Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Jonesville Theatre on Jun 5, 2016 at 12:25 am

The fire that destroyed the Jonesville Theatre took place in the early morning hours of March 11, 1932, according to the report in that days edition of The Battle Creek Enquirer and The Evening News:


“Damage Amounts to $60,000 As Flames Threaten Entire Business Block.

“(Special to the Enquirer-News)

“Jonesville, March 11.——An entire block of business structures was threatened early this morning when the Jonesvllle theater was destroyed by fire at an estimated loss of $60,000.

“Fire was first noticed at 1 o'clock this morning after it had gained considerable headway. Fire trucks from Hillsdale, 18 miles west, and from Richman and Allen, nearby towns, were called into action. Firemen got the blaze under control at 7 o'clock this morning and succeeded in confining the loss for the most part to the theater structure. The building was owned by Alf Lane of Jonesville. Insurance amounted to only $4,000, he said.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 10:04 pm

The Majestic was on West Second Street, not East Second. Seymour converted to the Philadelphia numbering system at some point, and the Majestic’s modern address would be approximately 216 W. Second. A few landmarks recognizable from the vintage photos on the photo page can still be seen on that block in Google’s street view. The Majestic was just west of the still-standing Masonic Temple. The site is now occupied by a modern building and its parking lot.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 9:53 pm

This building is the Masonic Temple, still standing at about 212 WEST Second Street. The Opera House was partly on the site of the white building to the temple’s left. Addresses in Seymour have been changed, and the site of the Opera House would probably be approximately at the modern address 216 W. Second.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vondee Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 8:51 pm

A house called the New Vondee Theatre had reopened under new management on May 31 following renovations, according to the July 8, 1974, issue of Boxoffice. However, the item gave the New Vondee’s address as 109 E. Second Street, Seymour. If that address is correct, and it needed renovation in 1974, then the theater must have moved from its Chestnut Street location some years previously, but I haven’t been able to discover when.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 8:32 pm

The correct modern address for the Alhambra Theatre building is 219 E. Main Street. It is currently occupied by Sallee’s Family Taekwondo, a martial arts studio. It is not the building currently displayed in the photo or street view for this page.

Here is a vintage photo of the Alhambra, probably from around 1920. Click on the link at the end of the caption to see a photo of the Alhambra after it had been updated with a very spiffy streamline modern front, probably in the 1940s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alhambra Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 7:16 pm

The September 16, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the front of the new Alhambra Theatre in Campbellsville was nearly completed, and the house was expected to open soon. The August 26 issue of the same publication had noted that two theaters were then under construction in Campbellsville, the other being a ground-floor house for the Star Theatre, which had previously operated in an upstairs location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valley Theater on Jun 4, 2016 at 6:06 pm

The March 6, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that Morris Smith and Clark Bennett’s new Valley Theatre in Taylorsville, Kentucky, which was virtually completed, had been partially flooded by recent high waters, but the damage being slight the event was not expected to interfere with the contemplated opening date of the house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Music Box Theatre on Jun 4, 2016 at 5:13 pm

MCHarper: In this comment from 2005, Cinema Treasures contributor Broan cites two 1928 Tribune items naming Louis I. Simon as the architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Unique Theater on Jun 3, 2016 at 10:32 pm

An Architectural Inventory Form prepared for the Colorado Cultural Resource Survey in 1981 (PDF here) says that the Salida Opera House was dedicated on January 1, 1889.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fine Arts Theater on Jun 1, 2016 at 10:03 pm

The Mayfield Theatre is listed at 165 Lincoln Street (the former name of California Avenue) in a 1925 directory for Palo Alto and vicinity.

The 1951 remodeling of the Mayfield Theatre was probably occasioned by a fire in 1950. This photo from the Palo Alto Historical Association depicts ruined seats piled in front of the theater, and is dated April 7, 1950.

The Stanford Daily of April 28, 1960, said that the Cardinal Theatre, after a brief closure for renovation in May, would reopen on May 18 as the Fine Arts Theatre. It would be under the same management as the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park, also an art house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on May 29, 2016 at 3:19 pm

The March 11, 1922, issue of the Daily Reporter has advertisements for the Beldorf, Best, and Quality Theatres, so the Best and Quality had to have been different houses at that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on May 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm

The November 27, 1911, issue of The Evening Star gives the address of the Snark Theatre as 107 North Pennsylvania, and the July 28, 1921, issue of the Independence Daily Reporter, cited in my previous comment, is explicit that the Snark Theatre was to be renamed the Best Theatre.

