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O. W. McCutchen remodeled a former Ford automobile dealership on East Center Street into the Rex Theatre in early 1935. The house was built to operate during McCutchen’s planned rebuilding of the Malone Theatre, which took place later that year. After the Malone reopened in October, 1935, the Rex continued to operate seasonally, being closed part of the year, open on weekends at other periods, and open daily during holiday seasons such as Christmas. Later it became a full-time house
McCutchen continued to improve the Rex, installing a new marquee and sound system in 1937, later installing air conditioning, and frequently redecorating. In its later years, the Rex ran a lot of westerns, and a lot of “drive-in” movies. In November, 1958, for example, you could see a double feature of The Blob and I Married a Monster From Outer Space. The Rex was advertised in the local newspaper at least as late as January, 1969.
Exhibitors have gotten themselves into a situation where they have to re-seat their theaters with bigger seats because they’ve made their customers' butts enormous by peddling those giant tubs of greased popcorn.
The New Janus Theatre was mentioned in the June 10, 1922, issue of The Billboard, which said that Ray Huggins had purchased the interests of his partner, N. C. Parsons, becoming sole owner of the house.
An interesting story about the New Janus Theatre is told in the obituary of Ethel Pauline Spalding, a centenarian who died in December, 2012. When she was fourteen, her parents, J. C. and Anna Delonay, owned the New Janus Theatre, but lived in Monroe City where they operated the Joy Theatre. They would frequently send her on the train to Shelbina where she would open the New Janus, sell the tickets, close the house after the show, and return to Monroe City on the train with the day’s receipts. This must have been around 1926. It was quite a different world then, I guess.
The September 12, 1925, issue of Motion Picture News reported that the Strand Theatre, 422 Main Street in Parkersburg, West Virginia, had been “…practically demolished by fire….” with a loss of $50,000. It took several months to rebuild the theater. The recent opening of the Strand was noted in the February 21, 1926, issue of The Film Daily.
The July 15, 1931, issue of The Film Daily said that Publix had taken over operation of the Strand from P. W. Barrett. Barrett stayed on as manager. The July 17 issue said that the Strand was being remodeled.
A “25 years ago” feature in The Sikeston Herald of November 20, 1941, mentions Bill Malone, manager of the Malone Theatre, so the house was in operation by 1916. The theater was apparently named for the street it was on, so the manager’s surname was probably a coincidence.
The Malone Theatre is mentioned in the January 19, 1918, issue of Motography, in which operator Cecil C. Reed praised the Essanay-Perfection release Two Bit Seats with Taylor Holmes: “This is some picture. Everyone came out smiling. Good business.”
O. W. McCutchen was operating the Malone Theatre by early 1925, and later that year began operating another Sikeston house called the Grand. In 1924 he had been operating the American Theatre in Sikeston. By 1926, Sikeston also had a theater called the Royal, but I haven’t found the name of the owner.
A major modernization of the Malone Theatre took place in 1935, as was noted in an article in the Herald of February 6, 1936. The theater was closed for three months, during which time it was expanded and completely remodeled. The house reopened on October 15. Earlier that year O. W. McCutchen had remodeled a building on East Center Street into the Rex Theatre, to operate during the period the Malone was closed for rebuilding (apparently all the town’s other theaters were gone by this time.) The Rex was still in operation as late as 1958.
Seating capacity of the Esquire has been drastically reduced by the renovation. Photo captions in the article JAlex linked to says that the big, main screen auditorium now has 270 seats, there are four auditoriums with 100 seats each, and a screening room with 63 seats. The capacity of the seventh auditorium is not given, but as it has to be less than 270 the total capacity of the house now must be less than 1,000, and less than 900 if the seventh auditorium is small enough.
One would think that people running a bank would know the difference between “raised” and “razed.”
Chris: Exceptions to the last-used-name rule are usually made if the last name under which a theater operated was used only briefly. In this theater’s case, the last two names were each used for less than a year, but an argument could be made that it should be listed as the Dex Theatre as that name was used for more than four years.
That explains the two American Contractor items from 1915. The Electric was the Majestic, both remodeled and expanded.
This page of Exhibitors Trade Review, November 8, 1924, has a photo of the auditorium of the Savoia Theatre.
Here’s an item from the September 13, 1924, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review:
D. Constanti opened his Liberty Theatre, Puyallup on August 19. Invitations were issued to all of Film Row, and a good crowd went down for the ceremony. This makes Constanti’s second house within six months. The Liberty, Sumner, built by him, was opened in the Spring.“
The Crystal Theatre’s 1924 renovation was noted by this item in the September 13 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review
“A. J. Jinks has opened his new Crystal Theatre at Ligonier, Ind. It is said to be one of the most complete and beautiful theatres in this part of the State. Big feature pictures will be the policy of the management.”
The September 13, 1924, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review said that the Temple Theatre in Butte was practically completed and would have its formal opening soon. The theater was designed by the firm of Link & Haire (John G. Link and Charles S. Haire.)
