Gopher Theatre

619 Hennepin Avenue,
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on February 24, 2014 at 6:41 am

As The Grand Theatre, the hall had a small Wurlitzer pipe organ installed in 1926. Wurlitzer’s opus 1374 was a style B special with 2 manuals and 5 ranks of pipes. The top of the console is visible in the photo link posted by Lost Memory.

chappo52
chappo52 on June 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm

All of the Sean Connery-era Bond films played at the Orpheum on their first run. The Gopher may have become a porn theater but it was the first run theater for Jaws in ‘75. As I recall, Jaws played their exclusively from June to late fall or early winter of 75.

DonLewis
DonLewis on October 31, 2010 at 6:53 pm

From the late 1950s a photo postcard view of the Gopher along with the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on November 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Maybe they should call it the Grand Gopher.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on November 2, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Gopher what a name, nice looking movie house though.

dhowell
dhowell on October 15, 2008 at 11:45 am

Scratch that last comment…it was the Gopher in Wheaton I was referring to. (Sorry guys)

dhowell
dhowell on October 15, 2008 at 11:36 am

It looks as if they are back in business as a theatre. They have show times available @ 320-563-0315.

They are playing “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” as of today.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 17, 2007 at 5:04 am

I’ve never seen a marquee and verticle sign like that. Wow!

balconyboy
balconyboy on August 16, 2007 at 6:24 am

“Goldfinger” definitely played at the Gopher. It was there for several months. To the best of my knowledge, it didn’t play the State at any time unless for a later double-feature rerelease and that is unlikely.

Johnmichael
Johnmichael on July 25, 2007 at 9:12 pm

I could swear that I saw Goldfinger at the State back in about ‘64.

finefest
finefest on February 13, 2007 at 7:38 am

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad opened at the Orpheum, not the Gopher. I know, I was there. It may have moved to the Gopher, but it was one of the few theaters downtown I got to go to in the fifties.
I also recall To Sir with Love at the Gopher. We had a friend who was the asst. Manager and he let us in free. We should have gotten tired of To Sir, but Ms. Geeson was so cute, and Lula was fun to listen to.
Another correction. The theater was torn down for the City Center, not the IDS. The IDS sits between 7th and 8th on the East side of Nicollet. Lastly, the photo above shows the old Aster Theater at the far right.

finefest
finefest on February 13, 2007 at 7:38 am

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad opened at the Orpheum, not the Gopher. I know, I was there. It may have moved to the Gopher, but it was one of the few theaters downtown I got to go to in the fifties.
I also recall To Sir with Love at the Gopher. We had a friend who was the asst. Manager and he let us in free. We should have gotten tired of To Sir, but Ms. Geeson was so cute, and Lula was fun to listen to.
Another correction. The theater was torn down for the City Center, not the IDS. The IDS sits between 7th and 8th on the East side of Nicollet. Lastly, the photo above shows the old Aster Theater at the far right.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 8:32 am

I posted some pictures here yesterday, as well as for the Orpheum and State in Minneapolis. They are now gone, for reasons unknown.

nelsonexpert
nelsonexpert on September 6, 2004 at 2:36 pm

Some of this information is wrong. The Finkelstein and Ruben circuit (F & R) was completely taken over by Paramount by 1929; the local company was called Minnesota Amusement Company, an arm of Paramount Pictures. The Grand Theatre closed in 1935 and reopened as the Gopher in 1938 after being remodeled by architects Jack Liebenberg and Seeman Kaplan in the streamline moderne style so popular then. Minnesota Amusement used it as a moveover house and B’s during the 1940’s. As part of the Paramount Decree, it was one of many (but the only downtown theatre) theatres Paramount had to divest themselves of. It was sold in 1950 to various theatremen who passed it around like a hot potato until finally falling into the hands of Ben Berger, whom Paramount didn’t want to sell to. Berger ran it until June 1977, when it was sold to Ferris Alexander during the first run (wide) of “The Deep”. For a short time late runs at a dollar admission followed, eventually leading to Alexander’s specialty, pornography. That lasted until August 1979 when the theatre was closed and the block was demolished to make way for City Center in downtown Minneapolis, on Hennepin Avenue, between 6th and 7th Streets.

In the early 1950’s, Berger began to get good product for the theatre, usually playing MGM pictures. The Gopher had a number of major first run pictures over the years: Million Dollar Mermaid, Mogambo, Westward the Women, Back to God’s Country, Ma and Pa Kettle Back Home, Men of the Fighting Lady, Many Rivers to Cross, The Big Combo, Blackboard Jungle, Moonfleet, The Kentuckian, Francis in the Navy, Rock Around the Clock, Tribute to a Bad Man, Godzilla (Raymond Burr version), The Curse of Frankenstein, High School Confidential, Run Silent Run Deep, 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Shaggy Dog, Gidget, North by Northwest (13 weeks), The Beat Generation, The Story on Page One, The Bellboy, College Confidential, Wild in the Country, The Ladies Man, The Innocents, The Premature Burial, Kid Galahad (1962), Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, It Happened at the World’s Fair, Viva Las Vegas, Operation Crossbow, Donovan’s Reef, Mondo Cane, Goldfinger, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo, Pajama Party, Fail Safe, Fate is the Hunter, Tickle Me, The Singing Nun, Seconds, Torn Curtain, Spinout, In Like Flint, For a Few Dollars More, Good Bad and the Ugly, Guess Who’s COming to Dinner, To Sir With Love (these two had long runs), Midnight Cowboy (five months), MASH (7 months), Summer of 42 (nearly 3 months), Dirty Harry (over 3 months), The Cowboys, The Exorcist (6 months), Jaws (6 months)

Kdonovan
Kdonovan on March 27, 2004 at 7:14 pm

The Gopher was on Hennipen Avenue, next to Bridgman Ice Cream parlor (right side of picture posted). Up block, left side of posted picture) was adult theatre. Whole block demolished, replaced with IDS tower and Hennipen area restored by new modern stuff, now closed. Varsity was theatre in Dinky Town, with another U area Theatre (art, foreign, classics)down University.
Why hasn’t someone written about Terrace Theatre, one of the most modern theaters of the 50’s (with Lloyd Wright type archetecture, three story landed windows, t.v. lounge, fireplace, refreshment bar, large entry lounge seating areas, baby crying room (where first saw The Robe in Cinemascope and Stero sound, since no other seats available) which in 90’s was allowed to be in such disrepair through non-maintence of leaking roof, chopping up balcony into two cinemas, and selling original landscaped design to install Montgy Ward and Food superstore Chain) Or the Mann Theatre, with great large rocking chairs, or the Century (the first Cinerama Theatre) or the Cooper (a round Cinerama Theatre, with large seats and leg room.

Sound, great seats, large screens—gone for shopping mall theatres that showed first run movies on small screens, with only mono sound with Airplane Coach type of seating designed for Twiggi’s, nor real people) Now when one goes to MPLS, cannot tell which Theatres to go to in order to see movies as were intended to be projected or sound with people sized seats and legroom.

timalevizos
timalevizos on February 13, 2003 at 3:03 am

I went to the Gopher several times as a kid (that’s where I saw Jaws), and am pretty sure that it was on Hennepin Avenue, not in Dinkytown.

krismop
krismop on November 6, 2002 at 9:03 am

Wrong,

This has not been demolished. It remains a staple of DinkyTown, USA (University of MN area). The marquee stands tall, but the theatre houses a bike shop. If you are an investor, contact me. This theatre could survive and prosper.