Number of Seats: 580-1000
Owners and Managers: Don Meyers, Mrs. Leiter, J. C. Stille, D. C. Burkhart, S. A. Gardinier
The Arcade Theater screened a wide variety of motion pictures, and its managers kept fairly detailed records about what was screened. In Exhibitor’s Herald, managers Meyers and Ford regularly submitted brief reports about pictures were screened, the audience’s perception, and generally if the film was profitable. Most of the motion pictures screen at the Arcade Theater were around 7 reels, and were shown in La Grand about one year after they were initially released.
The Arcade Theater is known to have shown the following motion pictures:
- The Journey’s End (1922) – mixed reviews. They lost money showing this picture.
Clay Dollars (1921) – It was only an “Average program picture.” This is one limitation of these brief reports. There is so little room to really get into specific details of how the picture was received. Perhaps most significantly, it is important to keep in mind that these reports are being written from a business perspective, and do not necessarily represent an actual aesthetic analysis of the film.
The Fox (1921) – Film is described as a “Good Western, but did not draw.”
False Kisses (1921) – This film was not successful at all.
Exhibitor’s Herald, January 22, 1922. p71.
The Barbarian (1920) – Did not generate significant revenue. However, the managers speculated that this may have been the result of the recent winter holidays limiting theater attendance.
Lavender and Old Lace (1921) – This motion picture is described as being especially popular among female audiences.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) – This picture received glowing reviews from theater managers.
Cheated Hearts (1921) – Very little description is given for the exhibition of this picture, other than that it was a “fair program picture to fair business one day.”
- “The Humming Bird” (1924) – Gloria Swanson appears as a boy for the first time in her career. She falls in love with a boy who is going off to war, so, in perfect logic, she disguises herself as a boy to go after him. Director Sidney Alcott received great reviews for the film. It premiered for three days at the Arcade Theatre starting Monday, June 3.
Promotional strategies notes
- I have found that the managers at these theatres often reference a show at their theatre in response to how well it did in other cities. This is a great strategy in developing hype around an entertainment event and makes it much more grandiose sounding. Which is why they are able to charge much more than the usual picture or theatre show. Below is a clip from the La Grande Observer from Don C. Myers (Manager)
Sample news clips, advertisements
“Liberty Theater.” Cinema Treasures, cinematreasures.org/theaters/18174. Accessed 20 April 2018.
La Grande Evening Observer. Newspapers, newspapers.com/search/#lnd=1&t=3603. Accessed 17 April 2018.