Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Old Liberty Theater on Feb 23, 2016 at 7:23 pm

This item about a Ridgefield Theatre in Washington is from the June 14, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Ridgfield Theatre Opens.

“Steve LeRouge held a grand opening for the Ridgfield Theatre, Wash., May 24. This is the fourth theatre on the LeRouge circuit and seats 300. W. A. Stone, of the Service Film Company, installed two new Motiographs in the theatre.”

I’ve come across references from the 1920s of a Steve Le Rouge who was manager of a camp at Battle Ground Lake, about 18 miles north of Vancouver, Washington, which is very near Ridgefield, so it’s probably the same Steve LeRouge who ran the theater. The Liberty’s building has a stair-step parapet, and the brick of the walls is imprecise, both of which are characteristic of buildings from the 1910s but not usually of those from 1946, so I have to wonder if perhaps Liberty was just a new name for the old theater that opened in 1919.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Franklin Theatre on Feb 23, 2016 at 6:31 pm

The Franklin Theatre was extensively remodeled in 1919, as noted in this item from the June 14 issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Franklin Will Be Improved.

“David Morris, of the Franklin Theatre, Third and Fitzwater streets, will make several improvements to his theatre during the summer months. One of the main features will be the remodeling of the front of the building and installing a new and handsome box-office. On the interior he will remove the balcony and increase his seating capacity and standing room space. Improved ventilation will be arranged for in addition to a new lighting system. When completed, the theatre will be one of the handsomest in the city.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Actors Guild Playhouse on Feb 23, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Here’s the article announcing the intention of the Smoot Amusement Company to build the Lincoln Theatre, from The Moving Picture World of June 7, 1919:

“Smoots Add Third Theatre to Chain in Parkersburg

“THE SMOOT AMUSEMENT COMPANY, now controlling the Camden and Auditorium Theatres in Parkersburg, West Virginia, will add another house to its string in the same city. The addition is the Lincoln, a new house which will go up on the corner of Market and Eighth streets on the site of the Sycamore Place.

“The owners of the Smoot Amusement Company are Fayette C. Smoot, Charles S. Smoot and Frank J. Hassett. The concern is one of the livest organizations not only in the city but also in the surrounding district. The Parkersburg News, in its story on the new theatre, says: ‘The News wishes to take this occasion to commend the promoters of this new enterprise for their go-ahead policy and their confidence in Parkersburg’s future. It takes nerve and resource to take such steps, and fortunately for Parkersburg these men are equipped with these qualities. They do things.’

“The new Lincoln will seat 1,000 and will cost $90,000. It will embrace every modern item in construction, decoration and equipment and will provide an artistic asset to the city. Fred W. Elliott of Columbus, Ohio, is the architect, while the contract for the structure has been awarded to R. L. Brown, a local builder.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gaylynn Theater on Feb 22, 2016 at 10:51 pm

According to the May 13, 1965, issue of The La Marque Times, the Sharpstown Theatre was scheduled to open on May 27.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Golden Tri Cinema on Feb 22, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Records of a court case involving Julius Gordon’s Jefferson Amusement Company in the 1950s said that the Port Theatre in Port Arthur opened on June 6, 1940. It was most likely designed by Leon C. Kyburz, as at this time he was working as Jefferson’s in-house architect, designing all their projects.

Judging from Google street view the entire block of Ninth Avenue on which the theater was located has been redeveloped with a modern project. The theater has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lynn Theater on Feb 22, 2016 at 10:19 pm

This web page has a photo of the steel framework of the Lynn Theatre under construction, dated 1939. The text also notes that the house was designed by architect L. C. Kyburz.

Two more construction photos can be seen here, and here. The Lynn was built for East Texas Theatres, a subsidiary of the Jefferson Amusement Company, 50% of which was in turn owned by Paramount Pictures. L. C. Kyburz was for many years Jefferson’s in-house architect.

