Comments from walterk

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walterk commented about King Theatre on Feb 5, 2024 at 7:09 pm

According to the local newspaper,The Ida County Pioneer, this theatre opened November 22, 1913.<

walterk commented about Bijou Theatre on Feb 4, 2024 at 6:09 pm

This was most likely the Bijou. While I can’t find an exact opening date, it appears in the local weekly paper, The Ida County Pioneer, as early as 1908. Ads say It featured “Moving Pictures and Illustrated Songs” and “No Vibration to the Pictures”.

The July 16, 1913 issue of the Pioneer had a front page article announcing that construction of a new theatre in Ida Grove, a couple blocks down 2nd street from this theatre, will begin shortly, and that the name of the new venue would be “The Princess”. The last paragraph carried the header “Bijou Is Closed”, which read in part:

Lee Horn, who will manage the new house closed his old house, The Bijou, Saturday night in order that he may devote his whole time to the work of erecting and equipping this new playhouse.

So the closing date for the Bijou was July 12, 1913. The Princess opened on November 22 that year, in 1917 the name changed to the King, which has its own listing on Cinema Treasures.

walterk commented about Chieftain Theatre on Jan 23, 2024 at 9:40 am

Some more info on the history of this theatre…

The Engles (see my previous comment) however never got to operate the Lyric. According to an item in the October 19, 1911 issue of the local weekly newspaper, The Sac Sun. While Mr. Engle was moving in and getting settled, he learned that two men had rented the former Lyric Theatre just down the street with the intention of opening their own picture show, after doing a remodel. According to the Sun, “Mr. Engle decided to sell to them rather than conduct a business with little or no profit.” Another small item on the page announced the Lyric would open on October 23. The admission was free that night.

There was a 2 year break in the archive of the Sun that I had access to, from November, 1920 thru September, 1922. In that time the Lyric went dark. I doubt the closure happened in 1920 as its last mention in October was about the forthcoming installation of a fotoplayer. The next mention was in July, 1923 when the local post office was trying to rent the Lyric and move there, they had been working on a deal with the Odd Fellows (who owned the building) since at least July 1922, so the Lyric went dark sometime in 1921 or no later than mid-1922.

The post office deal fell through and the theatre stood dark until 1931 when a July article in the Sun announced that the Lyric had been rented after being “vacant for a “good many years.” The Odd Fellows agreed to remodel the theatre and the new management would install upholstered seats and a sound system. A contest was held to name the restored venue and the name Chieftain was chosen from the 99 entries received. The Chieftain opened on September 19, 1931 with the comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsy starring in “Caught Plastered", a Charlie Chase comedy, and a MGM newsreel.

The Chieftain was listed as the Chiefton in the Film Daily Yearbook from 1934 thru 1951, seating was at first 300, by 1951 it was 306. The Chieftain closed in either late 11951 or early 1952, the August 21, 1952 edition of the Sun reported that the Chieftain, which had been closed for several months, had started to be converted into professional office space.

walterk commented about Sac Theater on Jan 15, 2024 at 8:33 pm

I’m guessing the Casino opened in December, 1920 rather than December, 1912. Here’s an item from the January 22, 1921 issue of the Exhibitors Herald talking about its recent opening:

“SAC CITY, IA. — The new Casino theatre opened its doors to the public recently. The proprietors, W. W. Watt and J. J. Harter, erected it at a cost of S50,000. The house has accommodation for 750 patrons.”

Also, the movie listed as the feature at its 1912 opening, “The North Wind’s Malice”, was actually released in August, 1920, according to Turner Classic Movies, who currently owns the film.

walterk commented about Chieftain Theatre on Jan 14, 2024 at 4:45 pm

A follow-up on the Variety item appeared in the November, 1911 issue of Motography:

”The Lyric theater recently opened its new home at Sac City, which is one of the finest in that part of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Engle are in charge of same.”

