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August 30, 2000

Recently, while researching various files for information on Perry’s early day movie theaters, many small but interesting nuggets were brought to light. Most of these were in the form of paid advertisements appearing in various Perry newspapers. Individually, they have little significance, but perhaps, viewed together, they create another chapter in the story of the movies’ impact on this little community through the years. More detailed information about some of them has appeared in previous columns, but let me share these with you.

March 5, 1925 – The PHS Spirit, weekly student newspaper at Perry high school, had a one-column ad for the Temple Theatre that announced Thursday, Friday and Saturday showings of “The Thief of Bagdad” (sic) with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Admission prices were10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults at afternoon showings and 25 and 50 cents for evening shows. Screening times were at 2, 6:30 and 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Saturday features were at 1, 3:30, 6:30 and 9 p.m. (Apparently, Sunday shows were not offered.) You may be surprised to learn that this theatre was on the ground floor, where the newly opened Kottage Shoppe is now located. Another theater was on the second and third floors of the Masonic Temple at Seventh and Delaware.

March 20, 1926 – Perry Hi-Life, weekly school paper at PHS that year, had a one-column ad for the Lyric Theatre (location not given). One feature was cowboy star Buck Jones in “The Cowboy and the Countess.” “The Lyric Orchestra” provided music. The Annex Theatre on the east side of the square used a two-column ad to promote “His Secretary” with Norma Shearer and Lew Cody. Admission prices were 10 cents and 20 cents on Tuesday and Wednesday to benefit the high school orchestra. The Annex was in the old Grand Opera House.

May 16, 1927 – Perryscope, the PHS newspaper that year, had a one-column ad for the Isis Theatre. Its location was not given. September 4, 1927 – The Annex was advertising in The Perry Daily Journal a new Mack Sennett comedy with showings scheduled at 1 and 11 p.m. (The feature films were changed each day during the county fair.) Admission prices were 10 and 20 cents for all showings. The same day’s paper had a one-column ad for a Will Rogers film at the Isis Theatre. Prices were 10 and 20 cents, but the theatre’s location was not given.

February 7, 1928 – A one-column ad on page four (the back page) of The Journal for the Isis Theatre announced the showing of a new Bebe Daniels film, “A Kiss in the Taxi,” plus an actor named Big Boy in “Shamrock Alley,” reportedly an educational film. Coming to the theatre was “Royal Hawaiians.” On the same page was an ad for the Annex listing “Heaven on Earth,” with Conrad Nagel and Renee Adoree, plus “customary short subjects.”

1910-11 Perry city directory, published by Hoffine’s, listed these businesses under the heading “Moving Pictures” -- The Bijou Theatre at 603 Delaware; Lyric Theatre at 304 Sixth (this movie house was later named the Roxy); and the New Wonderland Theatre at 402 Sixth. Under the heading “Theatres” was the Grand Opera House at 312 ½ Sixth (where the Annex movie house was located on the ground floor). More of this historical data will follow shortly.