Comments from wsasser

Showing 1 - 25 of 135 comments

wsasser
wsasser commented about Fairfax Theatre on Oct 8, 2014 at 6:29 am

Per a story in the Sept/Oct issue of Pleasant Living Magazine, the Fairfax opened on April 16, 1928 and closed On Dec. 31, 1989. The first movie shown was “Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come” with Richard Barthelmess.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Jefferson Theatre on Sep 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Hey Stromley, many thanks, very nice. Helpful for my theater research.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Basie Theatre on Sep 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Local records indicate that the Lyric operated from 1919 to 1947 when it was renamed the Basie. The Basic was open into 1965 and was dismantled in 1966. I can remember the Basie in the early to mid-60s. It was a few blocks from the Langley which was the white theater in Hampton.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Palace Theater on Jul 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

I was able to go inside the Palace Theater this week. It is now a church and looks just about like it did in its day. The murals on the walls are gone replaced by paint and Bible verses, the upstairs lobby has been remodeled as well at the rest rooms but other than that it is much the same. They told me that the seats are about 90% original. The screen is gone but the stage is still there. They hold meetings there every Sunday. I am posting a photo of sitting in the lobby last week.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Firemen's Theatre on Jun 8, 2014 at 8:26 am

I ran across this in April 2014. It is just a couple of blocks from the Church that was used in High Noon with Gary Cooper. I was looking for the church and rode by this old theater – just a shell but still there.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Rappanna Theatre on Jun 8, 2014 at 8:12 am

Based on information in the Motion Picture Daily and local newspaper ads, the Theater operated from 1931 to 1982.

I have the opening ad dated Oct 16, 1931 and the last ad that I found featuring a film is dated Feb 11, 1982.

A March 4, 1982 story states that the interior of the theater was covered with soot when the furnace malfunctioned and that it would reopen when possible. I can find no record of it opening as a movie theater though I have been told that it operated as a venue for fund raisers and local plays for a while.

Quoting a news story- “The Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department upgraded its equipment. For years the company raised money by running the Rapanna Theater. In 1992, the company bought a $280,000 fire truck with proceeds from the theater and bingo.”

In Jan 1996, the theater building collapsed due to heavy snow and ice. It was demolished and now is an empty lot.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Vista Drive-In on Jun 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm

This theater operated under 3 different names as follows. Sources include the Southside Sentinel, the local newspaper in Urbanna, Va and the Motion Picture Daily publications

Middlesex Drive In – Grand Opening April 16, 1953 Middlesex Drive In – Closed on Oct 3, 1957

Midway Drive In – opened April 11, 1958 Midway Drive In – closed June 12, 1958

Middlesex Drive In – reopened July 24, 1958 Middlesex Drive In – last ad found Sept 25, 1958 Note- Motion Picture Daily shows open until 1960

Vista Drive In – opened July 15, 1965 Vista Drive In – last ad Oct 15, 1966 Note – No listings for this theater in the Motion Picture Daily

wsasser
wsasser commented about Lincoln Theatre on Feb 10, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Hey CharmainZoe, sorry for my misread. But a ton of thanks for the source, it has filled a big hole in my research. Are you familiar with the Motion Picture Daily Archives. Can get you there if you need to.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Lincoln Theatre on Feb 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Hey CharmainZoe, thanks for the update. The Newport News City Directory shows it for the first time in 1920 which would agree with 1919 since the Dir. generally trails a year. I have a June 1920 ad that shows the Lincoln being managed by William M. Moseley with E.C. Brown as President and General Manager which supports your post. However, there has never been, to my knowledge, a Dunbar in Newport News. There was a Dunbar across the water in Norfolk. Could you tell me where you got your information because it might serve me in my local research.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Jefferson Theatre on Nov 26, 2013 at 8:36 am

Hi Stromley, what a find. Could you scan it in and post it for us to see.

wsasser
wsasser commented about American Theater on Nov 2, 2013 at 4:53 am

Chuck1231, I do not know if the theater is able to show feature films or not. However, the only things that they advertise are plays and concerts. Have attended a few plays there. Will ask the next time that I am there. It is a very nice theater but I wish that it was still the Lee that I attended as a kid.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Paramount Theatre on Aug 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

According to local City Directories and historical books:

The Academy of Music operated from 1900 to 1927. It was demolished and rebuilt as the Paramount in 1931 and operated until 1978 when it closed due to a lack of business. A story about the opening of the Paramount in the Oct. 3, 1931 Daily Press states the seating as 1350.

The Paramount opened briefly for a short period but again business caused it to close it doors again. It operated from 1980 to 1981.

It was demolished in 1988. Elvis performed here in the 50’s. In the late 70s, it was a XXX theater.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Messick Theatre on Jun 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm

It appears that the Messick Theater on Poq. Ave opened for business on Dec. 3. 1931 as a part of the Scott chain that also owned the American in Phoebus and the Scott in Hampton. The American would later become the Lee, the Scott would later become the Langley.

There was a silent Messick that operated from about 1925 to 1930 at 6 Messick Road. It was condemned by the state to widen the road. Pottsie Martin, whose mother lived there, told me that the house was cut into and the back of the theater became the front of the house. His parents added a new back to the house and it is still there on Messick Road.

