Booth in the Window at the Bijou

Moving Picture World, November 26, 1910

Excerpts from a letter by John Blohm, owner and manager of the Bijou Theatre, Chesley, Ontario, Canada.

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“We have several photoplay theaters here in Western Ontario, though as the enclosed postcard [above] shows, they are on a small scale. The towns here are small, ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 population. Every one of the photoplay theaters I have installed, however, is on a paying basis. Why? Because I have the very best projection possible.

“As you can see on the postcard, my operating booth is in the window. We sometimes throw a picture across the street onto a wall by holding two mirrors in front of the lens. This is done as an ad, of course.”

An illustrated song slide in the lower corner of the postcard.

 

Legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle is celebrating 20 years of theatre talks and walks, 1996-2016. Currently accepting bookings for historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.  Details of independent walks will be published this fall.

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

Selling  on Etsy and Amazon

 

Plaza Theatre, 434 9th Street, Washington D.C.

The Film Index, April 8, 1911:

“The Plaza Theatre, under the management of Charles E. Bell–Good Pictures, Good Music and two singers for 5 cents.”

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“The Plaza gives close attention to its music and outside of the accompaniment of its small orchestra, songs are presented by Franklin Wallace and Will E. Hawkins, the latter being known for his expressive eyes.”

On the poster:”Girls Will be Boys“, released December 27, 1910 by Essanay.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling on Etsy and Amazon

Crown Photo Plays, Hartford

Exhibitors Times, September 20, 1913:

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“The Crown Theatre is practically the only motion picture house in Hartford, Conn. with a real attractive front, as shown in the accompanying photograph.

“The size of the theatre should not be judged by the width of the front, as the auditorium some thirty feet in the rear, is fully twice the width of the lobby. The long lobby is very attractive with its simple but tasteful decorations.

“A feature of the Crown Theatre is to have both the resting room for ladies and the smoking den for men in the lobby, instead of being located in inconvenient or dark corners, as in the case of too many theatres.

“The electric sign reminds me of the beautiful signs to be found in the South. This electric sign with its lights of white, blue, amber and green in the crown, to represent various precious stones like diamonds, sapphyres, topaz, rubies and emeralds, is very attractive viewed from the street, and gives an appearance of distinction to the place.”

 

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling on Etsy and Amazon

 

 

Carl Laemmle and the White Front

Carl Laemmle, father of Universal Pictures, was born January 17, 1867 in Laupheim , Baden- Wurttemberg, Germany. He immigrated to America in 1884, working a variety of jobs before becoming a bookkeeper at a retail clothing store in Oshkosh.

With money saved, he came to Chicago in 1905 with thoughts of opening a chain of five and ten-cent stores. While scouting for locations, Laemmle happened  upon a movie theatre in the Palmer House block.  The picture show was a novelty to him, as it was to millions of others at the time. He immediately investigated, taking in several shows there.  Laemmle also took in movies at the Nickelodeon on Halsted Street near Van Buren.

Carl Laemmle decided not to invest his money in dime stores but instead the motion picture business.

Excerpts from Moving Picture World, July 15, 1916:
“In a very short time he had taken a lease on the property located at 909 Milwaukee avenue, remodeled it, and opened what was known as the White Front theater, ‘the coolest 5c theater in Chicago.’ The opening was on February 24, 1906. The theater contained 214 seats, and was of course, nothing but a remodeled store.

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The White Front July 24, 1906

“Mr. Laemmle’s first show consisted of one reel of film and that was only 900 feet long. Each show lasted about twenty-two minutes, and included a song besides the 900-foot reel. Under these circumstances, playing to turn-away business, it was possible for the house to clear as high as $192 in one day, and this is the record for the White Front, though business usually ran around $180.

“Mr. Laemmle also owned another house, having acquired it very soon after the White Front, in April 1906. This theater seems never to have had a definite name. It was located at 1233 So. Halsted street, and like the White Front, was a converted store. These were the only two houses in which Mr. Laemmle had any considerable interest, and his interest in them soon became secondary to his exchange, and that in turn to his manufacturing interest in the Imp Company.”

Laemmle Family Website

Imp Company

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling on Etsy and Amazon

 

 

 

 

Lassoing Wild Animals at the Casino, Galveston

The Film Index, March 11, 1911:

“The Casino, Galveston, Tex.–one of the Hulsey Theatre”

March 11 1911

“Photograph taken when house was billed for the Buffalo Jones Pictures, which were shown here ‘first run’ and made a clean up.

“Casino seats 300 people, charges 5 cents admission and is under the management of F. W. Peters.”

Buffalo Jones

Lassoing Wild Animals in Africa

 

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

 

 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Princess Theatre, Chatham Ontario

The Film Index, May 20, 1911:

index may 20, 1911

“The accompanying illustration shows one of the classiest theatre fronts in Western Ontario. The Princess is owned and operated by Richard and George Zakoor, and has a seating capacity for 520 persons.

“It has a stage of generous dimensions and the pictures are produced through the medium of an Edison machine and a mirror screen. The theatre has recently been remodelled to meet all the new provincial statutory requirements.

“It has three changes of programs a week, using licensed films exclusively. The Zakoor brothers claim that their patrons will stand all the comedy pictures they can secure and that there could be more of a slapstick variety run with a profit.

“‘Make them laugh,’ says manager Dick Zakoor, ‘and they’ll come back and laugh again.The only complaint we have to make is that we can’t get comedy enough. We find that our patrons want at least two comedy reels a performance.’ ”

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walking tours in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Details on independent walks will be posted in the New Year.

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon