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I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this book and have slowly been going through it. For those of us who remember these SF theaters before they were torn down, this book is a wonderful document to a vanished era. The essays, the crisp and colorful pictures of the theater interiors, and the overall production design are all first rate.
It might be impossible for a theater this size to show films continuously in a town the size of Fort Madison and still be able to stay open. Down the road in Keokuk their old theater has multi purpose use – plays, conventions, etc. There is no reason why the Fox could not be used this way, with maybe two or three films per month, but only if there is deep community involvement. Since the state prison is about a half mile away, a re-opening of the theater with a mini prison film festival might draw in the curiosity seekers and give the venue a grand re-opening.
Going into www.fortmadisonmovies.com it looks like the Fox has been closed after 5-6 weeks. I just was in Fort Madison. It has a number of older historic homes and buildings. If the downtown area ever revitalizes, the Fox could have been a lynchpin. It’s too bad the Wrights couldn’t make a go of it. They certainly cut their losses quickly.