Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tuxedo Theater on Sep 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

The Tuxedo was one of two large Detroit neighborhood houses recently acquired by the Publix chain, according to the July 5, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald World. The other was the LaSalle Garden Theatre, which Publix renamed the Century.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century Theater on Sep 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

According to the July 5, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald World, Publix had acquired the La Salle Garden Theatre in Detroit and reopened the house as the Publix Century Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Coliseum Theatre on Sep 1, 2014 at 6:10 am

The Coliseum Theatre in Mt. Oliver was mentioned in the March 22, 1919, issue of The Billboard. The operator of the house at that time, Fred J. Herrington, was also the secretary of the American Exhibitors' Association.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mount Oliver Theater on Sep 1, 2014 at 5:48 am

This project noted in the April 6, 1929, issue of The Film Daily could have been the Mount Oliver Theatre:

“New Pittsburgh House Opening Next Month

“THE theatre which Harris Amusement Co. is erecting in Mt. Oliver section of Pittsburgh, Pa, will probably be opened during May. The house will seat 1,600, will be equipped with Vitaphone-Movietone. Cost in the neighborhood of $450,000. No name chosen although it may be called the Harris Hill Top.”

A list of theaters showing The March of Time published in the January 10, 1938, issue of Life included two houses in Mt. Oliver: The Harris Mt. Oliver Theatre and a house called the Rialto Theatre. I found a reference to the Rialto being next door to a funeral parlor that was at 228 Brownsville Road, but it didn’t say in which direction. There was also a reference to a theater called the State in Mt. Oliver.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Maplewood Theatre on Sep 1, 2014 at 4:29 am

An earlier Maplewood Theatre in Malden was destroyed by fire in early 1929, as reported in the April 6 issue of The Film Daily that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Aug 31, 2014 at 10:08 pm

bigjoe59: I’m not an administrator, but I’ve been posting here for so many years that I’ve probably come to sound a bit possessive about the site. To answer your question, no, I don’t know of any theaters in the United States other than the Chinese that opened before 1941 as first run movie houses and have remained first run throughout their history. Most of them were downtown theaters, and as movie attendance shifted to the suburbs starting in the 1950s the old palaces began closing one after another. The survival of the Chinese can probably be attributed to its location in Hollywood more than any other single factor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cecchi Gori F.A. Cinema on Aug 31, 2014 at 9:59 pm

A City of Beverly Hills Cultural Heritage Commission report on the theater (PDF here) says that Fox West Coast Theatres took over the Regina Theatre in 1948, and renamed it the Fox Fine Arts Theatre. The house was still owned by Fox when I first became aware of it in the early 1960s, but I don’t recall it being listed as the Fox Fine Arts by that time. It’s called simply the Fine Arts in the earliest newspaper listing I have for it, which is from February 10, 1971.

Also, the report has a couple of photos (badly copied) from ca. 1948-1950, and the name Fox does not appear on the marquee, and if it was on the vertical sign it isn’t discernible in the photocopies. I don’t know if the house was actually called the Fox Fine Arts for a while, or if the Fox name just got attached to it in people’s memories.

In any case, the theater was designated a city landmark earlier this year. It’s too bad Beverly Hills wasn’t so eager to landmark theater buildings when the Beverly and the Warner were still standing.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Byam Theatre on Aug 31, 2014 at 8:32 pm

A comment by weimlover6 on this forum page says that the Byam Theatre actually went into operation around 1924 as the Fairmount Theatre. The same post notes that the Majestic Theatre was at 214 N. Main Street, so that wasn’t an aka for the Byam.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Byam Theatre on Aug 31, 2014 at 8:08 pm

The Byam Theatre’s auditorium was built in 1937 behind an existing commercial building at the southwest corner of Highway 24 and Ash Avenue in the Fairmount district of Independence. The theater was built by F. L. Byam, who owned a drug store on the corner, and the house was operated by Reube Finkelstein. It originally had 730 seats, according to an item in Boxoffice of January 8, 1938.

From 1999 to 2009, the auditorium (at 608 S. Ash Avenue- the theater’s entrance had been around the corner on Highway 24) housed the Fairmount Community Center, but has apparently been vacant since the center moved to new quarters. The Byam Theatre closed some years prior to 1961, by which time the marquee had been removed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plymouth Theatre on Aug 30, 2014 at 5:36 am

Here is an item from the January 3, 1928, issue of The Film Daily:

“Leominster, Mass. — Ground was broken this week for a new combination theater to replace the Music Hall destroyed a few months ago by fire. The new theater will be known as the Plymouth and will have seating accommodations for 1200. Thomas McEvoy who owned the Music Hall and who also conducts the Rialto here is building it.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about R/C State Cinema 3 on Aug 30, 2014 at 5:28 am

