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Madison County Theater History

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Alton Theatres: Princess Theatre

                       Grand Theatre

                       Starlight Drive-In


                       The Airdome

                       Temple Theatre

                       Lyric Theatre

                       Biograph (formerly the Victoria)

                       State Theatre

                       The Bijou (renamed The Royal and later,

                                      The Crescent)

                       The Electric

                       The Victoria (the old Electric Theatre)

                       The Nixon

                       The Nina (formerly the Nixon)

                       The Odeon (Princess)

                       The Theatorium (in the Job bldg, Belle St.)

                       Dwiggins Theater

                       Alton Cine

                       Root Opera House

                       Habit Theatre (later named Biograph)



Collinsville Theatres:  Old Miner's Institute Theatre

                                Petite 4 Cinema

                                Will Rogers Theatre



Cottage Hills Theatre:  The Rio (closed after May 1956)


East Alton Theatres:  The Ritz Airdome Theater

                                Eastgate Cinema



Edwardsville Theatres:  Wildey Theatre

                                  Lux Theatre



Granite City Theatres:  Ken Theatre

                                  Star Theatre

                                  Washington Theatre



Madison Theatres:  The Madison (located in the

                             Madison Vol. Fire Hall on 3rd St.



Mitchell Theatre:  Bel-Air Drive-In



North Alton Theatre:  The Norside


Roxana Theatre:  Roxana Cine


Upper Alton:  Uptown Theatre (renamed Cameo)

                    The Ouatoga

                    The Gem


Wood River Theatres:  Midtown Theatre

                                 Alt-Wood Outdoor Theatre

                                 Wood River Theatre

                                 Kil Kare Theatre

                                 Capri Drive-In Theatre



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Bel-Air Drive-In, Mitchell, Illinois

The Bel Air Drive In Theatre, Mitchell, Madison County, Illinois

Old Miner's Institute Theater, Collinsville

In 1916, a representative of the United Mine Workers of America Local 264 convinced fellow miners that a union hall and public theatre should be built. The structure was multi-purposed. The second and third floors gave a permanent home for the union offices and provided a central meeting place for the mining locals.  It opened in 1918. In 1969 the building was sold to Bloomer Amusement Co. and used as a movie house until it closed its doors in 1984. A group of local citizens dedicated to the historic structure's preservation formed the Miner's Institute Foundation, took ownership, and operated the Institute as a theatre and community center until 2008.




The Gem Theatre (renamed Ouatoga), Upper Alton, 1662 Washington

Opened from 1913 - 1945








For more historical information on Madison County theatres, click here












Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1838

The Chicago Company, under the management of Mr. Mackenzie, is now performing in the long room over the store of Messr. Walworth, and will continue nightly for twelve successive nights.



Source: Alton Telegraph, February 22, 1840

We learn from an undoubted source that Messrs. Mackenzie & Jefferson intend to visit this city in the course of a few days, with their corps dramatique - which are now performing to crowded houses at Jacksonville. They expect to open on Monday or Tuesday evening next, and will perform for six nights only. As the Company are already favorably known to our citizens, we need only add that since their last visit to this place, they have performed in the principal cities and towns in the state, to the entire satisfaction of the lovers of the drama.



Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1840

Last night of Mr. A. A. Addams, The Celebrated American Tragedian. Saturday, April 4th - Richard the Third! Richard - Mr. Addams.  Song - Mr. Germon. Dance - Mr. Burke. To conclude with "Love in Humble Life," or "The Soldier's Return."


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 28, 1842
It will be observed by a notice in another column that these highly gifted young minstrels intend giving their last concert in Alton this evening, Friday, May 27, in the old courtroom, near the Piasa Bridge. They will, on this occasion, be accompanied by their sister, a child under four years of age, whose astonishing performances have excited the admiration of all those who have witnessed them. Of the talents of the brothers, we need not speak, since they have been twice displayed before our fellow citizens; but will simply suggest to such as may not hitherto have heard them to profit by the opportunity offered them this evening.




AIRDOME  (The Airdome opened in 1909, and was an open air theatre, constructed on a hillside at the corner of Broadway and Alton Street in Alton.)



Source: New York Clipper, May 9, 1909

Work was recently started on a monster Airdome to be erected at Alton, Ill., by the Hippodrome Amusement, Inc. at Springfield, Ill. for $5,000. The leading promoter is W. M. Sauvage, manager of the Temple and Lyric Theaters, Alton.  The stage will be [unreadable] ft. wide, and the seating [unreadable], which will be in the open air and have capacity of 2,000. In front there will be a penny arcade, which will be painted pure white. The Airdome will be in the heart of the city, and has excellent railroad facilities. According to the contract, the work must be completed in twenty one days. The season is expected to begin about May 22.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 2, 1909

The Airdome is providing a very excellent bill for July 4th and week, starting Sunday night, and they have announced as their special feature Ethel Whiteside and her bunch of Pickaninnies, said to be the greatest act of its kind in vaudeville. Don and Mae Gordon trio, America's most wonderful trick bicyclists. The Belmonts, novelty acrobatic act, and Pollard, the man who juggles the billiard cues. Entire new pictures nightly and concerts by the Temple orchestra. Special arrangements have been made for July 5th on which occasion there will be an extra performance given at the Airdome after the river parade, making in all three shows at the Airdome Monday night, starting at the usual time and running to 11 p.m.  This bill to be offered is an exceptionally strong one, and will no doubt make the hit of the season, as the acts are very expensive and on the novelty order, and are all new to Alton theatre-goers. The Airdome business is booming, the weather is ideal and anyone who has 10 or 20 cents is to be found at the Airdome almost nightly. A great many people are attending the Airdome performances from the small surrounding towns, and every night it is a common occurrence to see a string of automobiles, buggies and carriages lined up for a block in front of the Airdome. Seats can now be ordered for July 5th performances as well as for July 4th.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 10, 1911

Manager W. M. Sauvage is getting the Airdome ready to open it during the week the Elks convention is in Alton. He expects to have a big week with a fine program of events as a season starter, to make the visitors have a good impression of Alton's amusements. The Temple will be closed when the Airdome opens, unless the weather proves bad, and under such circumstances the program will be transferred to the Temple. Mr. Sauvage has carpenters, painters, decorators and others in the Airdome doing the work. He has put in 300 new chairs, and all reserved seats will be provided with cushions. The interior of the Airdome will be handsomely redecorated and a feature of the trimmings will be a floral display at the front where potted plants will be growing. A carload of tanbark has been bought to be put on the floor to make the floor clean and give a sanitary odor to the atmosphere.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 19, 1911

Lottie Mayer, who is here filling a week's engagement at the Airdome, once swam from Alton to St. Louis, making the distance in 5 hours, 18 minutes, in the year 1908. She told a Telegraph reporter today that she dived off the Fluent dock and accompanied by the yacht, Columbia, and several boys in rowboats to lead the way, she made the swim, competing with some of the Missouri Athletic club oys, who were trying to show what they could do. At the Illini hotel today she said that she has been trying to get back a trick of diving she lost by accident, when her springboard broke at Memphis. It is the "stand-sit-and-stand" dive. She does a "stand and sit" dive now, and she hopes to get back the knack of doing the final act, but she says she has found herself wholly unable to master it since her spring board broken under her. The diving Venus is an attractive looking woman in her street clothes. She talks with a merry laugh and a smile. She told a Telegraph reporter that when she was very young she lisped from being tongue-tied, and she was also (horrors!) bowlegged, but she says that by exercising she overcame the outward curve of her knees and only when she becomes excited does she lisp. She intends to have an amateur diving exhibition at the Airdome Friday evening, and anyone who wishes to participate in it, male or female, just put in an application. She will look after any girls personally, and they can attempt to imitate her tricks. Miss Mayer also intends to take a swim across the river and said she will go in off the Fluent dock where she started three years ago to make her swim to St. Louis.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 28, 1914

"Minnie," the large elephant appearing with Capt. Grubers Animals at the Airdome this week, took a bath in paint shortly before the performance last evening, and caused her trainer considerable trouble. If Capt. Gruber had given the elephant enough white paint, he might have had a perfect white elephant by this time, but he failed to do this and the color selected by the elephant were so far from meeting with his approval that he had to secure some scouring soap to take it off before the performance. The elephant is being kept in one of the empty buildings in the rear of the Mineral Springs Hotel, where the painters had left a supply of surplus paint. On account of the warm weather, the elephant had been dipping into every watering place on the way, covering itself with water, and the trainer thought nothing last evening when he saw the elephant reach down in a bucket in the building and fill its trunk, but it did get him to worrying when he saw the elephant shoot five gallons of white paint over its body. Then the elephant reached in the blue, and later the red.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 17, 1916

One of the most spectacular motion picture performances ever seen in Alton, and one which Manager William Sauvage of the Temple Theater promises will rival the "Birth of a Nation" will be presented here on May 29 at the opening night of the Airdome. The picture is to be the eight reel photo-play "The Battle Cry of Peace," and the effects for the play are to be furnished by the members of the Alton Division of the Naval Reserve. Five hundred rounds of ammunition for the four one-inch guns of the Alton Division of the Naval Reserve will be made at the Western Cartridge Co. to be used as a part of the performance and over 5,000 cartridges will be discharged during the three evening performances from the rifles of the Alton division. The fifty members of the Alton Naval Reserve, under the direction of Lieut. J. B. Maxfield, will take part in the production. The picture is one that has been passed upon by the government officials as a good argument for preparedness, and the naval reserves are to do their part in the production for the effect the picture will have in securing a better army and navy. The guns are to be mounted at different places on the side of the stage and the screen will be in the rear of the stage. One scene in the big picture where the enemy is supposed to be attacking New York from the harbor will be the feature. The front of the stage will be arranged to represent a gun boat, and the audience will get the effect of being on the boat that is firing on the city, and they will be able to see the results of the shots on the city as the pictures are shown on the screen in the rear of the stage. An extra large audience will be used for this feature, which will be run for three days, not including Sunday. Mr. Sauvage stated this afternoon that if the picture was run on Sunday the noise would be enough to make the churches complain and he would not attempt to do that. Besides the guns, a special orchestra especially for this picture will be a feature. The other effects will also be carefully carried out from the stage. At the same time he made this announcement, Mr. Sauvage stated that the Airdome would be run this year without vaudeville. He will use an orchestra twice as large as the one at the Hippodrome, and will run only feature pictures. The admission will remain the same except when extra large features such as the "Battle Cry of Peace" are presented. For this and other exceptional features, the price will be raised to twenty-five cents.




BIJOU - ROYAL - CRESCENT  (The Bijou was on the north side of West Third Street in Alton, west of Belle Street)



Source: New York Clipper, May 14, 1910/1911

H. A. Worthey, manager of the Bijou, left this city April 25. The theatre has been closed.



Source: New York Clipper, March 25, 1911/1912
The Bijou has been opened by Edwin Murphy, of St. Louis, Mo., with vaudeville and moving pictures, after being closed several months. Mr. Murphy represents the New' York Film Exchange.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 21, 1911

H. A. Custanes, a theatrical man of St. Louis, has leased the former Bijou theatre in Third street and will make a fine amusement place of it in a short time. He intends remodeling the interior completely. The scenery will be changed and made better, and the entertainments to be given there will be of a higher class than those given in the past. The name of the theatre will be changed to the Royal, and the new owner promises to make the place a real amusement spot.



Source: New York Clipper, September 30, 1911/1912
Bijou moving picture house has been purchase by Messrs. Ulrich and Hoppe, of Alton, and renamed the Crescent. It opened Sept. 23.



Source: New York Clipper, November 25, 1911/1912

ALTON - The Crescent closed 10, owing to poor business.







Alton City Hall



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 28, 1911

The third story of the city hall is being cleaned. All the accumulated matter of the past half century is being dumped out of an upper window and carted away. A part of this ancient junk is the scenery of the stage that in the days of the fifties [1850s] and up to the opening of the Mercantile hall, was in use by the theatrical troupes that occasionally came this way, and the old time panoramas that used to delight and inform Altonians of fifty years ago. The stage settings are small and insignificant, placed by the present requirements of the modern stage. And yet the pleasure the old gave was quite as entertaining as the elaborate setting of a Ben Hur or the massive staging of the present production of the tragedies. An old stove cast in some of the ancient periods of the past was also dumped out for transference to some junk dealer. Some of the older residents stood about and gazed at the old stuff as it was ignominiously dumped to the pavement and fell into retrospective contemplation. There are few older men in Alton who are natives but that remember the old stage in the third story of the city hall. At the little ticket window on the second floor, a mark of which is still there, the familiar face of John Mather, now deceased, greeted the purchaser of a pasteboard that gained for one admittance to the hall above. No matter what kind the shows were, they were good then, for we were the right age to enjoy them.




DWIGGINS THEATER  (The Dwiggins Theater was at Twelfth and Alby Streets in Alton.)



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 30, 1907

Dwiggins theater at Twelfth and Alby streets will be opened for the season Monday evening when the Black Diamond Minstrels will begin a two night's stand performance. The Black Diamonds are all Altonians, and are all white. They are all fun makers too, and both boys and girls are talented and will make good in their parts. There are twenty people in the troupe and Bonnie Thornton is manager. A parade will be given tomorrow afternoon starting from the Five Points and extending as far on Belle street as the troupers care to go.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 20, 1907

Otto Wutzler and Wesley Smith, acrobatic team, were members of Black Diamond Minstrels. Minstrels were a troupe of comedians, usually white men made up as black performers, presenting songs, jokes, etc.




ELECTRIC THEATER - VICTORY THEATER - HABIT THEATER - CRESCENT THEATER (This theater, which changed names many times, was at the southwest corner of Third and Market Streets in the old Kirsch building in Alton. It would later be the site of the Grand Theater.)



