Comments from dallasmovietheaters

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dallasmovietheaters commented about 8th Street Playhouse on Feb 8, 2016 at 1:04 am

The Film Guild Cinema launched February 1, 1929 with “Two Days.” It was conceptualized by Symon Gould – one of two people along with Michael Mindlin commonly cited for the art film movement shown in decidedly non-palatial diminutive theater – and architected by Frederick Kiesler. His sketches including the four screen concept is in photos. On May 14, 1930, the theatre changed to the Eighth Street Playhouse. It announced just one month later that it would usher in early experimental television as part of its programming mission.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Little Carnegie Theatre on Feb 7, 2016 at 11:03 am

Micahel Mindlin’s fledgling circuit of theaters were anti-palace and frowned upon Hollywood mainstream fare. Starting a small cinema, art movement, Mindlin’s most important stake in the ground was the Carnegie “Junior”. Though Mindlin had theaters in Brooklyn, Rochester and Buffalo, the Carnegie was the most high profile.

The modernity of the original Carnegie “junior” upon opening in 1928 was reflected in the architecture of Wolfgang Hoffman, decoration of Pola Hoffman, and staging and design from Beatrice D. Mindlin, the Carnegie was a place not only to watch a film but to dance, play bridge, chess and ping pong, and for some period have a cocktail.

But within a year, new controlling operators sacked Mindlin who also would exit his other locations. While the art cinema movement would eventually catch on, Mindlin’s control was no longer in evidence.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Elmwood Theatre on Feb 7, 2016 at 7:15 am

The $400,000 John W. Schladitz architected Queensboro was a very modest $400,000 theatre seating 2,012 at opening – 1,365 downstairs, 56 in the loge with the rest in the balcony. Schlalditz was said to have been trying to recreate a Spanish medieval castle with Italian influences popular in atmospheric theaters of the day. But murals throughout were Spanish landscapes and of the area. Silver ceiling had twinkling star effect. The Link 3-unit organ was installed for maximum versatility and demonstrated at opening in 1928. Scenic Studio and Novelty Scenic Studio both did great jobs in getting the stage and the rest of the house’s furnishing staged appropriately for impact at opening.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Towne Theatre on Feb 6, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Architects were T.H. and O.H. Williams, Utica-based architects OPerated by the Mohawk Valley Circuit — one of 14 theaters owned by William C. Smalley

dallasmovietheaters commented about Prospect Theatre on Feb 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm

A picture of T.W. Sharp in front of the Prospect is in photos.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Arcadia Theater on Feb 6, 2016 at 5:29 am

Opened Nov. 4, 1927, Saenger Amusement and Dent Theaters created the Arcadia to be an experimental workshop to perfect theater management skills. Built for just $95,000, the theatre put another 50% into equipment including top of the line Simplex projectors, Brenkert spotlights, dual-dissolving lantern projection for pre-show, and a large Renter 12-pipe organ with echo organ and a multitude of instruments.

The Mediterranean garden themed atmospheric interior was punctuated with six different colors of chairs (orchid, cafe-au-lait, green, Chinese Red, sky blue, desert sand and black) to add to its creative flair. Wrought iron was found everywhere from lighting fixtures to mirrors to poster frames to railing. The rustic tree stump sign out front was another quirky calling card supported by railroad ties and featuring a high-tech one-line scrolling text attractor.

The neighborhood Arcadia and Dent would get a plum when the Queen Theatre decided to discontinue a foray as Dallas' first theater to equip for Vitaphone. The management wasn’t pleased with the quality or the release schedule leaving the door open for another Vitaphone theater. When the downtown theater passed, the Arcadia became the Vitaphone theater. Its success would quickly be imitated by the all of the downtown palaces almost instantly except for the Queen.

