Isis Theater

1716-26 Curtis Street,
Denver, CO 80202

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 14, 2012 at 1:13 am

this card in the Denver Public Library’s Western History Subject Index says that when the State Theatre was closed and demolished in 1953, its owners bought the Isis Theatre and changed its name to the New State Theatre.

Another card from the Index cites a January 1, 1955, item in the Rocky Mountain News saying that the Isis Theatre building was to be demolished. The Isis must have had the aka New State for less than two years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm

An article in The Moving Picture World of January 1, 1916, indicates that the Strand Theatre (later the State), opened in 1915, had been built on the site of the first Isis Theatre. The article doesn’t say whether or not the first Isis operated under another name between the opening of the new Isis in 1913 and the old theater’s demolition.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm

There is an article about exterior lighting on Denver’s theaters in the October 19, 1912, issue of Electrical Review (Google Books scan) with a drawing of this Isis Theater captioned “How New Isis Theater Will Be Illuminated.”

The text of the same article has this information:

“The history of the illumination of Curtis Street is rather interesting and dates back a little more than four years. At that time one of the enterprising theater managers of Denver opened the Cameraphone Theater and installed some very elaborate illuminating effects. This was when the moving-picture business was in its infancy in Denver, and although the illumination on the Cameraphone gave it tremendous advertising, the quality of the shows presented were not on a par with the illumination on the outside and it eventually became unprofitable to operate. Later it was taken over by Samuel Baxter and renamed the Isis. Under the new management the lighting was discontinued and the quality of the shows bettered, but without the pulling force of the light it did not do a paying business. In the course of time the illumination which had been displaced was again installed and later increased, until today the theater has a total of 2,200 lamps and a candlepower of 8,500, and it is now one of the best payers of the several first-run houses.”
The article indicates that the New Isis was under construction, while the existing Isis was one of the seven movie theaters already in operation on Curtis Street between 14th and 18th Streets. So far I’ve been unable to discover what became of the first Isis when the new house opened. Possibly it was kept open under a new name.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on June 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

From the Estey organ company I find record of them selling an organ to the Isis Theatre, Denver CO in 1910, 3 years before this building opened. Then the Wurlitzer records show THEY sold an organ to the Isis Theatre, Denver CO, in 1915, 2 years after this theatre opened. Certainly theatres upgraded their organs – and believe me, if you had a theatre with an Estey, you needed an upgrade. I can even understand maybe Estey using a contract date rather than an installation date, but 3 years is too long for that. Any suggestions? Was there a previous Isis Theatre?

roundgrandma
roundgrandma on August 10, 2011 at 6:31 am

Mr. O'Malley, I’ve searched, in vain, for images of the Rococco interior of the Denver Theater, demolished not long after extensive and expensive renovations, including gold leaf work, mirror replacements, etc. My late husband worked there for years and took me through nearly the entire building in the very early 70’s after his Army stint. I never could figure out WHY they literally provided the idea for “They Paved Paradise”, leaving only the compass on the sidewalk, destroying a grand lady from the past,leaving the much less glamorous but more functional Paramount across the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Here are two photos of the Isis from a 1913 issue of the trade Journal The Moving Picture World. The pictures are rather small, but the interior photo gives an idea of just how big this theater really was. For such an early movie house the place was vast.

paulomalley
paulomalley on November 14, 2007 at 2:49 am

Monty-Denver – What can I help you with. I have a good collection of photos, both hardcopy and in jpg. format of most of Denver’s early theaters. Most were obtained from the Denver Public Library and the Colorado Historical Society. I can be contacted by email at or phone at (303) 692-1137. If you live in the Denver area I would be happy to show you what I have and share anything I can. I live at Leetsdale & Quebec in Denver and am home most days of the week. So you can send my an email or give me a call (just leave a message if I am not home) and I will get in contact with you.

MontyM
MontyM on November 14, 2007 at 1:26 am

Trying to reach Paul O'Malley regarding pictures.

paulomalley
paulomalley on July 29, 2007 at 4:47 am

I have just completed by profile of the Isis Theater at 1724 Curtis Street. It contains all the information I have been able to gather about the theater from it’s opening in May 1913 thru the early 1920s, taken from local newspapers, trade magazines, etc. It contains a list of all the photos I have been able to identify, a list of employees taken from the City Directories, etc. If anyone would like a copy of this profile, I can provide it in either Word or PDF format. The file is about 650kb. This is one of five profiles of the movie theaters in the 1700 Block of Curtis Street that I can provide. If interested please contact me at and I will email it to you.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 10, 2007 at 2:38 am

I heard that the CT book is given free of charge to prolific but impecunious contributors. Hint hint.

Patsy
Patsy on December 28, 2006 at 11:47 am

I have the CT book which, btw, is wonderful so will check out the page or pages on the Isis. Thanks.

sdoerr
sdoerr on December 28, 2006 at 3:09 am

Seen the pic of the Isis in the CT book, and wow, what an amazing exterior !