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 28, 1907

Choose the Balmer and Weber pianos. The patrons of this popular amusement resort are highly entertained each evening with the beautiful selections rendered by the Balmer & Weber Pianola Player.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 30, 1907

Commencing Sunday, Matinee at 1:30 p.m.  The Scale of Justice, Fun in photograph gallery. Clever Feat, Prerott's Revenge, Honeymoon Trip, 3rd and Market streets.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 8, 1907

Some of the Alton ladies know a good thing when they see it, and they certainly saw it when the doors opened today at the Electric Theatre. Over 500 ladies received handsome presents of China and glassware. Manager Murray says goods given away are not common souvenir goods, and also states that each Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 doors will be open, and a piece of china, different from that of today, will be given. There are 52 pieces to the set, and those wishing to complete the set must attend matinees on Wednesdays. Don't overlook this ladies.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 27, 1907

The popular picture house of the middle west opens with a new line of subjects that have never been seen by the Alton people as they come direct from the film maker and are guaranteed to be clear of smut or anything to offend. Opens Sept. 1.  The house will be personally conducted by Hallway and Murray, proprietors and managers, and a guarantee is given that you will see one hour and 15 minutes solid pictures for the price of 10c. with no extra charge for reserve seats.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 29, 1908

A fire occurred in the Electric Theatre at Third and Market streets Tuesday evening, and a panic might have occurred but for the good sense of the audience. Theodore Hamilton, who was on the platform singing at the time, helped to calm the audience by starting to sing, and while he sang the audience hurried out, but did not get into a panic. Harry Adams was operating the moving picture machine which contained 2,000 feet of celluloid film, very flammable. In the audience were about 400 people who were listening to a song being sung by Theodore Hamilton, and there was a great quiet in the house when the flash came. A spark got into the film, and it started to burn. Adams tried to smother it with his coat, and in doing so burned himself about the hands and his sleeve caught afire. While putting out the fire in his own garment, the fire in the film got beyond his control and the theatre was soon filled with a smothering vapor, but not before the audience got out. The flames spread in the vicinity of the moving picture machine. When the fire department arrived on the scene, the building was full of smoke which had a very suffocating effect and made fire fighting extremely difficult. The damage to the Electric theatre owners is about $300. The damage to the building is about the same. The ice plant belonging to the Kirsch Co. was thoroughly drenched by water thrown by the fire department and was disabled.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 2, 1908

Representatives of the insurance companies that insured the Electric Theatre, which was partly damaged by fire on Wednesday night, were in Alton today effecting a settlement. The Electric Theatre will be repaired at once and will probably be open within a week or ten days.



Source: April 18, 1909/1910

The Electric moving picture house is drawing big houses every day.



Source: New York Clipper, July 11, 1909/1910

The old Electric, under new management, will be called the Victory, and will present moving pictures and a skating rink adjoining.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 12, 1915

The Habit Theater in the Kirsch building was sold this afternoon, a man from Danville who held a fifteen hundred dollar mortgage buying it in. He stated the theater would be rented to parties coming here, and would reopen soon.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 24, 1915

Contractor A. G. Oglesby has a force of men at work remodeling the interior of the old "Habit" theatre building at the corner of Third and Market streets. A recent arrival in the city will start a first class movie show in the place, it is said, as soon as the remodeling is completed.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 31, 1915

The Crescent theatre will be opened Saturday in the Kirsch building at the corner of Third and Market streets. J. H. Work of St. Louis is in charge, and had renovated the old playhouse and made of it an up to date place. Mr. Work is a twin brother of Mrs. James Alton Smith, wife of the east Second street dry goods merchant.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 17, 1900
Mr. W. M. Sauvage and Mr. J. F. Porter today announced they will establish a summer theater at Rock Spring Park to be opened about June 1, where plays will be given during the summer. A theater to seat 1,000 people and with standing room for as many more will be built on the east side of the lake and will be approached by way of a rustle bridge over the lake. Tables will be provided where ice cream and soft drinks can be served and the place will be handsomely fitted up. Mr. Porter has leased a strip of ground east of the park to make room for the theater.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 18, 1907

It is estimated that over two thousand people visited this beautiful spot Sunday and Sunday night. The park begins to look like a real White City. The theatre, the electric theatre, the Arcade, the Merry-Go-Round, the Dance Hall, the Wonderland, the Shooting Gallery, the Parlor Bowling, the Novelty Balls, the Ring Stand, the Curio Shop, the Studio, the refreshment stand, were all well patronized, affording all kinds of amusement for the visitors. Hundreds of people witnessed the free balloon ascension at 5:30 p.m.  This daring ride by Prof. Hill is considered to be one of the best ascensions ever seen in Alton. The electric wire walking is a great feature. Prof. Hills daring feat, the slide for life, is a sensational act and should be seen by everybody. The slide for life, the balloon ascension, the electric wire walking, and many other high class attractions are free. The Rock Spring theatre presented one of the strongest and best vaudeville performances ever given in Alton, every performer handling his part very cleverly. Radcliff and Belmont, the world's greatest rifle shots, do a very clever act, shooting at small objects in every position imaginable. Their equal has never been seen in Alton. Stemm and La Grange, musical comedians, present an exceptionally good repertoire of musical selections, playing on various different kinds of instruments, bringing forth applause from everybody who hears them. The Great Wagner, clown, trapeze and contortionist, does one of the best trapeze acts ever seen in this country, introducing something entirely new and never before seen in this city. Miss Helen Stewart, lightning change artist, in singing and dancing specialties, brings down the house. Delzell sisters, song and dance artists, are very clever indeed, and present the audience with a unique and up to date sketch of real good songs and clever dances.  Francisco and Crosse do a very clever sketch entitled, "Morning Exercises." It is funny, especially the dancing feature, which is exceptionally good. The Majestic Trio, in a roaring afterpiece, "The Dutch Judge," hold the audience in real tears of joy and laughter. All in all, the performances given in this theatre by the above people are really recognized to be the best vaudeville attraction ever placed on the stage of any theatre at such a small admission price. The theatre is built on a large scale, amply able to take care of the best attractions, and the management assures the public that there will be no time lost in securing at all times the very best attractions obtainable. The theatre will filled to its seating capacity at the Matinee and night performances yesterday. The seating capacity of the theatre is 950 people, and there was a little room left, which was also filled. The Temple theatre orchestra is engaged to render music for the theatre for the season.


J. Edgar Collins, owner and general manager of the Rock Spring theatre and other concessions, including the electric theatre and the Wonderland, is a manger of years of experience and seems to know just what particular kind of attractions suit the public, judging from the comments passed on the performances given in Mr. Collins' theatre. It is an ideal spot to spend the evening, cool breezes and plenty of attractions is the talk of Rock Spring Park.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 20, 1907

Fun! Fun! Fun! Big amateur performance Friday night at Rock Spring theatre.  High class vaudeville at Rock Spring theatre tonight.  Children 10 cents. Adults 20 cents.  A prize will be given to the winner in the amateur contest at the Rock Spring theatre Friday night.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 8, 1907

A good list of attractions is being offered this week at the Rock Spring park theatre. Ahearn and Baxter, acrobatic comedians, are giving an excellent entertainment. The "Huntress," who will give a second week here, will show how he "makes up" as a woman in making his appearance on the stage. There are still some who do not believe that the "Huntress" is the man who claims to be the "woman" seen in the acts on the Rock Spring park theater stage. There are two juvenile performers in songs and dances which are highly pleasing to women and children especially. Morris and Morris, the two English eccentrics, is one of the best turns ever seen in Alton. The Rock Spring park attractions are proving very successful. The White Hussars band concert yesterday entertained a large crowd.



Source: New York Clipper, August 10, 1907/1908

At Rock Spring Park (W. M. Sauvage, manager) Prof. Hill with his balloon is the feature attraction this week.  The Rock Springs Theatre had a splendid bill week of July 28, including Jeanette Adler and company, Romaine and Campbell, Claude Austin and Hutchison and Lusby.  Note - a new concern has been added to Rock Springs Park, called 'The Congress of Novelties.'



Source: New York Clipper, May 16, 1909/1910

The Electric, a moving picture house, was partially destroyed by fire April 23, owing to the exploding of the film. The damage done was about $500. It happened during a performance, but fortunately, no one was injured getting out, as the house has many exits. The owner has presented Rock Springs Park to the city of Alton, and therefore it will discontinue being an amusement park.






Grand Theater, Alton, IL



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 17, 1920

A company composed of Alton business men, and capitalized at $75,000, will be incorporated under the laws of Illinois for the erection of a theater at Third and Market streets, on the corner west of the Illini Hotel. A meeting of the local business men was held last night. It was decided to boost the capital to $75,000. It had at first been intended, the Telegraph was told, to incorporate the company with a capital of $50,000, but in order to make the erection of a modern playhouse a certainty, the capital was boosted. All members of the company, it was said today, are Alton businessmen. It was also said that all stock of the new company has been subscribed. It is planned to erect a fireproof theater of the modern type. It will be a moving picture and vaudeville house. The policy of the theater will be similar to that of the theaters of other cities where vaudeville and movies are shown. The theater, it is said, will be a beautiful structure and will be one of the prettiest amusement houses in southern Illinois. High Class vaudeville and movies will be booked for the theater, say the men behind the proposition, who declare that Alton is large enough to support another first.



NEW THEATER TO BE NAMED BY PUBLIC (Later Became Grand Theatre)

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 25, 1920

The public will be given opportunity to choose a name for the new motion picture house to be erected by the Alton Amusement Co., at Third and Market streets. It was said today by L. J. Hartman, one of the directors, that the members of the board had decided to call for suggestions of names, and to the one offering the prize winner would be awarded a three months pass to the theater when finished. The Alton Amusement Co. has taken an option on the property of George F. Kirsch for a period of five years, the price named as the sale price being $85,000, and the company will have fifteen years to pay it off. It is the plan of the owners of the theater to purchase the property as they said they would not consider continuing under a lease. The statement was also made that the plans for the new theater will be completed tomorrow. It will be absolutely fire proof, it was said, and will have five offices on the second floor on the Market street front, and one small business room on the ground floor. The plan is to show no vaudeville, but there will be high class pictures and a high class orchestra.


POSTPONE NAMING NEW THEATER  (Later Became Grand Theatre)

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1920

The directors and the building committee of the new theater that is being erected at Third and Market streets today announced an extension of time for giving of suggestions for a new name for the new motion picture house. It was said by L. J. Hartmann that a number of suggestions had been made, but it was desired to give further time to those desiring to have the privilege of naming the playhouse and winning the prize offered. The time was extended to next Wednesday. B. W. Plummer was selected for orchestra leader. It was said by Mr. Hartmann no manager has yet been chosen. The arrangements of seats was approved last night. The seats have been bought. Pictures are being contracted for, too, though the earliest it is hoped to have the theater ready is some time next November.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 29, 1920

Announcement was made this morning that Dr. A. Don Stocker would occupy the entire second floor of the new theater building which is being erected at the corner of Third and Market Street. The building will be ready for occupancy about the first of November. Dr. Stocker is an extraction specialist. Dr. Stocker now occupies quarters on the third floor of the Commercial Building, and while the present rooms are admirable for general practice, the requirements of an office for specialization in extraction and X-ray work are somewhat different. The suite will be built according to Dr. Stocker's own plans, which have the suite will cover a floor space of 1135 feet, and will consist of twelve rooms and two 25 foot hallways, divided into two departments, examination or consultation and operations. The examination or consultation department will consist of the following rooms, connected by a private hallway; anti-reception room and business office, main reception room, X-ray room, private office, ladies' dressing room and X-ray developing room. The operating department will be distinctly sanitary, with floors of tile, with marble baseboards and sanitary walls. The hall of this department will have arched ceiling. The department will include two operating rooms, two retiring rooms, nurses' room, and toilets.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 12, 1920

The electric sign for the Grand Theater, being erected at the corner of Third and Market streets, will contain 700 light bulbs, according to John Jianakoplis, one of the owners. The sign, he says, will be the largest in Alton, and as large, if not larger, than any..... [unreadable].



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 8, 1920

One reason that the new Grand Theater walls went up so fast was that there was no delay in material deliveries, and one reason of good material deliveries so far as bricks are concerned was the activity of the Alton Brick Co. in handling the bricks. The brick supply ran very low at times, and bricks were taken red hot from the kilns at the brick company plant, loaded into trucks and brought down to the theater. When the bricklayers got them they were still warm. Had it been cool weather, the bricklayers would have enjoyed it, but as it was the thermometer was playing around a hundred, and the hot bricks only added to the heat of the job. But the walls kept going higher and the hot bricks was what caused them to keep on going up higher.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1920

The Grand Theater will be ready for its opening on Thanksgiving day according to the contractor, H. H. Unterbrink, who has been rushing the construction work night and day. All day Sunday crews worked in the theater building putting in concrete floors and they carried their work on through Sunday night, and day crews came on today and were finishing the work. The decorators have been rushing their work and have nearly finished it. Contractor Unterbrink said that almost all the furniture, including the seats, has arrived. He said that he has given the owners of the new theater word that so far as he is concerned they will be able to open the theater on Thanksgiving day, and that it will be up to them to get installed equipment for which he is not responsible. The new fire proof theater is owned by a syndicate of business men. They plan to have a good orchestra and to put in their house the best of pictures. When they planned the building, they expected to get it built and opened for far less money than they have found is necessary to make the theater fire proof and equip it as they decided to do. Until recently it appeared there would be no chance of getting the building ready to receive its first crowd on Thanksgiving day, but when the owners insisted that this be done the contractor began rushing work by working more than one shift and speeding up in every line where additional energy could be applied. The equipment for the building was shipped and the announcement made that everything was in readiness to be placed as soon as the contractor could make ready to receive the equipment. Within a few days the greater part of the decoration work will have been completed. Simultaneously, the installing of the seats and the curtains and screens will be finished and the theater will be turned over. Some delay in the heating plant has caused some disappointment, but this should be ready on time. The new theater will be a handsome improvement to the neighborhood where it stands, as its owners are fixing up the surroundings in tidy shape.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 23, 1920

So that paint may be dried properly, the opening of the Grand Theatre must be deferred about a week, though the contractor and the owners of the building have not yet been able to agree on the date. The contractor, H. H. Unterbrink, refuses to give his assent to opening in less than a week after Thanksgiving day, as he says he wants the paint to dry properly. The owners are desirous of anticipating the date as much as possible, because they say, they have engaged pictures for a Thanksgiving day opening and have also engaged their help to begin at that time. The contractor insists however, that the decorations must be given a chance to dry out so that the public won't smear the paint when the opening takes place, and today there the situation was. Outside of the painting and decorations, the theatre would be ready, with the exception of some little details of the heating plant, but the contractor says that the painting being done must be given a chance to harden as each successive coat goes on and that it can't be hurried this kind of weather.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 4, 1920

