Grand Opera House
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In 1914 the Griffith Brothers bought this simple frontier opera house, thus marking the first theatre acquisition in what would become a vast Texas and Oklahoma movie theatre circuit empire.
Unlike major chain founders, Griffith Bros were not farsighted and would always remain big frogs in little ponds as the majority of their theatre holdings were in small towns. Rather than build, Griffith usually abosrbed existing theatres. Griffith Bros. understood the value of showmanship and with each new acquisiton installed expensive marquees with lots of razzle-dazzle lighting effects. On the other hand, the brothers seemed to take little interest in the esthetics of theatre interiors and too often let their auditoriums slip into disrepair.
Griffith Bros. Theatres relocated their headquarters to Oklahama City where they were more easily able to influence powerful politicians (Then as now, Oklahoma elected officials take little interest in protecting interest of the working man). Through these Capitol alliances Griffith devised methods and schemes to block unionization and prevent the paying of Federal Minimum Wage.
Eventually Griffith expanded into food service, real estate holdings, shipping, and cable television.
During the 1950s the circuit was renamed Video Independent Theatres after RKO-General bought out Griffith. Video spent a large amount of money to bring each theatre up to RKO standards. Former Griffith managers rose through the ranks to run the circuit under a new name. Through outmoded techniques learned from Griffith Bros, these "old work horses" just couldn’t foresee or understand the new ideas of a young breed of exhibitors who were coming on the scene to overpower an ancient circuit.
When the end came for Video the fall was shift and final. You are invited to express here your own opinion on this subject.
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