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The January 21, 1927, issue of Motion Picture News had this item pertaining to the Schultz Opera House and two other Zanesville theaters:
“The Shultz Opera House, Zanesville, Ohio, is to become one of a chain of three houses which will be operated by the Imperial Theatres Co., recently incorporated at Columbus, Ohio. According to announcement by Manager Sam K. Lind. approximately $70,000 will be spent for improvements which will include a new organ. The Shultz was the first house in the city to play legitimate attractions, having recently gone into vaudeville and pictures. The new organization will also operate the Imperial and Quimby theatres in Zanesville.”
In 1933, the Caldwell Brown circuit got into financial trouble, and the July 15 issue of The Film Daily reported that the company’s Weller Theatre would be transfered to the Shea circuit. The other three houses Brown was operating would be part of a new company formed by Brown and Sam Lind. The three theaters were the Liberty, the Imperial, and the a house called the Columbia Theatre.
This raises the possibility that by 1933 either the Schultz Theatre or the first Imperial Theatre on Main Street had been renamed the Columbia. If it was the house on Main Street, then this theater had probably been renamed the Imperial by that time. This house was renamed the Imperial at some point in the 1930s, in any case, and prior to 1933 would be as good a time as any. A local source (newspaper announcement or the address in a city directory, for example) will have to confirm the change, though.
A 1905 book called Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingham County, Ohio, by J. Hope Sutor, says that the Weller Theatre was designed by Columbus, Ohio, architect Frederick Elliot in association with local architect Harry C. Meyer. The opening date was April 27, 1903. The opening night featured the operatic musical “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, produced on Broadway in 1902 by F. C. Whitney. The book doesn’t specify, but this was probably the Whitney Opera Company’s own road show version of the production.
The Weller Theatre was decorated by artist Alfred Ronchetti, a recent immigrant from Switzerland who, in 1904, returned to Zanesville to establish himself as the town’s leading decorator.
By 1928, the Weller Theatre was controlled by Caldwell Brown, who also had the Liberty and Grand Theatres. The July 17, 1928, issue of The Film Daily reported that Brown had acquired control of the Imperial Theatres Company, operating the Imperial, Quimby, and Shultz Theatres in Zanesville.
The Shea circuit took over operation of the Weller Theatre in 1933. The announcement of the transfer of the house from the Caldwell Brown circuit to M. A. Shea appeared in the July 28 issue of The Film Daily.
The August 8 issue of The Film Daily ran this announcement about Shea’s plans for the Weller Theatre:
“Zanesville, O. — M. A. Shea, lessee of the Weller, has retained Harry Holbrook, Columbus theatrical architect, to draft remodeling plans for the house, which will open with pictures and vaudeville early in September.”
The building appears to still have some of the gear with which that ornate Art Nouveau front of 1907 or 1908 was attached to the structure. Though the theater front is gone, that single window on the second floor also remains as a testament to the alterations the facade underwent when the theater was installed.
The earliest instance of the name Casino Theatre being used at Zanesville that I’ve found in trade publications is in the September 26, 1908, issue of The Billboard. Prior to that, Clyde Quimby is noted as the manager of a movie house called the Pictorium. I don’t know if Pictorium was an earlier name for the Casino or not. Interestingly, some earlier issues of the magazine from 1908 also list a Grand Theatre in operation at Zanesville. It was a movie house managed by J. G. Harlan.
A photo of the interior of the Casino Theatre appears in an ad for the Rudolph Wurlizer Comapny on this page of The Moving Picture World along with a letter from W.C. Quimby, dated September 11, 1911, praising the Wurlitzer PianOrchestra which he had recently installed in the house.
The building at this address looks quite old. The three-story front is shallow, and the lower building behind it does look as though it could have been the auditorium. I think the Grand Theatre’s building is still standing, though the theater has undoubtedly long since been dismantled.
