Lynch Theatre

Lynch Theatre,
Lynch, NE 68746

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dallasmovietheaters on May 29, 2021 at 6:02 am

Lynch residents first had motion pictures in 1908. By 1910, the International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Hall which housed the IOOF Opera House - also called the Lynch Opera House - began showing movies twice a week. In 1915, Anton Wasatako subleased the IOOF Hall equipping it with a permanent projection system when he operated the hall as a movie theater three nights a week.

Bert Redmond of the Velda Thatre in Fairfax, South Dakota, took on the operation changing the Opera House/Hall’s name to the Velda Theatre on July 10, 1920 with Constance Talmadge in “Two Weeks” (though with Sam Alberts running the venue). The theatre was equipped for sound to stay viable and still was used by the IOOF as the Velda operated just four days a week.

John Blair took on the operation on April 11, 1936 renaming the venue as the Lynch Theatre with the film, “China Seas.” The Lynch Theatre continued through shows of June 26, 1954 closing with “The Charge at Feather River.” The theater was essentially replaced by the new-build Lynn Theatre which had launched in June of 1954.

LynnTheater on February 11, 2019 at 9:09 am

The Lynch business district has been associated with movie theatres almost since the inception of the motion picture industry. An exact date cannot be found, however it is estimated that movies began showing in Lynch about 1911. The first theatre business’s name is unknown and may not have had a name. The moving pictures were shown on the side of the Rysavy Building. (Present location of the Gazebo) It was operated by Anton Wasatko, whose family were pioneer settlers of the Lynch area. On July 6, 1917, the Lynch Herald reported that L.F. Baily had purchased the “moving picture” business from Anton Wasatko and has leased the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) opera house. This building was originally the Jos. Micanek & Sons hardware and Implement building from 1903-1911. This is the present day location of the basketball court. It is believed that at this time the theatre became known as the Velda Theatre. L.F. Baily operated the theatre until 1919 when Richard Keller operated the theatre, doing so until 1920. Harold Micanek remembered going to the first sound movie at the Velda Theatre in 1924. The movie was “Wings”, with the only sound being the planes. In the days before sound Ray Keeler played the piano during the movies. The theatre was known as the “Velda”, at least until 1927. Floyd Wolfe had an owning interest in the theatre from the years of the “Velda” into the years of the “Lynch Theatre”.

On May 21, 1936, the Lynch Herald-Enterprise reported that the Lynch Theatre under the management of J.W. Blair and son, Wayne has been running for several weeks and is getting off to a good start. However, the theatre business must have not been for the Blair family as the June 4, 1936, Lynch Herald-Enterprise reported the management of the Lynch Theatre had a change. Don Stewart and Gerry Keller took over at this time. (On a side note, Don Stewart’s daughter Eunice married Wayne Blair.) In the April 8, 1937, edition of the Lynch Herald Enterprise headlines showed “Wolfe to Manage Shows” – A deal was closed the past week whereby Floyd Wolfe is the new owner and manager of the Lynch Theatre, having taking over the equity of Don Stewart, who formerly operated the theatre with him. Gerald and Pearle Fleming moved to Lynch in the spring of 1946, taking over the space in the I.O.O.F. hall which still housed the Lynch Theatre. Gerald had purchased new theatre equipment in Omaha. He hired Eddie Mulhair to bring the equipment to Lynch on his return trips from the stockyards in Omaha. The Flemings and their 4 children remodeled a space in the back of the I.O.O.F. hall to live in. All of the children worked in the theatre along with Gerald and Pearle. Dwight Micanek was also a projectionist.

The Flemings ran three different movies per week; a musical on Sunday and Monday, a comedy on Tuesday and Wednesday and a western on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Gerald and Pearle would make trips to Omaha to book movies. During the blizzard of 1948-1949, Gerald had Sid Wolf fly in new movie selections by plane as all other transportation was at a stand-still. Gerald sold the theatre to Don Johnson in the summer of 1950 and purchased a theatre in Dunlap, Iowa. Don and Ardith Johnson continued to operate the Lynch Theatre located in the I.O.O.F. hall until the completion of their brand new theatre, the “Lynn” in 1954. The completion of the new “Lynn” ended a 37 year stint of movies being shown in the I.O.O. F. hall.

LynnTheater on April 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm

The Lynch Theater had many different uses over the years. Joe Micanek Sr. built, owned and operated a hardware store in the building from 1903-1911. Following this the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge acquired the building and added and upper story to the building. Floyd Woolf operated a movie theater in this building in the silent days of motion pictures. A man by the name of Keeler played the piano. Harold Micanek remembers going to the first sound movie in Lynch in 1924. The movie was “Wings” The only sound was the planes. Later the G.V. Fleming family operated the theater until the early fifties. Many dances were then held at the building later. The I.O.O.F surrendered their charter sometime prior to 1967. Later it was home to the VFW. They then acquired a new building and it was torn down in 1977. An outdoor basketball court is now located on the spot of this building on the main street of Lynch straight across from the present day Lynn Theater built in 1954.