Pantages Theater

1717 Curtis Street,
Denver, CO 80202

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The following history excerpt was complied and written by Paul O’Malley:

In December 1903, George Ira Adams moved his Crystal Theater from 1651 Curtis Street to 1717 Curtis Street, beginning it’s season with a presentation of the “Vitametoscope” and the “best modern vaudeville – four shows daily – all seats ten cents. “The Great Train Robbery”, which was presented at the Orpheum Theater for two weeks in December, 1903, began a one-week engagement at the Crystal Theater on January 10, 1904. A reporter for the Denver Post made the following announcement concerning the showing of this Edwin S. Porter film: “What is expected to be one of the most entertaining features on the program of the New Crystal Theater the coming week will be that now famous Biograph life motion picture, "The Great Train Robbery”. This has never before been seen at a ten-cent theater.“ The commercial success of the engagement prompted Adams to present the film again starting January 24, 1904. Among other films shown at the Crystal Theater during the 1903-1904 theatrical season and the summer  were pictures of the Baltimore fire, reported to be the "most remarkable the Edison people have ever turned out.”; films of the Japanese-Russian War in the Far East, advertised to be “absolutely the first view of these thrilling events given in America.”; “The Widow and the Old Man”, a typical Edison “situation comedy” of the period; and a film presentation of the opera.

In May 1905 the Denver Republican reported that the “Crystal Theater has been rebuilt and remodeled and has reopened.” Adams continued presenting vaudeville and motion pictures from 1905 thru the summer of 1907, (including “The Kleptomaniac” from May 21 to May 27, 1905) with no break from the regular season’s end and the beginning of the summer bill. In January 1906, Variety described the Crystal Theater as “a 10 cent house, outside barker, uniformed attendants, an illustrated song and moving pictures close the show". George Ira Adams decided to retire in June 1907 due to ill health and leased the Crystal Theater to Weston & Burns of the Western States Vaudeville Association.

The theater continued as a ten cent vaudeville house (with motion pictures and illustrated  songs) during the regular and summer seasons of 1907 and 1908. In November 1908, the Crystal Theater became part of the “Pantages Western States Circuit” when Alexander Pantages bought a controlling interest in the Western States Managers Association. The interior of the theater was redecorated in February 1909, but the name was not changed to the Pantages Theater until August 29, when the theater advertised vaudeville and playlets along with the “Pantagescope". The Pantages Theater continued this policy of vaudeville and motion pictures throughout 1910 and 1911, being classified by Variety as a second-class vaudeville house, featuring independent film service from the Denver office of the William H. Swanson Company beginning in November 1910. At the end of 1911 the theater underwent a name change back to the Crystal Theater, as well as a reduction in admission prices (from 10-20-30 cents to 10-20 cents)

Within a month the new Crystal Theater (under Manager Harry Beaumont) adopted a policy of presenting four acts of high-class vaudeville from the Pantages Circuit and three reels of independent films with the following schedule: Films from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm, and from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm for 5 cents; and Vaudeville from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, and from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm for 5 and 10 cents. This new policy seemed to be successful with Variety reporting an increase in business and the Denver Express reporting an attendance of over 28,000 during the first week in February 1912.

Sometime between September and November 1912 the theater’s name was changed back to the Pantages Theater with J.J. Cluxton as the new manager. The Pantages Theater had closed by 1914.

Contributed by A. L. Vazquez-Hernandez

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I don’t think this link will last very long as it is from an ebay auction page, but it shows interesting little item, being a small metal (possibly silver plated) souvenir stamped with an image of the Crystal Theatre, probably dating from either the time of its original opening in 1903 or its re-opening after the 1905 rebuilding. The back is stamped with the mark of the Geo. H. Bowman Co., which was located in Cleveland, Ohio.

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