Two fires would change the course of the original W. Scott Dunne look. One in 1940 leading to a new auditorium in 1941 and the final in 2006 leading to the demolition of the Arcadia.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Clifton Theatre on Feb 5, 2016 at 5:28 pm

This Clifton opened in 1911 and closed in 1919. Another Clifton Theatre in Chicago co-existed between 1909 and the start of 1917 at 3522 W. 26th St. close to the Homan Theatre. It was rebranded as the Little Bohemia Theatre briefly in 1917 and was closed. It has been demolished. A picture is in photos.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Capitol Theatre on Feb 5, 2016 at 12:52 pm

The Capitol Theatre launched February of 1928 in North Bund at the corner of what was 146 Museum at Soochow roads and now 146 Hu Qiu Lu Road at Suzhou Road S.

At 900-seats, the corner tower by architect C.H. Gonda left an impression outside and in. A space of that magnitude without obstructionist columns was a nice feat. The sculptures expressed harmony, grace and beauty as did wall figures. Long closed as a movie theater, the theatre was a place for night life becoming the New York, New York disco from 1994 to 1998. Empty in the 21st Century, a restoration project promised to return the palace to cinematreasure fresh.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Princess Theatre on Feb 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Opened in 1919, the Princess Theatre opened on Main Street. In 1927, owner B.D. Cockrill modernized the theater equipping it with a Page Unit Organ. The theater closed being outsurvived by the Castle Theatre which kept going into the 21st Century. The Princess was demolished.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Glebe Theatre on Feb 3, 2016 at 9:28 am

This Spanish Mission atmospheric theatre seated 900 at opening on November 16, 1928 in what was called the fast-growing Glebe neighborhood. With Wurlitzer organ, cloud and star projection on the arched ceiling, and high dollar Simplex projection, this was going to be a modern talkie palace. The theatre was P.J. Nolan’s third theater in Ottawa with the Rex and Columbia. But this was his first to be built for talking films. Ironically, the theater’s sound equipment was delayed and the advertising angle was lost on the opening silent film, “Dress Parade.” Silents would run until March of 1929 when the equipment finally arrived.

P.J.’s son, P. Ambrose Nolan was the original manager and did a full-page tie-up with record stores upon the arrival of sound offering free tickets to anyone purchasing the soundtrack song from the first talking feature there, “Little Mother.” Why this film? Because the song’s title was, “Avalon Town” the name of the theatre. It would be known informally as the Glebe for Henry Neunin who took on the theater on a ten-year lease March of 1936. After closing for a retrofit and officially becoming the Glebe Theatre for Cineplex Odeon Circuit, the theatre had its final operator beginning on August 22, 1947.

Cineplex decided to let its ten-year lease lapse closing in 1956. Morton Motors took on the facility transforming into a Volkswagen launching March 8, 1957.

dallasmovietheaters commented about American Theatre on Feb 2, 2016 at 8:55 am

Grand opening ad from the original American Theatre December 27, 1909 is posted in pictures. Operator L.J. Herron had motion pictures at the outset mixed in with “clean” vaudeville including a magnet performer who performed healing on opening night. They celebrated the 40th anniversary on Dec. 27, 1949 but there would be no 41st for the original American.

A $200,000 fire on May 24, 1950 destroyed the theatre. It was rebuilt using architect Michael J. DeAngelis’s work and the grand opening ad for the “new” American was on March 17, 1951 is also posted in photos. It wouldn’t reach 50 years torn down in 1999 as the last of the operating movie theaters in downtown E-L

dallasmovietheaters commented about Movie House on Feb 2, 2016 at 3:16 am

Circleville auto dealer Harry E. Clifton opened the $100,000 Spanish motif, 800-seat Cliftona Theatre in 1928. Harry Holbrook of Columbus architected the project that was constructed by Van Gundy-Beck 3,500 people answered a call for the theater’s name and one of the seven who chose “Cliftona” got $10 in gold. A Robert Morgan pipe organ was there at the grand opening on October 11, 1928 with “Oh Kay”. Just three years into the operation, Clifton sold to a circuit with operations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The theatre announced its closure in 1971 but was taken over and renamed the Cinema Theatre that year. Operated by the Teicher Circuit for years as Cinema Theatre and simply The Cinema.

