Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts on Nov 15, 2014 at 9:18 pm

A brief history of Greenfield’s theaters can be found on this web page. When the Weil Theatre opened on November 1, 1946, Greenfield had two other theaters in operation: the State, which closed in 1948, and the Riley, which closed in 1953.

Allen and Linda Strahl, now operators of Greenfield’s nine-screen Legacy Cinema, should be credited with donating this theater for public use.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Egyptian Theatre on Nov 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Bartstar: The new front of the Egyptian Theatre was installed in either late 1949 or early 1950. An article about the remodeling appeared in the March 4, 1950, issue of Boxoffice (first page and second page.) You might also be interested in the Egyptian Theatre street view timeline at Historic Hollywood Theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Rey Theatre on Nov 15, 2014 at 11:57 am

My subscription to comments on this page got canceled when the site was redesigned a few years ago, so this is the first I’ve seen of the comments from JCL and Ian377.

The El Rey was gone by the time I first visited Paradise in the mid-1970s and had been replaced by the Pine Ridge Theatre on Foster Road, which is now a feed and pet supply store. The Drive-In was still there but had been converted into a swap meet (the remains have since been demolished and a health club has been built on the site.)

It was actually a long time before JCL arrived that the part of The Skyway north of the modern Neal Road intersection was part of Neal Road, but that’s how it is named on old maps. The Skyway from Neal Road to Chico wasn’t built until the early 1950s, and that’s when the section of Neal Road above the current intersection was renamed Skyway.

I’m not sure exactly where the old bowling alley on Skyway was. By the time I arrived the only bowling alley in town was on Clark Road north of Wagstaff, and that building is now gone (its roof collapsed after a heavy snowfall in the late 1980s) and the bowling alley has moved to a new building a few miles farther down Clark.

The old center of town runs from a short way south of Pearson Road northward to Elliott Road. I’m not sure if any of the buildings in that area could be the El Rey’s building remodeled beyond recognition or not. The chances that it is still standing are pretty slim, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Europe Theatre on Nov 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm

The October 9, 1909, issue of The Film Index had this description of the Yorkville Hippodrome Theatre:


“Handsome picture theatre owned by Alfred Weiss, located at 1499 First avenue, New York City. The Hippodrome was opened in January, 1909, and cos $21,000 to build. The dimensions are 22 feet 6 inches front, by 102 feet deep, with an ‘L’ in the rear which gives a width of 39 feet. The auditorium includes a balcony which affords ample seating capacity. There is a commodious stage with a 20-foot opening, with all drops and scenery necessary for vaudeville acts. The lobby is 12 feet deep and brilliantly illuminated. Every possible means of fireproofing the Hippodrome was employed in its construction. The ceiling and walls are of steel and cost $1,600. During the exhibition of pictures the auditorium is made comparatively light by the use of green lamps and shades. Uniformed help add to the general attractiveness of the place. The Hippodrome can be numbered among the best of the modern picture houses.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Forest Theatre on Nov 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

A history of Winnebago and Hancock Counties published in 1917 has a brief biography of Forest Secor which says he returned to the town of his birth (his father, Eugene Secor, was the first mayor of Forest City when it incorporated in 1878) in 1916 after having conducted a real estate business in Minnesota for some time, and bought the Forest Theatre.

The “Changes Over Iowa” column of The Moving Picture World, November 3, 1917, had this item:

“Forest City, Ia. — Forest Secor has sold the Forest theater in Forest City to J. P. Weist.”
I don’t know if this item from the February 3 issue of the same publication is about a second theater or if Mr. Secor changed the name of the house he bought after returning in 1916: “FOREST CITY, IA. — Park theater is now being conducted by Secor & Hewitt.”

