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The Boston Sunday Herald of April 20, 2014 has a long feature article by Jed Gottlieb “Classic Cinema” about the 100th birthday of the Somerville Theatre in May. There is a nice color photo of a vintage car passing the theater entrance while Manager Ian Judge changes letters on the marquee from a stepladder. There is a classic film festival going on there now. On the theater’s birthday, May 11, there will be a show consisting of “The Wizard of Oz”, plus classic short subjects, plus live music and 3 acts of vaudeville. (Where in this day and age does one book vaude acts?)
Proctor’s Pleasure Palace is listed under NY in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. The building had 4 venues: Grand Auditorium, 2200 seats; German Concert Hall, 300 seats; Garden of Palms, 1000 seats; Roof Garden,950 seats. The Auditorium was on the ground floor.
They are well on the way to funding for digital, thanks to some benefit parties. They hope to install by the end of this year. They also hope to start showing 2 films simultaneously, using both auditoriums at once, something they now do not do. This info has been gleaned from Patriot-Ledger articles about their recent fund raiser.
I have heard that there was a huge, raging fire in Brant Rock about 1941 which destroyed several hundred buildings. Most of those were homes, but there were some commercial structures lost, too. I wonder if this fire impacted the theater building ??? Is the fire the reason that the MGM Theatre Report states that the theater was “rebuilt in 1941” ?
There was a brief item in the Quincy MA Patriot-Ledger yesterday that a program is underway to raise funds for the purchase of a digital projector for the Plimouth Cinema.
The Hogan Opera House was the only theater listed for Susquehanna in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Guide. 850 seats, ground floor, A. G. Doherty, Mgr. Tickets 25 cents to 50 cents. Electric illumination. The proscenium opening was 26 ‘ wide X 17 ’ high, and the stage was 40 feet deep. Professor Warner was the leader of the house band, 6 to 8 members. The 1897 population of Susquehanna was 10,000.
That’s the 1897-98 edition of the Cahn Guide.
The King OPera House in Greenville is listed in the 1987-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. Theater was on the ground floor and had 741 seats. J. O. Teagarden was Mgr. The proscenium opening was 26 feet wide X 24 feet high, and the stage was 36 feet deep. Tickets, 25 cents to $1. There was both a morning newspaper and an afternoon paper. 3 hotels for show folk: Beckham, Arcade, Park. Railroads: M-K-T, Cotton Belt, Texas Midland. The 1897 population of Greenville was 10,000.
jport – I didn’t know that Joe Cifre was connected to the Jimmy Fund, but it doesn’t surprise me, nor does it surprise me to learn that he was active in the Variety Club. I don’t know much about him, except as a boy theater-building hobbyist in the late-1940s and the 1950s, I recall seeing his name often in the Boston newspapers. He was an active man, and was considered an authority on Boston theaters. His company was the place to go to get theater equipment and supplies.
I drove by the building today and someone has made a colorful sign which says “21 Cottage Street” and placed it in the old movie poster frame outside. There is also a big dumpster which has been dropped next to the auditorium wall. I always get nervous when I see dumpsters next to old theater buildings.
The Star will be demolished soon. The building is considered unsafe and derelict. This news is from a Taunton newspaper and was referenced in a current THSA on-line newsletter.
CT member HankSykes tells me that he was looking through some boxes of old stuff in a storage area at the Cincinnati Public Library yesterday afternoon and came upon a program,in good condition, for the Tremont Theatre’s production of “No NO Nanette”. The latter was one of the great hit musicals of the 1920s and ran for 6 months at the Tremont Theatre about 1925. At the back of the program is mention of the theater’s “water curtain” which deploys in case of a fire on stage. I assume that they also had a regular fire safetly curtain (usually made of asbestos in those days). One can imagine the mess the water curtain must have made if it deployed accidentally. This water curtain apparatus and plumbing, plus the regular stage curtains, were all swept away in the late-1930s when the orchestra pit, stage floor and proscenium arch were removed so that the main floor seating could be extended forward into the stage area. (the Tremont seems to have stopped presenting live shows on stage after about 1930; films only.)
The Warr Theatre in the old postcard view of Main Street in Wareham is definitely the same theater as pictured on the June 1950 MGM Theatre Report. Some of the detail on the facade was removed by 1950. As for “Warr” vs. “Waugh”, Joe Vogel’s theory is probably correct, familiar as I am with Boston-area accents.
