Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Masonic Theatre on Nov 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm

DocSouth’s Going to the Show lists the Star Theatre at 59 Broad Street from around 1913 to around 1920. This was the same address as the earlier Amuses or Amusea Theatre, 1907 to 1910, and the generically-named Moving Picture Show, 1912-1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Nov 20, 2014 at 1:00 am

The “Name Changes” April 20, 1948, issue of The Film Daily said that the Bern Theatre in New Bern had been renamed the Ritz. I’ve been unable to discover how long the Bern Theatre had been in operation at that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Masonic Theatre on Nov 20, 2014 at 12:26 am

Here is an item from the November 3, 1917, issue of The Moving Picture World telling of the conversion of the Masonic Theatre into a moving picture house:

“NEW BERN, N. C. — For the first time in many years there is to be opposition in the motion picture field in New Bern, one of the best show towns in the state, but which has remained under control of Messrs. Lovick and Taylor for a long time. While the public has not been informed of the fact, plans have been drawn and the deal is closed by which F. W. Hahn, a picture man of experience, will, after alterations, open the Masonic theater, and will conduct it exclusively as a high class motion picture theater. It is expected that the new theater will open about November 1 or probably a week earlier if alterations can be completed in time.

“The Masonic theater, formerly playing road attractions exclusively, with its large seating capacity will furnish the people of New Bern one of the most comfortable theaters in the state. Modern equipment from booth to screen will be installed by Mr. Hahn, and every effort will be made to give the picture patrons of New Bern the best service possible. Henry Randall, of the Famous Players Exchange, Washington, closed the first contract for the new theater, putting in the entire output of the Paramount-Artcraft group to begin November 1.”

The houses operated by Lovick and Taylor mentioned in the article were the Athens and the Star.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park 70 Theatre on Nov 18, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Liebenberg & Kaplan were the architects for the 1936 remodeling of the Cecil Theatre that kencmcintyre referred to in his comment on March 11, 2009.

Another major remodeling took place in 1953, when the open windows between the foyer and the auditorium were closed in, and the lobby, foyer, stairs, lounges, rest rooms, and office were all given a modern makeover. According to articles in the Mason City Globe-Gazette, the auditorium had been restored and repainted, but that in style and configuration it was still substantially as it had been when the house opened in 1912. Even the boxes were still intact.

The 1953 renovations coincided with Mason City’s centennial, and with the fiftieth anniversary of manager Thomas Arthur’s arrival in town to take over management of the Cecil’s predecessor, the Wilson Theatre.

The Cecil Theatre is listed in the 1913-1914 Cahn guide with 595 seats on the main floor, 410 in the balcony, 360 in the gallery, and 36 in the boxes. It was slightly larger than the Wilson Theatre had been.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Nov 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm

The Liberty might have closed for a while in 1929, but by 1932 it was open again and being run by Art and Leah Struck, who came to Mason City that year. In November, 1936 they opened the Arlee Theatre across the street, and on its opening the Liberty was closed for good.

Down Mason City’s Memory Lane, by Dale C. Fancher, has several lines about the Liberty, including a brief description saying “…there were three arches in the front with light bulbs to outline the top of the arches, with the ticket booth centered in the middle arch and the doors to the auditorium on either side of the booth.”

The Liberty was owned for a time by an A. W. Ackerman, Fancher says, and later by a John Bolinger. Mr. Ackerman had an earlier association with Mason City, according to this item in the December 13, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Ray Montgomery has purchased the lease on the Lyric Opera House at Mason City, which has been conducted by Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Ackerman for the last five years. Mr. Ackerman will continue to manage the Prospect Opera House at Greenview, where he has been giving picture shows, as well as at Middletown and San Jose.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bandbox Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm

The finding aid to the Liebenberg & Kaplan papers lists a State Theatre in Mason City as one of the firm’s projects from 1950.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Warner Theater on Nov 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

The Mark Strand Theatre in Lynn was designed by Thomas Lamb. This item is from the April 3, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World:


“A new Strand theater is now under construction in Lynn, Mass. The new theater will have a seating capacity of 2,000 and represents an expenditure of $250,000. It is located on Union street and takes in an entire block measuring 22,500 square feet. Thomas W. Lamb, who drew the plans for the Strand theater in Manhattan, is the architect, and Moe Mark is the president of the company controlling the theater which will open September 1. The building will be similar to the New York Strand and will contain stores and offices. Mr. Mark will also erect a new Strand theater in Worcester, Mass., which will have a seating capacity of 2,000. The operations will commence early in April.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royal Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Worcester’s Royal Theatre is mentioned in the June 7, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Royal Theatre, seating 800, admission 10 and 15 cents, is a downtown house, under the management of O. S. Reiseroff. He uses Paramount, Select, Triangle, Vitagraph and Universal. Business is fair here.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Webster Square Cinemas on Nov 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm

This web page has a photo of the entrance of the Park Theatre taken around 1955. An earlier Park Theatre in downtown Worcester was probably gone by the time this house opened in 1937.

National Amusements (Redstone Theatres) took over this house and modernized it in the early 1960s. One source said that it was called Cinema One for a while before being twinned and renamed Webster Square Cinemas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Warner Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm

The Strand Theatre was built by Moe and Mitchel Mark. Their company’s intention to build at Worcester was noted in an item in the April 3, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World. The company had the Strand Theatre at Lynn, Massachusetts, under construction at the time, and the Worcester house was to be about the same size. The item noted that the Lynn Strand had been designed by Thomas Lamb, who was also the architect of the Mark Strand Theatre in Manhattan. Although the item didn’t say so, it is very likely that the Worcester Strand was also designed by Lamb.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm

A brief piece about Worcester’s theaters in the June 7, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World has a few lines about the Rialto and indicates that it was built in 1918:

“Worcester is another New England town in very good shape; there are about twelve theatres in town doing business, among them being the Bijou, seating 600, admission 6 and 10 cents, and the Rialto, seating 1,200, admission 11 cents. The latter house was erected about one year ago at a cost of $75,000. It is up to date, has a three-piece orchestra and is owned and operated by James J. Greeko, who has made a success in the motion picture business as an exhibitor. I asked Mr. Greeko if he uses newspapers and he informed me that he employs a paper which reaches the working men in his neighborhood.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about A-Muse-U Theater on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm

This description of the A-Muse-U Theatre from History of Muscatine County, Iowa, by Irving Berdine Richman, was published in 1911, and says that the A-Muse-U opened in February that year, contradicting the 1940 Journal & News-Tribune article I cited in my previous comment which said it opened in 1908:

“The A-Muse-U is a theater given over exclusively to high-class motion pictures. The building, on Sycamore, between Second and Front streets, was opened in February, 1911. This place of amusement has scarcely a rival for beauty and convenience in the country. The front is pleasingly designed in stucco and the interior decorations and accessories are modern and entirely to the tastes and comforts of patrons. 600 people can be seated in the opera chairs and face a spacious stage.”
The book notes that Muscatine then had three other movie theaters, plus the Family Theatre presenting vaudeville and movies, and the Grand Opera House for stage productions and concerts.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:03 pm

This item from the July 19, 1913, issue of The American Contractor is probably about the Palace Theatre, which was originally owned by E. M. Henle:

“Muscatine, Ia.—Motion Picture Theater (seating 700): 3 sty. & bas. 50x 100. Muscatine. Archt. J. H. Ladehoff, Wolfe bldg., Clinton, Ia. Owner E. M. Henle, Muscatine. Plans in progress.”
Architect John H. Ladehoff also designed the Orpheum Theatre in Clinton, built in 1907.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Theatre III on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

This web page about Clinton’s builders and architects says that the Orpheum Theatre was built in 1907 and was designed by architect John H. Ladehoff. Ladehoff also designed the Palace Theatre in Muscatine.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Westby Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Among the previous few months of theater changes noted in the January 15, 1938, issue of The Film Daily were the opening of the Westby Theatre and the dismantling of the Westby Opera House. Presumably the Opera House had been used as a movie theater and was no longer needed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Robey Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm

As the only photo available is dated 1901 and shows the Auditorium Theatre, I’m not positive that the old building was not replaced at some point. The Auditorium looks to have been a frame structure with the entrance on the long side, which faced Lafayette Street. A very awkward configuration. It’s possible that it was rebuilt at some point, but I haven’t found any references to such an event.

