Tyler Theater

Main Street,
Whitney Point, NY 13862

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THE MOVIES; Whitney Point, New York.

The Tyler Theater was built in 1920 by Andy Tyler. It operated until around 1925.

Contributed by Lou Rugani

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

adamghost on July 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm

After looking at the picture carefully, I believe the sign reads “Gas 27” (cents). If so, it would date the picture to the early days of automobiling and thus movies.

If the legend (as it reads on the eBay listing) originally read The Movies, Rogers House, Whitney Point" it might indicate the movie theatre was indeed the building next door. Another possibility is they were showing films in the ballroom of the hotel (assuming there was one). It does seem they were diversifying, but it looks like the sign was advertising gas, not film,and there’s no other outside indicator of where “the movies” were that I can discern.

adamghost on September 2, 2013 at 4:58 am

I have finally found a clue to explain the above photograph. It comes from a small item in the August 26, 1920 issue of the Binghamton Press.

“Andy Tyler started work on his new moving picture last week. It is being built on the lot just east of the Rogers house.”

This appears to confirm the theory that the building next to the Rogers House (to the left, or east towards the village) was Whitney Point’s first theater. It may possibly have been called a Hippodrome (based on a vague memory of research I did many years ago, which suggested the existence of two theaters in Whitney Point early on).

adamghost on September 2, 2013 at 5:10 am

As an addendum to the above, a recollection of research done 35 years ago just popped into my head, that in 1925 the town fathers ordered one of the two operating movie theaters in Whitney Point to close on the idea that the village could only sustain one. Without access to the old Whitney Point Reporter archives I cannot confirm this recollection, but I think this may have been the theater that was ordered to close, and the later Point Theater (whose location is still unknown) being the beneficiary of this decision.

adamghost on September 4, 2013 at 12:57 am

Hold the phone…further research reveals Whitney Point had an opera house that was in operation during this same period, and my recollection is further confirmed by a survey of the area from 1924 that states Whitney Point had “two opera houses” at that time. It makes more sense that the village fathers would ask the newer business to shut down.

adamghost on September 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm

And more confusing information: an item from a November 1931 DeRuyter paper states: “Carl Bird’s movie house at Whitney Point has gone out of business.” No idea where that fits, but chances are that is the same theater as this one.

adamghost on September 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm

We have a name! Per 1922 and 1924 issues of the Binghamton Press, this was named the Tyler Theater.

Interestingly, there is also mention of a Crescent Theater in Whitney Point in 1924, only one month after mention of the Tyler in the same newspaper. So presumably (though by no means certain) this was a short-term name for the opera house.

adamghost on September 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm

A 1926 article in the Press refers to “the” theater in Whitney Point, which may give credence to my vague childhood memory of finding an article about one the theaters being forced to close in 1925. Was the Carl Bird theater that went bust in 1931 a reopening of the Tyler? There are continuous references in the Press to an “opera house at Whitney Point” (only one of them apparently referring to the Tyler) from 1899 through 1936.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 17, 2014 at 12:22 am

The Tyler Theatre is listed in the 1926 and 1928 editions of the Film Daily Yearbook with 300 seats. In the 1929 Yearbook, a 300-seat house called the People’s Theatre is listed. The Crescent Theatre also appears in the Yearbooks from 1926 through 1929, though only in 1929 is its seating capacity given (500.)

The next few years are a bit complicated. Whitney Point is not in the Yearbooks for 1930 or 1931, but in 1932 there are three theaters listed: The Crescent, with 390 seats, the Tyler, with 250 seats, and the People’s Theatre, with 225 seats. Only the People’s Theatre is listed as open. In 1933, the first two houses are still listed as closed, but the People’s Theatre is not listed at all. The interesting thing is that the closed Crescent Theatre is now listed with 225 seats.

It seems possible that the Crescent Theatre moved into the building formerly occupied by the People’s Theatre in 1932, but was closed before the information was gathered for the 1933 Yearbook. The Crescent was listed as closed in 1935 and 1937, too, and Whitney Point did not appear in either the 1934 or 1936 Yearbooks.

Then in 1938, the Point Theatre appears for the first time, open, with 225 seats. It’s possible that this was the 225-seat former People’s and/or Crescent Theatre reopened under a new name. It’s also possible that the original Crescent, with 500 and then 390 seats, was the old Opera House, and the owners might have moved their operation to the smaller house during the lean times of the early depression. All this is speculation, of course, based on the changing seating capacities reported for the various theaters. The actual course of events, whatever it was, would have to be confirmed by other sources such as newspaper reports.

Also, note that the fact that a theater is listed as closed in the Yearbook doesn’t mean that it was closed that entire year. The Yearbook listed the status of a theater as of January 1, and information for each edition must have been gathered in the later part of the year preceding the publication date. In some cases, a theater might have closed for the winter and reopened later in the year.

lalainthelibrary on March 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I posted an image of the Binghamton Press article about the Tyler Theater being built. It is from this site: http://fultonhistory.com/

lalainthelibrary on March 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I have,also posted a much earlier photo of the Roger’s House with horse and carriage in front. In the 1950’s it was an apartment house. For a short while in the 1960’s it may have been an antique store. It was it was torn down as a derelict building in the 1960s.

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