Big Solax Jubilee at the Queen’s

The Moving Picture News, May 25, 1912:

may 25 1912_pe

“Queen’s Theatre on Third avenue and Fifty-ninth street, New York, one of the neatest and best managed picture houses in New York City, recently featured a Solax night with remarkable success.

“They ran an exclusive Solax program. Besides ‘The Sewer,’ the two reel feature, they ran ‘Saved by a Cat,’ ‘Billy’s Nurse’ and ‘Billy’s Shoes.” Darwin Karr, the Solax leading man, who does such heroic work in ‘The Sewer’ and ‘Saved by a Cat,’ personally appeared after the pictures. Billy Quirk was also there and entertained. Blanch Cornwall made her bow, and Director Warren told how pictures are taken.

Solax Films 

The Sewer

 

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

 

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:

2016-02-03_132819

“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.

white front 3

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

 

 

 

 

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.

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.