The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

The Holly Theater

    The Uncle Tom's Cabin tent show company erected its big tent this forenoon on West Sixth Street, on the vacant lot between the telephone building and the federal building, for the Medford presentation of that company.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, May 21, 1925, page 2

    The Jennings tent theater near the federal building was packed with people last night attending the first theatrical presentation of that company while in the city for a week. Ladies were admitted free last night, and those who buy tickets tonight will have free admittance tomorrow night.

"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, August 4, 1925, page 2

Excavation Work at Corner of Holly and Sixth Renews Rumor that New Movie Concern Will Enter Medford--"Nothing Definite Yet," Says L. Niedermeyer

    Two teams of horses and five men started work this morning excavating on the lot at the corner of Holly and Sixth streets, which according to one set of reports will be a movie theater costing $110,000, and according to another set of reports will be nothing but a modest store building on a prominent corner. A permit for the excavating was issued yesterday afternoon at the city hall.
    Rumor also hath it that L. Niedermeyer, local capitalist, is the financial backer of the project. This morning Mr. Niedermeyer admitted that he was furnishing cash for the preliminary digging, but emphatically stated he did not know whether a large or small structure would arise, and if one did, whether it would be a movie palace, or an auto "shoppe" or a cafe or what, if anything. He was very indefinite and uncertain about the future of the building, upon which preliminary work has started, as a matter of fact nothing in a long time hereabouts has been so clouded with mystery.
    The only certain things about the deal is that the lot was recently purchased from the Knights of Pythias lodge by Mr. Niedermeyer and that excavating activity is under way, and that Dame Rumor declares a new movie palace is certain.
    W. H. (Doc) Everhardt and Earl H. Fehl are also connected with the proposition. When a scribe called this morning at their realty parlors, Mr. Fehl was "down to the court house, getting an abstract," and Doc was toasting his shins in front of a North Dakota model heating stove.
    Mr. Everhardt said that Niedermeyer was the financial backer of the enterprise and that "Earl and I have a fist in it." He discussed some plans for the new building, saying it would be 75x150 feet in size, and would cost $110,000 when completed.
    Time alone will tell what will come of the proposition, which is now heavily saturated with rumors, reports, etc., etc., etc. This sudden excavation, however, directly following the report of the sale of a half interest in the Geo. A. Hunt Amusement Co. in yesterday's Mail Tribune, is regarded as significant. Everyone is convinced that "something big is doing."
Medford Mail Tribune, November 15, 1927, page 1

    Because teams with graders and workmen began yesterday to excavate and level the lot, 75 by 175 feet at the northeast corner of Holly and Sixth streets, between the Home Telephone Company building and the federal building, much curiosity has arisen throughout the city as to what kind of a structure the site is evidently being prepared for, and for whom.
    The lot is owned by L. Niedermeyer, and Earl H. Fehl has some kind of an interest in it. It will be remembered that a year or so ago Messrs. Niedermeyer and Fehl began the work of excavating and leveling the lot with the announced purpose of building a new theater, but later the project for some reason was abandoned.
    Efforts to learn today just what kind of a structure is going to arise on the site proved unavailing, but appearances indicate that this time some sort of a big building, probably a business one, is sure to go up.
    And along with the other site preparation work being done foundations are being prepared, and Earl Fehl with a roll of plans under his arm is bossing the job.
    Mr. Fehl refused this noon to state the nature of the project, saying that a public announcement would be made in due course of time--probably next week.
    Opinion is divided in business circles as to whether the structure will be a theater or business building, although the theater conjecture has few believers.
    However, two different citizens, who claim to have been confidentially let in on the inside of what is going on, claim the venture is quite a pretentious one and means much in the future upbuilding of Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 22, 1929, page 6

Ten-Year Contract on Niedermeyer Theater Goes to Big Film Concern--
Fehl Denies Friction with City in Construction Work--Will Cost $100,000.

