Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Wheeling Twin Drive-In on Aug 31, 2022 at 11:14 am

davidcoppock: The owners of M&R Amusements were Ray Marks and Martin and Richard Rosenfeld.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Franklin Theatre on Aug 31, 2022 at 7:42 am

An article in the April 7, 2010 issue of the Williamson Herald said that the Franklin Theatre was built in 1937. The original seating capacity was 725. Plans for the LEED-certified renovation and expansion in 2010-2011 were by the Nashville firm Hastings Architecture Associates, with the lead architect on the project being Chuck Gannaway.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Dixie Theatre on Aug 31, 2022 at 4:38 am

The Dixie operated in two different locations in the 1910s. The opening of the second Dixie was noted in this item from a June, 1914 issue of Moving Picture World:

“The Dixie Theater Company, of Russellville, Ky., according to Manager George B. Edwards, will be ready to open on June 25. This house is a great deal larger than the old Dixie theater and has about double the seating capacity. The first pictures to be shown in the new house will be Paul Rainey’s ‘African Pictures.’”
A later issue of the same journal had more to say about the new house:
“Arthur Mitchell, the popular manager of the Dixie theater, of Russellville, Ky., is striving hard to give his patrons the best to be had in the moving picture line. He recently ran the ‘Adventures of Kathleen’ in his new house. This house has been fitted up with electrical fans and made commodious in every way. The last installment was a seven-piece orchestra which furnishes music on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. The orchestra has become very popular and the house has been packed on the musical nights- It is more than probable that its use will be continued.”
Arthur Mitchell continued to operate the Dixie for more than a decade, contributing capsule movie reviews to MPW and its successors through the 1920s and at least as late as 1930. By 1941, there was an R. T. Mitchell operating the Dixie, Perhaps Arthur’s son, who was mentioned in the July 9 issue of Film Daily as a witness in an anti-trust case, testifying about attempts by the Crescent Amusement Company, beginning in 1935, to take control of the Dixie, the chain threatening to build a competing house in Russellville if Mitchell didn’t sell to them.

I’ve been unable to find the addresses of either location of the Dixie, but an item posted on the web site of The Logan Journal on November 29, 2015, mentions the second Dixie in passing and says that it was located on E. 4th Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Harvard Theatre on Aug 29, 2022 at 5:00 am

The only theater name connected with Harvard that I’ve found in the trade journals from the 1920s is the Lyric, mentioned in Moving Picture World in February and March, 1924, when it was renamed Paramount. The Paramount is listed in the 1926, 1927 and 1928 editions of Film Daily Year Book, and the Harvard Theatre first appears in the 1928 edition, after which it is the only house listed. It might be that the Lyric was the proposed house mentioned in the September 8, 1923 MPW item datelined Harvard which said “E. M. Fetterman plans to erect moving picture theatre here.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about El Capitan Theatre on Aug 28, 2022 at 4:02 am

Plans to build the El Capitan Theatre were noted in Boxoffice as early as the issue of January 15, 1949, which said that El Rio Theatre owners John Marhege and Phillip Fidel would begin construction on a site in the new Riverside business section being developed by C. H. Yates. The original plans called for a steel and concrete block building in the Pueblo style with a seating capacity of 500.

Though construction was to start by January 20, the next mention of the project in Boxoffice did not appear until the issue of April 9, 1949, which described plans for a Quonset hut building with the theater and an adjacent 12-lane bowling alley. This item said that construction was underway. The house was to have 450-500 seats.

As the El Capitan did not open until 1951, and ended up with only 130 seats, plans were obviously changed drastically. Both Boxoffice items attributed the design of the theater to architect Leo J. Wolgamood, but I’ve been unable to discover if he stuck around to design the much diminished theater that was ultimately built.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about America Stadium Theatre on Aug 27, 2022 at 4:01 pm

The re-opening of the American Theatre (I don’t know if American was a mistake or if the theater was actually called that for a time) was noted in the September 23, 1950 issue of Boxoffice. The house had undergone a $75,000 remodeling. New seats, carpeting, lighting and stage drapes had been installed, along with a new foyer and new restrooms. Seating capacity had been increased from 808 to 822. Outside, a new marquee had been installed on the updated façade. The house was owned by the local Rialto Theatres company, but among the guests at the opening was Charles P. Skouras, president of the National Theatres company.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about SCERA Showhouse on Aug 27, 2022 at 3:51 pm

