West Main. January 11, 1908-July 24, 1910.
Medford's first movie theater.
The Cinema Center
501 East Jackson, Medford Shopping Center. August 2, 1972-
23 South Central. October 20, 1924-
All on Highway 99. All built 1947-1949.
Successor to the It. August 13, 1915-circa September 29, 1915.
416 East Main. February 2, 1947-circa February 19, 1956.
South Central. August 1908-February 1909.
226 West Sixth. August 29, 1930-
There were two, unrelated, Isis theaters, both on East Main:
210 East Main: May 26, 1910-February 17, 1914
415 East Main: March 30, 1929-June 1932.
Successor to the Ugo. March 8, 1913-circa June 5, 1915.
Successor to the Star, 222 East Main. November 30, 1918-circa December 26, 1920.
The Medford Opera House
Eighth and Central. Burned October 11, 1912.
422 East Main. May 19, 1913-burned December 30, 1923.
415 East Main. November 6, 1928-March 2, 1929.
112 West Main. August 30, 1917-January 3, 1953.
420 East Main. June 24, 1932-January 18, 1947.
14 North Front. October 1, 1908-after January 5, 1912.
222 East Main. September 23, 1911-November 1918.
103 South Central. September 8, 1928-September 20, 1932.
Successor to the State. September 23, 1932-circa March 29, 1935.
126 West Main. Circa November 9, 1910-March 7, 1913.
Burned to a Crisp
Notes on Medford's first family of the theater.
Medford decides to put on a show in 1905.
Youth in Revolt
Kids picketing the Holly in 1946?
Richard Antle, Eino Hemmila, George Hunt, Bill Prouty . . .
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Oregon Hit by Spread of Infantile Paralysis
Portland. Ore. — The epidemic of infantile paralysis has developed throughout southern Oregon with public schools of Medford and Grants Pass closed and the movements of children restricted in an effort to check the spread of the disease. Theaters at Medford have been closed to children under 16, along with all other public gathering places.ATTRACTIONS OF MEDFORD THEATRES DRAW PEOPLE
The Film Daily, October 3, 1927, page 1
FROM MANY DISTANT COMMUNITIES
Craterian and Rialto Theatres Present Stage and Screen Programs--
Rialto Is Completely Remodeled--
George A. Hunt Company Owns Six Southern Oregon Show Houses.
Because of the excellence of the stage and screen attractions that Medford theatres present, people come from many miles in every direction to enjoy the programs offered by the Craterian and Rialto theatres in this city. These two amusement houses, together with the Rivoli Theatre of Grants Pass and three Roseburg theatres, are owned by the George A. Hunt Company, and the southern Oregon group is considered one of the most successful in the Northwest.
The George A. Hunt Company was established in 1919, and has enjoyed phenomenal growth in the last eight years. At the present time the company is owned by George A. Hunt, Mrs. Hunt and Julius P. Wolff, with S. G. Mendenhall as manager of the Rialto Theatre and general manager of advertising and publicity for the company. Prior to Mr. Mendenhall's affiliation with the George A. Hunt Company, Mrs. Hunt ably filled the position of Rialto manager and director of advertising and publicity.
One of the finest theatres in Oregon is the Craterian, located on South Central Avenue in this city. It was soon after the fire in 1924 which destroyed the Page Theatre here that the Craterian was built, at an approximate cost of $225,000. Furnishings and equipment in this show house, including a four-manual Wurlitzer pipe organ, cost approximately $75,000.
Because of the fact that this city is admirably situated as a convenient stopover for traveling legitimate attractions between San Francisco and Portland, and the Craterian has adequate stage facilities to accommodate the heaviest theatrical presentations, Medford and southern Oregon people are given the opportunity of enjoying many popular musical comedies, plays and operas. The Craterian Theatre building is a strictly modern structure having special composition floor and reinforced concrete walls. The projecting machines are of the very latest type, and the many colored lighting effects are all operated from the operating room. William Prouty, an operator of many years' experience, is in charge of the Craterian projection room, while Miss Betty Brown delights Craterian patrons with her selections on the Wurlitzer.
