Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Star Theatre on Feb 16, 2015 at 9:01 am

This paragraph is from an article about Cincinnati’s movie theaters that appeared in the July 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“There was another Gayety in Cincinnati a few years back, this being the name first borne by the Star, on Fountain Square, referred to above as standing on the site of the former Loew arcade. The original Gayety was opened seven years ago, a year after the Bijou, its nearest competitor, by Ed. Hart & Co., the name being changed to the Star when the burlesque house was opened under the same name. Like its neighbor, the Bijou, it has always done a big business at its five-cent admission charge.”
That would indicate that this house operated as the Gayety from 1909 (the year after the Bijou opened) until 1913 (the year the Gayety Burlesque opened) and then became the Star.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Seattle Sundance Cinemas on Feb 16, 2015 at 2:30 am

The renovation of Sundance Cinemas Seattle was completed over a year and a half ago, the house premiering its new look on July 19, 2015. The official web site provides this page of photos. A nice collection of black and white photos can be found in this post at Curbed Seattle.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's Regent Theatre on Feb 16, 2015 at 12:01 am

The Regent Theatre at Harrisburg was in operation by 1915, and was taken over by Loew’s in 1925. The May 9, 1925, issue of Harrisburg daily, The Evening News, featured several items about the theater, and a full page ad by the Regent’s former operator, Peter Magaro, which said that Marcus Loew would begin operating the house on May 11. The ad also mentioned that Magaro had been in the theater business at Harrisburg for twenty years.

Another article in the paper says that the Regent was on the site of a “store show” Magaro had run in his early days in Harrisburg. He later bought the property and had the Regent built on it, but the article doesn’t say what year the house was erected. Magaro and the Regent were mentioned in the September 4, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World. A 1916 MPW item gave the address of the Regent as 410 Market Street, so it was definitely the same location.

Items in various construction journals in 1917 indicate that Magaro was intending rebuild the Regent at that time. Plans, by Hoffman & Co., had been approved in April and bids were to be taken in September, but the next mention of the rebuilding I’ve found is from 1921, when the November issue of the construction journal Stone ran this item:

“The new Regent moving picture theatre, being built by Peter Magaro on Market Street, Harrisburg, Pa., will have a stairway of Pavonazzo marble, while the walls and wainscoting will be of gray Napoleon marble. The work is being done by Alexander Pelli & Co., of New York”
I’ve been unable to discover the reason for the delay of four years. An April 8, 1925 Harrisburg Telegraph article about the projected sale of the Regent to Loew’s said only that Magaro had rebuilt the theater “…several years ago….” Loew’s was offering $275,000 for the house, but Magaro had not yet accepted. Perhaps he got even more.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Marion Theatre on Feb 15, 2015 at 10:02 am

The October 16, 1915, issue of The Marion Star had an advertisement saying that the Marion Theatre would be celebrating its first anniversary that week.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Feb 14, 2015 at 9:38 pm

The obituary of Henry Thomas in Motion Picture Herald in 1946 said that he had operated the Liberty Theatre at Oak Hill for the last 30 years, suggesting there was probably an earlier Liberty operating as early as 1916. The 1920 building was probably the project noted in this item from the September 6, 1919, issue of The American Contractor:

“Huntington, w. Va.—Theater (M. P.): Oak Hill. O. Archt. Richard H. Bates, Jr., Huntington. Owner Henry Thomas, Oak Hill. Brk., hollow blk. Archt. selected. Will call for bids in abt. 1 week.”
I have a suspicion that the middle initial H the item gave the architect was an error. Wikipedia has a page for the Mortimer Place Historic District in Huntington, West Virginia, and lists the architect of the project, built in 1915, as Richard Mortimer Bates. The page for Richard Bates at Find a Grave says that he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1920s and practiced architecture there until 1940. That means he was the same Richard M. Bates, Jr. who designed the Westlake Theatre in Los Angeles.