The Bailey Theatre in Tallulah was part of a retail project called Bloom’s Arcade, built in 1930 by Abe and Mertie Bloom. The entire project, including the theater, was designed by Jackson, Mississippi, architect N. W. Overstreet. The operator of the house was Robert Lee Bailey, of Bunkie, Louisiana, who operated a regional chain of movie theaters.
By the late 1940s, the Bailey Theatres appear to have been taken over by the Southern Amusement Company. That company is listed as the operators on several projects for alterations to theaters designed by architect John M. Gabriel during the period 1947-1956. These projects appear on this partial list of Gabriel’s works. The Tallulah house was among them, but there’s no indication of how extensive the alterations were. Judging from the photo above, N. W. Overstreet’s 1930 facade, with its bits of oddly pre-Columbian decorative detail, remained intact.
R. L. Bailey’s Bailey Theatre at Bunkie, Louisiana, was mentioned in three issues of Motion Picture News, October through December, 1929. A history of Bloom’s Arcade in Tallulah, Louisiana, which also had a Bailey Theatre, says that Robert Lee Bailey Sr. operated a regional chain of movie theaters from his headquarters in Bunkie.
Quite a few of Mr. Bailey’s theaters, including the house at Bunkie, were altered over the years to plans by architect John M. Gabriel, noted on this partial list of his works. As near as I can determine, Gabriel’s office was in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The Opelousas Little Theatre web site makes no mention of the Delta Theatre. In fact the house, now called the Delta Grand Theatre, has its own web site. The correct address is 120 S. Market Street.
The web site includes a brief history section with an ad published at the time of the Delta’s reopening as a CinemaScope house in 1955. The ad says that the Delta originally opened on April 1, 1934.
Perhaps not, Stephen. A Delta Theatre at Opelousas was mentioned in the January 28, 1936, issue of The Film Daily. The January 7 issue mentioned a Harold Bailey as a recent visitor to film row in New Orleans. Though it didn’t give the name of his theater, I think we can guess what it was.
The Princess Theatre was mentioned in the January 6, 1917, issue of Motography, which said it was the only theater in Opelousas at that time, though in 1911 The Moving Picture World had mentioned a house called the Bon Ami Theatre there.
A house called the Rex Theatre was in operation at Opelousas in 1941 and 1951, the years in which alterations were planned for it by architect John M. Gabriel according to this partial list of his works. The Rex was a Southern Amusement Company house. Interestingly, Gabriel also designed alterations for the Delta Theatre a couple of times. He is already credited by Cinema Treasures with two theaters.
vtowntheaters: I think misinterpreted some of the references I came across, and this Bell Theatre might not have been a Cohn house after all. The Bell Theatre on Market Street that was destroyed in the fire was rebuilt as the American Theatre, and items about the American in The Billboard in 1908 say that it was managed by Abe Cohn, who was Gus Cohn’s brother. It could be that the Bell on Market Street was the only San Francisco house the Cohns operated, and they still ran it after it was rebuilt but didn’t use the name Bell Theatre any more.
The Bell Theatre in Oakland was last listed in the city directory in 1912, and I found a 1912 reference to Abe Cohn which said he was “…formerly of the American Theatre…”, so I think the Cohns might have left the theater business around 1912. The Oakland Bell was converted into a grocery store operated by members of the Cohn family.
Bird’s Eye view of the Concord Theatre area at Bing Maps is dated 2012 and shows the theater still standing, auditorium and all. The auditorium roof looks to be in pretty rough shape, though. If it doesn’t get some attention soon, this theater will deteriorate fast.
Linkrot repair: The February 22, 1947, Boxoffice item (with photo) about the Grove Theatre in Upland is now at this link.
Chuck, the Palace became the Alpine. See the Alpine page for the history, as far as I’ve been able to discover it.
This web page says that the Alpine Theatre was in a building at 6th and Charles Streets. There is a tiny photo in which the name on the marquee is recognizable, but not much else. It’s the only photo of the Alpine I’ve been able to find.