The new Grand Theater at Market and Third streets was opened to the public at 2 o'clock this afternoon. The day could hardly have been more discouraging for an event of the kind. The management of the theater was unwilling to see anything bad in the outlook, as he was confidently expecting a big business on the opening day, regardless of weather conditions. He felt that the public would turn out to see the new playhouse regardless. The finishing touches were still being put on the place up to the time of opening. Little details here and there remained to be finished. The lighting arrangement in the front was the most important work that had to be finished up, the management having planned for a perfect blaze of light on the front of the Grand. The new manager said that Market street is not very well illuminated, otherwise, and he intends to make it light as day. A good program of pictures had been arranged for the afternoon and evening. As recognition of the opening there were some handsome floral pieces sent by friends of the owners and the management with their best wishes, and the new theater looked like a flower shop. The new theater has a big orchestra which made its bow to the Alton public today, and which will be in service constantly. The owners and managers of the theater believe that the desire for amusements in Alton is ever on the increase, and they think that the Grand will enjoy steady popularity. The handsome floral offerings sent by friends attracted much attention, due to their great beauty. Among the pieces received were many from St. Louis friends to Manager Oberstolz. Flowers were received from Alton Brick Company, Board of Directors, Alton Evening Telegraph, Princess Theater, J. J. Rielley, owner, George Palmer Electric Company, H. H. Unterbrink, Famous Players, Universal Film, Standard, Krug's Floral, Alton Daily Times. Miss Bertha Edwards, assisted by Mrs. W. A. Clark of Ouatoga Theater, was in the ticket office selling tickets. Francis Mills was at the door. Berg Plummer's Orchestra was a big feature of the opening. Fred Boem was stage manager. The Misses Nellie Neil, Julia Selhime, Helen Thomas, Ruth Simpson, Vera Kimmel, Velva Wheeler, Eunice Crouse and Vera Herman were the ushers. The Western Military Acvademy attended in a body, and were the first to enter the Theater.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 22, 1921

The spirit of the jungle - the fear that instinctively rests in the breasts of all animals for the king of beasts, the lion - prevented an express wagon being overturned this morning and probably prevented the running at large of a lion. The lion was shipped to Alton for an engagement at the Grand. It was hauled from the express office on Front street to the theater. The horse drawing the express wagon was restless from the time the lion was placed in the wagon. The horse did not see the jungle beast, but he knew, as all animals know, that his enemy was near. The horse had never seen the jungle, had never probably ever run wild on American plains. He was a completely domesticated animal. But he had in his breast the fear given to him by heredity from an age centuries ago. When the horse began to pull the wagon carrying the lion, the ice did not daunt him. He knew but one thing, and that was to flee from the enemy of his fathers, the king and terror of the jungle - the lion. But the wagon came too, and the lion was always near. When the wagon had been pulled up Market street close to the theater, the driver with difficulty forced the horse to turn. The street slopes considerably at that point, and the wagon skidded to the curb. It struck the curb and seemed about to turn over. The lion's cage, it seemed, would be broken open and the beast released. But the horse still was in fear of the lion. He made an effort to do but one thing, and that was to flee. So he made a mighty effort to go forward, in spite of the slippery ice. And he succeeded. The wagon was righted, the lion was not released. Soon the cage was unloaded and the horse resumed his tranquil existence.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 11, 1922

Manager Reilly of the Grand Theater has arranged to bring Prof. Vishnu, one of the greatest living hypnotists to this city on next Monday and Tuesday, to perform this almost unbelievable feat, the greatest feat of the modern age, the casting of a hypnotic spell over a person via radio. Only twice before has this been fully accomplished, at Atlanta, Ga., and Kansas City, Mo. Alton will be the lucky third on Monday night. Miss Dolly Wecher will receive her sleep stuff through the ether waves detected by a large radio receiving set that will be in operation on the stage of the Grand. They will be sent out by Prof. Vishnu who will be in the broadcasting station in St. Louis, 24 miles away. After she dozes into fairyland, she will be placed on a stretcher and taken to the window of one of Alton's leading merchants, where she will remain in her comatose state 24 hours. On Tuesday evneing, she will be carried back to the Grand and placed on the stage in front of the receiving set and an unusually sensitive radio equipment will be used so that the audience will be enabled to hear every word of Prof. Vishnu as he speaks his hypnotic words miles away.






Hippodrome Theater, Alton, Illinois



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 4, 1911

Manager W. M. Sauvage has leased from Mrs. Nellie McPike the old Boston Store room at Second [Broadway] and Piasa, adjoining the Lyric theater. He will consolidate the two places, making one large amusement place, capable of seating 1,000 people, and he intends making a fine place of it. Mr. Sauvage says that when he has finished his plans for the new Hippodrome, as he will call it, he will have a much improved place over what he has now. He intends to make the place fairly glow with electricity, and plans to use at least 1,500 electric lights. Perhaps he may install a power plant in the basement and furnish his own electricity. He says that he has conducted the Lyric five years. He has made of what was considered a long chance, a very profitable investment, and he expects to increase the drawing power of the new amusement center he proposes to establish in Alton. There was some other competition for the lease or to buy the property, but Mr. Sauvage, by taking what is practically a twenty year lease on the property, won out. He will thus get room for expansion of his amusement enterprise at the Lyric theater. Mr. Sauvage expects to have the Hippodrome ready for business next fall.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1912

The formal opening of the Hippodrome will take place Monday evening. Manager Sauvage was somewhat disappointed in not being able to open the Hippodrome sooner, as the past week the weather has been such as to discourage outside shows. Mr. Sauvage will open his new playhouse with an advanced price show, the price for the opening night to be fifty cents a ticket and a good show will be given. There will be some speeches by representatives of various bodies in Alton, the speakers to represent the city of Alton, the Manufacturers' Association, the Retail Merchants, the Trades and Labor Assembly, previous to the opening of the program. The program will begin at 8:10 p.m. Mr. Sauvage says that the regular popular prices will prevail. He plans to have a few reserved seats at 5 cents extra for the first evening performance only. All other entertainments will be ten cents.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 24, 1912

The new Hippodrome was opened Monday evening with some formality. Speeches were made by Mayor Faulstich, W. H. Joesting, and G. H. Mosser, representing the city, the retail merchants, and the Board of Trade. Representatives of other organizations in Alton were expected to be present but were detained, one by absence from the city, another by illness. Manager Sauvage was given warm commendation for his enterprise in providing such a nice place of amusement, and it was predicted that the Hippodrome would be an aid to the mercantile interests of Alton by affording further attractions in the city where shoppers could go for an hour or two during an afternoon. The confidence that Mr. Sauvage has in Alton, and his efforts to improve every opportunity that comes to Alton better amusements features was spoken of. The new Hippodrome is a work of art. To be fully appreciated it must be seen inside, as the hands of skillful artists have been busy in there, and the walls, ceiling and the stage settings have been decorated in a style that is new and attractive. The seats provided are comfortable, and during the season Mr. Sauvage will have a four-piece orchestra. He will give five shows a day, two in the afternoon and three each evening, with five changes of pictures weekly and two changes of vaudeville weekly. Before the close of the program Mr. Sauvage explained how he happened to make the price 50 cents on the opening night. He said he was not sure that in the last day's rush everything would work satisfactorily, and he would rather have a small audience to be disappointed on the opening night. The audience was a good sized one, notwithstanding the advance in price for the one night. A fine program of pictures was given, and two very good vaudeville acts. The first act was Carlotta, "the human dragon," who has a rather startling variation of the usual line of work of the contortionist. The short sketch, "The Choice," in which a very good moral lesson is pointed, was given by a company of four. It seemed at first to be treading on rather dangerous ground, but toward the close the delicate situation was brought around in a manner that pointed a high class moral and everybody who saw it had to admit that it was good. Frank Cox, the architect, who also had the contract, was sitting in a box and was called upon to say a few words at the opening of the pretty playhouse. Mr. Cox was too modest to say much, except that he hoped the public would like the place, which they evidently do.



Source: New York Clipper, October 5, 1912

The new Hippodrome Theatre at Alton, Ill., was formerly opened Monday evening, Sept. 23.  W. M. Sauvage, sole owner and manager, has leased the McPike property on the corner of Second and Piasa Streets, and has built one of the prettiest houses in the State. The playhouse, rebuilt by Frank Cox of Chicago, includes a balcony, two boxes, and with the lower floor, has a seating capacity of 1,200. The stage measures 54 by 32 feet, and the lobby 54 by 12 feet. The scenery and curtains were painted by Eugene Cox and staff of Chicago, as were the beautiful interior decorations. The entire exterior is [unreadable] white and the base surrounded with marble slabs ten feet from the ground. The playhouse was opened addresses by Mayor Fauistich (sp?), G. H. Mosser, secretary of the board of trade, W. H. Joesting, of the Retail Merchants, Manager Sauvage, and Frank Cox, the builder. Many floral tributes were received by Mr. Sauvage. The new house will be devoted to vaudeville and moving pictures. The opening bill included Walter Petroval (sp?) and company, in "The Choice of Carletta" and four reels of pictures.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 7, 1916

Two new rectifiers for the Hippodrome have arrived and been installed with an idea of improving the pictures at that theater. The two machines were ordered over three months ago, but on account of the big demand for electrical apparatus have been delayed in arriving. The two machines are of the very latest type and are used to change the alternating current to direct current for the movie machines. They have a higher candle power than other machines ever used in the city. The machines are so arranged that each is two systems in one, and in case one part of the machinery should go down, the machine will transfer automatically to the other. This makes it sure that the machines will not go down as long as there is any power coming into the building.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 11, 1917

After the show tomorrow evening, the Hippodrome will close its doors to be redecorated. The theater will be reopened on September 3, completely redecorated. The new curtain showing the river front of the City of Alton as it would appear with a sea wall will be one of the features of the show house when it is reopened. The days of the ten cent combined picture and vaudeville show are a thing of the past, as announced in the Telegraph some time ago. Manager William Sauvage said this morning that the Hippodrome would not open at less than fifteen cents, and there is a chance that the price might be even higher than that. The policy of the house will be to have programs of about the same type as are being run at the Airdome.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 4, 1918

The big elephant has been taken down from the top of the Hippodrome building, and will probably stay down during the war. Although it was an elephant which is supposed to be very heavy, this one was a "light affair," according to an electrician, meaning by that an electric light affair. It scattered lots of light around high up in the air, and it was to save that light and obey the lightless instructions of the fuel administration that the ornamental animal was removed.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 28, 1919

Manager Sauvage of the Hippodrome has announced a new policy for that theater this winter. Starting on the first day of September the theater will be kept open from 11 o'clock in the morning until 11 o'clock at night. He will run two acts of vaudeville. A new organ has been ordered and it will arrive shortly. The organ will be added to the present organ and will be played from the pit as part of the orchestra. The organ with the men who are now in the orchestra will give the music a volume equal to an orchestra of about seventy-five musicians.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 12, 1920

There was a fire alarm from the Hippodrome yesterday afternoon. The people in the house noticed the odor of wood smoke, and they noticed soon that the air was filled with smoke. A fire alarm was turned in. It developed that in the furnace room, under the sidewalk, walled off from the building, workmen had long ago laid a piece of lumber on top of the boiler. The heat of the boiler charred and finally fired the wood. The smoke from the burning wood was sucked through the cracks in a stone wall by the ventilating system and driven into the theater. There was no danger of fire whatsoever in the Hippodrome, the furnace being under the sidewalk on the south side of the building.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 14, 1920

Manager Sauvage has awarded the contract for extensive improvements at the Hippodrome. He said today that the contract for the interior decorations have been let to the Andrews Decorating Co., and will cost $2,300. In addition, he has let to Fred Buck the contract for painting the exterior of the building. The seats in the Hippodrome are to be upholstered again, this time in an imitation leather, the product of the Western Cartridge Co. This company is making in its Springfield plant a leather known under the trade name of Westex, which Mr. Sauvage decided to use. It is new on the market, but is said by experts to be one of the very best of all the imitation leather goods with which it must compete. The orchestra is being reorganized and strengthened. A. J. Barron, flutist, formerly with the Hippodrome, has returned, and will resume his old post. Mr. Sauvage says that he will have a high grade orchestra this year that will be a great feature in the Hippodrome. He has also contracted for some expensive illumination for the building and will make the place a blaze of light.




LYRIC AND NEW LYRIC (The Lyric is shown in the foreground in the photo, under construction in the late 1850s. It was located at the corner of Broadway and Piasa Street, and would later become the Hippodrome.  In the background of the photo you can see [in white] the Alton prison.)



