The Oldest Theatre in Oldest City

Moving Picture World, November 2, 1912:

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“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

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

Mozart Theatre, 730 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90017

The “unique” Mozart, “conducted almost entirely by women”

Advertisement, Moving Picture World, July 20, 1912:

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Excerpts from Moving Picture World, August 17, 1912:

“The new Mozart motion picture theater, which opened August 5, is unique in that it is conducted almost entirely by women. The only male employee on the premises is the operator in the projection booth. The proprietor and manager is Mrs. Anna M. Mozart. All her assistants–ushers, ticket sellers, doorkeepers, the  musical director–even the press agent–are women.  There is a ‘policewoman’ on duty at each performance.

“The new enterprise is housed in the Walker Theater, formerly a regular playhouse, on Grand Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets. It has a seating capacity of about 900 and before it opened its doors Mrs. Mozart spent nearly $25,000 in getting ready.

“The largest single item of expense was $10,000, which was invested in a Photoplayer, the first of its size to be installed on the coast. It is an instrument designed to take the place of a full orchestra but it can be operated by one person.

“The one in the Mozart Theater is 25 feet long, eight feet wide and ten feet high and occupies the entire orchestra pit. Inside it are thousands of pipes and reeds, a piano and the necessary apparatus for producing 33 different sound effects, such as bird calls, locomotive bell and whistle, thunder, rain, horse trots, cannon, drums, cymbals, castanets and tambourine. Another feature is a set of reeds which reproduces the tones of the human voice.

“Nothing but big special features will be shown in the house. Among the films advertised to be shown in the near future are Blanche Walsh in ‘Resurrection,’ ‘St. George and the Dragon,’  ‘The Raven,’ Nat Goodwin in ‘Nathan Hale,’ Custer’s Last Fight,’ and ‘The Odyssey.’ Summer prices will be 10, 15 and 25 cents.”

 

Advertisement, Moving Picture World,  October 5, 1912:

oct51912

 

 

Mozart Theatre

 

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014, historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

King Solomon’s Hall, 1745 West Filmore Street, San Francisco, CA

 

The Film Index, October 22, 1910

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“Class ‘A’ Photoplay Theatre, at 1745 West Filmore Street, San Francisco, Cal. Owned by the Filmore Street Amusement Co., of which Harry Baehr is President, William L. Wethered, secretary, and W. P. Filmer, vice-president.

“This is the largest and best equipped theatre used exclusively for Photoplays on the Pacific Coast. The building is absolutely fireproof and is heated throughout with steam, and is equipped with three Pathe machines–the first to use the Pathe machine in San Francisco.”

Posters for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland“, released by the Edison Manufacturing Company on September 9, 1910.  Directed by Edwin S. Porter (“The Great Train Robbery”) the film starred Grace Hulette as Alice.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014–historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

 

National Theatre, 448 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Moving Picture News, February 24, 1912:

Moving Picture News Feb. 24,1912_pe

“This is one of the best independent houses in the city having a seating capacity of 350. Mr. Bert Lustig, the enterprising manager, took charge of the National not quite a year ago, and since that time the patronage has doubly increased.

“The house formerly used trust pictures, but when Mr. Lustig took charge, he at once changed to independent, and consequently, the National is among the best paying theatres in Los Angles. Four reels of pictures are shown, the programme changing twice a week. Mr. Lustig has recently opened the ‘Rex’ Theatre on Main street, between Third and Fourth streets, and the house like the National is proving to be a winner.”

National Theatre

The Great Chicago Stockyards Fire, a split-reel motion picture released June 3, 1911 by  the Independent Moving Pictures Co. of America (IMP).

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014–historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

 

 

National Theatorium, 35 Board Walk, Long Beach, CA

From Film Index, December 31, 1910:

2013-08-24_110542“How the National Theatorium, Long Beach, Cal., looked when its proprietor, G. O. Post, returned from his wedding tour.”

The exterior covered with wedding wishes.

Theatorium

Theatorium (from the Cal State Long Beach)

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is currently accepting theatre talks and walks for the fall and winter-historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.