MILTON STARR                                          TOBA                                        SAM E. REEVIN
PRESIDENT                                                                                                                                                   TREAS. & MGR.

CHICAGO OFFICE                       1212-13 VOLUNTEER BLDG.        WASHINGTON OFFICE
OVERTON BUILDING                     LONG DISTANCE PHONES              1223 Seventh St. NW
3621 S. STATE ST.                         DAY MAIN 5530    NIGHT MAIN 4020                  S. H. DUDLEY, MGR.

                        CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE
                                 September 7, 1927

September 7, 1927
Mr. Ben Stein
Douglass Theater
Macon, Ga.

Dear Mr. Stein:

I enclose herewith copy of letter addressed today to Mr. Douglass and I
trust same meets with your approval.

While I was in Macon, I told you there was available a number of Ken
Maynard pictures. These have been made independently and never
released. You can secure them from the Liberty Film Co., Atlanta.

I trust you will keep in mind all that I had to say while I was in Macon and
wish to assure you that I am at your service at any time you care to call
on me.

At the present writing, the Lemons Company is holding out for $1000.00
guarantee for Macon and Mr. Reevin has passed the buck to me in the
matter of trying to secure better terms. I am wiring the company now and
you will hear finally about this matter from Mr. Reevin.

With best regards to yourself and Mrs. Stein, I remain,

Yours very truly,
Milton Starr
If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
your picture. You will also receive a free
Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
discount towards the purchase of the
Forensic Genealogy book.
Quiz #184 Results
1.  1937
2.  Washington DC
3. Either the Alamo or the Mid City.
We have contradictory information on the address of the theater.
Click here to see results of
5th occasional photoquiz survey.
Click here to see results of
5th occasional photoquiz survey.
Answer to Quiz #184 - November 16, 2008
1.  What year was this photo taken?
2. In what city was this theatre located?
3. What was the name of the theatre that was here
when the building was demolished?
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
The Date
The big clue to the date is given by the movie posters.  Searching the Internet Movie
Database at, you can find the following information:
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Vonda McRae and Phil Williams
Eric Goforth                Maureen O'Connor
Jim Kiser                Rhonda Oberlin
Dave Doucette                Stan Read
Don Draper                Dennis Brann
Mary South                Rex Cornelius
Tom Tollefsen                Carolyn Cornelius
Sandy Thompson                Sandy McConathy
Teresa Yu                Norm Smith
Karen Kay Bunting                Beth Long
Bill Hurley                Edee Scott
Martha Lasser                Wayne Douglas
Diane Burkett                Robert Edward McKenna
Gina Ortega                Carol Darrow
Evan Hindman                Joshua Kreitzer                Jeff Blessing
How Vonda and Phil Solved the Puzzle
This photo quiz was very challenging…. It
took [us] several days to figure it out. I found
the photo on the website by
doing a Google search with the key words of
“Outer gate” and “Alamo”.

Prior to finding the photo, we determined that
the films on the posters came out in the year
1937. So, the picture was probably taken
sometime in that year. From the Shorpy
website, we found that the theatre was
located in Washington, D.C. on 1223 Seventh
street N.W. We also found that the Alamo
became the MidCity Theatre before being

If the site did not have
comments on it then we would not have
determined the location of the theatre or other
facts. I hope you post how to find this
information using proper resources.


Vonda McCrae and Phil Williams

Note:  What is the definition of "proper
resources"? Shorpy is just as proper as
anything else.
As early as 1907, Shaw residents could
enjoy a vaudeville act or be treated to the
new technology of a moving picture show
in their own neighborhood. The Happyland,
Gem, Alamo, Mid-City, and Broadway
Theaters were all built between 1907 and
1921 within five blocks of each other on 7th
Street.  The Raphael was two blocks over
on 9th Street.

Of these, the Broadway and Mid-City were
owned and operated by African Americans
for the largely black patronage in Shaw by
this time. In 1919, well-known vaudeville
performer Sherman Dudley advertised his
Mid-City as “the only theater on Seventh
Street catering to colored people that does
not discriminate.” Theaters like Happyland
and the Gem were not so accommodating.  
Their approach to Jim Crow-era segregation
was to erect a divider down the center of the auditorium. Despite purchasing their tickets at the
same booth, the two races used separate entrances and sat on opposite sides of the partition.
Mid City Theatre, 1938
Comments from Our Readers
Congratulations to whoever was able to parallel park that huge car.
Carolyn Cornelius
I saw that the addresses were not perfect, but then I saw a picture of the Mid-City
Theatre (but I didn't keep the URL for it), and the building looked just the same as the
Alamo picture, except it looked like another story had been added to original Alamo
picture building.  The buildings on each side of the Mid-City picture I saw looked just
like the buildings in the Alamo picture, so I concluded the Alamo must have turned into
the Mid-City. might be different.  I didn't live in Wash, DC at the time, but my
parents did in the 1940's.  Only my Mom is still living, but dementia is so deep, she
wouldn't remember a thing about DC then.  Maybe my parents saw a movie there.

