Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Jun 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

A few genealogy web sites have pages with references to the four Sandon brothers (Harry, Sam, Bill, and Cash) who opened this theater in 1916. One page says that prior to opening the Sandon Theatre they operated a house called the Wonderland Theatre, also in Mankato, which they purchased in 1913. The Sandon brothers had been itinerant musicians, and after going into the exhibition business frequently played in their own theaters. They later operated theaters in Jackson, Blue Earth, and Elmore.

The March 18, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about the opening of the Sandon:

“Mankato, Minn.—A modern moving picture theater has been opened by Sandon Brothers on Walnut street. It has seating capacity of 850 and cost $40,000.”
I’d love to know who the architect of the Sandon Theatre was. The Prairie style was rarely used for theaters, though its geometric elements had some influence on the zig-zag phase of the Art Deco style. In fact, two Prairie school architects, the husband and wife team of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, emigrated to Australia in 1914, and a few years later they designed there one of the iconic theaters of the Art Deco period, the Melbourne Capitol Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cozy Theatre on Jun 24, 2014 at 10:54 am

This Cozy doesn’t appear to have been part of a chain. An item about G. A. Peterson appeared in the July 1, 1927, issue of Motion Picture News that suggests he only operated in Hollis:

“The Peterson Freezem Cooling System, an Oklahoma product, will open a factory in Oklahoma City, it was announced this week. G. A. Peterson, an exhibitor of Hollis, Okla., is president of the concern.”
Cozy appears to have been a fairly popular name for theaters at one time, but I don’t know of any chain of them. There was an independently operated Cozy Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles at least as late as the 1960s. It was a tiny grind house on Broadway. I never went to it, but it had one of my favorite downtown marquees.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Time Theatre on Jun 23, 2014 at 11:18 pm

If the Lyric was on Main Street and the Time on Front Street then the Lyric was certainly a different theater and should have its own page.

The Time might be older than we thought, though. The “Theater Changes” column of the September 26, 1935, issue of The Film Daily listed a “Times” Theatre at Mankato as a house recently closed. It’s possible that “Times” was a typo for Time, and if so then the house might have first opened under that name in 1935, or even earlier.

For some reason Google Maps is fetching for us a location in the village of St. Clair, several miles from Mankato.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Urban Theatre on Jun 23, 2014 at 10:43 pm

The opening of the Urban Theatre was noted in the November 4, 1936, issue of Motion Picture News:

“Open at North Mankato

“North Mankato, Minn., Nov. 3. — The Urban, 800-seat house built by H. E. Gilbert, Minneapolis contractor, and leased to Phil Gillman of St. Paul, was given a civic opening, participated in by the Chamber of Commerce, Mankato’s junior chamber and the Mayor.

“A parade was led by the high school band and included floats. Speeches were made from a platform in front of the house and the Mayor snipped a ribbon to signalize the opening.”

By 1937, the Urban had different operators, who entered a partnership with the regional Paramount-Publix subsidiary, the Minnesota Amusement Company. This item is from the July 9, 1937, issue of The Film Daily:
“Sheldon Grenge and his associates, Nick and Don Grenge, have entered into an agreement through which the Urban Theater, North Mankato, will be operated in conjunction with the Minnesota Amusement Co. theaters in Mankato. Don Grenge will continue as manager of the Urban.”
There were inconsistent reports of the Urban’s seating capacity. The Urban was clearly the unnamed house in this item from the September 5, 1936, issue of The Film Daily:
“H. C. Gilbert will open his new $50,000 theater at North Mankato, Minn., about Oct. 1. House seats 650.”
The October 5, 1936, issue of Motion Picture News had this item:
“The new 800-seat Urban at North Mankato. Minn., has been leased by Harry E. Gilbert to Phil Gillman.”
The inconsistent reports of the seating capacity were typical of the trade journals, including The Film Daily and its Yearbook, which too often gave inaccurate seat counts.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Geitner Theatre on Jun 23, 2014 at 2:18 pm

An article titled “Standard Theatres Built Under Cooperative System” by architect G. E. Eichenlaub, published in the October 13, 1923, issue of Exhibitors Herald features two photos of the Geitner Theatre (article begins at this link and continues here.) The Geitner was one of the houses built from one of Eichenlaub’s standard plans for small-town theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Jun 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm

S. G. Harsh, operator of the 249-seat Princess Theatre in Mapleton, Iowa, wrote numerous brief movie reviews that were published in Exhibitors Herald in the last quarter of 1823. He also had two reviews in the May 30, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World. I’m not sure that it was the same theater that operated in the American Legion Hall, though. Theater owners sometimes moved from one building to another, taking the name with them.

