“Chin Chin” plays the Sandusky Theatre, April 5, 1920
What plot there is to “Chin Chin” has to do with Aladdin and his lamp, the magician, Abanazar, who tries to get the lamp and incidentally carries off Aladdin’s intended bride, the slaves of the lamp who do many and strange, things in their quest of the lamp, Aladdin’s step-mother, the widow Twankey and her maid, Fan Fan, who is apparently made of India rubber. The two chief characters are the slaves of the lamp and Walter Wills and Roy Binder in the parts are great laughter makers. Their parts call for acrobatic feats, comic songs, dancing and difficult actting. Irene McKay, is the Widow Twankey’s maid.
Seats are now on sale at the theater box office.
|Photo Courtesy Cinema Treasures|
Andres Biemiller built the Biemiller Opera House at the corner of Water Street and Jackson Street in 1877. When Biemiller first built the theater, it seated 1,500 people. However, the Donaldson Guide of 1894 indicates that it only seated 1,200[iii]. The building went through a succession name changes between 1905 and 1908. In May 1905, Carl Neilsen purchased the building, remodeled it and changed its name to the Neilsen Opera House. In 1906, John A. Himmelein acquired the building changed the name to Himmelein Opera House. Between 1907 and 1908 it was known as the Grand Theater. Finally, in 1908, the theater was leased to O. S. Hathaway, who changed its name to the Sandusky Theater.
The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide for 1913-1914 indicates that the theater held 1,164 people. Seating included 413 on the lower floor, 327 in the balcony, 400 in the gallery, and 24 in the box seats. It was a medium size stage, 34×28 but only had a 2-foot apron.[iv]
In 1913, the city of Sandusky had a population of just under 20,000 with an area population of about 25,000. The city supported three newspapers; the “Register” was the morning paper with a circulation of about 4,000. The evening paper was the “Star-Journal.” There was also a German language paper, the “Demokrat,” with a circulation of about 600. Three major railroads supported the city, The New York Central, the Baltimore & Ohio, and the Pennsylvania railroads.
The “Chin Chin” show played one night in Sandusky[v] and needed to move the 100 miles southwest to Lima, Ohio for the show the next night, so the “Chin Chin” cast would not have stayed in hotels in Sandusky.
The Seitz Amusement Co. leased the building in 1936 to show motion pictures and reduced the seating capacity to 800. They bought it in 1950 and sold it four years later. The building was demolished in 1955.[vi]
Determine where “Chin Chin” played from March 21st until April 4th, 1920.
[i] Sandusky Star-Journal, Sandusky, Ohio; April 3, 1920, Page 8; via Newspaper Archive.
[ii] Sandusky Register, Sandusky, Ohio; April 6, 1920; via Newspaper Archive.
[iii] Donaldson, William H. 1894. The Donaldson, guide containing a list of all opera-houses in the United States and Canada, together with descriptions of their stages, their seating capacity, and the names of the managers of each; in conjunction with the Showman’s encyclopedia and the International professional register to which is added the complete code of the Donaldson cipher. Cincinnati, O.: W.H. Donaldson. http://books.google.com/books?id=JPkyAQAAMAAJ.
[iv] The Cahn-Leighton Official Theatrical Guide. 1913. New York, N.Y.: Publication Office, New Amsterdam Theatre Building.
[v] Sandusky Register – Sandusky, Ohio – 4 April 1920; via Newspaper Archive.
Please subscribe to this blog.
Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner