Venice Theater

94 S. Main Street,
Nephi, UT 84648

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm

The Venice Motion Picture Theatre Company was organized at Nephi in June, 1914, according to the Report of the Secretary of State of the State of Utah published in 1915. Given the name of the corporation, I don’t know what to make of the claim at Utah Theatres that the house was originally called the Ermo Theatre. They cite the source for the Ermo aka as an email from someone named Jerry Shepherd. The page also gives the Venice the aka Foote Theatre.

Editions of Julius Cahn’s Guide from 1903-1904 and 1904-1905 list an 800-seat, ground floor theater called the Opera House in Nephi, managed by a Mr. G.W. Toote. I think Toote in the Cahn guides was a typo, as there are many references to a Foote family residing in Nephi, but no other references to anybody named Toote. I’ve found a 1982 reference to a Richard and Shirley Foote, of the Venice Theatre Corporation in Nephi. Perhaps the Venice Moving Picture Theatre Company of 1914 was formed not to build a new theater, but to take over operation of G.W. Foote’s Opera House and convert it to movies?

Utah Theatres has a page for the Nephi Opera House, with little information other than a seating capacity of 500 and an operational period of 1903 to after 1912, which would not conflict with the opening of the Venice in 1915, if they were the same theater.

The September 4, 1918, issue of The Music Trades says that a large American Fotoplayer had been sold in Nephi, but doesn’t name the buyer. It’s possible the instrument was installed in the Venice Theatre, although I’ve come across a single reference to an Arlington Theatre operating at Nephi in 1915, so the Fotoplayer might have gone there.

If anybody wonders what a Fotoplayer is, watch this YouTube video for a sample.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 21, 2008 at 12:41 pm

The Venice Theater had 499 seats in 1955.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 14, 2005 at 10:56 am

A 1983 article about the fire at the Venice Theater:

Fire Destroys Nephi’s Venice Theater

Salt Lake Tribune 29 November 1983

“NEPHI – Flames destroyed the 68-year-old Venice theater and damanged three other buildings on Nephi’s Main Street late Sunday night. The fire gutted the theater while smoke and water caused $1,000 in damanges to an income tax office and $10,000 in damages to a pizza parlor. Smoke caused $100,000 damange to the hardware store.

Nephi City Police Officer Ramon battled the fire for 3 ½ hours. Nephi Fire Chief Boyd Park said the cause of the fire is unknown but is under investigation by the fire department and the state fire marshal. Memmott spotted the fire at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night as smoke was rising from a grate in front of the theater. He said flames and smoke also were rising from the furnace in the back of the building. Twenty-two firemen from the Nephi City Volunteer Fire Department".

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 14, 2005 at 10:33 am

Photos of the former Venice Theater in Nephi, UT can be seen here.