The May 3, 1935, issue of The Film Daily said:
“Wellsburg, W. Va. — The Palace
has been acquired by Urling and Anderson, circuit operators, with several houses in the upper Ohio Valley.”
The Film Daily of July 28, 1932, had said that the New Palace Theatre in Wellsburg had just been reopened by N. G. Anas after having been closed for two months for renovations costing $20,000. Nick Anas was operating a theater in Wellsburg at least as early as 1928, and it was probably this one.
A new theater called the Strand was opened in Wellsburg by W. G. Adams in 1920, as reported in the July 24 issue of FD. In 1916, Wellsburg had a movie house called the Majestic Theatre, which I found mentioned once in Motography. I’ve been unable to discover if either the Majestic or the Strand eventually became the Palace, or if the Palace was an entirely different theater.
The opening of the Alpine circuits new Star Theatre in Wellsburg was reported in the January 2, 1937, issue of The Film Daily. The specific date of the opening was not given, but it could have been in late 1936.
At least three times in 1936, the magazine reported on another theater project then underway in Wellsburg. The Mascolino brothers, local merchants, were planning to enter the theater business with a new house. On August 6, the Mascolino brothers said that their theater would be ready to open by Labor Day, but apparently it didn’t. I haven’t found any later mentions of their project.
It’s possible that the Mascolinos cut a deal with Anderson and Urling, and that the Alpine circuit took over their project, opening it as the Star. I’ve found Anderson and Urling’s intention to open a second house in Wellsburg mentioned only once in Film Daily. Their announcement might have been a feint to intimidate the Mascolinos.
Architect Jack Corgan’s plans for the Telenews Theatre in Dallas were featured in this article from Boxoffice of July 18, 1942.
Cumberland Valley: From Tuscarora to Chambersburg to Blue Ridge, by Ann Hull, says that the Rosedale Theatre was built on the site of the Rosedale Seminary for Young Girls, which was lost in a general conflagration that destroyed much of Chambersburg in 1964. The theater was originally called the Rosedale Opera House. It was demolished in 1961. There is a nocturnal photo of Main Street that looks to be from the 1940s with the vertical sign of the Rosedale Theatre prominently featured (Google Books preview.)
The Rosedale Theatre is listed in the 1908-1909 Cahn guide as a 1000-seat, second floor house. In 1920, the building was substantially rebuilt, moving the auditorium to the ground floor and increasing the seating capacity. This item appeared in the November 6 issue of The American Contractor:
“Chambersburg, Pa.—Theatre (M. P.): $30,000. 3 sty. 41-45 N. Main St. Archt. M. R. Rhoads, 518 Broad st. Owner Rosedale Theatre Co., Ralph Steel, pres., McKinley Hotel, 28 E. N. Main st. Gen. contr. let on cost plus basis to B. M. Shields, 241 Lincoln Way West. Plmg. to Edw. N. Wetz. 120 S. Main st. Elec. wiring to Chambersburg Elec. Service Co., Lurgan bldg., Lincoln Way West, all Chambersburg. Htg. to The American Heating Co., 1120 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. Wrecking.”
Also, 41-45 N. Main probably is the correct address for this theater. G G’s Hair Salon, just north of the parking lot where the theater used to stand, has the address 47 N. Main. A building still standing next to the parking lot on the south must have an address no lower than 31 N. Main, as the building south of it is clearly numbered 27 and 29, as can be seen in Street View.
A 1944 telephone directory gives the address of the Newville Theatre as 35 S. High Street.
The Moving Picture World ran this item in its issue of February 3, 1917:
“Charles Mahan, the enterprising manager of the Eagles theater, Bisbee, Arizona, is busily engaged in installing new equipment with which to open his attractive house.”