    The new Niedermeyer theater now under construction at the corner of Sixth and Holly has been leased for 10 years, according to a statement made today by Earl Fehl, who is associated with C. F. Niedermeyer in the establishing of the new movie playhouse, and in charge of its construction.
    "We have a signed and bonded lease," said Mr. Fehl today, "and Warner Brothers and First National pictures will be shown. Incidentally, it is not true as stated in the Mail Tribune that I rushed to the city hall to file my plans and secure a building permit the morning after the council meeting where it was threatened to prohibit continuation of the construction work.
    "The plans, which architect Frank Clark have just completed after working all week day and night, were not filed by me at the city hall until today. My relations with the city officials having control of new building construction have been frank and open from the start. I have met every requirement as it arose, and they have cooperated with me in every way. It was perfectly understood that I was to go ahead with preliminary work so as to get ahead of the weather. For this theater must be done by April, and to do this no time can be lost. The detailed plans are not completed yet, but the main points have been decided upon, and we are going ahead under full steam with preliminary drawings as a working basis."
Seat 1200.
    The plans filed show that the theater will be of the modern stadium bowl type, with no balcony or gallery, but able to seat 1200 people comfortably. Of general concrete construction, the Sixth Street front will be of pressed brick, and the east wall of tile, to conform with the desires of the Home Telephone Company, with which the wall is built flush.
    There will be four stores on Sixth Street in addition to the main theater entrance, five offices on the second mezzanine floor, more offices on the third level, and the movie operating room and theater offices on the fourth floor. The heating plant will be in a separate building entirely as a special safeguard against fire, while the proscenium arch above the roof will serve as a firewall between the stage and auditorium. Copies of the preliminary plans were dispatched today to the state fire marshal for his okay regarding exits and entrances, as well as the fire hazard requirements.
    The theater when completed promises to be one of the finest in the state outside of Portland, involving the expenditure for real estate and construction of over $100,000.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 21, 1929, page 1

    Work is progressing upon the Holly Theater at Sixth and Holly streets. The roof was finished last week, and it is expected that work on the interior will start this week. It is planned to have the structure completed and opened early in June.
    The structure, built by L. Niedermeyer and associates, will cost approximately $150,000. The building, originally estimated to cost $80,000, will cost close to $100,000. The equipment and interior furnishings, etc., will cost $42,000.
    The contract for the furnishing and installation of fixtures has been let to the National Theatrical Company of Seattle, Wash. It will be rated as a "deluxe theater" and will be operated by the Pacific States Theater Company recently formed by Walter Leverette. It will be modernly beautiful throughout, with large lobby, lounging rooms and other conveniences.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 27, 1930, page 3

Finishing Holly Theater
    D. H. Lewis of Los Angeles, who will have charge of the finishing work on the new Holly Theater, arrived in Medford yesterday. The theater will be opened for business sometime in August.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 30, 1930, page 2

    The new Holly Theater [is the] product of the determination of Earl Fehl, superintendent of construction, to build and operate a theater in Medford. Several previous attempts were made by him to purchase suitable locations, but were never obtained, due to unfortunate circumstances.
    Several years ago Mr. Fehl purchased the lot where the theater was built this summer, and was able to assist the owners in financing the building. Work was started on the theater in November, but as plans were not completed, further work was delayed until after the first of February.
    Mr. Fehl, who had charge of the purchasing of all materials, bought everything possible in Medford and Jackson County. All material in the theater was purchased through local dealers. Plans for the building were drawn by Frank Clark, architect.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 29, 1930, page 4

Medford Mail Tribune, August 29, 1930
Medford Mail Tribune, August 29, 1930
New $150,000 Holly Theater Opens Tonight
Niedermeyer, Inc. Owners of New Four-Story Building
Which Houses Theater, Shops, Offices