The facade of the Youth Center is characteristic of the late 1910s-early 1920s, so I suspect that at least the shell of Bates’s 1920 building survived the 1929 fire and is what we see today.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ely Theatre on Feb 14, 2015 at 8:50 am

Around 1935 the Ely Theatre was to have been remodeled and renamed the Rio Theatre, according to the caption of this photo from the files of Liebenberg & Kaplan, architects of the remodeling.

This photo, also from Liebenberg & Kaplan, shows a wider view of the theater.

Either the caption was in error about the renaming, or the owners changed their mind about it. Either way, the Ely Theatre was in operation by 1935. Not only is the photo dated that year, but the movie named on the marquee, King Solomon of Broadway, was released that year.

But I think the captions might be wrong about the photos having been taken before the remodeling. The streamlined look of the building and its signs were characteristic of the mid to late 1930s. I suspect that the photos date from after the remodeling, and that the house might have been renamed to Ely Theatre from some other name. I can’t find any references in the trade journals to a house at Ely called the Rio, but I found a reference to a house called the Elco operating in 1918, and to a Grand Opera House in 1929.

There was also an as-yet unnamed theater under construction in Ely in 1928, according to the October 27 issue of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Feb 14, 2015 at 6:58 am

The October 27, 1928, issue of Exhibitors Herald and Motion Picture World had a section listing theaters that had been completed, were under construction, or were in the planning stage, listed by the architects who had designed them. The list for Minneapolis architect J. E. Nason (misspelled by the magazine as Nasson) included a completed 450-seat house at Spring Valley. Nason’s list did not include theater names, but the project was most likely the State.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Marion Cultural and Civic Center on Feb 14, 2015 at 4:30 am

Records of the American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Co. indicate that architect Samuel W. Bihr, Jr. designed alterations for the Orpheum Theatre in Marion. The records don’t list the year of the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Feb 14, 2015 at 4:22 am

The records of the American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Co. list the Fox Theatre in Aurora as the work of an architect named Barfield. As the records also list him as the architect of the Hinsdale Theatre in Hinsdale, Illinois, it must have been William G. Barfield.

Barfield immigrated to the United States from England in 1882, establishing his architectural practice in Chicago, where he worked until his death in 1935.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roma Theater on Feb 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm

The November 26, 1921, issue of The Billboard said that Charles Ellison was organizing a stock company to play at the Roma Theatre in Youngstown. I haven’t found any later references to the company so I don’t know if Mr. Ellison succeeded in establishing it or not.

There was a Roma Theatre operating in Bellaire, Ohio, in 1915, owned by an Antonio Megna. I wonder if he eventually moved his operation to Youngstown? The Social Security Death Index lists an Antonio Megna born in 1889 who died in Youngstown in 1975. It’s not a common name, so it might have been the same Megna who operated the theater in Bellaire.

I also recall coming across a trade journal item from the late 1910s which said that among the many theaters then operating in Youngstown there were five that catered primarily to the city’s large population of Italians. If the Roma fell into that category then it might have switched its advertising from the Vindicator to Youngstown’s Italian newspaper, Il Cittidano Americano.

The Roma Theatre was also mentioned in the February, 1922, issue of American Photography. Someone named Frank Shea, with the Roma as his address, was offering to exchange prints with other photographers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Varsity Theatre on Feb 12, 2015 at 5:34 am

The November 28, 1898, issue of The Courier, one of Lincoln’s daily papers, said that the Lansing Theatre had been designed by E. C. Horn of New York, and built by the construction firm of Smith & Horn. The building was predominantly Romanesque Revival in style, but the interior featured some elements of Louis XV decoration.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Varsity Theatre on Feb 12, 2015 at 5:04 am

There are a couple of typos in the theater description. Lansing is misspelled as Lancing (also in the Previous Names field.)