We’re missing the aka Temple Theatre mentioned in the description.
This page of Exhibitors Trade Review of September 6, 1924, has a few paragraphs about the Pinehurst Theatre, though the article doesn’t give the house’s name. There is a photo and a floor plan of the unusual design by architect Aymar Embury II.
The Pinehurst Theatre Building has a Facebook page. Unfortunately, most of their photos only depict merchandise, and I found no good shots of the building among them.
Here is jacobschen’s link to the LOC photos of the Capitol Theatre in clickable form.
The December 22, 1923, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review had an article about the Capitol Theatre. The house occupied a former garage that was converted into a theater by architect Eugene De Rosa.
The FDY often had a lag of a year or two, sometimes more, in listing new theaters (or the closing of old ones,) especially if they were small town or neighborhood houses. Operating for only a few months, the Great Plains probably just wasn’t open long enough to get listed.
I’d have expected the Star to operate, at least intermittently, until the Avalon opened, which the nomination form implies was 1936 (the year the Avalon’s operators leased the building.) Sarcoxie doesn’t appear ever to have been large enough to have supported two theaters, though it’s always possible that someone with more hope than sense reopened the Star after the Avalon began operating, but failed to keep it going long enough for it to get listed in the Yearbook.
The Theater page at St. Joseph Memory Lane says that the King Theatre had an earlier life as the Great Plains Theatre. It doesn’t give the opening date, but the first movies shown were Honeymoon in Bali and Scandal Sheet. Both were released in October, 1939, but the Great Plains was probably not a first-run house so it might have opened either in late 1939 or very early 1940. SJML says the Great Plains closed on April 23, 1940.
The site doesn’t give opening date or name the first movies shown as the King Theatre, but does say that the last show was on May 10, 1953.
The building the theater was in looks to date from a much earlier era than the late 1930s. The theater was most likely a conversion job.
A draft of the nomination form for the Sarcoxie Square Historic District (pdf here) says that the Avalon Theatre was at 115 N. 6th Street. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Travis leased the ca. 1890-1900 building in 1936 and opened the Avalon Theatre, which operated until July, 1962. The space is now occupied by the Jubilee Christian Fellowship Community Outreach Center.
The Star Theatre in Sarcoxie, Missouri, was mentioned in the August 28, 1920, issue of Motion Picture News. The manager was named J. J. Sprague. The Star Theatre changed hands in 1923, noted in this item in the December 1 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review:
“J. Hoshau is the new owner of the Star Theatre at Sarcoxie, Mo., having just recently purchased same from J. L. Neman. He will conduct same as a first-class motion picture theatre.”
Chris: The impression I’ve gotten from the articles in The Sedalia Democrat is that the Fox was brand new in 1940. These lines from a September 5, 1940, article are an example: “About the NEW FOX Construction: Fireproof throughout. Steel, concrete, brick with California stucco and tile trim. Dimensions: Over all, 45 feet by 120 feet. Seating Capacity: 1,000, with perfect view of screen from any seat.”
Of course such lines could also apply to a theater that had been substantially rebuilt. However, the location on 5th Street precludes any possibility that an older house on the Fox’s site was the Sedalia Theatre that opened in 1905. There are too many sources indicating that the original Sedalia Theatre was at 3rd and Massachusetts. If there was a Sedalia Theatre at the Fox address in the 1930s, it must have been a second Sedalia Theatre.
A house called the Fox Sedalia Theatre was advertising at least as early as 1930 (the Fox Liberty was advertised at least as early as 1929.) The question would be whether the Fox Sedalia Theatre of the 1930s was the original Sedalia Theatre taken over by Fox, or was a different house at the 5th Street location. I haven’t found any sources confirming either possibility.
The notes for a walking tour of downtown Greeley (pdf here) say that the Sterling Hotel and Theatre were designed by local architect Wayne B. Patterson.
This undated photo shows the house as the Columbia Theatre. All the cars parked along the street appear to be from the 1910s or early 1920s.
The July 20, 1918, issue of Exhibitors Herald mentions the Rex Theatre in Rexburg, and the September 7, 1918, issue of the same publication mentions the Columbia Theatre, so the name change took place between those dates. I’ve found no later references to the Columbia, but the next reference to the Rex I’ve found is from 1925, so the name had been changed back by then.
The 1935 FDY still lists the Rex Theatre, but the 1936 FDY lists the Romance Theatre.
The September 22, 1920, issue of The Film Daily noted that the Elk Theatre in Rexburg was operated by the Swanson Theatre Circuit.
Rexburg, by Lowell J. and Mardi J. Parkinson, says that the Hotel Lincoln and Elk Theatre were built in 1915. There’s a photo from around 1950 on page 61 (Google Books preview) and an older photo on page 41. The caption of the older photo says the building was demolished in 1963.
The Rexburg Historical Society provides this undated photo showing what appears to be the cast of an amateur theatrical posed on the stage of the Elk Theatre.