Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Legion Theatre on Aug 15, 2017 at 3:45 pm

The records of the Grand Forks architectural firm Wells-Denbrook Architects (Theodore B. Wells and Myron Denbrook, Jr.) lists as a 1940 project the remodeling of the Grand Theatre at Michigan, North Dakota. As the Legion Theatre opened in 1940, I think it likely that Legion was the new name of the remodeled Grand.

I’ve been unable to find the Grand mentioned in any of the earlier theater trade journals, but Michigan was mentioned in a brief item in The Moving Picture World of June 4, 1914, which said only that “L. Thompson will open a moving picture theater at Michigan, N. D.”

A brief item in Boxoffice of May 19, 1956, said that the darkened theater at Michigan, North Dakota, had reopened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Aug 15, 2017 at 12:29 pm

This web page has some information about the Grand Theatre in Hallock (I don’t believe any of the accompanying photos depict the Grand, though.) The page says that the Grand opened in November, 1920. It doesn’t give the closing year, but does note that the house operated into the CinemaScope era. A drive-in theater, under the same ownership, opened nearby in 1954.

The article also mentions Frederick “Casey” Jones, a local mechanic and radio repair man who, in the late 1920s, built a sound system for the theater when the owner was unable to afford the commercial systems then coming on the market. Jones later went on to work for Minneapolis-based Ultraphone Sound Systems, where he made many improvements in the company’s theater sound systems. Over the next couple of decades he proved to be an imaginative inventor in many fields, and invented, among other things, the first practicable refrigeration system for long haul trucks. There is an interesting short biography of him on this page from the Minnesota Science & Technology Hall of Fame.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arcade Theatre on Aug 12, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Dave Kenney’s book (which I’ve found to be quite reliable) says that the Arcade Theatre closed in 1978, not 1969.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arcade Theatre on Aug 12, 2017 at 8:59 pm

marrossini: Dave Kenney’s book Twin Cities Picture Show lists the Randolph Theatre operating from 1937 to 1956 at 1326 Randolph Avenue. I haven’t found any details about it, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Amherst Theatre on Aug 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Mr. V.E. McGee had an addition built at his theater in Amherst in 1914, as noted in the April 25 issue of The American Contractor that year. The 30x36-foot addition was designed by Loraine, Ohio, architect H.O. Wurmser.

Page 8 of this PDF has two early photos of the Empire Theatre, plus a small photo of the house as the Amherst, probably taken around 1954. The false front on the building might have been from Mr. Wurmser’s project of 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Delft Bistro on Aug 12, 2017 at 7:16 pm

The renovated Delft Theatre is now the home of the Delft Bistro, a bar and restaurant. Their web site says they show movies nightly, but doesn’t give any information about format. I suspect they are just running blue ray movies. They have a calendar style schedule on their “Films” page, but it’s blank, so you have to call the restaurant to find out what the feature film is on any given night.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varieties Theater on Aug 12, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Cezar Del Valle’s site has a closeup of the Varieties first published in the November 16, 1912, issue of The Moving Picture World. The house was featuring Sarah Bernhardt’s prestige film Camille.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crown Aspen Hill Theatres on Aug 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm

According to this article dated April 19, 2000, the Crown Theatre at Aspen Hill Shopping Center was set to close on April 30. Crown Theatres, which had taken over the 30-year lease on the house in 1996, was unable to negotiate terms for a renewal that were satisfactory to both the company and the landlord.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Galaxy Neonopolis 11 on Aug 12, 2017 at 2:25 pm

I’m not sure where the theater was located in this complex, but it is gone now. This directory on the Neonopolis web site shows a number of vacant spaces along with an assortment of shops, restaurants, offices, a brew pub, a nightclub, and even a gallery operated by the Las Vegas Art Museum, but no movie theater. The short-lived Krave Massive is long gone.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about AMC Showplace Village Crossing 18 on Aug 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Okay, I’ve found the connection (I didn’t look long enough before.) This house was indeed opened by Crown Theatres, LLC, based in South Norwalk, Connecticut. Here is their Bloomberg data page.

