The Esquire Theater
Medford Mail Tribune, January 31, 1947
ROXY THEATER TO BE REMODELED
Matt Freed, district manager of the Oregon-California Theaters, Inc., announces that following extensive remodeling, Medford's Roxy Theater will be reopened under a new policy. The firm recently purchased Walter Leverette's theater chain in southern Oregon and northern California.
According to Freed the Roxy will be remodeled into a super deluxe theater and will show only fine pictures of a type which will appeal to adults.
The interior will be decorated by Santocono from Oakland, Calif., who has a reputation in California for the originality of his designs. The theater will be renamed "The Esquire."
It is believed that Medford and vicinity would welcome a show house on the "little jewel box" type, the new manager stated, where discriminating theater patrons could spend an evening in a theater free from distracting elements.
Holly will remain a first-run theater as it is now, and there will also be no change in the policy of the Craterian or the Rialto, Freed stated. M. O. Bessonette has been engaged as contractor for the remodeling.
Medford News, January 31, 1947, page 1
HOLD PREMIERE SMART ESQUIRE THEATER TODAY
Many Innovations and Post-War Designs Featured--Officials Here for Opening
Today at 12:45 p.m., the doors of Medford's newest entertainment palace will be thrown open to the public with the opening of Medford's luxury theater "The Esquire." The house will be under the management of Paul C. Lawrence, formerly of Los Angeles, where he was employed by Fox-West Coast Theaters in their Hollywood Music Hall Theater. To be on hand for the opening will be many guests including Mr. Robert L. Lippert, owner and operator of the Oregon-California Theaters, Inc., and the Robert L. Lippert Theaters, Inc. of California. Accompanying him is Mr. Frank Woods, division manager of the circuit. Matt Freed, general manager of Oregon-California Theaters, Inc. and other members of the organization will be on hand to greet the Esquire guests.
Many new innovations in motion picture presentation will be incorporated in the Esquire policy. Featuring the latest in postwar theater design and decoration, the theater will also offer to discriminating patrons presentation in "the intimate style" . . . great stress will be laid on quietness, comfort, safety and services.
Popcorn and Candy OutIn order to insure perfection in service, the floor staffs, including usherettes and doorman, have been attending special classes, learning the finer points in the handling and caring for the theater guests. These classes are still being conducted for all theater floor staffs, to insure finer service in all Medford theaters.
Outstanding among innovations in operation and in answer to many requests by the public for quiet during the show, popcorn and candy will not be sold or admitted to the theater. Great stress on quietness and order will be made at all times.
Programs will include all the big attractions, the first being "The Razor's Edge," starring Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Ann Baxter and Herbert Marshall. Among the pictures scheduled for early showing will be extended runs for the outstanding pictures which will open at the Holly and then will be moved to the Esquire. These include pictures such as John Payne and June Haver in "Wake Up and Dream." The Technicolor hit "Time, Place and the Girl," starring Dennis Morgan and Jackson Carson, Betty Grable in "The Shocking Miss Pilgrim," James Cagney and Annabella in "13 Rue Madeleine," and George Raft and Lynn Bari in "Nocturne."
Local Firms Aid ConstructionMany of Medford's local business firms participated in the work and in helping to make the Esquire one of the finest small theaters on the coast. They include Bessonette Construction Co., Trowbridge & Flynn Electric Co., Medford Neon Sign Co., Building Specialty & Appliance Co. Designs and decorations are by Santocono of Oakland, Calif. Drapes and other furnishings are by the B. F. Shearer Theater Supply Co., of Portland, Ore.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 2, 1947, page 8
Roxy Theatre in Medford Revamped and Renamed
MEDFORD, ORE.--Closed January 19 for remodeling, the 450-seat Roxy Theatre here, one of those recently acquired by the Robert Lippert circuit from Walter Leverette, was scheduled to reopen this week under the name of Esquire. Matt Freed, district manager, said the small house would become a "little jewel box" type which would play only pictures of particular interest to adults.
Boxoffice magazine, February 8, 1947, page 58
ESQUIRE THEATER IS PRAISED BY OPENING CROWD
The premiere opening of the new Esquire Theater was attended by a large and appreciative audience Sunday. Playing to packed houses at every performance, Esquire guests were impressed with Medford's luxury theater.
The feature, "Razor's Edge," quickly received the approbation of the large audience, and many favorable comments were expressed in regard to the house policy which brings only the best selected pictures. Popcorn and candy have been eliminated, and the management thinks that this policy will be well received by the public.
Medford News, February 7, 1947, page 1
CURTAIN CALLS: HORRORS!Three years later the Esquire briefly came back to life:
THEATER BANS POPCORN
Munchers View with Alarm As 'Snacks' Are Ostracized
By WOOD SOANES
Popcorn munchers, who do their munching in the movies, viewed with alarm this week reports from Medford, Oregon, where, as a result of a bitter editorial campaign waged by the Medford Mail Tribune, the new operators of the Esquire Theater agreed to ban the sale of popcorn "and other edible and audible 'snacks'" from the lobby.
The pronunciamento was made by the recently organized Oregon-California Theaters, Inc., and there is fond hope on the part of many that the new program will be carried out in some eight other houses owned by the organization in northern California and southern Oregon.
The editor of the Mail Tribune was, naturally, delighted at the success of his campaign:
"The Esquire is a comparatively small theater," he wrote under date of Feb. 3, "and this is a comparatively small community, but perhaps--we said PERHAPS--this little break in the close and profitable association of the movie and the popcorn business may lead eventually to a final divorce, or at least a separation. And we don't mean in Medford alone, but throughout the state--and who knows--perhaps throughout the country."
The point of all this is that Oregon-California Theaters, Inc. happens to be Clarence Laws, Robert Lippert and Ed Downer, all of whom have their fingers in a series of local theaters such as the Esquire, Roxie, T&D and goodness knows how many others. Could be that in time, the customers in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley and Richmond may be forced to do their eating at home.
Oakland Tribune, February 13, 1947, page 26
Dick Applegate was to arrive home [from incarceration in China] via West Coast airlines at 3:15 today.
The public is invited to greet him at a public meeting in the Esquire Theater starting at 8 p.m. Doors will open one hour before that time.
"Welcoming Meeting for Dick Applegate Slated at 8 p.m.," Medford Mail Tribune, September 30, 1954, page 1
After being closed for several months, the Esquire reopened with a new strategy:
Medford's downtown theaters, under financial pressure from television and the new drive-ins in the middle 1950s, began running double features, lowering admission prices and placing much smaller advertisements. The Esquire only sporadically advertised in its last years; below is the advertisement for the Esquire's last last known film showing.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 19, 1954
Medford Mail Tribune, February 19, 1956
Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1959
The general board of the Medford Gospel Mission has agreed to postpone a decision on moving the mission into the Esquire Theater building on East Main St. from its present location on South Front St.
"Board Postpones Decision To Move Gospel Mission," Medford Mail Tribune, March 19, 1961, page 1
Last revised November 16, 2012