Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Arts Theatre on Aug 10, 2022 at 10:00 pm

The Columbia Theatre appears to have been a new build in 1911, not an old vaudeville theater or opera house, as some sources claim. The February 14, 1911 issue of The Nickelodeon announced the plans for the house “…to be located in the new Rabold Building….” by the Columbia Theater Company, already operators of 14 theaters in various regions.

I’ve been unable to discover if Tony Sudekum’s Crescent Amusement Company took over the project from Columbia before or after the house opened, but Crescent was definitely in control of the Columbia by 1913. The Rabold family owned quite a bit of property in Bowling Green, including the building in which Crescent opened the Princess Theatre in 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crescent Theatre on Aug 10, 2022 at 8:38 pm

The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lets us down on Bowling Green, listing only two theaters, though the town must have had more. But one of the theaters is listed (with no address) as the “Crescent Amuse Co.” and the other is listed at 416 Main Street with the name Columbia Theatre. The Columbia is the house that was renamed the Capitol Theatre in 1921. The Columbia was taken over by the Crescent Amusement Company in 1911, so it’s possible that the AMPD simply double-listed the same house under the theater name and the name of the operating company. It’s possible that Bowling Green never had a theater called the Crescent.

If the Sanborn map shows a theater at 411 Park Row in 1909 it must have been there, but if it was not listed in the city directories 1911-1967 it must have had a brief life.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Aug 7, 2022 at 11:10 pm

The Houlton Theatre was in a district a bit over a mile west of downtown St. Helens. Houlton, once called Milton, was adjacent to the railroad tracks while St. Helens proper was along the riverfront. The Houlton Theatre was operating by January, 1917, and still open in January 1919, but was never listed in the FDY, nor was it in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rivoli Theatre on Aug 7, 2022 at 10:27 pm

The earliest appearance of Crane in the FDY is the in 1931 edition, which lists a Crane Theatre, with no seating capacity given. The 1932 edition lists the 200-seat Rivoli.

The January 25, 1919 issue of Film Daily said that a W. S. Weittenhiller was building a picture theater at Crane, but if that house did open it must have been closed by 1926.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Urban Theatre on Aug 7, 2022 at 10:41 am

I mistyped the address in my previous comment. The theater was at approximately 1211 Broadway.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Urban Theatre on Aug 6, 2022 at 10:59 pm

A history of Saint Robert Bellarmine church says that the Urban Theatre was located on Broadway, part of a site later occupied by a Rite Aid store. The Rite Aid in East McKeesport, now closed itself, used the address 400 Lincoln Highway, which is an alternate name of the cross street, Greensburg Avenue. Historic aerial views show that the theater was at the north end of the block, and extended back from Broadway to Fifth Avenue, the next street east. From the historic aerial views it looks like the auditorium section was demolished long ago, and the front section, which once house Irene’s Restaurant, was knocked down by 2004, when the Rite Aid was developed. The space occupied by the theater became part of Rite Aid’s parking lot.

There are no buildings on the theater’s site now and an exact address can’t be found, but using the address 2011 Broadway at Google maps will put the pin icon just about where the theater’s entrance must have been.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texas Theatre on Jul 25, 2022 at 5:48 am

The Portal to Texas History has a copy of The Ballinger Ledger for June 25, 1936 with a section about the new Texas Theatre, scheduled to open the following day. Down the page is a brief biographical sketch of co-owner W. D. Scales with quite a bit of information that appears to contradict much of the history of the town’s theaters that we have at Cinema Treasures. I’m trying to find more information, but so far haven’t had much luck.

Link here

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Queen Theatre on Jul 25, 2022 at 5:38 am

The Ballinger Ledger of June 25, 1936, ran a special section about the new Texas Theatre which was set to open the following day. Among the articles in the section was a biographical sketch of the theater’s co-owner W. D. Scales. It says that Scales came to Ballinger in 1920 and took over the Maeroy Theatre, which was on Hutchings Avenue, and a few years later teamed up with H. T. Hodge to build the Queen Theatre on North Eighth Street.

If this is the case, then the Queen Theatre operating in 1914, on Hutchings Avenue, must have been a different house. The 1936 article also says that Scales & Hodge’s Queen on Eighth Street was on the site of the first Texas Theatre, and thus was demolished when that house was built in 1936. I’m still trying to puzzle out the history of Ballinger’s theaters, as we seem to have gotten quite a bit wrong about them, but information about them is pretty thin on the Internet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theatre on Jul 25, 2022 at 3:58 am

A page citing a 1952 San Angelo Standard-Times article said that downtown Ballinger then had three theaters in operation, the Palace, the Texas, and the Ritz. The Ritz was rebuilt and reopened after the 1946 fire. A November 27, 1948 Boxoffice item mentioned H. Ford Taylor as “owner of the new Ritz” in Ballinger.

dorstar says the Ritz was on Hutchings (the correct spelling) Avenue. That opens the possibility that Ritz was an aka for the Princess/Maeroy Theatre, which we have listed on Eighth Street, but a 1936 edition of The Ballinger Ledger says was on Hutchings. I’m still trying to puzzle out the history of Ballinger’s theaters, much of which we have apparently gotten quite wrong so far. The pre-fire Ritz still might have been an entirely new house built in the 1930s, of course.

