Idaho Theatre

130 Shoshone Street East,
Twin Falls, ID 83301

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Idaho Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Idaho Theatre was opened June 23, 1916. In many ways it was just as nice as Intermountain Theatres other house in town, the Orpheum Theatre, however, Intermountain played the top pictures in the more ornate Orpheum Theatre, which had a balcony and 258 more seats. A photograph published in The Idaho Stateman in 1978 shows a vintage 1923 facade, which was remodeled, together with the interior of the theatre in 1941 to the plans of architect Slack Winburn, giving a more modern front and marquee so familiar to moviegoers in its later years. Intermountain always kept both theatres immaculately clean and maintained.

Intermountain Theatres was for many years a division of American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres. The late John Krier, its vice president and general manager, would go on to found the respected box office tracking firm, Exhibitor Relations.

Intermountain Theatres, which also operated theatres in Boise, should not be confused with Fox-Intermountain, which operated theatres in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Sun Valley.

The Idaho Theatre was demolished during the downtown’s urban renewal in the early-1970’s while the Orpheum Theatre is still open and showing movies. A bank and parking lot currently occupies the location.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

teecee
teecee on April 26, 2005 at 7:42 am

Information on the organ:
View link

IvanLincoln
IvanLincoln on April 26, 2005 at 10:41 am

Ron,thanks for adding the Idaho Theatre to the Cinema Treasures list. I grew up in Twin Falls and have fond memories of both the Orpheum and the Idaho. I worked at both theaters while I was in high school. The Idaho did play — rarely — some A-list films, including “South Pacific” and “West Side Story,” mainly because it had a slightly larger screen than the Orpheum (but it was never equipped for stereo sound).
For several years, there was also an “art movie” guild in Twin Falls which would schedule brief runs of films that would normally not play in the area — foreign films that were pretty important during that time period.
There was also another downtown theater — the Roxy — which was independently owned. I think the space was eventually turned into a shoe store, which was highly appropriate because the Roxy was pretty much a “shoebox” size theater. It was just up the street from the Orpheum.
This was during the time when most of the theaters played movies from specific studios. The Orphaum & Idaho played MGM, Paramount, Warners, and Universal-International. The Roxy, for the most part, played Columbia, RKO, Republic and Disney films.
I presume the Orpheum isn’t quite as beautiful as it once was, but I am glad that it has not been razed.
— Ivan M. Lincoln

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm

The year given for this photo of the Rialto is 1923.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 25, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Photos of the Idaho Theatre from 1968 (one or the other of these is probably kencmcintyre’s dead link):

One

Two

Also, an undated photo of the Rialto Theatre (possibly Lost Memory’s dead link,) which was across the street from the Idaho, at 131 Shoshone Street East. The Rialto was originally the second Orpheum in Twin Falls, probably renamed when the third Orpheum opened in 1921. Here is is a photo of it as the Orpheum.

It’s possible that that the house at 131 was called the Idaho for a while before being called the Rialto, but houses called the Idaho and the Rialto were both in operation by 1927, so the theater at 130 must have been built by that year at the latest, and the house at 131 must have been renamed Rialto by then. It seems unlikely that the house at 130 was ever called the Rialto, though, so that aka should probably be removed from this page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 25, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Thanks for the newspaper clippings about the Idaho Theatre you just uploaded to the photo section, OCRon. I was interrupted while writing my previous comment, so it sat on my computer for several hours before I finished it and posted it. (Maybe I should have re-checked the page for updates before posting.)

But the clippings confirm my suspicion that the Idaho was never called the Rialto, and as we now know that the Idaho opened in 1916, the Rialto must never have been called the Idaho, either.

OCRon
OCRon on March 25, 2014 at 8:14 pm

After further research, a correction can be to my original submission: It was never called the Rialto Theatre. Please delete the following first sentence: “The Idaho Theatre was called the Rialto Theatre when it opened in the early-1920’s.” and replace it with “The Idaho Theatre opened on June 23, 1916.”

Chris Bolton’s “Twin Falls and the Silver Screen,” documents the early theaters in Twin Falls. His directory listings from 1928-1929 show a Rialto at 131 Shoshone Street N.

Here is more information, which I have gathered on the Idaho Theatre over the years.

The original Idaho Theatre opened on June 23, 1916 (see ad and story in photo section). After two months of construction the new Idaho Theatre opened on April 12, 1941 (see ads in photo section). The Intermountain Theatre ad touted that everything was new—from the basement to the ceiling. The Twin Falls Evening News did not call it a remodel; it was called “streamlined” and “rebuilt.” A new marquee highlighted the new theatre to the public. By Incorporating a former store and office, the auditorium and lobby area was increased. More usable space was found by placing the lounges downstairs.

The project’s architect for the 1941 renovation was Slack Winburn Of Salt Lake City. Winburn was responsible for many prominent buildings in the intermountain region. He also designed the Capitol (Ellen Eccles) Theatre in Logan, Utah. Winburn noted that the type of travertine, which covered theater fronts, previously was imported from Italy. This was no longer the case since the discovery of deposits in the United States. A stainless steel boxoffice and poster panels accented the Montana rose-tan travertine. Technical additions included a new Western Electric sound system and walls lined with sound absorbing Celotex. Indirect lighting was used in the auditorium. In addition to luxurious carpeting, more than 600-streamlined cushioned seat were installed. Patrons were to be kept in comfort all year long by a 30-ton Trane air conditioner.

Four changes of programs a week were announced. The opening attraction was ‘Life with Henry,’ starring Jackie Cooper.

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