Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Franklin Theater on May 25, 2022 at 5:06 am

The Franklin was one of 22 theater projects either recently completed or under construction in Georgia, listed in an article in the October 13, 1936 issue of Film Daily. L. J. Duncan was the owner.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Emily Theater on May 25, 2022 at 4:50 am

The Emily Theatre at Hartwell was listed as one of 22 Georgia theater projects either recently completed or under construction, in an article in the October 13, 1936 issue of Film Daily. W. T. Yarbrough was named as the owner of the house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Walker Theatre on May 25, 2022 at 4:45 am

The October 13, 1936 issue of Film Daily ran an article that listed 22 theater projects either recently completed or underway in Georgia. A project was listed at Fort Gaines, but it was called the Ritz. The owner of the house was Ellison Dunn. The April 13, 1936 issue of Motion Picture News also mentions Mr Dunn:

“ G. M. Coleman has sold the Lyric, which he operated in Fort Gaines, Ga., for 20 years, to Ellison Dunn, who will rebuild it, and rename it the Ritz.”
So where did the name Walker come from? The 1964 obituary of Mrs. A. E. Walker, the former Bessie Dunn, gives this clue: “Mrs. Walker moved to Fort Gaines from Blakey in 1936 and became owner and operator of the Walker Theatre, Ft. Gaines and the Archie Theatre, Abbeville Ala., members of the Dunn family theatre chain.”

The 1926 FDY lists the Lyric Theatre at Fort Gaines with 300 seats. The MPN article doesn’t say that Mr. Dunne’s rebuild of the Lyric was a complete teardown, and as the Walker was the same size it seems likely that the house was just gutted, at most, and given a new front.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on May 25, 2022 at 3:06 am

Numerous items in trade journals starting in the mid-1930s indicate that the Palace at Athens was then a Lucas & Jenkins house. A July 13, 1935 Motion Picture Herald item noted that Paramount partners L&J had just taken over two houses at Athens. The item didn’t give the names of the theaters, but the Palace was likely one of them. Lucas and Jenkins didn’t enter the theater business until 1934, when they took control of the Atlanta Fox.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Georgia Theatre on May 25, 2022 at 2:58 am

An article in the October 13, 1936 issue of Film Daily listed 22 theaters either recently opened or under construction in Georgia, and the Georgia Theatre at Athens was among them. It was opened by Lucas & Jenkins, who already had the Palace Theatre in Athens. The article didn’t specify which houses had already opened, so the Georgia might not have opened until early 1937.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fain Theater on May 24, 2022 at 10:03 am

The May 8, 1948 issue of Boxoffice said that the 700 seat Fain Theater under construction for Frank Fain at Livingston, Texas, had been designed by architect Jack Corgan.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Andy Theatre on May 24, 2022 at 9:57 am

The May 8, 1948 issue of Boxoffice had an article about theater projects underway that were designed by Dallas architect Raymond F. Smith. It said that Smith had prepared the plans for a new house in Lewisville for local exhibitor Andy Sisk. It seems likely that Sisk would have stuck to Smith’s original plans, however long it took to execute them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Select Theatre on May 24, 2022 at 9:38 am

The May 8, 1948 issue of Boxoffice had an article about theater projects underway that were designed by Dallas architect Raymond F. Smith. One project was an extensive renovation and expansion of the Select Theatre at Mineola, for owner Robert Hooks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Texas Theater on May 24, 2022 at 9:31 am

The May 8, 1948 issue of Boxoffice had an article about theater projects underway that were designed by Dallas architect Raymond F. Smith. On project recently begun was a house at Stanton for R. B. Whitaker. It was probably the Texas.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Varsity Theater on May 24, 2022 at 9:27 am

The May 8, 1948 issue of Boxoffice had an article about theater projects underway that were designed by Dallas architect Raymond F. Smith. One of them was an unnamed theater for W. J. Wooten at Canyon. It must have been the Varsity. The target date for opening was September 1.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Spring Theatre on May 24, 2022 at 9:12 am

A 1948 construction date means that this must be the Springhill house noted in the May 8 issue of Boxoffice that year. It was originally to be called the Orleans Theatre, and was built for B. R. McLendon’s Tri-States Theatres. It was designed by Dallas architect Raymond F. Smith. The item, which mentioned several theater projects that were then at various stages of planning or construction, said that the Orleans had “just started.” I’ve been unable to discover if it opened under the name originally announced or as the Spring.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bingen Theater on May 23, 2022 at 8:15 am

