Comments from Will Dunklin

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Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about New Eagle Theatre on Dec 21, 2018 at 8:29 am

The Wurlitzer records show a tiny 3-rank organ sold to the Eagle in August 1926. For an 800+ seat theatre that must have been about as effective as a – well, let’s not get into vulgarities. It does push the opening date back a little. The castellated architectural style popular at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries and the name Eagle, suggest the possibility that this was a fraternal hall re-purposed into a commercial theatre. Maybe?

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Landers - Springfield, MO on Dec 21, 2018 at 5:36 am

Faux gas lights, hanging on chains. One smiles.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Grand Theatre on Oct 27, 2018 at 11:10 am

The Wurlitzer records show that the Grand Theatre purchased a model 140 pipe organ in October 1928. It was a tiny instrument of only 4 ranks and a “straight rail” console rather than the more familiar horse-shoe console associated with theatre organs. At an unspecified date, it was relocated to Neil Avenue Methodist Church, Columbus Ohio, which closed in 1995. Fate and location of the organ is unknown.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Scoop Theatre on Aug 28, 2018 at 6:58 pm

Here’s another mention of the Walnut Street Theater from The Moving Picture World, this time May 15, 1915:

TOUGHS RIOT IN LOBBY Louisville’s Walnut Street Theatre Employees have Tussle with Gang of Roughs Who Attempt to Get in Without Payment – Assistant Operator Shot in the Leg Trying to Wrest Revolver from Gangster Who Had Fired at Him.

The Walnut theater, on Walnut street, between Forth and Fifth, got into the limelight when a gang of young toughs undertook to pass the doorkeeper without paying at the box office. The trouble occurred on Sunday night, April 25 (1915, ed.) According to employees of the theater a number of boys appeared in the lobby and made themselves disagreeable. They were ordered off the premises, but later returned with a gang which claimed that it was going to clean out the theater. The doorkeeper and two or three other employees called for police aid, but before the latter could arrive the trouble started. The employees of the theater were forced to chase the gang out, and some of the latter who happened to be armed started shooting as soon as an alley was reached. A bullet passed through the clothing of Thomas Newman, one of the theater employees. Leroy Nichols, 15 years old, opened fire on Whiteford Volles, 17 years old, assistant operator at the Walnut. Four shots failed to take effect, and Volles grappled with the boy doing the shooting. In the scrap that ensued Nichols discharged the gun into his own leg, and was removed to a drug store and later to the hospital. The police at last arrived and captured a few of the youngsters, who were taken to the Juvenile Court on Monday. Very few of the patrons of the theater became aware of the disturbance, although it caused a good deal of excitement on the streets. Trouble has been experience on one of the two occasions at the suburban theaters by young hoodlums, but his is one of the first cases in the downtown district.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Capitol Theater on Aug 28, 2018 at 6:38 pm

From “The Moving Picture World” May 15, 1915: The New Empire Theater, Winchester, VA., was built through the public spirit of W.H. Baker, the noted chocolate manufacturer, at a cost of $50.000, and is evidence of his broad interest in the welfare of his home town. The house was designed by J. Henkel Henry, vice-president and secretary of the Empire Amusement Corporation of Winchester, lessees of the structure. The work of construction was personally supervised by Mr. Henry.

Before entering the picture business, Mr. Henry owned and successfully managed a skating rink on the site of the Empire. When the skating rage decreased, the rink was converted into a picture and vaudeville house, which Mr. Henry conducted up to about two years ago, when the structure was destroyed by fire. The Empire was then erected upon the site, and it is one of the finest theaters of its kind for a town the size of Winchester.

The stage is fully equipped and can handle the largest traveling show, it being 35 feet deep, 60 feet across and 60 feet to the gridiron. in the dressing rooms there is hot and cold water, and gas as well as electricity. Each room is well ventilated. The Empire is among the first theaters to use the automatic sprinkler system. The drop curtain is asbestos.

