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129 3rd St NE – address from 1918 City Directory
Palace address: 310 2nd Ave SE
May 12, 1908: Proprietors of the new Palace Theatre in downtown Cedar Rapids said the facility would open this week. Located in the former Sunshine Mission Building, the owners promised to show only “high class” moving pictures and illustrated songs for five cents admission. 1998 CR Gazette column “100 yrs ago today”
IDEAL THEATRE IS OPEN TODAYIt is Beautifully Decorated and Offers a Bright WelcomeTo All.
FINE PLAYS ARE ON
Her Moment" and ‘The Street of Seven stars,’
The opening of the Ideal theater today at popular prewar admission prices will prove an innovation In the picture business of Cedar Rapids.
Like in the past, there will be but one aim upon his part and that is to please the patrons. Upon this policy he is reopening the Ideal after nearly two years of closed doors. The public admission prices will be six cents to children and eleven cents to adults, this admission fee to include war tax. 3-9-1919
New Theater Opens. July 4, 1914
The new Ideal theater opened this afternoon, showing Mary Pickford in “Caprice” before a large crowd. F. J. Smid, the owner, has made arrangements with the Mutual Service and the Famous Players. The latter pictures will be shown on Sundays.
The theater is equipped with a mirror screen, Powers cameograph machine and all the latest equipment.
The theater has a capacity of 500 and is equipped with eight ventilators, insuring pure air at all times.
The theater is located on Fourteenth avenue between Second and Third Streets east. CR Evening Gazette
Aug. 30, 1923: Harry Houdini brought his magic act to the Majestic Theatre as part of the theatre ’s vaudeville line up. At the time of his appearance, the magician had been holding audiences spellbound for over a quarter of a century. Four thousand pounds of baggage and equipment for tricks accompanied Houdini.
Houdini’s spellbinding performance included his famous India needle trick. In this novel act, the magician swallowed four packages of needles and several yards of silk thread. He then proceeded to pull the thread and needles from his mouth with each needle threaded.
Houdini also performed his death-defying Chinese water torture trick. In the stunt, the magician is bound and chained by his ankles then suspended upside down in a clear glass aquarium filled with water. He then races against time to free himself from his ropes and shackles. Gazette August 26, 1998
Former vaudeville orchestra member Joe Stoddard recalled the night 6,000 gallons of water flooded the orchestra pit at the Majestic Theatre on Third Street NE. Stoddard said the flood occurred when a canvas tank used in a vaudeville diving act collapsed on the stage.
Stoddard, who played in the pit orchestra at the Strand and Majestic Theatres in the early days of vaudeville and silent movies, said he earned $45 a week as a drummer in an eight-piece band. Stoddard recalled playing for such vaudeville greats as Buster Keaton, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, George Burns and Gracie Allen. The Majestic was Cedar Rapids premiere vaudeville house in the 1920s until it fell on hard times during the Depression. The theater eventually went bankrupt and was destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1934.
Stoddard said theater goers in Cedar Rapids had a reputation among theatrical folks as being the coldest audience in the Midwest. At one point a sign was reportedly posted backstage in the New York City MajesticTheatre which read, “You think you’re good? Try playing Cedar Rapids!” Reinforcing that reputation was a sign posted backstage at the Cedar Rapids Majestic reading: “Don’t send out your laundry until we’ve seen your act!”
Strand Theatre 1190 3rd St SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
history: Olympic Theatre 1910-30; Strand Theatre 1930-51; Community Theater 1951-84; The Opera House Night Club 1984-92