New Four-Story Holly Theater Building Embodies Best Modern Practice--
Finish and Furnishings of Auditorium Please.
    On the corner of Sixth and Holly streets one of the finest buildings recently erected in Medford will be opened to the southern Oregon and northern California public Friday evening, when the new Holly Theater, located in the Holly building, constructed by Niedermeyer, Inc., with Earl Fehl, superintendent of construction, presents its opening program.
    The four-story building has the main entrance in the center on Sixth Street, with two sales rooms on each side of the box office. Offices are also located on the second and third floors.
    The front of the building is finished with mottled color rug brick, varying from light cream to rich brown and laid with a Flemish bond, emphasized with a diagonal design of dark brick. A massive cornice with tile effect caps the wall.
Entry Sheltered
    The entrance to the theater is sheltered by a huge marquee of metal. Upon entering the lobby, a gay assembling of color is noticeable in the brilliantly colored carpet, of the "water weave" design. The inner foyer is decorated in the same style as the outer. Woodwork to the pilasters and beams is finished in a soft walnut tone, with the molds striped in gold and red. Doors and pilasters are hand-painted and done in a conventional scroll pattern.
    Two drinking fountains are located in the lobby, one for adults and a small one for children.
    From the inner foyer are two stairways leading to the upper lounge, a large room extending the full width of the building. Surroundings and furnishings lend a quiet and restful atmosphere to the room. The stadium-type auditorium, which will seat 1200 people, is one of the most distinctive and unusual on the Pacific coast.
Acoustics Studied
    In building this room, sound values were chief considerations, and checks were made by two of the United States' leading acoustical firms. Talking pictures heard over the new Western Electric sound system will give a new meaning of [sic] Vitaphone productions to this valley.
    All aisles are covered with carpet, and the floors with Mastipave. The stage is fitted with the latest equipment and complies with all state and theater rules regarding fire hazards.
    Asbestos drop curtains automatically lower in case of fire, and skylights, which are equipped with fusible links the same as the curtain, open to permit the smoke to go out.
Cut Fire Hazard
    The projection room is equipped with Super-Simplex projection machines and the Western Electric sound system, as well as wiring to broadcast from radio station KMED. The room is fireproof, and is supported from the ground by reinforced concrete columns and girders.
    In case of fire, all doors and windows immediately close, and a fan in the ceiling pumps the fumes and smoke out of the room. Thus all openings from the projection room to the theater auditorium are closed, and the floor and walls of the room being of concrete makes it impossible for fire in the operating room to work into the main room. Each projection machine is equipped with a compressed air device to be used in case the film ignites.
Temperature Regulated
    Six dressing rooms are located in a separate wing of the building. The basement of this wing contains the heating plant. In the winter the air will be warmed and sent into the room from the ceiling and forced down. The lower air will be forced out of 22 ducts, located on each side of the auditorium. An even temperature will be maintained in the room.
    The same system will be used in the summer, but the fresh air will be blown across a water filter, taking all dust out of the air and at the same time cooling it. The system is automatically controlled by thermostat.
    Four large lights with parchment shades are in the theater, and lights along the ramps and steps illuminate them at all times. Lights situated in the ends of the rows of seats add to the illuminations.
Has Signal Light
    A signal light has been installed in the ticket office so at any time if the attendant wishes aid, the pressing of her foot on the front panel will illuminate the light calling assistance.
    When a certain section of the house becomes filled, the usher touches a switch at either ramp, and the signal light in the inner foyer indicates that patrons are to be sent to other sections.
    All plumbing fixtures throughout the building are modern, and comply with the state plumbing code in all respects, regarding proper installation.
Fireproof Walls
    The entire building is lathed with gypsum board, the plaster material being bound in heavy paper at the manufacturer's plant, then applied to the studded walls, after which three coats of plaster are added, making a wall that is considered fireproof.
    The roofing material is formed of heavy layers of roofing material mopped in hot asphalt and covered with gravel embedded in the asphalt.
    On the corner of the building a huge neon sign, which can be seen on Sixth, Holly and Main streets, is shown, with the name of the theater and "Vitaphone" on it. This sign is 33 feet high and 9 feet wide, said to be the largest in the state of Oregon outside of the city of Portland.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 29, 1930, page C1

Beauty of New Holly Theater Enhanced by Innovations in Illumination--Huge Sign Feature.
    Imagination in the artist calls for ingenuity on the part of the engineer. Particularly is this true in the new Holly Theater. Here the artist created in his mind an artistic or dramatic effect. Then turned the idea over to the engineer, who provided for the machinery to make it a reality.
    Because of the beauty of the interior of this new theater, appreciable only under special lighting, a distinct innovation was introduced in the use of especially designed fixtures employing many lamps. The use of this special lighting creates a novel effect particularly valuable for special occasions such as premieres and special performances. They reveal, too, the inherent beauty of the architectural details and the true colorings employed in the decorative scheme.
Sign Is Feature
    The new neon outdoor sign is another beautiful architectural achievement, the three-color effect flashing in spectacular fashion. The sign is double-faced, and its position on an angle across the sidewalk on the corner makes it visible from four directions.
    The California Oregon Power Company furnishes power to light the 55,055 watts in lights used in the interior and on the outside, as well as the 26 horsepower in motors that are used in the operation of the many daily calls for labor.
    The result of this new show house, just rounding out, sets up a new goal for electrical efforts not equaled in any city in Southern Oregon or Northern California. As it now stands, it embodies a number of innovations in both engineering practice and effects achieved.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 29, 1930, page C5

    An announcement was made today that Niedermeyer Incorporated has assumed the interest of Walter Leverette in the Holly Theater of this city, and that popular amusement house will now be under the management of John Niedermeyer. The sale of his stock in the Holly Theater will enable Mr. Leverette to devote his entire time to the management of his theaters in Grants Pass and Yreka and various other interests in southern Oregon and northern California.
    John Niedermeyer, who will now have entire management of the Holly, has been identified with the management of the Medford theater since its opening last year.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 9, 1931, page 1

