The Dream in Seattle

The Film Index, April 8, 1911:

dream

“The accompanying illustration shows the interior of the Dream theatre, 701 First avenue, Seattle. It is a thoroughly up-to-date house and the proprietor, James Q. Clemmer, spared no expense to make it attractive and cozy.

“It seats 350 people and the programs consist of motion pictures exclusively. The chairs were furnished by the A. H. Andrews Co., Chicago, through their representative H. A. Johnson, whose office is located at 510 First avenue, South Seattle, Wash. These chairs are No. 60 opera chair, with upholstered back and seat and copper plated aisle castings.”

 

Since 1997, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has presented a popular series theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He 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.

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The New Healy Playhouse, 911 Houston Street, Fort Worth, Texas

The Motion Picture News, September 9, 1911:

healy_pe

“The above cut was taken from a postal card on the reverse side of which was the following communication:
American Film Mfg. Co., Chicago, Ill
Gentlemen;–This is what I do with your great Western features, two of which I receive weekly–Mondays and Thursdays first run. They certainly get the money for me. On ‘American’ days we average 2,000 people daily. The picture, as depicted above, is our lobby display of your film entitled ‘The Parting of the Trails.’ The reception accorded it was simply wonderful.

R. A. Healy”

From Moving Picture World, January 13, 1912

texas_pe

The Parting of the Trails

The American Film Manufacturing Company

Legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle is celebrating  twenty years of talks and walks. He is currently accepting bookings for historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He 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.

AboutMe

Goodreads

Medotcom

The Oldest Theatre in Oldest City

Moving Picture World, November 2, 1912:

don_pe

“The above cut is a likeness of the first motion picture theater in the oldest town in California. The name of the house is the Don Theater in Napa Street, Sonoma, Cal.”

“Messrs. Collins and Mohr are the proprietors. Licensed films constitute the program.”

Posters:
A Cowboy’s Best Girl with Tom Mix
The Transformation of Mike directed by D. W. Griffith

 

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

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

 

 

Comique Theatre, Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee

Motography,July 15, 1916:

comique

“The birthplace of the Mutual Film Corporation was recently unearthed in the form of a photograph which President [John R.] Freuler discovered among his possessions. It was the long forgotten Comique Theater on Kinnickinnic avenue. Milwaukee.

“Here Mr. Freuler was introduced to the motion picture business which led to the establishment of the Western Film Exchange of Milwaukee, which grew into a system of exchanges and finally developed into the Mutual Film Corporation.

“The film magnate is interested in the American Film Company, Inc., the Lone Star Corporation, which makes the Charlie Chaplin Mutual specials, Majestic-Reliance, New York Motion Picture Corporation, Vogue Films, Inc., States Film Corporation, North American Film Corporation and Signal Film Corporation. In addition he holds important interests in a number of other concerns in the picture making business.

“The development of all these concerns may be traced back to Mr. Freuler’s interest in the business created by his connection with the little old Comique.”

chaplin
From The British Film Institute

Mutual Films

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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

Tally Presents the Vitascope

The pioneer Los Angeles film exhibitor, Thomas L. Tally, first presented the Vitascope on July 25, 1896, in his amusement parlor at 311 S. Spring Street.

The International Photographer, August, 1932:

Tally 1

“Phonograph parlor in San Antonio in 1893. These institutions were sort of curtain raisers for the coming screen pictures, in existence at the time but not commercially. They were shown that year at the Chicago fair.

“This show [bottom] at 311 Spring Street, Los Angeles, marks the removal of T. L. Tally from San Antonio, being opened in August*  of 1896.

“At the rear center are two chairs facing an Edison peepshow on a screen. At the left side of the picture are the Edison kinematographs**, in the center Biograph mutoscopes, and at the right the customers are listening to phonographs. Mr. Tally is shown in each photograph.” tally 2

*Newspaper articles announce the showing of the Vitascope at the rear of Tally’s amusement parlor on July 12, 1896.

