Sunday, December 31, 2017

Spruce Street

Spruce Street looking west during yesterday's snow.

Martz Bus

A Martz bus heading east on Lackawanna Avenue yesterday afternoon.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hippodrome Theatre

Today marks the 110th anniversary of the opening of the mammoth 4,000 seat Hippodrome Theatre at 720 Euclid Avenue. The $2,000,000 Hipp was designed by Knox and Elliott, featuring entrances on both Euclid and Prospect Avenues. The stage was 104 feet deep and 100 feet wide, there were 64 dressing rooms and a 445,000 gallon water tank for diving attractions.  The original manager was Max Faethenheuer who spent two years working on construction of the theatre. Faethenheuer who would quip on opening night that he'd pay $400 for four minutes sleep, would later go on to run other local theatres, notably Euclid Gardens and the Metropolitan. Not long after the opening the theatre passed into B.F. Keith hands who would operate it until the summer of 1922. Keith was followed by Walter Reade, and in turn RKO in 1929.

In 1930 the theatre was renovated, the stage was chopped back, and the capacity was cut to 3,500. RKO went bankrupt in 1933 and the Hipp closed briefly before reopening under local management. Warner Brother's took over operation later that year, running the Hipp until the late 40's when it again came under local management. Jack Silverthorne was manager from the late 40's into the mid 1960's, these years saw the Hipp as a major first run house with several big premieres. By the mid 60's suburban competition started to eat away at BO. A huge house like that was hard to fill, the second balcony was rarely ever opened after the early 60's, but the Hipp soldiered on through the 70's, eventually closing on May 1, 1980. The Hipp was razed for a parking lot shortly thereafter.
I've always liked the message on the back of this 1911 Hipp postcard, as well as the street RPO cancellation.
The Hipp, on November, 28, 1952, Robert Runyan photo.
 Foyer, undated postcard from Cinema Treasures.
Main stairs, undated postcard from Cinema Treasures. It was a long climb up these stairs to the top of the second balcony,sixth floor.
Foyer, from Motion Picture News, June 26, 1915. During the teens, "dressing the house" was in vogue.
 Entrance and foyer, from Exhibitors Trade Review, May 19, 1923.
View from the stage, undated postcard from Cinema Treasures.
Auditorium, circa 1979, from Cinema Treasures.

The opening was front page news in Variety, January 4, 1908.
Opening coverage from the Plain Dealer, December 31, 1907.
From Variety, January 28, 1908.
 From Variety, August 15, 1908.
From Variety, September 19, 1908.
From the Library of Congress.
 From The Plain Dealer, December 30, 1910.
 From The Plain Dealer, December 18, 1911.
 From The Plain Dealer, May 29, 1913.
From The Plain Dealer, November 7, 1915.
From Variety, February 16, 1917.
 From The Plain Dealer, February 6, 1918.
 From The Plain Dealer, October 4, 1918.
From The Plain Dealer, October 6, 1918. These were the last North American performances for MME Bernhardt.
 From The Plain Dealer, May 20, 1919.
 From The Plain Dealer, October 25, 1920. By this time Albee was planning to open a new Keith theatre a few blocks east, and dropped the Hipp name from ads.
From The Plain Dealer, November 8, 1920. Leo Carrillo was a long time vaudevillian, he was also a cartoonist for Variety, and later was Pancho in the Cisco Kid on television in the early 1950's.
 From The Plain Dealer, November 20, 1921. Babe Ruth was a flop at the BO. At this point Keith interests were expanding in Cleveland with a new theatre at 105th & Euclid, and a new theatre under construction at 17th & Euclid.
 From Variety, May 5, 1922. Reade moves in while Keith moves out.
From Motion Picture News, September 2, 1922.
 From The Plain Dealer, September 2, 1922.
 From The Plain Dealer, November 7, 1922.
From Exhibitors Herald, December 20, 1922.
 From The Plain Dealer, February 25, 1923.
From Exhibitors Trade Review, April 28, 1923.
 From The Plain Dealer, October 7, 1923.
 From The Plain Dealer, March 22, 1925. Jazz weeks became popular starting with McCormick's first one at the Allen in December 1921 where it soon became a monthly attraction and was copied across the country as the decade progressed.
From The Plain Dealer, March 4, 1927.
 From The Plain Dealer, April 15, 1928.
 From the Plain Dealer, April 20, 1928.
 From the Plain Dealer, October 19, 1928.
 From the Plain Dealer, January 14, 1929.
 From Film Daily, August 11, 1929.
RKO ad from the Plain Dealer, May 15, 1931.
 From the Plain Dealer, March 2, 1932.
 From Variety, May 3, 1932.
 From Film Daily, May 10, 1932.
From Film Daily, September 26, 1932.
 From Variety, December 20, 1932.
 From Variety, January 17, 1933.
 From Variety,  February 21, 1933.
 From Film Daily, March 6, 1933.
From Variety, March 14, 1933.
 From Film Daily, April 5, 1933.
 From Film Daily, May 2, 1933.
 From Variety, May 2, 1933.
From Variety, July 4, 1933.
From the Plain Dealer, July 7, 1933.
From the Plain Dealer, July 14, 1933. Gene Carroll would later host a popular television show on WEWS in the 1950's and 60's.
From Variety, July 18, 1933.
 From the Plain Dealer, July 21, 1933.

