Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Nov 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Department Reports of Pennsylvania, covering the year 1919, lists an unnamed theater at Renovo, plans for which were approved in March. The 1983 American Classic Images photo of the Rialto to which kencmcintyre linked in the previous comment shows a building very typical of the late 1910s and early 1920s, so there’s a possibility the 1919 report referred to this house.

The Rialto is listed in the 1931 FDY, along with a 400-seat house called the Strand (both houses are also listed, without seating capacities, in the 1926 Yearbook.) Renovo is quite small (population 3,906 in 1931) and is unlikely to have ever had more than two theaters of this size at once, so the 1919 project was probably one or the other. Whichever it was, it was designed by architect Guy H. Colony for owner Omar Fisher.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lake Theater on Nov 7, 2014 at 11:37 am

This web page has a few photos of the Opera House/Lake Theatre, with some reminiscences by local residents. The Opera House was built in 1890, and was a movie theater by the 1930s. It was listed as the 500-seat, second floor New Opera House in the 1897 Cahn guide, and as the Halvorson Opera House in the 1909-1910 guide.

A Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce page about the Lake Theatre says that the Opera House was damaged by a fire in the 1920s, and the building was reopened as the Lake Theatre in 1936. The house has been equipped for digital movies since 2012. A photo shows a very modern, curtain-wall, mostly stadium-seated auditorium, so I suspect that a rebuilding much more recent than 1936 has also taken place.

Clear Lake also once had a movie house called the Park Theatre, operating from at least 1930 into the 1950s, which we don’t have listed yet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Nov 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

The Regent Theatre opened in 1915. This item is from the December, 1915, issue of the trade union journal The Motorman and Conductor:

“COMPLIMENTS OF THEATER MANAGER.

“Norwalk, Conn.—In November the members of Div. No. 476 were each presented with two attendance tickets to the picture play entitled "The Birth of a Nation.” The compliment was extended by the management of the Regent Theater of Norwalk.

“Our benefit drawing with a Hamilton watch as the prize resulted in drawing of the watch by Judge J. T. Hubbell of Norwalk. The Judge very kindly returned the watch to us under provision that it should be chanced off among our members. The result is that Motorman J. H. Wilmott Is now running the Short Line by it.

“On Dec. 13 we held a musical comedy benefit at the Regent Theater. It was a success.”

The theater is now being renovated by a non-profit organization, and is to eventually reopen as the Wall Street Theatre. This is their web site. Their history page says the Regent opened in September, 1915. There is an undated photo of its reopening as the Norwalk Theatre. The first movie shown under the new name was the 1939 production The Story of Alexander Graham Bell. The Norwalk Theatre closed in October, 1989, with the movie Kickboxer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wayne Theater on Nov 7, 2014 at 9:41 am

Here is a ca.1944 postcard photograph of the Wayne Theatre and the adjacent Greyhound bus station. From a 1951 view at Historic Aerials, I believe that the theater had to have been on the east side of Buckeye Street adjacent to the north side of the alley between Lincoln Highway and North Street.

The Greyhound office must have been in the small building now occupied by the dental office of Dr. Ronald Ostroski, which is at 133 N. Buckeye. The theater’s address was most likely 127, 129 or 131 N. Buckeye. The Wayne/Lyric II Theatre has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Nov 7, 2014 at 8:05 am

A Gem Theatre was in operation at Trenton, Nebraska, at least as early as 1923. Manager E. J. Walters had three capsule movie reviews published in Exhibitors Herald in September that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Point Theatre on Nov 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Well, I don’t know how I missed John Rice’s page about the Point Theatre, which has the answers (and several good photos.) The Point Theatre was opened by Richard Tcherassy on February 14, 1913, and the building was designed by architect C. O. Clausen.

Robert Lippert renamed the house the V Theatre (for Victory,) and re-opened on August 4th, 1942. The remodeling for Lippert was designed by architect Vincent Raney. Post-war, the name Point Theatre was restored. The house opened and closed a few times after that, finally re-opening in the mid-1950s as the Ciné Theatre, a second-run, revival, and art house.

A thing I find remarkable is that the building’s Greek Revival pediment has survived all this time, little worse for wear. Plaster is unlikely to have held up so well, and there are no joints as one would expect in terra cotta, so it must be either wood (frequently used for exterior trim in the Bay Area even after more than half of San Francisco went up in flames in 1906) or cast iron.