The Lansing was renamed Olver Opera House in 1898, not 1889.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varsity Theatre on Feb 12, 2015 at 4:24 am

The January 24, 1942, issue of the Lincoln Evening Journal reported that demolition of the Varsity Theatre at 1500 O Street would soon be underway. The theater and adjacent buildings were being removed for the extension of 15th Street north from O Street.

The October 28, 1934, issue of the paper said that the Varsity Theatre, formerly the Rialto, would open November 1. The house had been closed for two months for remodeling.

The house had become the Rialto around 1920, having previously been known as the Majestic. The name Majestic was adopted when the new Orpheum opened at 12th and P Streets. The newspaper referred to the Majestic with the paranthetic (old Orpheum) several times in April, 1916, indicating that the name had been changed fairly recently.

I haven’t discovered when the Bijou opened, or when it became the Orpheum, but the Bijou was mentioned in The Billboard in 1906 and 1907. There was also a 1943 newspaper article saying that the Bijou had bacome the Majestic before becoming the Orpheum, so perhaps it was called the Majestic twice, both before and after the Orpheum period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Feb 12, 2015 at 1:25 am

The Grand Theatre suffered at least two major fires in its history, one of which was noted in theis item from The Reel Journal of January 23, 1926:

:“The Grand Theatre, Duquoin, Ill., was destroyed by fire on January 14. An overheated furnace is believed to have been the cause. The fire started about 5:15 p. m., an hour before the usual opening for the evening show.

“The theatre was the property of the Reed-Yemm-Hayes Circuit and seated approximately 1,200 persons on two floors. It was erected but a few years ago at an estimated cost of $150,000.”

The claim that the house had been built only “a few years ago” was a bit off. The theater had been expanded five years before the fire, but had been opened in 1914. An item in the May 28, 1921, issue of The Anerican Contractor said that Reid, Yemm & Hays were having alerations and an addition made to their Grand Theatre in Du Quion, Illinois. The project, designed by St. Louis architects Kennerly & Stiegemeyer, was to cost $25,000.

An article about the 1926 fire in The Daily Independent of Murphysboro, Illinois, said that the Grand had been built in 1914. But construction might have begun in 1913, as the August 30 issue of Construction News that year ran this item:

“Du Quoin, Ill.—Theater. Private plans. Owner, Reed & Yemm Theater, taking bids, no date set for closing. Brk., 2 stys., 40x100.”
Another major fire at the Grand was reported in the Carbondale Free Press of January 23, 1931. This fire, which gutted the auditorium, started in the wiring of the speakers. The house was by then operated by Fox Theatres, the original partners having sold out in 1929.

Reid and Yemm were operating a theater called the Lyric in Du Quoin at least as early as 1910, when they endorsed the Edison Projecting Kinetoscope in an ad for the company in the Octiber 5 issue of The New York Dramatic Mirror. I’m not sure when Hayes became a partner of Reid and Yemm, but the January 8, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that a William R. Hayes had bought the Majestic Theatre in Du Quoin. It was probably the same guy.

Kennerly and Stiegemeyer designed other projects for Reid, Yemm & Hayes, including a 1921 house at Zeigler, Illinois. Since they were practicing by 1913, they might have been the original architects of the Grand as well as the architects of the 1921 expansion.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texas Theater on Feb 11, 2015 at 7:36 pm

The official web site is dead, and contains nothing but a promo for GoDaddy and some ads. Their Facebook page is still up, but has this notice: “We regret to inform you that we will be closed as of January 8th, 2015.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Louvee Theatre on Feb 11, 2015 at 7:12 pm

The March 4, 1939, issue of Motion Picture Herald had this item about Wellston:

“Chakeres Theatres, Inc., of Springfield, Ohio, have taken over the 1,000-seat Virginian, and the recently completed Louvee, which has a capacity of 600, in Wellston, Ohio, from the Guilfoyle Amusement Company.”
I came across a trade journal item about a 1,000-seat theater being built at Wellston in 1904, but I’ve lost track of it. That project might have been the Virginian.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colony Theater on Feb 11, 2015 at 7:09 pm

An article about Chakeres Theatres in the March 4, 1939, issue of Motion Picture Herald said that “…the Chakeres organization took over Bell’s Opera House, with 750 seats, at Hillsboro, where it also recently opened the new Colony”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Feb 10, 2015 at 11:00 pm

The February, 1904, issue of The Ohio Architect and Builder said that the Lyric Theatre, under construction at Bolivar Road and Erie Avenue (now 9th Street) had been designed in the Art Nouveau style by architect Frederic William Striebinger.