The September 3, 1950 issue of Boxoffice had a brief item noting that the publicly-owned Scera Theatre in Orem, Utah, had recently reopened following an extensive remodeling for its ninth anniversary. Improvements included plush carpeting, chandeliers, and a display of tropical plants. Profits from the theater, which was run by a nine-member board elected by the community, with three members elected to three-year terms each year, were used to finance public events and the development of public recreational facilities.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about McLean Theatre on Aug 27, 2022 at 11:12 am

This item is from the January 19, 1967 issue of the Wallowa County Chieftain: “Purchase of the McLean Theater building in Wallowa was authorized by the Wallowa Grange on Friday evening and work will begin soon to convert the building into a modern hall for the Wallowa Grange.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alberta Theater on Aug 23, 2022 at 8:44 am

The auditorium walls are still standing, but the interior has been converted to ground floor retail space and a second floor with offices has been inserted into it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lyceum Theatre on Aug 21, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Something has arisen. I have found sources attributing the design of the Lyceum to architect J. M. Wood. In fact, one web site, drypigment.net, has two articles by the same author, one of which attributes the design to Fran Cox and the other of which attributes it to J. M. Wood. Neither article mentions both architects.

At this point I’m more inclined to go with Wood as the architect, as there is a period source, namely multiple editions of a promotional book from the Winslow Bros. Ornamental Iron and Bronze Company, containing lists of projects for which Winslow Bros. had supplied ornamental pieces, and all editions I’ve found attribute the house to Wood. So far I haven’t found any period sources attributing the work to Cox.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Odeon Theatre on Aug 21, 2022 at 10:13 am

The history section of the Biltmore’s official web site says that the house opened on April 4, 1940, and was designed by the architectural firm of Webb, Blythe & Sproule. Note that the current operators of this live music venue have readopted the original name of the house. Although the original decoration of the interior is gone, work is ongoing to restore what remains of the façade and to recreate the original Streamlined/Art Deco look elsewhere.

This location appears to have been the first for the Okun Bros. Biltmore Theatres, Ltd. chain. It was followed by four other houses called the Biltmore, plus the Biltmore Savoy Theatre in Toronto.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Hyland Theatre on Aug 21, 2022 at 9:25 am

Architect Edward Isaac Richmond (1908-1982) is best known as a prolific designer of high rise apartment buildings in Toronto during the post-war period. The firm he founded is still in operation.

The Biltmore in Kingston was the second house in the Okun Bros. Biltmore Theatres chain. The earlier Biltmore was opened at Oshawa in 1940, and four more houses were added to the chain in the post-war period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Odeon Theatre on Aug 21, 2022 at 9:07 am

The web site of the Biltmore Theatre in Oshawa lists the openings of the other houses in the Okun Bros. Biltmore chain, and says that the Kitchener house opened in December, 1949. It is very likely, though not yet confirmed, that the Kitchener Biltmore was designed by Toronto architect S. Devore, who designed the Biltmore and Savoy Theatres on Yonge Street in Toronto for the same chain (the Savoy’s façade is almost identical to that of the Kitchener Biltmore), and might also have designed the Biltmore in Sault Ste. Marie.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Coronet Theatre on Aug 21, 2022 at 8:52 am

The Savoy was the second Yonge Street house for the Okun Bros. Biltmore Theatres, Ltd. chain, and the chain’s sixth theatre, when it opened on February 15, 1951. Early photos show the name “Biltmore Savoy” on the façade. Doug Taylor attributes the design of the house to Toronto architect S. Devore, who also designed the Yonge Street Biltmore and perhaps at least two other houses in the Biltmore chain during the same period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lock City Grand Theatre on Aug 21, 2022 at 8:36 am

The January 2, 1949 issue of Boxoffice carried a brief item noting the recent opening of the Okun Bros. new Biltmore Theatre at Soult Ste. Marie. Other houses then operated by the Biltmore Theatres Ltd. chain were Biltmores at Oshawa, Kingston, New Toronto, and the flagship house on Yonge Street in Toronto. A year later the chain would open the Biltmore at Kitchener and in 1951 the Savoy would open as their second house on Yonge Street. As far as I’ve been able to discover, that was the chain’s peak.

