Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Center for Performing Arts on Sep 19, 2014 at 1:53 am

The Bektash Temple and Capitol Theatre were designed by Manchester architect Chase Roy Witcher. Motion Picture News of February 27, 1925, said that bids would soon be taken for the $250,000 project. Construction proceeded slowly. The Temple was dedicated in October, 1926, and the theater went into operation in early 1927.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:59 am

The NRHP Registration Form for the Hobart Downtown Historic District says that this house opened around 1930 as the Rialto Theatre. The timing, and the size of the building, suggest that it was this project noted in the April 10, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News:

“Bids were closed August 6 on the construction of a new theatre at Hobart, Okla., for the Griffith Amusement Co. of Oklahoma City. The plans call for a one story, basement, balcony and mezzanine. The building will be 50 by 150 feet. Harold Gimeno of Norman, Okla., is the architect.”
The Esquire building bears a very strong resemblance to the Sooner Theatre in Norman, also designed by Harold Gimeno.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cine 1 & 2 on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:27 am

The August 3, 1929, issue of Moving Picture News attributes the design of the State Theatre to the Boston architectural firm Hutchins & French. This weblog post at Cow Hampshire says that Hutchins & French are listed in John Eberson’s records, so there must have been some sort of collaboration. Possibly Hutchins & French acted as supervising architects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Surf Theatre on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

The July 27, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News had this news about the original name of this theater:

“Theatre Named After U’s ‘Show Boat’

“PHILADELPHIA, PA, July 25.— Hunt’s ‘Show Boat’ Theatre, Ocean City, N. J., erected by Camp & Co., of Philadelphia, in record time of 64 working days, is probably the first theatre in the country to be named for a picture. While Universal’s talking triumph did not open the new house, it will be an early attraction there. The ‘Show Boat’ is a 2000-seat house designed by Ritter and Shay, Philadelphia architects. It is equipped with De Forest Phonofilm.”

The partnership of architects Verus T. Ritter and Howell L. Shay was founded in 1920 and dissolved in 1936. The Show Boat is the only theater I’ve found listed among their projects.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm

A brief notice acknowledging the recent death of Baltimore architect E. J. Blanke in the July 6, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News credited the design of the Rialto Theatre in Washington to him.

A 1906 publication of the Maryland Institute of Mechanic Arts also spells the architect’s surname as Blanke. As he was a member of the faculty at that time, it is likely they got it right.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Davis Theatre on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:33 pm

The July 6, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News had this item about the new Publix house under construction in Montgomery:

“Publix Building 1500 Seat Theatre in Montgomery

“ACCORDING to plans prepared by McDonald & Company, architects and engineers, of Atlanta, the de luxe theatre which Publix Theatres Corporation is to build at Montgomery, Ala., will be one of the handsomest and most completely equipped houses of its kind in the South. The house will seat 1,500 and will be of stadium type. Steel, concrete and brick will be used in the construction, the exterior trim being in limestone. Light buff will be the color of the brick.

“Work already has started, the old buildings on the lot having been removed and excavating is now in progress. It is planned to have the theatre ready for opening about the first of the year. It will be located at the corner of Montgomery and Molton Streets and will represent an investment said to be approximately $275,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:23 pm

The July 6, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News said that the new State Theatre in Newark, Delaware, had been designed by Philadelphia architectural firm Hoffman & Hennon.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Center Theater on Sep 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm

The March 21, 1925, issue of The Reel Journal reported that W. Lee Vaughan of the Art Theatre, Kansas City, Kansas, had bought the New Center Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. The May 9 issue brought more news about the house:


“The New Center Theatre, Fifteenth and Troost, Kansas City has been remodeled and refurnished by J. D. Lynn and W. Lee Vaughan, new managers. A Wurlitzer Hope-Jones organ has been installed. The theatre seats 1,500.”

A letter from J. V. Lynn, manager of the New Center Theatre, was published in an ad for Arctic Nu-Air Systems in the August 14, 1926, issue of The Reel Journal. Mr. Lynn describes the New Center as having “…an unusually long auditorium and deep pocketed balcony….”

