Call Theatre (II)

216 E. State Street,
Algona, IA 50511

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Tri-State Theaters

Architects: Larry P. Larsen

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: State Theatre, New Call Theatre

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Call Theatre

This started life as the 800-seat State Theatre which began construction in September 1935 and opened pictureless in the Spring of 1936.

Shortly after the 600-seat Call Opera House was destroyed by a massive fire on April 28, 1937, N.C. Rice of Tri-State Theaters originally planned to construct a 700-seat theatre but turned it down, instead they had their rights to take over operations of the former State Theatre.

The State Theatre then began running first-run A movies on May 23, 1937 with Phil Regan in “Hit Parade” along with the then-latest “March of Time” reel (which featured the latest in U.S. Unemployment and the 1937 Irish Republic). The seating capacity was reduced to 700-seats.

The State Theatre would then eventually rename as the “New Call Theatre” the following month in June 1937 in dedication to the old Call Opera House. The theatre officially became the dominant first-run movie house for the next 13 years until tragedy strikes again.

On December 20, 1950, the theatre was on its second out of three nights showing Dana Andrews in “My Foolish Heart” along with the Merrie Melodies cartoon “Strife With Father” and an unknown newsreel when all of the sudden, a fire broke out at the Call Theatre at approximately 4:30 PM in the evening, and 45 minutes later, the walls of the theatre collapsed. The entire Call Theatre’s movie schedule immediately moved to the Iowa Theatre for the first time since the Call Opera House’s massive fire in 1937. The Call Theatre’s building was destroyed without any injury.

A short time later, a newer and much larger Algona Theatre was built at the site and opened the following year (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

Contributed by 50sSNIPES

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

50sSNIPES on January 31, 2024 at 6:12 am

Corrections: The State Theatre opened “mostly” pictureless as it was primarily a special events house at the start. However, in portions of its first 12 months of operation, they did show a minimum amount of movies throughout much of 1936 and portions of 1937, but unfortunately it was never advertised on newspapers at all.

Shortly after the Call Opera House was destroyed in a massive fire, that’s when the State Theatre began showing first-run hits that originally came through the Call Opera House, before Norman Rice changed the State Theatre’s name to the Call Theatre.

It originally opened with 800 seats but was downgraded throughout time to 700.

  • NOTE: This was the second theater to be named the Call Theatre, so the page should name it “Call Theatre (II)”.
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