I haven’t been able to discover anything about the Rex/Ford Theatre, which I haven’t yet found mentioned by either name in any trade publications, but perhaps H. Ford Taylor had something to do with that house as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Firefly Theatre on Jul 23, 2022 at 9:26 pm

This web page about Portland’s early movie theaters says that the house that became the Firefly opened in 1922 as the first location of the Sellwood Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about State Theatre on Jul 19, 2022 at 12:11 am

The June 24, 1916 issue of Moving Picture World said that W. S. Butterfield had recently been in Bay City making arrangements for the remodeling and redecoration of the Bijou Theatre. Plans included a new ventilation and cooling system and two new Simplex projection machines.

The Bijou was originally built for owner-operator J. D. Pilmore, with a notice that construction contracts had been let appearing in the July, 1908 issue of The Bricklayer and Mason. Pilmore had operated an earlier Bay City house also called the Bijou, at least as early as 1905. The earlier Bijou was listed in the 1907 edition of Polk’s Michigan Gazetteer as being at the northwest corner of Center and Madison.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Jul 18, 2022 at 7:56 pm

The Barrow Preservation Society’s book Around Winder says that the Strand Theatre was opened in 1916. I’ve found the Strand mentioned in trade journals as early as 1923, and an item in the March 4, 1916 issue of Moving Picture World notes plans for a new theater in Winder in a two story building 30x100 feet, to be built by J. L. Saul and operated by L. Love. The item doesn’t give a theater name, but it must have been the Strand.

Another book, Barrow County: Photographs from the Stell-Kilgore Collection, by Myles Godfrey, features a photo of the Strand with a caption that says it was located where the addition to the courthouse is now. The courthouse addition is on the west side of N. Broad Street in the block south of Athens Street (Google Books preview.)

I’ve been unable to discover when the Strand got its moderne front, or when it closed. So far I’ve found no trade journal references to it later than the one from May 1950, cited in an earlier comment by kencmcintyre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theatre on Jul 17, 2022 at 5:30 pm

Boxoffice of October 3, 1960, ran a short article about the plans for demolition of the Bijou for an urban redevelopment project. The theater was then operating as a double feature grind house, and management planned to keep the house open until “…the bulldozers start nudging the walls,” though the contract for the demolition had already been signed. It was the oldest theater then operating in Minneapolis.

The Bijou had never been the city’s leading theater, but prior to its conversion to a movie house had hosted such fare as popular melodramas at popular prices. Big roadshows and prestige dramas appeared at other houses, not the Bijou, where one might attend such events as a wrestling match or a religious revival.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Villa Theatre on Jul 17, 2022 at 4:42 pm

The Villa Theatre was mentioned in the January 24, 1948 issue of Boxoffice, which said that the house had discontinued Sunday shows on January 1. The Villa had been showing movies on Sundays “for several years” the item said.

The Villa was a Martin Theatres operation for a while, as the October 9, 1954 Boxoffice said that the chain had recently sold the house.

The January 8, 1955 issue of Independent Film Journal said that Hubert Countryman and Neal Richardson had installed CinemaScope in their Villa Theatre in Villa Rica.

The most recent mention of the Villa I’ve found in the trade journals is in the October 3, 1960 issue of Boxoffice. The manager at that time was named Thomas Carter.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Playhouse on Jul 16, 2022 at 8:04 am

I think the Elm Theater most likely ended its movie career in 1929. Starting in 1931 it was the home of live theater presented by the newly-founded Portland Players theater group, an organization that still exists. During this period the theater was known as the Playhouse. The Players later moved into the Portland Theatre for some time. I’ve been unable to find any evidence that the Elm Theatre ever returned to being a movie house before being demolished in 1952.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Pex Theatre on Jul 14, 2022 at 12:35 am

There is a period photo of the Pex Theatre at the Georgia Writers Museum. Construction of the Pex had been announced in August, 1941, and the project continued through the fall and winter that year. I’ve been unable to find the opening date, but it must have been late 1941 or early 1942. The original seating capacity was 750.

