400 Main Street,
La Porte City,
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This theatre started life as a grocery store. In the l940’s, the wooden floor was sloped, and the rest of the building was remodeled to turn it into a neat little 300 seat movie house. It was named the Mars, after it’s owner, Marvin Fosse. Usually playing three different sets of programs during any given week, the Mars was austere (like it’s predecessor, the Pastime), but it was the center of small town life on Friday and Saturday nights well into the very early 50’s.
When local TV came upon the scene, and because the theatre could not book pictures anywhere near their release date (along with the fact that many of its potential patrons travelled 15 miles to the Big City of Waterloo and its Paramount Theater), business began to decline and the theatre started closing on selected weekdays.
In the mid to late 50’s, the theatre was closed. It later was reopened on weekends and operated at various times by Terry Philpott and/or Mike Geater, (who installed it’s first CinemaScope screen) either individually or in partnership. Sadly, by the early 60’s, the handwriting was on the wall and the theatre was once again turned into a (short-lived) grocery store. It is now a furniture store.
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