Ace Theatre

17 S. Idaho Street,
Wendell, ID 83355

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Ace Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally built as a store in 1910. Dooley Perkins converted it into the Ace Theatre in 1945. Wendell then had a population of about 2000, with most of its economy revolving around farming.

During the late-1950’s Dooley rented the theatre out but continued to live in an apartment at the back of the theatre where he also operated his commercial sign-painting business, which at the time probably became more successful than the theatre.

Westerns were the biggest draw at the Ace Theatre while musicals didn’t fare too well. Two pictures that filled the house were Disney’s “Old Yeller” and a Ginger Rogers movie, “Teenage Rebel”. Some residents who were children in the 1950’s may remember the free Saturday matinees sponsored by the local merchants.

A 1970’s photo from the book “Silent Screens” shows the Ace Theatre as a thrift store. In the 1990’s it was twinned with seating listed as 267 and around this time, I believe, it was called Ace Theatre and Video. A Film Daily Year Book from the 1950’s gives it’s original seating as 480.

It was shuttered in early-2000 and an internet search shows the building to be the headquarters of a theatrical equipment and supply company. In 2015 plans were promoted to convert the building into a cinematic museum.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre on March 23, 2007 at 4:23 pm

Here is a 1985 photo by Michael Putnam:

kencmcintyre on June 30, 2008 at 10:10 pm

There is a small shot of the Ace on this page:

kencmcintyre on October 30, 2008 at 9:20 am

The theater supply company website now is mostly related to theater photos:

John Eickhof
John Eickhof on March 9, 2015 at 12:02 pm

I am the current owner of the ACE. To update the statements above, Morris ‘Dooley’ Perkins opened the ACE in late 1945. The building is not a ‘quonset hut’ but was originally the Wendell Mercantile Co. opened in 1910. The all masonry building was modified in 1952 for Cinemascope and the roof line was raised as well as the proscenium was expanded for the larger picture. It was at this time the ‘barrel’ style roof purchased from a nearby school gymnasium was placed on top of the building. The theatre is being remodeled into a museum of motion picture technology and is still operational with 35mm film. There will be an interactive 1940s vintage carbon arc projection room as well as projectors and related movie equipment on display dating to the late 1890s. I currently have approx. 50+ vintage projectors for the museum and I am continuing my search for memorabilia regarding theatres in southern Idaho as well as equipment to place in the display. For more information, please email me.

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