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 30, 1907

Vaudeville has become quite the fad in Alton, and the opening of the New Lyric on Monday, October 7th, is being looked forward to with a great deal of pleasure. Manager Sauvage has provided a very strong bill for the opening week, which includes besides new moving pictures and illustrated sons, John A. West, the musical Brownie and his company, Miett's Trained Dog Circus, Murray K. Hill, famous plack face comedian, and Shannon & Straw comedy sketch. This will be by far the best and most expensive vaudeville bill ever presented in this city, and there is little doubt but what capacity audiences will greet them at the New Lyric. The same excellent policy will be pursued by Manager Sauvage in this new enterprise as has always been his rule in all his different amusements.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 8, 1907

A new era in theatricals was opened up last night when the New Lyric opened its doors for the first time. This theatre is to be devoted exclusively to high class vaudeville and moving pictures. Two packed houses greeted the opening. Manager Sauvage has, in the Lyric, certainly opened up one of the prettiest little vaudeville houses in the west. It is complete in every detail. The outside of the building is decorated beautifully and a wealth of electric light illuminates the front, and the word "Lyric" is displayed in a mass of light. The interior of the theatre is done in red, highlighted with gold, and very comfortable opera chairs have been placed. A handsome new curtain was painted by Eugene Cox of Chicago, and a complete new scenic equipment was placed on the stage. Vaudeville has been an amusement long wanted in Alton, and there is little doubt but what the high class programs offered will be well patronized. The program presented at the Lyric this week is the finest ever arranged or presented in Alton. John A. West, the musical Brownie, and Company, head the bill, and their act is refined and very pleasing. Shannon & Straw in a comedy sketch are clever, and their act is well dressed. Murray K. Hill is known as the Lew Dockstader of the vaudeville stage and merits this title, as his work is by far the cleverest ever seen here. His jokes are all new, Miett's educated dog circus is a splendid act, the dogs are all well trained and do a number of difficult tricks. Matinees will be given daily at the Lyric at 3 p.m., and two shows are to be given each night at 8 and 9:30 p.m. The doors will open for the matinee performances at 2 p.m. and in the evening at 7:30.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 17, 1907

Santell, the strong man who has been a feature of the program at the Lyric theater this week, has been attracting big crowds and much interest. Last night he showed how strong he was by breaking with his fist a heavy stone, but after the feat he showed the effects of the blow in the swelling in his powerful right hand which he had used for a sledge hammer to do the feat. Tomorrow night he will lift 14 men. A few nights ago he made an actor out of Frank Conley, much against the will of the portly saloonkeeper.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 20, 1907

The amateur bill tonight at the Lyric promises to be the best that has been seen, and will be made up of six prominent young Alton people. Wesley Smith, a member of the Black Diamond Minstrels, hopes to win the first prize from Ben Rexford, who will be his opponent. George Gramlich, sweet singer from Bloomfield, and Mike Featheringill, will be the contestants for the singing prize. Otto Wutzler and W. Smith, an all acrobatic team, former members of the Black Diamond Minstrels. At the rehearsals, much talent has been shown by these amateurs and a splendid entertainment is promised.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 1, 1908

The season of vaudeville at the Lyric will close with the Saturday night performance. The week's bill at the Lyric this week will be transferred to the Temple for one night, together with about ten local amateur acts. The closing attraction at the Temple for the season will be "The Lion and the Mouse," next Wednesday night, one of the finest attractions of the season. Manager Sauvage says that the "Airdome," now in course of construction, will be completed by May 24. The merry widow hat will be allowed in the audience without checking at the door, provided they do not go to a height of over one foot. All above that height will have to be checked at the door. Men will be allowed to smoke in the open air entertainment place. The seating capacity will be near 2,000. The entire Airdome, the buildings and booths will be painted pure white and will be brilliantly illuminated. Among the acts booked are brass bands, performing elephants, flying trapeze acts, orchestras, operas, musical comedies, etc.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 15, 1908

The best moving pictures ever exhibited are being shown at the Lyric with a change in subjects every day. The public are beginning to appreciate the fact that they can see 2,000 feet of film - about an hours entertainment - for the low price of five cents. An electric piano has been installed in the lobby of the theater. The daily matinees are largely patronized by lay shoppers who desire through a system of open doors and windows the river breeze is secured and makes the Lyric the coolest place in Alton.



Source: New York Clipper, July 11, 1909

The Lyric has closed for remodeling, preparatory to opening for vaudeville about Sept. 1.



New Playhouse That Will be Erected on Piasa Street Will be Handsome Amusement Place

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 26, 1910

Manager W. M. Sauvage arrived home this morning from Chicago, bringing with him plans drawn by Frank Cox, theatrical architect, for the handsome New Lyric theater to be erected on Piasa street, on the property sold by B. L. Dorsey recently, to a syndicate consisting of W. M. Sauvage, George A. Sauvage, and Charles Seibold. The plans for the new theater indicate that Alton will have a fine addition to its amusement places. It will be no baby theater, as its seating capacity, exclusive of the gallery, will be greater than the Temple. The New Lyric will have no gallery, but will have a balcony. Manager Sauvage said today that there will be 750 seats downstairs, and 250 in the balcony, and 24 in the boxes, giving a seating capacity of 1024. The chairs will be the finest opera chairs, and will be selected with a view to comfort of the patrons. A Telegraph reported was shown the plans for the New Lyric this morning, and the richness of detail shows that there will be no lack of consideration for the comfort of those who patronize it, and they will have a beautiful, delightful place to stay while seeing some good entertainments. The theater will be 75 feet wide and 125 feet deep, and two stories in height. The front of the theater will be beautiful. It will be made of white enameled brick, with green brick trimmings, below the cornice. There will be two terracotta pillars from the sidewalk to the cornice, and the cornice will be ornamental terra cotta. On the Piasa street front will be two business rooms, flanking the entrance. Upstairs over these rooms will be two flats, one on each side, for family use. The entrance to the lobby from the street will have three double doors. The lobby will be circular in shape, 20 feet wide, and from it will be two double doors entering the theater. Between these doors will be a marble box office. The walls of the lobby will have marble wainscoting, and above them, paintings in panels, the panels to be separated by plate glass mirrors. The dome of the lobby, rising from a heavy plastic cornice, will be paneled and the panels ornamented with paintings. It will be brilliantly lighted, as will the theater, with tungsten lamps. The decorations of the interior will be in plastic relief, and the ruling colors will be white, gold and green. The stairs to the balcony will be inside the theater. The stage will be 71 feet wide by 60 feet depth, as against 55x29 of the Temple. There will be six exits on the main floor and three from the balcony, permitting of quick egress from the theater. The floor of the theater will be sloping, and will be wood laid on a concrete base. The plans call for beautiful art decorations inside as well as outside, and when the Lyric is built and opened, it will be a surprise to everyone who sees it. Mr. Sauvage deserves great credit for his enterprise in planning such a beautiful amusement place. At the present, he says the New Lyric will be vaudeville, but it will be possible to play much larger companies there, in case it is desired, than at the Temple.



Source: New York Clipper, April 16, 1910

Manager W. M. Sauvage, of Alton, Ill., has had plans drawn for the handsome new Lyric Theatre to be erected on Piasa Street, Alton, on the property sold recently to a syndicate consisting of W. M. Sauvage, Geo. A. Sauvage and Charles Seibold. The plans for the new theatre indicate that Alton will have a fine addition to its amusement places. The new Lyric will have no gallery, but will have a balcony. There will be 750 seats downstairs and 250 in the balcony, and 24 in the boxes, giving a seating capacity of 1,024. The theatre will be 75 feet wide and 125 feet deep, and two stories in height. The stage will be 75 feet wide by 60 feet deep. There will be six exits on the main floor and three from the balcony, permitting of quick egress from the theatre. The floor of the theatre will be sloping, and will be wood laid on a concrete base. The plans call for beautiful art decorations inside as well as outside. The new Lyric will present vaudeville, but it will be possible to play much larger companies there, in case it is desired, than at the Temple, in that city.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 15, 1912

Frank Shaw, formerly clerk at the Madison hotel in Alton, is in the moving picture business at Los Angeles, Cal., with the Pathe people. Frank will be a conspicuous figure in a moving picture show at the Lyric theater, "An Episode of Early Mormon days," tomorrow and Wednesday. Frank plays the part of a Mormon and an Indian chief in the same play. He has been connected with the Pathe people for four years, and seldom takes part in plays, as he devotes his time to staging their productions. Frank's friends may recognize him in the pictures. Another interesting feature of the Lyric pictures on Thursday and Friday will be a moving picture the play for which was written by Walter M. Smith, a son of E. A. Smith. He formerly was employed on the Telegraph, and since leaving here has been working in northern cities. He is now in Canada, where he has taken up magazine and other literary work. Mrs. Smith left a few days ago to join him after visiting her father, Valentine Wolf.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 18, 1912

Tomorrow night willl be the last of the Lyric theater. Next week the building will be put in the hands of contractors, and will be transformed in connection with the next door building [the old Boston store], into a Hippodrome, where Manager W. M. Sauvage expects to make a complete new departure in the amusement line in Alton. The Lyric has been in business five years, and in that time has done a tremendous business. It was started as a vaudeville house, but this was changed to conform to a popular demand, into a moving picture house, the vaudeville feature being eliminated completely. The past season, according to Mr. Sauvage, is by far the largest and best the Lyric has known.




NIXON/NINA THEATER (The Nixon Theater was located at 210 West Third Street in downtown Alton)



Source: New York Clipper, August 28, 1908/1909

The Nixon closed this week for remodeling. It will open again Sept. 1.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 24, 1959 (from 1909)

Nixon Theater, at 210 W. Third St., J. A. Swaton, manager, was offering moving pictures, vaudeville, and illustrated songs at a 10 cent admission. A novelty was talking movies - Catterlin Players filling in the voices.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 2, 1909

Gus Crivello today bought from J. A. Swaton, the Nixon theater on Third street. Mr. Swaton has been conducting the place since it was opened. It is a cheap amusement place, showing vaudeville stunts and moving pictures. Gus took charge of the theater at once. He has long had all ambition to become a theatrical manager and has now gratified his ambition. He will call it the Nina theater.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 7, 1934 (from 1909)

Jack Herman had taken over the management of the Nina Theater on West Third Street.





ODEON THEATER - PRINCESS THEATER  (The Princess Theater was located in the "Luer Block" of East Broadway, Alton, IL.)


The Princess Theater, Alton, IL



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 24, 1911

The Mayor appointed Mr. Elihu L'Eplattenier as Special Policeman in and around the premises of the Odeon Theatre, without compensation from the City of Alton. On motion of Mr. Burton, seconded by Mr. Hagerman, said appointment was confirmed by a unanimous vote.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 3, 1911

Workmen are today engaged in putting the floor in the Odeon. The Odeon is the building in the Luer Bros. block of buildings which will be used as a theatre. The seats are all here and everything is almost ready for the opening.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 20, 1911

The finishing touches are being put to the interior of the building in the Luer Bros. block of buildings on east Second street, designed for a playhouse or theatre. The Odeon, as it is called, will be a very handsome playhouse too, and it being the first of the kind in that part of the city, will undoubtedly prove a crowd-getter from the day it opens. The interior lopes gradually from the entrance to the footlights, in order that back seat occupants will have a good commanding position and can see the stage and performers as well as the front seat folks can. The walls are decorated attractively, and the stage shows off well. The foot lights have been placed, and there is but very little more to do before the Odeon may be thrown open for plays. In the matter of fire escapes, it is the best and safest building in the city of its size. It is on the ground floor and there are three wide doors on the west side, big double doors in the rear, and double doors in front. Should fire occur in that building, it could be emptied of its occupants, no matter how large the crowd, in five minutes time.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 17, 1911

The Odeon, the fine new amusement place in the Luer Bros. block of buildings, is practically ready now for the lessee, J. J. Reilley, to take charge of it. The seats have been placed, the interior decorations have been finished, the footlights and other stage accessories are there, electric lights and electric fans are placed where wanted, and workmen today are putting up the fine, heavy beveled glass door mirrors at the entrances. The house has a seating capacity of 700, and every one of the 700 will have a good view of the stage from whatever seat occupied. It is one of the prettiest small show houses in Illinois, and is about the safest in that it has four large side exits, in addition to front and rear exits. Manager Reilley is a show all by himself, and it is said by his friends that he will conduct a high class, fun-making theatre in the Odeon. He has been in St. Louis the past few days making final arrangements for putting on the opening, and while this has not been settled, it is probable the opening show will be given Saturday evening.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 20, 1911

It was stated in east Second street this morning that the Luer Bros will, if it proves too warm for comfort in Reilley's New Princess theatre in the Luer Bros. block of buildings, have the refrigerator pipes extended from their ice factory to the theatre building, and thus keep things exceedingly cool the hottest day or evening that may happen along. The electric fans are expected to keep things cool enough, but if they fail the cold darrying pipes will help them out.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 22, 1911

The new Princess theatre at Second and Weigler streets gave its opening show yesterday afternoon, and the house was packed. It was packed again last night, and Manager Reilley gave the public a very good show too. The theatre is a pretty one, is safe, cool and comfortable. It is the first amusement place of the kind ever opened in the eastern part of the city, and a very heavy patronage was given its opening play - which was high class vaudeville, and later moving pictures.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 13, 1911

The Princess Theatre will throughout the remainder of the summer season show only high grade moving pictures. The management has decided to take this action owing to the fact that it is impossible to play vaudeville satisfactory with fans running and too uncomfortable to have them stopped. Our pictures will be the best obtainable, the house will be kept cool and the Princess being a strictly fireproof theatre. Parents can come or send their children in perfect safety, and the management will do every thing possible to make them comfortable. The prices will be 5 cents and 10 cents to all parts of the house. Doors will be open at 7:30. Performance begins at 8 and 9 o'clock. Respectfully, J. J. Reilly, Manager.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 9, 1914

The great heart story filled with human interest and soul throbs, "Colleen Bawn," will be presented this evening at the Princess theatre in three reels. The Kalem Company some time ago imported a large quantity of Irish soil dug from the base of the Coleen Bawn roak, in one of the lakes of Killarney, and Manager Jim Reilley secured a box of this soil from the Kalem company. The soil will be placed in front of the ticket office of the Princess this evening, and everybody who buys a ticket there tonight will have to stand on Irish soil to do so. Anybody who goes to that theatre tonight can always say afterwards he or she has stood on Irish soil, and they need make no further explanation either. They will be telling the truth.


PRINCESS THEATRE BEING REPAINTED - Is Being Fixed up in Pink Tea Order

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 3, 1916

Manager J. J. Reilley is having his popular playhouse, the Princess theatre, repainted and beautified exteriorally and interiorally it is being thoroughly overhauled, decorated and brightened up. The Princess has won a warm place for itself in the hearts of Alton people for the clean, wholesome amusement it presents, and Manager Reilley is determined to keep the good will of the theatre going public by not only continuing to give high class, educational, instructive, or amusing entertainments, but also to have the surroundings beautiful and pleasing. This is reason enough for the improvement work now being done.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 5, 1918

The Princess theatre on East Broadway is being repainted and decorated. When the "flu" epidemic is over, patrons of that amusement place will find it greatly beautified.  [Note: During the great influenza epidemic of 1918, theaters, school, churches, and generally public meeting places, were shut down for fear of spreading of the flu, by order of the government.]




ROOTS OPERA HOUSE (Roots Opera House was located in the Mercantile Building, on Belle Street, about 1/2 block north of Third Street in downtown Alton, IL.)