The booth is unconventional in shape; it resembles in appearance a small cottage. The port holes of the booth have been banked and painted so that they bear a similitude to real cottage windows. The roof is gabled, and the flue running to the roof of the theater proper carrying off the heat looks like a chimney and accentuates the illusion of the booth being a cottage. The operating room is practically fireproof. The exterior is pebble dashed. It is fitted with all conveniences.

The indirect lighting system is used. The floors are carpeted, and the walls and ceilings are adorned with rich frescoes. The most attractive painting is directly over the proscenium arch and represents the people of Winchester appealing to George Washington for the protection against the Indians.

The Empire was dedicated Christmas Day, 1913, and has been making considerable profit since that date under its efficient management. The admission prices are usually 10 and 20 cents. The better class of road shows and vaudeville are run intermittently, but pictures are the principal form of amusement.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Ritz Theater on Aug 28, 2018 at 6:08 pm

There are Sanborn maps on line for Memphis TX for 1908, 1914, 1920, 1924 and 1931. None show a theatre on Noel Street, which narrows the Ritz’s construction date a little.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Texas Theater on Aug 28, 2018 at 6:01 pm

The 1914 and 1920 Memphis Texas Sanborn maps show an unnamed cinema at 613 Main Street. It is indicated as being 1 story, 16 tall, but is a half-block deep. These same maps show 611 Main Street as a tiny frame building.

In the 1924 Sanborn Map, 613 is auto sales and service. The little frame building at 611 is still in use as a retail space.

The 1931 Sanborn shows 613 is still auto sales but 611 is now a half-block long cinema, 1 story, 16 feet tall.

These same maps also show a cinema at 507 Main Street, slightly wider and taller which I suspect is the Princess Theater. Moving Picture World magazine for June 12, 1915 describes that theatre as being “2 stories tall” which is the same information seen on the Sanborn map.

This is the long way around to a hypothesis that The Texas was built sometime between 1924 and 1931.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Majestic Theatre on Jul 17, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Apparently the Barton organ was sold to the Emmanuel Evangelical United Brethren Church, in Appleton, and though rebuilt and moved, remains there and in use.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Appleton Theater on Jul 17, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Moving Picture World March 11, 1922 page 216

“Appleton, Wis. Theatre Installs Barton Organ”

“F.W. Fisher who owns a string of theatres comprising the cites of LaSalle, Ill., Kewanee, Ill., and Madison, Wis., recently purchased the Grand Opera House building in Appleton, Wis. Dan Barton of Bartola Musical Instruments Co. has personally laid out an organ installation for him which promises to be one of the finest in the state. A large model Barton organ will be installed in the proscenium. The instrument will have a special instrumentation which will provide all orchestral effects.Mr. Fisher’s entire circuit of theatres is equipped with Barton Musical Instruments.”

The hyperbole is charming as the Barton organ installed here was 2 manuals, 9 ranks, very much a comfortable, modest organ as theatre organs went. And as with most theatre organs, it apparently went as soon as talkies came along.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Queen Theatre on Jul 4, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Snow White with Marguerite Clark in the title role opened nationally on December 25, 1916. It would have gotten to Knoxville later that winter. Note the people in the photo are in winter attire.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Queen Theatre on Jul 4, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Tim, Replying to your post on July 31 2010. Notice on the link, the film at the Riviera is “The Bedroom Window” which IMDB lists as opened in June 1924 starring May McAvoy and Malcolm McGregor. Showing at the Queen is the 1923 western “The Fighting Strain” staring Neal Hart, written by Neal Hart, directed by Neal Hart, titles by Neal Hart, executive producer was (3 guesses!) Neal Hart.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Palace Theatre on Nov 14, 2017 at 7:38 pm