Patsy
Patsy on November 2, 2006 at 12:36 am

What a beautiful theatre building!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 1, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Very helpful. I think the bottom line is that none of these theaters on Curtis have been listed as of yet, with the exception of the Isis.

paulomalley
paulomalley on September 1, 2006 at 3:09 am

The photo at http://tinyurl.com/qqdse is in fact a different theater on the same block as the Isis. The theater at 1751 Curtis Street was originally opened as the Paris Theater (seating 2,300)in October 1912, just a few month before the Isis opened at 1724 Curtis. The Paris went thru several changes of ownership in the teens before coming under the control of Brown & Megahan, who changed the name to the Rivoli. In September, 1919 they sold the Rivoli, Isis, Strand (1632 Curtis)and Plaza (1717 Curtis) to Fox. At some time in the 1930s the Rivoli was renamed the Tivoli (just for confusions sake). The Denver Public Library has a good collection of photos of these theaters on their website (http://www.denver.lib.co.us/index.html).
The call numbers for photos of the Isis Theater are – X-24670, X-24671, X-24672, X-24673, X-24674, X-24679, X-24853, X-22628 and CHSX5351. Photos of the Paris Theater include: X-22624, CHSX5351 and CHSX8409. Photos of the Rivoli include: MCC-332, MCC-3353, X-23924, X-24721, X-24730, X-24731, X-24732 and X-24733. I have a hard copy photo of the Tivoli and Plaza theaters from the 1930, but don’t have a call number for the online version. I hope all this is helpful.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 31, 2006 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for the information, Paul. This photo from the Library of Congress shows the Fox Rivoli, which replaced the New Isis per above. The address is given as 1751 Curtis, but that may be inaccurate:
http://tinyurl.com/qqdse

paulomalley
paulomalley on August 30, 2006 at 5:34 pm

The photo in the link http://tinyurl.com/qsgu7 shows the 1600 and 1500 blocks of Curtis Street in the mid 1920s. The State Theater (1630 Curtis Street) is on the site of the original Isis Theater (1632 Curtis Street). The Isis was torn town in 1914 and a new theater (the Strand) was opened on the site in September 1915. The bulding was renovated and reopend as the State in September 1925. The photo at http://tinyurl.com/f64on shows the original Isis Theater in 1911 shortly after the opening of the Princess Theater at 1620 Curtis. The Isis Theater in photos k58v8, qnxwn and nfbf8 is technically the New Isis Theater (1724 Curtis Street)that opened in May 1913. Both Isis theaters were originally owned by Samuel L. Baxter of Denver. The New Isis became a Fox theater in 1919.
The other theaters in the photo at qsgu7 are: the Victory at 1620 Curtis (the former Princess, renamed in 1924); the Colonial at 1629 Curtis (dating from 1911); the Empress at 1625 Curtis (dating from 1907); the America on the ne corner of 16th and Curtis (built in 1917); the Colorado on the nw corner of 16th and Curtis (the renovated and remodeled Tabor Grand Opera House; and, the Rialto at 1544 Curtis Street (originally opened as the United States Theater in 1913).
I have been working on a history of Denver’s early movie theater and have a large database of information and photos I would be happy to share with anyone interested. You can contact be directly at

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 30, 2006 at 1:31 am

I may be wrong, but the only theater listed on Curtis is the Isis, which you can’t see in this picture. Are all of the other theaters missing from the Denver listings? By the way, the Chop Suey is not a theater:
http://tinyurl.com/qsgu7

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 5, 2006 at 7:21 pm

Here are some photos from the Denver Public Library, circa 1913:
http://tinyurl.com/k58v8
http://tinyurl.com/f64on

paulomalley
paulomalley on November 1, 2005 at 4:49 pm

The New Isis Theater (1724 Curtis Street) was opened on May 1, 1913. The original owner was Samuel L. Baxter who had been running the Isis Theater at 1632 Curtis Street since the beginning of 1909. He was also the owner of a nickelodeon,the Denver Theater at 1015 17th Street, since the summer of 1907. Baxter sold the New Isis to the firm of Brown & Megahan at the end of 1918. Brown & Megahan also ran the Strand Theater (1640 Curtis Street) built on the site of the old Isis Theater. Brown & Megahan sold the Isis (as well as the Strand, the Plaza [1721 Curtis Street] and the Rivioli [1751 Curtis Street] to the Fox Film Corporation in September 1919. As far as I know the D&R firm were never connected with either the old Isis or the new Isis. They did control the Princess/Victory Theater at 1620 Curtis Street and the Rialto Theater at 1544 Curtis Street in the late teens and early twenties, as well as several redidential theaters. I had the please of knowing Frank Ricketson in the 1980 when I worked at the Denver Center Cinema (Frank Ricketson Theater) when it was part of the Denver Center for the Performing arts.

dudley
dudley on July 12, 2005 at 1:09 am

+I worked at the FOX Rialto in 1950 thru 1953 and the ISIS Theatre was also part of the FOX Intermountain chain At that time the manager was Virg Campbell and he had worked with one of the national circus companys, and he always had something going. We worked close with the Isis, we were first run and the isis run as many as 4 older features at one time for a real cheap price. I got to work the door for him when Fox booked the hedy lamar movie ECTASY in whiche she made in 1936 when she swam naked. The Isis when crazy with business for several weeks. Curtis street at that time had as many as10 theatres in a 2 block area. Very fond memories. posted by Richar Dudley on July 11, 2005 at 10:15 pm.

teecee
teecee on May 20, 2005 at 2:56 pm

The theater had an Estey Pipe Organ, Opus number 776.

teecee
teecee on February 28, 2005 at 12:26 am

Great photo on page 97 of the CT book. Right under my nose all of this time!