Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Sep 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm

A South Milwaukee walking tour brochure (PDF here) says of the Garden Theatre “…this popular movie house served the community until 1977. Currently Board Game Barristers.”

This weblog post says that the Garden Theatre building was gutted by a fire in 1979, and was then remodeled and annexed to the adjacent South Milwaukee Carpet and Vinyl store. When the carpet store closed in 2014, the space was taken over by Board Game Barrister, a retail chain headed by the son of the carpet store’s owners. The game shop uses the original carpet store as retail space and the former theater as its warehouse and distribution center.

While it’s possible that this house was renamed Rialto Theatre for a time and then changed back to its original name, I’ve been unable to find any references to a Rialto Theatre at South Milwaukee in the trade publications (but I haven’t checked the FDY.) In any case, Lee_Loveall is correct about the house having been called the Garden Theatre during its final decades.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about North Star Theatre on Aug 29, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Architect H. A. Raapke is listed in the archives of the Nebraska Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Architects as Henry A. Raapke. I’ve been unable to find any online source other than Cinema Treasures giving his middle name as Arthur. His drawings are signed H.A. Raapke.

In an article about Raapke on page 17 of the May, 2016, issue of Nebraska Libraries (PDF here) author Angela Kroeger notes that she, too, was unable to find any other source giving Arthur as Raapke’s middle name.

A selection of Raapke’s early drawings (1899 to 1907) can be seen in this online exhibit from the archives of the Criss Library at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Congress Theatre on Aug 27, 2016 at 6:59 pm

The Congress Theatre occupied a building originally erected around 1870 for the Congress Hall Ballroom, an adjunct of the Congress Hall Hotel located across Spring Street. A cast iron bridge connected the two buildings at the second floor. When the hotel was demolished in 1912, the ballroom continued to operate as a dance hall until 1919, when it was converted into the Congress Theatre.

Although equipped for moving pictures, the attraction at the Congress Theatre’s gala opening on August 21, 1919, was the Arthur Hammerstein-produced musical comedy Somebody’s Sweetheart, performed by the original New York cast.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carthay Circle Theatre on Aug 27, 2016 at 3:51 pm

barryinperth: Bill Counter’s Los Angeles Movie Palaces web site has several interior views of the Carthay Circle, including a few shots of the lounge, on this web page. Counter also provides links to additional views at other collections.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theater on Aug 27, 2016 at 4:36 am

I wonder if the Grand Theatre was the same house earlier called the Grand Opera House, which was mentioned in the June 24, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. A Mr. Otey, the operator, had lately had the house remodeled and the floor lowered five feet.

A Grand Theatre at Robinson is listed in the 1908-1909 Cahn guide as a ground floor house with 810 seats. I’ve been unable to find an address for the 1916 and 1908 theaters, so I don’t know if they are the same Grand as the one operating in the 1920s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyric Theatre on Aug 27, 2016 at 2:55 am

The name Lyric Theatre goes back to at least 1916 in Harbor Springs. This item is from the June 24, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Harbor Springs, Mich.—Manager Lehy [sic], of the Lyric theater, has installed a new operating room and has remodeled his lobby and ticket office.”
The Lyric that S. D. Leahy was operating in 1916 was in a different building than the later Lyric, though. The 1914-1915 edition of The American Motion Picture Directory gives the location of the earlier Lyric as State and Bay Streets. Leahy was still operating the house at least as late as 1920, when he wrote a number of capsule movie reviews for Exhibitors Herald.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Aug 27, 2016 at 2:16 am

Typos were not unusual in the trade journals of that period, though in this case it is rather disappointing that Hippie wasn’t the real name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about CineArts at Hyatt on Aug 22, 2016 at 3:38 am

The Hyatt may not be with us much longer. A May 5 article in the San Mateo Daily Journal this year reported that plans are afoot to redevelop the property with an office complex and restaurant. The nearby Burlingame Drive-In site is expected to be redeveloped as well, with an even larger office project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Kramer Theater on Aug 22, 2016 at 3:00 am

A widening of Michigan Avenue undertaken in 1938 made it necessary to demolish a considerable portion of the Kramer Theatre building, including a small corner of the auditorium, and the house was closed for the better part of a year. This event accounts for the drastic change in the theater’s architectural style, from Renaissance Revival to Streamline Modern. The rebuilt house reopened on February 11, 1939.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Aug 21, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Linkrot repair: The PCAD page about the Palace linked in my previous comment is now at this link.

Bonus: The Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society provides this page about the Palace Hippodrome Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empress Theatre on Aug 20, 2016 at 10:15 pm

The “Seattle” column of the February 28, 1919, issue of Variety carried a notice that “Johnson and Kastner have sold the Princess Theatre, Ballard, and it has been rechristened the Empress.”

The former Princess must have been the second house in Ballard to be called the Empress, as an item in the January 25, 1919, issue of The Film Daily had said that the Empress Theatre in Ballard had been sold to Martin McClanahan by A. C. Alden. Presumably Mr. McClanahan renamed the earlier Empress, freeing that name up for the new owners of the Princess.

