Atlas Atlantic Cinema

28 W. 5th Street,
Atlantic, IA 50022

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Showing 8 comments

50sSNIPES on January 3, 2024 at 2:41 am

It was named the Atlantic Theatre in April 1922. It reopened as the Iowa Theatre after reconstruction from the December 1929 fire. The theater was renamed back the Atlantic Theatre in 1941.

50sSNIPES on January 2, 2024 at 5:58 pm

The Atlantic Theatre started life as the “Opera House” in 1885 under the management of H.E. Bacon (it was originally supposed to be an adjacent to the Bacon Stock Company next door), but the building was rebuilt in April 1922 with an estimate $45,000 led by Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Steen of Seattle, Washington. It reopened that same month.

  • On May 24, 1922 at approximately 7:30 PM CT, original doorkeeper Frank Beckman checked around the theater until everyone started to panic inside the auditorium after a shorted circuit on the electric sign outside the theater caught on fire. When Beckman went outside and discovered that the sign was on fire, he did not used the telephone. Instead he quietly walked to the fire department and told the boys at Station 1 to bring up the wagon. The engine responded and the fire was quickly extinguished in a landslide. Only several people left the theater but were quickly re-seated on being informed that there was no danger.

On December 1, 1929 at approximately 7:30 PM CT, nearly 1,000 people attended to see Colleen Moore in “Footlights And Fools” along with Pathe’s Aesop’s Fables and a Fox Movietone Newsreel when all of the sudden, everyone immediately evacuated without a single scratch or injury after people smelled burning odor. The auditorium was destroyed, the entire roof was gone and parts of its front wall were heavily damaged, all by a massive fire. The fire was discovered from the furnace beneath the auditorium (possibly coming from a hot air plant that was installed when the building was remodeled the previous year in 1928). The fire also caused very minor damage to other places, including the Buckley Cleaning Establishment, the Eustus Insurance Office, the Lanoil Beauty Shop, the Photofinishing Company, and the Un-U-Rite Inn. Clarence Ray, the projectionist, staying inside his booth and ran out the last of his reel when the flames were licking it up, He was rescued from his booth by Halton Fox of Des Moines who was also an employee of the Fox Film Company (later 20th Century Fox). Robert A. Booth, the janitor of the theater, gave special credit to his hard work fighting the flames but gave up as it had gained too much headway. The Atlantic Fire Department witnessed too much trouble when their fire hydrants were frozen. Although nobody in the theater was injured, two firefighters were killed after a comice fell on them while fighting the flames in the west side of the building (identified as Otto Rogge and Fred Auerbach of the Atlantic Fire Department). The loss in the blaze was around $65,000 estimate.

  • NOTE: Boxoffice placed the December 1929 fire story in its March 4, 1950 issue on accident. And yes there was a Strand Theatre during both the silent and early sound era.

The former Atlantic Theatre was then rebuilt and reopened as the Iowa Theatre on March 28, 1930 with William Powell in “Street Of Chance” along with Our Gang in “Bear Shooters” and an unnamed cartoon (with sound installations of Bestone Sound System). The Iowa Theatre name lasted until 1941 when it went back to its original Atlantic Theatre name. CinemaScope was installed there in June 1954.

In late-October 1981, the Atlantic Theatre is twinned and was renamed “Frederick 2 Cinemas” after Fridley Theatres took over operations of the theater. On March 30, 1998, the theater was renamed Atlantic 1 & 2 after major renovation.

On November 1, 2019, the theater was renamed Atlas Atlantic Cinema, and closed in December 2022.

Trolleyguy on June 13, 2023 at 3:19 pm

Nothing current on website. Facebook page last entries are for Dec 2022. No one answers listed phone number. Probably no longer showing movies.

CJ1949 on June 13, 2023 at 3:03 am

June 10, 2023: Now called “New Life Church”, says marquee. No changes to the exterior of the theatre. Looks same as in the photos shown on Cinema Treasures. The “Atlantic” name is still on the marquee– “New Life Church” takes up the space where a movie title would be.

Trolleyguy on November 6, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Now locally owned and known as Atlas Atlantic Cinema.Website: Atlas

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 16, 2009 at 5:08 am

From the March 4, 1950, issue of Boxoffice: “R.W. Steen, whose Atlantic Theatre in Atlantic, Iowa, burned recently, is to rebuild. O.C.Johnson, manager of the wrecked showhouse, and of the Strand of Atlantic, made the announcement.”

I can’t find any other references to a Strand Theatre in Atlantic, but there are quite a few references to a Grand Theater, so I think “Strand” might have been an error in this particular article. Both houses were operated by Pioneer Theatres.

kencmcintyre on November 19, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I added the earlier Atlantic, as yesterday I found a 1920’s article about a fire in the theater.

kencmcintyre on September 6, 2007 at 1:18 am

The 1963 motion picture almanac lists an Atlantic Theater in Atlantic, IA. This would presumably be a predecessor to the Atlantic 1&2 if the latter theater opened in 1990.