Has the Orpheum been repaired, refurbished inside recently? I note on local TV some ads for a “Sesame Street Live” show coming into the Orpheum soon. These childrens shows usually play at the Boston Opera House. If I was the parent or grandparent of a young child, the Orpheum is not exactly the first place to which I would want to take him/her. Unless they have spruced it up inside.
Another downtown Boston venue which was closed due to the new 1943 fire regulations was the Steinert Hall, a concert hall on Boylston Street just a short walk south of the Colonial Theatre entrance. Unlike the Bijou it was not demolished and is still there, intact. A short while ago the local TV news on either Channel 5 or Channel 7 featured a brief visit to the Hall. The camera panned around inside (all intact, somewhat shabby, seats removed)and made the point that it could reopen if suitable fire exits are created. Someone Who Was There was inside it recently and said that with the construction of the new State Transportation Building, the lay of the land at the rear of the Hall is now different and perhaps suitable fire exits could be created there.
The Paramount in Fort Fairfield is listed in the 1942-43 Motion Picture Almanac as part of the Mullin & Pinanski Circuit (M&P Theatres) of Boston MA, a Paramount affiliate.
There is no Page for this theater under Waltham MA in CT. Perhaps JBoschen can add it some time.
The Tabor Opera House in Leadville was one of the famous theater of the Old West. Horace Tabor and his wife Baby Doe Tabor were the subjects of an opera in the 1970-era, “Baby Doe”. (I’m going on memory here).
There is one roadshow theater listed for Leadville in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide: the Weston Opera House, 900 seats, run by A. S. Weston. Was that a new name for the Tabor Opera House? Unfortunately, there are no street addresses in the Guide. The Weston Opera House was one flight up from the street, had gas illumination; the proscenium opening was 20 feet wide X 16 feet high, and the stage was 35 feet deep.
The MGM Theatre Report for the Middleboro Theatre in Middleborough, dated 1941, states under Competing Theatres “None”. So this implies that the Key was closed when the report was written.
The Canton Citizen newspaper of Feb 18,2014 has an article in its “True Tales” series called “The Last Picture Show” by George T. Comeau. It’s about the Oriental Theatre. He says that it opened in 1918 as the Orpheum Theatre/ 600 seats; name later changed to Strand. It was closed and in unkempt condition when it was taken over by Fred McLennan. He says that the organ which Fred McL. installed was originally in the Community Theatre in Dedham. It had been sold to a church in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia from whence it was purchased and shipped back to the States.
Someone Who Was There tells me that the name of the State’s architect on the surviving blueprints is Funk & Wilcox, the firm which designed the Strand Theatre in the Uphams Corner section of Dorchester.
The LPF Studio Cinema at 296A Cabot Street in Beverly is still listed every week in the “Movie Guide” in the Boston Sunday Herald. It was listed there last Sunday, Feb 9th with the notation “Call theater for showtimes”.I take it that this is obsolete information which has been carried for over a year, if the cinema is closed!
susanbevere- The entrance and sign for Florence’s Sweet Shop can be seen in a black & white photo taken in April 1941 of the Burr Theatre for the MGM Theatre Report project. It’s in the archive of the Theatre Historical Society in Elmhurst IL. historictheatres.org. They can make a copy for you, but it’s expensive! It’s MGM Theatre Report Card # 182. If you can’t find a less expensive photo anywhere else, you can go to their website and send them a message. I have an old Xerox copy of the report, but the photo copied very poorly.
The Spring 2014 issue of “Classic Trains” Magazine has an aerial photo which was apparently made in the summer of 1953 (page54-55) showing the Rook Yard and engine terminal of the Pittsburgh & West Virginia RR. Various points of interest are labeled on the photo and one of them is the Greentree Drive-In which clearly shows near the bottom of the photo. The rear of the screen faced the intersection of Noblestown Road and Mansfield Rd. The entrance appears to be there also. The screen was directly across from the railroad locomotive roundhouse (demolished today). Rook Yard is still in active use and is said to be located 4 miles southwest of downtown Pittsburgh.
A few days ago I was driving compass-East on the Interstate (ex- Rt 128)in Braintree and looked over to my right at just the right moment and saw the huge Drive-in screen still standing, looking slightly ratty.