The NRHP registration form for the Independence Downtown Historic District (dated 1990: PDF here) says this about the building at 107 N.Pennsylvania:

“107 North Penn., was a dry goods and shoe store in 1890, a jewelry store (1902), and a drug store (1905). From 1910 until 1939, the property was a motion picture theater; it was known as the Best Theater from 1922 until 1939. The current owner is Karen Rankin who runs a clothing retail business out of the first floor.”
Ms. Rankin’s clothing store has since been replaced by Reflections Salon & Spa, but the original building, which dates from 1890, is still standing.

The NRHP form also mentions the Airdome, at 314-316 N. Pennsylvania from 1910 to 1920; an upstairs theater at 109 S. Pennsylvania known variously as the Lyric (1908), Star (1911), and Empress(1912); the Joy, operating at 11 E.Man Street in 1911; a theater with no name or date given but which operated at 117 W. Main; the Vaudette Theatre at 114 W. Main in 1908; and, of course, the Booth Theatre. The form doesn’t mention the original Best/Quality, which probably means that its building has been demolished.

What seems most likely is that the operators of the Best Theatre took over the Snark and renamed it the Best when their five year lease on their original location ran out in 1921, and then the owners of the original Best building leased it to new operators who reopened it as the Quality later that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on May 29, 2016 at 1:22 am

An article in the July 28, 1921, issue of the Independence Daily Reporter provides some clarification of the history of the theater at 107 N. Pennsylvania Avenue. It said that the Snark Theatre, after some remodeling, would become the Best Theatre. The Snark had opened in 1909, and one of its original owner/operators, was Martin Johnson, a friend of writer Jack London, with whom he had sailed.

Johnson named the theater for London’s boat, soon to become famous with the publication in 1911 of his book The Cruise of the Snark. Johnson did not remain long in Independence, but within two years had returned to his career as an adventurer and documentary filmmaker.

The October 22, 1909, issue of the Independence Evening Star said that the new Snark Theatre would soon open in Charles Kerr’s commercial building, which had been extended to 110 feet. The seating area of the new theater, accommodating 400, would be 85 feet long.

The name Quality Theatre first appears in the Daily Reporter in late 1921. What I haven’t been able to determine is if it was the Snark/Best at 107 Pennsylvania that became the Quality, or if the Quality was the original Best Theatre, which had opened in 1916, reopened under a new name. I haven’t been able to find the address of the original Best Theatre.

Interestingly, the December 27, 1910, issue of the Daily Reporter has advertisements for five theaters: The Beldorf, the Snark, the Cozy, the Star, and the Joy.

Also interesting, there is a Snark Theatre today in The Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum at Chanute, Kansas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Best Theatre on May 29, 2016 at 12:05 am

The Yearbook was not always kept up to date. It’s quite possible the building was demolished in 1940.

If the building the Best was in had earlier housed the Snark Theatre, then there was a later Snark as well. The December 24, 1917, issue of the Independence Daily Reporter advertises both the Best and the Snark.

The Best’s ad uses the tagline “Home of the Photo Pipe Organ,” which suggests that the house had one of the semi-automated players that could be operated by someone without musical training, such as the American Fotoplayer, the Reproduco, or the Bartola.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mainzer Cinema II on May 27, 2016 at 6:52 pm

crogg: The date of the fire came from the NRHP REgistration Form for the second Merced Theatre. A section of it deals with the history of the Golden State Theatre Company, and that’s where the brief bit of information about the first Merced Theatre can be found.

Here is a link to a PDF of the Registration Form.

This article by Sarah Lim, museum director for the Merced County Courthouse Museum, appeared in the September 4, 2015, issue of the Merced Sun-Star and contains a bit more information about the original Merced Theatre. It gives the opening date as March 4, 1920 (the first performance was a live operetta rather than a movie) and says that the theater was destroyed by a fire in December, 1936.