As this building was built in 1911, I’m Guessing this was the new Lyric. Engle purchased the original Lyric from its previous owner, H. L. Arney, in late 1909 or very early 1910, the sale was mentioned in the January 22, 1910 issue of The Film Index. The original Lyric was most likely located at 517 W. Main Street.

walterk commented about Lyric Theatre on Jan 14, 2024 at 4:39 pm

I’m pretty sure this was the Lyric Theatre, the first of two with that name in Sac City.

An item in the January 22, 1910 issue of The Film Index mentioned that A. Engle Had purchased the interests of H. L. Arney in the Lyric Theatre in Sac City and was now its manager.

This theatre would have closed in the Fall of 1911, when Engle and his wife opened their new house, also called the Lyric. This was reported in the November, 1911 issue of Motography as “recently opened” and mentioned it was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Engle. This new venue was most likely located up the street, at 601 W. Main Street.

walterk commented about Family Theatre on Sep 24, 2022 at 8:56 pm

This converted storefront could perhaps be the Family Theatre, which operated in Locust Gap in the 1920s.

The Family Theatre was first mention in The Moving Picture World issue of February 28, 1920, where it was reported that its manager, Arthur J. Maier, had been appointed the town’s postmaster. If this was the Family, Mr. Maier didn’t have much of a commute between jobs.

The 1926 – 1929 editions of the Film Daily Yearbook have the Family Theatre listed, seating 200.

The theatre however, appears to have closed in 1928.

The June 16, 1928 issue of the Motion Picture News carried a list of theatres in central Pennsylvania that were closing for the summer months, the Family Theatre among them. According to owner H. Meyer, it closed on May 12, with plans to reopen on Labor Day. The July 26 issue of The Film Daily however, listed the Family Theatre as recently closed.

walterk commented about Former American Theatre on Apr 13, 2021 at 5:52 pm

This was the Davis Brothers General Store across the way from the American Theatre.

walterk commented about Former American Theatre on Apr 13, 2021 at 5:51 pm

This was the Davis Brothers General Store across the way from the American Theatre.

walterk commented about Former American Theatre on Apr 13, 2021 at 5:50 pm

This was the Davis Brothers General Store across the way from the American Theatre.

walterk commented about American Theatre on Apr 13, 2021 at 4:16 pm

A series of items in Moving Picture World between March and June 1919 documents the American Theatre opening as the Loring Theatre that June. Built and operated by Manuel Mederios, it was located on the Northeast corner of Bay Street and Loring Avenue, and supposedly had 650 seats. In 1924, it was purchased by A. Pezzuto, who, according to Moving Picture World (September 8,1923), had recently built a concrete theatre in Valona, an unincorporated community adjoining Crockett. This was most likely the Columbia Theatre, listed on Cinema Treasures as the Lanai. These theatres changed hands at least once as a package before winding up with T & D Jr. Enterprises around 1936. The June 18,1938 issue of The Film Daily mentioned that the Loring was closed for renovations. While it doesn’t say in the article, it reopened as the American Theatre, confirmed by the local telephone directories. – The American Theatre closed around 1950. The building is long demolished.

walterk commented about American Theatre on Apr 13, 2021 at 2:41 pm

The photo on the overview page is of the Davis Brothers General Merchandise Store, a vintage picture (thanks Contra Costa Historical Society) can be viewed here. The American (then known as the Loring) Theatre was on the opposite side of Loring Avenue and a few doors to the west.

The vintage photo uploaded to the photo page and incorrectly identified as the New Orpheum is actually the American, you can see its former name on the marquee. As Joe Vogel mentioned in his comment, the New Orpheum was open by 1915, the American was built in 1919.

walterk commented about Ohio Theatre on Apr 5, 2021 at 11:33 am

A few updates in here including name of the architect, circuit affiliation, and year of name change.

An “Amusu Theatre” located in Oakland City was listed in the American Motion Picture Directory of 1914-1915, which was published in early 1915. However, information from later in 1915 and 1917 indicate this building possibly opened in 1916.

The earliest mention of an Amuzu Theatre in the trades came in September of 1915, when both the Motion Picture News and Moving Picture World announced that the Amuzu Theatre Corporation had been formed in Oakland City by A. G. Troutman, Carl Spillman and Eunice Troutman as directors, the company had $5,000 in capital stock.

