Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Portland Theater on Aug 8, 2015 at 3:11 pm

The images Lou Rugani uploaded to this theater’s photo page do not depict the Portland Theatre which opened at 11-13 Preble Street in 1910, but its predecessor, a house at 477 Congress Street, at the corner of Preble, facing Monument Square. The earlier theater was built in 1853 and demolished in 1909, and during its last years was a movie house called The Nickel, which began operating in May, 1907. It’s Cinema Data Project page gives the additional aka Family Theatre, but doesn’t say when the house used that name.

The 1910 house, located next door to the site of the earlier theater, and opened as the New Portland Theatre (Cinema Data Project page,) has also been demolished, though I don’t know when. It was closed in the 1960s, but the building was still standing in the 1990s. This is a photo of the New Portland Theatre from the Maine Historical Society.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Seville Theatre on Aug 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm

This 1924 photo from the Maine Historical Society shows the Strand to have been a second-floor house above a hardware store. The Cinema Data Project page for this theater doesn’t list any aka’s, and the only Nordica Theatres listed for Maine by the Project are the ones in Freeport and Lisbon.

The aka’s appear to have been obtained from this PDF, the penultimate page of which features a small photo of High Street which shows a small sliver of the theater building at left. Despite its Sawyer Street address, the photos show that the entrance to the Strand was on the High Street side of the building, though the doors did face up the block in the direction of Sawyer Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Aug 8, 2015 at 1:02 pm

The Strand’s auditorium was demolished in 1970, according to This page from The Cinema Data Project. The house is listed under its original name, the Big Nickel Theatre.

The Big Nickel was a large upstairs theater with its entrance on Forest Avenue, and it opened on April 3, 1911. In 1915 it was renamed the Strand Theatre and began showing Paramount pictures, with music provided by an organ said to have cost $25,000 (a 1917 source reveals this instrument to have been a 3-manual Austin.) In 1917 the owners acquired the building on Congress Street which would house the rebuilt Strand’s entrance, and the vacant land between that building and the Big Nickel.

The theater was closed in September, 1917, and the original building gutted and rebuilt as a ground floor house, and expanded to reach the Congress Street structure, which was given a new facade. The architects for the project were Thomas Lamb and local architect Austin Pease, with New York theater specialists M. Shapiro and Sons supervising construction.

The rebuilt Strand, equipped with a large stage 90 feet wide and 34 feet deep, opened on June 3, 1918. The opening film was the Mary Pickford feature M'liss. The Strand was closed for refurbishment in the spring of 1930, reopening in June that year with Colonial style decor. The Strand closed permanently in 1963.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lee Theatre on Aug 8, 2015 at 1:57 am

A photo of the rather restrained auditorium of the Lee Theatre illustrates an ad for the Celotex Corporation on this page of the May 31, 1941, issue of Motion Picture Herald The caption says that the Lee Theatre was designed by a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, architectural firm, the J. P. Hampson Co.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Oswego 7 Cinemas on Aug 8, 2015 at 1:28 am

The May 31, 1941, issue of Motion Picture Herald featured a page of photos of the Oswego Theatre.

Additional photos appeared in this ad for the Formica company.

The splash panel over one of the Oswego’s two drinking fountains can be seen at the upper left of this page of the magazine.

A view of the Oswego’s auditorium can be seen illustrating an article about theater seats on this page of the same magazine’s May 3 issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Patricia Theater on Aug 8, 2015 at 12:56 am

The Patricia was most likely the proposed theater that was the subject of this brief item inThe Film Daily of October 30, 1937:

“Ram Plans Aiken House

“Aiken, S. C. — Working drawings have been started on a one-story motion picture theater building here for H. B. Ram. It will have brick walls and a carrara glass front.”

Herbert Ram also operated the State Theatre in Aiken.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gates Theatre on Aug 5, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Thanks for the extensive research, norfolk356. So we have this house opening as the Lyceum Theatre in 1900, being renamed the Orpheum sometime between 1907 and 1909, and being rebuilt following major fire damage in 1922. It’s interesting that in 1931 architect Charles M. Major, who drew the plans for the 1922 project, still had his practice in the office portion of the building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rapallo Theatre on Aug 4, 2015 at 8:07 pm

A drawing of the Colonial No. 1 and a photo of the Colonial No. 2 have been uploaded to this theater’s photo page by CharmaineZoe, plus there is an architect’s drawing of the Colonial No. 2 which I uploaded. They indicate that Brooksie is mistaken. The Colonial No. 1 had an alley to the right, as does the Plaza Theatre, and Colonial No. 2 had an alley to the left, as did the Rapallo Theatre. It must have been the Plaza that was built on the site of the Colonial No. 1.

This post from Cezar Del Valle’s Bijou Dream weblog is also a bit confused. The heading gives the address of the Colonial No. 2, at 525 George Street, but I believe that the photo on the page actually depicts the Colonial No. 1, and on the bottom of that photo it says “Australia’s first continuous moving picture show” and then “J. D. Williams Ams. Co., 610 George St. Sydney.”

610 George Street would be under the footprint of the Plaza Theatre. The Colonial No. 1 was an existing theater that J. D. Williams acquired in 1910, and which he then remodeled. The MPW photo must depict the house pre-remodel. The entrance is wider and the decorative details are different in CharmaineZoe’s drawing, so it must be a post-remodel view.

610 George Street was the main office of the J. D. Williams Amusement Company, according to an advertisement for the company that is one of many illustrations in a photo essay by Ross Thorne (PDF here.) The essay features vintage photos of the Colonial after it had been renamed Empress and the Victory after it had been renamed Rapallo.

There are also numerous color photos of the Victory/Rapallo by the author. Despite numerous Art Deco features, especially on the facade, the Victory was a very streamlined theater. Its interior could serve as a textbook example of the transition from Art Deco to Streamline Modern that took place through the 1930s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gates Theatre on Aug 1, 2015 at 1:26 pm

An L-shaped hotel with the theater tucked into the L seems most likely. But as the long side of the building was along Court Street, I think it’s likely that the theater ran north and south, with the stage at the north end and a side entrance for the stage at the northeast corner, behind the Woolworth building.

The July 26, 1922, issue of Fire and Water Engineering had a brief article about the fire that had recently occurred in the Orpheum. It doesn’t mention the hotel at all, though it gives the dimensions of the building as 100 X 25, which is surely an error and was probably meant to have read 100 x 125, which is what I’d say the modern building on the site is.

The listing for the Orpheum in the 1909-1910 Cahn guide says that it had 1,000 seats. The stage was 53 feet 6 inches between the sidewalls (which was probably the same width as the auditorium) and the distance from the footlights to the back wall of the stage was 27 feet 6 inches. Given those dimensions, and a lot 125 feet deep from High Street and only 100 feet deep from Court Street, plus the need to accommodate hotel rooms along both frontages, a north-south auditorium with the stage at the north end is more likely than an east-west configuration.

A guidebook published in 1907 lists a 900-seat theater called the Lyceum at 322 High Street in Portsmouth, and doesn’t mention an Orpheum Theatre. The Lyceum had to have been this house. The 1922 article about the fire says that the Orpheum building was 46 years old, which would give a build date of about 1876. I found the Lyceum mentioned in several publications from 1900, but so far none earlier. The house might have had a different name prior to that. It became the Orpheum sometime between 1907 and 1909.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gates Theatre on Jul 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm

I forgot to mention my source for the date. It was Robert Brooke Albertson’s Portsmouth Virginia (Google Books preview,) which features an early drawing of the hotel on page 27. The building was originally four storys, which is why there was a cornice at the top of the fourth floor, as seen in later photos. The top floor was a later addition, though why the new floor got no cornice atop it I don’t know.

The facade of the building is actually pretty characteristic of the commercial structures of the 1850s, being fairly plain and having smaller windows than later buildings usually had. As the 19th century progressed architecture not only became ever more elaborate, but windows tended to take up an ever larger proportion of the facades.

I had hoped to discover how the theater was configured (either it had been inserted into the hotel building, or the entrance ran through the hotel building to a new auditorium built behind the hotel, possibly extending all the way to Queen Street) but the oldest aerial view of the site from Historic Aerials dates from 1963, six years after the entire building was destroyed by fire on August 9, 1957. Maybe somebody who attended the theater will show up to tell us how the building was laid out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gates Theatre on Jul 30, 2015 at 9:51 pm

The Hotel Monroe building did indeed date from the mid-19th century, having been completed in 1855. It was originally called the Ocean House Hotel. I haven’t been able to discover when the theater opened, but the old Orpheum was in operation at this location by 1906.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Jul 27, 2015 at 1:19 pm

I figured that the owners of the Princess were most likely planning to move their operation to the new building but were unable get a permit to do so because of the problem with the fire exits. They ought to have hired a more knowledgeable architect.

In any case, the original Princess was clearly the one Bob Jensen intended to list, as he says it was in operation around 1920, but the page got sidetracked by MiltonSmith’s comment about the failed theater built in 1924. It seems more sensible that Cinema Treasures would have a page about a theater that actually operated than about one that never did.

But we still know nothing about the Princess Theatre that Bob submitted except that it was in operation by 1918, when it was mentioned in the August issue of Theatre Magazine, and was still listed in the 1922-1923 film yearbook. It’s quite possible that it was demolished to make way for the building that became the Benson Block, but we just don’t know that it was. It might have been in a different location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Magic Lantern Theater on Jul 26, 2015 at 1:40 pm

The Magic Lantern Theatre is no longer in the same building that was described in the 1941 MGM report. The history section of the theater’s web site says that the original building was demolished in February, 2007, and the last movies had been shown on October 8, 2005, ending 75 years of operation (actually 76 years, the house having opened as the Meserve Theatre on June 5, 1929.) The history page has a small vintage photo, probably dating from the 1930s.

