Showing 176 - 200 of 374 comments found
Old Avalon Theater is up for bids
(The Capital, April 18, 1992)
EASTON (AP) – An historic theater that featured vaudeville acts, silent movies and world premieres is being auctioned off next week because a non-profit group failed to meet its mortgage.
“The town never intended to own and operate a theater,” said Robert Karge, town clerk and court-appointed receiver for the theater.
Built in 1921, the Avalon Theater held several world premieres, including “The First Kiss,” starring Gary Cooper and Fay Wray in 1928.
The art deco theater closed in 1985. Following $1 million in renovations financed by Easton and the state, the town sold the Avalon in 1989 to the Mid-Shore Center for the Performing Arts for $738,000. Easton also co-signed on a line of credit and appropriated additional money to help the group. Mid-Shore attracted top shows, ranging from a Phil Donahue taping to chamber music and Motown revues.
But it failed to pay its bills. The group asked the Town Council to take over in November and the theater closed Dec. 2. The council foreclosed on the theater in March. Easton officials want to recoup the more than $800,000 in unpaid mortgage, interest and late charges the town has tied up in the facility. If there are no bids, the town could be forced to keep the theater and operate it. Town Council resident Eugene H. Price said “It’s a very, very nice facility, but how to make it self-sufficient, I don’t have a magical answer for that,” he said. “But there is strong interest in getting the doors open."
A group of downtown businessmen recently organized as the Friends of the Avalon and approached the Town Council with bookings for the theater. The council, however, rejected the shows, preferring to keep the theater closed until after the auction.
It appears the CROWN’s last program of “The Little Kidnappers” and “War Arrow” opened on Friday, April 22, 1955.
(Racine Journal-Times, October 14, 1964)
Convert Old Crown Theater into Stores, Apartments
Property at 907-911 16th St., including the Crown theater, closed and vacant for more than 10 years, is being remodeled into apartments and office space.
Remodeling is underway on the theater area, offices and two apartments. Frank Eby, owner of Eby Drug Co., 1600 Center St., who bought the property in June is seeking a change of zoning on the property to enable him to construct an additional apartment. Eby said the theater will be cut in half and that he will move his drugstore operation into one of the halves. The move will triple his space to about 3,600 square feet, he said. He has 1,400 square feet in his present location. Eby said the Grace Meany Corset Shop, presently located at 823 16th St., plans to occupy the other half of the theater. He added that he is not sure how much additional office space will be constructed. Eby said he hopes to have the remodeling completed by sometime next spring.
(January 9, 1939: Appleton Post-Crescent)
Pleads Guilty of $433 Theft From Safe at Theater -
Young Man Jailed to Await Sentence
Menasha â€" Willard Allen, 20, 418 Water street, Menasha, waived preliminary examination this morning and pleaded guilty of grand larceny and breaking and entering in the daytime when he was arraigned before Judge S. J. Luchsinger in municipal court at Oshkosh.
His sentence was taken under advisement by the court until 10 o'clock Friday morning. He was committed to the county jail to await the court’s decision.
Allen confessed stealing $433.34 from the safe of the Brin theater at 5:15 Saturday afternoon after Menasha police found the stolen
money in a small rag-covered box behind his home. He was arrested
on suspicion by Police Chief Alex Slomski but refused to admit the
burglary until he was convinced police had found the money.
Allen, a former theater employe, told police he unlocked the front door of the theater with a key he had retained after he was discharged a week ago. Truman Schroeder, theater doorman said he still was in the building when Allen entered but Allen hid in the washroom until he left, police said. He then opened the safe and took the money, he told police.
A week ago Allen and a friend planned a trip to Iowa and at that
time he told his friends he would have the money for the trip by Saturday, police said they were told. All but $14 was recovered.
(June 19, 1925) Plans were announced for construction of a new theatre in the 1600 block on Douglas Ave. Backing the project
were Walter Krusienski, Steven Dorece and Louis F. Rossa.