In 1917, the May 19 issue of Motion Picture News had a writeup about the Amuzu which can be read here. The article does mention that the structure was “completed during 1916”, the architect was Robert B. Crow, of Columbus, Indiana. According to the article, the Azumu at this point had “500 comfortable opera chairs” supplied by the American Seating Company.

In July 1919, it was reported in Variety that the Amuzu Theatre Corporation had filed a certificate of dissolution with the secretary of state. This was probably due to the departure of A. G. and Eunice Troutman, leaving Carl Spillman as owner and operator, a position he held until 1941, when the January 20 issue of the Film Daily mentioned that he had sold to the Settos Circuit. Based in Indianapolis, this was the 15th theatre spread across Indiana and Kentucky operated by George Settos. The theatre was closed for upgrading and I’m guessing on reopening was renamed the Ohio. The name change was reported in the March 29 edition of Boxoffice

walterk commented about Balboa Theatre on Apr 3, 2021 at 8:39 am

If all goes as planned, the Balboa will reopen on May 14 with a Godzillafest. Local article with more details can be read here.

walterk commented about Parkway Theater on Feb 16, 2021 at 4:03 pm

I attended an open house at the Parkway yesterday, curious about the status of the planned cannabis retail store and theatre restoration. Access to the auditorium wasn’t allowed because of safety concerns, but we could look into the orchestra through one of the back entrances. I’ve uploaded a photo of its current state.

There were two people present to answer questions. I spoke with Hilary, who is the General Manager, she gave me an update. As I mentioned last week, there is a Planning Commission meeting February 17 to decide on issuing a conditional use permit, which is crucial for the restoration to proceed. Assuming the permit is granted, work will proceed on the cannabis store, which is scheduled to open in March.

Work will then begin on the theatre. According to Hilary, the project is estimated to take at least a year and a half and cost around $2 million. The full extent of what’s needed to be done isn’t fully known yet, as things always pop up once work has started. When it closed in 2009, the previous operators thought it would take $500,000 to fix the building. It was mentioned then that the roof leaked and buckets had to be put out in the auditorium when it rained, since it closed it’s been vandalized numerous times and a fair amount of copper was stolen. The list goes on…

The most notable feature of the restoration will be the Parkway’s return to its single screen configuration: the second screen in the old loge/balcony will be removed and the balcony restored.

walterk commented about Parkway Theatre Oakland on Feb 16, 2021 at 3:42 pm

Pending the granting of a conditional use permit, the Parkway will undergo a restoration that will include removing its second screen and restoring the balcony. Reopening tentatively scheduled for 2022.

walterk commented about Parkway Theater on Feb 14, 2021 at 12:22 pm

HowardBHaas, your timing couldn’t have been better to add your comment. I’ll explain that further below. Regarding the second screen, it was in the old loge/balcony according to a couple of early comments. It was twined in the 70s

I’ll add here that Parkway closed in 1990. The building was eventually sold and the new owners renovated the auditorium; in the orchestra, the seats were removed, the floor leveled and new stage built.

The new owners rented the spaces out and, for a few years, the main auditorium served as a venue for rock and roll shows, raves, and other events.

In 1996, Catherine and Kyle Fischer leased the Parkway and spent several months refurbishing it, opening as the Parkway Speakeasy Theater in January, 1997.

As I live about 15 minutes from the Parkway, I decided to take a drive by this morning to check on the status of the building: it’s still boarded up. However, there was a large “Notice of Application” sign on the front. I pulled over to read, and this was for a request to the city Planning Commission to obtain a “minor conditional permit for group assembly, commercial activity and a theater”. The Commission meets this Wednesday at 3pm to consider the request.

Below that, was a poster for an open house to be held at the Parkway tomorrow from 3 to 6pm. Social distancing will be enforced and masks are required. I’ll be attending this event.

