2520 Washington Boulevard,
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When it opened on December 29, 1890, as the Grand Opera House, the theatre was strictly stage plays and vaudeville. The Ogden Standard proclaimed “The vast auditorium contained 1,750 spectators and the box office sales reached the enormous sum of $2,150”. The Standard-Examiner said in 1928 that the advent of movies made vaudeville less profitable so in 1909, after a name change to the Orpheum Theatre and a policy change to movies and Pantages vaudeville, it began to show a profit. In September of 1925, the Orpheum Theatre and the local Paramount house came under the control of Louis J. Marcus, a future mayor of Salt Lake.
In 1928, the Orpheum Theatre was sold, remodeled with a new ventilating system and sound system added. Its first sound movie was Al Jolson in “The Jazz Singer”, which opened on June 2, 1928, bringing the first talkies to Ogden. The Film Daily Yearbook of 1940 gave a reduced seating capacity of 1,152 and by 1950 the Film Daily Yearbook had the seating at 1,037.
Various owners/operators over the years included Louis J. Marcus, A.T. Glasmann or other Glasmanns, Famous Theatres, Publix Theatres and Paramor theatres or partnerships of the preceding. Paramor theaters also operated the Local Paramount, Lyceum and Colonial theaters.
The Orpheum Theatre received an “ultra-modern” remodeling in time for the 1954 Christmas season. The plans by Ogden based architect Keith Wilcox included a 30' long Formica snack bar and a semi-circular marquee which followed the curve of the terrace above the entrance. Interior and exterior photos of the remodeling were in the Ogden paper on December 24. The movie on the marquee was Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in “3 Ring Circus”, which was Paramount Pictures second Vista-Vision film.
A May 7, 1977 local news article with, interior photos, gives an account of the history of the Orpheum Theatre. At that time the theatre was remodeled with new seats and the screen put on rollers so Weber State College could stage plays. Manager Richard Glasmann said that he believed the stage curtain came from the Radio City Music Hall in the 1920’s or 1930’s. It is not known when the Orpheum Theatre ceased showing films but as late as 1977, it was still advertising in the local paper. Other sources say that the Orpheum Theatre was demolished in late-1983.
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