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 24, 1890

Mr. Simon Folsom, advance agent for the Blind Tom Concert Company, was here Saturday trying to arrange with Manager Mather for the appearance of his company at Root's Opera House. There was no available date open for him, however, and consequently Blind Tom will not play before an Alton audience this season. Fortune has not smiled of late on the Star Theatre Co.  A five dollar bill was a comparative curiosity to them before they struck this city, and their receipts here did not better the condition of their exchequer to any great extend. They stranded in Alton Saturday night, but a considerable discount from the amount of their board bill, and the kindly assistance of Mr. Mather, enabled them to get safely out of town. The Holden Comedy Co., thirteen strong, arrived here yesterday morning and registered at Hotel Madison. Their fame has preceded them, and they bear the highest commendations from all places where they have appeared this season. In fact, this is the strongest theatrical attraction that has been on the boards at Root's Opera House for some time past. They have with them a mascot, in the shape of a diminutive darkey, who is a whole host in himself, on and off the stage.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 1, 1890

Another large audience greeted the reappearance of Holden's Comedy Company at Root's Opera House last evening. "A Noble Heroine" was on the bill for the evening, each and every part in theplay was carried out by the company in a most creditable manner, and the audience applauded time and again, one of the best performances that has been given here this season. Holden's Comedy Co. has won an enviable reputation among Alton theatre goers, and whenever it shall appear here again it is assured of a hearty welcome. Thomas Kirwin held the number which called for the prize, and received an elegant piano lamp, since he preferred that to twenty dollars in cash.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 20, 1907

Alton is to have a moving picture and illustrated song show, to be located in the Job building, 307 Belle street, and to be known as the Theatorium.  C. O. Manspeaker and George B. Sinclair from East Liverpool, Ohio have made the room into a pretty place and will put in an interesting and novel entertainment. The .... [unreadable] a big assortment of moving scenes and illustrated sons and promise to furnish a good, clean, bright entertainment. The show is to be especially for the entertainment of ladies and children. The opening day will be Saturday, and both afternoon and evening performances will be given.




TEMPLE THEATER  (The Temple Theater was located at Broadway and Easton Streets in Alton, IL. It was constructed in 1890 by the Odd Fellows Lodge.)


Temple Theater, Alton, Illinois



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 18, 1891

At Temple Theatre last evening "Silver Spur" was presented to a large audience. All the parts were well sustained, Miss Goodrich, Mr. Kay and Mr. Jackson being especially good. Harry Jackson has "caught on" in great style and is greeted with applause whenever he appears. Tonight the "Hoop of Gold" will be presented.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 28, 1893

"Paul Kauvar," Steele Mackaye's melodrama, will be performed at the Temple Theatre next Saturday, matinee and night. The play is a familiar one, which was in St. Louis last season, and appears there again next week. Mr. Mackaye's play has many stirring and well-written scenes, and its stage pictures give a graphic idea of incidents in the French Revolution. This American-made drama of the French Revolution has had great success.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 21, 1899

The future of the Odd Fellows Temple Association, the owner of the Temple building, was never so bright as it is just now. The association has begun in a most substantial way to feel the effect of returning prosperity in the place where prosperity counts for most - in the exchequer. Under the wise management of the board of directors, the association has safely passed through a time when the outlook was most gloomy, especially during the past year. Last season it was with difficulty that a lessee was had for the theater and then it was at a date long after the time when the place should have been open. This year there are already three bidders for the theater and the terms proposed by the bidders are good ones. The lease was to have been awarded last evening, but the matter was postponed for consideration to a later date. The theater is to be nicely fixed up this season either by the lessees or the Temple Association. One bidder offered to make repairs, but stipulated that he should receive therefore lower rate of rental. The Temple Association is to inaugurate a system of paying off the stock held by persons not connected with the Odd Fellows order. About $16,000 in stock of the capitalized amount is held by outsiders. This is to be paid off at the rate of $600 per annum and the first payment on such stock will be made in a short time. In addition to this, a dividend of 2 1/2 per cent or 3 1/2 per cent will be paid and it will be the first time a dividend has been declared in the history of the association. The association as originally organized was in debt to an extent of $36,000. Of this debt, all over the capital stock has been paid off and the total indebtedness is $25,000. When the association attacks this $25,000 it will be able to make systematic payments on it that will reduce it at both ends and will eventually place ownership of the Temple in exclusively Odd Fellows hands.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 24, 1899

The long deferred lease of Temple Theater was made Tuesday evening at a meeting of the board of directors. The new board of directors, Dr. W. W. Halliburton, James Wilkinson, D. Tomlinson, B. Schless, William Sonntag, H. Watson, Julius Fritsch, F. W. Joesting and M. H. Boals unanimously voted to accept the proposition of W. M. Sauvage for the lease of the theater for five years and the deal was closed. There were four bidders for the theater, William Harrison, William King & Co., C. L. Adams of Peoria, and William Sauvage. Mr. Sauvage's offer for the theater was not the highest but his proposition was considered the best for the local theatrical interests, considering his former successful management of the property. He gave up the theater here two years ago because of an offer to manage the Flints and the poor business the theater was then doing. Theatrical business has improved in Alton since then and he is confident he can make a success of the property. The directors of the Temple Association agreed to put the theater in first class repair and to improve the heating facilities which have been unsatisfactory. The new manager wants the theater repainted in white and gold, and it is probable his preference will be considered. New scenery will be bought and the stage setting will be new. Manager Sauvage today stated his policy with reference to the Temple for the season. He will secure the best of attractions and all theater goers know his past reputation in this respect. He has played in the past at the Temple many of the leading players on the stage and has always endeavored to secure the patronage of the best class of theater-goers. Among the better class of players he has played at the Temple are Thomas W. Keene, Robin Hood Opera Company, Wang, Princess Bonnie, Morrison, O'Neill, Wilson Barrett, Mansfield, Primrose and West's white minstrels, Alexander Salvini, Robert Downing, all of Frohmans plays. Archie Boyd in Shore Acres and Old Homestead and many others of the best on the road. The popular price 15 to 50 cents will be continued, except in very high class plays where contracts call for higher prices. Better attractions will be played for popular prices, Mr. Sauvage says, than have heretofore appeared at the Temple at such prices. The improvements in the Temple will be begun about the middle of June and will be under the supervision of Manager Sauvage. The manager will begin booking attractions at once and will open the Theater to the public early in September. Mr. Sauvage has a contract to manage the Lees, Hypnotists, and has not decided whether or not he will continue his connection with them.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Friday, June 16, 1899

W. M. Sauvage, the new manager and lessee of Temple theater, is booking first class attractions for the season at the local playhouse. He has booked Lewis Morrison, Robert Mantell "Brown's in Town," "Town Topics," "What Happened to Jones," Webber & Fields "Glad Hand," "The Guilty Mother," and Nat Goodwin's "Turned Up." The new manager will take possession of the Temple August 1, and in the meantime the work of repairing, renovating and improving the theater will be done. The theater will be opened about the first of September.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 5, 1900

The company of Jefferson de Angelis, sixty-six people, arrived in Alton today and had great difficulty in securing accommodations at hotels in Alton because of the size of the company. Only a part could be accommodated at the Madison, and the remainder were divided among the other hotels in the city. The company is said to be the best in comic operas on the road, and Alton music lovers are promised a rich treat this evening. The first act is a flower market in Amlens, France. This is a street scene and it utilizes the full capacity of the stage. It is described as being an unusually elaborate and picturesque example of scenic art, full of atmosphere and bright coloring. The second act is laid in a palatial ballroom of pink onyx. No artist could wish for a better possibility to inspire gorgeous effects, and from reports this scene is a veritable dream of a stage setting. The construction of the scene calls for a magnificent dome, studded with electric light. Both of these stage pictures will be shown, as the entire outfit of scenery, accessories and effects are transported with the company requiring two baggage cars in order to give the opera as complete as when originally produced in New York.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 25, 1900

A rare treat is said to be in store for playgoers in the presentation of Mr. Russ Whytal's romantic drama, "For Fair Virginia," at the Temple on Saturday night. This play was originally produced at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in the spring of 1895, and since then has been continuously acted and has met, wherever presented, with a most flattering reception. It is a story of life in Virginia during war times, but it is not a melodrama. Heart interest rises superior to the gloomy and lurid background of war, and Mr. Russ Whytal appears in a light comedy character. A scenic equipment is provided. The New York Sun said: "Interest was kept up to the end without a break. The acting throughout was excellent."



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 23, 1900

New lights for the orchestra were received today at the Temple, and patrons will have no more blinding lights from that quarter. The lights are so constructed that a narrow ray of light is thrown over the music page and none is allowed to enter the main auditorium.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 24, 1900

The Temple will be a state of beautiful and artistic cleanliness when the curtain rolls up at the first attraction. Mr. Sauvage has a corps of decorators and cleaners going over the whole place until it is clean beyond comparison with anything ever known there before. The back walls on the stage have been whitened so that no black walls show, and the scenery has been retouched. New scenery and stage settings in blue and gold have been made this summer, and some large arches, nick-knacks and jog pieces will be shown for the first time. The improvements at the Temple have cost Manager Sauvage $500, but he has confidence that last year's successful season will be duplicated, and he has made the expenditures accordingly. The Manager says the rating of the house has been raised, and that better attractions will be secured this season.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 7, 1900

The Temple Theatre will be adorned with an illuminated sign which will be lighted up with 166 incandescent lights whenever there is an attraction. The sign was completed for Manager Sauvage and arrived here today. The words "The Temple," are spelled out, and the sign will give a metropolitan appearance to the front of the theatre.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 18, 1900

Red Flash, the famous Indian runner who carried Custer's last message, is one of the most interesting of a group of famous red men who formed the attacking part at the fort in Go Won Go Mohawk's frontier play, "The Flaming Arrow," at the Temple Wednesday night. Red Flash, an old man now, was once and indeed for a full decade the fastest of all Indian runners. It is said of him that a sprint of 100 miles a day as the bearer of important messages between the forces of the regular army was a trifle. Previous to his employment by the government, he had been one of the most noted and blood thirstiest warriors of the Dakota plains. Red Flash, however, has been for many years the earnest friend, well wisher, and servant of the whites.


[After doing research on the claim that Red Flash carried Custer's last message, I believe this was all hype to advertise for the production of "The Flaming Arrow." This play traveled around the country in the early 1900s, and Red Flash was always touted as the one who carried the last message from Custer. However, Custer's last message from the Battle of the Little Big Horn was written in haste by Custer's Adjutant, Lt. William W. Cooke, just moments before beginning their attack, and handed to Bugler John Martin who carried it to Captain Frederick Benteen. The dispatch was finally located by Colonel William A. Graham sometime after 1923, and donated to the Army through the efforts of Colonel Charles Bates. It now resides in the library at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The message was simple: ;Benteen Come on. Big Village. Be quick. Bring Packs. W.W. Cooke P.S. Bring pacs."]



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 22, 1901

Without a doubt the best and biggest opening for a company at the Temple was that of the Myrkle & Harder Co. last night. Four dozen extra chairs were rented from Baker & Co., and were sold in less than ten minutes. Every box was sold and people stood in every entrance and aisle. The company is by far the best ever seen here, and will do the biggest week's business in the history of our Theatre. The specialties between acts were of the best and most refined on stage. Miss Myrkle, although new to us, has such a winning way, is such a good singer, such clever dancer, that before the week is half over she will be one of Alton's greatest favorites. Mr. Harder, the male star of the company, also a good actor, made a fine impression last night. Tonight they play "Running for Congress."


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 9, 1902
Go-Won-Go-Mohawk, the Indian actress who left so favorable an impression here last season, will appear at the Temple Saturday, April 12th, in Lincoln J. Carter's interesting play, "The Flaming Arrow." She is supported by an excellent cast, numbering some forty people, including the Government Indian brass band, and the clever acting horses, Wongy and Buckskin. Seats for this attraction now on sale. A special ladies matinee will be given at 2:30.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 9, 1902

When Temple Theater is opened on August 21, the place will be the most beautiful playhouse in this part of Illinois. Manager Sauvage has incurred heavy expense in redecorating and refitting the theatre, and it will be more comfortable, more beautiful and will accommodate more people. The interior is decorated in olive green with terra cotta, gold and silver trimmings. The arches in the balcony, around the boxes and over the stage, are in terra cotta. The walls are in olive green and the smaller decorations are in gold and silver. The lower boxes on each side have been thrown into one, and new brass chairs with vari-colored silk and satin cushions have been provided. Seats in the parquet to the number of 124 have been taken out and will be placed in the back part of the balcony or the jury box. New chairs will be placed in the parquet and the dress circle rail will be removed, making the lower floor one section. The outer aisles at the front will be filled also. New scenery and stage drapings have been ordered and will be here soon. They will be in harmony with the colorings of the new decorations. The lobby is being fitted up in the same manner, and on the floor will be a tiling effect. The wainscoting will be of steel and will be painted in gold and copper bronze. The scaffolding is being removed from the theatre as work is being completed by the decorators. Prof. Moore is back from the East where he has been spending the summer, and brought with him all the latest music for the orchestra. Manager Sauvage says the orchestra will be more efficient than ever and due attention will be given to this feature. Manager Sauvage says that he will spare no expense to keep the standard of attractions at the Temple high. Good companies will be here, some of which are of a very high grade. Among the attractions of the best grade will be Liberty Belles, Kelsey & Shannon in the Moth and the Flame, Andrew Robson in Richard Carvel, Tim Murphy in a new play, Foxy Quiller and Foxy Grandpa, Florodora, Lovers' Lane, Alice of Old Vincennes, the Sign of the Cross, and Puddenhead Wilson. The opening attraction will be "The Irish Pawnbroker," a musical extravaganza.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 10, 1902

"The Liberty Belles," a new comedy by Harry B. Smith, and presented by Frank Hennessy's company, will be seen for the first time in Alton tomorrow night at the Temple. The story of Mr. Smith's is a three act piece, the scenes of which show a dormitory in a young women's seminary, with the pupils engaged in a clandestine midnight supper, the kitchen of the cooking school of "The Liberty Belles," and a fashionable hotel in Florida. The first act has attracted very wide attention because of its celebrated dormitory scene. There is no chorus in the production, Mr. Smith having replaced it by characters that have an actual place and definite purpose in the story. A comical climax naturally transfers the story and the principals to the scene in Florida, where the funny incidents are kept up at a hot pace until a very novel denouncement, which brings the complications to a happy solution. The scenery and costumes are described as superb. The young women of the company have attracted great attention during the long run.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 17, 1902

Sunday night at Temple Theatre while the play "Lovers' Lane" was being given before an audience of 1,200 people, a main fuse in the electrical connections burned out and the house was cast into utter darkness. Not a ray of light was there to dispel the blackness of night in the least degree. The play came to an end for a time, and it required fifteen minutes to repair the fuse.  Professor E. A. Moore struck up with the orchestra the music of the popular song, "In the Good Old Summer Time."  The selection was very appropriate, as the scene, just before darkness fell, showed a summer stage setting. The trees were in bloom and everything suggested a pastoral scene in June. The audience took up the words of the song and sang it as the orchestra played. Lewis Morrison, who will appear this evening as Mephisto in Faust, sat in a box, and he caught the spirit of the occasion. Everyone sang, Morrison leading the chorus of 1,200 voices. For fifteen minutes the singing was kept up, and then the lights flashed out again. The play was taken up where darkness cut it short, and was proceeded with to the end without further interruption.