The Parkway also has a new website:

Right now the info there includes a copy of the case file the Comission will consider, detailed building plans for the renovation, and a few current pictures.

walterk commented about AMC Metreon 16 on Nov 12, 2020 at 6:23 pm

October 30, according to this article.

walterk commented about Roky Theatre on Nov 10, 2020 at 10:05 am

An update for the Roky…

Plans for a “new picture theatre building” in Perth Amboy were announced in the November 15th 1912 edition of the Perth Amboy Evening News. The property owners, Edward J. and John Switzer, had engaged local architects J. K. Jensen and G. W. Brooks to design the new building, which would be multi use, with retail and office space in addition to the theatre.

This wasn’t the first time the property at 200-202 Smith Street was used to exhibit moving pictures; for the two previous summer seasons, the site had been leased to a Mr. Arthur Kurzman of New York, who operated an open-air moving picture show called “The Kooloff”. Kurzman had told the Evening News he was looking for a new location, which he didn’t find. The paper reported in its March 5, 1913 issue that the previous day work had begun demolishing the frame wall that had surrounded the Kooloff prior to ground being broken and construction started.

The new venue was leased to W. J. McKenna of Newark and opened as the Grand Theatre on November 22, with Nat Goodwin in the 5 reel feature “Oliver Twist”, along with a selection of one reel shorts.

The Switzer Building sat on property was 60 feet wide and 133 feet and six inches long. The theatre proper was 44 feet wide and 106 feet long. There was a three foot slope to the floor, the ceiling ranged from 16 to 19 feet. The house was lighted by a combination of gas and electric fixtures. In addition to the lobby entrance, there were 10 exits in the auditorium, 5 on each side. It was also equipped with a stage suitable for vaudeville.

Patrons entered through a lobby that was 14 x 26 feet and flanked on either side by a retail space. A second story above the lobby and retail contained 4 office spaces and the projection booth. The Grand had an electric sign measuring 12 feet long by 3.5 feet wide above the main entrance.

As I’ve mentioned, when Aron Shusterman remodeled the theatre in the summer of 1928, he changed its name from Grand to Roxy. This was one of two theatres in New Jersey that took on the Roxy name and were contacted by Sam (Roxy) Rothafel and the Roxy Theatres Corporation of New York, asking that the name be changed, citing trademark issues. They took the other theatre in Irvington to federal court, the result was its name being changed to the Rex. Shusterman chose not to fight and changed the name to Roky in mid-February of 1929. It had operated as the Roxy for about 5 months, since reopening on September 1.

Shusterman also ran a theatre in nearby New Brunswick, where he had been active on the theatre scene for over a decade, having managed four of the six theatres there and building one of them. The New Brunswick Sunday Tines ran a column “Breezing Along Local Rialto”, which carried items about the local theatres and their operators. The column carried a number of items about Shusterman renaming his Perth Amboy theater, including the announcement of the new name in July of 1928, its opening in September, and its name change in February to “The New Roky”, which was “made necessary because the New York theatre owners objected to the use of the name Roxy”.

I’ve added an opening ad from 1913 to the photo page.

walterk commented about Roxy Theater on Nov 10, 2020 at 8:08 am

This theatre is also listed on CT under its later name, the Chancellor, which has numerous comments, including a bit about its time as the Roxy/Roxe that I’ve just added.

walterk commented about Chancellor Theatre on Nov 10, 2020 at 8:03 am

The Chancellor was originally opened on September 25, 1928, by Roxy Theatrical Enterprises, Inc. of New Jersey. Their original intention was to name the new theatre the Roxy, but it may have opened as the Roxe.

The change in name was due to a complaint by Sam (Roxy) Rothafel and the Roxy Theatres Corporation of New York, who took issue with the name Roxy, both in the corporation and on the theatre. The New Jersey company then changed the name to “Roxe”, if this happened before the opening or immediately afterwards is not clear. The Motion Picture News carried 3 items: on September 1st that the Roxy in Irvington “will open its doors shortly”, the September 29 issue carried an item that the “Roxy Theatre, Irvington N.J., opened last Tuesday”. The following week (October 6), it ran a longer article about the opening, referring to it as the Roxe. A final mention came in the November 14 issue of Variety. This short piece announced that the owners had changed the name from Roxy to Roxe, which did not satisfy Rothafel or the New York corporation, who had filed suit in the local U. S. District Court to restrain the New Jersey corporation from using the name Roxy or Roxe, citing the trademark “Roxy” was protected.

