West Theatre

131 S. Main Street,
West Point, NE 68788

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deacon
deacon on April 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm

A brief history of the West Theatre, West Point, NE. In 1930, West Point businessman Phil Lannon converted the Lindale building from a retail drug store into a theatre. Movies up to that time were shown in the city auditorium. But with the advent of sound, a better venue was needed. Mr. Lannon equipped his new theatre with sound thereby dooming the auditorium to just dances and band concerts. He named the theatre the “Rivola”. He operated the theatre until 1966 when he then sold it to Don and Frank Johnson of Schuyler, NE. Planning to abandon the Rivola, the Johnson brothers engaged a local contractor to build a new theatre. With the project completed, the contractor decided to enter the theatre business himself leaving the brothers to scramble to renovate the old Rivola. Being a complete novice to the movie business, it didn’t take long before the contractor went broke. The very brief lifespan of the “Arrow” theatre ended when a convenient (?) fire gutted the building. That building now serves as a discount store. With the Rivola now completely remodeled from floor to ceiling, it was renamed the West Theatre. The Johnson’s operated it until 1974 when they then sold it to a Richard Reese. His family operated it for only a very short time, perhaps six months. By default, it reverted back to Don Johnson. Then in April of 1975, Judy and Gene Mueller purchased the operation after having sold their theatre in Lansing, Iowa. This transaction also included the Y-Not Drive-In. Over the course of the next eleven years, the Mueller’s made many improvements and upgrades to the West Theatre. But in the middle 1980’s, with the growing videotape business draining away movie receipts, the decision was made in June 1986 to close the theatre and greatly expand the video library that had been placed in the lobby. The floor was once again raised to create a full retail space and all of the theatre equipment was disposed of. The name of the store became “Video West”, thus incorporating part of the West Theatre name. The store presently still rents videos but has expanded more into a type of gift shop and has changed the name to “Bubbles of Joy”. Movies returned to West Point in 2009, when the old auditorium was converted back into a theatre by a group of local citizens.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm

A house called the West Theatre was operating in West Point at least into the 1970s. The West Theatre and the Y-Knot Drive-In were offered for sale by Johnson Theatres in classified ads appearing in Boxoffice in 1973. The July 8, 1974, issue said that both had been bought by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Reese, who would begin operating them on June 2.