I’ve set street view to match as nearly as possible the historic photo, rather than where the Auditorium actually was just down the block. If it was rebuilt, it’s possible that the Robey Theatre didn’t occupy exactly the same footprint. Both the Auditorium and the small City Building next to it have been demolished.

A History of Pleasants County, West Virginia, by Robert L. Pemberton, says that it was in early 1920 that “…the Auditorium was sold by W. C. Dotson to H. H. Robey of Spencer, who made it one of his chain of motion picture theaters.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Nov 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Three pages of historic photos of Muscatine theaters, including a 1940 shot of the original Palace, were published in Muscatine Magazine, issue of Winter, 2012.

I can’t find a direct link to the exact page the article starts on. It only opens to the cover of the magazine. Click the arrow to the right of the cover to turn the page three times to reach the theater article. Click on the image of the magazine itself to enlarge it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Milford Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:50 am

Two photos of Schine’s Milford Theatre illustrate this advertisement for Heywood-Wakefield seating in the September 17, 1949, issue of Showmen’s Trade Review.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:15 am

The Lyric Theatre in Osceola, Iowa, is mentioned in The Moving Picture World of August 24, 1918. If it was in the same building as the theater in the photo above then it must have been remodeled in the 1930s. It’s also possible that the Lyric got a new building in 1934. The September 8 issue of Motion Picture Herald said “JOHN WALLER is erecting a modern picture theatre in Osceola, Iowa. House will open in early fall.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riviera Theatre on Nov 17, 2014 at 3:50 am

The theater description needs correction. This house was opened by Ludy Bosten as the Uptown Theatre on November 4, 1931. The January 7, 1971, issue of the Muscatine Journal said that the Uptown would be renamed Bosten Cinema within two weeks, and that the house was to be extensively remodeled. I haven’t found when it was renamed the Riviera, but it was still called the Bosten Cinema at least as late as November, 1977.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Robey Theatre on Nov 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

An article in the December 14, 2005, issue of The St. Mary’s Oracle mentions in passing “…the old Auditorium Theater (1902), later Robey Theater.”

The fourth photo on this web page shows the Auditorium Theatre behind the tiny City Building on the corner of Lafayette and Second Streets. The 1913-1914 Cahn guide lists the Auditorium as a ground floor house with 290 seats on the main floor, 132 in the balcony, 225 in the gallery and 16 in the boxes. Presumably the gallery and boxes were abandoned when it was converted for movies.

The text accompanying the photo says: “The theatre was in use until about 1953 when the Illar family built a new theatre on the other side of the street at the other end of the same block to the right.” The new theater, called the Center, was actually opened by 1949, when it was featured in the the August 20 issue of Showmen’s Trade Review.

According to the town’s web site, its name is styled St. Marys, without an apostrophe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater on Nov 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

This page of Showmen’s Trade Review for August 20, 1949, features six photos of the Miracle Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theater Center on Nov 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm

This page from Showmen’s Trade Review of August 20, 1949, features five photos of the RKO Orpheum Theatre in Marshalltown.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rand Theatre on Nov 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm

This web page, which has the date 7/28/04 at the bottom, has three thumbnails of the demolition of the Rand Theatre, but the full-sized pictures don’t open. A comment by Larry Chapman on the page has this information about the theater:

“…the Rand was built for Kibler R. Roberts and J. Henry Davidson and opened its doors on January 22, 1937. These two gentlemen also owned a second Rand Theatre located in Lynchburg. Greenfield’s Rand was remodeled in 1947.”
As can be seen in the second of the photos kencmcintyre linked to, dated 1983, the Rand Theatre was on the west side of Washington Street adjacent to the alley south of Lafayette Street. The theater’s site is now partly occupied by a drive-through portico for the a single-story brick building on the southwest corner of Lafayette.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Nov 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Google’s camera car didn’t photograph the location of the Lyric Theatre on its way through Greenfield, Ohio, but here is a bird’s-eye view from Bing Maps. There is still a painted sign on the corner of the building reading “Lyric, Always Good.”