It’s possible, but not yet confirmed, that the Sault Ste. Marie Biltmore was designed by Toronto architect S. Devore, who designed the Biltmore and Savoy on Yonge Street. The Sault house bears a strong resemblance to the two in Toronto, as well as to the Biltmore in Kitchener, which might also have been of Devore’s design.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Biltmore Theatre on Aug 21, 2022 at 7:53 am

Originally operated by the Okun Bros. Biltmore Theatres chain, the Biltmore was one of two houses the Okuns operated on Yonge Street, the other being the Savoy. Multiple sources indicate that both theaters were designed by a Toronto architect named S. Devore. I’ve been unable to track down any more information on Devore, not even his first name, but it’s possible that he designed other houses for the chain around the same time.

Doug Taylor’s book Toronto’s Local Movie Theatres of Yesteryear says that the Biltmore ended its days as a grind house, finally closing in 1986.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Avalon Theatre on Aug 16, 2022 at 1:45 pm

The building was already gone in the earliest Google street view of the location, which dates from 2008.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Howard Theatre on Aug 14, 2022 at 9:51 pm

The 1926 opening must have been the first Cazin Theatre at 1704 N. Howard. The building at 2001 N. wasn’t built until 1928-29.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Arts Theatre on Aug 11, 2022 at 4:00 am

The Columbia Theatre appears to have been a new build in 1911, not an old vaudeville theater or opera house, as some sources claim. The February 14, 1911 issue of The Nickelodeon announced the plans for the house “…to be located in the new Rabold Building….” by the Columbia Theater Company, already operators of 14 theaters in various regions.

I’ve been unable to discover if Tony Sudekum’s Crescent Amusement Company took over the project from Columbia before or after the house opened, but Crescent was definitely in control of the Columbia by 1913. The Rabold family owned quite a bit of property in Bowling Green, including the building in which Crescent opened the Princess Theatre in 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crescent Theatre on Aug 11, 2022 at 2:38 am

The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lets us down on Bowling Green, listing only two theaters, though the town must have had more. But one of the theaters is listed (with no address) as the “Crescent Amuse Co.” and the other is listed at 416 Main Street with the name Columbia Theatre. The Columbia is the house that was renamed the Capitol Theatre in 1921. The Columbia was taken over by the Crescent Amusement Company in 1911, so it’s possible that the AMPD simply double-listed the same house under the theater name and the name of the operating company. It’s possible that Bowling Green never had a theater called the Crescent.

If the Sanborn map shows a theater at 411 Park Row in 1909 it must have been there, but if it was not listed in the city directories 1911-1967 it must have had a brief life.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Aug 8, 2022 at 5:10 am

The Houlton Theatre was in a district a bit over a mile west of downtown St. Helens. Houlton, once called Milton, was adjacent to the railroad tracks while St. Helens proper was along the riverfront. The Houlton Theatre was operating by January, 1917, and still open in January 1919, but was never listed in the FDY, nor was it in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rivoli Theatre on Aug 8, 2022 at 4:27 am

The earliest appearance of Crane in the FDY is the in 1931 edition, which lists a Crane Theatre, with no seating capacity given. The 1932 edition lists the 200-seat Rivoli.

The January 25, 1919 issue of Film Daily said that a W. S. Weittenhiller was building a picture theater at Crane, but if that house did open it must have been closed by 1926.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Urban Theatre on Aug 7, 2022 at 4:41 pm

I mistyped the address in my previous comment. The theater was at approximately 1211 Broadway.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Urban Theatre on Aug 7, 2022 at 4:59 am

A history of Saint Robert Bellarmine church says that the Urban Theatre was located on Broadway, part of a site later occupied by a Rite Aid store. The Rite Aid in East McKeesport, now closed itself, used the address 400 Lincoln Highway, which is an alternate name of the cross street, Greensburg Avenue. Historic aerial views show that the theater was at the north end of the block, and extended back from Broadway to Fifth Avenue, the next street east. From the historic aerial views it looks like the auditorium section was demolished long ago, and the front section, which once house Irene’s Restaurant, was knocked down by 2004, when the Rite Aid was developed. The space occupied by the theater became part of Rite Aid’s parking lot.

There are no buildings on the theater’s site now and an exact address can’t be found, but using the address 2011 Broadway at Google maps will put the pin icon just about where the theater’s entrance must have been.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texas Theatre on Jul 25, 2022 at 11:48 am

The Portal to Texas History has a copy of The Ballinger Ledger for June 25, 1936 with a section about the new Texas Theatre, scheduled to open the following day. Down the page is a brief biographical sketch of co-owner W. D. Scales with quite a bit of information that appears to contradict much of the history of the town’s theaters that we have at Cinema Treasures. I’m trying to find more information, but so far haven’t had much luck.

Link here