Changing finally to the Movie House, owner John Rankin closed the two-screen operation – a small screen called “The Screening Club” and the larger screen — in February of 2013 when the theatre couldn’t afford to changed over to digital presentation.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Biltmore Theatre on Feb 1, 2016 at 4:36 am

Wings (5 months), Ben Hur (3.5 months), Simba, Show Boat (with stars doing live prologue for multiple appearances), South Sea Adventures, and Broadway (world premiere) were among the huge film successes for the Biltmore Theater. “The Godless Girl” premiered with Cecil B. DeMille and his cast on hand. The combination of films interspersed with live productions proved challenging when live shows had to continually be pushed back to accommodate popular film runs. And underachievers could cause problems in the other direction so the film concept was discontinued early on.

Legitimate fare was the Biltmore’s bread and butter including the live show “Cocoanuts” starring the Marx Brothers and “Diamond Lil” with Mae West. “Sally” launched the Biltmore March 3, 1924 with Will Rogers as the emcee and Al Jolson singing “Mammy” prior to the main show. “Enter Laughing” with Alan Arkin and Yvonne DeCarlo ended the run of the Biltmore on April 25, 1964. The theater’s demise was expected as early as the 1950s when television and population shifts took its toll. The parking lot operator that bought the theater in 1960 said taxes would do in the theater as the theater would struggle to make its nut over the final three years closing our a forty-year run. Not bad!

dallasmovietheaters commented about Gonzalez Cinematograph on Jan 31, 2016 at 6:56 am

Teatro Prado was on the corner of Trocadero Street and the Paseo del Prado in Havana, two blocks from the site of the Alhmabra, was also known as Gran Teatro Prado.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Seville Theatre on Jan 31, 2016 at 3:30 am

D.J. Crighton architected the atmospheric Seville. Crighton admitted that the neighborhood house of 1,200 would be modest on the exterior for cost purposes and he’d concentrate on the interior. He would create a weathered atmospheric Old Spain look on the inside with weatherbeaten walls and weathered ornamental iron.

It was the 14th theater in the United Amusements Circuit and made such a splash that other area theaters followed in the atmospheric footprint even outside of the main downtown areas. Patrons were greeted with water splashing over rocks and — as a second-run family theatre — children were entertained by the curious live fish and caged canaries nearby. Passing into the auditorium through the majestic grand entryway revealed a Spanish villa. Here, Crighton said the Seville would focus on the villa’s setting and de-emphasize a stage or live presentation. The show was in the sidewalls and ceiling and day and passing clouds turned to nighttime and stars. The theatre was a charmer.

In the TV era, second-run houses were under pressure and the theater added live pop shows. But the Seville could have changed its name to The Sound of Music Theatre when the family-oriented theater scored a huge film hit with that title playing nealry two years. The theatre also enjoyed success as a rep house running right up to the home video era. By then, its heyday was well behind it ultimately closing and being removed from the cityscape. Here, its modest exterior didn’t help keep it as other theaters which did survive.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Plaza Theater on Jan 31, 2016 at 2:24 am

Trivia: Edward Tanner and Boller Brothers won the coveted Architectural League’s coveted Best Architectural Award in 1928 for the Country Club Plaza housing this theatre with its 100' high tower.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Richmond Playhouse Auditorium From The Balcony on Jan 30, 2016 at 6:06 am

That’s the Richmond in 1929 (not 1914) as the theatre was remodeled by Harry A. Brandt equipping it with sound. A look at the “1914” Richmond is posted elsewhere in photos.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Columbia Music Arena on Jan 30, 2016 at 5:33 am

