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The January 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about the Colonial Theatre:
“Great credit is due the management of
the Colonial theater, Main and Arch streets, Norristown, Pa., for the admirable manner in which they handled the situation when several hundred feet of moving picture films in the operator’s booth caught fire and were entirely consumed. The audience was quieted and an exit made in a most orderly manner no one becoming excited and there was absolutely no sign of a panic.”
This web page from the Lexington History Museum says that the Orpheum opened in 1914 and closed in 1930, and confirms the location as the corner of Main and Limestone Streets. It was a nickelodeon seating about 400.
This web page has a brief history of the Ada Meade Theatre, named for Lexington-born stage actress Ada Meade Saffarans. The house opened as the Hippodrome in 1907. It originally seated 450.
In 1911 an adjacent building was converted into the 260-seat Hipp Annex theatre. In 1913 the Annex was closed and the original theater was rebuilt and expanded to 934 seats. It was renamed the Ada Meade Theatre, opening October 30, 1913.
By the 1920s the house had become a third-run movie theater. After changing hands a number of times, it finally became part of the Schine circuit in 1936. The Ada Meade was closed and demolished in 1954, its site becoming a parking lot.
The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database says this of the Lyric Theatre (about 1/3 of the way down this web page under the heading “Early African American Theaters in Lexington, KY”):
“In 1947, the American Theater Corporation in Indianapolis opened the Lyric Theatre at the corner of Third Street and Elm Tree Lane in Lexington. When the theater opened, it was billed as ‘the nation’s finest colored theater.’ There were movies and live entertainment from greats such as Big Maybelle, the Oreos, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and many others. The Lyric Theater closed in 1963….”
The Orpheum Theatre was not at 404 W. Main Street, which was the location of the Blue Grass Theatre (1907-1910) and the Gem Theatre (1910-1913.) By 1914 404 W. Main had been converted to offices.
An item in the August 29, 1919, issue of the Pars, Kentucky Bourbon News reported that a fire had broken out in the projection booth of the Orpheum Theatre, Main and Limestone Streets, in Lexington. Fire damage was confined to the booth, though the theater suffered some water damage.
For many years the Orpheum was operated by a Mr. J. H. Stamper, Jr. who, as of 1921, also operated the Strand Theatre and the Star Theatre.
According to the Notable African Americans Database at the University of Kentucky (about halfway down this web page), the Blue Grass Theatre, opened in 1907, was in 1910 renamed the Gem Theatre by the new operators, John Clark and Chester Brady, two African American businessmen formerly of Cincinnati.
The original Gem closed sometime in 1913, and the name was moved to the former Lincoln Theatre at 415 W. Main Street. It operated at that location until 1916. The theater at 404 was converted to offices for an insurance company by 1914. The second Gem was no longer listed in the 1916-1917 city directory.
As I was mistaken about Roanoke having converted its street numbering system at some point (see lackey’s comment of July 15, 2012) the address of the Roanoke Theatre should be changed to 14 Campbell Avenue.
I think hdtv might be referring to the Metreon itself. The IMAX web site lists only 17 theaters with laser IMAX in the US and Canada, and 22 more in the rest of the world. I don’t think many of them have screens as big as the Metreon’s, though.
Either Annville had another theater, or the Allen operted under other names than just Hippodrome and Astor. The January 13, 1928, issue of The Film Daily reported that the Blue and White Theatre at Annville had been sold by C. Mauger to William Hissner. Later that year the July 21 issue of the same publication noted that William Hissner had sold the Strand Theatre at Annville to Stanley Goodwin.
The February 24, 1925, issue of the Lebanon Daily News reported that Mr. Mauger had provided his Blue and White Theatre as a location for an annual get together of the Annville Chamber of Commerce. If Hissler’s Annville Strand was the same house as the Blue and White, which seems likely, then the new owner, Goodwin, must have restored the original name, as the Blue and White Theatre is advertised in the Lebanon paper from 1924 through 1929. I’ve found no ads for a Strand at Annville. The paper has ads for a Hippodrome (or Hip) Theatre, but they might be for a house of that name in Lebanon itself, as here was a Hippodrome in operation there as early as 1913.
The Astor Theatre in Annville had RCA Photophone equipment installed in 1931, as noted in the March 31 issue of Motion Picture Times. I haven’t found any references to the Astor earlier than 1931, and no references to the Blue and White later than 1929, so it’s quite possible they were the same house.
The Day & Night Bank was at 116 Campbell Ave. West. I haven’t been able to find the address of the Federal Bakery, but the Princess must have been in one or the other of the storefronts adjacent to the bank.
The permit to build a new theater in Neosho in 1944 was probably expedited by the fact that there was a large military training facility, Camp Crowder, nearby. Towns with bases nearby were usually given priority. Camp Crowder had its own theater, but the Army was undoubtedly mindful of the impact that large numbers of soldiers on passes had on theaters in nearby towns. In most places even a permit to remodel an existing building into a theater was hard to come by.
Australian publisher Images Publishing Group has an entire book about theaters designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer (Google Books preview.)
The Emelin Theatre was equipped with a projection booth from the time of its opening in 1972. In its original configuration, as designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, the auditorium was a flexible space with 180 fixed and 200 moveable seats, and could be arranged as a conventional theater, a thrust stage theater, or an arena theater.
