McSwain Theatre

130 W. Main Street,
Ada, OK 74820

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dallasmovietheaters on August 10, 2021 at 4:44 pm

Celebrated a transformation to widescreen presenting CinemaScope titles on October 28, 1954

ryanmcswain on September 1, 2017 at 11:41 am

I’m interested in quality photos of the large metal McSwain Theatre marque, the one that was there from the ‘60s through the recent renovation. Please contact me at ryanmcswain at gmail dot com if you have access to any. Thanks!

rivest266 on March 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

July 19th, 1920 grand opening ad as well as the May 25th, 1956 reopening ads in photo section

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm

great pictures All. thanks.

seymourcox on April 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm

This link a tiny bit of history on the Liberty Theatre,

raybradley on March 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

You’ll enjoy this link with lots of pictures,

TLSLOEWS on February 3, 2011 at 10:37 am

I agree great photos Don.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on January 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

From 2010, photos of the McSwain Theatre in Ada. [Please click thumbnails for larger view].

ERD on November 23, 2009 at 9:41 am

A very nice restoration of the exterior. Wishing the theatre good luck in the future years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 23, 2009 at 2:15 am

The obituary of Foster McSwain was published in Boxoffice, May 19, 1969. It says that upon arriving in Ada in 1917 “…he acquired the Ada Liberty, following up this purchase with the Majestic, which he renamed the American. In 1919 he purchased a site at Main and Townsend streets and built thereon the McSwain, which still bears that name. During the big days of his operation here, he also built the Ritz and Kiva theatres, which he operated several years. Both these theatres have long been dismantled.”

McSwain operated the theaters in Ada in partnership with Griffith Consolidated Theatres starting in the 1920s and eventually became a director of Griffith, later to become Video Independent Theatres, and vice president of the Griffith Realty Company.

The McSwain Theatre got an extensive refurbishing in 1956, according to Boxoffice of May 19 that year. In addition to redecorating the lobby and auditorium, installing air conditioning, tiling the rest rooms, and adding new glass doors for the entrance, Video Independent installed a new marquee. According to a June 23 item, the house had reopened after ten weeks. There was new carpeting throughout,the seats on the main floor had been reupholstered and entirely new seats had been installed in the balcony.

The McSwain was twinned in 1972. The May 15 issue of Boxoffice said: “The new Mini penthouse theatre in Ada, created from the balcony of the McSwain Theatre, began operation April 27, with ‘The Hospital’ as its first film.”

In 1991, the dark McSwain could have been picked up for a song. The May issue of Boxoffice said the house, in good condition, with two screens, heating and air conditioning, but lacking seats, concession stand, and projection equipment, was available on a lease-purchase arrangement, or for immediate sale at $40,000.

holt9359 on June 27, 2009 at 10:26 pm

I took some photos of the theater today. It appears that it’s going to reopen in July.

Here are some others that include vintage and under remodel pics:
View link

raybradley on May 28, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Advacned link with vintage interior / exterior photographs of the McSwain -
View link

kencmcintyre on May 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Here is a December 1926 ad from the same source:

kencmcintyre on May 17, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Here is a February 1940 ad from the Ada Evening News:

raybradley on September 1, 2007 at 12:25 am

Period photographs tell the McSwain Theatre story in pictures. During the 1930s the lovely auditorium style matched that of the Spanish Colonial exterior. A 40s Art Moderne atmospheric sky job came next. Then a 50s sweeping contemporary look accompanied a new wide screen. Though not pictured, in the early 70s beige fiberglass fabric was installed to cover auditorium walls. See for yourself by typing in word “mcswain”,
View link

kencmcintyre on November 6, 2006 at 5:49 pm

There was a boxing exhibition at the McSwain on 5/24/22, according to the Ada Evening News. Ringside seats $1.50, Ladies half price. In the same issue was this prescient comment from our old friend Samuel Roxy Rothafel:

In 10 years the motion picture will rival grand opera as an artistic
production. This is the prophecy, not by the ghost of Bill Nye talking over the ouija board, but by Samuel L. Rothafel, celebrated designer and director of the Capitol theater in New York. If Rothafel is right, the movies have a long way to go and it will have
to be at a fast clip. The movies, however, come in for a lot of unjust criticism. Critics forget that the motion picture is a baby among the various kinds of theatical entertainments.

Rothafel has a golden dream of future movies. He believes movie
theaters will be shaped like an egg, the pictures made realistic by a fusion of colors, high-grade music, magic lighting effects, the characters “talking” their lines, with sounds and even odors reproduced to complete the hypnotic state of the audience.

Rothafel even predicts that movie theaters will be endowed by national state and city governments, like the endowed theaters of ancient Greece. In the background, however, is the possibility that 10 years from now movie theaters may be closed, with the finest movies broadcasted by wireless to the humblest home. In that case, you wonder, who would pay the actors? It would be the same process as the future of radio music. The finest of vocal and instrumental talent will undoubtedly be employed by the radio industry as a free inducement to further the sales of their instruments.

Okie on July 30, 2006 at 2:21 pm

This collection of antique photos holds images of Ada’s Convention Hall, 1903 Opera House [after convertion to a furnitue showroom], and McSwain Theatre,

kenckin on April 3, 2006 at 11:58 am

The Chickasaw Nation, current owner of the McSwain Theatre, is renovating the building for aesthetic enhancement and structural integrity. In addition, the façade of the building is being restored to reflect its 1920s origin, and the top story will now house an art gallery, replacing the old living quarters. As for the address, the building has never moved, and there is only one McSwain Theatre in Ada, OK. Here is a pertinent link to an article published in the Dec. 2005 issue of the Chickasaw Times and posted on

xxx on June 17, 2005 at 3:32 pm

Lostmemory; very good, clear McSwain exterior image.
During the early 1970’s while working at the Sooner Theater in Norman, an old timer projectionist once worked as a McSwain stagehand. He had many facinating stories about great and (mostly) near great vuadvillians who appeared onstage at this historic house.

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 27, 2005 at 2:17 pm

I saw the 1908 date in the linker above so maybe there was 2 of these theatre with same name in differant years.

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 27, 2005 at 10:20 am

The McSwain theatre is located on the corner of W Main St and N Townsend St. The exact address is 130 W Main St also known as W OK-19. The build date for this theatre is 1920. If there was another theatre named McSwain prior to this one I cannot find any hard evidence of it.

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 26, 2005 at 8:29 pm

The address for the McSwain Musical Theatre is 130 W Main St regardless of what the Ada Business Search shows. The plague is interesting. It is possible that there was an earlier McSwain Theatre at another location and the current theatre was its replacement.

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 26, 2005 at 8:49 am

1-This is the correct way to spell ‘Musical’.
2-How many McSwain Musical Theaters are located in Ada, Oklahoma?
I show a McSwain Musical Theatre located at 130 West Main. I will post a link for you to verify my data.
3-This McSwain Musical Theatre is closed for renovations as stated on the website.
Should there be two McSwain Musical Theatre located in Ada, Oklahoma perhaps you would like to add the second one also.