Palace Theatre

Main Avenue,
Johnston City, IL 62951

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Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

kencmcintyre on March 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Here is part of an article in the Southern Illinoisan, dated 11/12/71:

The Palace Theater, once dubbed the “outstanding showhouse of the area” during the peak era of indoor theaters, was transferred Thursday to the Johnston City Unit One School District. The theater will be used for echool and community cultural activities. The name has been changed to the Robert Cluster Memorial Theater.

Mrs. Robert Cluster of Hollywood, Fla,, and her sons, Stewart, a circuit judge in the First Judicial District, and Loren, a Florida stockbroker, presented the theater, in the 400 block of East Boulevard in Johnston City, to the school district Thursday afternoon. The theater was purchased by the late Robert Cluster in the 1920s. Cluster constructed the gingerbread exterior and wings inside the building, according to K. Neil Thurmond, former Johnston City mayor and now postmaster. Thurmond said Cluster “dressed it up and made a theater out of it.”

Thurmond said Cluster featured such figures as Tom Mix and Tex Ritter in stage shows. He called it the outstanding showhouse of the area. The Palace Theater was the site of the first showing of a talking picture in Southern Illinois in 1927. The movie, “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson, ran for three weeks.

Before purchasing the Palace Theater and the Star Theater from Louis Moroni, Cluster had purchased the American Theater from Charles Jones in Johnston City. The American burned and the Star was closed. Moroni constructed the Palace Theater to the early 1900s, according to Thurmond.

In Cluster’s 47 years as motion picture exhibitor he owned or had an interest in theaters in Christopher, Johnston City, Sesser, West Frankfort, Benton, Pinckneyville, Sparta, Flora, Metropolis, Mt. Vernon, Belleville, Valier , New North, Fairfield, Collinsville and Salem.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 22, 2011 at 11:10 am

The Cluster Circuit was located at 119 South Broadway .Salem,Ill.with loren and Stewart Cluster Co-Managers in 1956.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 22, 2011 at 11:13 am

Most likely in one of Salem’s Downtown theatres,Globe,Lyric or Salem Theatres where the homeoffices located.

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