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.