Weekly Editor Alleges Theater Owner Owes Him
$22,410.60 for Promotion and Labor on Structure
    In the suit of Niedermeyer, Inc. against Earl H. Fehl, the Pacific Record-Herald, a weekly, Sheriff Ralph G. Jennings, the Eagle Point Irrigation District and Roy M. Parr, Fehl through his attorneys Saturday afternoon filed an answer and counterclaim alleging that L. Niedermeyer owes him the sum of $22,410.60 for services and labor.
    Fehl alleges in his counterclaim that Niedermeyer owes him $5,225 as his share of the lot upon which the Holly Theater stands, $10,000 for promotional efforts before the Holly Theater was started, and $7,185.60 for supervision of the construction of the theater and labor performed thereon.
Made Many Trips
    It is set forth that Fehl, in the promotion of the Holly Theater structure, made numerous trips to Portland and San Francisco, conferring with architects and moving picture interests, and that he was instrumental in the securing of the ornamental street lights on Sixth Street and that he secured a bonded lease of the theater to Walter H. Leverette for ten years for $65,000. Fehl also avers that he secured Frank and King Comedians, a tent show, to hold forth on the Holly site to demonstrate its fitness as an amusement place location.
    Fehl alleges that he took the initiative in purchasing the lot from the Knights of Pythias lodge and put up an option, afterwards interesting Niedermeyer in the theater project. He asks $5,225 as a half interest in the lot.
Asks Ten Percent
    For supervision of the construction of the Holly Theater, which cost $71,185.60, Fehl asks ten percent of the total cost, or $7,185.60.
    Fehl sets forth that he toiled in several capacities during a period of 18 months in arranging for and building the Holly Theater, and secured tenants after it was erected.
    The answer says that the dealings now in controversy were negotiated with L. Niedermeyer as an individual and that afterwards Niedermeyer, Inc. was formed.
    In opposition to the $22,410.60 claim of Fehl, Niedermeyer, Inc. in its complaint admits that Fehl worked for approximately 236 days, and claims that $10 per day is a fair wage, which they are willing to deduct from the mortgage against Fehl and his printing house and equipment.
$4400 in Mortgage
    The amount involved in the mortgage is approximately $4,400.
    Sheriff Jennings and the Eagle Point Irrigation District are named defendants in a minor legal capacity, and Roy M. Parr is named as the holder of a $15,000 libel suit judgment. Niedermeyer, Inc. holds that their mortgage holds precedence over the libel suit judgment execution.
    Fehl is represented by attorneys H. K. Hanna, T. J. Enright and Kelly and Kelly. Niedermeyer, Inc. is represented by attorney George M. Roberts and William McAllister.
    The plaintiff, by a ruling of Circuit Judge E. C. Latourette of Oregon City last Monday, is allowed five days in which to file a reply to the answer, after which the case will come to a hearing in circuit court.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 3, 1932, page 1

    The Holly Theater, one of Medford's leading playhouses, opened to a large and appreciative public August 29, 1930, closed its doors last night following the last showing of "Between Fighting Men" and will not be reopened until some arrangement is made by which the management can obtain films from the leading motion picture companies, John Niedermeyer, manager, announced last night.
    With closing of the theater, 12 persons were added to the unemployment list, most of them persons upon whom others are dependent for their present livelihood.
    Reopening date of the theater is uncertain, Mr. Niedermeyer stated, since all pictures have been bought up from the major companies, making it impossible for the independent, home-owned theater to procure first-class pictures.
    In addition to the 12 persons forced out of employment by the unavoidable closing of the theater, property representing an investment of $150,000 became inactive with closing of the doors last night.
    Since opening of the Holly Theater, which is modernly constructed and provided with sound equipment of outstanding quality, the patronage of the public law has been beyond the expectations of the management, Mr. Niedermeyer stated yesterday, voicing his appreciation of the splendid cooperation he has received from the people of the Rogue River Valley in operating an independent theater here.
    Closing of the theater, he explained, has been necessitated by the absolute lack of pictures, and through no other reason. As long as pictures were available, the Holly Theater was doing a successful business. When it became impossible to obtain pictures it also became impossible to carry on, Mr. Niedermeyer added, explaining that he did not care to solicit the patronage of the public when he could not offer a first-class motion picture program.
    Mr. Niedermeyer further stated that he is looking forward to the reopening of the theater, whenever arrangements whereby first-class pictures can be obtained by a home-owned playhouse.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 11, 1932, page 5

