114 South Fourth Avenue,
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George Turner opened the first movie theater in Park Falls, at least as early as 1908. Called the Savoy Theater, it was located on the Southwest corner of S. Fourth Avenue and Division Street. It’s opening signaled the start of the motion picture age in Park Falls.
The Savoy Theater showed the equivalent of slide shows, as well as movies. The theater was packed in 1912 for the showing of twenty-six illuminated pictures of the wreck of the Titanic, which had sunk that spring. The Savoy Theater filled again in 1916 for what is called the first truly important and greatly popular film “The Birth of a Nation”.
George Turner stood onstage and narrated both movies and slide shows. He helped the audience accustom themselves to the new technology and also translated for the immigrants who had trouble reading the English subtitles. Turner was also a bit of a showman and his interpretations of the shows helped fill the seats.
Although the Savoy Theater was the first “true” theater in Park Falls, shows were also screened at another, older establishment known as The Opera House. The Opera House was built by Gus Schmidt and located on Division Street. The Opera House remained in use for shows and dances through World War I. It was gradually replaced as a movie house, first by the Savoy Theater and then by the Rex Theater.
Today, the only operating theater in Park Falls is the Park Theater.
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