An oral history from long-time Lufkin resident Bettie Kennedy says that the Lynn Theatre was located in the 100 block of what is now called Frank Avenue, across the street from the older Texan Theatre. The Texan’s building is still standing, but the Lynn was demolished to make way for a jail.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texan Theater on Feb 22, 2016 at 10:12 pm

The Texan Theatre building appears to be still standing on Frank Avenue, its front covered in weathered, vertical wood siding of the sort that was fashionable for a while in the 1970s. Across the street from the Texas building is a jail, and a mural on the wall facing the street includes a view of the Texas Theatre as it once looked. The jail itself is built partly on the site of another Lufkin movie house, the Lynn Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Windsor Cinerama Theater on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm

A history of Marek Brothers, one of the construction companies that worked on the Windsor Theatre, notes that the house was designed by Beaumont, Texas architect L. C. Kyburz. Kyburz had been designing theaters for the Jefferson Amusement Company since at least the late 1930s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bengal Theatre on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:28 pm

The December 23, 1940, issue of The Orange Leader said that the Bengal Theatre would open on Christmas Day. The Bengal was operated by Julius Gordon’s Jefferson Amusement Company, which also operated the Strand and the Gem. According to a lawsuit in 1952, Jefferson had taken over the house in 1937 when it was called the American Theatre. The remodeling project had been designed by L. C. Kyburz, Jefferson’s in-house architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm

Julius Gordon’s Jefferson Amusement Company (50% of which was owned by Paramount Pictures through their subsidiary the Saenger Amusement company) had the Strand Theatre extensively remodeled in 1942, as was noted in a special section of the May 12 issue of The Orange Leader (online here.) The reopening was to take place on May 13. The architect for the project was L. C. Kyburz.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Club Theatre on Feb 22, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Here are a couple of relevant posts (with illustrations) from the web site Historic Joplin:

The New Club Theater

The Club Theater

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Leal Theatre on Feb 21, 2016 at 10:28 pm

RangerRobert: The address of the upstairs is 3909 Washington, and it still contains office suites. Google the address to see listings for some of the tenants.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 21, 2016 at 9:08 pm

A notice that J. A. Getchell and B. F. Elbert had leased the Bijou Theatre, a vaudeville house, from Fred Buchanan and would remodel and reopen it as a movie house called the Nickeldom appeared in the May 1, 1906, issue of The Des Moines Register.

A reminiscence by Mr. Adrian D. Sharpe in the September-October issue of Bandwagon, the journal of the Circus Historical Society, recalls that in Des Moines, in October, 1905, he met “…Mr. Buchanan, who operated the Bijou Theatre, a small store room picture house playing some vaudeville….”

The Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines web site (kencmcintyre’s link of July 9, 2007) says that the house was renamed the Unique Theatre in 1908.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Point Theatre on Feb 21, 2016 at 2:46 am

A while back an E-bay seller offered a postcard that was an invitation to the Whitney Point High School Alumni Banquet, held at the Opera House on June 23, 1905. I don’t know when the building that later housed the Point Theatre was built, but if it was the same one that was there in 1905 then, to accommodate banquets, the Opera House must have been one of those multi-purpose halls with a flat floor. It might later have been remodeled with a raked floor when it became a full-time movie house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Feb 19, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Palm Theatre was an earlier name for the Rialto itself. The Palm was listed at 405 E. Erie Street in The American Motion Picture Directory published in 1915. The Palm opened on February 6, 1911, according to the February 10 issue of The Des Moines Register.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cinema Theater on Feb 19, 2016 at 1:34 pm

kencmcintyre’s link is dead, and I don’t recall what was on it, but it might have been to this page of the City of Urbana’s web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gloria Theatre on Feb 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

GrandWorks Foundation has brought the name Gloria Theatre back to this house. A renovation project is ongoing. The venue is to be operated as a “…multi-purpose entertainment, business and community center….” Here is their web site.

The December 23, 1968, issue of Boxoffice has a brief notice about the two-screen Urbana Cinema, slated to be opened by Chakeres Theatres on Christmas Day. The opening would also mark the 27th anniversary of the opening of the house as the Gloria Theatre, on Christmas Day 1941.

