Ideal Theatre

121 Central Avenue,
Albuquerque, NM 87102

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., Paramount-Publix

Previous Names: Lyric Theatre

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The Lyric Theatre opened April 16, 1913 and according to the Albuquerque Morning Journal was renamed the Ideal Theatre in 1918. Sanborn Maps show a very narrow auditorium sharing a ground floor common wall with a hotel and rooms extending over the theatre. The Ideal Theatre can be found in Film Daily Year Book 1929 with 300 seats.

Blanche Hatton became manager of the Ideal Theatre in 1924 under owner Paul Williamson. In 1929 the Ideal Theatre was taken over by Paramount’s Publix chain, which had a policy against women managers. After a high level policy meeting in New York it was decided Blanche could stay and she went on to manage the Chief Theatre, Hiland Theatre, Sunshine Theatre, and Lobo Theatre.

By 1932 editions of the Albuquerque Tribune list a Mission Theatre at this address (which in FDY had a seating capacity of 378). The 1943 edition of FDY gives a seating capacity of 450 and was operated by Paramount pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Hoblitzelle & O'Donnell. It had closed by 1950. In 1955, the theatre, which had been closed for many years, was demolished and the Albuquerque First National Bank was constructed on the site.

As for the aforementioned Blanche Hatton, her name appeared many times in the press over the years in reports on her civic involvement. In 1968 she was honored as showman of the year by the New Mexico Theater Association. On November 1, 1972, the 80-years-old manager of the Lobo Theatre, was profiled in the Tribune. She was known for employing hundreds of young people over the years who later brought their own youths to be hired. Blanche noted: “There isn’t a day goes by when somebody that used to work for me doesn’t come by to see me. They come by all the time".

In January 1973, the Albuquerque Tribune reported a man with shoulder length hair held up the Lobo Theatre while Blanche was taking the cash drawer to the office. He pulled out a small gun and threatened to shoot her and others in the lobby. The feisty Miss Hatton threw the drawer at him and the bandit picked up the money from the floor and ran out. There is no record of the man being captured.

Contributed by ron pierce
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