"Expose" of Fox Business Practices Requested; Miner Merely Late
    There has been some wonderment in Southern Oregon just why the Miner has chosen to suddenly kid the Holly Theater on its opening last week. In some quarters, too, there may have been criticism of this newspaper in the stand it has taken. But the Miner is confident that when all the story is known the criticism will dwindle as rapidly as the Holly Theater's attendance has the forepart of this week.
    The Holly Theater management, over its signature, published the following advertisement in a Medford newspaper just a year ago last Monday:
    "To the citizens of Medford and Southern Oregon:
    "We feel that the drastic changes in admission prices announced today calls for an explanation. We have made it our policy never to publicly criticize our competitor, and unbusinesslike methods employed by them during the past few months have been overlooked. However, in this instance we feel justified in making this statement so as to acquaint the people of the community with certain facts.
    "Apparently no longer able to meet fair competition in a fair manner, Fox West Coast theaters have devised a plan that appears to be a deliberate attempt to monopolize the entire film market in towns in which they have independent competition, thereby forcing the closing of these independent theaters. They have done this even though it seems their present policy and investment cannot accommodate and exhibit all of these pictures, yet it deprives other theaters of the opportunity to exhibit these pictures and continue operation.
    "We believe such acts to be grossly unfair and not in accordance with ethics of American business, and it warrants, we feel, the wholehearted condemnation of every citizen. The closing of the independent theater would leave a monopoly for Fox West Coast, a condition that Medford knows from experience is not satisfactory.
    "Fortunately, however, the Holly has at its disposal enough films to continue operation for some time and is not one of the unfortunate theaters forced to close by this procedure of Fox West Coast; but our plans have been somewhat upset by this sudden move on their part to which they seem to seek to close our theater rather than to continue to face competition.
    "We are, therefore, taking this method to meet the competition presented by these unfair tactics and solicit the support of this community to help us continue to operate our theater. We feel that you would not like to see Medford's finest theater forced to close its doors because of such unjust actions.
    "We assure you that the type and quality of entertainment at our theater will not decline with the price of admission and that for the price of admission, you will not be able to equal our programs anywhere. We do this to solicit your support until such time as government investigations and legal actions now in progress have been completed, which will, we feel certain, stop Fox West Coast from proceeding further under this policy.
    "If you believe that business in Medford should be conducted on a fair competitive basis, you will condemn the policy of the Fox theaters and give your entire support to the Holly and other independent theaters in Medford.
    It was several months following the printing of the above article that the Holly, too, succumbed--it said--to the deadly competition of Fox theaters. That was December 11, 1932.
    About nine months later, however, the same Holly Theater was reopened by the same interests that were accused of such business practices--Fox West Coast, now Fox Evergreen in the Northwest and 60 percent owned and controlled by Fox interests. But the former Holly management has been strangely silent about this. It even has attempted to disguise the Fox influence by organizing as the "Medford Amusement Company." They admit themselves they have something to hide, to cover up.
    The Holly management felt, a year ago, that the public was entitled to know what was going on behind the scenes in the Medford theater situation. Is there any reason why the public TODAY should not be given the same consideration? The Holly management a year ago asked the CONDEMNATION of Fox interests, yet NOW asks that the same public support the same Fox interests.
    As if that were not enough explanation of the Miner's decision to draw aside the curtains and let the general public in on what is really behind the Holly Theater opening--with the aid of Mr. Finklestein, Mr. Rosenberg and Mr. Newman (Fox Evergreen to you)--the former Holly Theater management about six months ago suggested that the Miner drop county politics and take up this expose of Fox theaters' business practices because, the Holly Theater management explained, much of Medford and Southern Oregon's future welfare depended on keeping the monopoly of a ruthless chain of theaters from gaining a death grip there. The Miner is glad to comply with the Holly Theater's request.
    Where the rub comes in for the Holly Theater today, however, is in the fact that somewhere it has jumped over onto the other side of the fence and has made its bed with FOX.
    If you think the Miner has merely been attempting to commercialize its editorial policy because it now is telling the world who really is behind the Holly Theater reopening when it refused to utter a word of six months ago, the Holly  Theater management itself has offered the proof that this is not so.
    Last spring, when asked to champion the cause of the home-owned theater, we were wary. Not because we had for a moment any doubt as to whether there was an issue at stake, but because we feared the Holly Theater management might do the very thing IT DID DO--turn traitor to its own issue and join the enemy camp.
    Where would THAT have left the Miner, or any other newspaper that might have listened to the Holly Theater's plea for a champion? There are times when all the Miner's luck has not been bad.
    As for those Six Street merchants who, quite naturally, resent opposition to the rebuilding of their section, we have this to say: Had the Holly Theater reopened under HOME OPERATION and through HOME INTERESTS, the Miner would have been glad to offer what cooperation it could. We have no feeling against the Holly Theater's former management. But we DO think it deserves more than passing comment when that same management reverses itself and furnishes the tool with which its "unscrupulous Fox monopoly" can again muscle its way into Medford.
    We have no interest in encouraging business in one part of Medford as against the other, and possibly Fox interests are all right, but the Holly management ITSELF first told the world what a dangerous, heartless beast this Fox is.
    It seems to us to be a case of a man firing a gun and then running around in front of the bullet.
Jacksonville Miner, October 6, 1933, page 1