JOLLY OCTOROONS AT TEMPLE THEATRE         Colored Company to Put on Play

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 1, 1903

Manager W. M. Sauvage has completed arrangements for the appearance of a home talent company at Temple Theatre, April 20. The company consists of colored people, and the play was arranged by Miss Cordelia Jones. Cordelia will appear in her own play at Temple theatre on the evening announced, and will have a leading role. The play has little or no plot, and is designed merely to amuse the audience. Last evening a reception was given at her home on Easton street by the author, Miss Jones, to the members of the Jolly Octoroons company. Mr. and Mrs. Louis Jones were the entertainers. A course dinner was served and everyone had a pleasant time. Miss Jones says that after the successful presentation of her play at the Temple, she intends to take it out on the road and may make fame for herself and some of her actors and actresses. The proceeds of the play at the Temple will be used to buy costumes for the participants in the play. Mr. W. M. Sauvage will be the manager.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 14, 1904

Manager W. M. Sauvage received word this morning that a delegation of 200 persons from St. Louis, friends of Harrison I. Drummond and J. T. Drummond, will come to Alton May 22 to attend the first production of the new light opera, the "Maid and Mummy," written by Richard Carle. The "Maid and Mummy" is arousing much interest in St. Louis because of its backing and the prominence of the author. Dramatic critics from St. Louis will attend the first performance in Alton to pass judgment on the play, and the Temple will contain on that evening one of the most distinguished audiences from a dramatic standpoint ever known there.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 17, 1907

An Old Fiddlers' contest was held at Temple theater under the auspices of the Alton Mutual society last evening, which was attended by a large number of Alton people. Some old fiddlers from Missouri and Illinois participated in the contest for prizes, but the real contest was between Jim Pack of Alton and W. H. Parks of New Haven, Missouri. The two have been rivals since they met one year ago at Alton. Parks complained that Pack did not know one tune from another, and he accused him of being a comparative amateur. He was anxious then to challenge Pack for any amount of money that Pack would be willing to put up, to play a match contest, but for some reason the match never came off. Parks came back last night, and when it came to playing "Arkansas Traveler" in good old fashioned style, Parks defeated Pack. Then Pack played "Arkansas Traveler" with variations, speaking a story as he went along, and he got first prize on that. Parks said that speaking the tune was not playing it, and he was highly delighted with the decision of the judges awarding him the first prize on the regular old fashioned playing of this inspiring dance tune. A good program of musical and comedy numbers was given between the numbers in the contest. Dr. A. G. Porter made an address to open the program.  Dr. Porter's address was by far the greatest effort of the evening, laying all the old fiddlers and the other amusement features in the shade to gasp for breath. The doctor led his speech up to dizzy heights of oratory by graceful and easy accent, pausing here and there to gather flowers of poesy and gems of thought in little secluded nooks on the way. The descent was as easy as the ascent, and when he was nearing the end the audience began to acclaim him so loudly, in anticipation of the close, as the end of the oration began to dawn on their view, that it was almost impossible for the orator to go on. Dr. Porter has never before made claim to being an orator, but the long dormant talent would assert itself and bloomed with all the beauty of a June-time rose, notwithstanding the tardiness of its blooming. A cash prize was awarded to Dan Wagoner of Upper Alton for rendering the "Fisher's Hornpipe" in the best manner. If winner will call at the office of Dr. Porter, the prize will be placed in his possession.  By order of C. C. Osborne, President Association.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 21, 1907

Manager Sauvage has turned the Temple theater over to decorators who are transforming the interior into a place of beauty. The ruling colors will be old ivory and gold, with old rose trimmings. The theater will be redecorated from the lobby to the back of the stage. A new drop curtain will be painted, new stage settings will be made, and new draperies will be hung. The carpets and draperies will conform with the general color scheme. Eugene Cox is in charge of the work.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 3, 1911

Miss Stella Wimmer had the nerve to do it, at least she said she had, and would try it, and she did, but she paid a price for it. She had said that she was not afraid to wear one of the new "harem skirts" down town, go into a store and then go back to her hotel. The actress, who is appearing at the Temple, early began to regret her rash promise, and as the time drew near she wished it would rain and snow and blow so she could not make the trip. Nevertheless it did nothing of the kind in the weather line. Miss Wimmer had to make the trip to keep her pledge, so she did. The harem skirt she wore was made of a vivid green with old rose trousers. The skirt was brought from New York for the purpose, and Miss Wimmer, attired in it, rode to the Gates-Clark store in the auto of W. M. Sauvage. She happened to arrive down town at an hour and minute when there were just three people to see her leave the auto and trip hastily in the dry goods store. She acted like the old lady in Mother Goose who woke up to find her skirts cut round about. Miss Wimmer walked with a bent knee effect, as though she was trying to drop the over-part of her harem suit so as to cover her ankles, and strange though it may seem to many, that an actress would blush, Miss Wimmer really blushed, bona fide, not drug store blushes. A Telegraph reporter asked what she thought of the harem skirt. Miss Wimmer, still blushing, and apparently anxious to get back to the auto and then to the hotel, said "It's all right on the stage, but I wish I hadn't worn it on the street. It's comfortable, in some ways, it is easy to walk in" - and then the actress broke off and exclaimed, "look at those people looking at me," and she pointed to an interested party of spectators looking down from the balcony in the dry goods store, "It makes a difference then," the reported queried the actress, referring to her embarrassment in wearing the skirt on the street while she would not mind it on the stage. "Oh yes," Miss Wimmer replied, "I'm sorry I came out here in it and I must hurry back to the hotel. I wish I had never seen the harem skirt." She will wear it on the stage in a play to be put on tomorrow night and to be played the remainder of the week.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 17, 1911

The new chairs for Temple theatre have arrived and are being set in place. Manager Sauvage thought that the chairs might be delayed and would be unable to get them in on time, but he was determined to go ahead. Setting chairs in a theatre is like putting together one of those puzzle pictures. The chairs are different in size, according to the room that is had, and are made to fit the rows in the theatre. The chairs are made to order after measurements taken in the house, and all are not exactly the same width. The seats are very comfortable, and will be a fine addition to the theatre. The color of the upholstering fits in nicely with the color scheme of the new decorations in the Temple - green and gold. The place is as pretty as a very pretty picture, now with its handsome decorations, and truly even the constant patron of the theatre would not recognize the place on entering it. The new upholstered chairs will not be installed above the first floor. Manager Sauvage says that he will easily have the chairs in place in time for the opening of the theatre, August 26, one week from Saturday, when the "Third Degree" will be the opening attraction.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 25, 1911

The Fall amusement season opens in Alton tomorrow afternoon when "The Third Degree" will play a matinee at the Temple theatre. When the patrons of the theatre walk into the playhouse tomorrow afternoon, they will be greeted with a beautiful scene wrought by the artist's hand in rejuvenating the theatre. The lobby is done in old ivory and light colors. The interior of the house is done in green with copper finish, all of the draperies and tapestries are in green, and here and there grotesque faces on the walls and the balcony front give the place an air and look of amusement. Perhaps the greatest and to the most appreciated improvement is a complete new set of seats on the first floor. The seats are of green plush, padded, and with springs and big arm rests, making them a joy to sit in. The orchestra pit is hid by a green drapery and set farther in toward the stage. Around the stage opening is a magnificent border of acorn leaves and foliage. All in all the colorings are rich, they harmonize and make of the Temple a beautiful theatre. Mr. Sauvage has made several improvements that are for the convenience and safety of the audiences. An opening on the Easton street side with fine granitoid steps will make egress rapid and easy. Another big opening to admit of an automobile being taken on to the stage is cut back at the stage. All of the stage arrangement has been changed for safety and convenience, especially for the actors and actresses. The artistic decorations are the work of Carl Hermann and his assistants, and are a credit to their skill and art. And Manager Sauvage has booked a list of fine attractions to go with his newly decorated theatre. The Third Degree opens the season tomorrow afternoon and evening, and later come such plays as Billy, The Rosarie, George Damerol and Ruth Peebles in The Heart Breakers, Seven Days, Dockstadder's Minstrels, Prince of Tonight, Eugenie Blair in Light Eternal, Brewster's Millions, Deep Purple, The Girl in the Train, The Newly Weds, The Fortune Hunter, George Evans' Honey Boy, Alma, Excuse Me, Ward & Vokes The Girl in The Taxi, Polly of the Circus, and many others. This is the twenty-third time Mr. Sauvage has opened the Temple theatre for the season's amusements, and he has always opened with a newly decorated theatre and with the best attractions he could obtain. This year he eclipses all previous attempts both in the beautification of the house and the list of attractions.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 7, 1912

John Philip Sousa, the great bandmaster, with his band of fifty pieces, was in Alton Saturday evening and at Temple theater played a fine program, which was enjoyed by an audience that was not at all in keeping with the importance of the engagement Manager Sauvage had made. The theater should have been filled to its capacity, but it was far from that. Sousa had prepared a program consisting principally of pieces that were new or unfamiliar to the general public, but he had another feature that was unannounced. All the encores given on the program were of the old time pieces that everyone knew, some of them the favorites of Sousa's own composition. Sousa was exceedingly gracious in giving encores, and he seemed to be especially pleased when his soloists received enthusiastic encores. The Sousa band was at its very best and accompanied the soloists perfectly. The soprano soloist, Miss Virginia Root, sang as her encore "Annie Laurie," and never was that sweet old ballad sung to better effect in Alton than by her Saturday night. Miss Zedeler, the violinist, was given two encores and responded with two extra numbers, while Herbert L. Clarke, the cornet soloist, played one of his own compositions and after getting an enthusiastic encore he played "Silver Threads Among the Gold." The concert was not started until 8:30 p.m., as the special train arrived here at 8, and even after the concert was under way the band members kept coming in one and two at a time and taking their places, they having been delayed in getting supper.



Source: Alton Telegraph, May 8, 1913

Manager W. M. Sauvage of Temple Theater says that the worst crush in many respects that he even had for seat reservations was that yesterday when the seats were opened for reservations for the High School junior play. When Mr. Sauvage came down the rail in front of the wicket was torn loose from the floor and the glass in the window of the box office was smashed. Mr. Sauvage thinks that some of the early callers for tickets must have crawled up in the wicket and slept so they would be first at the wicket when the place was opened. The first ones who applied for tickets he questioned about the damage done, and they said that they did not know, he would have to ask someone else. Mr. Sauvage says that the people waiting for their seat reservations wrote on the walls and defaced the decorations there so that it will be necessary to have the walls redecorated. Mr. Sauvage says that hereafter the door to the lobby will be locked and that people waiting for seat reservations for high school plays will have to wait out in the open.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 16, 1914

Manager William Sauvage in a talk between acts at the Temple Theater last evening, announced that he had booked a three days engagement with the manager of "Within The Law." The company, which has been playing the largest cities in the United States, will be in Alton on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday...... A large number of Altonians who have witnessed the performance in other cities speak very highly of the production, and some of these have urged the manager of the Temple to bring it to Alton. He said last evening that he had been trying for two years to book this one show for the Alton theater. The engagement made it necessary for Mr. Sauvage to pay the management of the company $1,200 for the five performances in three days. In addition, he says he will be at an expense of $500 to put the play on here, making a total of $1,700.....In this gripping drama of thrills, there is adopted for the first time for use on the stage, smokeless powder and a Maxim silencer, such as the accomplices of the McNamara dynamiters are alleged to have employed to rid themselves of persons who might hamper their plans. These ingenious instruments of death add considerably to the mystery the police are called upon to solve in the play - a mystery they might never have fathomed, but for the sacrifice of a professional criminal who takes the blame upon himself and goes willingly to his punishment out of unselfish devotion to a young woman who stood by him when he was in peril before. As a background for this story is the social problem of the person who is convicted of a crime, goes to prison and serves the sentence in full, only to be prosecuted afterward by the police and hounded away from the endeavor to earn a reputable livelihood. In "Within the Law" the convict is a pretty young girl who is innocent of the offense with which she is charged, but is sacrificed to the plans of a hypocritical employer. Upon her release she is forced to choose between a life of the streets or taking up warfare on the law. She adopts the latter course, adroitly keeping beyond the clutches of the machine she defies. The battle she wages is extremely daring and ingenious and her triumph, while not complete, is suggestive of the methods of escaping responsibility said to be employed by financial buccaneers in their so-called "big business" operations. "Within the Law" exercises an almost irresistible human appeal on all classes of theatergoers, and is said to be one of the most exciting theatrical offerings of many years. An admirably fine cast appears, while the ornate scenic embellishment afforded "Within the Law" by The American Play Company is an elaborate as might be expected from the producers whose standard of artistic excellence is well known.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 16, 1915

Manager W. M. Sauvage of the Temple Theatre, in speaking of the apparent lack of great interest in the announcement of the visit of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra this evening, said that he was afraid he might have to go back to the "turkey burlesque" style of shows that are real money makers. He says he discontinued giving such shows at the Temple, believing that there was a demand for good shows, but he says that there has been no rush to get seats for the orchestra concert. He has had a fair sale, but he declares he has had to give a guarantee of expenses and that the advance sale had not covered the expense guarantee yet, and that he would probably never see any profits for the concert tonight. Mr. Sauvage believes that the people of Alton, who do not favor the lower and lowest grades of attractions, should patronize the good ones he brings to the city and show a deeper interest in ordering seats when he announces something as far above the ordinary as the Symphony concert is.