An earlier Boxoffice item, from July 11, 1966, said that Chakeres Theatres had bought the Gloria, which the chain had operated under a lease for the previous twenty-five years, from Warren Grimes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Feb 17, 2016 at 9:13 pm

The Improvement Bulletin of September 12, 1903, said that T. R. North was having plans prepared for an opera house at Adel, Iowa, by the Des Moines architectural firm of Liebbe, Nourse & Rasmussen.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Time Theatre on Feb 17, 2016 at 9:05 pm

The Time Theatre is also listed in the 1956 FDY. It apparently opened around 1946. The house was to be remodeled and CinemaScope equipment installed, according to an item in the June 18, 1955, issue of Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theater on Feb 17, 2016 at 8:25 pm

127 N.Main Street is undoubtedly the correct address for the Ritz Theatre. The modern Eagles lodge building, which chippy1960 said (on January 9, 2012) was next door is at 129 N. Main. The quoins above the ground floor cornice of the old Eagles building, on the other side of the theater, which can be seen in the vintage photo, are still visible in the current Google Street View.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Weed Palace Theater on Feb 17, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Thanks for the tip about the fire, kevinfglover. I found a report about a fire at the New Weed Theatre the August 25, 1932, edition of the Medford Mail Tribune of Medford, Oregon. The item said that the house, which had been in operation only nine months, had been destroyed by a fire following an explosion early the previous morning. Walter B. Leverette, of the Cordilleran Theatre Circuit, owners of the house, said that the theater would be rebuilt with concrete construction. The burned house had been in a wood framed building.

This was probably operated by Robert Lippert later, before being taken over by the Naify family. In 1947, Lippert bought the Leverette Interstate Theatres, a nine-house chain. I don’t know for certain if the New Weed was still under Leverette’s control at that time, but it most likely was, as it had been part of his chain at least as late as March, 1945.

The news that the New Weed had been in operation nine months when destroyed by the 1932 fire means that it might not have been the original Weed Theatre that had operated in the 1920s. While it’s possible that the original house had merely been closed for a time and then renovated and reopened by Leverette in late 1931, but it could also have been in a different building. Either way, the original Weed Theatre was not in this building, newly constructed in (probably) 1932 or 1933 after the fire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theater on Feb 17, 2016 at 4:26 am

Ralph Sedgwick Silsbee established his practice in Elyria in 1904. Alfred Smith became a partner in the 1920s. The firm continued until Silsbee’s retirement in 1951. Silsbee was the son of Joseph Lyman Silsbee, a noted Chicago architect, who is now usually remembered as Frank Lloyd Wright’s first employer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Odeon Theatre on Feb 16, 2016 at 8:34 pm

The September 17, 1892, issue of The New York Clipper had an announcement saying that the Odeon Theatre in Marshalltown, Iowa, had been leased for a term of years by its manager, Archie Cox. I haven’t yet been able to discover how long the house had been in operation at that time. The 1899-1900 Cahn guide lists the Odeon Theatre in Marshalltown as a ground floor house with 1,200 seats.

The Odeon is mentioned frequently in theatrical trade papers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Marshalltown appears to have been a good theater town, hosting any number of road shows and concerts, with the Odeon the principal venue for them. This continued for decades, even after the house had turned to movies as its primary fare. It was one of the stops on the Denishawn Dance Company’s 1922-23 tour.

The Odeon was hosting live shows at least into the 1930s, and starting in 1932, the Odeon hosted plays by a newly established local company of actors, the Marshalltown Community Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Grand Theatre on Feb 16, 2016 at 8:31 pm

On a comprehensive list of movie theaters in the United States that was published in the December 19, 1908, issue of The Billboard, the Little Grand Theatre in Madison, Indiana, was listed at 107 E. Main Street. At 105 E.Main Street (now the address of the Little Grand’s successor theater, the Ohio) was a house called the Nickeltra Theatre.

The August 17, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World said that “[t]he Little Grand, Madison, Ind., has the white brick front about completed.” I suspect that it was either with this 1915 remodeling, or earlier, the Little Grand and Nickeltra Theatres were thrown together into one house called the Little Grand. The businesses adjacent to the Ohio in Google Street View are Harriette’s Knit Knook, at 103 Main, and Blue Wolf Vape, at 109 Main, so the footprint of the Ohio Theatre probably covers both of the theaters that were in operation in 1908.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Feb 15, 2016 at 10:50 pm

I had notes for the sixth (and final) Music Box Theatre in Portland and intended to submit it ages ago, but must have overlooked it. Now the notes have gone missing. What I can gather quickly is that it was built into an existing building, its formal opening was on January 20, 1960, with 628 seats (later reduced to 611, probably to fulfill ADA requirements,) it was equipped with DP70 projectors, it closed before 1991, and was demolished in 1997, along with the rest of the block, for the Fox Tower project.