An unusual policy in place at the New Center Theatre is mentioned in the March 8, 1930, issue of The Film Daily:

“Talker Nickelodeon

“Kansas City — Talkers at nickelodeon prices have made their bow here in the New Center, 1,450-seat house owned by L. O. Gardner, who offers ‘Bargain Monday’ performances that are advertised as the biggest show in the U. S. for a nickel. On other nights the scale is 10 and 15 cents.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Central Theatre on Sep 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm

The April 11, 1925, issue of The Reel Journal noted the progress of construction on the New Central Theatre in Kansas City:


“The New Central Theatre, which is under construction at Thirty-first street and Indiana avenue, Kansas City, rapidly is nearing completion and is expected to open on Easter. The theatre, a suburban house which, represents an investment of $70,000, is being erected by T. H. Brougham and will be managed by Jack Tiller, formerly of McCook Nebr. The theatre will seat 900 persons.”

The May 2nd issue said that the New Central had opened that week. Then the May 23rd issue ran this item:
“Hardly had the new Central Theatre, a suburban house of Kansas City, opened its doors the other day until the sale of the house was announced. The theatre was purchased by Gregg & Crandall from Jack Tiller of McCook, Neb., for $12,000.”
$12,000 for a brand new $70,000 theater would have been quite a bargain, so I suspect that Gregg & Crandall also had to assume a substantial outstanding debt on the house as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Oxnard Opera House on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm

A photo of the boxoffice and vestibule of the Oxnard Opera House, dated 1920. It does indeed look very much like an unsanitary firetrap.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Agate Theatre on Sep 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm

External trusses are rare in any type of construction (other than bridges, of course, where they must be external.) I have never seen a theater built that way, though I recall having seen in an architectural journal photos of a large factory with its roof suspended from exposed trusses. I can’t recall how long ago it was, but I think it was in the 1970s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Benton Theatre on Sep 17, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Mattr833: There was once an Auditorium Theatre in Kansas City, but it was built long before 1911. It was originally called the Warder Grand Opera House and was at the northeast corner of 9th and Holmes. As far as I know there were no other theaters called the Auditorium in Kansas City.

The cornerstone was probably used as fill when the road it was under was built or improved. Rock fill might have been trucked to the site from anywhere around the region, including any of the small cities and towns on either the Missouri or the Kansas side of the border. The cornerstone might have come from a municipal auditorium in one of them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Sep 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Ron, the first Strand is listed at Cinema Treasures under its later name, the Gem Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Agate Theatre on Sep 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm

The Agate Theatre has not been demolished, but the building has been drastically altered. It is actually down the block from the karate studio, close to the corner of 23rd Street. It is occupied by Precision Grind Coffee House (2223 Franklin East) and the Mezzanine Salon (2225 Franklin East.) The back of the former auditorium (or possibly a stage house) is occupied by Boneshaker Books, which has a 23rd Street address.

If you look at the side of the building from 23rd Street you can see that part of the original roof has been removed to lower the ceiling, but that the steel trusses that once supported it are still in place as part of the design. The walls are still standing, but the one facing 23rd Street has been fenestrated, and an addition has been built for what looks to be an apartment or an office above the book store, with a third-floor terrace supported on a couple of the old trusses.

There’s a third floor addition at the front of the building too, but the facade has what are probably some original features, including a cornice with central vault and some very nice tapestry brick work. Though the theater has been lost, the building is a creative example of adaptive renovation for a new use.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mark Twain Theatre on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Oops. We have an address discrepancy. The Strand building in the photos I linked to, occupied by T&J’s Appliance shop, is at 115 Main Street. I wonder if the Strand could have operated at two different locations?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mark Twain Theatre on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm

An article in the July 27, 1916, issue of the Perry Enterprise said that the Strand Theatre had opened on the previous Thursday, which would have been the 20th. The house had 350 seats on the main floor and a small balcony with 30 seats, and there was a small stage 14 x 25 feet.

