Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theater on Jan 7, 2015 at 7:43 pm

A 1918 book, History of Butte County, California, by George C. Mansfield, says that the Rex Theatre was built around 1906 by Lewis Slissman and William C. Goodenow.

The NRHP registration form for the State Theatre says that the Rex was refurbished in 1927, and reopened on July 2. At this time the Rex was operated by Harry Seipel and A.B.C. Chamberlain, who also operated the Gardella Theatre in Oroville as well as theaters in Palo Alto and Crockett.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Jan 7, 2015 at 5:03 pm

This is from a brief biography of Mr. I. D. Stanford which was published in the 1918 book History of Butte County, California, by George C. Mansfield:

“In July, 1916, Mr. and Mrs. Stanford purchased the Lyric Theater in Chico, and since then he has given his undivided attention to the conduct of the business and has built up a fine patronage and has made of it one of the best show-houses in the Valley. He has made a study of what the public wants and gives it to them. The theater is conducted as a moving-picture theater and has a seating capacity of four hundred. It is perfectly ventilated; in summer large electric fans are operated and in winter it is heated by furnace, with the result that the Lyric is the popular show-house in Chico. Popular prices prevail. In June, 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Stanford purchased the Liberty Theater at Marysville, which has a seating capacity of five hundred, and this will be conducted in conjunction with their Chico play-house.”
In the 1922-1923 edition of the FDY the Lyric is one of four Chico theaters listed as being operated by Henry Daly. In the 1927 Yearbook it is one of three houses in Chico operated by the National Theaters Syndicate.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Jan 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm

The Lyric Theatre was mentioned in both the January 8 and March 11 issues of The Moving Picture World in 1916. The earlier item said that owner R. Bauer planned to remodel the Lyric and rename it the Park Theatre, but the March 11 item said that the Lyric Theatre in Chico, recently opened by R. Bauer, had been remodeled, so I guess Mr. Bauer changed his mind about the renaming.

The Lyric was mentioned again in the October 28 issue that same year, which said that the house had been repaired and reopened after suffering damage from a fire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rancho Theater on Jan 7, 2015 at 11:58 am

A brochure for a walking tour of downtown Pleasanton (no longer available on the Internet) said that the mission revival building at 720-722 Main was built as an auto showroom and garage around 1920, and in 1945 was converted into the Rancho Theatre, “a Spanish movie house.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Jan 7, 2015 at 11:57 am

The PDF of the downtown walking tour brochure has vanished from the Internet. Even though the link is still on this web page, it now produces only a 404 error. Maybe they will repair it someday. However, the page has a slide show of historic photos, and one of them is of the Roxy. Unfortunately, the slide show is totally automated so you have to just wait for the photo to come up in the stream, and then it stays for only a few seconds.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theater on Jan 6, 2015 at 11:39 am

That’s what I was thinking. The new Ritz Theatre on the south side was bigger than the old Ritz/Britton Theatre on the north side, so the new Ritz must have had the 586 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lake Cinemas 8 on Jan 5, 2015 at 9:38 pm

The “Theater Openings” column of the May 21, 1938, issue of The Film Daily said that the Lake Theatre in Barberton had opened on May 6.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Will Rogers Theatre on Jan 5, 2015 at 9:19 pm

The Will Rogers Theatre opened on February 8, 1938, according to the March 21 issue of The Film Daily.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rodgers Theatre on Jan 5, 2015 at 9:14 pm

The May 21, 1938, issue of The Film Daily gave the opening date of the Rodgers Theatre as February 17.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theatre on Jan 5, 2015 at 9:06 pm

The Uptown Theatre can be partly seen in this photo of a 1961 parade.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theatre on Jan 5, 2015 at 8:49 pm

This item from the “Theater Construction” column of the May 31, 1938, issue of The Film Daily must have been about the Uptown Theatre:

“Sonora — New, 800 seats, Downtown Sonora; Builder: Harvey Amusement Co.; Cost: $50,000; Operator: Harvey Amusement Co.”
An item in the June, 1938, issue of The Architect & Engineer of California said that Frederick W. Quandt had drawn the plans for a theater being built at Sonora, California, for the Harvey Amusement Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Jan 5, 2015 at 7:22 pm

The opening of the State Theatre in Tulare was reported in the October 21, 1938 issue of The Film Daily. Originally planned for Golden State Theatres, the project was taken over by the T&D Jr. circuit before completion. The State was designed by the firm of Jorgensen & Deichmann.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Time Theatre on Jan 5, 2015 at 5:40 pm

The “Theaters Planned” column of The Film Daily for May 21, 1938, said that the Time Theatre in Mattoon would be designed by architect Paul Leaman, but I’ve been unable to find any other references to an architect of that name, so it might be a typo. I’ve found a single reference to a Decatur, Illinois, architect named Paul Lehman, but it is from 1965.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Jan 4, 2015 at 11:07 pm

The Met is still in use by West Virginia Public Theatre. They presented their production of Mary Poppins November 29-December 21, 2004. Their summer season begins July 8, but no production has yet been announced.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mariemont Theatre on Jan 4, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Hank: I’ve never come across any photos of the Monte Vista, but I’ll put it on my list of things to keep an eye out for.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dryden Theatre on Jan 4, 2015 at 10:41 am

The theater’s web site says that the Dryden Theatre was built in 1951 with funds donated to Eastman House by George and Ellen Dryden. Ellen Dryden was George Eastman’s niece.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Highway 65 Drive-In on Jan 2, 2015 at 9:18 pm

The October 23, 1954, Boxoffice article about the Buffalo Autoscope Drive-In that I linked to in an earlier comment has been moved. Here are current links:

First page

Second page

Third page

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bolling Theatre on Jan 2, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Here is an item from the January 24, 1933, issue of The Film Daily:

“Asheville, N. C— William A. Byers, manager of the Plaza, has resigned to assume management of the new $85,000 Bolling theater in Norton, Va. Byers is part owner of the Boiling and of one other house in Bolling, both controlled by the Boiling Theater Corp.”
The Bolling Theatre most likely opened right around the time the item was published. The line “…other house in Bolling….” was obviously meant to read “other house in Norton.” This was probably the Norton Theatre, which the January 17, 1941, issue of the Daily reported had burned on Christmas Eve, 1940, and was to be rebuilt. In 1920 Norton had a house called the Strand.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elba Theatre on Jan 2, 2015 at 8:05 pm

A 250-seat Elba Theatre was listed at Elba, Alabama, in the 1927 FDY. In 1915, Elba had a house called the Photoplay, and in 1924 it had a Strand Theatre. I think the Elba Theatre listed in 1927 might have been either enlarged or moved to a new building later. The modern building of the Elba is about twice as wide as the building the 260-seat Claire Theatre was in. The Elba’s facade looks to date from the 1930s.

The Elba Theatre is undergoing gradual renovation and has already presented a few movies. In 2015, their goal is to have one movie a month, according to Their Facebook page.

Recent photos show that the interior of the auditorium has been stripped to the bare brick walls, but the stage is still there and folding chairs are in use. The floor was flattened during the period the building was used for retail stores and has not been re-sloped, but the ceiling looks high enough that stadium seating could be installed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Claire Theatre on Jan 2, 2015 at 7:33 pm

The November 1, 1947, issue of The Film Daily said: “Walter Brackin has opened his new Claire theatre in Elba, Ala., with a seating capacity of 250.”