The firm founded in 1967 by Hugh Hardy, Malcolm Holzman, and Norman Pfeiffer designed many performing arts facilites, as well as the American Film Institute Theatre and headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The introduction to this theater should note that the Masque Theatre opened as a legitimate house in 1926 and was converted to a cinema as the Vagabond in 1950.
It’s a very odd name indeed, but even odder is that there was another theater of the same name, located in Detroit. I’ve never discovered the origin of the name (it’s probably just “come see” as in come see the movie), or if there was any connection between the two houses, but comme ci, comme ça.
The Hippodrome was open prior to 1913, as it was one of the theaters threatened by a musicians strike that was noted in the January 4, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World.
The Hippodrome was at 144-46 W. Market Street, corner of second. Here’s a photo dated 1921.
Here is a brief biography of architect/builder N. A. Olston. An article in Biographical History of Page County, Iowa, published in 1890, gives his first name as Nels.
An article about the fire in the July 26, 1971, issue of Boxoffice said that the operators of the Clarinda already had a new theater under construction on Washington Street and planned to close the old house and move the Clarinda’s projection equipment to the new house at the end of the month. The manager said that the loss of the projectors would probably delay the opening of the new theater.
Further digging has revealed that the Armory building was begun in late 1909 or early 1910. The October 21, 1909, issue of Engineering News had this item soliciting bids for the project:
“Clarinda, Ia.— Until 1 p. m., Oct. 5, by William Orr, Secretary the Building Committee of the armory of the fifty-fifth Infantry Band, Clarinda, for the construction of a two-story brick armory, 58x135 feet, in Clarinda, Iowa, in accordance with the plans and specifications prepared by W.W. Welch. architect, Clarinda”
I suspect that the shell of the armory survived the 1912 fire, and the addition of movies to the program after it was rebuilt reflected the need to cover the cost of the rebuilding of the interior. The house was originally built as a rehearsal and performance space for the 55th Infantry Band, which had been coaxed into coming to Clarinda by the promise of such a facility.
The Armory Opera House at Clarinda is listed in the 1914 edition of the Iowa State Gazetteer and Business Directory. It isn’t listed in the 1909-1910 Cahn guide, so might not have opened yet at that time, but the house is listed in the 1913-1914 Cahn guide as a ground floor theater with 800 seats on the main floor, 400 seats in the balcony, and a gallery seating 200. The proscenium opening was 32x25 feet, the stage 55 feet between side walls and 33 feet to back wall, with an apron 3 feet deep.
A vintage postcard (link is probably temporary) shows a sign for the Bon-Ton Theatre on the second floor of the building at the northwest corner of Glenn Miller Avenue (aka 16th Street) and Main Street. This building was originally Hawley’s Opera House, built in 1880 by J. D. Hawley, and designed and erected by local architect/builder N. A. Olston. The 1909-1910 Cahn guide lists the house:
“CLARINDA- Pop 4,000. Hawley’s Opera House. J.D. Hawley mg.r S c 7oo. Prices 25c 50c and 75c. llum elec. E Howard elect. Width of prosc opening 20 ft. Height 21 ft. Footlights to back wall 21 ft. Curtain line to footlights 3 ft. No grooves. Depth under stage 5 ft. Distance between side walls 50 ft. 2 traps located center and at each side. Scene room. Theatre on second floor.
A guide to Clarinda says: “Clarinda Hawley’s Opera House Mural The mural was painted by mural artist, Kelly Poling, featuring the former Hawley’s Opera House that used to be located in the building. The mural has created a beautiful focal point for the downtown area in preserving Clarinda’s historical culture.” There’s no clue as to what occupies the theater space now.
Hawley’s Opera House was still listed in the 1914 edition of the Iowa State Gazetteer and Business Directory, which probably went to press in late 1913, so 1914 is likely the year the name was changed to Bon-Ton Theatre. The directory also lists an Armory Opera House in Clarinda, probably the house that became the Armory Theatre.
A Commonwealth Journal article about the Virginia Cinema dated September 22, 2016, says that the Downtown Somerset Development Corporation would like to restore the house, which closed in 1994, and some adjacent vacant store buildings as a multi-use public facility that could host live events as well as occasional movies.
The Virginia Theatre was built in 1922 by T. E. Jasper and was named for his daughter. The February 9, 1922, issue of Manufacturers Record had this item about the project:
“Ky., Somerset- T.E. Jasper will erect building for moving picture theater, stores and offices; cost $25,000; 58x118 f;, brick and ornamental terra cotta; built up roof; cement and tile floors; metal ceilings and doors; interior tile; wire glass; ventilators; vault lights; steam heat; electric lights; Geo L Elliott, Archt. (Lately noted).”
The finding aid to the Frankel and Curtis architectural records at the University of Kentucky lists the following: “Remodeling project comprised of 49 pages of construction and record drawings, including elevations, sections, floor plans, details, schedules, and sizes of materials.” The records pertaining to the Capitol are dated 1929 and 1936. The Frankel and Curtis collection has not yet been digitized.
The major addition to the Grand Theatre in 1941 was designed by the Lexington architectural firm Frankel and Curtis, and is listed in the finding aid to the Frankel and Curtis papers as the New Grand Theatre for Frankfort Amusement Company.