Lyceum Theatre

269 25th Street,
Ogden, UT 84401

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There was an original Lyceum Theatre, which opened at this location on November 11, 1903. The Ogden Standard said the 250-seat theater was built in the remodeled and enlarged former National Guard armory. It was announced that the Lyceum would open with high-class vaudeville attractions and Edison’s latest moving pictures. Catering to ladies, gentlemen and children, the admission was 10 cents and 20 cents for reserved seats. This first Lyceum was razed in 1910 and Mrs. George Maule built a new and modern 600-seat showplace with a balcony on the site. (George Maule was a prominent citizen of Ogden, who died in October of 1909).

On October 1, 1911, fire caused $1,500-$2,000 damage to the stage area. It opened again on October 23 with a new stage, drapery, fixtures and equipment.

In 1913, the Lyceum Theatre came under the management of Stanley Steck, a prominent Ogden showman, who was associated with the Oracle, Rex and Cozy theaters.

The Standard-Examiner reported in June of 1927 that because of increased patronage the Lyceum Theatre had been remodeled and redecorated and the seating space enlarged.

In July of 1929, manager Stanley Steck announced that the theater was remodeled and redecorated and equipped to show ‘talkie’ pictures. In September Steck announced that he was spending several thousand dollars to remodel the former Rex Theater into the Cozy theater. The Lyceum Theatre would show sound pictures exclusively while the Cozy Theatre would be used for silents.

In April of 1934, Steck announced that he was retiring and selling his interests to Paramor Theatres, which had roots to Famous Theatres, a division of Paramount Pictures.

In April of 1938 an ad said that the theatre would be open only four days a week with a new program each Saturday. At that time Paramor Theatres who also ran the Paramount, Orpheum and Cozy operated it. After December 4, 1938, its listing was removed from the papers all together and Paramor reopened the Colonial theatre which had been shuttered.

In June of 1939, the Lyceum Theatre was reopened by a religious organization and renamed Prophecy Hall. They held regular meetings, open to the public, where their main prediction was of impending wars. A photograph of the Lyceum Theatre published at that time shows the interior of the house to be bare boned with exposed rafters and trusses. Film Daily Yearbook of 1940 listed the capacity at 500.

On December 20, 1942, this announcement appeared in the news: ‘Many of the old Lyceum Theatre fans will welcome an announcement that the theatre will reopen Christmas day.’ Paramor theatres renovated the theater and gave it the latest in projection and sound. The theater was going to be open only four days a week, but their ad vanished from the local paper in early March.

On March 20, 1946, the Standard-Examiner said that Harold Gale was remodeling the theater, which had been closed for years, into a tavern and cafe. It was later occupied by a women’s clothing store and then a state-run liquor store.

In 2003, the city loaned $318,000 to the owner to gut the interior and refinish the exterior and it became Wise Guys Comedy Cafe, a well-known venue for comedians. It is part of Ogden’s Historic 25th street, which is now revitalized with shops, restaurants, and music venues.

Contributed by Ron Pierce
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