The Messick Theater closed in the early 70’s. The last listing that I found in the local newspaper was in June 1971 however the Poq. City Directory has a listing for the Messick as late as 1974, nothing after that.

The Messick Theater was remodeled into a private home and sits there today. It was up for auction a couple of weeks ago.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Capital Theatre on Apr 5, 2013 at 2:53 am

A Facebook comment from someone who grew up in Poquoson posted April 4, 2013

i remember the old capitol theater so well— they use to have compitions there also— i remember playing the piano in one of the compitations—needless to say i didnt t win—lol— but momma entered me inn it and told me practice girl —and i did— i remember some of the stories about the old Capitol Theater— and even after when it was the zipper factory— and also the man that murdered his wife and then came and parked behind d the theater and killed himself—-and yes they had air conditioning —lol— was a good place to go and so was the Messick theater— at least we had someplace to walk too on the friday and saturday evenings and sunday was strickly church— youth fellowship—its a lot of the stories and memories of both theaters but i mainly went to Messick Thester— just to see mr. bucher and see if he still had his ring on !!! lol—such good memories and sweet laughter !!!

wsasser
wsasser commented about Capital Theatre on Apr 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

I was given a copy of a Fire Report dated Nov 29, 1951 showing a major fire at this theater causing an estimated damage of $20K. The last ad that I found in the newspaper was dated just a couple of days later – none after that. Assume that it never reopened.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Imperial Theatre on Apr 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm

The original Imperial was opened in November 1924, closed in 1932 and was located on Duke of Gloucester Street in downtown Williamsburg before the restoration of the city. It sat approximately where the Kimball Theater sits today in Merchants Square.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Orpheum Theatre on Apr 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Previously the Colonial Theater (a black theater) operated at this same address from 1919-1929.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Messick Theatre on Apr 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

I got the following note from a Poq. native with memories of the Messick

The Messick Theater was located at 1279 Poquoson Avenue near Trinity United Methodist Church. It started out as home which was sold to A.D. Page, J.W. Rollins, and J.T. Rollins, trustees for the Charity Conclave Number 5, Heptasophs or Seven Wise Men for $50.00. It was sold by Littleton and Jannette Watkins on October 2, 1896. The Heptasophs sold the house to Linwood I. Burcher who then converted the building into the Messick Theatre. It had a half bricked front and tickets were bought from the front booth. Tickets cost 25 cents and a popcorn machine was located to the left after you entered the doors into the foyer. It also contained a staircase which led to the balcony and the projection room. It was sold again in June of 1974 to James Moore who bought the Theatre as an investment I know one of the movies shown during the second time was Dr. Zhivago.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Capital Theatre on Apr 2, 2013 at 7:44 am

I got the following note from a Poq. native who has memories of the Capital.

Capital Movie Theater located at 1022 Poquoson Avenue. When the Capital closed, it became a dress sewing factory. My mother worked there. Later became a Baptist church which burned down in 1992. Now located at the site is the St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church just down the street from the Poquoson Middle School which was Poquoson High School at the time. Not only movies were shown, but talent shows and country music acts such as Sunshine Sue were held. The first color movie I ever saw was at this theater and was “Sampson and Delilah” in the early 1950s. I also participated in the talent shows dancing with Field’s Dance Studio.

wsasser
wsasser commented about American Theater on Mar 27, 2013 at 5:35 am

I have removed a couple of posts with a bit of misinformation and am posting the following, which I think is accurate.

Per local records:

The American Theater at 119 E. Mellen Street in Phoebus opened in Jan.1909 and burned down in 1911/1912 per a Daily Press News story.

It opened again in 1912 and closed as the American in March 1932.

It opened a few days later in March 1932 as the Lee Theater and remained in business until 1968.

In May 1968, it became the Lee Adult Theater and remained in business as such until Oct 1984.

In Oct 1986, it opened as the New American and remained open until June 1996. It was a a theater that served meals along with the show and was operated by Smith & Wade, local entertainers.

In June 2000, it opened as the American, a cultural center operated by the Hampton Arts Center.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Warwick Theater on Mar 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I just posted a news photo from the local newspaper, Sept 3, 1981 showing the Warwick Theater being demolished.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Palisades Drive-In on Mar 21, 2013 at 11:23 am

Chuck1231, just noticed that you posted the car capacity. Can you tell me where that originated and the years that it shows it to be.. By the way, I can find no entry for this theater in the Motion Picture Daily which supposedly listed all the theaters up to 1970 or so.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Palisades Drive-In on Mar 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

Chuck1231, I just don’t think that the Palisades existed. I have newspaper ads for the last days of the Stockade that agree with their disappearing from the listings in the City Directory. I have the same for the B&L Drive In. There are no listings for the Palisades in the City Directory, old Phone Directories, or newspaper ads. Just cannot verify that it existed plus none of the folks that grew up in the area have any memory of this theater – nor do the folks at the local newspaper in Williamsburg.

wsasser
wsasser commented about Peninsula Community Theatre on Mar 17, 2013 at 11:00 am

http://www.pctlive.org/

wsasser
wsasser commented about Wythe Cinema on Mar 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Last ad found – not sure if this is last ad or not