    E. E. Marsh, manager of the Holly Theater, announced today at the meeting of the Kiwanis Club at the Hotel Medford, that George Hunt, operator of the Craterian and Rialto theaters, has gained control of the Holly, which he will also operate in the future.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 19, 1934, page 1

    A gas cooking conference featuring C. B. Maxfield, outstanding kitchen equipment expert, will be held at the Holly Theater in this city next Thursday, March 24. The announcement of this conference was made today by Don E. York, vice president and general manager of the Southern Oregon Gas Corporation, and at the same time a cordial invitation was extended by Mr. York for all southern Oregon housewives to attend the one afternoon session at 2 p.m.
    "This will be far from an ordinary cooking school," Don York said this morning. "There will be unique entertainment features together with outstanding demonstrations of modern cooking. Included in the extra entertainment will be the showing of a hilarious MGM comedy, "Penny Wise." Practical cooking problems will be discussed by Mr. Maxfield, and Mrs. Maxfield will assist in the enlightening demonstrations."
    A special plan has been announced by the Southern Oregon Gas Corporation whereby a per-capita attendance bonus is paid into the treasury of clubs participating.
    Capacity crowds attended the gas cooking conference in the Rose Theater in Roseburg and the one-day Grants Pass session, according to Mr. York. The unique conference will be held Tuesday at Ashland.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 21, 1938, page 5

    Wednesday also brought a letter from Jack Matlack, exploiteer for George Hunt's four Medford theatres. Jack outlined Medford's opening drive on the war bond and stamp campaign. They mounted the Treasury Department's stock 24-sheet on a large semi-truck and drove it over the vicinity for three days prior to opening the drive. They captioned the stand: "Buy Stamps, Pledge Bonds . . . at your Medford theatres." The drive was climaxed on Sunday with the appearance of Johnny Sheffield and his military escort and the 13-ton tank which is part of the entourage.
Harold C. Donner, "Diary of a Roving Reporter," Boxoffice magazine, June 20, 1942, page 66

    Junior high students picketed the Holly Theatre, Medford, attempting to enforce a demand for lower admission prices. Theatre manager Eino Hemmila offered to discuss the situation.
Boxoffice magazine, April 6, 1946, page 78-D

    Bill Demarest and George "Gabby" Hayes were stars of a benefit performance to raise $100,000 for the new YMCA in Medford, Ore. Robert L. Lippert donated the use of all four of his Medford theatres for the benefit. Frankie Woods, general manager in charge of theatre operation, and Matt Freed in charge of the Oregon district attended the function.
Boxoffice magazine, December 27, 1947, page 54

Smoke Bomb Prank Summons Firemen to Holly Theater
    Somebody's prank in the Holly Theater building brought out two large pumpers and the ladder truck to answer a smoke alarm about 4:15 p.m. Saturday.
    Firemen reported that some type of "smoke bomb" had been placed in the hallway of the third floor of the office section, beneath the projection room of the theater.
    All that was left when the firemen arrived was a three-inch charred circle in the flooring, bits of black frothy residue and the cork to what appeared to be a plastic bottle.
    Theater patrons were unaware of the smoke or of the presence of firemen. The alarm siren was not used.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 19, 1953, page 1

Holly Theater Closes for Renovation Work
    The Holly Theater was closed this week, mainly for renovation and exploratory work for installation of Cinemascope equipment, Robert Corbin, Lippert Theater manager here, announced today. The theater will be reopened for the Christmas season and closed again for furthering the renovation, he said. It is doubtful that the Cinemascope equipment will be installed in time for use during the holidays, he explained.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 30, 1953, page 2

Cinemascope Production of 'The Robe'
Scheduled for Showing in Medford
Performances Open in Holly Theater on January 22
Special Equipment Being Installed

