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The Orpheum Theater’s designation should be changed to “closed, restoring.”
A story in the Times-News, Twin Falls' daily newspaper, on Aug. 4, 2014, said that the Orpheum had been purchased by Larry Johnson and his wife, Stephanie. Johnson is president and general manager of Twin Falls-based Locally Owned Radio, a chain of several Magic Valley radio stations.
The newspaper article had several photographs of crews of volunteers replacing the 93-year-old theater’s roof.
They plan to restore the theater, including replacing the now-vacant balcony, and eventually use the theater for live productions (stage plays, concerts, etc) plus occasional screenings of classic films, such as “The Rocky Horror Show.”
For many years, the downtown landmark was considered the showplace of Magic Valley — an area encompassing nine counties in south-central Idaho.
The Times-News article said the Johnsons plan to restore the Orpheum to “its glory days,” which would be a real boost to downtown Main Street.
— Ivan M. Lincoln
The Country Club Theatre has new owners, a new name and a new direction. Recently purchased by Caleb and Morgan Parry, whose Off the Wall improv comedy troupe has been performing at the nearby Terrace Plaza Playhouse, it will now be used for a variety of live theater performances — musicals, improv, interactive mysteries, live music and even occasional movies.
The venue is now known as the Ziegfeld Theatre (nick-named "The Zig").
The new theater’s Web site is www.TheZiegfeldTheater.com.
As of March 2012 the Avalon Theatre has become the new home of Salt Lake City’s nomadic Salt Lake Children’s Theatre and School of Arts. The theater company has been operating in Salt Lake City for nearly 30-plus years, bouncing around to several venues, including the historic, downtown Utah Theatre (now being considered as a showcase & site for the Utah Film Center).
The Avalon has undergone complete renovation to make it work for the children’s theater company — new roof, upgraded electricity and a new “thrust” style stage.
Joanne Parker, who founded SLCT with her husband, Tom, during the 1980s, hopes the Avalon will be their permanent home.
In their previous locations, the company drew many elementary school students to special weekday matinees. The busloads of kids always had a brief instruction session, usually from Joanne, focusing on theatre etiquite.
The newly renovated space will have seating for 200 or so patrons, arranged so that even small children will be able to see the stage.
The theater company’s web site is www.tctheatre.org.
For details on the move, see Rosemary Howard’s story that was published on March 12 in the Deseret Newsw (www.deseretnews.com).
We drove through Twin Falls last weekend (Sunday, June 17), and I picked up a copy of the local newspaper, the Times-News.
From the theater ads, it appears that the once stately Orpheum Theatre has been down-graded to a bargain, “dollar house.”
With the opening of the new Magic Valley 13 complex on the north side of town, the fairly small town of Twin Falls now has a total of 28 screens, including two drive-ins. The drive-ins, the Orpheum and the Twin Cinema 12 are all operated by the same corporation (which also operates a four-plex across the river in Jerome).
Growing up, the Orpheum was the classiest showhouse in the valley. They consistently played the newest films at the same time they were showing in Salt Lake City, where the corporation that then ran both the Orpheum and Idaho was based.
-- Ivan Lincoln
The Park-Vu was one of a very few (if not the only) drive-in theaters in Salt Lake City to install 70-mm equipment.
They showed the area’s only first-run presentation of “Solomon and Sheba” in Technirama-70.
The Oak Hills got a lot of national publicity when Life Magazine published a large color photograph showing Charlton Heston in a scene from “The Ten Commandments” with the lights of Salt Lake City spread out in the valley beyond the screen.
The Crandell Theatre’s web site (click on the Web address at the top of this page), includes a short YouTube video about the theater, including some interior shots.
Looks like a nifty old theater that is still in good shape — a real rarity these days.
The Roxy did, indeed, show several 3D movies during the 1950s, including “Fort Ti,” “Dangerous Mission,” and several others from Columbia and RKO.
The 3-D experience was probably better at the Roxy than it was at the rival Orpheum and Idaho theaters. The narrow theater made the screen seem much larger than it really was.
The Roxy was fairly late in installing CinemaScope, but when they finally did, it was virtually wall-to-wall. It was flat (the orpheum’s original CinemaScope screen was slightly curved), and the ratio was more like 2:1, but “The Long Gray Line” and “The Eddy Duchin Story” did come off looking pretty good.
Cinemark reopened this theater on Friday, April 30, 2010, changing the name to the Cinemark Bountiful 8.
It has been completely renovated with all-digital projection, at least one scrreen with 3-D capability, all new screens and seating and a newly enlarged concessions stand.
It is playhing first-run films.
According to the 1956 Film Daily Yearbook, the Orpheum Theater originally seated 731. The balcony was quite a bit larger than the main floor and could easily have seated about 430-plus.
The Orpheum also had a relatively small stage for occasional live performances. the auditorium itself was very ornate, with a back-lit proscenium arch over the stage and dome-shaped molding in the ceiling.
The Orpheum’s first CInemaScope presentation was “Rose Marie,” in the spring of 1954 — coinciding with the arrival of Twin Falls' first local TV station.
Probably because it was then operated by Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Theatres, the Orpheum frequently played major first-run films abouit the same time they were playing in Boise and Salt Lake City.
“The Ten Commandments” played for nearly three weeks — an unprecedented long-run in a town where most films played for just a week or less.
During the mid-1950s I worked at both the Orpheum and the Idaho as a ticket-taking doorman (in a uniform that looked like Harold Hill’s in “The Music Man”), canged the marquees and assisted the assistant manager when the manager was on vacagtion.
Most of the memorable old Magic Valley theaters have long since disappeared, but the Orpheum is still a commanding presence on Main Street in downtown Twin Falls.