Mapleton had an opera house to which I’ve found references from 1909 and 1929. There is also an item datelined Mapleton, IA., in The Moving Picture World of January 2, 1915, which says: “John Robinson is planning to make extensive alterations to his one-story moving picture theater to cost about $2,000.” It seems likely that these were two different theater buildings. Either (or both, or neither) might have become the Princess, Orpheum, and/or Maple.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Olympic Club Theatre on Jun 23, 2014 at 11:52 am

I see the theater’s mini-marquee under the vertical “HOTEL” sign, but which door is the entrance to the theater? It’s very confusing, especially since there’s no box office nor any poster cases in sight.

Also, I notice that they use the -er spelling of the T word on the marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pix Theater on Jun 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

The recent photo Life’s Too Short referred to immediately follows the vintage photo in btreat’s photostream. Also, I ought to have noted in my comment that my first link is the same vintage photo Life’s Too Short linked to.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pix Theater on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm

The Pix Theatre building is now the HGS Gallery,which is at 208 E. Main Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Jun 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm

The January 2, 1892, issue of The New York Clipper carried an announcement saying that the Pythian Opera House at Union City, Indiana, had opened on December 23 under the management of H. Cadwallader and F. H. Bowen.

The June 29, 1893, issue of the Monroeville, Indiana Breeze reported a major fire at Union City that had destroyed or damaged several buildings. The Pythian Opera House suffered a loss of $31,000.

The obituary of Charles Cadwallader in the February 24, 1944, issue of the Union City Times-Gazette included these lines:

“In the early 1890’s he rebuilt what is now the Grand Theater on Pearl street after it had been partially destroyed by fire. It had been called the Pythian Opera House, but he named it the Cadwallader Theater, which name it bore when the funeral services were held there for Governor Isaac P. Gray, another Union City resident, in February, 1895.”
A few lines about the opera house appeared in an article in the Winchester Journal of February 17, 1892. While the reporter was unstinting in his praise of the opera house, he could not forgo including a bit of snark about the newspapers in the rival city in which it was located:
“While at Union City between trains last Monday, a representative of this paper was shown through the new Pythian Opera House of that city, by the courtesy of Messrs J. F. Rubey and G. W. Patchell. We have no hesitancy in saying it is a gem, the finest building of the kind we have seen anywhere, and one that would be a credit to a city several times the size of Union City. Of course we had read descriptions of the building in the Union City papers; but they are so given to exaggerating everything in their town and abusing everything in Winchester, that neither ourselves or any body else believed what they said. However, this is the one time in their history that they told the truth—we don’t give them much credit for that, though, as the reality is so perfect that their vivid imaginations couldn’t create much more substantial or beautiful fixtures and furnishings. Seriously speaking, we don’t blame the citizens of the State Line town for being proud of the handsome structure. It is complete in every particular and tastefully furnished throughout. The stage is a very large one, capable of seating two hundred persons comfortably, while the auditorium and gallery will seat six or eight hundred more. The building is modern throughout, and contains besides a large and handsome banquet and dancing hall, a fine lodge room with all the necessary reception, property. and committee rooms, it is lighted with incandescent and arc electric lights, and must present a very fine appearance when lighted up. The Congressional Convention of this District will be held in this building, on the 21st of April, and we can assure all who may attend that they will be comfortably and elegantly provided for.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Jun 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

The Grand Theatre was at 224 W. Pearl Street. The 1909 Cahn guide listed the Union Grand Theatre with 900 seats and a stage almost 70 feet wide.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Miami Theater on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm

The Miami Theatre was at 236 W. Pearl Street. It was mentioned in the January 7, 1928 issue of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, so must have been in operation by 1927. The Grand was a few doors east at (approximately) 224 W.Pearl.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crown Theatre on Jun 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Scott Higbee commenting at Water Winter Wonderland says that the Crown Theatre was at 14521 State Street. It now houses an auto body shop. The quonset is still visible in Google satellite view, but you can’t get a really good look at it with street view. The front is a conventional building. A tiny bit of the quonset shows behind it in this street view angle.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Cinema I & II on Jun 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm

The article tntim linked to says that the Pike Theatre was designed by the Knoxville architectural and engineering firm Fred Manley Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Cinema I & II on Jun 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I’m wondering why the Capri I & II’s style is listed as Rustic. Did it have some sort of rustic features when it was the Pike?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Jun 17, 2014 at 11:20 am

In September, 1962, the local newspaper in Alexandria reported that the State Theatre would close that week, and that the house had opened in the spring of 1925. The 1962 report was noted in a “looking back” type feature in the Echo Press of September 26, 2012.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alexandria Area Arts Association Theatre on Jun 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

The caption of a photo on page 97 of Alexandria, by Barbara Grover, gives February 7, 1936, as the opening date of the Andria Theatre (Google Books preview.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Star Theater on Jun 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

RealSunlin: The March 5, 1918, issue of Michigan Film Review mentions L. F. Sunlin (though it gives his second initial as E— these old trade journals are full of typos) in connection with the Elite and Savoy Theatres. He had just been named vice-president of the newly formed Flint Theatrical Managers' Association.

Google Books used to have full views of a few volumes of Michigan Film Review, but for some reason they are now listing only one volume, and showing only snippet views of that. Hathi Trust still has one volume available, from 1918. The volume I cited in my earlier comment is nowhere to be found on the Internet.

L. F. Sunlin was operating the Savoy at least as early as 1912 and at least as late as 1934. I have no timeline for the Elite.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Jun 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm

L. F. Sunlin was listed as proprietor of the Savoy Theatre on a list of Flint movie houses in the May 1, 1912, issue of The New York Clipper. An item in the January 6, 1934 issue of The Film Daily said that Sunlin Amusement Enterprises had reopened the Savoy Theatre in Flint.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cort Theatre on Jun 16, 2014 at 2:55 pm

The Cort Theatre was located on Wheeling Avenue. An article about the opening of the State Theatre in the April 2, 1937, issue of the Zanesville Recorder said that the Cort Theatre had been a popular movie house for the past six years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theatre on Jun 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm

This page has an old photo of the Colonial Theatre. A comment by Dave Holdren says that it was at the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 6th Street, and that it was built in 1901 and burned down in 1968. The October 10, 1901, issue of the Cambridge Jeffersonian reported on the opening of the house, and noted that the architect was Wilbur T. Mills, a former resident of Cambridge who was practicing architecture in Columbus.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Theatre on Jun 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm

The April 10, 1937, issue of The Film Daily mentioned that H. R. Wagner was operating the Majestic and Little Theatres in Seymour, Indiana. He had just had Sirocco blowers installed in both houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Scottish Rite Auditorium on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

The April 10, 1937, issue of The Film Daily said that he State Theatre in Cambridge, Ohio, had been opened by the Shea circuit. Shea also operated a house called the Cort Theatre in Cambridge at that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jun 15, 2014 at 4:04 pm

There’s not too much about Mt. Gilead’s old buildings on the Internet, but I did find a reference that is probably about the block the theater is in in a 1911 book called History of Morrow County, Ohio; a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests:

“The substantial business blocks erected on North Public square, erected by Mark and Perry Cook, commenced in 1894 and ended with the Masonic Temple block in 1899….”
The book also mentions the donation of the third floor of the building to the Knights of Pythias in 1905:
“For several years prior to September 19, 1905, the lodge had occupied the convenient and desirable rooms in the third story of the Cook Block, at the northwest corner of the North Public square, as their Castle Hall, and on that day brother Mark Cook, a member of the lodge, presented to the trustees of the lodge the entire third story of said block for their Castle Hall. It was a very generous gift, and is valued at four thousand dollars.”
The July 6, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News had a brief item about the Kaypee Theatre:
“Parties interested in Kaypee, Mt. Gilead, will confer with local ministers regarding operating house on Sunday, on account of six day operation showing loss. If Sunday showings cannot be arranged, house may be closed.”
A report on the meeting in the July 6 edition of the Marion News revealed a clever ploy on the part of W. F. Bruce, one of the parties interested in the theater. He proposed to operate a dance hall and skating rink daily if the ministers did not agree to withdraw their opposition to showing movies on Sunday. Faced with that choice, the minsters caved and Mt. Gilead got Sunday shows.

The interesting thing is that, if Bruce intended to operate the theater space as a dance hall and skating rink it must have had a level floor, which means the theater must have still been located in the third-floor room in the Cook Block, and so the ground floor auditorium must have been added behind the building after 1929. If the new auditorium was built by 1931, it could be that the Capitol opened as the Rex Theatre, the house that was mentioned in trade journals in 1931 and 1935. When I get a chance I’ll check the Film Daily Yearbooks from the period to see if there are any clues.

A chimney is not a very unusual feature of older theaters in the east. They served as the vent for a coal or oil-fired furnace or boiler (which was usually located in a basement) that provided heat for the building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wausau Theatre on Jun 15, 2014 at 12:14 pm

326-330 N. 3rd Street is now occupied by a postmodern building housing a residential condominium called The Palladian, built in 2007-2008. The first Wausau Theatre has been demolished.