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About 2000, the owners tried to make this into a legitimate theater; ironically, considering the comments above, one of the shows was a musical version of BINGO LONG. It was obvious that the owners had little clue for running a “live” theater and the whole enterprise lasted maybe six months. The front of the auditorium was about 15 rows or regular seats, and the back was a raised platform with tables and chairs. There was a bar in the lobby. Later in the experiment, the Sunday shows included a gratis Italian buffet; big serving tins of really bad pasta were put on long tables in back. That ended when the whole “live” theater experience ended.
I was never in the theater but lived in the area in the 1960s and would call their message line each week for a laugh. In a super-enthusiastic voice, we would hear something like “Here’s a comedy which will have you rolling in the aisle.” What WAS funny is that the film had been panned by every critic.
I remember rumors of mob involvement soon after it opened.
Most amusing were the newspaper ads about the “shocking” triple features, with such phrases as “the birth of a baby before your eyes” or “nurses in attendance” or “armed guards will check IDs for age.”
(Sadly, this was before I lived in the area and could see the screen from my condo balcony.)
In the 1960s, local opera singer Gloria Lind floated an idea to turn the theater into an opera house. (Highwood has a large Italian population.) I do not recall reading any follow-up after the initial announcement.
December 2010 – – there is a For Sale sign in the window. Residents told us the music theatr closed 4-5 years ago.
When I was an MSU student in the 1950s, the State would show wide-screen movies by squishing down the top and keeping the sides the same. We would term it “drawf-a-scope.”
The Pearl Theater was located on First Street, between Laurel and Central. Opposite the train station. I remember that our familily went to a double-feature there in the mid 1940s.
I was told at the time that it was owned by Mr. Pearl, who also owned the Alcyon (now the Highland Park.) And that the zoning laws said there could be no more than two theaters in town. Each time someone would consider opening a second one, Mr. Pearl would open the Pearl for aa short run, until the crisis was over. I believe it was torn down in the 1950s or 60s, and I think a car dealer was put in its place.