Forest City had an opera house which the February 26, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World reported had recently been destroyed by a fire. The 350-seat Forest City Opera House was on a list of theaters published in the September 5, 1908,issue of The Billboard. The Forest Theatre might have been built to replace the opera house after it burned, though in 1912 the MPW had reported on plans for another theater that might have been the house that became the Forest: “Forest City, Ia. — J. M. Simmons will open a motion picture theater here.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bellevue Cinema 4 on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

John H. Phillips, architect of the Bellevue Theatre, also designed the original building of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beaver Theater on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

A history of the Acanthus Lodge of Masons has this to say about the building the Gem Theatre occupied:

“…a building was erected at 2706-2708 Beaver Avenue by Dr. L. H. Chamberlain, with Acanthus Lodge assuming a ten year lease on the entire second floor. The plans for this floor were in accordance with the requirements of the lodge. It was not until 1935 that the building was completed and the lodge was able to move. On March 4, 1935, the new hall was opened at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon for a public reception.”
However, this item appeared in the Iowa “Changes in Ownership” column in the May 27, 1930, issue of The Film Daily: “Des Moines—Gem, sold to L. H. Chamberlain by Roy Jones.”

Chamberlain’s name appears in two items in The Film Daily in 1931, too, both saying that he was planning to build a $50,000 theater in Des Moines. I Haven’t found any later items about that project, so I don’t know if it was carried out. It’s possible that he had to put the project on hold until the economy improved, and that it was this house.

It’s also possible that the history of the Masonic Lodge, which has a 2013 copyright date, was mistaken about the building on Beaver Avenue having been entirely new in 1935, and that it was the Gem Theatre Chamberlain bought in 1930 rebuilt to accommodate the second floor lodge hall. The Acanthus Lodge moved to a new building in 1950, and the details of what happened in 1935 might have gotten muddled.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about World Theatre on Nov 12, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Three photos of the lobby of the Marcal Theatre can be seen on this page from the USC Digital Archive (click the thumbnails of the two additional photos in the right column of the page.) The photos were taken by the Dick Whittington Studio in 1932.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Boulevard Theater on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm

The 1924 release In Every Woman’s Life is advertised on the marquee of the Red Mill Theatre in this Frank Meline photo from the USC Digital Archive. The name Red Mill does not appear on the marquee or anywhere else on the building that I can see, but there is a big windmill on the roof of the auditorium. The theater was built in 1922, so was fairly new when this photo was taken.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Nov 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Andrew: I believe the State opened as a two-a-day vaudeville house, and as such would not have needed an organ. Two-a-day houses all had fairly large orchestras. The State was operated by Loew’s for its first two years and was advertised as Loew’s State Theatre.

It’s possible that the Smith organ was installed not in the auditorium but in the lobby, to entertain patrons waiting for the show to begin. More than a few big theaters had lobby organs. The State might have had another organ installed in the auditorium at a later date, after movies became its primary fare.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Laughlin Theater on Nov 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Linkrot repair: this photo of the Laughlin Theatre is dated ca.1930 by the USC Digital Archive, but the movie advertised under the marquee is The Dangerous Moment, starring Carmel Myers, which was released in 1921. (Yes, this is the same photo we have on the Laughlin’s photo page, but the copy at the Archive can be zoomed really close.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Neptune Theatre on Nov 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm

This postcard shows the Neptune Theatre in the background beyond the Merryland Arcade. It is postmarked July 7, 1913, so the photo was probably taken within two years or less of the theater’s opening.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Linda Lea Theatre on Nov 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm

The 1939 Dick Whittington photo of the Arrow Theatre from the USC Archive I linked to previously has gone missing. Let’s see if this link (which USC calls a reference url) will have some staying power.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crescent Theater on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:04 am

Water Winter Wonderland has a clearer photo of the Crescent Theatre here. The movies on the marquee date from 1928.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Robinhood Theatre on Nov 12, 2014 at 9:24 am

The July 29, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World noted the opening of the Robinhood Theatre:

“The Robin Hood, Grand Haven’s newest motion picture theater, opened for business July 1. It is equipped with a $4,000 Barcola [sic] orchestra and the theater is one of the prettiest in Western Michigan. The lighting system is indirect, and there is good ventilation. The building is fireproof.”
The Bartola orchestra was one of several instruments of its kind that appeared around 1913-1914, designed specifically for use in movie theaters to provide both music and sound effects to accompany silent films.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:21 am