I toured the PEOPLES Theatre (and coincidentally the nearby COLONY Theatre) in the 1980s with an organized tour group. There had been some changes to the lobby some decades past but the auditorium was mostly intact. On Monday, January 13, 2003 the Chicago Tribune did a series titled “Research and Destroy – A Squandered Heritage, Part 1: The Threat to Neighborhoods” by Blair Kamin and Patrick T. Reardon where a huge color photo of the under-demolition PEOPLES made the article’s point very clearly. Part of the article read “Go to the former sites of buildings that served as icons of neighborhood commercial districts — the Woodfield and Old Orchard shopping centers of their day.
Among them: a 1920s Back of the Yards movie house designed by Rapp & Rapp, the architects of the Chicago Theatre, at 1616-24 W. 47th St. Called the Peoples Theater and distinctive for its Art Moderne and Classical details, it was a smaller version of the more elaborate downtown movie palace, featuring a whimsical, triple-arched facade that formed a gateway to the fantasy world inside. It was destroyed in 2001. A Walgreens is rising on the site."
Park Theatre Is Closing at Meadville
MEADVILLE, March 25, 1958 â€" The Park Theatre, Meadville’s largest motion picture theater, will ring down the curtain this Sunday after the more than 35 years it has entertained audiences with movies. The First National Bank of Meadville has taken a 50-year lease and will move into that building, at 254 Chestnut St., as soon as the theater is converted into a bank.
The bank, in turn, has been purchased by the Mack Realty Co. for the G. C. Murphy Co., which will raze the present bank building at Chestnut and Market streets for expansion of the Murphy department store.
The Park Theatre was built in 1922, when movies were the rage, despite the fact that they had no sound. The theater has a seating capacity of 1,500.
Another motion picture theater in Meadville closed its doors several years ago. Now, only one, the Academy Theater, which seats 800 persons, will remain.
The Associated Contractors of Conneaut Lake will convert the theater into a bank. The present bank building will be torn down to make way for an enlarged G. C. Murphy store. The department store, which is now L-shaped, has entrances on both Chestnut and Market streets. When the bank building is razed, it will enable the Murphy Co. to extend its store to the corner. The Murphy Co. has been in Meadville since 1912. A real estate firm, two dentists and Meadville radio station WMGW, all of which have offices in the bank building, will have to find other quarters, but they will not have to leave before next fall. Announcement of the bank’s plans was made today by Edwin H. Seep, president of the bank. The theater is owned by the Park Theatre Corp., of which firm Dr. Harry C. Winslow is president.
DELPHOS THEATRE NOT INVOLVED IN SUIT FILED (January 6, 1933)
A suit filed in Allen county common pleas court by the R. C. A. Phototone company against Ellsworth mentioned in the Herald Thursday, has no connection with the Capitol Theatre in Delphos, or its owner, F. H. Staup.
The suit concerns R. C. A. Phototone equipment purchased for the
Wauseon theatre which was later sold by Ellsworth and Paul Staup
with the understanding that the purchasers would assume the deferred
obligations, which they have failed to do. The suit has no connection
with the local theatre.
Brothers Guilty at Kenosha, Says Jury
March 30, 1929 â€"(AP)â€"
David Dotz, 25, former Rookie policeman and his brother, Alex, 21,
former nightwatchman, were found guilty of being accessories to the
burglary of the Kenosha theater last December by a jury in circuit court here late Friday. The jury deliberated four and a half hours.
The two will not be sentenced until after the trials of Angelo
Tarello, accused of the robbery and James Martin, also accused of being involved in it. These are set for April 22. The penalty for the charge against the brothers is not less than 15 years nor no more than 40 years in the state penitentiary.
Avalon Theatreâ€™s future uncertain
(Bay View Compass, April 1, 2010)
The Avalon Theatre may be sold to another owner or operator, according to 14th District Alderman Tony Zielinski, who said heâ€™s still working to get a movie theater open somewhere on Kinnickinnic Avenue.
â€œWeâ€™ve been trying to set up to expedite a sale to another individual to open up the deal, or a lease, or a lease with option to purchase, or something, so we can get something going. And right now, if weâ€™re not able to work out a deal on the Avalon, and it doesnâ€™t look like anythingâ€™s going to happen with the Avalon, then weâ€™re looking at a fallback position to get something else open on KK,â€ Zielinski said.
