Bluffs Theatre

1621 Broadway,
Scottsbluff, NE 69361

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Commonwealth Theatres, Gibraltar Enterprises Inc.

Architects: Lynn McReynolds

Functions: Retail

Styles: Rustic

Previous Names: Queen Theatre, Orpheum Theatre

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Bluffs Theatre

Opened as the Queen Theatre on October 19, 1916 with “Birth of a Nation”. On February 12, 1917 it was renamed Orpheum Theatre. In 1936 it was remodeled in a Rustic style to the plans of architect Lynn McReynolds and was renamed Bluffs Theatre. It reopened with The Jones Family in “Educating Father” & Henry Hunter in “Parole”. It closed in 1985.

Contributed by Billy Smith / Billy Holcomb / Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on August 16, 2010 at 9:30 am

FUNCTION:

RETAIL

Building now has a flase front.

Open 1940-1985?

Owners:

1945-1961 Gibraltar Enterprises, Inc.?

1964 Mr. Ostenberd?

1964-1985 Commonwealth Theaters Inc. of Kansas City, Mo.? At one time they had 111 theaters in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Need more info and photos.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on October 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

From 2010 a photo of the Bluffs Theater building in Scottsbluff.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on November 5, 2014 at 12:08 am

Listed as open in 1937 with 578 seats.

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on January 1, 2016 at 9:28 pm

William Ostenberg bought the Orpheum in January of 1919 and – under his of the Midwest Amusement and Realty Company circuit – renamed it the Bluffs Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2016 at 10:16 pm

This article about the Platte Valley’s theater history, from the January 3, 2016, issue of the Scottsbluff Star-Herald says that this house opened in 1915 as the Queen Theatre and was renamed the Orpheum a few months later.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on January 30, 2020 at 6:35 am

Boxoffice, Jan. 1, 1962: “Commonwealth Theatres, with headquarters in Kansas City, has taken over the operation of the Midwest, Bluffs and Oto theatres in Scottsbluff, Neb., as well as Biggers Drive-In and Terry’s Drive-In theatres.”

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on September 4, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Robert L. Weller and Fred Roberts were so pleased with their booking for the opening of the Queen Theatre on October 19, 1916 - “Birth of a Nation” - that they didn’t even have the theatre finished in time. To honor the booking, they used benches and plank seating that and each of the next two nights. The formal opening then came with a live stage play - “The Story of Marion Grey” - on November 13, 1916.

Harry Dubuque then took on the theatre a short time later renaming it was the Orpheum Theatre on February 12, 1917. Two years later, William H. Ostenberg took on the venue and would equip it with the hand-me-down underachieving sound system from the Egyptian beginning on November 5, 1929 with “Why Leave Home?”

Ostenberg then gutted the Orpheum in 1936 reopening to the plans of architect Lynn McReynolds as the Bluffs Theatre. By then the Gibraltar Circuit had become the Midwest Amusement Circuit. The Bluffs Theatre now sported a rustic look to the plans of architect Lynn McReynolds with pine logs and knotty wood to celebrate its plains setting. it was Scottsbluff’s second-tier theater to the Egyptian and launched with a double feature on August 1, 1936 with The Jones Family in “Educating Father” and Henry Hunter in “Parole” The Oto Theatre was the third-tier, subrun house.

The Bluffs was elevated to top tier house after a fire destroyed the Egyptian on October 5, 1945. The projectionist took the films out of the venue before it was a total loss and - that night - had the Egyptian’s booking of Rita Hayworth in “Tonight and Every Night” supported by the March of Time short, “The Unknown Battle" at the Bluffs. That’s effort! The Bluffs' bookings were bounced down to the Oto Theatre. The circuit would then replace the Egyptian with a new first-tier house, the Midwest, and returned the Bluffs to second-tier status into the 1960s.

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