Cleveland native Striebinger, born 1870, studied at Columbia University and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris before establishing his architectural practice at Cleveland in 1897. In 1896 he and fellow American student Hugh Tallant shared the Ecole’s prestigious Prix Jean Leclaire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Keith's Theatre on Feb 10, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Cleveland Architects Database (PDF here) attributes the design of Keith’s Prospect Theatre to architect Morris Gleichman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theatre on Feb 10, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Cleveland Architects Database (PDF here attributes the design of the Empire Theatre to architect Morris Gleichman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Uptown Theater on Feb 10, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Linkrot repair: The before-and-after photos of the remodeled facade of the Uptown on the cover of Boxoffice of May 1, 1967, can now be found at this link. The remodeling was done in 1966.

It seems likely that the original facade is still mostly intact behind that false front (which looks to be an anodized aluminum grill), as the grill extends out a couple of feet from the front of the building. Restored, it would add a touch of glamor to this fairly plain block.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Orpheum Theater on Feb 10, 2015 at 11:41 am

The Orpheum Theatre that opened in 1927 was on the same site as the old Orpheum. Testimony from a court case involving the house included this line: “…some time in June, 1927, the old house was torn down and practically a new house was built up on the same place.”

A half page ad in the November 26, 1927, issue of The Kingston Daily Freeman said that the rebuilt Orpheum would open the following night. An article in the August 2 issue of the same publication said that the architect for the project was Gerard W. Betz.

The Orpheum was about a third of a century old when rebuilt in 1927. An October 31, 1908, item in The Billboard said that the old Fordon Opera House had been bought by the Bijou Theatre Company and would be remodeled and reopened as a vaudeville and movie theater called the Orpheum. It opened on December 3. The theater had originally opened in 1894 as Liscomb’s Opera House. Today the Rondout Neighborhood Center, opened in 1971, occupies the site of the Orpheum.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about UA Quartet on Feb 10, 2015 at 4:26 am

Boxoffice of August 30, 1971, has two pages about the UA Quartet. It includes a cutaway drawing showing how the four small auditoriums and new foyer had been arranged inside the gutted auditorium of the Roosevelt Theatre. There are also a few photos.

First page

Second page

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ohmann Theatre on Feb 10, 2015 at 12:05 am

Here is the description of the new Ohmann Theatre that was published in the December 25, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Open Theater in Lyons.

In Lyons, N. Y., the new Ohmann moving picture theater was opened recently. This building was built for Ohmann Brothers, of Lyons, at a cost of $20,000. The new house is on the ground floor, located in the rear of the Wayne Press building in William street. The building is 80 by 60 and 35 feet high, and is reached from the street by a corridor 75 feet in depth with a canopy over the walk. The construction is of steel framework, covered with concrete and hollow tile. The floors are concrete and set with opera chairs. The main floor has a seating capacity of 800, and the balcony seats 175 more. The interior finish is of buff and oak.“

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 9, 2015 at 11:34 pm

As there is no place called South Chattanooga today, but this location is south of Chattanooga’s downtown, this item from the December 8, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture Worldis probably about this Strand Theatre:

“SOUTH CHATTANOOGA, TENN. — The Strand is the name of a new moving picture theater opened here by A. Solomon and A. J. Alper.”
The fire station that occupies the block now looks like it might have been built as long ago as the 1930s, so my guess would be that the Strand has been gone for a very long time.