To add a bit more confusion, the district had also had an earlier Princess Theatre, operated in a storefront at 242 Ballard Avenue, but which had been closed by 1910.

The 1920 FDY has Geddes & Geddes operating the College, Majestic and Empress Theatres in Ballard, but the Empress was not listed among their houses in 1921 or 1922. By 1926, the Empress was being operated by Jensen & von Herberg.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about SoBo's Main Theatre on Aug 18, 2016 at 5:09 pm

The photo uploaded by wsasser shows that the Halifax Theatre, then called the New Halifax Twin, is the same house that was later called Sobo’s Main Theater. It had apparently been un-twinned. The Sobo’s sign is still on the marquee in current Google street view. The correct address of the theater is 532 N. Main Street.

I don’t know when Sobo’s Main Theater opened, or how long it operated, but in 2009 the building briefly housed a dance hall which soon lost its license due to rowdy behavior by the patrons. 2008 remains the most likely closing year for Sobo’s Main Theater. Use as a dance hall means at least some of the seats must have been removed, and perhaps the floor at least partly leveled.

I don’t know when it closed as the Halifax, but Dragonlace1’s comment notes a showing of the early ‘70s re-release of Disney’s Song of the South, which the studio re-released in both 1972 and 1973. The Halifax might have been open long after that. The NRHP nomination form for the South Boston Historic District mentions the New Halifax Twin, but doesn’t say if it was open at that time, though the name does indicate that the house was twinned by 1986, the year the form was prepared.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyceum Theatre on Aug 11, 2016 at 1:54 am

The Lyceum Theatre was built in 1878-79 as the Bradford Oil Exchange, and was later known as the Exchange Lyceum or Bradford Lyceum before becoming the Lyceum Theatre. A notice in the October 1, 1892, issue of The New York Clipper said that the Bradford Lyceum was “…being remodeled and fitted up for public entertainments.” The notice said the house would seat 600 and have a stage 23x30 feet.

The Oil Exchange building was designed by a largely self-taught architect named Enoch Arnold Curtis who, despite his lack of formal training, enjoyed a long and successful career. He also designed the 1891 Fredonia Opera House in Fredonia, New York. I’ve been unable to discover who was the architect for the conversion of the Lyceum for theatrical use.

In 1901, the ax-wielding anti-saloon crusader Carrie Nation gave a talk at the Exchange Lyceum on October 2. The Lyceum Theatre was showing movies regularly by 1916, when it was mentioned in the April 15 issue of Motography.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Western Theatre on Aug 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Mike, the 1931 Warner Bros. Western Theatre in your ad was the lavish house at Wilshire and Western which was soon renamed the Wiltern Theatre, not this smaller neighborhood theater a few miles south.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Toho La Brea Theatre on Aug 9, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Throughout the period this house was operated by Toho, I recall it always being advertised as the Toho La Brea, never just the Toho. The La Brea name remained on the marquee as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Beverly Cinema on Aug 8, 2016 at 8:34 pm

silver: Let me answer your question by first repairing the linkrot that has afflicted this comment I made a few years ago. The October 19, 1959, issue of Boxoffice ran this article about Robert Lippert’s Capri and Riviera Theatres.

As you’ll see from the floor plan in the article, it was only the building now occupied by the New Beverly Cinema that held both auditoriums. The movies I went to (both side usually featured double bills) were in the larger, right-hand auditorium, the Riviera, which was only 22 feet wide and seated 200. The smaller Capri to the left was only 15 feet wide and seated 100, so both were comparable in size to small, storefront nickelodeons of the early 20th century.

I was mistaken in my recent comment to say that Robert Lippert operated the twin until 1963 (and that it opened in 1959. I see the opening date of October 23, 1958, has been added above.) The Boxoffice article notes that he had sold the operation to Robert Rohauer before the article was published. I don’t know how long Rohauer operated the house. I’m pretty sure my visit to the Riviera was in late 1962 or early 1963. It was un-twinned and reopened as the single-screen New Yorker in 1963.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Beverly Cinema on Aug 8, 2016 at 3:50 am

Mike, your timeline is missing the period from 1959 to 1963 when Robert Lippert operated the house as a twin art cinema called the Riviera & Capri Theatres. I went to the theater once during that period, though I don’t recall which movie I saw.

Also, I’ve never found anything about the New Globe having shown movies. The only references I’ve found to it say that the New Globe was a live house featuring Yiddish productions.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on Aug 8, 2016 at 3:16 am

There are a few errors in our description of the Paramount. First, though the foundations of the Metropolitan were designed to carry a 13-floor, height limit building, only five floors of offices were ever built above the ground floor.

Second, though the theater did open with two entrances, they were the main entrance on Sixth Street and a secondary entrance on Hill Street. The Broadway entrance added later and used only until 1929 was the third. The building the Broadway entrance ran through is still standing.