According to the Friday, January 23, 1948 issue of the Mt. Adams Sun, the Canyon Theatre in Bingen would open that night. The opening feature would be “Down to Earth” with Rita Hayworth and Larry Parks. The Canyon was still advertising in the paper in December, 1966, but appears to have closed soon after.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about IndianOla Theatre on May 23, 2022 at 4:47 am

Did this house later become the Roxy? This item appears in Showmen’s Trade Review of Octobe 19, 1946: “The name of the Roxy, Indianola, Neb., has been changed to the Ray by R. H. Phillips.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empire Theatre on May 23, 2022 at 1:42 am

Although it is not listed in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory, which misses Waitsburg completely, the Empire Theatre was open in 1914. In March of that year, manager Al. C. Stewart bought a Victor player piano from the Seattle branch of the Bush & Lane Piano Company. In July, 1922, Mr. Stewart sent a letter to the company, on an Empire Theatre letterhead, praising the durability of the instrument, which he was retiring after eight years, during which time it had been “…played in this theater three and half hours a night, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, under the hardest and most trying conditions.”

The April 11, 1914 issue of Moving Picture World mentions “A. C. Stewart, late of Rossland, B. C, now proprietor of the Empire Theater, Waitsburg, Washington….” If Mr. Stewart was the original proprietor of the Empire, it would have opened right around that time. This item is the earliest mention of a theater in Waitsburg I’ve found in the trade journals.

The December 6, 1924 issue of Exhibitor’s Trade Review has an item saying that “[m]any very important improvements are being made on the Empress Theatre, Waitsburg, Wash. Will reopen in a few weeks.” The name “Empress” was probably a mistake, and the item was actually about the Empire. The Empire is still listed, with 250 seats, in the 1926 FDY, and no other theaters are listed at Waitsburg that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Plaza Theatre on May 23, 2022 at 12:35 am

This LandmarkHunter page says that the Neace Theatre opened on February 2, 1928, and was designed by Walla Walla architect Victor Siebert. I haven’t been able to find period sources confirming these claims, but they seem quite likely to be true.

I think we can mark the Plaza as open, though just barely. It has been presenting occasional live events (and a couple of movies) over the last few months. I can’t find a regular web site, but they do have this Facebook page, the earliest post on it being from August 14, 2021 (it was about the theater’s first anniversary in 1929.) The first public event was a free movie showing on November 19. They called it a soft opening. If there are plans for a formal reopening event, they haven’t been announced yet. Renovations appear to be ongoing, though the page doesn’t say anything about them that I can find.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Cameo Theatre on May 22, 2022 at 12:37 pm

There were two houses called the Cameo Theatre in White Salmon. The second is a bit easier easier to trace, though I haven’t found an address for it. The March 10, 1951 issue of Boxoffice said that Larry Bristol was aiming for a May 1 opening for his Cameo Theatre in White Salmon. A March 31 item in the same journal said that the Cameo was a new house, seating 350, and was being outfitted by the B. F. Shearer Co. of Seattle. I haven’t found out how long it operated, but it was fitted for CinemaScope in 1955. In 1982 it was in use by a little theater group called the Cameo Players.

The first Cameo is a bit puzzling. It first appears in the 1937 FDY, with 247 seats. Prior to that, when White Salmon is listed in the FDY at all, it is with a 200-seat house called the Leo, a 200-seat house called the Wauna, or a house called the Dewey, with no capacity listed. The Dewey is mentioned frequently in trade journals in the mid-1920s, but doesn’t show up in the FDY until 1931 and 1932, and then never again. And yet modern documents from the city itself mention the Dewey Theatre Building, at 121 N. Main Avenue, so it is clearly remembered by that name. I thought Dewey might have been an aka for the first Cameo, but it turns out not to have been.

There is this line from a February 21, 1941 article in The Enterprise, the local newspaper: “The Cameo Theatre now occupies the site which will be remembered as the one called the Alpha Opera House, as seen in the pictures of the town taken in earlier days. It has been run by Mr. Percy since 1935.”

Then there is this photo from 1949, and I’m pretty sure a building up the block on the left has a marquee with the name Cameo over it, though it’s hard to make out. I believe that this building, which would have been at approximately 113-115 E. Jewett Boulevard, has been demolished within the last ten years. It shows up in Google street views from 2012, but not in those from 2018.

One puzzle is, were Leo Theatre and Wuana Theatre aka’s for the first Cameo, or were they aka’s for the Dewey, or was there a third theater somewhere in White Salmon? Even if the building actually started out as a theater (Alpha Opera House) it’s not impossible that it would be used for other purposes for decades and then return to theatrical use in 1935, when Mr. Percy began running the Cameo, but it could quite easily have housed the Leo and the Wuana as well. No editions of the FDY list more than one theater in operation at White Salmon at a given time.

