Grand Theatre

208 N. Pokegama Avenue,
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

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Grand Theatre

The impending construction of the Grand Theatre by Jesse Madson was mentioned in Moving Picture World in November 1916. Sanborn Maps 1922 list the theatre at 426 Leland but later maps show not only the street name changed but also the street number.

In June 1926 Film Daily reported A.E. Anderson had purchased the Grand Theatre from Bentz and Gumm. Legend has it that Frank and Ethel Gumm had used the Grand Theatre to showcase the singing of their three daughters.

In April 1931 Film Daily reported that Chas Perizo had sold the Grand Theatre to S.E. Heller and a new theatre was to be built by J.C. Madson. By 1933 the 450-seat Grand Theatre was closed and the Rialto Theatre was on the maps, located next door.

As for the aforementioned Gumm family, their history doesn’t end in Minnesota but takes up again in California. Film Daily reported in July 1927 the Lancaster Theatre (renamed the Valley Theatre) in Lancaster, California was sold to Frank A. Gumm. Once again Frances, Mary Jane, and Virginia were performing not only locally but all over Southern California.

In April 1935 Film Daily noted Frank Gumm had purchased the Lomita Theatre in Lomita, California. This placed the talented Gumm sisters about 25 miles from Hollywood.

Frank Gumm passed away in November 1935, just months after MGM Studios signed Frances to a seven year contract where she would be known as Judy Garland.

Contributed by Ron Pierce
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