Source: January 14, 1916

A big crowd was pleased at the Temple Thursday evening with the first appearance of the Knights of Columbus minstrels and the after part, a musical comedy written by Dr. A. Don Stocker, "The Great Divide." Notwithstanding the intense cold, there was hardly a vacant seat on the lower floor, and the balcony and the gallery had a good patronage to see the "knights of minstrelsy" prance across the stage and sing songs and tell stories. There is much ability among the young men who participated, and the show had less of the appearance of being an amateur affair than most home talent entertainments. There were some veterans of home talent shows in the cast, such as "Sonny" Hammond and Joe Crivello, and there were others with less experience, but much talent in the line of amusing people. There were some sweet singers in the crowd who delighted the audience. In fact, there was not a solo but what called for an encore and this tended to lengthen out the show somewhat beyond the usual time. Joseph Sharkey was interlocutor with J. J. Hammond, James Dooley, William Carson, J. L. Buese, Joseph and Tony Crivello as end men. The opening was just like any other minstrel show with some pretty sons and some jokes. Solos in the first part were given by Jack Maloney, James Dooley, Louis Green, Joseph Crivello, John E. Eckhard, J. J. Hammond, Joseph Sharkey, John L. Buese and Ben Garde. Louis Green and Lucian Sims put on a skit in the cleo, "It Happens Every Day." Then came the after part, "The Great Divide." It is an amusing little comedy with a moral, written by Dr. A. Don Stocker. He was spending the evenings at home early in the winter and he put in his time getting on paper an idea he had in his mind that was given birth by what he viewed as an apparent antagonism between the east end and the west end of the city. In this part, local characters were taken off, including city officials, business men, and newspaper men. The story turns on the fight that was put up over getting of industries for the two ends of the city and the final loss of the industry through a fight that was started in which the two sides are represented as being engaged in regulation warfare. The piece has some good songs and tuneful music throughout. Among the sons sung in "The Great Divide" were the following: "Because They've Gone 'Nuts' Over There," solo and chorus, "You're No Friend of Mine," finale first act: "Crap Shooters," chorus: "Will I 'Spose I Might as Well Just Stay," solo and chorus: "In the Cluck - Cluck - Cluck - Cluck - Cluck - Cluck Clan," chorus: "War, War, Cruel War," chorus; "Mother's Biscuits," solo and chorus: "The Chase," orchestra: "There Will Be One Vacant Chair," chorus: "Hiram, Hiram, You've Been Stealing," chorus: "Mad," scene Hiram's Trial solo and chorus: "There Goes Hiram," chorus: Grand Finale "We'll Have To Pull Together," solo and chorus: Music, Words and Lyrics of the "Great Divide," by A. Don Stocker. The most tuneful of all the songs was the "Mother's Biscuits," which may make a hit. It was sung by John Eckhard. After the presentation of a bouquet to the author, Dr. Don Stocker, and long continued applause which was plainly meant as a recognition of the work he had done, Dr. Stocker responded not with a curtain speech, but by playing as a cornet solo the music of Mother's Biscuits and he drew warm applause. During the whole show Dr. Stocker directed from the orchestra pit while John L. Buese as assistant director on the stage, was a star everywhere he shone. There were so many stars it would be difficult to pick out any of them. Those who see the show this evening will enjoy it. In connection with the slogan for Alton, it was given out today that Alderman H. B. Herb had guessed it. Whether his close proximity to the office of Mr. Stocker enabled him to read the mind of the author or the fact that the slogan of the Retail Merchants and the Board of Trade in the same building is for Alton. Mr. Herb sent in his guess, All for Alton and Alton for All. At the close of the show the new slogan for Alton, which only the author knew, was displayed. It was on a huge streamer which was lowered from the flies of the stage, and as the grand finale was being sung the slogan became an important feature. It was "All for Alton, Alton For All." The slogan was received with applause.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 3, 1916

The Society Vaudeville given last evening at the Temple Theatre under the auspices of the V. I. A. for the benefit of playground equipment, under the personal direction of Miss Maud Frances Donovan of the Monticello School of Expression, was attended by a packed house, the first and second floors and boxes being filled, and a large number in the gallery. The entire entertainment was cleverly gotten up and given and from beginning to end was filled with funny stunts which created much laughter and amusement. The program of the evening was made up of songs, dances, a comedy, a one-act farce, monologues, piano-logues, nifty nonsense, and was concluded with live pictures. All the numbers were short and served to make the evening one of great enjoyment for all present. Among the hits of the evening were Emily and Harold Hoefert as International Stars; Lucia Taylor in "Beatrice Fairfax, Tell Me What To Do;" Joseph Crivello in monologue, song and story; Elsie Leverett Owen who presented some original pianologues; and Dick Sparks, Torry McKenny and Adele Stratton in Nifty Nonsense. One of the beautiful numbers of the evening was the dancing of Miss Marie Floss and Mr. Nelson Schweppe, which was as pretty and graceful as one could wish. The popular young couple have the reputation of being the best dancers in the city and their exhibition Tuesday night only served to add to the already well-earned honor. The one-act comedy, "The Dress Rehearsal," and the one-act farce, "The Chaperone," as well as the Miniature Broadway Production, were well acted and enjoyable. In "A Miniature Broadway Production," the Spanish dancing was very pretty, all the young ladies being attired in keeping with the spirit. The live pictures proved a pretty closing to the program. The music for the evening was furnished by an orchestra composed of all local talent, with Prof. B. C. Richardson as director. Those taking part in the orchestra were Mrs. Stocker, Mr. Daniels, Mr. Richardson, violinists; Miss Gervig, Mr. Dixon, flutes; clarinet, Raymond Stocker; cornet Dr. Stocker; trombone Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Beck; and piano, Miss Rumsey. The accompanists of the evening were the Misses Theo Erbeck, Myrtle Boals, Leona Nickel, Gill and Maul. If ever the promoters give again the Society Vaudeville, it is certain that they will have very little trouble in filling the Temple the second time. The benefit was a good one and the performance most excellently given. Great credit is given to Mrs. George A. McMillen, Mrs. Richard D. Sparks and Miss Donavon for the success of the entertainment. Mrs. McMillen did the great work of getting the large cast together; Mrs. Richard Sparks was in charge of the stage setting, her artistic taste being very highly marked, and Miss Donavon who directed the whole affair. The commission of the V. I. A., Mrs. H. M. Schweppe, Mrs. McMillen and Miss Biggins, deserve credit also for their great ability in advertising and getting the matter before the public. Work was started in February by the V. I. A. committee on the wonderful production which was presented last evening, and from that time until last evening Mrs. George A. McMillen never rested once, so interested was she in and enthusiastic over its success.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 7, 1918

Girl ushers will be one of the features when the Temple Theater opens the 1918-1919 season on Sunday evening, August 25. The girls, following the policy now used in some of the theaters in the large cities, will be dressed in grey shirtwaists and skirts. With few exceptions, all of the old ushers have been put in the draft. On account of the difficulty in obtaining men, Manager Sauvage decided to use girl ushers. In order to open the Temple Theatre, it will be necessary to close the Airdome. There are not enough stage hands in Alton to handle the work at both places. As the result of this, the Airdome will close on Saturday evening, August 24, and the Temple Theater will be opened on Sunday evening. "Friendly Enemies," one of the strongest war plays written, will feature the opening of the Temple Theater. Manager Sauvage said today that he had been very fortunate in securing good bookings for the coming season. The following is the list of productions that have been booked for Alton thus far: "Friendly Enemies," "Leave It To Jane," "O'Brien's Minstrels," "My Soldier Girl," Century English Opera Co., "Hearts of the World," "Salome," "A Night in Honolulu," "A Bird of Paradise," Maude Adams, Lyman H. Howe's Festival, "Flo Flo," "Mutt and Jeff," "Parlor, Bedroom and Bath," "Business Before Pleasure."


SAUVAGE NOT TO APPLY FOR TEMPLE THEATRE - SAYS IT'S LAST YEAR           List Below Shows Performers at the Temple Theatre!

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 29, 1920

Mayor W. M. Sauvage said yesterday that this will positively be his last year as manager of the Temple Theatre. He declared that when his time is up at the end of this season he will not be an applicant for the house again. Because it is a long time ahead of this promise taking effect, the Mayor was asked if he was in earnest about his statement. "When I say so, I mean it," the mayor replied. He said that he had been in the Temple as manager for twenty-eight years. The Temple has not been a paying enterprise for him for a long time. Good shows are few and hard to get, and some he has brought to town have not yielded the revenue they should yield to make the theatrical business a good one. Mayor Sauvage thinks that with another theatre such as he has in mind, he could make a great success. He is planning a fire proof theatre of much greater capacity that will stand on the Airdome site. He believes that by having larger stage and larger seating accommodations, the theatre would be more attractive both to the patrons and to the theatrical companies, and he would be able to secure more and bigger attractions. He thinks that the amusement situation in Alton might be improved if he had the kind of theatre he has in mind and the construction of which he may decide to undertake this spring. Among the many stars that have played the Temple Theatre during W. M. Sauvage's management are the following, many of whom are dead: Alexander Salvini, Neil Burgess, Frank Q. Seabrooke, Ezra Kendall, Modjeska, Walker Whiteside, Grace Van Studdiford, Mme. Janeshek, Margaret Anglin, McIntyre & Heath, Rose Stahl, John Philip Sousa, Bostonians, Kyrle Bellew, Damrosch Orchestra, Theodore Thomas Orchestra, Nat C. Goodwin, William Courtenay, Herman the Great, May Robson, Thatcher, Primrose & West, Hyams & McIntyre, Al G. Fields, Eva Tanguary, Valeska Suratt, Constance Crawley, Frank Tinney, Marie Doro, Roland Reed, Della Fox, DeWolf Hopper, Wilson Barrett, Thomas Jefferson, Lewis Morrison, Mme. Schumann Heink, Blanch Bates, George M. Cohan, 4 Cohans, Chauncey Olcott, Alice Neilson, Herbert Kelsey, Vera Michelena, Ina Claire, Charles B. Hanford, Thomas W. Ross, Trixie Griganza, Richard Mansfield, William Rock, Leonore Ulrich, Neil O'Brien, Patricia Collidge, Creatore, Zelda Sears, Bert Williams, Stuart Robson, Gertrude Hoffman, Mme. Rhea, Frank Daniels, Raymond Hitchcock, Richard Carle, Joseph Jefferson, Louise Cunning, Virginia Harned, Margaret Illington, Weber & Fields, 4 Mortons, Eddie Foy, Henrietta Crossman, Effie Shannon, George Evans, Joseph Sheehan, Marguerite Clark, Thomas Wise, Madge Carr Cook, James O'Neil, Maud Fulton, Guy Bates Post, Lew Dockstader, William Hodge, Leo Carillio, Al Jolson, George Damerel, Kathryn Kidder, Robert B. Mantell, Frederick B. Warde, Louis James, and many others.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 8, 1920

"The Chimes of Normandy" was presented at the Temple Theater Wednesday night by the Camerata and Auxiliary Chorus, under the direction of Miss Katherine V. Dickinson, before a large and appreciative audience. The opera is light, and contains more catchy music, which entertained and delighted those having the pleasure of being present. It was considered by all to be one of the best home talent ever given in Alton. The scenes of the opera are laid in Norman villages of the seventeenth century, and the setting of last night's entertainment was very becoming to the story, as were also the costumes worn by the participants. Henri, Marquis of Corneville, who has been since childhood, owing to civil war, an exile, returns to his ancestral home on the occasion of the great annual fair, which is being celebrated in the village that receives its name from his chateau. In the first act, the curtain rises on an assemblage of village gossips, discussing scandal and small talk. Serpolette, a good for nothing, is the topic of conversation among the belles of Corneville. She comes in just in time to turn the tables on the others, and changes their taunts into expressions of rage. Gaspard, an old miser, wishes to marry his niece, Germaine, to the principal magistrate of the district, the Baill. This arrangement does not suit Germaine, nor a young fisherman named Jean Grenicheaux, who pretends that he has saved her life from drowning on a certain occasion. To escape from the power of old Gaspard, Germaine takes advantage of the privilege of the fair (a similar scene to that in the first act of "Martha"), and becomes the servant of the Marquis. Her example is followed by Grenicheaux and Serpolette. The second act is taken up with the supernatural visitors who have made the Castle of Corneville so long an object of dread. Henri determines to find out the real character of these ghostly appearances, and discovers that it is all the work of the old miser, who has concealed his treasures in the chateau. The discovery drives Gaspard crazy, especially when he hears the bells of the chateau ringing for the first time since the flight of the old Marquis. The third act represents the grand fete given in honor of the return of Henri to his ancestral home. Serpolette arrives as a Marchioness, as some papers, found in the chateau, indicate that she is the lost heiress. The miser, however, recovers his reason, and shows that Germaine is the true Marshioness. A love duet between her and Henri, and the reconciliation of all the parties, bring the romantic story to a close.  Miss Helen Irene Elder, Alton's favorite soloist, took the part of Germaine, the lost Marchioness, and as usual pleased her hearers. Her role of the "Bells," and "Let Our Torches" style, and her rendition of "Legend of the Bells," and "Let Our Aorches" and "By His Side," was very good. She appeared in a duet with Henri, in "'Tis She! A Happy Fate," and at the close in "My Lord! My Lord!" Miss Grace Lorene Gee, as Serpolette, the good for nothing, captured the audience from the moment she appeared until she learns, to her great disappointment, that she is not the lost Marchioness. Her voice carries well, and her interpretation of her part was one of the delights of the evening. Her stage presence is good, she appearing especially good when she comes on the scene attired as a woman of nobility, scorning to notice those whom she thinks beneath her. Miss Gee was considered one of the big successes of the evening. Andrew Leigh took the house by storm, appearing as Gaspard, the bent-over miser, and guardian of Germain. Leigh has had much experience on the stage, and last evening carried out his part as an insane lover of money to perfection. He reached highest ______ lost his mind upon hearing ______ in the chateau ring out...... [some of the article unreadable]