While searching for information about movie theaters in Bisbee, Arizona, I came across an articlea bout Morenci in the October, 1918, issue of Safety Engineering (Google Books scan.) It says that movies were then shown in a 450-seat public hall in the Morenci Club, a building erected and maintained by Phelps Dodge & Company, the corporation that dominated this copper mining town. Its possible that the club was the same building that later became the YMCA that thegrinch remarked about in the previous comment. There are interior and exterior photos.
The photo linked in earlier comments has gone missing again, but I found this one showing the Royal Theatre at lower right in a postcard from the 1950s.
I don’t think this theater has been demolished. A shop called Divine Teas and Novelties is adjacent to the 55 Main Gallery and Imports, and it has the address 51 Main Street. Unless addresses have been shifted, the Eagle Theatre must have been in the building that now houses the 55 Main Gallery, and the building looks to be late 19th century (Bisbee was founded in 1880.)
If you look on the side of the upper floor of the building in Street View you will see a ghost sign for the F.O.E.– the Fraternal Order of Eagles- who probably owned the building and gave the Eagle Theatre its name.
The Eagle, Lyric, and Central Theatres shared an ad in a 1926 business directory of Bisbee. They might all have been operated by the same company.
I don’t know why I forgot this, but the house the Alpine Circuit took over in Marlinton, West Virginia, might have been called the Seneca. It might still have been called the Seneca in 1936, though, so might not have been the house in the December 4, 1935, FD item about the town with no name attached.
The earliest mention of Anderson and Urling in connection with the theater in Kingwood and with the Alpine Theatre Corporation that I’ve found is in the January 18, 1935, issue of The Film Daily, so they must have taken over the house at the beginning of that year, and the corporation was probably formed in 1934. The house had already been renamed the Alpine by January, 1935.
Anderson also took over a house called the Salem Theatre at Salem, West Virginia, noted in the March 25 issue of FD. The Alpine Circuit took over and renamed the Strand Theatre at Wellsburg, WV, as noted in the March 30 issue. This was very rapid expansion, indeed. They must have been very well financed or very canny, or both.
Another explanation occurs to me: perhaps Cooper was the former operator of the Lyric, not the Seneca. A lot of items in the trade journals were hastily written, so the line with Cooper’s name might simply have been placed in the wrong part of the paragraph.
I’ve also found a few more references to Walter B. Urling, Anderson’s partner in the Alpine Circuit. In 1930, he was operating a house called the Rex Theatre at Steubenville, Ohio, where he was also building the New Rex, and he also had a house called the Columbia Theatre in East Liverpool, Ohio. That same year he bought a house called the Liberty Theatre in Midland, West Virginia.
In the late 1930s, Urling had his office in Wellsburg, West Virginia, where the Alpine Circuit operated two houses: the Alpine, which was probably an old theater renamed, and a new house called the Star Theatre, which opened in late 1936.
The name on the arch did end with an S, so that must have been it. I wonder if it was later renamed the Globe? We don’t have any theaters but the Stadium listed for the blocks of Third Avenue to either side of 119th Street.
There is a photo of the auditorium of the Flash Teahtre at the bottom of page 113 of the Arcadia Publishing company’s “Images of America” book Tonawanda and North Tonawanda (Google Books preview.) This was a good-sized theater, probably at least 500 seats, with some very nice decorative detailing. The caption says the house was built in 1914, and in later years was converted into a roller skating rink and then a bowling alley before becoming a church.
An article about the opening of the Flash Roller Rink, located in the former Flash Theatre building, appears in an issue of the North Tonawanda Evening News that I would guess is from 1929. The date on the scan is unreadable, but the page has an article commenting on Herbert Hoover’s inaugural address, so it was probably from March, 1929. It’s possible that the Flash Theatre closed in 1927, though. I haven’t found any ads for it after the early part of that year. The opening of the Riviera Theatre at North Tonawanda in late 1926 might have left the area with too many theaters.
The first State Theatre might have been renamed the Alpine Theatre after being taken over by the Alpine Circuit in 1936. The Alpine Theatre at Point Pleasant was mentioned in the February 17, 1937, issue of The Film Daily.