The 1958 FDY lists the Claire and Elba Theatres as Brackin houses, but then the FDY was notoriously unreliable at updating its circuit listings. The Claire was apparently closed by then. This line is from an article about Covenant Community Church of Elba in the October 22, 2008, issue of The Elba Clipper:

“The coffeehouse is housed in a building constructed in the late 1940’s for the ‘Claire Theater,’ which operated until around 1952. Other businesses used the space, but after the town flood of 1990, the building remained empty and full of debris. After nearly twenty years of neglect, the building was donated to Covenant Community Church.”
I am wondering if the ‘New Theatre’ of ca.1937 was not actually a new location for the Elba Theatre? The Elba was listed in the 1927 FDY with 250 seats, but the building it is in now is twice the width of the Claire’s building, so must have had more seats than the Claire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elba Theatre on Jan 2, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Walter Brackin got in trouble with the film distributors in 1938, according to this item from the September 3 issue of Motion Picture Herald:

“IN COURTS

“Four Companies Ask Injunction

“The Peoples Theaters of Alabama, Inc. and Walter J. Brackin, operating a motion picture house at Elba, Ala., were named in a petition filed at Montgomery in U. S. district court by four film producing or film distributing companies this week. The petitioners sought an order to restrain by injunction the defendants from using copyrighted films without licenses from the plaintiffs, and also sought damages for several alleged infringements of copyright laws.

“The complaint charged the Elba Theatre at Elba with showing films for longer periods than contracted for, and urged damages of not less than $250 for each violation. The petitioners were: RKO Pictures, Inc.; the 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation and 20th Century-Fox Distributing Corporation; Paramount Pictures, Inc., and the Paramount Pictures Distributing Company, Inc.; Warner Brothers Pictures, Inc., and the Vitaphone and Vitagraph Company. None of the companies signing the petition are incorporated in Alabama.”

The January 17, 1941, issue of The Film Daily reported a fire at the Elba Theatre:
“Elba, Ala. — Fire on Jan. 7 caused considerable damage to the local Elba Theater. House plans to reopen at an early date, Manager Dozier Roberts states.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Aloma Theatre on Jan 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm

The Grosse Pointe Park Theatre was designed by Ernest C. Thulin of the Detroit firm Building Service Bureau.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Admiral Theatre on Jan 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Here is an item from the March 5, 1921, issue of The American Contractor:

“Stores (4) & Theatre (1,200 seat.): $150,000. 90x135. N. E. Mack & Beniteau av. Archt. Bldg. Service Bureau, 1336 Brush st. Owner Harmony Theatre Corp., F. DeVos, 11221 Mack av. Carp, to Thulin & Frahn, 1336 Brush st.”
The lead architect of the Building Service Bureau was Ernest C. Thulin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Artcraft Theatre on Jan 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Here is an item about the Artcraft Theatre from the March 5, 1921, issue of The American Contractor:

“Contract is Awarded. Franklin, Ind.—Theatre (M. P.) & Office Bldg.: $75,000. 2 sty. 25x30. Archt. Roy C. Bryant. Owner The Artcraft Theatre Corp., D. O. Newlin. secy. Gen. contr. let to Roy C. Bryant. Excav.”
Architect/builder Roy C. Bryant also designed the Masonic Lodge in Franklin, now the Johnson County Museum of History, which is listed on the NRHP.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lakewood Theatre on Jan 1, 2015 at 1:09 pm

The building at the northeast corner of Jefferson and Newport that we have taken to be the theater was not the theater. The Lakewood Theatre was at the northwest corner of Jefferson and Lakewood, on a lot now occupied by a small vacant building that once housed a tire store. The final report of Detroit’s Historic Designation Advisory Board for the proposed Jefferson-Chalmers Historic Business District (PDF here) says that the Lakewood Theatre was demolished in 1958.

The report also says that the Gothic-Art Deco building at Jefferson and Newport was the Vanity Ballroom, built in 1929 and designed by theater architect Charles N. Agree, which accounts for its theatrical look. The ballroom entrance must have been at the north end of the building on Newport Street, where the bare frame of a small marquee can still be seen.

I’ve also been able to discover who was the most likely architect of the Lakewood Theatre, though the name was so garbled in the magazine item I cited in my first comment. It must have been Ernest C. Thulin, who designed quite a few buildings in this neighborhood during that period. He designed at least two other movie theaters as well; the Harmony in Detroit and the Grosse Pointe Park in the suburb of that name. Thulin was the lead architect for a firm called the Building Service Bureau.