Provo Theatre

340 W. Center Street,
Provo, UT 84601

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As the date at the top of the building reads, the Provo Theatre was built in 1906 and was originally called the Bonita Theatre. Ethel Treagle was described as being 96-years-young when she was interviewed by the Provo Daily Herald in 2008. One of her memories was of the Bonita Theatre, where the ushers wore sombreros and toreador pants. The showhouse went by the Bonita name at least until January of 1929 when an ad appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune saying that the 425-seat theater was for sale or for lease if the equipment was purchased.

It was going by the Orpheum name when the new owners Paramount Theatres (formerly Publix and later Intermountain) closed it on August 13, 1935 for remodeling. The new Provo Theatre opened on November 16, 1935 with Cary Grant in “The Last Outpost”. It had been completely renovated with a new neon upright sign, marquee, new screen, Western Electric sound system, and carpets. The Paramount chain, which also operated the local Paramount, brought in theater veteran Leo Henderson, previously of the Idaho in Twin Falls, Idaho to do managerial duties.

By 1939 the Provo Theatre was a discount house, charging adults 15c for a second-run bill while the first-run houses were getting 30c admissions. Their ads disappeared from the theater section in the early-1940’s but the theatre may have been open until at least 1950. The building still remains and has been used over the years by a variety of businesses, most recently a beauty school.

Contributed by Ron Pierce
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