Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kentucky Theatre on Mar 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm

This web page says that the Kentucky Theatre was directly across the street from the Princess Theatre. The house opened as the Rex Theatre on November 28, 1912. It closed at the end of the silent era and was reopened eight years later, in 1937, as the Kentucky Theatre. The Kentucky ran its last movie on October 13, 1956. The building is now occupied by Blue Streak Printers, 116 E. 9th Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loop Theater on Mar 23, 2015 at 1:13 am

Here are a few paragraphs about the Telenews Theatre from the January 5, 1940, issue of The Film Daily:


“Chicago — Latest advances in motion picture theater equipment are incorporated in the new Telenews Theater recently opened here by its owners and operators, Midwest News Reel Theaters, of which Herbert Scheftel of New York City is president.

“House has RCA sound, Simplex projectors, and American Seating Co.’s Bodiform chairs. Approximately 400 of the latter are installed on the main floor of the auditorium, and 200 in the balcony.

“A Westinghouse air conditioning system is used, Perey turnstiles, and Stanley Bigelow carpets supplied by Marshall Field Co.

“The theater has a unique front and marquee, White Way Co. lighting, plus clear cut screen effect and excellent acoustics.

“Marshall Field supplied the furnishings for the rest rooms. Equipment contract was executed by National theater Supply.

“Shaw, Naess and Murphy were architects.”

The first Telenews Theatre opened in San Francisco on September 1, 1939, just in time to show newsreels of the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. The timing helped make the theater a tremendous success, and the company rapidly expanded to other cities. Not surprisingly newsreel theaters flourished during the war and early post-war years, but went into decline with the arrival of television, which could bring breaking news into people’s homes. Still, a handful of newsreel houses hung on into the 1960s, usually by pairing newsreels with feature-length documentaries.

Charles F. Murphy, who had no formal training in architecture, founded the firm of Shaw, Naess & Murphy with architects Alfred P. Shaw and Sigurd Naess in 1937. Murphy had previously been personal secretary to architect Ernest Graham, of the firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, successors to D. H. Burnham & Company. Shaw and Naess had also been with the firm, Shaw having been a junior partner since 1929.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Webbo Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Oops. I didn’t see OCRon’s comment with the address before or after I posted my comment last night. The reason I think the theater was at the southern end of the long building instead of the northern end where Chase Drugs is now is because of the configuration of the windows and the columns between them.

In the vintage photo there is a single column on the right and it looks like there are more windows beyond it. If you check Google street view you can see that there is a set of double columns between the northernmost three bays and the southernmost six bays.

The theater couldn’t have been under the northernmost bays because the building ends at the corner. It couldn’t have been under the middle three bays because the double column is north of them, and there’s only the single column north of the theater entrance in the vintage photo.

The theater had to have been under the southernmost three bays, just south of the storefront that has the modern address 313 above the door, visible in street view. The two storefronts flanking the theater entrance must have had the addresses 307 and 311, so the theater would have been at 309.

You can’t really see it in Google satellite view, but the bird’s eye view from Bing Maps shows some really bad damage to the theater building, namely two big holes in the roof above where the stage would have been. Even though the nine bays of the facade all match, it looks like the theater was built separately from the rest of the building. It has brick walls rather than concrete, and a somewhat different roof line. My guess is that the double column was in the middle of the original six-bay building and the theater section was added later (though it could have been the other way around.) The northern six-bay section is in good condition, but I doubt the theater building will last much longer if it doesn’t get immediate repairs.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theater on Mar 22, 2015 at 1:13 am

The “New Theater Openings” column of The Film Daily for July 2, 1938, said that the 500-seat State Theatre in Borger, Texas, had opened on June 10. The house was reported to have cost $60,000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vale Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 1:11 am

The “New Theater Openings” column of The Film Daily for July 2, 1938, listed the 800-seat, $100,000 Vale Theatre at Cashmere, Washington as having opened on June 23.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Clinton Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 1:03 am

The “Theaters Under Construction” column of the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily listed the Clinton Theatre in Los Angeles as a 750-seat project for operator C. W. Blake. The $75,000 house was expected to be completed by August 1. It was designed by architect Raphael A. Nicolais.

Raphael Nicolais had earlier designed at least one theater in Fort Worth, Texas, but by 1929 he was practicing from an office on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Center Theatre 1 & 2 on Mar 22, 2015 at 12:24 am

The Center Theatre was listed in the 1963 city directory.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Matanzas Theatre on Mar 22, 2015 at 12:11 am

Here is an item about the Matanzas Theatre from the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily:

“Sparks Plans 16th Century Atmospheric Pix Theater

“St. Augustine, Fla. — Work has been started on a new 1,200-seat theater here by E. J. Sparks. H. L. Baird, Inc., of Jacksonville, is the general contractor and Roy A. Benjamin, also of Jacksonville, is the architect. The theater will be known as the Mantaza and will represent an investment of $100,000.