In my previous comment I left out the year when Butterfield transferred the Grand to Schlossman Theatres. It was 1931, so Butterfield operated the house about three years, then Schlossman for thirty years, then Butterfield for another five years, then Loeks operated it for about thirty years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:05 pm

The Strand Theatre of Lowell, Michigan, is mentioned in the October 14, 1922, issue of Exhibitors Herald.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Longview Theater on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm

davefox: Click on the “Photos” button above the photo currently displayed on this page. On the page it fetches, click on the “Add New Photo” button at the bottom of the page. On the page that fetches click on the “Choose” button and then select the file you want to upload from its folder in your computer. When you select the photo’s file name you should see the file name appear in the box adjacent to the “Choose” button. You may add a title and description for your photo, but that is optional. Select the license you want to publish under from the drop-down menu, then click the “Upload Photo” button. Repeat the process for each photo you want to upload.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Robinhood Theatre on Nov 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm

An inventory of buildings in Grand Haven says that the Robinhood Theatre was opened by Nathaniel Robbins in July, 1916, and closed in 1957. When the building was demolished in 1970 its site became a pedestrian passage to the parking area behind the block.

Google Maps has chosen to trap out street view inside a store and will not move farther than the sidewalk in front of its building. Instead of fruitlessly clicking on our Street View link for this page, see this bird’s eye view of the theater’s site from Bing Maps.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Nomar Theatre on Nov 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

The Film Daily, January 23, 1929:

“Contract Awarded for Wichita House Wichita, Kan. — Blaser-Volhner Construction Co. has been awarded the contract for the construction of a theater at North Market St. to be erected by the Stockman-Hartman Theater Co. according to plans drawn by Boller Bros, of Kansas City.”
Over the next few weeks, brief items about the project were published in which the projected cost of the house went from $75,000 to $125,000 and finally $150,000. A brief notice in the April 29 issue said that the Nomar had opened.

The house was equipped for sound, which might have been responsible for part of the escalating costs, though the Daily’s final estimate was a bit exaggerated if the item about the opening which appeared in The Motion Picture News of April 20 was correct:

“A capacity crowd attended the formal opening of the new Nomar Theatre, Wichita, Kans., last Wednesday night. The theatre, which is owned by the Stockman-Hartman Theatre Company, has a seating capacity of 800 and has a sound picture policy. The cost of the house was $125,000.”
In 1931, Hartman sold the Nomar to the Hughes-Franklin circuit. The house had become part of C. C. McCollister’s local chain of theaters by January, 1935.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:48 pm

A document listing historic buildings in Grand Haven (very large pdf file) says that the Grand Theatre opened on January 23, 1928.

Initially operated under lease by the Butterfield circuit, it was transferred to Schlossman Theatres, who operated the house until 1961 when it returned to Butterfield control. It became part of the Jack Loeks circuit in 1966, then was taken by a local independent operator from 1996 until closing in 1999. Originally seating over 800, the capacity was reduced to 520 in 1971, at which time the balcony was closed.

Lisa Maria DiChiera’s paper The Theater Designs of C. Howard Crane lists the Grand as his project #1015.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crescent Theater on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm

The Crescent Theatre in Grand Haven opened at Christmas, 1928, according to this article about the Crescent’s owner and manager, Margaret R. Vanden Berg, which appeared in the May 25, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

The Gem suffered a fire in late 1928, and was then remodeled, according to this item from The Film Daily of January 23, 1929:

“Wichita Falls Gem Opens

“Wichita Falls, Tex.— The Gem, after a fire several weeks ago, has been remodeled and recently opened.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about King Theatre on Nov 11, 2014 at 11:15 am

This 2012 weblog article about the King Theatre says that it was opened in 1930 by Milton and Sara Mansfield, who had operated the Strand and Rivola Theatres since their arrival in Belle Plaine in 1927. The Strand was closed when the King opened, and the Rivola was closed the following year. The King Theatre has been operated by members of the Mansfield family since opening.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Lyric Theatre on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

Manager George Hake of the Lyric Theatre, Belmond, Iowa, had a capsule review of the movie Over the Hill published in the December 30, 1922, issue of Exhibitors Herald.