Twelve hundred cushioned seats are provided in the Craterian Theatre in addition to a number of velvet cushion loge seats. An efficient ventilating system affords a change of air at frequent intervals and, in fact, every modern convenience for the comfort and enjoyment of theatre-going patrons is provided. A giant 30-foot electric sign bearing the name "Hunt's Craterian" and showing the feature attraction each day marks the location of this popular show house.
The Rialto Theatre, located on West Main Street, near Fir, was completely remodeled in June last year, and is now considered one of the most attractive show houses of its size in Oregon. The very last word in theatre decorations is reflected in the beautiful front and interior of this popular theatre. Rich colorings and drapes and soft, mellow lights lend an atmosphere of rest that spells relaxation and pleasure for those who visit the Rialto. The auditorium, completely refinished and together with two loges, seats 780 people, and their comfort is further assured by rapid changes of air through a modern ventilating system. The foyer has been completely remodeled, and a beautiful marquee wish flashing electric signs [sic] extends over the walk to the street's edge. A marble-covered ticket booth is centered in front of the Rialto. The Rialto equipment includes the latest type moving picture projectors, and the projection room is presided over by Fred Ryan, well-known Medford operator.
Sterling Rothermel, Rialto organist, has become a great favorite with Medford theatre-goers.
The Craterian and Rialto theatres have played an important part in making this city the amusement center of the southern Oregon country, and the George A. Hunt Company is to be congratulated upon the excellence of local stage and screen attractions.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1928, page C8
In Everett, Bellingham, Aberdeen, Olympia, Salem, Pendleton, Medford, the wired houses are grossing much bigger business than they would be doing otherwise.
"Sound Pictures Getting a Big Play in Far Northwest," The Film Daily, September 9, 1928, page 6
To the editor: The more I attend the movies the more disgusted I am. Would it not be a good idea for theater owners to have one section of the theater reserved for children from 7 to 17? Most of these young people are a pest at any performance and have no manners.
Most of us wonder why these young people go to shows. They don't seem to watch the picture, they are up and down dozens of times, up and down the aisle, back and forth, changing seats, standing in the aisle blocking the view of someone seated in the end seats.
They leap out of their seats wanting out and do not give people a chance to stand up, but squeeze past them stepping on their feet, a few minutes later they are back, they do this over and over. Not only small children but the big boys and girls.
Then they chatter out loud or slap at each other; they do everything to distract adults' attention from the picture.
Going to the movies used to be a pleasure and relaxation and a fine place to forget our cares for a while, but it is not so nowadays. We are annoyed so much we are worn out and it's anything but relaxation, all caused by these nitwit showoffs.
We may as well have a bunch of monkeys in the theater. In that case why not reserve a monkey gallery for those who act like monkeys?
Ashland is about the worst place for these pests; no one connected with the theaters seems to care. The admission charge seems to be the only thing considered. Then, why not charge young people the same admission as adults, maybe there wouldn't be so many in the theaters.
The ushers immediately beckon to someone with a crying baby, but no notice is paid to the big goofs who parade up and down the aisle or back and forth over people's feet.
Is there no regard for people who pay good money to enter these theaters? People have to change seats several times to get away from the jumping jacks and the showoffs. If parents could see how their children act in the theaters they would be ashamed of them.
Here's hoping for better manners, and some courtesy and consideration from young people. Please let us enjoy the pictures we pay to see.
Mrs. Louise Clayton
Medford Mail Tribune, September 21, 1947, page 8
USHERETTES SPEAK UP
To the editor: This is in reply to a recent "Letter to the Editor" concerning the Ashland and Medford theaters and their usherettes.
The woman who wrote the letter doesn't seem to realize that children, referred to by her as "monkeys," are also entitled to their rights as theatergoers. She forgets that an usherette's life is a difficult one, and if these small children were stopped from their "every-five-minute" pilgrimage to the restrooms the results would be disastrous.
The Saturday matinee is "their day," and they pay what they consider a large price to see whether their serial "queen" will get away again or not.
