Dream Theater

629 N. Main Street,
Russell, KS 67665

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Dream Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Dream Theater in Russell, Kansas was originally opened in 1923 as The Mainstreet Theater. In 1935 it was renovated and renamed the Dream Theater with a seating capacity given as 590. In 1947, fire destroyed the old movie house.

Two years later, the New Dream Theater with a seating capacity of 425 was opened on the same site. For the next 51 years, the Dream Theater was just that — a majestic, Art Deco style single screen movie house delighting local audiences. The Dream Theater survived into the next century, but was finally closed in May 2000 by B&B Theatres.

As soon it closed, the Keep The Dream Alive Committee spurred into action, paid the $6,000 back taxes, and raised an additional $20,000 to reopen the cinema.

Now run by a volunteer staff and open only on the weekends, the Dream Theater is alive again.

Contributed by Joel Weide

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

fudd1
fudd1 on March 13, 2004 at 9:11 pm

As stated above, the old Dream Theater was gutted by fire in 1947. It was in November of that year and a very massive ice storm was beginning to settle upon the city of Russell. The fire department was called to check out smoke coming from the ceiling of the theater at around 6:45 pm. A blower motor had overheated and had started to smolder some of the insulation in the theater. In those days, E.B. Danielson and sons had insulated the buildings with old wadded up newspaper, cheap but yet adequate. The firemen quickly extingushed the problem and were beginning to wrap up the problem, when several of them went to the roof to cut a hole to vent out the smoke. Only problem was that some of the smoldering material was not all gone and with the added extra draft, soon became the biggest fire in Russell KS history, at that time. The theater could not be saved, as the fire raced through the building. Due to the falling temperatures, the water hoses were freezing, and making one big mess out front, making it more impossible to extingush the fire.
Luckily there was no fatalities, or other buildings involved in the fire. Oh by the way, the movie that night, “Smoke Eaters” a story about firemen.
This is one of the many stories told to me by the late Dale Danielson, former owner of the Dream Theater.

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on March 16, 2004 at 4:58 pm

There is a Dream Theater that can be seen clearly in the film “Paper Moon” which is set in Kansas during the Depression. However, it could be a set facade. The marquee reads Will Rogers in “Steamboat ‘Round the Bend”

fudd1
fudd1 on March 16, 2004 at 6:55 pm

Yes, that is correct about the Dream being in “Paper Moon”. But it is another building dressed up as the old Dream Theater. “Paper Moon” was filmed almost entirely in Kansas, mostly around Russell, Hays, Gorham, and Wilson KS, and many of the smaller towns in the area still had older 1930’s looking buildings still standing.

Paulmichael
Paulmichael on May 1, 2004 at 6:11 am

Robert R: In the 1980s as I was traveling to Colorado, I stopped in Russell and was lucky enough to get a tour of the Dream one Sunday morning. What I remember most about the inside were the floral murals on the walls. I remember them as stripes of gray and green and maroon flowers (almost wallpaper like in quality) but hand painted. The man giving me the impromtu tour told me that they were painted shortly after the theatre reopened in 47 and they did look late art-moderne in theme. The photo above does not show that the word “Dream” is scripted in the sidewalk area underneath the marquee.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 4, 2005 at 1:31 pm

This theatre has a very cool story.

Triciagal
Triciagal on May 22, 2007 at 12:39 am

As a youngster in the early 50s, I was a regular visitor at the Dream. It was the era of great Westerns with Roy Rogers and the rest. Roy was one of my childhood heros. We used to sit in the back and eat sunflower seeds. By the time the movie ended there would be sunflower seed shells all around the seats. I was too young to appreciate the beauty of the Dream.

DonLewis
DonLewis on June 16, 2008 at 1:15 pm

A 1999 view of the Dream Theater in Russell.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Very nice I like the DREAM in the sidewalk in front of the boxoffice.

oldertech
oldertech on March 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm

As I understand it, Danielson shot local newsreel films and projected those along with the theater’s regular showings. Does anyone have any information about that?

Scott Williams

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