It is an interesting dilemma, when addresses don't work out right.
Sandy Thompson

Alamo Theater was the original movie house in Archer City, Texas. Archer City is
where the movie, The Last Picture Show, was filmed. The Alamo Theater had closed
down by 1971 and was replaced by the Royal Theater. The Royal Theater is featured in
the movie.                                                                                       
Carol Darrow

Were you able to find that photo at the actual Library of Congress database?  I was
looking there to see if I could find other photos of the area in case there was something
else with the theater or area in a different picture, etc.  (and I checked the movies on
the posters and they were 1937, so that seemed right).  I couldn't find it under Vachon,
Washington DC, movies, posters, 1937, etc. - looked all over, so that puzzled me.  
There were other theater and movie poster pictures by him, but couldn't find this one.  
Where did Shorpy come up with it?!  :)                                                   
Beth Long

I too noticed the discrepancies as to the address and noticed that the two theaters were
of a different size (Mid-City was larger).  I thought perhaps the theater 'grew' over the
years, but I guess not.                                                                       
Dennis Brann

The Shorpy site is very entertaining.  I love the old photos and the story behind them
(same as forensic genealogy).                                                           
Evan Hindman
If anyone out there subscribes to The
New Yorker Magazine, can you send us a
copy of this article?  You should be able
to print the screen in pdf format, or
download the webpage with the article.  

It can be found at:
The Outer Gate (1937) - Plot Summary
Bob Terry (Ben Alexander) is in love with Lois Borden
(Kay Linaker) the daughter of his employer, John Borden
(Ralph Morgan.) When some bonds are missing from the
office, Bob is accused and because of Borden's strong
sense of obligation to his stockholders, Bob is railroaded to
prison. A few years later, the real thief is apprehended and
Bob is released. He now begins his plan for revenge against
Borden with the aid of his prison cellmate Todd (Eddie
Acuff) and a gangster, John Carmody (Charles Brokaw.)
Soon, some bonds are missing again and Borden knows
Bob is involved but because Bob has suffered at his hands
before, Borden assumes the responsibility and is about to be sentenced to prison. Todd
is shot while trying to steal the bonds back from Carmody, but gets the bonds back to
Bob and, before he dies, begs Bob to return them to the owner. Written for the Internet
Movie Database by Les Adams {}.
Law of the Ranger (1937) - Plot Summary
Gateway Valley is of inestimable value to Bill Nash, owner
of the local water company and big boss of the town. The
valley is land-locked with the exception of a bottle-neck
pass, making it idea for the construction of a reservoir by
Nash to gain control of all water-rights in the surrounding
country. In order to intimidate the settlers, Nash and his
gang have secretly carried on a reign of terror ending with
the murder of Baldwin, who claimed the bottle-neck
property. Crusading newspaper editor Polk and his
daughter, Evelyn, have done their best to stir up indignation
against Nash, but they are helpless. Nash is in the
newspaper office threatening Polk when Bob Allen and his
partner, Wally Hood, enter and announce they are strangers looking for a homestead.
Polk tells them about the Baldwin property and Nash advises them to keep away. Later,
Nash does an about face by urging Allen to stake a claim but doesn't tell him that the
claim registrar is out of town for two weeks. Evelyn sets out to obtain aid from the
State Rangers, and she is saved from Nash's gang by Allen and Wally, who reveal to
her that they are State Rangers working undercover. Evelyn discovers that Nash is
going to a neighboring town to file a claim on the Baldwin property. Because a partner
must be on the property at the time of filing, Nash sends Henchman Steve and the rest
of the gang to occupy the Baldwin place. Evelyn tips off Allen, he leaves Wally on site
as the partner, and chases after Nash to beat him on the claim filing. Steve and his
henchmen drive Wally off, and Allen and Nash arrive at the registrar's office at the
same time. Now the deal is that the first one back gets the claim, but a partner still has
to be on the place. Since Wally isn't there, this doesn't bode well for Allen's bid. Maybe.
Written for the Internet Movie Database by Les Adams
Released both as a 15-chapter serial and as a condensed
feature version (for theatres that didn't use serials) which
means that all of the cast and crew would one day be
credited in some sources with a misleading extra film
appearance added to their filmographies even though they
only worked on (and got paid) for one performance or job.
The story (serial and/or feature) deals with the plotting of a
European importing firm to put Chinese trade competition in
a west coast Chinatown - city unnamed, but it's by the bay
and it isn't Oakland - out of business. Their representative,
The Shadow of Chinatown (1936) - Plot Summary
Sonya Rokoff/The Dragon Lady (Luana Walters), a beautiful Eurasian girl, hires Victor
Poten (Bela Lugosi), a mad Eurasian chemist and inventor and an equal-opportunity
racist who hates both Chinese and White races, to aid her. Poten, by means of his
infernal inventions and underworld henchmen, conducts successful raids on the
Chinese merchants and also successfully eludes the people hunting and investigating
him. Those include newspaper reporter Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay), her sweetheart
Martin Andrews (Bruce Bennett as Herman Brix), Willy Fu (Maurice Liu), Martin's
servant, and police Captain Walters (Forrest Taylor) and his detectives. After narrow
escapes from death in the form of bombs, poison-traps, infernal machines and some
hand-to-hand, five-on-one scuffling in Chinatown's underworld, Martin finally captures
Poten just as he is about to indulge in a little wholesale killing by poisoning the wine
served at a Chinese merchant's banquet. Written for the Internet Movie Database by
Les Adams {}.
The Location of the Alamo Theater
Google can help you find the city if you search on the right keywords.  Possibilities are
"Alamo Theater" and "The Outer Gate".  If you do this right, you will get something like
Clicking on the first link will lead you to
where you will find this week's quiz photo. The caption that accompanies the photo is:
December 1937. The Alamo movie theater in Washington, D.C. View full size. 35mm
nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. One of the
comments further indicates that the addres of the theater was 1223 7th St. NW,
Wsahington DC.  If you have a subscription to Ancesty, or you are pirating someone
else's subscription, you could confirm this by looking for a Leon Schonfeld in the 1930
census living in Baltimore who owned a restaurant in the DC area.
Leon Schonfeld and Family
Baltimore, MD
1930 Census
Leon Schonfeld
WW1 Draft Registration
Sept 1918
Indicates he owns a restaurant in NY.
We found several street addresses for the Alamo Theater.  A comment left on the
Shorpy site says that it was located at 1223 7th St.  However, the website gives the address of the Alamo as
1293 7th St., with the Mid City located at 1223 7th St. (This is what led me to ask the
name of the Alamo when it was torn down.  I had surfed on the address and came up
with the Mid City Theater, and didn't see that the Alamo was listed elsewhere.)
We found a third address for the Alamo of 1203 7th St. on the website describing the Shaw
District in Washington DC
For much of the 1900s, inexpensive
entertainments lined Seventh and Ninth streets,
from D to U streets. Vaudeville houses, pool halls,
record shops and taverns made for a busy night
life. And everyone went to the movies. Two small
theaters once operated on this block, the Alamo
(1203) and the Mid-City (1223). Seventh Street
also boasted the Happyland (1020), Gem (1131),
and Broadway (1131), with the Raphael nearby at
1515 Ninth. Click
here to open pdf of brochure.
Further Information
Theatre Owners Booking Association
1223 7th St. NW, Washington DC
The Mid City Theater
1223 7th St. NW, Washington DC
Further Information
Mid-City Theater
Washington, DC
1223 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 United States

