Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Moneta Theatre on Apr 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

There was also a 900-seat Booth Theatre in Chattanooga, listed as closed in the FDYs from 1931 through 1933, and no longer listed after that. The Knoxville Booth (800 seats) was open through the whole decade.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theater on Apr 15, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Various construction trade journals from 1916 note a theater to be built at Antigo, Wisconsin, for Harvey Hansen. The architect for the project was Hans T. Liebert, then practicing in Wausau. Contracts for the project were let in July, 1916. Hansen had been operating another theater called the Palace in Antigo since at least 1913. I don’t know if the first Palace was closed when the new theater opened or if it continued to operate under another name.

Liebert designed another theater for Hansen in 1921. It was to have been located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Edison Street, but I’ve been unable to discover if this project was carried out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lans Theatre on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

deacon: Thanks for the clarification. The listings of the theaters in Lansing in The Film Daily Yearbook are a bit confusing. In the early 1950s, several issues list both a 324-seat Blackhawk Theatre and a 340-seat Lans Theatre, but Lansing seems too small to have supported two theaters at the same time, even in the early 1950s. I have suspected that the editors simply failed to keep their list up-to-date.

Perhaps you would like to comment on the Cinema Treasures pages for the Y-Knot Drive-In and the West Theatre in West Point. We know next to nothing about them so far.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about West Theatre on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

A house called the West Theatre was operating in West Point at least into the 1970s. The West Theatre and the Y-Knot Drive-In were offered for sale by Johnson Theatres in classified ads appearing in Boxoffice in 1973. The July 8, 1974, issue said that both had been bought by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Reese, who would begin operating them on June 2.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Y-Knot Drive-In on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Here is an undated aerial photo showing the Y-Knot Drive-In, in its splendid isolation. Comparing the photo to a modern Google Maps satellite view, the theater had to have been on 17th Road (called Lincoln Street inside the town) probably some distance south of town. That’s the only place the oxbow lakes and marshes along the Elkhorn River are as close to the road as they are in the old photo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theater on Apr 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Google has no street view up for this location, but a Bing Maps bird’s eye view shows a (rather narrow) theater-like entrance on the William Street side of the building. You can’t zoom in far enough to tell if a Bridge Street entrance has been sealed up or not, but if there was still a theater in the building the entrance would have to be on William Street. It’s possible that 47 Bridge Street was a side door leading to the manager’s office.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 7:31 pm

A 1914-1915 city directory lists five theaters at Olean, and this house is listed simply as Lang’s Theatre, at 128 W. State Street. A New Dreamland Theatre, not conducted my Mr. Lang, had opened at 164 N. Union Street. The other three were the earlier Gem at 245 N. Union, the Havens at 115 W. State, and the Grand at 257 N. Union.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm

The Dreamland Theatre is mentioned in the January 2, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Lang’s Dreamland, a moving picture show of Olean, N. Y., is being improved. New chairs and decorations will be a feature. An up-to-date service is being engaged in Buffalo for this house.”
If the name had not been moved from another house, the Dreamland was already in operation by 1907, when it was mentioned in the November 16 issue of The Billboard. It was then presenting vaudeville. Lang’s Dreamland was advertising in the Olean Times-Herald at least as early as December, 1911.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gem Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm

There was an earlier theater called the Gem in Olean. Its demise is noted in The Moving Picture World of August 4, 1917:

“The Gem theater, Olean, N. Y., has closed permanently. G. T. Nickum, proprietor, has taken over the Havens theater, that city.”
Other items in the same issue mention houses called the Olympic and the Grand then operating in Olean.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Peoples' Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

All the period sources I’ve found say that Albert Willey was a real estate promoter and developer, and later a contractor, but not an architect. This brief biography published around 1918 is typical:

“Willey, Albert L.

Born in Freeville, Tompkins County, NY, Jan. 18, 1855, son of Samuel B. and Esther (Greenfield) Willey. He was educated in the public schools and academy of the town and opened a saw and grist mill. He did a thriving business and when the oportunity rose to dispose of the business he did so to his advantage. He purchased a farm in Cuba Lake, NY and later carried on the business of a meat market in Cortland, NY. He later returned to Freeville and became proprietor of a general store. In 1895 he came to Broome County and went into the real estate business with offices in Johnson City. He purchased two valuable tracts of land known as the Allen property and the Cook property and plotted them out into residential lots. He continued along this line, doing contracting along with his real estate business. He married in 1875, Helen E. Head of Lansing, Tompkins County, NY. They had children, Clarence A. Horace M. and Frederick R.“

It’s possible that the Willey Block was designed in-house by Willey’s firm, but I’ve been unable to discover the name of the actual architect. The decorative trim on the two lower floors looks as though it might have been ordered out of a catalog, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Dome Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm

DavidZornig: If you’re referring to this photo that kencmcintyre linked to, it was probably taken in 1922, the year Clara Kimball Young appeared in The Worldly Madonna, so it would depict the Dome Theatre that burned with the rest of the pier in 1924. But you’re right, the old theater would not have been called the Fox Dome, as the West Coast Theatres circuit was not taken over by Fox until a few years after the new Dome Theatre was built.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Globe Theater on Apr 13, 2014 at 10:36 pm

The Globe Theatre on Woodland Avenue is briefly mentioned in this item from the September 9, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“New Company Buys Three Theaters.

“Cleveland, O.—The Freer Theater Company, just organized, has announced the purchase of three picture theaters here. The theaters are the Haltnorth, Globe and Fountain, all in the vicinity of Woodland avenue and E. 55th street. M. B. Horowitz and Louis Israel head the company.”