“The architecture will be of 16th Century Spanish and all ornamentation maintaining the proper feeling and atmosphere of other buildings in this America’s oldest city. Indirect lighting will be used exclusively.

“It is one of the few places where the Sparks interests have gone into a community, purchased land and erected a building. The usual procedure is for local interests to build a theater and lease it to Sparks.”

1938 was pretty late for a revival-style atmospheric house to be built. I wonder if this could have been the last of them?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Center Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:48 pm

A description of the Isis Theatre as it would appear after being remodeled and reopened as the Center appeared in the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily:

“Isis, Grand Rapids, Will Be Remodeled as Center

“Grand Rapids, Mich. — The Isis Theater here will undergo complete modernization at an estimated cost of $35,000, according to E. C. Beatty, president of W. S. Butterfield Theaters, Inc. The remodeled theater will open early in August and will be known as the Center Theater. The plans include re-facing of the front with macotta, using Chinese red, forest green and stainless steel.

“The lobby will be completely redone with new terrazzo floor, walnut marlite walls and a ceiling of acoustic tile. The foyer will match in finish. The auditorium will have new flooring, the stage wall will be moved back and walls will be covered to improve sound.

“American Seating Co. will install 1,000 upholstered seats. The wiring will be renewed and a new marquee, sign and attraction board will match the macotta front.”

For those unfamiliar with it, Macotta was a decorative tile made of colored porcelain-over-concrete panels, which competed with glass-based rivals such as Vitrolite.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Normandie Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:11 pm

Here is a notice about the Normandie Theatre from the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily:

“Construction Under Way on New Park Av. House

“Construction work is under way on a 590-seat ‘intimate’ type talking picture theater and adjoining two-story shop building on a Park Ave. plot between 53rd and 54th Sts., owned by Robert Walton Goelet. The theater will be named the Normandie.

“The new buildings, which will face on 53rd St., were designed by Rosario Candela, architect. Hegeman Harris Co. are the builders.

“The theater will be ready for occupancy Oct. 15. It has been leased to the Normandie Theater Corp., headed by Philip Smith, who has been in the theater business for 20 years and manages a string of ‘intimate’ theaters in New England.”

I find it interesting that, as late as 1938, they still referred to the project as a “talking picture theater.”

Also interesting is that in 1938, the same year he opened the Normandie, Philip Smith launched the Midwest Drive-In Company, later renamed General Drive-In Company, and finally renaed General Cinema Corporation (GCC) which grew into one of the largest theater chains in the country prior to its bankruptcy in 2000.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regal Picture House on Mar 21, 2015 at 10:12 pm

The Regal in Dunfermline was one of four houses bought by Caledonian Associated Cinemas from Peter Crerar of Crieff, according to an item in the July 1, 1938, issue of The Film Daily. The other theaters Caledonian bought were the Rio, Rutherglen, the Rio, Bearsden, and the Mossbank, Glasgow.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Webbo Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 9:07 pm

The Webbo Theatre’s address was probably 309 N. Roane Street. There is a sign above one of the adjacent storefronts that says Antiques, and in the middle of what was once the theater’s entrance is a faux column of red brick that doesn’t quite match the brick on the rest of the building. The next visible address to the north is 313, and the Roane Furniture Company to the south is at 301 Roane. The building is recognizable by its detail and large second floor windows as seen in the vintage photo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Webbo Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 8:35 pm

I believe that the Webbo might be the theater that opened in 1938 as the Palace, which was noted in this item from the July 5 issue of The Film Daily:

“Harriman, Tenn. — The Palace, erected by the Peerless Enterprises Inc., Tim W. Smith, president, has opened here. The Palace seats 1,000, with 625 downstairs. Boyd Underwood, formerly of the Tennessee Theater, Knoxville, Tenn., is the manager.”
Peerless Enterprises was one of three independent theater chains that filed a lawsuit against Crescent Amusement Co. in 1939. A July 21, 1941, Motion Picture Daily article about the case had this to say:
:“Tim W. Smith, president of Peerless Enterprises, Inc., Knoxville, maintained under examination the previous day that Crescent competition and his difficulty in obtaining product had forced his newly-opened houses in Harriman, Morristown and Newport, all in East Tennessee, to close in 1938.”
I’ve found no later references to the Palace, so it’s most likely fate was to have been taken over by Crescent and renamed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cameo Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 7:51 pm

The July 5, 1938, issue of The Film Daily ran this item about the proposed theater at Washington Avenue and Española Way:

“Weingarten Miami Beach House Ready for Winter

“Miami Beach— New $100,000 theater to be erected here by Herman Weingarten, prexy of the W. G. Operating Co., will be ready for the 1938-39 winter season, it is announced. Thirty-six year lease on a site at Espanola Way and Washington Ave. has been closed.