In March, Zielinski said heâ€™d met with Avalon owner Lee Barczak three times in the past four months, reiterating his support for a tax incremental finance district to help with Avalon redevelopment. In 2005, Zielinski supported a $75,000 grant to help offset Avalon renovation costs.
Zielinski did not identify the individual to whom heâ€™s looking to expedite a sale, but said the person has â€œplenty of experienceâ€ in Milwaukee. â€œThis is somebody else thatâ€™s operated theaters before.â€
Barczak bought the Depression-era atmospheric movie palace at 2469-83 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. from Craig Ellsworth, who then built Carleton Grange Pub in St. Francis. Over the past five years, Barczak made public several modified plans to renovate and reopen the Avalon. But when those plans didnâ€™t appear to move forward, he said they were prevented because he could not secure sufficient financing in a tight credit environment.
According to city assessment data, the Avalon property has over $62,000 in unpaid property taxes and penalties for 2008 and 2009. The property is assessed at just over $1.1 million.
Zielinski offered no timeline.
â€œItâ€™s up to these individuals. I know this person Iâ€™m dealing with, heâ€™s very interested in it, as I am,â€ Zielinski said. â€œBut we want to exhaust all possibilities with the Avalon first, because thatâ€™s, obviously, the best place to have the theater.â€
Barczak declined a request for interview in February, saying by email only that he was working on several possibilities.
(Suburbanite Economist, April 7, 1965)
Welcome to the Fight
We are glad to see a group of North Austin citizens interesting themselves in the empty, eyesore Symphony theater building that has disgraced the appearance of Chicago ave. for too many years.
Over the years this newspaper, virtually alone, has kept tabs on this building, calling attention to whatever problems existed and urging the city to enforce the building code to have them corrected, and encouraging various plans announced to put the building to a constructive use that would benefit both the owner and the community.
Now city inspectors have reported that the building is more than 50 per cent deteriorated, which means the court could order it demolished.
The Symphony’s owner has taken exception to the campaign started by the Austin News. He contends that his structure represents a sizable investment, is not a neighborhood nuisance and that he is endeavoring to rent it.
The citizens group is compiling evidence on the nuisance charge. We submit that because its appearance makes it stand out like a sore thumb, a derelict theater is of more community concern than the ordinary store or office building. Theater architecture is an advantage to the theater owner when business is good, but it is also an extra burden he must bear when times are bad. Fifteen years appear to be ample time for the owner to do something with the building.
The Symphony is not the only theater building in this condition on the West-Northwest Side or in the city at large crying for attention. Wherever they exist, these buildings cast a pall on the area surrounding them.
(Tuesday, July 11, 1961)
Welterweight Fight Held In Abandoned Theater in Chicago
CHICAGO: The fight game and the movie house – a couple of businesses which have been declining since the advent of television â€" got together Monday night and came up with a successful showing.
Using the facilities of the recently shut-down Vogue Theater, promoter Joe Kellman’s boxing card, featuring former welterweight champion Virgil Akins, drew a paid crowd of 1,003 with a net gate of $2,750.
Before the show started an accordionist played old favorites in the plush-carpeted lobby. Of course, the candy counter was open and the popcorn machine was popping away.
Inside the air-conditioned theater, the carpeting was taken up because no-smoking rules don’t mean a thing to most fight fans. The ring was set on the stage and to the left and right of the ring were several rows of choice seats. The house was scaled at $5, $3 and $2. The balcony proved the most popular spot because roost of the seats were $2.
The ring announcer needed no microphone. The acoustics were tops. Next to each fighter’s stool was a funnel-like contraption for spitting. It resembled a waterflushed cuspidor found next to a dental chair.
Oh, yes, the fight. It wasn’t much. Cecil Shorts, a 22-year-old from Cleveland, was decked in the eighth by Akins, the veteran At 67 was Jerry Thomas, 29, from St. Louis.
Will promoter Kellman have another show July 24 as scheduled? –“We’ll have to count the popcorn receipts and then decide,” he laughed.
A closeup of the 1947 RIALTO marquee is seen in the David O. Selznick production of “Portrait of Jennie”, and the Rialto is referenced in the plot.
Hammerstein’s Victoria figures prominently in the plot of David O. Selznick’s “Portrait of Jennie” and is referenced repeatedly there.
(Janesville WI Gazette, February 19, 1957)
Body of Man Found in Abandoned Theater
CHICAGO IL â€" A plumber summoned to clear a stopped-up catch basin in an abandoned movie house Monday found the body of a man wedged in a pump duct. The body of a small man clad only in shorts was not identified immediately . Chief of Detectives Patrick Deeley said the victim appeared to have been dead several weeks. Jack J. Manzella, 60, a plumber, found the body in the basement sump of the Holly Theater which closed Jan. 1. The cause of death was not apparent, Derley said.
(Racine Journal Times, March 19, 1954)
Theater Project Deemed Hopeful
First reports from sub-committee studying the possibility of using the Mainstreet Theater as a community theater indicate there is hope for success of the project, according to Paul Lange, temporary chairman of the newly-organized Mainstreet Theater Association.
Mrs. Atlee H. Bratley, head of the survey committee which is attempting to determine the need for a community theater in Racine, said her committee had polled 130 parent organizations and 60 branch organizations. Of these, she said 95 per cent pledged support to reopening the theater building for use of local groups. She said 15,000 persons are represented by the organizations. The poll indicated 50 per cent of the organizations would have made use of the Mainstreet Theater since its closing had it been available, and that 23 of the polled organizations had used the building’s facilities in the past.
Used 91 Times.
Mrs. Bratley said the theater had been used by outside Racine organizations a total of 91 times during its last year of operation. She added that her survey showed that interested organizations estimated they would have use for a communlty theater at least 115 nights out of the year. Reports of a committee investigating
the physical soundness of the building and the cost of operating it as a community theater are expected in the near future, Lange said.
William Allen, engineer with the J. I. Case Co., who heads the committee, said theater specialists would be contacted in an effort to determine the cost of reconverting the building.
(Chicago Tribune, March 12, 2008:)
The heyday of the Olympic Theatre in Cicero was so long ago that “Gone With the Wind” was a new release.
But after years of being dark, the 3,000 light bulbs in the old marquee are shining brightly once again. The theater, in an 81-year-old building on 6134 W. Cermak Rd., reopened Saturday with both Las Vegas-type flair — dancers and a comedy act — and a twist of local fare — a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a mariachi band.
Albert Pontrelli, a former owner whose sons now own the building, said the Cicero landmark will appeal to theater lovers and blue-collar workers alike.
“Early theaters were designed so the average working man or woman felt like they were in a palace,” said the 72-year-old. “Visitors should still get that feeling today when they walk into a theater.”
The grand reopening brought back some childhood memories for John Kroll, 56, of Clarendon Hills, who recalls visiting the old movie house with his father to watch John Wayne films.
“It’s beautiful, just like I remembered,” said Kroll, among hundreds on Saturday admiring the theater’s domed ceiling and gold leaf designs on the walls. “This place is an architectural treasure with so much history and nostalgia.”
Albert and Joann Pontrelli of Oak Brook bought the building more than 25 years ago, and since then several groups have unsuccessfully tried to run a theater there. Most recently, it was known as the Concordia and hosted mostly Latino-oriented shows.
It closed in 2005 and sat vacant for a couple of years before the Pontrellis' sons, Jim and Ralph, decided to give it another try. They bought the theater from their parents eight months ago and will use it exclusively for live performances.
The first thing the brothers did was to return the original name. Ralph Pontrelli, who owns an advertising company in Cicero, restored the outdoor marquee, which included installing 3,000 light bulbs for the sign. Although it took several months, “it was nice to see the Olympic sign light up again,” said the Lemont resident, 39.
Jim Pontrelli, 31, of La Grange, an attorney with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, encouraged the grand opening audience to walk around and compare the theater with a 1930s photo printed in the evening’s program. “It looks almost identical,” he said.
The brothers said the marble-facade Olympic building opened in 1927 as a Czech athletic club and housed a gym, swimming pool and large ballroom.
In 1939, the ballroom was converted into a movie theater, showing silver screen hits like “Gone With the Wind” and “Casablanca” over the years.
In the 1980s, it became run-down and eventually closed in 1993.
In 1994, a theater company rented the building for a play, which lasted eight months.
Then the theater sat vacant for several more years.
