Isis Theater

617 2nd Street,
Webster City, IA 50595

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This theater opened in 1911 and showed second run films until the building was destroyed by fire in 1927. The theater was rebuilt in the same location and continued operation under different ownership into the late-1940’s. The last organization to run the theater was the Pioneer chain, which owned 19 theaters in the area around that era. The theater was closed in 1954.

In 2018 the front of the building is in use as a hearing aid center, while the auditorium is used as an extension for the restaurant next door.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre on November 21, 2006 at 5:00 pm

On September 20, 1920, the Isis was showing “Food for Scandal” with Wanda Hawley and Harrison Ford (that’s what it says). Wanda received top billing, of course, which most likely left Harrison pretty ticked.

kencmcintyre on November 21, 2006 at 5:02 pm

The IMDB says that Wanda Hawley later became a call girl in San Francisco. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm

A new organ was installed in the Isis Theatre in 1917, as noted in this item from the March 3 issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Webster City, Ia. — A. C. Schuneman, of the Isis theater in Webster City, is installing a new organ in his theater at a cost of $10,000. This theater will open about the 1st of March with Clara Kimball Young in ‘The Common Law.’”
Schuneman was manager of the Isis at least as early as 1914, when he and the theater were mentioned in the February 10 issue of the Webster City Freeman:
“Pictures of Real War.

“Manager A. C. Schunaman [sic] of the Isis theater states that he expects soon to have moving pictures of actual warfare taken in northern Mexico. These films have been widely written of and are taken by the Mutual Film company, whose president made an agreement with General Villa, head of the rebel army in northern Mexico, whereby they are to be taken of the campaign waged against Huerta’s forces and even on the march to Mexico City, if Villa gets that far south. The first batch of films have been received in this country and it is expected that in a week or so will be released to jobbers, who will book them and Mr. Schunaman hopes to be able to get the first group of films for Webster City.”

Schuneman’s career as manager of the Isis lasted at least into 1929, when he was named in an item in the April 13 issue of Motion Picture News listing movie houses that had recently installed sound equipment. The installation at the Isis was a sound-on-disc system.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm

This article from the January 19, 2016, issue of Webster City’s paper, The Daily Freeman-Journal has a fairly detailed history of the Isis Theatre. A. C. Schuneman bought a half interest in the Isis in 1912, and eventually became sole owner. He sold the house to Finklestein Theatres in early 1931.

Although the theater was dismantled in 1954, the building is still standing, the front portion housing a hearing aid center and the rear occupied by seating for the restaurant next door, the Second Street Emporium. The 1990 restaurant expansion included a small banquet facility called The Isis Room, which displays photos of the theater.

The reopening of the rebuilt Isis following the January, 1927, fire was on June 11, 1927.

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