    Cinemascope is coming to Medford, with the first showing of "The Robe" scheduled for Friday, Jan. 22 at the Holly Theater.
    In preparation for the first showing of the revolutionary new film process here, Lippert Theaters, owners of the Holly, are completely revamping the screen, sound system and other portions of the theater.
Wide Screen
    Cinemascope uses a screen much wider than the standard motion picture size. The new Holly screen will be about 35 feet wide, compared with 22 feet for the average screen.
    An all-new sound system will be required for the stereophonic sound used with "The Robe." Stereophonic sound is a setup in which the sound is recorded on four sound tracks, and the sound appears to "come from the person on the screen making the sound," according to Robert Corbin, Lippert Theaters manager.
    Three of the sound tracks are devoted to spotting sound on the wide screen, and the fourth is used for effects such as thunder, a chariot race, and others. In one scene of "The Robe," music seems to come down the aisle of the theater and onto the stage, Corbin stated.
    The remodeling will give the Holly Theater the same setup as those used in Portland and San Francisco theaters.
Preliminary Work
    The Holly was closed for about two weeks before Christmas for preliminary wiring, measuring and other work. It will close again Jan. 18 for four days for construction of a huge steel frame needed for the curved screen, for tearing out booth equipment which will be replaced by the newest and most modern projection and sound equipment, and for installing new projection lamps which will be about twice as powerful as the present lamps. The new lamps will be needed to cover the vast expanse of screen. A crew of expert technicians will arrive in Medford Jan. 18 for the project.
    Cost of the improvement work needed for Cinemascope was estimated at between $18,000 and $20,000 by Corbin. Medford will be among the first smaller communities in the United States to have Cinemascope.
    The Cinemascope process, which was pioneered and developed by Twentieth Century-Fox, consists of an anamorphic lens as well as the specially proportioned screen and stereophonic sound.
Special Lens
    The anamorphic lens, when attached to a motion picture camera, makes it possible for the camera to "reach out" to each side as the eye does and compress a wide-angle screen on a narrow strip of 35-millimeter film. When this film is projected through a compensating anamorphic lens attached to the theater projection machine, it spreads the image horizontally to its original form, or to an aspect ratio of 2.55 to 1.
    The special screen, with its millions of tiny "lenses" reflecting greater light, makes it possible to project the panoramic picture with a maximum of light and clarity. And the high-fidelity sound system, which now places the four sound tracks on the same strip of film that carries the photographic image, allows sound to emanate from the actual persons or action on the screen.
First Demonstration
    The first demonstration of the possibilities of Cinemascope was seen on Dec. 18, 1952 by Spyros P. Skouras, president of Twentieth Century-Fox, and Earl Sponable, the company's research director, at Nice, France, home of Professor Henri Chretien, inventor of the anamorphic lens.
    A set of lenses was then flown to Hollywood, where Darryl F. Zanuck, vice president in charge of production, observed other tests. In January of 1953, Twentieth Century-Fox announced the conversion of all future pictures to the new process.
Production Started
    Two  months after acquisition of Cinemascope, production of "The Robe," with Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature and Michael Rennie in starring roles, got under way. Test reels were shown in New York and 15 other key cities in the United States, and evoked such widespread interest that special showings followed in London, Paris and Toronto.
    Cinemascope has now been made available to all producing studios for their major future releases.
    "The Robe" has broken all attendance records, including those set by the fabulous "Gone with the Wind" throughout the nation. It is based on the famous book of the same name by Lloyd C. Douglas, which, since [it was] first published in 1943 has run through 60 editions in English, bought by 2,500,000 people in the United States alone, and it is estimated by 20,000,000 others. Additionally, the book has been printed in 18 foreign languages.
Only One in Area
    The Holly Theater will be the only place in southern Oregon where Cinemascope productions can be seen for some time. "The Robe" will be shown on a continuous basis at least for the first few days.
    The theater management advises all persons who can to see matinee performances, because evening showings are expected to be "pretty well jammed." There will be no reserved seats, and the showings will be conducted on a regular road show engagement.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 10, 1954, page 12

Theater League Play Set Tonight at Holly Theater
    The first play to be presented in Medford by the Broadway Theater League is set for tonight at the Holly Theater, with curtain time at 8:30 p.m. Playgoers are advised to arrive at the theater well in advance of the hour, and no one will be seated after 8:30 p.m.
    The play is "Critic's Choice," and the company, headed by the stars Jeffrey Lynn and Wanda Hendrix, arrived in Medford over the weekend. Supporting players are Nancy Cushing, Jane Manning, Mark Gordon, Jeff Conaway and Priscilla Morrow.
    Oscar Abraham is manager.
    In a telephone interview this morning, Jeffrey Lynn said that "Critic's Choice" has been extremely well received on the present tour. "This is a good play," he added and also said, "Our supporting company is a fine one."
    The play story is that of a critic married to a woman who writes plays. Written by Ira Levin, the playwright says the idea for the plot came from Walter Kerr, well-known drama critic for the New York Herald Tribune, whose wife is the playwright Jean Kerr.
    Plays taken on tour by the Broadway Theater League have all been staged in New York and had successful runs in the city. Four are on the 1962 schedule.
    The "Critic's Choice" company played Chico and San Jose State colleges before coming to Medford, will go from here to Spokane, Wash., and return to Portland. Later they will play in Vancouver, B.C. The players travel by car, and the scenery and props are carried in a large motor van.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 8, 1962, page 9

    Rogue Valley's residents this month are offered two productions by the Broadway Theater League. . . . Scheduled Saturday, February 17, is "A Thurber Carnival" starring Imogene Coca, King Donovan and Arthur Treacher. . . . On Monday, February 26 will be the play "Mary Stuart," starring Eva LeGallienne, Faye Emerson, Scott Forbes and Frederic Worlock.
    The plays are held at the Holly Theater, with curtain time at 8:30 p.m.
    Admission to the plays . . . are by membership tickets only as no individual performance tickets are sold. Theater patrons are reminded that persons will not be seated after curtain time until the end of the first scene.

"Two Plays, Ballet This Month," Medford Mail Tribune, February 4, 1962, page 18

Six Theatres Return to Lippert Banner
    LOS ANGELES--Robert L. Lippert has repurchased six theatres he sold to Electro-Vision Corp. three years ago: namely, the Craterian and Holly theatres and Starlite and Valley drive-ins at Medford, Ore.; the Varsity in Ashland, Ore.; and the Broadway in Yreka, Calif. Lippert now operates 17 theatres in California and Oregon.
Boxoffice magazine, July 23, 1962, page W-4

Broadway Theater League Schedule Announced
    The Broadway Theater League will present its first play of the season Wednesday, November 13, when John Ireland will appear in the starring role of "A Thousand Clowns."
    This comedy concerns a television comedy writer who, fed up with writing for "Chuckles the Chipmunk," quits his job and goes on unemployment. The child welfare board feels this is hardly a suitable environment to rear his 12-year-old Quiz Kind nephew. So they send a team of examiners and the fuss begins.
    "Clowns" had a smash hit year on Broadway, opening April 1962.
    The remaining plays to be presented by the league this season are "A Man for All Seasons," December 6; "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," March 6, 1964; and "Lady Audley's Secret," March 23.
    The plays will be presented in the Holly Theater, curtain time at 8:15 p,.m.
    Memberships still are available, and those interested may call Mrs. Lon Skinner, 772-8913. A booth at the coming flea market in the Medford Armory will offer memberships October 25, 26 and 27. League members pointed out that those who have reserved tickets but have not paid for them may do so at the booth.
    Paid season tickets will be mailed a week before the first play, those in charge stated.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 20, 1963, page 20

    Commenting on the mini-theater concept, [Robert L. Lippert] said, "The idea of the big theater is gone. People like the intimacy of the small theater."
    Lippert was asked if this meant the possible loss of either of the two present theaters operating in downtown Medford, the Craterian and the Holly, both under his ownership.
    "Not necessarily. But we definitely are planning, on the Holly Theater, to cut it to about half of the capacity." The present Holly will accommodate about 900 persons.
"250 Turn Out for Automated Theater Debut in Medford," Medford Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, August 3, 1972

    With the closure of Medford 4 Cinemas Thursday, the Holly Theater returns to a schedule of first-run movies. The reduced admission policy that began at the Holly a few weeks ago is being changed. Standard first-run admissions will apply at the Holly beginning today.
Al Reiss, "'Peggy Sue' Visits Cinema; Holly Reverts to First-Run Fare," Medford Mail Tribune, October 10, 1986, Tempo section, page 2

    TONIGHT-THURSDAY: First local showing of "Deadly Friend," a Wes Craven chiller about a teenage genius who uses all his abilities to keep the girl he loves, even after disaster strikes. With Kristy Swanson, Matthew Laborteaux and Richard Marcus. Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m., 2:38, 4:16, 5:54, 7:30 and 9:10. Weeknights at 7 p.m. and 8:40. Rated R.
Medford Mail Tribune,
October 24, 1986, Tempo section, page 2   The film's Oct. 30 showing was apparently the last film shown in the Holly in the 20th century.

Last revised April 7, 2021