Lisbon, ND - Oldest Movie Theater in U-S is in North Dakota

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on February 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm


Podcast from l Michels, the owner of “The Scenic” Theater in beautiful Lisbon North Dakota. The Scenic opened in 1911 with the showing of “Nemo,” a 10-minute black-and-white movie.

The fact that The Scenic is the theater opened longest continuously in the U-S is remarkable enough, but the fact that it’s still in operation is truly the result of good old North Dakota team work. When the change to digital movies was being made a few years ago, the cost was so high, the town nearly lost it’s theater. Instead, with grants and donations, the very expensive shift was made to modern day movie equipment.

Al tells us in this podcast that the picture is much better than the old days, and the projectionist doesn’t have to fix burnt strips of film. In fact, he says that one time, the film burnt with only 10-minutes left in a three-hour movie. (They sent the customers home.)

Ah, the good old days, do get better…

Link to story and audio podcast:

ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at



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