Rodeo Theatre

Main Street,
Hartselle, AL 35640

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Additional Info

Firms: Albert R. Frahn & Associates

Previous Names: Strand Theatre

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The Strand Theatre was opened by 1932 and was designed by architectural firm Albert R. Frahn & Associates. The Strand Theatre was renamed Rodeo Theatre in 1956. In 1958 it was renamed Strand Theatre again but by 1960 it was the Rodeo Theatre again. It had closed by 1967.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 9, 2018 at 1:40 pm

The Strand of 1944 must have been either a rebuild of or replacement for an earlier house of the same name which was in operation by 1932. The Strand’s manager, Adam P. Howell, was quoted in the January 14, 1933, issue of Universal Weekly saying that attendance for the studio’s movie “The Mummy” had broken his house record for 1932.

The Hartselle Enquirer has frequently published a column called “A look back” which often mentions the town’s theaters, but the earliest mentions of the Strand are from 1937, and there are no items about a rebuilding or a new theater in 1944.

In its later years the Strand became the Rodeo Theatre, as noted in this item:

“June 18, 1956 -The Strand (soon to be the Rodeo) Theatre is getting a $50,000 interior overhaul and redecoration. A new cry-room has its own speaker so that the baby tender can keep up with the picture if she can hear the sound above her babe.”
The May 5, 1956, issue of Boxoffice also noted the name change and remodel, saying that the owner, Hubert Mitchell, had adopted a western motif for the Rodeo, which he had also used at his Ranch Drive-In. I’ve found one more mention of the name Strand in the newspaper, incongruously from 1958, but by 1960 the house is called the Rodeo again. The theater was closed by 1967, when a June 28 item said that “[t]he vacant Rodeo Theatre building on Main Street is being offered for lease.”

Hubert R. Mitchell bought the Strand in 1955, but had lived in Hartselle for quite some time and was noted in the October 13, 1956, issue of Motion Picture Herald as “…the owner of Hubert Mitchell Industries, one of the largest manufacturers of stage fittings, decorations and props, as well as theatre auditorium drapes, seat cushions and accessories.” His company, which had two factories, also manufactured something called Bowline Screen Frames, which are mentioned now and then in theater industry trade journals of the period.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 10, 2018 at 12:55 pm

A telephone directory listing I found online doesn’t give the Rodeo’s exact address, but lists it on West Main Street. I’ve checked Google’s street views of downtown Hartselle, and though a few of the old buildings are the right size to have accommodated a theater, none have any distinguishing characteristics that could identify it as such.

The Rodeo was most likely somewhere in the three block stretch between Railroad Street and Corsbie Street, now a thriving district of restored buildings, many of them housing antiques dealers.

rivest266 on June 15, 2024 at 3:04 pm

Opened as the Pearl Vaughn theatre and renamed Strand on August 20th, 1932. Ad posted.

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