111 N. 14th Street,
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Previous Names: Isis Theatre, Gem Theatre
F.B. Honey and his son, Dean, purchased the Wiggenhorn Building to create the 350-seat Isis Theatre in Ashland at the corner of Silver Street and 14th Street. Its first show was on June 25, 1926. It competed with Birdsall and Becker’s BB (named for daughter Baby Belle) Theatre. The pair would buy out the Isis Theatre operating both local theatres until shuttering the BB on April 29, 1929.
On December 12, 1929, Becker and Birdsall installed a Movietone and a Vitaphone sound system playing the first talkie in town entitled, “Fox Movietone Follies of 1929” starring John Breeden. In June of 1930, W.S. Birdsall left the business.
Ernest Dyer of Gretna purchased the Isis Theatre from W.E.C. “Robert” Becker in 1931 renaming it as the Gem Theatre effective on January 8, 1931 when the Gem Theatre played, “With Byrd at the South Pole”. W.M. Miller took on the Gem Theatre on November 26, 1931 equipping it with improved projection as the New Ashland Theatre beginning with the William Haines film, “The New Adventures of Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford”.
The venue changed names to the Neu Theatre in December with a formal Grand Opening as the Neu Theatre on March 26, 1932 with “The Beast of the City”. Frank J. Simek took on the venue followed by its final owner, son, Woodrow Simek.
The 300-seat venue fulfilled its 30-year lease and Simek would build a new Neu Theatre next door at 1430 Silver Street. That theatre was destroyed by fire along with Lien’s Hardware Store on December 17, 1951. The final film to play was Clark Gable in “Across the Wide Missouri”. The building’s remainder was demolished to create the Lee Lien Building that housed a Ben Franklin Store.
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