A 1936 date for the final fire does not preclude the possibility of a fire in 1931 as well. Fires were a common hazard of theaters in those days, and many an early movie house suffered more than one in its history. In fact during the era of highly explosive nitrate film stock used in conjunction with intensely hot carbon arc projector lamps, it would be difficult to find a theater that didn’t suffer at least one projection booth fire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on May 26, 2016 at 7:18 pm

The Broad Street Theatre was designed by J.B. McElfatrick & Son for the Pittston Opera House Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Center Theatre on May 23, 2016 at 10:59 pm

DocSouth’s “Going to the Show” lists the Liberty Theatre at the address 427-429 North Liberty from 1912 to 1915. It lists the Paramount Theatre at 429 N. Liberty from 1916 to 1919 (I’ve found the Paramount mentioned in the local newspapers in 1915.) It then lists the Broadway Theatre at 429 N. Liberty from 1920 to 1926 (there’s an ad for the Broadway, dating from early 1919, displayed on this web page.)

It seems increasingly likely that the Liberty/Paramount/Broadway Theatre was the same house that became the Colonial and finally the Center. An article about the new Liberty Theatre, then under construction, appeared in the February 25, 1911, issue of the Winston-Salem Journal. The house was to have over 900 seats, with 510 on the main floor, more than 300 in the balcony, and 100 seats in boxes. The project had been designed by a local architect, Willard Close Northup.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Theatre on May 23, 2016 at 9:25 pm

DocSouth’s “Going to the Show” lists the Lincoln Theatre as having been open by 1924. It lists the house as having had 300 seats in 1926 and 850 seats in 1930. As that’s a considerable expansion, I’m thinking it might have been done by adding one or two levels of balcony seating to a single-floor auditorium. Closing the upper balcony could then account for a later reduction to 640 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lafayette Theatre on May 23, 2016 at 8:34 pm

I just noticed that DocSouth has two entries for the Lafayette. The one I linked previously lists the years of operation as 1920-1926 and this one lists 1926-1933. The second page gives a seating capacity of 300, but no address, while the first one lists an address but gives no seating capacity.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lafayette Theatre on May 23, 2016 at 8:14 pm

DocSouth’s “Going to the Show” lists the Lafayette Theatre at 108 E. Fourth Street, and has it in operation by 1920. The house was mentioned frequently in both the Winston-Salem Journal and The Twin-City Daily Sentinel in the early 1920s. The April 25, 1921, issue of the latter paper mentioned a movie being presented at the Pilot Theatre that evening which would also “…be shown at the LaFayette theatre for colored people tomorrow.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pilot Theatre on May 23, 2016 at 7:34 pm

One of the photos accompanying this article about Winston-Salem’s early movie theaters depicts the Pilot Theatre (click on third thumbnail.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Amuzu Theater on May 23, 2016 at 5:47 pm

This article about Winston-Salem’s early movie theaters says that the Lyric opened in 1909 and became the Amuzu Theatre in 1910.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Center Theatre on May 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm

ThePossum: If you check my first comment on the Cinema Treasures page for the Hollywood Theatre you’ll find links to sources that document the history of the theater at 411 N. Liberty Street as having been the Elmont Theatre from 1912 until 1927, the Ideal Theatre from 1927 to 1934, and the Hollywood Theatre from 1934 until its destruction by fire in 1948.

I still suspect that the Broadway, listed at 429 Liberty in the 1926 theater list I posted earlier, was the predecessor of the Colonial, at 427 Liberty. The only thing I haven’t been able to discover is if the Broadway was simply remodeled to become the Colonial or if it was demolished and replaced by a new building for the Colonial.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hoyts Pennsauken 10 on May 22, 2016 at 7:09 pm

This short-lived multiplex was dismantled in 2012 and converted into a warehouse store for Restaurant Equippers, a wholesale-retail restaurant supply company. See this article at

Both Hoyts Pennsauken and Loews Cherry Hill opened on December 18, 1998, and reported in an article posted on October 17, 2002, that Hoyts had been closed, so this house operated for less than four years. All the remaining American operations of Hoyts Cinemas, an Australian company, were taken over by Regal in 2004.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theater on May 21, 2016 at 3:07 pm

In 1955, the Liberty was the only movie house operating in Vermilion, according to an ad in the June 21 issue of The Lorain Journal. The house was operated by Zegiob Theaters Inc., a local chain also operating the Dreamland and Pearl Theatres in Loraine. The ad noted that, in recent years, the Liberty’s seating capacity had been doubled to 500.