Vogue Theater

1203 Railroad Avenue,
Pittsburg, CA 94565

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stonemanscalvary
stonemanscalvary on January 13, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Thank you for the photo of the lobby of the Vogue in Pittsburg, California. I have no memory of the painting but I think I recall the carpet design. I think the photo is the part of the lobby as you turn the corner to your right. What you are seeing is the restroom entrance and the doors to the seats would be to your left. Unless this is the lobby from the street and the concession stand would be on the right. I was friends with the nephew of the cleaning crew and we used to go all over the building in the early morning hours. Even walk along the attic and pull the light pots to peer way down below to the seats. But I’ll never forget the oxy-acetylene torch and the damage it did to the carpeting. The thieves cut a large arc on the safe instead of picking the lock or drilling to throw the latch in the internals. But someone must know where a copy of the painting exists of the “Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse” which was on the lobby wall. The horsemen in this particular painting had no faces and the horses were fierce looking. It made quite an impresion on me. Pittsburg had Camp Stoneman and the barracks were converted to welfare housing complete with lice and cockroach infestation. An occasional live hand grenade would show up. The Pittsburg Corporation Yard kept an actual North American F-86 Sabre jet without wheels or wings with the intention of making an amusement ride out of it but that never came to fruition. During WW2 Stoneman’s soldiers daily marched down Harbor Street to the river docks where the troop ships awaited them. If you were a student attending either Village Elementary or Pittsburg High School and had to cross Harbor you had to do it before the troops marched as they weren’t stopping for nobody. The Stoneman the camp was named after is the same Stoneman mentioned in the song by The Band and the same Stoneman who was the 15th governor of California.

Kiddman32
Kiddman32 on March 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Just happened to be talking about this theater today with my mother… Why? Because she mentioned that my nephew’s church where he’s assistant pastor used to be an old theater in Pittsburg. Took me about 10 seconds to find the old theater’s name at this great website. :)

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on March 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Here’s a picture of the lobby: http://www.boxoffice.com/the_vault/issue_page?issue_id=1948-4-24&page_no=141#page_start

princeofprocrastination
princeofprocrastination on December 31, 2009 at 2:55 pm

What I was impressed most with in the Vogue theater in Pittsburg, California was the huge painting on the lobby wall called “The Horsemen Of The Apocalypse”. Artist unknown. I dropped in during the church’s renovation and it was gone. I used to roam around the Vogue when I was with the cleaning crew around 1964 and I saw the torch job done on the walk-in safe door and the damage the molten metal did to the carpet. At that time the Vogue was already deteriorating and was helped along by the destructive patrons. I’d rather rent a movie and stay home and watch it on my 32 inch lcd. The gang-bangers who loiter around the Brenden theater in Pittsburg and the destruction occuring inside the Brenden along with the loud youth and the candy throwing will soon drive everyone away.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 29, 2009 at 12:28 am

This 1914 photo shows an unidentified theater in Pittsburg:
http://tinyurl.com/cdxj3v

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 17, 2009 at 2:41 am

The Vogue Theatre in Pittsburg was opened by the Blumenfeld Circuit on February 20, 1948, according to Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of April 3 that year.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 23, 2008 at 11:31 pm

I guess that would help. Maybe they could put the h on the end of the city’s name as well.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 23, 2008 at 10:55 pm

The city council minutes in 2002 said 1210, but listings say 1203:

PENTECOSTALS OF THE BAY AREA, 925-439-9284
1203 RAILROAD AVENUE, PITTSBURG CA 94565

PENTECOSTALS OF THE BAY AREA, 925-439-3660
306 CENTRAL AVENUE, PITTSBURG CA 94565

UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH, 925-458-1106
293 ALVES LANE, PITTSBURG CA 94565

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 23, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Here is an undated photo of the church:
http://tinyurl.com/6xoylo

GaryParks
GaryParks on May 13, 2008 at 1:53 pm

The Vogue building has been completely renovated by the church. One can still tell by its general mass and proportions that it was a theater, but all original detail, save for some tall, slender arched gooves on the exterior of the projection room, has been obliterated with very typical cast neoclassical moldings and stucco. The marquee, sign tower, box office, and terrazzo are all gone. Many windows have been cut into the auditorium sidewalls.

robertgippy
robertgippy on March 21, 2007 at 11:30 am

The vogue theatre in Pittsburg is an exact duplication of the Lorenzo theatre in San Lorenzo. The only difference are the marquee and murals on the walls. The lobby, and auditorium design are exactly the same. The Vogue, was a beautiful theatre. However, it isn’t exactly in the best spot of Pittsburg, it is in a high crime neighborhood in the 70’s, I don’t know if there has been much improvement. I passed by a few years ago, and the marquee was gone and the front was completely whitewashed. It looked like the Victory Outreach was in at the time, but the building was well maintained. The Vogue, behind the theatre, had a parking lot, with a neon sign affixed on the wall “Vogue Parking Only”. The few times we were there, the theatre was well attended.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 18, 2007 at 12:35 pm

The church had some code violations a few years ago, according to these city council minutes in 2002:

Report on Status of the Rehabilitation Project at the Former Vogue Theater, 1210 Railroad Lane (Los Pentecostales Church) (Recommend Acceptance) The long-time building code violation at the old Vogue Theatre Building at 1210 Railroad Lane, now owned by the Los Pentecostales Del Area De La Bahia (the Church), is finally showing signs that the renovation will be completed in the near future. The City’s Building Division issued a building permit in June 2002 and work is continuing by a full crew of craftsmen and construction workers.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 18, 2007 at 12:31 pm

The architect was Alexander Cantin. The exact seating capacity was 1171. Here is a 1948 photo:
http://tinyurl.com/36hz84

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on December 13, 2006 at 2:24 pm

Some interesting updates since that article (from above post) was published in 1978:

The T&D in Oakland was demolished shortly after this article was written. It spent its last years as a twin screened porn house.

The Fox Oakland is undergoing restoration.

The Chabot in Castro Valley is operated by a small company called Cinelux. One of the few single-screeners left in the East Bay, it shows first-run fare.

The Grand Lake is still open as a 4-screener, showing first-run films.

The Paramount has a lot of live concerts & shows an occasional classic film.

The Showcase I & II in Fremont, after this article, became a disco for a while. It was eventually torn down & now a multi-story office building sits on the site.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 12, 2006 at 2:33 pm

Here are excerpts from a 1978 article from the Oakland Tribune about the Vogue and other Oakland theaters:

If New York’s Radio City Music Hall, with its gorgeous Rockettes, cannot make it these days, what can? Maybe the days of the huge, ornate downtown movie theaters are gone. That’s the picture in the Eastbay, in line with the New York trend. The Radio City Music Hall has been the showplace for movie extravaganzas, the Rockettes chorus line, the big bands, and stand-up comedians. Now the owners say the crowds are staying away.

What is happening in New York has already happened to many Eastbay theaters â€" and for much the same reasons: The flight to the suburbs, mushrooming of small neighborhood theaters,
television, the drive-ins, and changes in the way Hollywood merchandises its products. Some Eastbay theater operators today say they are barely making a living. Others say business is great; these are notably the chains which can out-bid small independents for Hollywood’s latest blockbuster. The ones who didn’t adjust their operations to the changing times have sunk into red ink.

The death roll of those that closed is long: The first exclusive cinema palace in Oakland was said to be the T & D (circa 1916) on llth Street between Broadway and Franklin Street. The building
now is deserted. In 1926, an even finer exhibition hall, the Grand Lake Theater, began operating at 3200 Grand Avenue, and it is still open. Also in the mid 20s, the old Orpheum abandoned its first site on 12th Street to take over the original Fox Oakland on Broadway near 19th Street, later naming it the Orpheum. A bank now stands on the site.

In 1928, the new Fox Oakland on Telegraph Avenue at 18th Street, the grandest of them all, seated 3,400 customers in plush and mysterious East Indian surroundings. The decor itself transported audiences even before the movie began. Today the Fox faces a precarious future, shut for several
years. The theater complex was sold recently to Mario and Erma Delucchi of Piedmont, who say they will entertain any ideas for preserving it.

The Paramount opened in 1931 at 2025 Broadway; one of the last great, movie palaces built in the United States. It flourished for four decades, then fell into disuse. It has since been revived and refurbished as the Paramount Theatre of the Arts and the home of the Oakland Symphony. It has also been designated a national historic landmark. Another early landmark, The Esquire Theater, was located at 17th Street and.San Pablo Avenue. Built in 1919 as the American
Theater, it became the Esquire in 1939 with a change of ownership and refurbishing of the 1,500-seat interior. The wrecking ball knocked it down in 1953.

What about the business today? “It’s a strange business and getting stranger,” says Jerry Toler, owner-operator of the Chabot Theater in Castro Valley. Toler admits he is a discouraged
man. “The small independent has low buying power,” he explained, predicting that soon a
lot of them will be forced to close. His theater is called a “sub-run house” and, as such, he
has to wait for others to show the big films first, then he gets them â€" perhaps a month later
or longer. “It puts us at a big disadvantage. The independents are fighting constantly to get pictures,” Toler said. Film companies control all that, he said, and it was one of the reasons his father, who operated the theater before him, sued the film companies. “Things got better for a while after the suit was settled out of court, but it didn’t last,” Toler said.

In Fremont, on the other hand, Doug Krutilak, one-time partner in the Showcase Cinemas I and II, thinks small theaters “can do very well” despite a drop in film audiences. He says there are about the same number of theaters in existence today as there were in the early ‘50s, but they are much smaller. Krutilak, who now manages a night club in Fremont, lost his lease in 1977 when Transcontinental Theaters decided to get out of the business. One of the theaters was converted to an amusement center; the other remains for daily specialty shows as part of the amusement center.

Joe Siino owns the Vogue Theater in Pittsburg. The theater was shut recently after Siino’s son, who helped his father, was injured in an auto accident. “We were doing all right and we plan to reopen,” said Siino. The big Vogue seats 1,061 and Siino says he practically filled the house on weekends.