**kinetoscope

Tally’s Phonograph Parlor

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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

The Jewel, Easton, Pennsylvania

Motion Picture Herald, August 14, 1937, Ohio theatre manager, John A. Schwalm “recalls his years as a nickelodeon operator.”

Featuring a five-cent admission, the Jewel was an “upstairs house” with the first floor used as lobby.

jewel

“Mr. Schwalm, at left, wearing a bowler, posed proudly in front of his theatre in Easton, PA., in 1909, two years after the house opened as the fifth of his theatrical ventures.

“Note the elaborate marquee and the double feature bill advertised in quiet taste.”

The Professor’s Trip to the Country, released by Vitagraph, as a split reel with Duty Versus Revenge.

Advertised on the ticket booth: “Illustrated Song Today The Road to Yesterday. ”

Movie and song date from 1908.

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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.

Fire, Sparta Theatre, Bowery, Coney Island, Brooklyn

On Sunday, July 12, 2015,  Cezar Del Valle, author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III, hosts the cHURCH OF MONICA, Open Source Gallery, with an illustrated talk on the history of Coney Island theatre.

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The Evening Telegram, August 10, 1904:
“The first intimation that a blaze existed was given to the audience on the canvas in which the moving pictures were being shown. The machine itself caused the fire as the result of the photographic films coming in contact with the carbon flame.

“On the canvas was being shown a picture of Dante’s ‘Inferno.’ When the film caught fire it was passing behind lens at a rapid rate and for the space of a minute the real flames were reflected into the picture ‘Inferno.’ At first the audience thought the reflection was part of the picture, but the cry of fire brought them to a realization that the picture was near to being real.

“The picture machine was located in a partly enclosed booth in the balcony of the music hall. The flames spread to the second floor in spite of the fact that the booth was sheathed in tin. Johnson Smith, the operator was burned about the face and hands while making his escape from the booth.”

Above photo from a postcard in the Theatre Talks Collection, please ask permission to copy and/or use. At least give credit to source. We know that some people will not honor this but it would be nice if they did.

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 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.

Nickelodeon, 441 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On June 19, 1905, the Nickelodeon boom began when a small theatre by that name opened on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The following is from an excellent article by Timothy McNulty, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 19, 2005.

nickelodeon
Implet Magazine, 1911

“There were other stand-alone theaters in New Orléans and Los Angeles before the Nickelodeon opened, says Michael Aronson, an assistant professor of film and media studies at the University of Oregon, who is writing a history of the Pittsburgh nickelodeon boom. And other theaters had carried the name ‘nickelodeon,’ for a combination of their admission price and the Greek word for “theater.”

Also, the films often cited through the years as opening at the Pittsburgh Nickelodeon in 1905 — a comedy called ‘The Baffled Burglar’ and the melodrama ‘Poor but Honest’ — were also likely incorrect. According to records kept by the American Film Institute, those films were not produced until several years later.

Other historical references say the first movie shown was ‘The Great Train Robbery,’ but that legendary 1903 film was already so well-known (it previously had a summer-long run at Kennywood, for instance) that patrons probably would not be flooding into the Nickelodeon to see it again two years later.

But the importance of the theater, whatever the details, is not in question, says Aronson, who earned his doctorate from Pitt in 2003. It was still the template for all the theaters — and the new movie industry itself — that followed it.

‘It’s like saying Starbucks didn’t invent coffee in a cup, so they didn’t have an impact on our culture,’ Aronson said.

‘It was the effect that mattered. In the Pittsburgh Nickelodeon, clearly everything came together at the right time, and everything took off.’ ”

Interior of the Nickelodeon Theatre, Moving Picture World, November 1907
Interior of the Nickelodeon Theatre, Moving Picture World, November 1907

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.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.

Maryland Theatre, Washington D.C.

Moving Picture World, February 3, 1912:

Maryland_pe“The above is a reproduction of a photograph of the Maryland, one of the attractive and popular theatres in Washington D.C. The house is owned by Col Wertz and Dr. Wunder and managed by J.F. Story.”

Poster for What a Woman Can Do, one of the many westerns starring “Broncho Billy” Anderson.

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.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.