From the Plain Dealer, August 13, 1933. Baby Rose Marie opened at the Hipp on Friday, August 11, 1933, and in the process defied Ohio child labor laws, leading to the arrests of her father, Frank Curley and the Hipp assistant manager Corwin Collins four times a day for a week. Archaic child labor laws as well as the Gerry Society were the bane of juve acts during the first half of the 20th century. Baby Rose, who turned ten during this engagement was a big radio star with her own show on NBC. She would go on to appear in numerous motion pictures and later television shows. She's probably best known for her role on the Dick Van Dyke Show in the early 1960's.
 From The Plain Dealer, August 11, 1933.
From Variety, August 22, 1933.
 From Variety, September 12, 1933.
 From Film Daily, November 20, 1933.
Warner Brothers ad from the Plain Dealer, April 27, 1934.
From Motion Picture Herald, July 7, 1934.
From the Plain Dealer, December 28, 1934.
 From the Plain Dealer, December 31, 1935.
 From Motion Picture Herald, March 14, 1936.
 From Motion Picture Herald, November 14, 1936.
 From the Plain Dealer, April 7, 1939.
From the Cleveland Press, January 20, 1940.
 From Motion Picture Herald, October 18, 1941.
 From the Plain Dealer, February 16, 1942.
From the Plain Dealer, August 23, 1942.
 From the Plain Dealer, February 7, 1943.
From Motion Picture Herald, June 26, 1943.
 From Motion Picture Herald, July 31, 1943.
 From Motion Picture Daily, September 27, 1943,
 From the Plain Dealer, December 26, 1943.
From Motion Picture Herald, January 15, 1944.
 From Motion Picture Herald, February 3, 1945.
From the Plain Dealer, August 30, 1946.
From Boxoffice, September 14, 1946.
 Still sporting the standard issue RKO marquee, from Boxoffice, May 10, 1947.
From Motion Picture Herald, January 31, 1947.
 From Motion Picture Daily, September 25, 1951.
 From Boxoffice, February 14, 1953.
3-D pix at the Hipp, this was a short lived phenomena, from The Plain Dealer, June 8, 1953. The Tower at 241 Euclid Avenue was operated by the same people that ran the Hipp, it had formerly been named the Telenews, a newsreel theatre.
CinemaScope demo from Boxoffice, July 11, 1953.
The Robe, first CinemaScope picture, from the Plain Dealer, November 9, 1953.
 From Boxoffice, July 10, 1954.
From The Plain Dealer, September 3, 1954. By this point most of the major first runs had a television installation for special closed circuit events.
 From Boxoffice, October 16, 1954.
 From Motion Picture Herald, September 17, 1955.
From Motion Picture Herald, December 24, 1955.
From The Plain Dealer, February 24, 1956.
 Rock and Roll at the Hipp, The Plain Dealer, June 15, 1956.
 From The Plain Dealer, January 18, 1957.
A showing of The Girl Can't Help It turned into a melee, From the Plain Dealer, January, 18, 1957. More info on the riot here.
From the Plain Dealer, March 20, 1959.
Hipp lobby ready for Imitation of Life preem, 1959, from Cinema Treasures.
Lana Turner at the Imitation of Life preem, March 20, 1959, director Ross Hunter was a native Clevelander.
From Boxoffice, March 30, 1959.
From the Plain Dealer, September 4, 1959.
From the Plain Dealer, October 8, 1959.
New marquee for the Pillow Talk preem, October 9, 1959, from Cinema Treasures.
 From the Plain Dealer, January 31, 1960.
From Boxoffice, February 1, 1960.
 New candy stand, from Boxoffice, April 11, 1960.
 New vending machines, from Boxoffice, April 11, 1960.
Concession article, from Boxoffice, April 11, 1960.
From the Plain Dealer, June 20, 1961.
From the Plain Dealer, June 1, 1962.
 From the Plain Dealer, October 9, 1964.
From the Plain Dealer, December 29, 1964.
 An early morning appearance by Paul Revere & The Raiders, from the Plain Dealer,February 18, 1966.
From the Plain Dealer, March 18, 1966.
From the Plain Dealer, August 25, 1967.
 From the Plain Dealer, April 5, 1968.
 From the Plain Dealer, June 21, 1968.
 From the Plain Dealer, August 30, 1968.
From the Plain Dealer, January 10, 1969.
The front of the Hipp, late 1968/early 1969, from Cinema Treasures. By this point the Playhouse Square theatres were all on the verge of closing, but the Hipp ground on.
 From the Plain Dealer, August 20, 1971.
 From the Plain Dealer, March 31, 1972.
From the Plain Dealer, May 18, 1973.
 From the Plain Dealer, November 2, 1973.
 From the Plain Dealer, December 30, 1973.
 From the Plain Dealer, April 12, 1974.
From the Plain Dealer, September 20, 1974.
 From the Plain Dealer, June 20, 1975.
Some later attractions were a bit less than stellar, from The Plain Dealer, November 6, 1975.
 The Warriors came out to play! The Plain Dealer, March 9, 1979.
 From the Plain Dealer, April 25, 1980.

Final notice, from the Plain Dealer, May 1, 1980.
The End