At the 1921 opening there was a II/10 Moller pipe organ to accompany the silent pictures. While Loews was spending a lot of money on new buildings just after World War I, they skimped on their organs, buying Mollers instead of the more expensive makes. In larger markets many of Loew’s Mollers were replaced after just a few years. Here in Athens it seems the Moller survived to the sound era, at which point Loews fired all their organists and left to the organs to the mice. There is no record of what became of this one but it would not be unusual if it went to the landfill.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Lobby and concessions with original terrazzo floor on Jul 8, 2017 at 7:05 pm

The restored lobby looks excellent! My memory of that space (1960s and ‘70s) was that there was always a row of stanchions and velvet ropes down the middle to separate entering and exiting customers with the terrazzo pattern indicating the direction of travel.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Lyric Theatre on Jun 20, 2017 at 3:04 pm

From Motion Picture World, August 7, 1915: “Ben Johnson, the new manager at the Gilbert Theatre at Beatrice, has purchased a new pipe organ. He has closed his Lyric theatre in Beatrice in order to devote all his time to the new acquisition.”

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Gilbert Theatre on Jun 20, 2017 at 3:02 pm

From Motion Picture World, August 7, 1915: “Ben Johnson, the new manager at the Gilbert Theatre at Beatrice, has purchased a new pipe organ. He has closed his Lyric theatre in Beatrice in order to devote all his time to the new acquisition.” If he was investing in an organ it suggests he had begun or was about to begin showing films.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Ohio Theatre on Jun 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Motion Picture World, June 7 1919, page 1515

INDIANAPOLIS' OHIO WILL COST $75,000

The New House Will Seat 1,300 Patrons and Is Expected To Be Completed in Ninety Days

PLANS for a handsome new motion picture theatre, to be erected at 42 and 44 “West Ohio street, Indianapolis, have been announced this week by David A. Coulter, secretary-treasurer of the Ohio Building Company, of Indianapolis. The new structure, which Mr. Coulter estimates will cost in the neighborhood of $75,000, will be known as the Ohio. John R. Welch Is President. The Ohio Building Company, recently organized, has been incorporated under the laws of Indiana with a capital stock of $100,000. The officers of the company are John R. "Welch, of Indianapolis, president; Frank J. Rembusch, of Shelbyville, Ind., vice-president, and David A. Coulter, secretary and treasurer. The company has just obtained a forty-nine year lease on the buildings now standing on the proposed site.

The theatre will have a frontage of 44 feet 3 Inches and will have a depth of 202 feet 6 inches. It will be constructed of reinforced concrete and steel and under the terms of the contract is to be completed in ninety days. It will seat between 1,200 and 1,300 people, 800 of whom can be accommodated in the orchestra. Lobby Will Be Distinctive Feature. The distinctive feature of the theatre will be a large lobby which is to have a depth from the theatre entrance to the auditorium of forty-three feet, and is to be thirty feet wide. The purpose in providing this much room is to overcome congestion. The plans for the first floor reveal an attractively decorated interior. There will be one center aisle with seats flanking on each side, and a mezzanine floor with lounge and ladies' rest rooms. The mezzanine floor will have an opening that will afford a view of the main auditorium. Stairs will lead to a third floor, which will be used as a balcony. Rembusch Prominent in Management. The interior of the theatre will be finished in large, plain panel walls with marble tile wainscotings and two decorative boxes will be built on each side of the stage. These boxes, when not used for seating purposes, can be used for the staging of small vaudeville entertainments. Frank Rembusch, vice president of the Ohio Company, is one of Indiana’s leading picture showmen. He has gained a national reputation for enterprise.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Southern Theater on Jun 19, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Motion Picture World, June 21, 1919, page 1808

A. J. KAVANAGH IS ONE GRAND HUSTLER / Dakota Man Takes Over a Minneapolis Theatre While His New Grand Forks House Is Building