The March 2, 1937, issue of The Film Daily had this item:

“Lexington, Va. — Warner Bros, is replacing the theater which was destroyed by fire and is building a new fireproof house in typical American Colonial style here. Theater is to be called the ‘State,’ and the planning and construction of this building have been entrusted to the architectural firm of John Eberson.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Majestic Theatre on Aug 30, 2014 at 5:19 am

The Majestic was one of at least two theaters operating in Lexington in 1928, when the January 3 issue of The Film Daily reported that their owner, R. E. Falkinberg, was preparing to open another theater in the town. The name of the new house was not given, but the second theater Falkinburg was already operating was called the Lyric.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mariner Theater on Aug 30, 2014 at 4:09 am

The January 3, 1928, issue of The Film Daily said that a new, 800-seat theater had opened at Marine City, Michigan. The name of the house was not given, but it was probably the Mariner. In the Photo of the building at Water Winter Wonderland the building looks like it would have dated from the mid-late 1920s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sugar Theatre on Aug 30, 2014 at 3:44 am

Changes of theater ownership in Idaho reported in the January 9, 1928, issue of The Film Dailyincluded: “Sugar City — Ricks (formerly Weada), sold to Ricks & Thomas.”

From 1929 to 1933, the FDY lists a 240-seat Rialto Theatre at Sugar City. In 1934 it was again listing Ricks Theatre, which was listed as closed. There might be other aka’s, but I haven’t looked them up.

In 1910, The Billboard listed a 1,000-seat Opera House in Sugar City, which is rather odd considering that it also lists 1,000 as the population of the town.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theatre on Aug 30, 2014 at 3:08 am

Architect Sumner Spaulding’s middle name was Maurice. Walter Webber’s middle initial was I.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Eureka Theatre on Aug 30, 2014 at 2:59 am

The May 28, 1937, issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor said that Ben Aranda would build a new, 750-seat theater for himself at Brawley. The architect for the project was Walter Webber.

I’m not sure whether or not Walter I. Webber had a solo practice at this time. He had earlier been a member of the firm of Webber & Spaulding, architects of the Avalon Theatre and the Casino, in which the theater was located, at Avalon, on Santa Catalina Island. Nobody seems to know when the firm was dissolved.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Circle Theatre on Aug 30, 2014 at 2:06 am

Southwest Builder & Contractor of August 21, 1936, reported that a 600-seat theater would be built for Principal Theatres on Main Street near 6th in Brawley. The architect for the project was Clifford A. Balch.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Aug 30, 2014 at 1:56 am

bigjoe59: They must be referring to what is now the Cecchi Gori Fine Arts Cinema. It’s in Beverly Hills. I’ve never heard of it having been called the Fox Fine Arts, and we don’t list that as an aka, so that’s why it didn’t turn up in your search.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:53 pm

The big roadshow house on Hollywood Boulevard was the Egyptian, though the Pantages also had its share of hard ticket events. The Warner Hollywood was tied up with Cinerama through that period. I think that Fox West Coast booked more roadshow engagements into the Carthay Circle than any other theater in the region. The Chinese was the circuit’s big first-run house.

One thing I recall about the Chinese is that at one point, I think it must have been during the late 1950s, one of the television stations in Los Angeles had a weekly movie that was hosted by Francis X. Bushman, and it featured a wraparound of Bushman talking about the movie from a seat in the Chinese. At the end of the closing segment he would get up and walk up the aisle of the auditorium. I hadn’t thought about that show in years. I wonder if anyone else remembers it?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Huron Theatre on Aug 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm

This nostalgia piece from the Oakland Press News says that the Huron Theatre burned on Christmas Eve, 1983. There’s a photo of the fire and one of the burned-out building. The article also says that the theater was in Waterford Township (Water Winter Wonderland also lists it in Waterford.)

The article was also blogged, accompanied by a different photo of the theater while it was still in operation. It was showing Around the World in Eighty Days, and there was special lettering on the building itself, not just the marquee, so this might have been the roadshow, which could date the photo to 1957. If not, it’s probably 1958.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Imperial Theatre on Aug 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm

The April 2, 1959, issue of Motion Picture Daily reported that W. Kinder, owner of the Star Theatre in Imperial, Nebraska, had affiliated his house with Allied Rocky Mountain Independent Theatres, Inc.. The move must not have helped business enough, as the Star soon closed. But the October 5, 1960, issue of the same journal reported that the theater had been re-opened under new management:

“Merchants Find Theatre Aids Their Businesses

“Special to THE DAILY

“IMPERIAL, Neb., Oct 4. – The importance of a theatre to a small town is illustrated by the re-opening of the Star Theatre here.

