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.

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“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.

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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.

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.

Starland Theatre, Montreal, Canada

Moving Picture World, November 4, 1911:

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“One of the foremost picture theatres in Montreal, Can., is the Starland, owned by Demetre & Demetelin. The accompanying engraving shows the house decorated for the Coronation of King George V. The orchestra and members of the staff are also in evidence.

“The Starland has a seating capacity of 750; only first run pictures are shown and the decorations are very pleasing.

“The orchestra is under the direction of Prof. A. Rosenburg. The house is under the management of W. H. Tolbutt.”

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.

Germantown Theatre, 5508 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

From The Greatest Achievement in Music For Theatre: The Wulitzer Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra, originally published by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in 1916. Reprinted by Vestal Press in 1964.

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“The Germantown Theatre is recognized as one of the finest picture play houses in Philadelphia, located in Germantown, Philadelphia’s most popular suburb. Has a seating capacity  of 1,400, and was built at a cost of $12,500. It is devoted to the presentation of Paramount Pictures, and caters to the most fashionable trade in Philadelphia.

“Mr. Steumpfig, the Proprietor, has a large collection of letters from people, commenting upon the Unit Orchestra, and requesting special selections. The instrument is featured at every performance by an announcement that a certain selection will be played, and a spot light thrown on the player.”

The Theatres of Germantown

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Apolo Theatre, Manila, Philippines

Moving Picture World, December 3, 1910:

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“From the far-off Philippines comes a very appreciative letter from a World reader and a photograph of his theater.  The following extract from his letter may be of interest to our readers:

‘Herewith description of my theater: The house is located on the principal street of Manila; seats 470 people; performance from 4:30 until 11 P. M.; prices range from 50 cents to 20 cents  (Philippine currency); my orchestra consists of nine pieces; I change twice a week and run about three thousand feet for each performance or change.

‘At present I use nothing but Pathe films. Business is very good here. Manila has now twenty-three motion picture theaters, with only one exchange, and that is for Pathe; no American films are here as yet. I think it is a good field for a live, hustling American film exchange here. Again thanking you for your favors, I remain, H. Frankel.’ ”

 

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.

Princess Theatre, Anderson, Indiana

The Nickelodeon, July 1, 1910:

“S. B. Sampson, manager of the Princess Theater at Anderson, Ind., and whose counterfeit presentment appears at the extreme right, is a satisfied exhibitor.”

Nickelodeon_pe

“The picture of the theater front was taken Memorial day, 1910 before the first performance of the day. Mr.
Sampson says that after the show opened you couldn’t see the front at all for people.

“The player and singer are standing in the doorway, the drummer is between them and the manager and on the extreme left is Mr. Sampson, Jr. The Kleine Optical Company furnishes service for the Princess.”

The poster, on the left, is for “The Stolen Fortune“, released by Essanay Studios, May 4, 1910.

 

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:

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“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.

 

Ashtead Cinema in Rural Surrey, 1912

Excerpts from  The Cinema News and Property Gazette, June 1912

“very desirable cinema property”  for  sale

surrey1_pe (Medium)

“This very desirable cinema property is at Ashtead, one of the prettiest and most frequented spots in rural Surrey. It is within three minutes walk of Ashtead Station (S.W.R. and L.B.R.), and a little more than five minutes from the famous Ashtead Woods, the favorite rendezvous of picnic parties.

“Ashtead is about a mile from Leatherhead, and the combined population is about 7,000, and this is the only picture palace in the district.  Such a rare opportunity of building up a fine and remunerative business seldom offers itself and am enterprising man with quite a moderate capital should do well.

“The Ashtead Cinema is fully equipped for picture shows; in the operator’s room is a brand-new Pathe lantern and rewinder and every other necessary. There is a Crypo transformer, gas radiators for heating the theatre, which is lighted by electricity, and a workshop overhead fitted with vices, etc., for doing repairs.

“The building is licensed by the Surrey County Council for music and dancing as well as cinematograph shows, has a seating accommodation for 200 and room for another 150. It is about 70 feet long and about 40 feet broad, has a frontage of 95 feet, and a depth of 80 feet.

“The operator’s room is outside. There are 200 seats. The screen is 11 by 10 feet (with a throw of about 60 feet), and the sundries include a fine orchestrelle pianola by Angelus.

“Full particulars are only to be obtained from  Messrs. Harris and Gillow, cinematograph theatre experts, 451a, Oxford Street, W. who are the sole agents, and will be pleased to forward orders views and any further particulars on application.”

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

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“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.