The Mid-City Theater opened on the first floor of a three-story brick building in 1913.
The conversion work was carried out by architect Samuel R. Turner. By 1919 it had
become an African-American theater operated by Sherman H. Dudley (an
African-American). It opened mainly in the evenings and had a vaudeville act (or two)
during the break between movies.

In 1930, Dudley sold the theater to a white-owned corporation. On 3rd March 1945,
with an audience of 200 attending, its ceiling and large chandelier fell in the theater, and
twenty people were injured. Repairs were made and the Mid-City Theater continued
until closing in 1952.

It has since been demolished.
The Sale of the Mid City in 1930
According to Theater Owners Booking Association (T.O.B.A.) Listings in the
Pittsburgh Courier shown on the website of the Oviatt Library at California State
University at Northridge:

4/26/30  Pt 2, pgs 6-7
T.O.B.A. ad

"Uncle Dud (S.H. Dudley) sells his Theatre", pg 7, col 3 - Dudley sold his "Mid-City
Theater (Washington, DC) to a white corporation, and "will devote his time to real
estate brokerage and booking business", was to remain Vice President/Eastern
Representative of T.O.B.A.
"Across the Alley from the Alamo, lived a Pinto pony
and a Navajo ......"   (Joe Green)

Whops, not the correct "Alamo"

In Washington DC there was a theater named "Alamo."
On December 1937 a picture of that cinema was taken.
It was completely decorated with Movie Posters,
Bob Allen, Ralph Morgan, Bela Lagosi, all partaken.

In the 1233 NW Seventh Street NW part of town.
It was well known to the Washington Movie Crowd,
Demolished along with many other older structures,
The void created as many apartments as allowed.

The Quiz Poet Laureate was not able to find,
The name of the Alamo Theater replacement.
After returning from a two week vacation,
His searching ability is in the basement.

Robert Edward McKenna
                         Quiz Poet Laureate