Crown Cinema Corporation, as I noted in my earlier comment, was a different company, based in Missouri and headed by Richard Durwood. It was absorbed by Dallas-based Hollywood Theaters in 1996.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about AMC Showplace Village Crossing 18 on Aug 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm

The “Crown Cinemas Corporation” page linked from the “Previously operated by” field on this page lists the theaters in Connecticut as having been run by the same corporation that had this house, but I believe it is mistaken.

It’s often difficult to track the various companies that have owned and operated theaters, but I don’t believe that the Crown Cinemas that opened this house in the early 2000s was related to the Crown Theaters, based in Norwalk, Connecticut, which was operating theaters in that state at least as far back as the 1990s.

I’ve also been unable to discover if the Crown Cinemas that opened this theater was a successor firm to the Crown Cinema Corporation that was operating theaters in Missouri, Kansas and Ohio in the 1990s. That company was controlled by Richard Durwood, younger brother of Stan Durwood, then chairman of AMC.

According to this 1996 article) the company that owned some of the theaters Crown Cinema Management was operating (and in which Crown Cinema Corporation was a partner) was forced into bankruptcy. Crown Cinema Corporation was then sold to a Dallas-based theater company called Hollywood Theaters Inc. I don’t know if the name continued to be used after that or not. It’s possible that the company that opened this house in Skokie in 2001 had just picked up the dead company’s name.

It’s all very confusing, except for the fact that I can find no connection between Crown Theaters of Norwalk and Richard Durwood’s Crown Cinemas Corporation of Missouri, nor any connection between the Norwalk company and this theater in Skokie. Theater companies really ought to exercise more originality when choosing their names.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Star Theatre on Aug 11, 2017 at 11:02 pm

An article by the Grayslake Historical Society on this web page says that the Star Theatre was located at 255 Center Street. The Star, operated by Peter Newhouse, opened on June 5, 1920.

The building is now occupied by a bar called Charlie’s Garden Club. There are a couple of photos of the building on the bar’s Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Savoy Theatre on Aug 10, 2017 at 4:44 am

The Savoy Theatre was mentioned in the April 22, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. Both the Savoy and the Crescent were then being managed by Benny Van Borssum. Both houses had been in operation since at least 1912, when they were both listed in the Annual Report of the State Bureau of Inspection.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Aug 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Ora222: One of soybean’s comments on another theater page indicate that he was born in 1950, so he would not have seen the original release of Gone With The Wind when it ran at the old Grand in 1939. It’s quite possible that the re-release soybean saw “…[w]hen I was growing up….” (so probably either 1961 or 1967, but possibly 1954) was shown at this house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theater on Aug 4, 2017 at 11:54 am

The February 21, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about the Majestic:

“The Pastime Theater Company, which purchased the interests of George R. Covell and J. G. Campbell in the Majestic Theater at East Moline announced its intention of adding vaudeville to the moving picture program.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Aug 2, 2017 at 10:47 pm

The name change from American Theatre to State Theatre took place around the middle of 1949. The Terre Haute Tribune ran an ad for the American on June 27, 1949, but was running an ad for the State by July 10 of that year. The state was in operation at least as late as July of 1955. As the State the house showed a lot of westerns, adventure films, and comedies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Cinema on Aug 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Two slide shows with both vintage and modern photos of the New Mission Theatre can be found on this page of the web site of Kerman Morris Architects, the firm that handled the recent renovation for Alamo Drafthouse.

