Times Square Theatre, 1446 Broadway

Moving Picture World, August 6, 1910:

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“If you should walk from one end of Broadway to the other, and also on Forty-second street, two of New York’s most popular theatrical thoroughfares, you will find but one, out of probably two dozen or more theaters, in which pictures alone are shown.

“This martyr of theaters is known as the Times Square Theater, owned and operated by the Saxe Amusement Company at 1446 Broadway, between Fortieth and Forty-first streets.

“Mr. [John] Saxe, President of the company, invited the writer to visit his house while the entertainment was was in progress, and I was struck quite favorably with the appearance of the building both inside and outside, and which I might state was recently reconstructed at a cost of ten thousand dollars.

“The theater is attractive though plain. Its walls, doors, and ticket booth are void of all those lurid and vulgar  posters. The interior decorations and frescoing are of pale green, and the electric lights are also protected by green shades, which renders a very pleasing effect to the eyes.

“The house has a seating capacity of 300, and is never in darkness; the lights are always turned on, but so arranged as not to affect the picture. A double dissolving Motiograph moving picture machine is used in projecting the best licensed pictures, relieved by an occasional illustrated song.

“We trust that the Times Square Theater will set the pace for other strictly moving picture theaters along Broadway.”

Photo of the Times Square Theatre is from Moving Picture World, December 31, 1910.

 

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.

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Big Solax Jubilee at the Queen’s

The Moving Picture News, May 25, 1912:

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“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

 

Holland Brothers’ Kinetoscope Parlor, 1155 Broadway, New York, NY

The commercial history of motion pictures begins on April 14, 1894 with the opening of the Holland brothers’ kinetoscope parlor at 1155 Broadway in New York City.

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From Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema

Excerpts from The Sun, May 25, 1894:
“The latest of Wizard Edison’s inventions, the kinetoscope is on exhibition at 1,155 Broadway. Although the apparatus is to a considerable extent a resemblance to a toy that has long been a favorite with children, it has new features, and illustrates principles in photography, optical illusions, and electricity that render it of interest.

“Mr. Edison has succeeded in constructing a machine which brings a series of photographs before the eye with such great rapidity that the eye cannot detect the change from one photograph to the next. This produces the effect of lifelike action in the series of views. Ten views are now on exhibition.

“The first shows Sandow, the strong performing his feats. Then there is a scene in a barber shop in which a customer takes his place in a chair and the barber shaves him in regular style. Bertoldi, the contortionist, whose photograph is not more than an inch in length, gives one of her difficult exhibitions,

“There are a wrestling contest, a rooster fight, a Highland dance, an organ grinder with monkey, three blacksmiths at a forge, and a gymnast in a flying ring exercise.

“Three blacksmiths at the forge are very lively in their movements, it being evident that they are impressed with the importance of striking while the iron is hot. They are thirsty after the iron is shaped, and each in turn takes a drink from a bottle in a manner amusing to the spectator.

“Although the kinetoscope is far from being a perfect machine, it combines principles which Mr. Edison may greatly improve in the near future. The name of the machine is not an invention of the ‘Wizard.’ It is in the dictionary.”

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.

Yorkville Hippodrome, 499 First Avenue, New York, NY

The Film Index, October 9, 1909:

yorkville1_pe (Medium)

“The Hippodrome was opened January , 1909, and cost $21,000 to build. The dimensions are 22 feet 6 inches front, by 102 feet deep, with an ‘L’ in the rear which gives a width of 39 feet.

“The auditorium includes a balcony which affords ample seating capacity. There is a commodious stage with a 20 foot opening, with all drops and scenery necessary for vaudeville acts.

“The lobby is 12 feet deep and brilliantly illuminated. Every possible means of fireproofing the Hippodrome was employed in its construction. The ceiling and walls are of steel and costs $1,600. During the exhibition of pictures the auditorium is made comparatively light by use of green lamps and shades.

“Uniformed help add to the general attractiveness of the place. The Hippodrome can be numbered among the best of the modern picture houses.

 

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.

 

Comedy Theatre, 46 East 14th Street, New York,NY

Moving Picture World, May 28, 1910:

comedy theatre 1910

“We present herewith the portrait of Albert A. Kaufman, manager of the Comedy Theatre, who is reported to be the youngest man in his particular line. On account of the competition of adjacent licensed houses, the Comedy uses Independent service which is supplied by William Steiner’s film exchange.

kaufman
Albert A. Kaufman

Three reels constitute the show and with 5 cents admission on weekdays and 10 cents on Saturday and Sunday, the Comedy does a  standing  room business  and Mr. Kaufman is well satisfied  with his receipts.

One excellent feature of Mr. Kaufman’s management is that patrons of this theater are not allowed to find their way to seats. Ample standing room is allowed  while a show is in progress, behind the chairs and as this space slopes with the floor, even those standing can get a full view of the screen.

This is the second of the prominent theaters on Moving Picture Row  to install the Independent service and Mr. Kaufman seems to be well pleased with the treatment that he receives from Bill Steiner and his staff.

 

Romany Rob’s Revenge

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.

Nostrand Theatre 657 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

With the third and final volume of the Brooklyn Theatre Index nearing its publication,  we will be featuring, during the month of September, Brooklyn performance spaces on our various blogs and websites.

Excerpts from Moving Picture World, November 19, 1910:

“The ‘Nostrand’ is indeed an exemplification of all that we have been trying to teach our readers a thoroughly high-class place of amusement should consist of.”

Nostrand_pe

“As you enter the ‘Nostrand,’ instead of passing directly into the auditorium you enter a handsome spacious foyer about twenty-five feet square. Here are large easy chairs, settees and tables of green crex and the decorations are carried out in a deep shade of green.