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 10, 1920

Indications there would be litigation over the title to the stage "properties" that had been in use in Temple Theater was given yesterday when William Sonntag, acting for the Odd Fellows Temple Association, served a notice on William M. Sauvage, the former manager of the theater, to return certain articles he had removed from the place. It is understood that Mr. Sauvage has not assented to return the property, as he claims to have bought and paid for it, and that under the terms of the lease the property, he says, belongs to him. The removal of the property from the Temple by Mr. Sauvage when he vacated, August 1, makes it impossible to use the theater without heavy expense and some delay being entailed in providing new stage settings, scenery, and other equipment, including the necessary accessories for handling the curtains and scenery. The former manager is said to take the position that these properties always belong to the manager, but that in the lease he was required to furnish them. He left a curtain and certain possessions of his for which he paid, he said, because he did not care to cause the heavy expense and inconvenience to the owners of the theater to replace them. Among these was a switchboard which Mr. Sauvage said he bought and paid for, but he said that if he had removed it the owners of the theater would have been put to the expense of thousands of dollars to replace it. The indications are that with litigation in sight over possession of the stage properties, it will hardly be possible to reopen Temple Theater for some time. No manager has so far been secured for the theater, though the time is at hand when the theatrical season usually has opened. It is understood that it would take time to get the stage settings and equipment needed to make it possible for the theater to be opened for the year. The owners of the Temple Theater, it is reported on good authority, plan to enforce their claim on the stage properties in the courts, and the demand that has been served on. Mr. Sauvage was to pave the way for such litigation.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 29, 1921

Alton, which not so many, many years ago saw Richard Mansfield play Shakespeare, heard symphony orchestras, grand opera companies, saw Joseph Santley and Robert Corthell in musical comedy, and in recent years saw Margaret Auglin in one of the leading comedies of the post-war period, will, according to all indications, pass its second year without a legitimate theater. Notwithstanding early reports that the Temple Theater would again be opened, nothing, so far as is known, has been done, and Alton's theater-going public will either have to concentrate on movies and vaudeville, or go to St. Louis. A few days ago one of the leading theater men of the city vouchsafed the opinion that the Temple will not be reopened for plays. With no legitimate house running, the city will see two vaudeville theaters vying for public favor. The Hippodrome will open its vaudeville season next Monday. First class attractions, with accompanying movies, and a complete orchestra, are promised by the management of that theater. Beginning September 4, the Grand will launch a four-act policy, with the vaudeville, accompanied by photoplays. Exclusive movie houses will be the Princess and the Ouatoga in Upper Alton. This year will be Alton's second without legitimate plays. For about 30 years the Temple Theater has housed plays, and before that the old opera house in the city hall and the Root opera house.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 21, 1922

"The Cameo Girl," given under the direction of Torrey McKenny for the benefit of the Alton Young Women's Christian Association, was presented last night to a crowded house at the Temple. The theater did not betray, in its appearance, that it had been a place of silence and darkness for so long, when the curtain rolled up on the first act of the play. The lack of stage settings had been made up by using some costly drops belonging to the company which has had charge of training the participants in the play. The preparation of the play had been short, and all who saw the first performance agreed that the very best advantage had been taken of the time, and that some great results were obtained. This was in part due to the fact that among those who took part were some of unusual talent. "The Cameo Girl" is a musical comedy without a serious thought. It is to amuse, not to instruct. It calls for much better talent in comedy, and it also needs some good singers, and both of these qualities were abundant in the show last night. The leading musical parts of the play were taken by Miss Adele Hildebrand, Miss Florence Rose, and Hal Redus. There were other musical numbers of the more pretentious sort, given by Mrs. Lucia Manbeck, Miss Ada Colgate, Winfield Farley, Miss Hildebrand and Miss Rose, carrying the two leading musical parts elighting their audience and displaying talents which are of no ordinary kind. Miss Hildebrand, especially, coupled with her singing and ability to dance, made a great hit. Miss Rose's part, rendering of one song with Hal Redus, "My Nursery of Love," drew for her a great bunch of roses in the last act of the show. The comedy end of the show was entrusted chiefly to Dr. James Coleman and Miss Maude Gillham, together with a funeral kind of comedy that was very effective, by the three so-called wise men, impersonated by Jesse R. Brown, Dr. Harry Middleton and Washington McDonald. Hal Redus sustained some of the most important male solo parts. The play is full of chorus numbers, and there was a great abundance of chorus members. They varied from tiny tots on up the scale. The dancing was of a high order, and at times brought forth uproarious applause from the audience. One noteworthy feature of the show was that there were no long waits. The show was pushed along with pep and the hour of closing was not late. It had started on time and it ended on time. A crowded house is insured for this evening, not only because the advance sale had been vigorously pushed, but because the merit of the show was such as to make it popular.




VICTORIA THEATER - BIOGRAPH (The Victoria Theater was located at Third and Market Streets in Alton, IL.)



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 7, 1908

Returns of the Primaries read from the stage at the Victoria Theatre, Third and Market streets, Saturday night.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 12, 1908

(Advertisement)  Victoria Theatre.  New pictures and songs and program. "The Man in the Box."  "Spectation Impression."  "Magic Box."  "Hot Temper."  "At the Music Hall."  "Billious Fever."  Songs sung by Sam Williams.  Victoria Theatre Changes Name to Biograph Theatre.  Third and Market streets. Wednesday and Thursday.  Absolutely fire-proof.  F. W. Brill, proprietor and Manager.



Source: New York Clipper, August 28, 1908/1909

The Biograph is drawing good business with songs and pictures.



Source: New York Clipper, September 10, 1910/1911

The Biograph reports good business.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 16, 1911

Following the serving of an attachment writ Saturday night on the money and effects of Larue and Brock at the Biograph theater, there will be a trial Thursday afternoon in Justice Nathan's court. One of the girls connected with a company of eight, who were playing there, claimed that she was not given the money to which she was entitled, and she procured a lawyer who attached all the properties of the company for the $27 claim held by Miss Josephine Byers. The attachment following close on a shot being fired in a room of an Alton hotel by a woman at one of the members of the troupe, caused considerable interest. When Constable James Lewis went to serve the attachment writ Saturday night, the actresses were on the stage wearing the garments it was sought to attach. It made no difference, according to the lawyer, that there were no dressing rooms. The actresses were told to get behind the scenery and remove the clothes they had on and toss the garments out piece by piece until all had been accounted for. This was done while the constable waited close by, never daring to lift his blushing face toward the corner where the girls were making the change of their stage clothes. The property, including half of the receipts of Saturday night, was held by the constable and the hearing will be Thursday. The manager of the troupe says that he will fight the case.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 28, 1913

George F. Kirsch, who owns the building at Third and Market streets, formerly occupied by the Biograph moving picture theater, has decided to remodel the building, and it is reported that the place has been rented and will be reopened at a near date.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 31, 1922

James J. Reilly, motion picture house manager, is considering running over an old time homemade picture, which he thinks may be of interest to many Alton people. Mr. Reilly, a few days ago, dug out of a store room a film he had made when the steamer "Alton" was brought to this city. He had a motion picture man come here to make the film and he took crowds of children as well as crowds of grown people. He was saying today that he does not doubt that among the faces showing plainly in the picture are faces of boys and girls and others who have died, and whose families might be interested in seeing the motion picture. He says that there are many who have grown to be men and women now who would be interested in seeing their own faces as they were in childhood. He believes that when he gets ready to show that film, it will pack whatever picture house he decides to show it in. The thought struck Mr. Reilly as he was running the picture through, that there were many people in Alton who would perhaps be gladder to see it now than they were to see it when it was originally shown. The faces are distinct, he says, and there are hundreds and hundreds of them pictures who could easily be recognized. He further plans to keep the film and as long as he stays in business he will show it at stated periods, perhaps once every five years. As the persons pictured in it grow older, or as more and more of them pass away, he thinks that the film will have added value to the families who may wish occasionally to see the film picture of a member of the family circle who has died. In the film are pictures of the Alton High school football team of 1912, when it won the Southern and Central Illinois championship. Walter (Punk) Wood, now Shurtleff coach, was captain of the eleven, and Tom Henry, now in the army, was fullback. Other players were Harold Dodge, Lynn and Louis Beiser, Bert Busse, Edgar Degenhardt, the late Bert Russell, Courtney Perrin. One of the features of the film is that part showing the fire department in action. The hose wagon were run south on Henry street and turned west at the Sixth street corner, where the views were taken. Alton had no motor trucks then. One of the originators of the film was George H. Mosser, first secretary-manager of the Board of Trade. Mosser is shown in the film, and when the film was first shown at the Princess, Mosser was the "announcer."








Source: New York Clipper, September 2, 1911

The Wildey Theatre, Edwardsville, Ill., which last season was managed by William Sauvage of Alton, is now under management of the Wildey Theatre Company, and has been since June, although the fact was not made public until a few days ago. This season, once a week on Sunday, is to be the rule, with as few exceptions as possible. The theatre is equipped with a moving picture machine, and pictures are shown at night when regular attractions are not booked.










Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 13, 1921

The Ouatoga theater, Upper Alton's only movie house, has been closed and every indication is that it will remain closed as far as theatrical purposes are concerned. The new owner of the property, Frank Hussey, says there absolutely shall be no Sunday picture shows in the Ouatoga while he is the owner, and his position in this matter has caused all negotiations for the lease of the theater to be called off, as those who would like to conduct the theater business in the Ouatoga claim it would be useless to attempt such a thing if the best night of the week in the movie business must be sacrificed. W. H. Weigler of Staunton, who managed the Ouatoga theater a short time for W. A. Clark, before the latter sold the property, has closed up the theater and has left Alton, as he could make no agreement with the owner as to the Sunday night shows. Mr. Hussey said the theater was run one Sunday night after he had taken possession of the property on the first day of August, but Mr. Weigler was the manager of the theater at that time and he did not desire to cause any trouble as to the one night's run when the old manager's lease had not expired. After the one Sunday night, Mr. Hussey made it known to Weigler that the place positively could not be used on Sunday night for a theater. W. M. Sauvage was carrying on negotiations with Mr. Hussey for the lease of the Ouatoga. It was stated that Mr. Sauvage was very anxious to get hold of the Ouatoga, and it was good news to Upper Alton people generally when it became known that the  [sic] was considering taking over the Ouatoga. The Sunday night question, however, blocked the whole deal. Several other people have been in Alton during the past ten days to lease the Ouatoga and to put up a first class picture house in Upper Alton, but the Sunday night question was a dead ender, and all negotiations for the lease of the show house are off. W. A. Clark, the man who built the Ouatoga and who has been conducting the business for a good many years past, sold the theater along with the business corner to Mr. Hussey, the purchaser taking charge the first of August. Mr. Hussey bought the property for investment. He is the son of a Baptist minister, the Rev. Simeon Hussey, was raised in Upper Alton, and is a Shurtleff college graduate. The young man is a teacher in Grover Cleveland high school in St. Louis. He is said to be among the leading instructors in the city. Hussey said today that his position on the Sunday question would no doubt result in the abolishing of the Ouatoga in Upper Alton. In fact, Mr. Hussey said, he has already made plans for using the property for other business purposes. The closing of Upper Alton's picture house is causing much comment there. Business men in that section of the city consider it a serious blow to the Seventh Ward. Programs were given on Wednesday and Saturday afternoon at the Ouatoga for the Western Military cadets and the picture show served to keep the cadets in Upper Alton on these two afternoons when they are out of school, officials of the institution not permitting the cadets to go down town or to get on a street car or other kind of carrier. With this rule in vogue, the Upper Alton business houses get the patronage of the cadets. With the cadets to go down town to a show, this will take the ice cream and candy trade of the cadets down town too, it is asserted. Hussey says he has been approached by numerous Upper Alton people who are very much interested in keeping the picture house going in the Seventh Ward. He says he feels that many owners of amusement places that are run on Sunday would like to close up their _______ on that day if all the others who run those places would do so, and he says he's going to be one of those who closes up whether the other fellow does or not. Mr. Hussey says he believes the time is not far away when the blue laws will go into effect the country over. He says he has offered many inducement to those who wanted to run the theater to run it through the week with no Sunday show, but he says they are all afraid of the proposition with no show on the night of the week they consider the best.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 15, 1921

A deal is on for the leasing of the Ouatoga Theater to a syndicate that owns a chain of theaters through the country, and it was stated today by George Hall of the Hall Realty Company, agents for the Hussey property, that the deal is far enough along to guarantee its completion. A poster was placed on the theater this morning announcing the fact that it would open for business Thursday. Mr. Hall, who handles the property for the Hussey family, says there is a possibility of an arrangement being made by the syndicate taking the lease to run religious pictures on Sunday night. He thinks this arrangement could be made although it is understood that the syndicate is willing to take the theater with the understanding that there are to be no Sunday shows at all. It is believed religious pictures would be a great drawing card for the theater on Sundays, and that many people would attend then who never do otherwise.









Kil Kare Theater, Wood River, IL



Opening in 1915 by proprietors Wahl and Worcester, the new silent movie house at 56 E. Ferguson in Wood River featured the most up-to-date innovations, including two restrooms equipped with copper-lined flush tanks, faced in wood. In the brief heyday of silent pictures, the Kil Kare was Wood River’s picture palace. Local resident Margaret Volz was artist in residence in 1916, adding an appropriate piano accompaniment.

The theater included a stage with curtains, and bench seating for movie goers. It cost a dime to get in. The building included an orchestra pit, old coal room, and boiler room. The Kil Kare Theater building was faced with black marble, and the ceiling was lined with fancy metal. The marble facings have been replaced with aggregate, as has the name of the theater, once part of the façade. The windows along the east side of the building are sealed.

The theater closed in 1929. Since then, the Ben Franklin store moved into the building, and then Western Auto. The building currently houses the Vibe Teen Club.





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