Over the past decade, the owners began to restore the French renaissance design, repairing the walls with plaster and painting with the original colors. The brothers say they aren’t finished. They plan to do more work on the theater’s domed ceiling and a mural above the stage area.
Ralph Pontrelli said he believes the theater has the potential to draw visitors because of its convenient location and a renewed interest in historic theaters.
“Many towns wish they had an old theater now,” he said. “I think this will be great for Cicero and the area.”
The brothers said the theater will continue to have shows that cater to the large Hispanic community. Beyond that, they hope to attract a diverse lineup of live shows.
Riverside resident Joseph Falbo, who attended the reopening, said old theaters like the Olympic should be preserved.
“This is great for the young people,” said Falbo, 75. “They don’t make beautiful theaters like this anymore.”
Could the ROYAL have been known as the MILFORD in an earlier life?
From the Spirit Lake Beacon, November 30, 1939:
The foreclosure of a mechanics lien case of the J. F. Anderson
Lumber Co., vs. E. C. Arehart and the Spencer Investment Co., has occupied the attention of the district court this week. The case is one growing out of an outside Neon sign salesman contracted to construct the new canopy and sign for the Milford theatre and failed to complete his job or pay the bills, and after making collections along left unceremoniously. The case is still being heard as the Beacon goes to press.
Her name looks to be Martha Drake Pitney. From the Daily Record, Stroudsburg PA, May 22, 1964:
Relative Of Local Woman Development Director
NEW YORK â€" Thomas S. Kauten has been named business development director of Carter, Berlind and Weill, investment bankers and members of the New York Stock Exchange recently.
Kauten is the grandnephew of Mrs. George Watson of Stroudsburg and Mrs. John Lane of Port Jervis. Also, his mother is the former Margaret Pitney of Milford.
He is the grandson of the late Thomas Pitney and Margaret Drake Pitney of Milford and the great-grandson of the late Stephen Drake and Martha Faulda Drake of Milford and Dingman’s Ferry.
As business development director, Kauten will work with institutional accounts and with companies with which the company maintains a financial advisory relationship.
A graduate of Hofstra College, Kauten received a master’s degree from the institution and did additional graduate work at Yale University.
(Middletown Daily Herald, August 21, 1923)
Badly Hurt as Car Overturns on Road Near Port
Mrs. Thomas Pitney, wife of Thomas Pitney, the bus operator between Port Jervis and Milford, Pa. was seriously injured Sunday afternoon when her touring car turned turtle on the wet state highway a short distance from this city on what is known as Pocono Farm Road. Mrs. Pitney sustained a fractured jaw, serious lacerations about the head, a bad shock and probable internal injuries. She was rushed to St. Francis Hospital, Port Jervis, where she received treatment.
According to witnesses, Mrs. Pitney had several passengers in the car and was endeavoring to get them to Port Jorris in time to get an Erie train and when she came upon tho curve the rear end of the car skidded and the machine turned turtle.
As far as can be learned the other occupants of the car were not injured.
Smoke damage was reported at the TIME on March 3, 1958, originating from a major electrical fire at adjacent stores. Six of Oshkosh’s seven fire companies were needed to save the theatre.
Here is a spreadsheet with some early-1940s day-by-day bookings and other data at the then-CHIEF Theatre: View link
Your exception is noted, thanks, but it’s Kenosha’s foremost performing-arts center and concert venue (though it’ll have some competition soon) and it fits every definition of a classic theatre even though it’s attached to an operating high school.
The architect was John Chubb. There were indeed first-run motion pictures offered at one time, and to the present there are travelogue films offered on the first Friday of each month from September through April.
The Marcus Corp. of Milwaukee plans a year-long celebration with a variety of activities to commemorate its 75th anniversary including a Ripon Campus Theatre celebration. The company in Ripon. To highlight this significant achievement, the company will make interior and exterior enhancements to the theatre. Throughout the year, the company will be offering special promotions for customers in celebration of 75 years in business.
The company was founded in 1935 by Ben Marcus with the purchase of this single movie theatre in Ripon and is in its third generation of Marcus family leadership. Stephen Marcus, the son of Ben Marcus, is chairman of the company and the father of Gregory Marcus.