Third, though the Paramount closed in 1960, it was not demolished until 1962. During its last two years it sported a billboard touting the 35-story office building which had been planned for the site. The office building project fell through, and this was rumored to have been, at least in part, due to the unexpectedly high cost of demolishing what had probably been the most substantial theater building ever erected in Los Angeles.

Fourth, the building now on the site is not a bank, but the International Jewelry Center, a 16-floor tower built in 1981 for the wholesale and retail jewelry trade. The jewelry trade has gradually taken over several blocks along Hill Street, including the former Warner Bros. Downtown Theatre at Seventh and Hill. It’s unfortunate that the jewelers didn’t come along a few years earlier. They might have saved the Paramount’s building as they did the Warner’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Theatre on Aug 7, 2016 at 1:03 am

The predecessor theater kencmcintyre mentioned could have been the house for which the contracts had just been let according to the September 16, 1922, issue of The American Contractor. The $30,000 project on Main Street had been designed by Hoffman & Henon for The William Pierce Amusement Company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Southern Theatre on Aug 6, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Items about the Southern States Theater Company’s proposed house at 33rd and Eoff Streets in Wheeling appeared in various construction trade journals during the latter half of 1912. The October 17 issue of Engineering News listed the contracts that had been let for the project. One later item noted that 1,000 opera chairs had been ordered for the theater. George H. Dieringer, the architect, was also one of the owners of the project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tiffany Theater on Aug 6, 2016 at 7:24 pm

This house replaced an earlier Lyric Theatre that had been destroyed by a fire. A notice that work had commenced on the new theater and IOOF lodge hall appeared in the June 23, 1915, issue of Western Contractor. Oscar R. Kirschke of Grand Island was the architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about ArcLight Pasadena on Aug 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm

I’ve been unable to discover if Pacific Theatres brought in another architectural firm to design the theater interiors, but the non-residential portion of the Paseo Colorado project was designed in the Los Angeles office of the New York architectural firm Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects. The residential buildings were by RTKL Associates, Inc. Interestingly, RTKL has considerable experience designing theaters, but I don’t know if they had a hand in this multiplex.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 6, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Although it gives the location of the proposed theater as Washington Street, the mention of Charles J. Gorman as the owner, and the approximate size of the building being correct, suggests that this item from The American Contractor of November 13, 1915, could be about the Roslindale/Rialto Theatre:

“Moving Picture Theater: $30,000. 1 sty. & bas. 50x110. Washington st., Roslindale dist., Boston. Archt. Jos. D. McGinniss, 16 Arlington st. Owner Chas. J. Gorman, 17 Ardale st., Roslindale dist., will build by day labor. Work abt. to start. Face brk., artificial stone, struct. & orn. iron, gravel rfg., marble, mosaic.”
Issues of Christian Science Sentinel published in 1919 make reference to a November 16 lecture being held at “Gorman’s Theatre, South and Washington Streets, Roslindale.” Boston police records from January, 1919, include this item:
“On the application of Charles J. Gorman, President, Leslie A. Woollard was appointed a Special Police Officer for duty in and about the premises of Gorman’s Theatre located at 4199 Washington street for the year ending March 31. 1919.”
A police report from July, 1919, noting applications for permits to be in effect until August 1, 1920, included this item:
“C. J. Gorman’s Amusement Enterprises, Incorporated, by Charles J. Gorman, President, – to have exhibitions of moving pictures and vaudeville entertainments in Gorman’s Theatre located at 709 South street.”
From this, it looks as though the address 4199 Washington Street was changed to 709 South Street sometime between January and July, 1919. It is also clear that this house was in operation as either the Roslindale Theatre or Gorman’s Theatre as early as 1919, and probably 1918, which makes it much more likely that it was the project that The American Contractor said was about to get underway in November, 1915.

From the photo of the Rialto, it looks as though an adjacent, triangular lot on South Street was added at some point to create a new entrance building for the theater. That building does not appear to be part of the theater as it was shown in the 1924 map that was linked in an earlier comment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Grand Theatre on Aug 5, 2016 at 7:28 pm

dkarslake: The Grand Theatre on this page was built in 1941 and was very modern in style and, like Patsy, I’m doubtful that your lighting fixture would have belonged to it. However, there was an earlier Grand Theatre at Westfield, mentioned in this comment, and it’s quite possible that your fixture came from that house.

The earlier Grand doesn’t have a page at Cinema Treasures, and I’ve been unable to find out anything about it, having seen it mentioned only once in the trade publications, that being in the March 7, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World. Your light does look like it would date from the 1920s or earlier, though, so it could have come from the old Grand.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Sabine Theatre on Aug 3, 2016 at 8:27 pm

The Sabine Theatre is most likely the 1947 project at Many for the Southern Amusement Company that is found in this list of drawings by Lake Charles, Louisiana, architect John M. Gabriel.

Earlier that year Gabriel had designed a theater in the town of Welsh, Louisiana, for a Mr. J.V. O'Quinn, but I haven’t been able to discover its name. The theater at Welsh is not yet listed at Cinema Treasures.