A J. KAVANAGH, exhibitor of Grand Forks and Jamestown, N. D., has taken over the lease of the Southern Theatre, at Seven Corners, in Minneapolis, and will begin the operation of this house July 1. Mr. Kavanagh plans to renovate the theatre and place it in first class condition. He stopped over in Minneapolis recently while en route to North Dakota from Chicago, where he purchased a new $8,000 pipe organ for the new picture house he is building at Grand Forks to replace his old Grand Theatre, which was burned to the ground. Construction of the new theatre is now under way at Grand Forks, and it is to be completed by October 1. The house, which will cost at least $80,000, will have a fifty-five foot front and a depth of one hundred and twenty-five feet. It will be a fireproof, concrete, brick and tile structure, larger than concrete, brick and tile structure, larger than any present picture theatre in the state.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Empire Arts Center on Jun 19, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Motion Picture World, June 21, 1919, page 1808

A. J. KAVANAGH IS ONE GRAND HUSTLER / Dakota Man Takes Over a Minneapolis Theatre While His New Grand Forks House Is Building

A J. KAVANAGH, exhibitor of Grand Forks and Jamestown, N. D., has taken over the lease of the Southern Theatre, at Seven Corners, in Minneapolis, and will begin the operation of this house July 1. Mr. Kavanagh plans to renovate the theatre and place it in first class condition. He stopped over in Minneapolis recently while en route to North Dakota from Chicago, where he purchased a new $8,000 pipe organ for the new picture house he is building at Grand Forks to replace his old Grand Theatre, which was burned to the ground. Construction of the new theatre is now under way at Grand Forks, and it is to be completed by October 1. The house, which will cost at least $80,000, will have a fifty-five foot front and a depth of one hundred and twenty-five feet. It will be a fireproof, concrete, brick and tile structure, larger than any present picture theatre in the state.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Majestic Theatre on Apr 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Motion Picture World, February 2, 1918 page 705 has several paragraphs about the new Majestic, which pushes the construction date back to about 1917. It mentions the white terracotta facade (consistent with the photo above) and lists the seating capacity as 1100 upholstered seats on the main floor and 950 wicker seats in the loges, though, confusingly, it says “there is no balcony.” The owner is listed as J.F. Higgins. The organ is listed as a Barkoff, a company utterly not associated with theatre organs.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Cozy Theatre on Apr 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Motion Picture World, January 26, 1918, page 556 has several paragraphs describing upcoming, extensive renovations planned for the Palms Theatre 136-138 N Illinois Street.

“Edward G. Sourbier…owner of the Palms, has announced that the new arrangement will increase the seating capacity from 300 to 650…” It describes how the wall behind the screen will be taken down and the building extended by 40 feet.

The article goes on to mention that a new Wurlitzer organ will be installed, but the Wurlitzer lists do not show that they sold an organ in Indianpolis until 1922 and that was for the Circle Theatre.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Music Box Theatre on Apr 29, 2017 at 12:44 pm

The People’s Theatre, Portland Oregan is mentioned in Motion Picture World, February 2, 1918, page 714, saying the theatre “will have a new organ, a real one this time, with lots of reeds and everything that a first-class organ should have. It is a Robert-Morton instrument and is being built and installed by the American Foto-Player Company.”

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about VIC Theatre; Chicago, Illinois. on Nov 4, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Duplicate entry. See the I.D. 341

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Plaza Theatre on Jun 3, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Reportedly got a new Kimball pipe organ in 1922 and the name is listed as the “New Plaza Theatre”– which suggests the hall had a facelift that year.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about Miller Theatre on May 14, 2016 at 3:12 pm

May 12, 2016 article in the Augusta Chronicle reports a $50,000 grant for restoration purposes. http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2016-05-12/miller-theater-project-receives-50000-grant#

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin commented about San Fernando Theater on Apr 26, 2016 at 6:31 pm

The Cody had Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 834, style D, II/6. The most common of all the Wurlitzer organs. The “D” and its variants were their most popular model. #834 was shipped to the Cody on May 27, 1924. This version of the “D” was a single chamber model, as opposed to the “stereo” installations where parts of the organ flanked both sides of the proscenium. Its fate unknown, but likely destroyed.