Marlow Theatre

Edwards and S. Park Avenue,
Helena, MT 59601

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Opened on 3rd April 1918 playing ‘The Show of Wonders’, the Marlow Theatre was built as a dual purpose venue for stage productions and movies.

In the 1943 edition of Film Daily Yearbook, the Marlow Theatre is listed as being under the management of Fox Intermountain Theaters Inc. In 1949 the theatre underwent an $85,000 re-modelling.

Highlights from its history are the visit of John F. Kennedy in the summer of 1960 who was seeking support of the Montana State Democratic Convention which met in the theatre. In June 1961, the world premiere of the “The Naked Edge”, Gary Cooper’s last film was held at the Marlow Theatre. Cooper had died from cancer in May 1961 and he was being honoured in his local town where he once had worked as a cartoonist on the Independent Record newspaper prior to going to Hollywood.

The Marlow Theatre was demolished in May 1972 for the extension of South Park Avenue.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

teecee
teecee on April 13, 2005 at 6:25 am

Information on the organ:
View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 4, 2006 at 7:22 am

Here’s some political propaganda that mentions the Marlow:
http://tinyurl.com/shcn8

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 16, 2006 at 3:18 pm

There was an earthquake in Helena on the same day as LM’s double feature:

Panic and hysteria reigned in the Marlow theater as hundreds of people in attendance made frantic efforts to reach the front doors. Several women fainted and little children cried for their parents as the lights went out and a mad rush for the doors followed. Plaster fell from the high roof of the building and the violence of the shock rocked the building from side to side. People shouted and screamed and several were carried from the building. Similar scenes took place at the Rio theater.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 16, 2006 at 4:36 pm

Is it OK to scream “fire” in a crowded theater if the theater is actually on fire? Ordinarily it’s a misdemeanor and not considered freedom of speech under the Constitution.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 5, 2007 at 3:05 pm

There are some photos of the Marlow’s demolition on this page:
http://www.lifelikecharm.com/theaters.htm

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 26, 2007 at 4:41 pm

Here is an article about the long-time projectionist dated 2/28/54:

Gene Sherman Notes Another Milestone In Theater Career

“The Robe,” the new CinemaScope production to be shown at the Marlow for a full week beginning Wednesday, will be one of many milestones passed by Gene Sherman, the theater projectionist. Sherman has been projectionist at the Marlow for the past 20 years of the 47-year career. He began as a trouper in a stock company operated by Lulu Sutton, daughter of Montana’s famous Uncle Dick Sutton, who built the Empress theaters in Helena and Butte, the Broadway (now the Montana) in Butte, and other theaters, and who presented scores of shows when no other producer would venture into the backwoods that was then Montana.

In the winter of 1907-1908 Sherman deserted the stage for the projection booth, and from there he has seen such innovations as a one reel version of the opera “Carmen” (1908), the first movie made in California; D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” (1915), the forerunner of the feature picture as we have come to know it, and “Lights of New York” (1928), the first all-talking picture. His earliest work was with the Vitagraph company and later for General Programs, produced by Lubin-Selig-Essanay. He has been a Fox Intermountain Amusement projectionist for 28 yearsâ€"eight years in Lewistown and 20 years in Helena. Looking at the plans for CinemaScope, and working on them, he asks, “What next?” A faithful patron suggests noiseless popcorn.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 2, 2007 at 4:47 pm

Here is a 1945 ad from the Helena Independent:
http://tinyurl.com/2nu5a8

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 13, 2009 at 10:53 am

Here is part of a September 1941 article in the Helena Independent:

Manager Jack Edwards of the Marlow Theater and Frank Pratt of the Rio Theater announce the opening today of the Fox-Intermountain theaters “Let’s Go to a Movie” month. Both the Marlow and Rio theaters will participate actively in this campaign.

The “Lets Go to a Movie” month will be far more significant to the community than the usual “Greater Show Season,” Edwards said. “We are all aware of the unique place the motion picture theater holds in the community, and in this campaign we are making sure the theaters live up to their responsibility.”

The “Let’s Go to a Movie” month was set to begin Sept. 15, this year, because our finest pictures will be released during the next 45 days. Among the exceptional pictures coming to the Marlow theater during this period are, “Hold That Ghost,” with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, “Sun Valley Serenade,” with Sonja Henie, John Payne and Glenn Miller and his orchestra, “Tom, Dick and Harry,” with Ginger Rogers, “Belle Starr” in technicolor and starring Randolph Scott and Gene Tierney, “Dive Bomber,” with Errol Flynn and Fred MacMurray, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” with Spencer Tracy, “When Ladies Meet,” with Joan Crawford and Robert Taylor, “Lady Be Good,” with Eleanor Powell, Ann Sothern and Robert Young, “A Yank in the R.A.F.,” with Tyrone Power and Betty Grable, “Aloma of the South Seas” in technicolor and starring Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall, “Sergeant York,” with Gary Cooper, “Parachute Battalion,” with Robert Preston and Nancy Kelly, “Wild Geese Calling,” with Henry Fonda and Joan Bennett, “Navy Blues,” with Ann Sheridan, Jack Oakie, Martha Raye and Jack Haley, and the picture the whole world is waiting to see, “Citizen Kane,” with Orson Welles.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 11, 2011 at 7:44 pm

As Edwards Street no longer exists, Google Maps is incapable of finding the location. The nearest you can get to an address for this theater on a vanished lot is Broadway Street at Park Avenue. If you look east along Broadway from Park, you’re looking directly across the spot where the Marlow stood. The west side wall of its stage house would have crossed Broadway just a few feet south of the current intersection. This web page (the same one ken mc linked to earlier) has a map showing its location. The section on the Marlow begins below two pictures of the Antlers Theatre.

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