“The floor is white tile and a few white marble steps lead up at the rear of the auditorium. There are mirrors where in the polished surface the ladies can assure themselves that their hats are set on the latest chic angles before leaving. This, so Mr.Schloh [co-owner Henry L.] believes, banishes one of the greatest terrors that the ladies have in removing their hats.”
Nostrandlobby

 “On entering the auditorium you seem almost for the moment to have found yourself in some tropical country from which the last dim light of day is receding. The walls from about one-third of the distance up all the way to the ceiling are painted with an artistic mural frieze showing waving palms, sand beaches, long stretches of blue ocean and sloping hillsides. The artist has accomplished his work perfectly  and has left nothing to be criticised or desired.”

“The auditorium is forty-seven feet wide and a trifle longer, and there is an incline from the back to the front of about eight feet perpendicular. There are three large skylight ventilators and four exits. The center aisle is six feet in width and there are two side aisles each four feet wide. The floor is heavily carpeted.

“For the convenience of the patrons a telephone booth has been installed, and by this means it is possible for doctors who wish to seek a few moments relaxation to visit the ‘Nostrand,’ for they are within instant touch with their offices and the hospitals.”

Nostrandint_pe

“The operating booth is nine feet in length by seven feet in width and is topped by a skylight ventilator so that the operator is always supplied with plenty of fresh air. Recently a new Power’s No. 6 machine was installed.”

“One of the features of the ‘Nostrand’ is the music and not to mention this important adjunct would be to leave half unsaid.”

“Mr. Martin Savage, who has charge of this department, has been in the game a long time, and judging from his gray hairs he might be said  a veteran in it.”

“He operates with excellent taste about fifty-three ‘traps’ and is also a proficient bell-ringer. He keeps his bells on the table at the front all the time and renders selections on them between reels. This is the nearest approach to vaudeville that will probably ever enter the ‘Nostrand.'”

“The ‘Nostrand’ is owned and operated by partners, Mr. William Haase and Mr. Henry L. Schloh. These two men can be easily classed among the leading exponents of moving picture exhibiting in Brooklyn.”

 “Those of my readers who know anything about Brooklyn, know that to live in the St. Marks section means that your bank account is a large one.

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.

Crystal Hall, 46 East 14th Street, New York, NY

Excerpts from an article, by Moving Picture News columnist “Walton”, April 15, 1911.

 

April 15, 1911_pe (Medium)

“Crystal Hall opened seven years ago as a penny arcade, but prides itself upon being The First Straight Moving Picture Show on Fourteenth Street setting out with the Johnstown Flood.

The show runs from 8 a.m. till 11 p.m., and, as I personally know, has audiences and big ones, all day; three Independent  reels and an illustrated song is the show.

“The ever-changing audience of such a house as this ought to give value to the manager’s opinions, and Mr. [William F.]  Schork’s are: Moving pictures draw, draw, draw,; a reel that hits is never old, and so long as folk want it they shall have it. The moving picture man talking the same talk as the vaudeville and ‘legit’ man and-don’t you forget it-for the same reason.

“H. Reinecker is the capable and courteous assistant manager, who is ever to be found amidst the strains of music on the lower floor. A man who knows what’s what and shows it. The songs are rendered by Miss Tucker, whose sweet voice is so well known on Fourteenth street.

“In conclusion, I wish to give it as my emphatic opinion that William F. Schork is in charge of a house that demands peculiar ability to deal with ever-changing audiences and this he has shown, and does show, he is eminently fitted to cope with.”

 

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.

Unique Theatre, 103 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009 ‎

Advertisement for the Kanneberg Roofing & Ceiling, Co., The Nickelodeon, April, 1909

unique

A Florida Feud or Love in the Everglades , released by Kalem, January 8, 1909

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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.

Theatorium, Main Street, Perry, New York

Looking over early picture postcards of Main Street, one can sometimes spot a storefront movie house such as the Theatorium in Perry, New York.

Theatorium perry

 

PerryNYA few sentences in the local press provide a basic history.

Its opening reprinted in “Down Memory Lane”, Perry Herald, March 21, 1957:
“March 21, 1907-Perry’s new Theatorium will open to the public on Friday March 22, in the Bullard block next to Coburn’s restaurant, with new and up-to-date movies. Admission will be 5c.”

Perry Herald-News, March 26, 1908:
“Mr. Criswell, who recently took the management of the Theatorium, has improved the conditions so as to accommodate increasing audiences.”

Perry Herald, October 1, 1909:
“At the Theatorium–Friday night: Babe Mitchell, the dainty, singing comedienne; four lighting changes in one act

“Pictures-Poor Kiddies and Lace Making, Buying Manhattan, and Boots He could Not Wear. Song by Mr. Merville   ‘I Wish I Had My Old Girl Back Again’”

Perry Herald, November 2, 1909:
“R. U. Criswell, who formerly run [sic]  the Theatorium here, has bought the Lyric Theatre, a similar moving picture show in Batavia.”

Wyoming County Times, July 14, 1910:
“The Theatorium moving picture house has been closed.”

Wyoming County Times, November 17, 1910:
“The Theatorium is closed again and is being arranged inside for a store.”

From the Perry Herald-News, June 13, 1907:

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Theatorium ad

Postcard from the Theatre Talks Collection. Please credit or ask permission to copy  or use.

 

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 2014–historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Happy and Prosperous 1914 from the Gem Theatre

A special offer for patrons of the Gem Theatre & Photo-Plays.

 

Gem

 

From back of postcard:

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Postcard from the Theatre Talks Collection. Please credit or ask permission to copy  or use.

 

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 2014–historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.