“All merchants in the small community experienced a slump in business when the Star shuttered several months ago.

“Merchants organized the Imperial Businessmens Association and raised sufficient funds to reopen the theatre. Newton Lippitt is acting as manager.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valley Theatre on Aug 27, 2014 at 4:40 am

An Imperial Valley directory published in 1914 lists a house called the L & S Theatre at 568 Main Street in El Centro. It might or might not have been in the same building that became the Valley Theatre.

The Valley should be listed on W. Main St., which is the historic center of town. That’s undoubtedly where it was. I have a strong suspicion that it was replaced by the drive-up teller and ATM lot of the Union Bank at 576 W.Main Street. To the east of the driveways is a vacant store, and next to that is a bike shop with the address 560 W. Main. The vacant store might be at 566, but is probably 564. The Valley Theatre has most likely been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Brawley Playhouse Theatre on Aug 26, 2014 at 9:33 pm

The January 9, 1928, issue of The Film Daily said that S. U. Anderson, the original owner of the Belvedere Theatre in Brawley, had sold it to Principal Theatres. Princiapal had changed the name of the house to Brawley Theatre by 1929.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Brawley Playhouse Theatre on Aug 26, 2014 at 6:26 am

The Brawley Community Foundation is attempting to restore this theater. The front of the theater has already been restored and relighted, as seen in this news item from The Desert Review of May 17, 2013. The house has been renamed the Brawley Playhouse Theatre.

The theater’s Facebook page has a brief history of the house. It opened on March 22, 1922, as the Belvedere Theatre, with 815 seats. When restored the house is to have up to 428 seats, a stage for theatrical and music productions, an orchestra pit, and movie screen.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Banco Theatre on Aug 26, 2014 at 4:52 am

Volume 1 of Cezar Del Valle’s Brooklyn Theatre Index gives operating dates of 1908 to 1931 for the Fulton Auditorium, and October 28, 1948 to 1976 for the Banco Theatre. That fits in with the 1935 Certificate of Occupancy for a cabaret and show room on the ground floor, cited in an earlier comment by Ed Solero.

Brownstoner has this page for the building at 1298 Fulton Street, which says that the plans for the 1913 conversion of the theater into a movie house were by architect James Boyle. This project was probably fairly extensive, as the July 6, 1910, issue of The Film Index ran a brief article about the Fulton Auditorium which said that it then had about 300 seats.

The article is worth quoting in full for its depiction of the nascent star system, which had barely begun, as well as its brief description of the Fulton Auditorium itself:

“Popular Vitagraph Player Receives Ovation at Fulton Auditorium

“Filled with photographs and announcements of the ‘Vitagraph Girl’s’ appearance and reception, the lobby of the ‘Fulton Auditorium’ of Brooklyn, presented a very brilliant display. A large automobile stopped in front of the theatre and Miss Florence E. Turner, ‘The Vitagraph Girl’ with the Vitagraph representative alighted from the tonneau and were greeted by Mr. Charles Cranides, the Manager, and a large congregation of spectators who were waiting to get a look at Miss Turner to see if she is as attractive in reality as she is in the pictures. Entering the Auditorium which was already crowded, ‘The Vitagraph Girl’ was introduced to the audience by the representative and received a royal welcome. In response Miss Turner said: ‘I don’t know what to say in addition to my flattering introduction to you. I don’t know that I look all that has been said about me. I am glad to know I am so well thought of and I will do my best to sustain and merit your good opinions and kind appreciation of me. I thank you all and hope I shall meet you often in person as well as in the Vitagraph pictures.’

“This little speech was greeted with applause, three or four attendants came forward and handed Miss Turner several bouquets and baskets of flowers which almost hid her from view.

“Mr. Arthur Ogden in a rich baritone voice sang the popular motion picture ballad ‘The Vitagraph Girl’ illustrated by a series of beautiful colored slides followed by two or three Vitagraph films in which Miss Turner featured. Afterward an informal reception was given to the guest of the evening by the audience who came forward to shake her hand and make her acquaintance. Manager Cranides arranged a very delightful supper for Miss Turner and her friends and did everything possible to make things pleasant for everybody.

“There is a right and a wrong way of doing things. Manager Cranides has the right one. His theatre is run right with all conveniences and comforts. It seats about three hundred; has a pipe organ for special music as well as a piano. The auditorium is large and airy and always filled with an exceptionally refined audience who are always greeted with a welcome smile or a cheerful good evening from Mrs. Cranides who is just as nice as her husband.”

I’ve been unable to discover the name of the original architect, or of whoever planned the alterations that must have been needed when the house was reopened as the Banco Theatre in 1948.