Showboat Cinemas

416 Main Street,
Polson, MT 59860

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 31, 2021 at 8:43 am

Joe, Many Thanks. Working on your speculations, I have tidied up the Polson pages.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2021 at 3:57 pm

I’m just going to speculate from the available evidence for a while. Our recently added page for the Park Theatre says that it was at 417 Main Street, across the street from what is now the Showboat at 418 Main. The October 29, 1949 issue of Boxoffice said that the new Park Theatre in Polson had recently opened with 600 seats. Looking at Google’s satellite view of Polson it seems to me that the building at 417 is too small to have held 600 (or even 541) seats, but the Showboat’s building at 418 would be quite adequate for a theater of that size.

What if we’ve somehow gotten the names and histories of the theaters reversed? I think there’s a pretty good chance that the 375 (or 350, according to the 1951 FDY) seat New Lake Theatre was the house at 417 Main, and that it was the 600 (or 541)-seat Park Theatre that was at 418 Main, and later became the Showboat Cinemas.

Our page for the Lake Theatre seems to be pretty accurate, except for the obviously wrong address on 2nd Street. (It’s also missing a major remodeling that took place in late 1936, with a December 5 reopening as the New Lake Theatre.) The page for the Park also seems accurate, except maybe the address and the closing date, if it did in fact, as I suspect, stay open through the 1950s and later become the Showboat. This page (for the Showboat) is the one that appears to have first conflated the histories of the two theaters.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 30, 2021 at 6:50 am

Joe, a conundrum here, as the Lake Theatre page on Cinema Treasures gives an address of 49493 US-93(2nd Avenue). The old building at that address is not large enough to have been a theatre.

Just a note too, that there was also a 541-seat Park Theater operating in Polson, listed in FDY’s 1950 to 1955.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2021 at 3:52 am

Information in the description on this page conflicts with the description of the Lake Theatre on its page. One or the other has to be wrong.

Chris1982 on July 31, 2014 at 4:02 am

this theatre opened as the New Lake Theatre in 1937 and by 1938 it was just the Lake Theatre. It was still listed as the Lake Theatre in 1957. So the Showboat name must have came later.

wisdoug on December 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Well, the money isn’t there and the location isn’t the most desirable. With the new businesses located at the south end of town it was a wise decision not to go forward. At it stands, the Showboat is a friendly local theater with great popcorn!

wisdoug on July 19, 2007 at 10:13 am

The Polson Showboat has plans to expand to 4 theaters sometime around Spring 2008.