Principals of the firm are Elizabeth Kerman-Morris and Edward Morris.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kaywood Theatre on Aug 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm

The Kaywood Theatre’s architect, Frank Gail Ackerman, worked as a draftsman in the office of theater architect William McElfatrick, 1911-1916, while studying at Cooper Union. On graduation, he entered the office of Thomas Lamb, where he worked until 1925 as an administrative assistant and specifications writer. He later worked in the offices of noted New York architects Emery Roth and Van Wart & Wein, before becoming a partner in Van Wart & Ackerman in 1933. He established his solo practice in 1940.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Turner Theater on Aug 1, 2017 at 7:28 pm

A brief item datelined Ashburn in the “Georgia News Briefs” column of the July 25, 1972, issue of the Rome News-Tribune said that the Turner Theatre building had been destroyed by fire early that morning. A portion of one wall of the structure collapsed into the street, blocking traffic.

The recent opening of the Turner Theatre was noted in this item from the July 10, 1948, issue of Boxoffice:

“ASHBURN, GA. — D. A. Luke has been named manager of the new $100,000 Turner Theatre, opened here recently by the Stein Theatre chain. The new house has a seating capacity of 800 and was designed by Felton Davis, Valdosta architect. The Stein circuit also operate the Majestic Theatre in Nashville.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about McBride Theater on Aug 1, 2017 at 7:10 pm

The July 10, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that the McBride’s had plans to remodel their 1921-vintage theater at Trafford City:

“Trafford, Pa., McBride Closes to Renovate

“TRAFFORD, PA. — The McBride Theatre will be closed for several months for extensive remodeling from wall to wall and from ceiling to auditorium floor. Exterior modernization will include installation of a glass front and a new marquee. Auditorium and lobby will be newly painted, reseated, re-carpeted and new lighting systems and equipments and other fixtures will be installed, according to C. F. and George McBride. Among new features will be an enlarged lobby, a candy bar and new rest rooms. David Martin & Son has the general contract for the remodeling and the architect is Casimir Pellegrini.”

Casimir J. Pellegrini practiced architecture in Pittsburgh for about forty years from the 1920s into the 1960s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fort Pierce Drive-In on Aug 1, 2017 at 6:45 pm

This drive-in was built in 1948, as noted in the July 3 issue of Boxoffice that year:

“FORT PIERCE, FLA. — Ground has been broken on a 500x650 foot plat for a new drive-in to be operated by Talgar Theatre interests. The company is associated with the Koblegard interests here. Sunrise Engineering Co. will supervise the work. W. W. Hatcher is architect. The franchise has been received from Park Theatres, Inc.

“The project will involve an expenditure of approximately $75,000, and be completed early in September.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hoo-Hoo Theatre on Jul 31, 2017 at 1:18 pm

My guess would be that the theater once belonged to or was operated by The International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo or one or more of the club’s members.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Solana Theatre on Jul 30, 2017 at 11:50 am

A spring, 1962, program for the International Film Series presented by the University of California Extension lists movies at the Ken Art Cinema on Thursday evenings and at the Solana Theatre on Tuesday Evenings. It gives the address of the Solana Theatre as 113 Acacia Avenue.

Checking Historic Aerials, I see no buildings on North Acacia that could have housed a theater, but there was a building on South Acacia that could have held a theater of around 900 seats. There is still a large building on that site, though in Google’s satellite view it looks larger than the theater building does in the old aerial photos. It also has a different style of roof. I can’t tell if it is the old theater building enlarged, or is newer construction that replaced the theater building.

A couple of web sites say that the Solana Theatre was built by the Smith Construction Company, founded by Milton and Dorothea Smith in 1937, which would date the theater to that year or later.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Allen Theatre on Jul 27, 2017 at 3:22 pm

BigDog: Click on the “Photos” button above the photo at the top of this page. 81 photos of the Allen have been uploaded here so far, a few of which show the marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garfield Theatre on Jul 27, 2017 at 2:46 pm

I believe the photos currently on this theater’s photo page actually show the projection booth of the Garfield Mall Movies. The equipment in them is much too modern to have been in a theater that closed in the 1950s.