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Previous Names: Palm Theatre
Palmer and Bloom opened Humphrey, Nebraska’s first dedicated movie theatre on the north side of Main Street on February 12, 1909. The first movies were shown prior in the town’s second floor Humphrey Opera House on an experimental basis. But it was O.H. Washburn’s Lyric Theatre that launched in 1910 that was the long-running silent movie house in town.
A big hit at the Lyric Theatre was “Birth of a Nation” that played beginning on August 30, 1917 and “The Covered Wagon” that played twice in town. E.J. Karthaus took on the venue and installed a QualityTone sound system on March 1, 1930 with Jack Mulhall in “Twin Beds”. A formal “talkies” opening was held two weeks later on March 14, 1930 with the music “Let’s Go Places” starring Dixie Lee.
The combination of a poor economy, a poor sound system, substandard ventilation, and the aging building took a quick toll as the theatre closed on July 20, 1930 after “Sweetie” with Nancy Carroll. A few live events were scheduled and, by all accounts, were poorly attended later in the year.
Elizabeth Lewejohn announced the construction of a modern movie theatre not long after and sold off the former Lyric Theatre at auction for $251 for salvage. It was demolished in January of 1931. The former Humphrey Opera House was converted to an auto garage. And Lewejohn’s new Coronado Theatre began a 40-year run beginning September 6, 1931 and has its own Cinema Treasures page.
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