4222 Lake Street,
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Fred W. Gast launched the Bridgman Theatre with a soft launch in 1921. Its official grand opening was on January 20, 1922 with Rudolph Valentino in “The Sheik.” Audiences were impressed by the $10,000 pipe organ. The architects of the new-build venue were Colton, Bond & Knetch of Grand Rapids and the neighbor was the long-running Knaak’s drug store. Projection was two Simplex S rigs onto a Gardiner Velvet Gold Fibre screen.
In June of 1929, the Bridgman Theatre converted to sound. In the TV age, the theatre operated just four days a week closing in the summer. On October 28, 1954, the Bridgman Theatre converted to widescreen showing the CinemaScope “The Robe”. The theatre closed in 1956 and was auctioned off in 1957. A couple of live events conclude its operation and the theatre was converted to a Ben Franklin store that closed in the 21st Century.
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