On October 10, 2019, the Pex Theatre was acquired by the Eatonton Downtown Development Authority with a grant from the Fox Theatre Institute of Atlanta. The EDDA’s intention was to restore the house for use as a single-screen movie theater, but the project appears to have suffered delays as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Renovation has continued, however, and a new marquee was installed in April, 2022. I’ve been unable to discover anything about the state of the interior renovations. A date for reopening has not yet been announced.

Throughout its history, the theater was operated by members of the Peck family. The name Pex is a unique variant spelling of Peck’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Royce Theatre on Jul 13, 2022 at 8:24 pm

The Royce Theatre was at 539 Bowers Street. The building was being used for storage at the time of the 2021 fire, but had previously been converted for retail use. In 2014 the building sported one of those mansard-style aluminum canopies popular around 1970, so the theater must have been closed by that decade.

Google street view, May, 2014.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ozark Theatre on Jul 13, 2022 at 6:26 am

The Ozark Theatre was at 116 E. Main Street. The building is currently in retail use as the Ozark Classic Crafts Mall.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cooper 1-2-3 Cinemas on Jul 11, 2022 at 3:17 pm

I wonder if the grand opening of this house actually took place on schedule? It seems unlikely to me. The ad would have appeared in the morning papers, but by evening things would have changed all over America. November 22, 1963 was the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and many events scheduled for that day and a few subsequent days were cancelled or postponed. If the Cooper 70 did go through with the plans, I can’t imagine the event was very well attended.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Arnett Theatre on Jul 10, 2022 at 1:57 am

The destruction of the Arnett Theatre by fire was reported in Boxoffice of March 4, 1950. The reopening was reported in the same journal’s issue of April 8, which said that the new brick building with glass tile front had been built in a record 30 days. The Arnett was still in operation at least as late as April, 1963, when manager Elben E. Ingram submitted capsule movie reviews to the April 15 issue of Boxoffice. The town then had a population of only 800.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Idle Hour Theatre on Jul 6, 2022 at 8:33 pm

A 1978 article archived on this web page mentions this theater. The nickelodeon on the ground floor of the Masonic lodge in Mannington was called the Idle Hour Theatre, and was owned by a Lebanese immigrant named Joseph Modi. The Idle Hour was one of three theaters listed at Mannington in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory, the others being the Pastime Theatre and the Virginia Theatre, both located on Market Street. A 235-seat Idle Hour Theatre was listed in the 1929 Film Daily Year Book, the only competition to the 400-seat Burt’s Theatre. This was the last year the Idle Hour was listed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broad Ave. Cinema on Jul 6, 2022 at 2:06 am

zebulongrady’s belief that the Broad Avenue Theatre and the Liberty Theatre were the same house is correct. The Liberty was opened in June, 1919 according to an article in the Albany Herald of September 10, 2017. It replaced a house called the Rawlings Theatre on the same site. The Rawlings was opened in 1908 and was destroyed by fire in 1917.

zebulongrady’s other claim, that the Liberty/Broad Street was the same house as the Clair Theatre, is mistaken. The Clair was on the odd-numbered side of the street, and the Liberty/Broad Street was at 246-250 W. Broad. (The missing zip code is 31701.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Montecito Cinema on Jul 6, 2022 at 1:03 am

Boxoffice of January 17, 1966 listed a new house for Blumenfeld Theatres under construction in the Montecito Plaza Shopping Center at San Rafael. The Montecito Plaza project was still under construction when Blumenfeld’s Northgate Theatre opened at another location in San Rafael on May 26, but it must have opened that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Northgate Theatre on Jul 6, 2022 at 12:21 am

An article about Blumenfeld’s Northgate Theatre appeared in the San Rafael Independent-Journal on May 25, 1966, the day before the house opened. Though a rather small house, at 460 seats, the Northgate was the first theater in the Marin County to feature 70mm projection. Architects for the project were William B. David & Associates.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Regal Theatre on Jul 5, 2022 at 6:51 am

The Rootsweb history page I cited in my earlier comment has a few problems, notably glaring omissions and a couple of egregious errors which call other information it contains into question. It turns out that the Regal Theatre was built in 1923, probably opened in early 1924, and it replaced a house (under the same ownership but with a different name) which had burned in early 1923. The site also got the owner’s name wrong. It was Bollinger, not Burlinger. The May 12, 1923 issue of Moving Picture World said:

“W. T. Bollinger, of Elvins, Mo., whose theatre was destroyed by fire several weeks ago, has perfected plans to open an airdome in Elvins early in May. He also plans to rebuild the Electric Theatre.”
I’ve been unable to discover if the Regal Theatre was built on the site of the burned Electric Theater. Mr. Bollinger’s recent opening of the new Regal was noted in the February 9, 1924 issue of MPW.