Victor A. Rigaumont did the 1929 sound transformation that also modernized the theater’s auditorium. He said, “The Columbia Theatre in Portsmouth was remodeled under my supervision by Schine Enterprises Circuit…”

dallasmovietheaters commented about Capitol Theatre on Jan 28, 2016 at 3:17 pm

The Capitol Theatre opened in 1918. It was run by the Hoffman Brothers Circuit In 1928, the theater switched to Vitaphone sound and would be operated by Warner Bros. The theater closed after a major fire in 1942. It’s likely that War material shortages hampered any quick fix to bring the theater back quickly.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Boulevard Theatre on Jan 28, 2016 at 2:20 am

Opened in 1928 as the Braverman Theatre and was dubbed the Boulevard Theatre shortly thereafter for Salasin & Freed. In 1937, architect Victor A. Rigaumont reimagined the theatre for the Warner Bros. Circuit reopening that November.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Lyric Theater on Jan 27, 2016 at 6:04 am

Grand opening was February 25, 1926, the seventh theater for operators Max Lefkowich and Abraham Polster – three downtown and this being the fourth neighborhood house. It was not to be confused with the original Lyric which was at Bolivar and 9th just across the street where the Cleveland Indians stadium was in the 21st Century. The $200,000 New Lyric had 1,200 seats at opening. The pair fulfilled a 20-year leased and moved on. The last show ran its final showing July 21, 1962 of “Thunder Road” and “The Big Country.” Had a nice run as the Masonic Temple with events to the public including crafts shows over the next three decades.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Main Street Theatre on Jan 26, 2016 at 11:56 am

Sorry…. the location of the Habit was 120 N. Vermilion and was 1914-6 as stated above. It then had life as the Midway Theatre in 1916/7.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Louisiana Theatre on Jan 26, 2016 at 9:14 am

A shot of the theatre at opening in May 1913 by P.E. Coe is in photos.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Loyal Theatre on Jan 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm

J.J. Lyon built the Majestic Rooftop Theater in 1912 seating 265 at the site of a former church. The Majestic Theatre was also created there opening in 1913 with lots of seats (original seat count is listed at 1,800). The Big Three Corporation — operators of the Garden, University, Pictorium and Seventh Ave. Theatre among their seven theaters at the time operate it for much of the decade before divesting their operation. The Braddon Amusement Circuit took on the theatre next and one of the few claims to fame for the Majestic was housing a radio transmitter for radio telephony that hit experimenter’s radios in Washington Heights just prior to commercial radio taking off in the U.S. It existed alongside the rooftop theatre.

Jaydo takes on the theatre transitioning it to sound and also its Gem from silent into sound theatre. Jaydo sells the struggling theater to Fairdeal Enterprises which leads to a lawsuit in 1936 of little consequence other than the holding of the Majestic passing to Springer & Cocalis' Spraco Corp. It is that circuit which changes the name to the Loyal Theatre in 1937. But patrons aren’t loyal and the theater ceases in 1941. The auditorium is gutted and the 1493 St. Nicholas facility is converted into the Palace Bowling Center launching in 1942. Though ending this addresses' cinema exhibition, Architect William L. Hohouser’s conversion project makes the national magazine, Lighting, among others as a creative transformation of a faded cinema locale.

dallasmovietheaters commented about City Hall Theatre on Jan 25, 2016 at 5:55 am

Launched September 30, 1916, the $100,000 City Hall Theatre was the Reliable Theatre Circuit’s attempt to convey Old New York from large interior hand-painted murals and large photos to portray a NYC from bygone days. The rationale was simple: the City Hall was replacing a 2,700 seat class often identified as the city’s first theater and the Ambush Co. delivered the decoration of the space. Louis Steinhart’s frame of brick and steel housed solid copper doors, ornate glass transoms for ventilation, and ivory and gold chandeliers. It was said to be designed as a downtown mini-Strand with just 520 seats.

Patrons enjoyed the Kimball Orchestral Organ prior to showtime and then projection by Powers 6B projectors. David Weinstock was the original manager. Open from 9:30a and last admittance at 11p daily came with a cost – 15 cents, a bit steeper than the 10 cent theaters of its day. Picture at opening in photos.