The Strand was sold to Fred M. Rich in early 1923, and a few months later suffered a fire that was reported in the September 1 issue of Exhibitors Herald:

“Fred M. Rich, owner of the Strand theatre, Perry, Mo., reports that his show house caught fire on July 21 and although a near panic insued [sic] no one was seriously injured. The theatre was seriously damaged.”
Here is a photoof the Strand building, and this closeup shows the tile with the theater’s name on the floor at the entrance.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hilan Theatre on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I’m glad you dug up that accurate information, Ron. I was about to link to a web page that mistakenly says that the Fox was the Hilan with a new name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garden Theatre on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm

This web page says that the Garden Theatre was on the site now occupied by a fast food emporium called Pal’s. Pal’s is at 1316 Lynn Garden Drive, Kingsport, TN 37665, so that’s probably near enough for the vanished theater’s address.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Terrace Theatres on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:04 pm

The Terrace Theatre was opened on April 1, 1971, by ABC Southeastern Theatres as a single-screen Ultra-Vision house with 613 seats. The architect of the Terrace, William B. McGehee, was among those attending the opening according to the article in the April 2 issue of the Kingsport News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Martin Twin Theatre on Sep 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm

The June 24, 1971, issue of the Kingsport News said that the new Martin Theatre would open that night.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Garden Theatre on Sep 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm

The November 5, 1945, issue of The Kingsport News said that fire had destroyed the Garden Theatre, which was located on Gate City Highway about two miles north of Kingsport. I believe the area has since been annexed to Kingsport, and Gate City Highway is now called Lynn Garden Drive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gaiety Theatre on Sep 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

The only mentions of the Queen Theatre I’ve been able to find in old publications are from 1917. This line from the May 31, 1917, issue of The Kingsport Times is interesting: “Kingsport has three up-to-date theatres, the Strand, the Queen and the Cherokee. All offer attractive pictures nightly.”

The name Gaiety Theatre shows up in the Times from 1919 to 1924. A July 1, 1925, item mentions someone’s intention to reopen the Gaiety, but there are no later instances of its name in the paper so the project probably failed.

The only instances of Broadway Theatre I’ve found in the Times are generic uses pertaining to New York City’s theater district. If this house was ever known as the Broadway Theatre it must have been but briefly.

As near as I can discover, this house last operated as the Gaiety Theatre, and was closed by 1925.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Sep 16, 2014 at 4:09 pm

The Rialto was in operation by 1921, when a candy store called the Palace of Sweets advertised in the July 11 issue of The Kingsport Times that it was located on Cherokee Street opposite the Rialto Theatre.

An article in the August 22, 1937, issue of The Kingsport Times said that the Rialto had just been purchased by the Nu-Strand Theatre company, who had been operating the house under a lease for ten years. The new owners planned to expand and remodel the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Sep 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

The Nu-Strand Theatre of 1925 was designed by New York architect C. K. Howell, according to the March 29 issue of The Kingsport Times.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hilan Theatre on Sep 16, 2014 at 2:57 pm

The Hilan Theatre was scheduled to open on Friday, April 17, according to the April 15, 1936, issue of The Kingsport Times. Kingsport’s first neighborhood theater was in a remodeled commercial building in the Highland Park district.

The paper gave the location of the theater as “Bristol Highway, next to Highland Garden.” Bristol Highway was the former name of was what is now E. Center Street. There’s no Highland Garden today, but maybe it was what is now Highland Indian Park, which would put the Hilan very near the later Fox Theatre, but I haven’t been able to confirm this. The Hilan Theatre might not have lasted very long, as nobody seems to remember it.

The Hilan was owned by the Taylor Brothers, as was the Fox, which opened in 1940. There’s some possibility that they were the same theater, but even if they weren’t it’s possible that the Taylors shut the Hilan down when the Fox opened. I haven’t found the Hilan mentioned in the newspaper later than 1939.