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The January 2, 1929, issue of The Film Daily noted briefly that the Suffolk Amusement Company’s new Cavalier Theatre at Suffolk, Virginia, had opened recently.
The Cavalier Theatre has been demolished, but the buildings across the street are still standing. The one that in the vintage photo looks like it is probably directly opposite the theater has two storefronts with the addresses 147 and 149 N. Main, so the Theatre was probably at 148 N. Main. The theater’s site is now under the footprint of the courthouse.
Courtesy ads in school yearbook from as early as 1942 and as late as 1952 indicate that the Cavalier was during that period operated by the Pitts' Theaters chain.
The Garberville Theatre was another victim of the cost of converting to digital projection. A 2014 gofundme attempt at funding the conversion raised only $1,061 dollars of the owners' $70,000 goal. The house has apparently been closed for quite some time, but I haven’t been able to find any reports giving the date.
The history page of the Phantasy Concert Club’s web site has a photo of the theater as the Homestead, sometime in the mid-1950s. There are also some modern photos, including two (rather dark) of the auditorium.
The July 26, 1912, issue of The American Contractor reported that a store building in Painesville would be remodeled into a motion picture theater for the Utopia Amusement Company. The architect was A. C. Wolfe of Cleveland.
The Cleveland Landmarks Commission’s list of Cleveland architects says that Alexander C. Wolfe (1880-1966) was active as an architect in Cleveland from 1911 to 1954.
The Wade Park Theatre was open at least as late as 1920, when it was mentioned in the April 3 issue of The Moving Picture World.
I’ve found the Abby Theatre mentioned in the Galesburg Register-Mail as early as 1953, but the newspaper archive is incomplete so it might have been operating long before that. The house appears to have closed and reopened several times over the years. Here is a brief item from the Abingdon news section of the Register-Mail of October 22, 1963:
“Commended were efforts of Abingdon Chamber of Commerce for reopening Abbey Theater and Robert Edmiston stated Mr. Purtle, owner, today, was scheduled to be in Abingdon for conference with a party interested in its operation.”
Historic Movie Theaters of Downtown Cleveland, by Alan F. Dutka, gives a bit of the history of the Alvin. It began as a 50-seat nickelodeon, but the owner later rented a space next door formerly occupied by a saloon, demolished the wall, and expanded.
The opening date is not given, but if the Alvin was indeed Cleveland’s first nickelodeon, it must have opened very early in the 20th century. Nickel movie theaters were fairly common even before the word nickelodeon was first applied to them, around the time John P. Harris opened his Nickelodeon in Pittsburgh in June, 1905. Dutka says that the Alvin closed in 1926.
Here is a photo of Ontario Street dated November 22, 1923, with the Alvin Theatre still operating.
Records of the American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Co. say that the Moon Theatre in Vincennes was designed by the architectural firm of Warwig [sic] and Hagel. The correct name is Warweg & Hagel (architect Earl O. Warweg and engineer John Hagel) who designed the Carlton Theatre at Evansville and at least two other Indiana houses.
Dokeefe: I’ve been unable to find in any of the sources available to me any mentions of anyone named O'Keefe in connection with this theater. That doesn’t mean that there was no connection, of course. Many theaters in small cities and towns were mentioned in such trade journals as Film Daily or Boxoffice infrequently, and some never.
A local newspaper archive would be the best place to search, but the only such archives from Vincennes that I can find online are from the 19th century- pretty much useless when searching for information about movie theaters. The Knox County Library probably has some archives, but it’s unlikely that they have been digitized, and non-digitized newspaper archives are tedious to search even if you have a good idea of which period you are looking through. Still, a visit to the library is probably your best bet, until somebody puts some newspaper archives from Vincennes online.
But I will keep an eye out for the information. New sources show up on the Internet from time to time, and I do try to keep up with them. And, if your relatives were indeed operators of this house, there’s always the chance that simply having your request on this page will attract some local Googler who knows about them. I’ve seen such things happen.
The October 24, 1924, issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor had this item about the house that would open as the Riviera Theatre:
“Motion Picture Theater—Scott Building Company has contract for 1-story motion picture theater at southwest corner of Adams and Longwood for Miguel Montijo, 5000 West Adams; 50 x 166…seating capacity 801 people, large lobby, rest rooms, organ loft, foyer; $30,000”
On our page for the Variety Theatre, Cinema Treasures member Rongee, who grew up in the neighborhood, says that the Riviera Theatre was renamed the Fremont Theatre. This is confirmed by the Riviera’s entry at Bill Counter’s Los Angeles Movie Palaces. The house was being advertised in movie listings as the Fremont by 1945.
Local architect E. H. (Enos Henry) Eads was interviewed for an article in the April 15, 1920, edition of the Chickasha Daily Express, at the time construction of this theater began. Because it was a conversion of an existing structure, Eads made the far too optimistic estimate of forty days for completion of the project.
The project was apparently scaled down a bit as well, since the newspaper reported that it would have 942 seats, and would include a balcony, and twelve boxes each seating four people. Eads also acted as contractor on the project.
The NRHP nomination form for the Provo Downtown Historic District says that this theater was built by John B. Ashton and opened as the Ellen Theatre in 1911. It was renamed the Strand in 1917.
It appears that the newspaper obituary I cited in my previous comment was wrong about the original name of this house. The NRHP nomination form for the Provo Downtown Historic District says that the theater at 25-27-35 E. Center Street was originally the Princess Theatre, also built by John B. Ashton.
The building was still standing when the form was prepared in 1977, but had been altered, what remained of the original facade with its ornate arch having recently been covered by an aluminum false front.
The Ellen Theatre, opened at 152 W. Center Street in 1911, became the Strand Theatre in 1917.
The NRHP nomination form for the Provo Downtown Historic District says that the Paramount Theatre was built by John B. Ashton in 1914, and opened as the Columbia Theatre. The house became the Paramount in 1927.
The obituary of John B. Ashton in The Salt Lake Tribune of November 12, 1941, said that the Uinta Theatre had been opened by Ashton as the Ellen Theatre. The obituary didn’t give a date, but the Ellen Theatre was being mentioned in theater trade journals in the early 1910s. I believe the Ellen predated Ashton’s larger and more ornate Princess Theatre, which opened in 1912.
Here is the State Theatre’s official web site. The grand reopening took place on November 4. So far they are running quite a mixture of older movies and recent releases (Fantastic Beasts is upcoming in December.)
A table compiled by downtown Aberdeen historian Don Artz (page 51 of this PDF) does not include any theaters called the Majestic, nor any theater at 215 S. Main Street.
A house called the Lyric, in operation by at least as early as 1916, was located at 216 S. Main, but it never had any other names. The Lyric was still in operation at least into the late 1940s.
The name Princess Theatre was an aka for the house at 12 S. Main Street which opened prior to 1916 as the Cosy (or Cozy) Theatre and last operated as the Time Theatre. So far I’ve found no indications of a second theater at Aberdeen called the Princess.
However, I have found one mention of a theater called the Majestic at Aberdeen. This was in a column in the July 1, 1937, issue of Motion Picture Herald, and it said that the Majestic was being operated by a Mrs. Elfrieda Mass (perhaps a misspelling of Maas) and her husband, and that the author had last visited their theater about four years previously. No address was given, unfortunately, so any aka’s for the house remain undiscovered.
The column also mentioned the Ritz Theatre, operated by A.S. Mannes, and an Astor [sic] Theatre operated by J.P. Hartman. Artz’s table lists Ritz as one of the seven aka’s of the house at 19 S. Main which opened as the Bijou in 1909 and closed as the World in 1957. The table lists Aster (with an e) as one of the four aka’s of the Cosy/Princess/Time.
It’s possible that the Majestic somehow left off of Artz’s table. It’s possible that it was a short-lived house that never had any aka’s at all.
Aside from the Lyric, two theaters from Artz’s table are not yet listed at Cinema Treasures: The Colonial/State at 10 S Main (opened in 1916 and apparently closed around 1927) and the Idle Hour/Rialto at 404 S. Main, opened by 1910, renamed Rialto by 1918, and operating at least into the late 1920s.
According to a table compiled by downtown Aberdeen historian Don Artz (page 51 of this PDF), the house last known as the Time Theatre was located at 12 S. Main Street. It had opened as the Cosy Theatre, had been renamed the Princess Theatre by 1926 (actually 1916, when it was listed at that address in the city directory), later became the Aster Theatre, and then the Time.
Garrick, State, and Ritz were aka’s of a house across the street at 19 S. Main, which operated under seven different names between opening as the Bijou in 1909 and closing as the World Theatre in 1957.
According to a table compiled by downtown Aberdeen historian Don Artz (page 51 of this PDF), the house that was called the Garrick Theatre in early 1926 and became the State Theatre later that year was at 19 S. Main Street, and had earlier been known as the Bijou, then the Strand. After State, the house had three additional names: the Ritz, the Pix, and finally the World.
The house was listed as the Bijou Theatre in a 1916 city directory. According to this web page, this was the third location of the Bijou, the house having operated at two other locations beginning in 1906. In 1909 it moved into the building at 19 S. Main Street, just two doors down from the location at which it had first reopened (15 S. Main) in 1907.
The World Theatre closed in April, 1957. In 1960, the building was converted into a bar. It burned to the ground on July 1, 1973.
A history of Aberdeen’s business district, The Town in the Frog Pond (PDF here) by Don Artz, includes quite a bit about Aberdeen’s theaters, including the Orpheum.
The Orpheum opened in 1913 as the Aberdeen Theatre, and became the Orpheum in 1914. The house was built by Ben Ward, owner of the adjacent Radison Hotel, to the lobby of which the theater was connected by an indoor passage. From its opening, the theater was operated by Harry Walker, who later gained control of all of Aberdeen’s theaters. The original seating capacity was about 800.
During the 1920s the Orpheum frequently operated as a combination house (one feature film with a few acts of vaudeville on the same bill) but also hosted road shows that came to Aberdeen. In 1914 it also hosted the only summer stock company in the Dakotas.
The PDF to which I linked has a drawing of the Orpheum on page 48. It was a three story building with three bays, the wide center bay featuring a large arch filled with the windows of the upper two floors, surmounted by an arched parapet. The narrower side bays were treated as towers, topped by arched attic floors capped with low domes and short but ornate finials each sporting a flagpole. The overall effect was unusual but not displeasing. I’d consider the exterior style a late manifestation of Art Nouveau, and it was considerably fancier than the interior seen in the photo to which Broan linked earlier.
The Dixie Theatre is undergoing restoration for use as a community center with space for performing arts. Here is the Facebook page for the project.
According to This Rootsweb page, the building, dating from the early 20th century, previously housed an automobile agency and was converted into a theater sometime before WWII. The Dixie closed in the 1970s.
In this weblog post, Elnora native Jim Johnson reminisces about the Elnora Theatre. He reveals that the theater was located on Odon Street just south of the town square, and that it showed its last movies in 1956.