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Previous Names: Wood River Theater, Pal Theatre, New Wood River Theatre
The Pal Theatre actually began in Bartley, Nebraska but H.W. Cochran closed there at the end of September of 1929 and move the theatre, name, equipment and all, to downtown Wood River resuming as the Pal Theatre in early-1930. They boasted the “best talking pictures in the State of Nebraska.”
The theatre received a makeover and new operator becoming the New Wood River Theatre on August 11, 1934 with Hal Le Roy in “Harold Teen”. It likely had a 20-year leasing agreement. The theatre got new ownership soon after and was renamed Oak Theatre on January 25, 1935 likely on a 20-year lease with Richard Powell in “Shipmates Forever.”
The Oak Theatre closed in 1954 but Cairo theatre operator Tom Ryan decided to give the venue one last shot beginning with a grand opening on January 14, 1955 with The Harlem Globetrotters in “Go, Man, Go” supported by a cartoon. But four months later, Ryan realized what the previous owner had already found out - there wasn’t enough patronage to operate the Oak Theatre. It closed after the April 30, 1955 screenings.
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