I’ve found no later references to a Freer Theater Company, but M. B. Horwitz (the correct spelling) and Mr. Israel remained in the exhibition business and were mentioned a number of times in the trade publications.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Compton Drive-In on Apr 13, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Charles Phoenix wrote recently about his all-too-brief encounter with the Compton Drive-In.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Beach Theatre on Apr 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Mikeoaklandpark: This theater was called the Shore from 1947 to 1952, and had opened as the Embassy Theatre in 1911. It became the City Square Theatre in the 1920s, and was the Beach Theatre from 1952 until closing.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Park Theater on Apr 12, 2014 at 7:40 pm

The November 11, 1926, issue of the Reading Times said that the Park Theatre would open that night. The opening feature was Her Big Night, starring Laura LaPlante, plus there were vaudeville acts, an organ recital, and the Park Orchestra.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Apr 12, 2014 at 6:47 pm

The Gettysburg Times was probably using the word “recently” rather loosely. I’ve found references to the Strand Theatre dating back to 1919. The January 24 issue of The Film Daily noted that Carr & Schad had purchased a lot at Ninth and Spring Streets in Reading on which they expected to begin construction of a new theater by April 1. The earliest listings I’ve found for the Strand in the Reading newspaper appeared in late March, 1920, so the project might have suffered some delays, but the Strand was definitely open by 1920.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arcadia Theater on Apr 12, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Reading’s original Bijou Theatre was destroyed by a fire in the spring of 1900. The opening of the new Bijou Theatre was reported in the January 8, 1901, issue of the Reading News-Times. The auditorium was on Cherry Street, and access from Penn Street was via a new lobby through an existing building called Keystone Hall

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rio Theatre on Apr 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm

The February 10, 1912, issue of The Moving Picture World published this item about the opening of the Olivet Theatre:

“Reading, Pa. — The Olivet, Reading’s newest picture theater, just completed at 647 Schuylkill Avenue, has opened. The house is very cozy, splendidly furnished, has ample exits, wide aisles, [unreadable] lighting arrangements, etc.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arcadia Theater on Apr 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm

The June 26, 1916, issue of the Reading Times rhapsodized about the pleasures awaiting the public at the opening that afternoon of the Arcadia Theatre:

“The Arcadia, Reading’s latest and largest photoplay theatre, is to be opened auspiciously Monday afternoon under the management of Carr & Schad, Inc., and an anxiously waiting public will marvel at the remarkable transformation of the well-known site, which is one of the best established theatrical spots in this community. So much has been said about the Arcadia, with its delicate decorations, designed by one of America’s leading theatrical artists, its lighting effects, the big screen in a setting planned and set by the head stage director of the Keith circuit, that words fail to do justice to the magnificent interior, and when the audiences are ushered into the Arcadia, they will almost think it impossible that such a decided change could be made in so short a period, the theatre being closed but seven weeks. The entrance at 734 and 736 Penn street is the only mark that will suggest or recall the days of the former theatre. Carr & Schad, Inc., pioneers in the local motion picture Industry, have always endeavored to give the public the best available service and the Arcadia is to present only a brilliant array of program features that will appeal to all classes of photoplay followers.”
There followed a very long, and equally effusive, preview of the Arcadia’s opening attractions, with much of it devoted to Bille Burke, star of the serial Gloria’s Romance, the first chapter of which was to be part of the program.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Santander Performing Arts Center on Apr 11, 2014 at 11:32 pm

The June 11, 1921 issue of the Reading Times reported that the New York firm of E. C. Horne & Sons had been chosen to design the repairs and addition to the Rajah Temple which had been devastated by a fire the previous month.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arcadia Theater on Apr 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm

An article in the September 9, 1937, issue of the Reading Times says that the old Bijou Theatre, a burlesque house at 734 Penn Street, was renamed the Palace in 1910. In 1916 it was taken over by Carr & Schad and completely remodeled, reopening on June 26 as the New Arcadia Theatre.

The Bijou was in operation prior to 1905, so even with Carr & Schad’s remodeling of 1916 the house was probably quite ready for replacement when it was demolished in 1928 to make way for the new Astor Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Apr 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm

This article from the July 8, 1928, Reading Eagle says that the Princess Theatre had closed for renovations and would reopened as the Arcadia Theatre about July 23. The Princess had opened in 1913.

However, a January 28, 1968, Reading Eagle article said that “[a]nother downtown theater was the Crescent at 819 Penn St., opened in 1910, with the name changed to the Princess in 1913.” The same article says that the Ritz Theatre was torn down in the 1950s to make way for a city parking lot.

I still haven’t found anything explicitly stating that the Arcadia became the Ritz, but I’m sure the Crescent/Princess/Arcadia/Ritz were all the same theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Apr 11, 2014 at 5:47 pm

The January 1, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World lists Carr & Schad’s Princess Theatre at 819 Penn Street (the correct address for the Ritz.) when the first Arcadia Theatre was demolished in 1928 to make way for the Astor Theatre, the Princess was renamed the Arcadia.

this article in the December 30, 1940, issue of theReading Eagle says that Carr & Schad were expending $15,000 for improvements to the Arcadia Theatre, which had been closed for many years. They later must have decided to rename the house the Ritz before reopening it in 1941.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Astor Theatre on Apr 11, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Our description says the Astor opened in 1938. This must be a typo. It opened in 1928. The September 11 issue of the Reading Times said that the projected opening date was September 21.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Apr 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

A January 9, 1926, article in the Gettysburg Times listed a number of theaters recently completed, under construction, or under contract that had been designed in the office of Philadelphia architect William Harold Lee. Three houses were listed at Reading: the Colonial, the Strand, and a house called the Penn Street Theatre. All three projects were for Carr & Schad. I don’t see a Penn Street Theatre listed, so maybe it’s missing or it operated under a different name.