Rainbow Theater

115 S. Main Street,
Mahnomen, MN 56557

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Rainbow Theater

The Rainbow Theatre was opened by 1919 and was still open in 1955.

Contributed by Khnemu

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

robboehm on August 30, 2015 at 11:54 am

Uploaded a postcard image showing the Rainbow. One source estimates the theater was operational from the 1930s until 1955.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 31, 2015 at 4:34 pm

The Rainbow Theatre’s building looks to date from the 1910s, perhaps earlier. This web page has a photo of the Rainbow displaying a poster for King Vidor’s first feature film, The Turn in the Road, which was released in 1919. The theater had its original arched sign at this time.

There are also three photos of downtown Mahnomen that include fairly close views of the theater. The most recent appears to be the once captioned “Downtown 1,” in which the 1955 Humphrey Bogart movie The Desperate Hour is featured on the Rainbow Theatre’s marquee.

I found a Mr. Charles Vondra mentioned as the owner of the Rainbow Theatre in 1929. Judge Charles Vondra, of Mahnomen, Minnesota, appeared in a group photo of exhibitors that was published in the June 23, 1951, issue of Boxoffice, so he must have run this theater for quite some time.

Markus_Nornes on May 14, 2023 at 11:06 pm

My father, born in 1931, was talking about visiting me in LA in the 1980s. I was living in an old hotel downtown, so I gave him a tour of the movie theaters on Broadway—what was left of them. It obviously left an impression, he remembering this after forty years. This led to his first experience of a movie theater. He grew up in Winger, MN, which is just down the road from Mahnomen. Winger didn’t have a theater, so people would have to drive to nearby towns for films. Which they rarely did, because this was the depression and no one had money. Or time, since they were also all farmers. His family was still using horse drawn sleighs to get around in the winter.

So once he and a friend hopped on a bus to Mahnomen for a film. It was Snow White, so this was probably 1938 or so. He remembers the theater being “glitzy.” It was an impressive experience….though the ending left him very sad!

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