A 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review item spelled Mr. Tcherassy’s name Tcherrasy, but it was mistaken. Internet search returns numerous hits referring to members of the Tcherassy family in northern California.

The Regent Theatre of 1916 remains a mystery. It is not listed on the Lost Movie Theatres of Richmond web site, nor is a house called the MacDonald that was operating in 1929. There are still bits of Richmond’s theater history waiting to be discovered.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Point Theatre on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:30 am

The Point Theatre was one of several houses in the bay area opened or re-opened by Robert Lippert during the early days of World War II. A letter from Lippert published in the September 12, 1942, issue of Motion Picture Herald had this paragraph about the Point:

“June 12th, I commenced remodeling of the old Point theatre at Richmond and installed a balcony to seat 100 and renovated the house from front to back. Total seats, 450. Opened this theatre August 15th.”
I haven’t been able to trace the theater prior to that, but the building looks quite old and could date from the 1910s. It’s possible that it operated under a different name earlier in its history. Richmond had a house called the Regent Theatre which was mentioned in the September 16, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. The Point building looks old enough to have been a theater in 1916. Perhaps someone can pin down a connection, as I’m coming up blank on this one.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:18 am

Fox West Coast temporarily gave up the Richmond Theatre in 1929 according to this item from the July 18 issue of The Film Daily:

“Borg, Pappas Get Fox House

“Richmond, Cal. — Lawrence Borg and William Pappas who operate the Macdonald have leased the Richmond from the Fox West Coast chain. The Richmond formerly was a T. & D. house until the chain was purchased by Fox West Coast.”

The Macdonald Theatre that Borg & Pappas operated is not listed at Cinema Treasures and I’ve been unable to find out anything about it. I guess we can assume that it was on MacDonald Avenue, so perhaps MacDonald is a missing aka for one of the other theaters on the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Times Theatre on Nov 5, 2014 at 10:43 am

A letter from Robert Lippert to the trade journal Motion Picture Herald that was published in the magazine’s issue of September 12, 1942, said that he had opened the Times Theatre in Alameda the previous week. The letter itself wasn’t dated, but assuming a few days for delivery and a few more days for it to be published, this house must have re-opened as the Times in late August or very early September, 1942.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crest Theatre on Nov 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

This letter from Robert L. Lippert to the trade journal Motion Picture Herald was published in the magazine’s issue of September 12, 1942:

“On February 14th, I completed the Grand theatre, Richmond, 690 seats, built of brick and Class B construction, in 91 days.

“On May 21st I leased a grocery store in the heart of Richmond and in exactly three weeks opened this as a theatre; seats 428, operates 24 hours a day. Name, The Studio.

“June 12th, I commenced remodeling of the old Point theatre at Richmond and installed a balcony to seat 100 and renovated the house from front to back. Total seats, 450. Opened this theatre August 15th.

“The Studio and Point theatres were completed under the $5,000 limitation set by the War Production Board.

“Commenced work five weeks ago on the Times theatre, Richmond, seating 575, and will open this house on September Nth. A priority was granted on this project. This was formerly the Nash Automobile Agency.

“On July 5th, commenced work in Vallejo on the former Studebaker Automobile Agency and completed this in four weeks. It seats 664.

“From there I took over the old library building in Alameda and transformed this into a theatre. I opened this last week. It seats 299. The name of this theatre is the Times.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rex Theatre on Nov 5, 2014 at 9:11 am

It was not unusual for small towns to be without theaters for several years during the depression, though sometimes they opened and closed again without getting into the yearbook, which listed theaters that were open at the time the book went to press each year. It’s also likely that quite a few that were listed as open in any given year of that decade were actually closed for much of that year. The same thing happened in other decades, of course, but not on so large a scale.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Richardson Theatre on Nov 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm

This item appeared in the May 13, 1935, issue of Motion Picture Daily:

“SENECA, S. C— A trip into the Piedmont hills would not be complete without calling on that charming couple, the Richardsons. Kenneth and the missus took us through their new theatre, the culmination of a dream that has been some 13 years in the making. Their new house will open May 1 and has been entirely built by local labor and contractors. This theatre will be known as the Richardson and will seat 500.”
The NRHP nomination form for the historic district in which the theater is located says that the Richardson Theatre opened in 1920, but I think that might have been a different theater operated by the Richardsons. Their Seneca house called the Star Theatre was mentioned in the March 5, 1924, issue of Motion Picture News. It’s possible that the Star Theatre was also called the Richardson Theatre at some point, but I haven’t found evidence that it was.