“Paul Greenbaum of New York City, associated with Weingarten for the last 20 years in the construction of theaters in New York, Brooklyn and Long Island, will have charge of construction work. Robert Collins is architect.

“The building will have a large entrance on Washington Ave. and a roomy balcony and open smoking loge. The latest type of construction and air conditioning will be utilized.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Prince Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Toward the bottom of this web page about the Princess Theatre is the story of how the Prince Theatre got its name. Until 1938 it was called the Roxy Theatre. When the Princess burned that year, its marquee survived. The “ss” was cut off the end and the remainder of the marquee, reading Prince, was moved to the Roxy.

The impression I got from the text is that the Roxy/Prince was down Roane Street from the Princess.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 3:39 pm

A short film made when the Princess reopened in 1939 can be seen at YouTube (I believe this film was previously linked, but the comment with the link has been removed.) The film consists mostly of scenes in Harriman, including schools, churches, factories, and shots of various worthies such as civic officials and members of the Rotary Club. A few scenes, mostly in the last couple of minutes, show the Princess Theatre.

One significant scene shows Crescent Amusement Company head Tony Sudekum greeting architect Joe Holman, so the Princess, like most Crescent houses of the period, was designed by the Nashville architectural firm Marr & Holman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Mazda Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 1:45 am

John Gaisford, architect of the Jefferson Theatre, also designed the Marion (later Paramount) Theatre in Clarksdale, Mississippi. I’ve also found references to a theater project in Little Rock that Gaisford designed for New York theater owner Albert Weis in 1909, but I’ve been unable to discover if the house was built or, if it was, what it was called.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vaudette Theatre on Mar 21, 2015 at 12:53 am

A footnote in Steve Goodson’s Highbrows, Hillbillies & Hellfire: Public Entertainment in Atlanta, 1880-1930 (Google Books preview) says that the Vaudette Theatre closed in 1924 and the building became part of J. M. High’s department store. The same note says that the Vaudette of 1911 had 800 seats, and cites an Atlanta Constitution article of February 26, 1911, which claimed that the Vaudette was the largest theater showing movies in the south other than Jake Wells’s Bijou, also in Atlanta, which, unlike the Vaudette was a combination house running vaudeville as well as movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:24 pm

The 1909-1910 Cahn guide listed the Auditorium as a ground floor house with 1,024 seats. I haven’t been able to discover if it ever showed movies. A May 18, 2013, article in the Greeneville Sun calls it the “…old Greenville Opera House building….” but I don’t know if that was ever its formal name.

Greeneville also once had a theater called Snapp’s Opera House, dating from 1887, but it was on Main Street (either 120 or 122 Main.) The Auditorium was apparently a newer theater. There was once also a house called the Princess Theatre in the building next door to Snapp’s Opera House.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Mar 20, 2015 at 5:36 pm

If the addresses haven’t changed since the Sanborn map was made, then the likely Palace Theatre building at 136 Depot is still standing. It’s a four-story brick building with the second floor windows bricked up (probably to make room for a balcony) located on the north side of Depot a few doors east of Irish Street. In satellite view the roof looks to be in good shape, and there is a store of some kind on the ground floor but there is no readable signage.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Mar 20, 2015 at 7:39 am

Moving Places: A Life at the Movies, by Jonathan Rosenbaum, grandson of Louis Rosenbaum, who opened this theater in 1928, has a few paragraphs about the Ritz which can be found on this web page. The section names the architects of the Ritz as the Nashville firm of Marr & Holman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Mar 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

I can’t find any other references on the Internet to architects named Thomas Mar or Joseph Harmon, but there are plenty of references to Nashville architects Thomas Marr and Joseph Holman. Marr & Holman were designing theaters for the Crescent Amusement Company at least as early as 1915, and designed theaters for the company for many years. Crescent’s Capitol in Greenville must have been designed by Marr & Holman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Queen Theater on Mar 19, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Friends of the Queen Theatre provides this web page with a brief history of the house. It says that the Queen was built by Franklin Theatrical Enterprises, operators of the King Theatre in downtown Honolulu, and was opened on June 29, 1936. It was designed by local architect Lyman Bigelow.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Plaza Theater on Mar 19, 2015 at 8:40 pm

Broumas also operated the Newport Theatre for a time. The company declared bankruptcy in December, 1967. At the time they operated 17 theaters in six states.Although headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, I believe that Broumas had operated more theaters in the Youngstown area than anywhere else.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lincoln Knolls Plaza Theatre on Mar 19, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Broumas Theatres opened the Lincoln Knolls Plaza Theatre on December 15, 1963, the same day they opened the Boardman Plaza Theatre. The Broumas chain, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, had 17 theaters in six states when it declared bankruptcy in December, 1967.