17 S. Idaho Street,
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Functions: Office Space
Originally built as a store in 1910. Dooley Perkins converted it into the Ace Theater on February 17, 1946 when it opened with Fred MacMurray in “Pardon My Past”. Wendell then had a population of about 2,000, with most of its economy revolving around farming.
During the late-1950’s Dooley rented the theater out but continued to live in an apartment at the back of the theater where he also operated his commercial sign-painting business, which at the time probably became more successful than the theater.
Westerns were the biggest draw at the Ace Theater while musicals didn’t fare too well. Two pictures that filled the house were Disney’s “Old Yeller” and a Ginger Rogers movie, “Teenage Rebel”. Some residents who were children in the 1950’s may remember the free Saturday matinees sponsored by the local merchants.
A 1970’s photo from the book “Silent Screens” shows the Ace Theater as a thrift store. In the 1990’s it was twinned with seating listed as 267 and around this time, I believe, it was called Ace Theater and Video. A Film Daily Year Book from the 1950’s gives it’s original seating as 480.
It was shuttered in early-2000 and an internet search shows the building to be the headquarters of a theatrical equipment and supply company. In 2015 plans were promoted to convert the building into a cinematic museum.
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