The other puzzle of course is where was the second Cameo? I don’t see any buildings in Google street views that look like a theater from the early 1950s, and the town’s planning documents available on the Internet never mention it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vic Theatre on May 21, 2022 at 3:50 am

50sSNIPES is correct. The Orpheum sign was still on the building in the mid-1950s, and a photo from that time was published in Boxoffice of June 2, 1958. Though the theater was advertised as the Fox Orpheum in the 1930s, the Fox Wisconsin circuit only leased the house from 1933 to 1943, after which it was independently operated as the Orpheum Theatre by Victor McCormick until he leased it to Marcus Theatres in 1956.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Granada Theatre on May 21, 2022 at 2:35 am

The Granada Theatre was built by real estate developer George S. Smith in 1924. It was designed in a Moorish Revival style by Portland architect Earl G. (Gilbert) Cash. Opening on August 24, 1924, the house began a 32-year run as the leading movie theater in Portland’s Montavilla district. The Granada closed in 1956, and since 1957 has been in almost continuous use as a church. The 1926 Film Daily Year Book listed the Granada with 630 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theatre on May 21, 2022 at 1:51 am

The Phoenix-based Rickard and Nace chain were the first operators of Tucson’s Rialto Theatre on its opening in 1920. The theater had been built by Emanuel Drachman, owner of the Tucson Opera House, whose family maintained a connection to the Rialto for many years, Drachman’s son Roy acting as manager on behalf of Rickard and Nace as late as 1933.

The explosion that closed the theater in January, 1984 was not gas but steam. The theater’s ancient boiler ruptured violently after being fitted with the wrong type of safety valve, allowing excessive pressure to build up.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Elysian Grove Theatre on May 21, 2022 at 12:21 am

Elysian Grove was one of the privately owned pleasure parks that thrived in modern cities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is a rare survivor of the type.) Elysian Grove began as Carrillo Gardens, founded in the late 19th century by Leopoldo Carrillo, and taken over by Emanuel Drachman around 1902 and renamed. Among the many attractions in the eight acre park were two theaters, one indoor and one outdoor, both of which were equipped to show movies as well as live entertainments. The first movie known to have been shown in Tucson, Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery, was presented at the outdoor theater in Elysian Grove in 1903. The indoor theater was built a few years later.

Arizona Territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Arizona in 1912, and the legislature soon passed a law prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages. As a big part of Elysian Grove’s business had been in its saloons and beer gardens, custom fell off rapidly and the operation was closed by 1915. The theaters remained open until the end. Manny Drachman then assumed control of the Tucson Opera House and converted it to a movie theater, renaming it the State Theatre in 1917.

Oddly, only one theater is listed at Tucson in the 1914-1915 American Moving Picture Directory, that being the Clifton Theatre, at 32 W. Congress Street, but there must have been several by that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palm Theatre on May 19, 2022 at 4:38 am

The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lists the Palm Theatre at Ballard (still an independent city at that time, so not part of Seattle’s listings) at 5346 Ballard Avenue. It lists a house called the Tivoli at the same address. I suspect that the double listing resulted from a name change around the time the directory was being compiled, late 1913 or early 1914.

A page about Seattle’s early theaters at Historylink says that three movie houses in Ballard, the Ballard, Tivoli and Crystal, were all in operation by 1910. It also says that of these only the Ballard Theatre survived the WWI period, so the Tivoli/Palm must have closed before the end of 1918. The Ballard is certainly the only one of the three that is listed in the 1926 FDY.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on May 19, 2022 at 4:28 am

A page about Seattle’s early theaters at Historylink says that three movie houses in Ballard, the Ballard, Tivoli and Crystal, were all in operation by 1910.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Paramount Theatre on May 18, 2022 at 7:34 am

Before becoming the Paramount, this house was in operation by 1914 as Hub’s Theatre, which is how it was listed in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory.

This article from the February 1, 2022 issue of the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle tells of a mural installed in the theater for owner Hub Carlton in 1915. The mural was long ago plastered over, and its existence only rediscovered recently. The article has a recent photo of the mural and a vintage photo of the Paramount’s auditorium.

The address of the Paramount is 118 N. Second Avenue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Twisp Theatre on May 18, 2022 at 6:46 am

They May 22, 1954 issue of Boxoffice said that new theater was to be built in Twisp: “The Charles Nelsons have signed a contract for the building for a new theatre in Twisp, Wash., to replace the one that burned down last year.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alcazar Theatre on May 17, 2022 at 9:54 pm

The Alcazar was listed in the 1907-1908 edition of Henry’s Official Western Theatrical Guide, though with an exaggerated seating capacity of 600.