The suit was finally settled in the spring of 1929. According to an item in the May 8 issue of Variety, Rothafel himself showed up to testify “for his house and his right to the name Roxy”. Both parties agreed that the Roxe would be renamed Rex. It was still being listed by that name in the Film Daily Yearbook at least as late as 1955.

The October 6 MPN article mentioned above gave a little information about the theatre itself: it was done in atmospheric old English style and seated 1250. It also had a stage suitable for vaudeville, the booth had twin Simplex machines equipped with sound attachments. Another feature of the house was its Wurlitzer, opus 1885. This was a 2 manual EX style console with 7 ranks, installed on May 29. Records from Wurlitzer give the install location as the Roxy Theatre in Irvington, N. J.

When it opened, this theatre was part of the Bratter-Pollak circuit. In 1930, B-P sold their New Jersey theatres to RKO, who took control of them on August 11.

walterk commented about Auditorium Theatre on Nov 2, 2020 at 7:57 pm

The May 4, 1918 issue of the Motion Picture News mentioned that Tippecanoe City could boast having “the finest motion picture theatre for a town of its size in the state”, the Auditorium, which opened on April 6 with Messrs. Bennett and Partlow handling the management. These gentlemen also operated the other movie house in town, the Majestic. Ownership of both changed more than once thru the years.

The Auditorium was listed in the 1925 edition of the Film Daily Yearbook as part of a small circuit (it and the Majestic) and in the theatre listings from 1926-37. It closed briefly in 1930 during an ownership change and the installation of a Western Electric Sound System.

The December 24, 1931 issue of the Film Daily noted that the Auditorium had recently closed, this was reflected in the FDY in its 1932-37 editions which listed it as closed.

Under “reported theater changes” in the July 27, 1937 issue of The Film Daily there were two items from Tippecanoe City; under changes in ownership, that the “Tipp” was transferred to Mr. Sam Gorrell and under name changes, that the Auditorium had become the Tipp. The 1938 thru 1947 editions of the FDY lists the Tipp. The 1948 edition lacked a list of theatres, but beginning in 1949, the Tipp was listed as the “New Tipp", it was still listed as open in 1955.

Seating varied over the years. An obvious typo in the 1927-29 editions of the FDY claimed 250 seats, from 1931 thru 1937 it was listed at 936. A 1930 ad for Western Electric that mentioned their sound installation claimed 893, which I believe was accurate. However, beginning when it reopened in 1937 as the Tipp, it was listed with only 500 seats for the entire time it carried that name. As the New Tipp, seating shrunk by another hundred, to 400.

walterk commented about Majestic Theatre on Oct 31, 2020 at 10:11 am

The Gem Theatre was listed in the 1914-1915 edition of the American Motion Picture Directory, with no numerical street address. Possibly it is the same space, but if so, its name was no longer the Gem.

The 1926 Film Daily Yearbook lists two theatres in Tippecanoe City (name changed to Tipp City in 1938), one was simply referred to as “Auditorium”, the other “Majestic”. While no addresses are given, I’m guessing this is the Majestic, based on its size. The Auditorium had over 800 seats, The Majestic is listed in the 1927-29 editions of the FDY with 250, which sounds more like a converted retail space.

The Majestic was open by January of 1920, when one of its operators was reported in attendance at a conference in the January 24 issue of the Exhibitors Herald. I found no record of it after the 1929 FDY entry I mentioned.

I think the Auditorium is another recently listed Tipp City venue, I’ll supply information, including opening and and closing dates on that page later.

walterk commented about Forum Theatre Arts Center on Oct 29, 2020 at 2:42 pm

markp, thought I’d add a link to an article from the local paper, I hope this comes to pass.

walterk commented about AMC Empire 25 on Oct 28, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Mike (saps), if you want to to italicize something, check this out:

Steps 3-5 are all you need on CT to make it happen.