space in 2014.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theatre on Dec 22, 2017 at 5:31 pm

The November 3, 1917, issue of The Moving Picture World ran this brief item: “John Lyons, manager of the Orpheum at Dayton, O., will stick to a straight five-cent policy from now on, owing to the new war tax.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Strand Theatre on Dec 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm

If this house was called B. F. Keith’s Theatre, it must have been but briefly, after the Keith circuit took control of it in 1915 and before they took over the Colonial the following year. The name B. F. Keith’s Theatre belonged to the Colonial from 1916 to 1921. I’ve found an item in the November 3, 1917, issue of The Moving Picture World which notes sequential personal appearances recently made by popular child star Violet McMillan at both Keith’s Theatre and the Strand in Dayton.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ideal Theater on Dec 22, 2017 at 4:47 pm

The Ideal Theatre was discussed in the November 3, 1917, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Dayton News Letter

“By Paul J. Gray. Alhambra Theater
Building, Dayton, Ohio.

“Making Patrons for Ideal Theatre.

“DAYTON, OHIO. — John Seifert. who was with the Pathe. working from Cincinnati, and who made quite a success with that company, is now in Dayton to stay. He is managing the Ideal theater in this city as well as the East Majestic, a neighborhood house.

“Mr. Seifert controlled a chain of eight theaters on the Pacific coast before going to the Pathe people and is well known in the west. He has already started plans for the complete remodeling of the Ideal. Mr. Seifert converted a house known as a ‘filler for a program’ into a legitimate ‘Feature.’ inasmuch as the Standard Film one-reel picture, ‘The Zeppelin Raids over London,’ was advertised strong in the newspapers and did a big business while at the Ideal.

“George Wilson, of the Standard exchange in Cincinnati, says that bookings are coming in fast through the running of the picture at the Ideal with such remarkable success. This task is even harder when one stops to think that B. F. Keith’s theater, only two blocks away, was playing ‘The Retreat of the Germans’ to big houses as an extra feature with a vaudeville show.

“Mr. Seifert claims the East Majestic is also doing well under his management and he is to completely remodel this house also.”

So far I’ve been unable to identify the neighborhood house called the East Majestic Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO State Theatre on Dec 22, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Here is a bit of information about the operation of the Auditorium Theatre during the period before the fire that destroyed the house, from the April 1, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The New Auditorium is a ‘duplex’ theater. There are two 500 seat auditoriums, one above the other, the operating room of the lower being under the stage of the upper. The lower theater begins the day, and when the first two reels are finished they are sent upstairs and the show is started in the upper auditorium, thereafter the show continues for the day with the lower theater two laps ahead of the upper. There are three operators employed. The projectors are Power’s Six A’s. Projection is in charge of S. Howell, P. Willoughby and W. Stoker.

“The lobby of the New Auditorium is very spacious, is decorated in pale blue and is fitted up with wicker chairs, stand lamps and cozy corners — a beautiful, commodious rest room. The house is owned by the Auditorium Amusement Company, of which that wideawake, pleasant gentleman, Gill Burrows, is manager. We had an extended talk with Neighbor Burrows; also met Mr. Elmer Rauh, president and treasurer of the company.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Strand Theatre on Dec 22, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Papers in the Pretzinger Architectural Collection reveal that Albert Pretzinger’s firm did some work on the Strand Theatre in 1924. There is no indication of the nature of the work or its extent.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Dec 22, 2017 at 3:13 pm

The records of Hugh J. Baker & Company of Indianapolis, fabricator of structural and reinforcing steel and concrete, indicate that they provided materials for the construction of the Liberty Theatre at Terre Haute in 1918.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Zaring's Egyptian Theatre on Dec 22, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Numerous sources indicate that the architect of Zaring’s Egyptian Theatre was Frank Baldwin Hunter, brother of Edgar Otis Hunter. Though Frank Hunter, who had studied art but had no formal architectural training, had apprenticed with Preston Rubush, he established his own practice in 1907, becoming quite successful as a residential architect. After designing numerous houses, he began designing commercial projects, including Zaring’s Egyptian and the Fountain Square Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Apollo Theatre on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm

The records of Hugh J. Baker & Company, fabricator of structural and reinforcing steel and concrete, list Vonnegut, Bohn & Meuller as the architects of the Apollo. The firm’s co-founder (with Arthur Bohn), Bernard Vonnegut, died in 1908, and his son, Kurt Vonnegut Sr., became a principal of the firm in 1910. O. N. Mueller joined the firm later. Vonnegut Sr. was the lead architect on most of the firms projects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:16 pm

The records of Hugh J. Baker & Company, fabricator of structural and reinforcing steel and concrete, indicate that the Alhambra Theatre was built in 1913.

This post from the Historic Indianapolis web site has, along with some pictures of the Apollo Theatre, a photo of the Alhambra’s building shortly before it and its neighbors were demolished in 1990.