Since when has the education for children begun at the theater? I always thought that a child was taught its manners at home and its manners reflected its environment. We, the usherettes, do not consider ourselves as part-time teachers, nor do we overlook the fact that this situation is becoming bad. If we browbeat these small charges of ours, not only do we run the chance of losing our job but we also have a flock of irate mothers on our necks complaining that "little Johnny or Janie" was mistreated.
Why doesn't this woman address her letter to the mothers whose duty it is to train their children, instead of the already misunderstood and overworked usherettes?
We would also like to add that the younger generation will try to be better when asked--it's the older patrons who are very difficult to handle and become most indignant when spoken to.
The Ashland and Medford Usherettes
Medford Mail Tribune, September 23, 1947, page 8
To the editor: Last Thursday evening my husband and I attempted to attend the 9 o'clock (as advertised) show at a local theater. We got to the second aisle, and were informed by the usherette that the show would be over 12 or 15 minutes after 9. She made no attempt to seat us.
As I had been ill for a few days, I didn't feel like standing very long, so after 5 or 6 minutes, I sat in one of the chairs and was promptly ordered out of it with the remark they were for women with babies. All the chairs were empty.
If they aren't to be used, when necessary, why don't they have a "stay off" sign on them? Or better still, removed entirely?
My husband had gone down the last aisle, attempting to find seats for us, while the only usherette in sight was "visiting" near the alley exit.
Before he returned, a second usherette appeared from somewhere and demanded to know if I was waiting for someone. I told her I was waiting to be seated. She also made no attempt to seat me but informed me I couldn't stand there, that I would have to go back to the front lobby (after I had stood there several minutes already). Why weren't we held in the front lobby when we first entered if they didn't want to seat us during the last minutes of the show in progress?
In the September 23 issue of the Mail Tribune, the usherettes claimed they were overworked and misunderstood. It is hard to understand their discourteous attitudes, for it isn't what they say or do, but their manner that offends. And most of them (not all) do overwork themselves in trying to show how important they think they are. When, really, there would be no need for usherettes if it weren't for us paying patrons.
They also claimed it is us older patrons that are "difficult to handle." I'm sure we'd need no so-called "handling" if we were treated with courtesy.
Being the brunt of undue criticism twice within a few minutes made me feel as though I was trespassing and it was time to get out and stay out.
Mrs. Elva Bortz
2140 Court Street
Medford Mail Tribune, September 28, 1947, page 11
THEATRES MERGE IN THIS AREA; 61 ARE INVOLVED
In a joint statement, George Mann and Robert L. Lippert announced a merger of the two circuits bearing their names. Approximately sixty-one theatres are involved in the deal.
Mann's houses include those in Klamath Falls, Eureka, Ukiah, Marysville, Woodland, Dinuba, Arcata, Fort Bragg, Fortuna and Healdsburg.
Among Lippert's interests are theatres in Medford, Ashland, Sacramento, Weed, Yreka, Fresno, Corcoran, Sanger, as well as a number of drive-ins.
Medford News, May 28, 1948, page 6
Medford's first movie [theater] was the Bijou, located in the rear of the Bates Brothers' barber shop, its entrance where the Union Club is now. Bob Sears and his brother-in-law, named Hubbard, started the venture. The projector was cranked by hand, each reel was a separate subject, and the story was narrated by the operator--there were no captions. The evening showing consisted of two reels, an illustrated song and another two reels, which concluded the entertainment.
In the intermission between the first and second show the operator laboriously rewound the expended films. There were no Sunday shows, but there was one extra run Saturday night.
The program changed on Mondays and Thursdays. "Toots" Osenbrugge was the pianist, but only fill-in music was played because during the running of the picture the narrator had to be heard. Fish recalled that he rendered the illustrated songs, and sometimes the rendition was truly heart-rending. John Bunney and Flora Finch were the outstanding comedy teams, he noted.
Shortly the Grand opened on Front St. between Main and Sixth, then came the Star on the south side of Main St. between Bartlett St. and Central Ave., and in the new Natatorium building in 1910, Court Hall set up his son, Seely, with the movie concession.
Fletcher Fish, "Theatrical History of Rogue Valley Recalled," Medford Mail Tribune, November 11, 1962, page B2
Last revised November 19, 2012