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Supr8, you’re right—I stand corrected.
WilliamMcQuade, the remaining part of the building that was the lobby is now KSTP Television; none of the original interior is intact. However, if you go to the following link and scroll through to the end, you can see the remnant of the theater exterior visible through the larger (third?) story window, at www.lileks.com/mpls/mntheat/index.html.
To hear old recordings of Cedric Adams broadcasts on WCCO radio, go to www.radiotapes.com and click on the “WCCO” tab.
I did some research at the Richfield Historical Society in January when visiting Minneapolis; Dick is absolutely right. The theatre was gutted and remodeled into the Summit Bank. (Another case of turning a truffle into a Twinkie!) Question answered. Thanks, Dick.
I saw “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” and “How The West Was Won” at the Cooper when I was seven. I remember that in its early days, the theatre had reserved seating (hence the sign mentioned in an earlier post). But the movie I really remember was “2001: A Space Odyssey.” You almost felt as if you were falling into the screen during the space station docking sequence.
According to some, it was a victim of its own size; it would’ve had to nearly sell out every performance to turn a profit. But oh, what a magnificant theatre! Part of the arched window (in the former lobby area?) is still visible in the existing structure, if you look carefully.
Did it survive the tornado tonight? Was it damaged?
I grew up at 60th and Elliot Avenue South and was born in 1955; I have absolutely no memory of this drive-in. Do you know when it was demolished?
By “carnival,” do you mean Queen Anne Kiddyland, which was located at 494 and Normandale Boulevard? If you google “Queen Anne Kiddyland,” you can find some pictures of the rides.
Do you remember the Smokey Point Drive-In off Cedar Avenue?
My mother managed The Oaks Bar, which was then located two or three storefronts to the left of the theater, from the late 1930s through 1940 or 1941.
It’s definitely demolished. (I live locally and often drive past the site on Avenue L.) Only foundations remain. Unless you actually walked over the site, you’d never guess the drive-in theater had ever existed.
The actual date that the Valley Theater was destroyed by fire is evidently the 26th of February, 1953. (An article appeared in the Los Angeles Times on February 27, 1953.) I’ll go to the Lancaster Library this week to see if I can find the Ledger-Gazette article to confirm it.
After a little Internet research last night, I found that the then-South Antelope Valley Press (now Antelope Valley Press) began publication as a weekly in May of 1950. So, if the Valley Theater burned circa 1953, they should have the article in their morgue. I’ll let you know what I find out in a couple of weeks.
I spoke to Norma Gurba, the author of the book you mention, before my October 2007 post, so that’s where I got that September 1953 fire date. I do live in Lancaster, and will follow up on this as time permits (perhaps in late September). I’m not sure when the Antelope Valley Press (today’s sole surviving daily) began publication, or where their morgue is archived, but they might be another resource.
At one time the Ledger-Gazette’s offices were located on the corner of present-day Sierra Highway and Milling Street, literally across Milling street from the section of storefronts and bars that burned along with the Valley Theater. Whether the Ledger-Gazette was located there in 1953, I don’t know. But if they were, I agree—they would’ve covered the event, wouldn’t they?
If you’re ever in town again, ronp, contact me via this website and perhaps we can compare notes over a cup of coffee at Katz ‘n Jammers.
The Jet Drive-In was already closed and the screen demolished by July of 1986 when I first arrived in the Antelope Valley. A small neon sign was still on the site, but have since been either removed or razed. Part of the front concrete-block wall is still there today.
The Valley and the Antelope are actually two different theaters and for a time, they coexisted.
The Valley Theater was built in 1927 by Whit Carter; it was destroyed by fire in 1953. It faced what was originally called Antelope Avenue (present-day Sierra Highway) on the current site of the Lancaster Museum & Art Gallery at 44801 N. Sierra Highway. It is notable because it was operated by Frank Gumm—the father of Frances Gumm, better known as Judy Garland—from circa 1927 to the mid 1930s, after the Gumm Family had moved to California from Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
The Antelope Theatre was constructed by Dave Roach in 1948, on the site of today’s Lancaster Performing Arts Center at 750 West Lancaster Boulevard. It had ceased operating as a movie theater by the mid-1980s, and in 1990, was torn down to make way for the new performing arts center, which opened in 1991.
Any idea when it was demolished? I grew up 8 blocks from this theater (I was born in 1955) and have no memory of it. After looking at the Richfield, Minnesota, Historical Society website, I believe it was located on the southwest corner of Nicolet and 65th (which makes a dogleg across Nicollet at that point). I remember the Summit Bank building being constructed on that site back in the 1960s, behind The Hub shopping center. What a beautiful theater; what a waste. If only it had survived the 1960s, it would probably have been cherished today.