This web page has a couple of programs from the Richardson Theatre, from 1936 and 1937. The page also mentions (at the bottom) that the Star Theatre was listed in the 1927 Film Yearbook.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Star Theatre on Nov 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

The Star Theatre at Seneca, North Carolina, operated by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Richardson, is mentioned in the March 5, 1924, issue of Motion Picture News. Kenneth Richardson opened the Richardson Theatre at Seneca in 1935.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rex Theatre on Nov 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm

This page of the Village of Orchard’s web site has a few lines about the Rex Theatre. It says that the last show was on November 14, 1970.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Richmond Community Theatre on Nov 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

The Richmond Theatre was remodeled and enlarged in 1935, according to this item from the April 24 issue of Motion Picture Daily:

“Rebuild at Rockingham

“Charlotte, N. C, April 23. — H. C. Wall is modernizing the Richmond at Rockingham, N. C. The seating capacity will be doubled to 855. New chairs will be installed and posts will be eliminated. The lobby is being widened from seven to 18 feet.”

Mentions of the Richmond’s older rival, the Star Theatre, which had been in operation at least as early as 1917, soon vanished from the local newspaper. Henry C. Wall was still operating the Richmond in 1940, when another house (possibly the Star reopened and renamed) called the Strand was also in operation. That year, Wall opened a second house, called the Little Theatre, giving Rockingham three movie houses.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tribune Theatre on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm

The Tribune Theatre was opened by the Springer & Cocalis circuit in 1935. The April 5, 1935, issue of Motion Picture Daily named it as one of four movie houses then under construction by the chain:

“S. & C. at Work On Four New Theatres

“In addition to the Tribune and Court which are now nearing completion, Springer & Cocalis are building two other theatres, one a 1,400-seat house at 204th St. and Broadway, and a second, a 1,200-seat theatre, at Hillside development at Boston Post Road. Both houses will be ready in September.

“The Tribune, which will seat 600, is expected to be ready for opening May 1. The Court, also a 600-seater, will be opened about May I5.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Colonial Theater on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm

An item mentioning the Casino Theatre in the April 22, 1937, issue of The Film Daily says that it had 600 seats:

“Cocalis Adds 2 Houses

“Sam D. Cocalis has added two new units to his circuit. Both are in Keansburg, N. J. One is the new 1,200-seat house nearing completion. He will probably call it the Alexander. The other theatre is the Casino, seating 600.”

A Red Bank Register article from February 10, 1938, said that Sam Cocalis was operating the Casino and Fowler Theatres in Keansburg. The house he was building in 1937 must have been the Fowler, which we list with 580 seats. It’s possible that the Film Daily article got the capacities reversed, but maybe it was the Yearbook (which was probably our source) that got them backwards. Both theaters have been demolished, so satellite view is no help in determining their sizes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fowler Theater on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm

The Fowler Theatre was probably opened in 1937. An item in the April 22 issue of The Film Daily said that Sam Cocalis had acquired the Casino Theatre in Keansburg and also had a new house under construction there which was nearing completion. Both theaters have since been demolished. Sam Cocalis’s Fowler Theatre was mentioned in the February 10, 1938, issue of the Red Bank Register.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pastime Theatre on Nov 4, 2014 at 10:48 am

An item datelined Palmer, Nebraska, in the July 7, 1917, issue of The Moving Picture World said: “Leffelbein & Beyer have sold the Pastime theater to Charles Griffith.”

