Americana Theatre

582 Fort Hall Avenue,
American Falls, ID 83211

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The entire town of American Falls was moved to higher ground in 1925 to create the American Falls Reservoir. According to information from The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on file at the Idaho State Historical Society, the theater wasn’t one of the buildings moved so it is assumed the building was built after 1925.

When Melvin Morris later assumed ownership it was a vaudeville house complete with a stage and dressing rooms and Morris named it the Iris Theatre and continued the stage shows along with the movies.

Morris also operated the theaters in Rockland, Aberdeen, Bancroft, Pocatello and Soda Springs. His sons later built the Starlite Cinemas in Chubbuck. The story of Mr. Morris' son Richard is part of the Idaho State Historical Society’s oral history program.

The Iris Theatre can be traced back as far as 1928 in the Film Daily Yearbook, and the Yearbook’s 1951 listing gave its seating as 400, but the interview with Richard Morris said it seated between 600-700 on the main floor and in the balcony. Morris said during its heyday they had full houses almost every night. It was at the Iris Theatre where the younger Morris learned the theater business.

The following copy appeared in a display ad, with a photograph, found in the Pocatello Idaho State Journal on August 8, 1975: ‘Americana Theatre. This choice historical property has recently been renovated, redecorated, painted throughout, new carpeting, seats reconditioned and recovered, projectors reconditioned. New lobby and exterior. Ready for reopening.’ It is not known if the theatre was sold but it had its grand re-opening on November 19, 1975. It appears that by 1977 the theatre was on the market again as beginning May 13, a business opportunities ad appeared in the Journal, which said: Americana Theatre. $15,000 down, owner will carry balance of $60,000 price.

The demolition date of the Americana Theatre is unknown but in 2010 its former location can be found as the empty lot next to usbank.

Contributed by Ron Pierce
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