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Voters approved of an Opera House for the town of Louisville with a population of 778 in November of 1910. The Louisville Opera House opened in December of 1911 with a dance but motion pictures soon became the entertainment of choice with Frank Johnson programming the venue. It was alternatively called the Opera House Theatre during its silent era that ended in 1930.
Likely at the end of a 20-year leasing deal, Johnson gave the venue a major refresh including a sound system to play talkies. He renamed it the Playhouse Theatre relaunching on September 5, 1930 with Marie Dressler in “Caught Short” supported by the Our Gang comedy short, “Bouncing Babies” and a Fox Movietone newsreel.
The Playhouse Theatre closed during the Depression in January of 1934. New management took on the venue with Jack McCarty relaunching it as the Louisville Theatre on June 29, 1934 with the film, “Smoky” starring Victor Jory. Almost 25 years later, McCarty would give the venerable location its last major update moving to widescreen projection to show CinemaScope films beginning on October 26, 1958. At that time, the theatre was operating just two to three days a week as competition from television took its toll.
The Louisville Theater ceased operations on April 14, 1965 with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon in “Irma la Douce” screened in Panavision. For a town of its size, 54 years of operation was an achievement.
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