Palmer didn’t make many appearances in the trade journals. The April 1, 1935, issue of Motion Picture Daily said that Russell E. Johnson had opened the Opera House at Palmer, Neb., and the January 4, 1937 issue of The Film Daily said that Bingham and Walters, of Ericson, Nebraska, had opened a house in Palmer called the Waltham Theatre. That’s all I’ve found outside the yearbooks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rivoli Theatre on Nov 4, 2014 at 2:14 am

In one of the photos at CinemaTour that Life’s Too short linked to, you can make out the sign for the cross street, and it’s Adams, not Charles. The “Theatres in Construction” column of Variety, May 26, 1926 said that the theater that was to be built at Mulberry and Adams Streets in Muncie had been designed by Indianapolis architect Donald Graham.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rivoli Theatre on Nov 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Philadelphia Architects & Buildings has some drawings and floor plans of a theater in Hammonton for Sam Frank, dated 7/23/1926. The plans were by the firm of Magaziner, Eberhardt & Harris. As always, the full-resolution images are available only to PAB subrscribers, but this page has thumbnails.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Nov 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

This item is from the “Theatres in Construction” column of Variety, May 5, 1926:

Chamberaburg, Pa. — (Also apartments) S. Main, near Washington Street. Owner. Chambersburg Theatre Co., L. Luke, Pottstown, Pa. Architect. M. R. Rhoads, Chambersburg. Value and policy not given.“
This history of the Capitol from the theater’s web site says that it was built for a Pottstown theater company, and that a local architect was hired to design it. The location is right for the Capitol, too, so it is very likely that the Variety item is about the Capitol.

Local architect Maurice R. Rhoads also drew the plans for the remodeling of the Rosedale Opera House in Chambersburg into the Rosedale Theatre in 1920. Rhoads died in 1926, but I haven’t been able to find out how early in the year. As the Capitol did not open until February, 1927, it is possible that some other architect was brought in to complete the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Indiana Theater on Nov 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

The article MKtchamp linked to says that the Indiana Theatre opened on October 6, 1926. The Opera House built in 1892 was destroyed by a fire earlier that year, as reported (without the theater’s name) in the January 12, 1926 issue of The Film Daily:

“ Fire Destroys Wash. Ind., House

“Washington, Ind. — Fire destroyed a local house, causing a loss estimated at $150,000. Nearly 1,000 persons were in the theater when the fire started but all filed out quietly.”

The Janauary 11, 1926, issue of The Indianapolis News reported that the damage to the Grand Theatre, formerly the Grand Opera House, been extensive, with walls collapsing into the street and through the roof of an adjacent building. Because of the extent of the damage it seems unlikely that much, if any, of the structure of the Opera House remained to be incorporated into the Indiana Theatre. Perhaps we should consider the Grand Opera House/Grand Theatre a separate house rather than aka’s for the Indiana Theatre?

The Indiana Theatre was built for the Switow chain of Louisville, Kentucky, and operated by them for many years. The “Theatres in Construction” column of the May 5, 1926, issue of Variety had this item about it:

“Washington, Ind. — $100,000. Fourth and Main streets. Owners, A. Switow & Sons, Louisville. Architect, Carl J. Epping, Louisville. Pictures.”
Carl J. Epping was around this time president of the Kentucky Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. It’s possible that he designed other theater projects for the Switow interests, but I haven’t been able to track any down.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lancaster Theatre on Nov 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm

This item from The Film Daily of January 6, 1926, notes the recent opening of the Lancaster Theatre, the second house of that name on the site:

“Detroit — The new Lancaster, 10530 West Jefferson Ave., River Rouge, opened. It is on the site of the old Lancaster. Ted Williams will manage the house, which seats 1,650 and cost $275,000.”
Unless River Rouge flipped odd and even addresses from one side of its streets to the other at some point, the magazine got the theater’s address wrong. In 1930, a Milton’s Shoe Store was advertising its location as “10530 West Jefferson Avenue, opposite Lancaster Theatre.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Island Theatre on Nov 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm

The July 16, 1935, issue of The Film Daily had this item:

“H. K. Allen of Dallas and J. J. Bowler of Springfield, Mo., opened the Island theater in Grand Island over the week-end with double features. It is the fifth theater in Nebraska’s third city.”
Although the item doesn’t specify it, this must have been a re-opening. The building looks to date from the 1920s, and the wide center bay and the pattern of the arched second floor windows suggest that it was built specifically to house a theater.

From the late 1930s until his death in 1949, the Island Theatre was operated by William Youngclaus, and from 1949 until around 1960 it was operated by his widow. Youngclaus was involved in exhibition in Iowa and Nebraska at least as early as 1919.