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Previous Names: Rialto Theatre
The town of Broken Arrow had four locations for its Crystal Theatre - the first and third of which burned down before it moved to its final home in the Rialto Theatre building. J.C. DeWalt opened the original Crystal Theatre as a moving picture show in the H.W. Bramble Mercantile Building. It appears to have launched May 4, 1909 with Florence Lawrence in “Romance of a Jewess” supported by “Hard to Get Arrested”, “Gumbersome’s First Prize” and the illustrated song, “We Can’t Play With You”.
Crowds were too large for the space so DeWalt soon moved the theatre to the Kubic Building. He sold it to E.E. Cooper and on to A.C. Bennett. Bennett built a new facility for the Crystal Theatre giving it a permanent location and, as importantly, an elevated floor for better site lines launching March 24, 1911. The town would get competition in 1921 from the Rialto Theatre.
On November 17, 1923, fire burned down the Crystal Theatre along with the neighboring grocery and, ironically, the first location of the Crystal Theatre. Its final film was Harold Lloyd in “Safety Last”. Operator Mrs. W.T. Brooks announced a new Crystal Theatre would be constructed but she would purchase the Rialto Theatre a month later to continue her bookings.
Brooks appears to have renamed the Rialto Theatre as the Crystal Theatre and discontinued building a new venue. On September 5, 1929 the Crystal Theatre was fitted with sound to show talkies beginning with Eddie Dowling in “The Rainbow Man”. Competition came from the new-build NuSho Theatre beginning in 1935. On June 12 and 13, 1938, there was excitement as movie star Jack Hoxie appeared in person on the Crystal Theatre stage. The Crystal Theatre appears to have gone out of business after exploitation showings of “Birth of a Baby” on March 6, 1939. The venue was repurposed for other retail operations.
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