The modern theater uses the address 9 Depot Street, but the original Theatre fronted on Main Street. Depot Street intersects Main Street twice, and the theater is on the southwest corner of the westernmost of those intersections. The original theater’s entrance was probably just about directly across the street from the end of Nulty Street, which is between addresses 132 and 140 Main Street. I would expect the theater’s historic address to have been approximately 135 Main, but Google street view fetches the address 79 US-302 for the location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jewel Theatre on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Mike, I think you forgot to close the space between the ] and the ( in the markdown code. Here’s a clickable link: Jewel theatre opening

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cumberland Theatre on Jul 25, 2015 at 1:42 pm

The link to the index of newspaper articles I posted in an earlier comment is dead and unfindable, but the information in it might have been inaccurate anyway. The page for the Cumberland Theatre at The Cinema Data Project cites the July 20, 1912, issue of Motography as saying: “‘Cumberland’ is the name of a new motion picture theater opened at Brunswick.” It’s possible that the Motography item was mistaken about the house being new and it was merely reopening, perhaps under a new name.

The rather small entrance to the Cumberland can be seen in the background of this photo from the Maine Memory Network. I’m unable to be positive about the name of the movie on the first poster on the theater’s wall, even using the zoom feature, but I suspect that it might be the 1927 feature Broadway Nights.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Memorial Theatre on Jul 23, 2015 at 12:27 pm

KenRoe: The architect spelled his surname with an extra “e” (Kelley.) Here is a brief biography.

Also interesting, Kelley’s house at Phillips Beach, Massachusetts, as featured in the May, 1917, issue of The Architectural Record (plans followed by three photographs on subsequent pages.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Marina Theatre on Jul 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Irene805: The Boxoffice article I cited was published in January, 1948, but as the article was about the quonset hut type of theater, not any particular theater, the movie houses it mentioned might have been built anytime in the previous few years.

Civilian theater construction was highly restricted during WWII, and the government usually permitted new theater construction only to replace theaters that had been destroyed by some disaster, or in places that had military bases or large factories doing war-related work. I believe that Port Hueneme fell into the first category, so it’s possible that the Marina Theatre was built sometime during the war. But given its mention in a January, 1948, magazine article, it would have to have been in operation before the end of 1947 at the latest.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Memorial Theatre on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm

The NRHP Nomination Form (PDF here) for Brewster Memorial Hall says that the Romanesque Revival style building was designed by Boston architect James T. Kelley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tilton Theatre on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:56 pm

In the 1920s a 350-seat movie house called the Pastime Theatre was in operation in Tilton. The Cinema Data Project has pages for both the Pastime and the Tilton, but both pages describe photos depicting the theaters being in three story brick commercial blocks. Further, the MGM report Ron cites says the Tilton opened about 1910, but the Pastime is the only theater I’ve found mentioned in early trade journals. I suspect that Pastime was an aka for the Tilton Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arcade Theatre on Jul 22, 2015 at 6:59 pm

The June, 1914, issue of The Carpenters Trade Journal said that a three-story theater was to be built for the Arcade Theatre Co. in Salisbury. The project was designed by Philadelphia architects Hoffman & Henon. The lot was 174 feet deep, so the theater must have extended all the way through the block to Camden Street.

This page at the Salisbury News weblog indicates that the Arcade Theatre was on the south side of W. Main Street a few doors east of the Ulman Opera House.

The postcard view Don Lewis provided shows the theater almost directly across the street from the building with the portico which still stands at the northwest corner of St. Peters Street. The Arcade Theatre itself has been demolished, one of several Salisbury theaters destroyed by fire, though I don’t know what year the Arcade met its end.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theater on Jul 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

ROCKER4EVER: Google News Archive displays images in Flash, so you can’t right-click to copy. You have to take a screenshot (use “PrtScr” key in the top row of your keyboard on most computers) and then open an image editing program (I use IrfanView, but there are a number of others, and there is also Windows Paint, which can be used to save a screenshot) and save the screenshot to it. If you have Windows 8, you have a feaure that saves screenshots directly to files, as described on this page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about North Dekalb Theatre on Jul 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm

StanMalone: I’ve never been to Decatur, but I believe the quad you are referring to is the one listed here as the Market Square Cinema 4. That’s the impression I’ve gotten, anyway. There’s not much information on its page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wakefield Opera House on Jul 17, 2015 at 5:53 pm

The NRHP registration form for the Wakefield Town Hall (PDF here) says that this Romanesque Revival building was designed by Dover, New Hampshire, architect Alvah T. Ramsdell.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wakefield Opera House on Jul 17, 2015 at 5:51 pm

The Google map and street view I’m currently seeing on this page are miles and miles from the actual location of the Wakefield Opera House. I tired to link to a corrected view at Google Maps but it wouldn’t cooperate, so here is the correct location from Bing Maps. Unfortunately this is one of the places Bing Maps doesn’t have a good 360-degree bird’s-eye view available.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wakefield Opera House on Jul 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Official web site.