Gem Movie Theatre

117 W. Main Street,
Heber Springs, AR 72543

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Related Websites

The Gem Movie Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Gem Theatre, Gem Community Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 501.362.7971

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Gem Movie Theatre

Opened in 1939, the Gem Theatre was built in what was once a feed store. Simply decorated seating about 250 patrons, the Gem Theatre burned to the ground on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, along with much of the rest of the block.

Less than half a year later, the Gem Theatre was rebuilt, more stylish than before, in the Art Deco style, complete with its landmark vertical marquee, spelling out the name of the theatre in neon-lit lettering. In the theatre’s early days, a large fan was placed in the front of the screen, towards the audience, but in 1949, it became the first public building in the town with air-conditioning, making the Gem Theatre a very popular destination for entire families during the summer months.

As the town’s only theatre, the Gem Theatre never lost its popularity, until a new modern theatre was built in town in the early-1980’s. By 1984, the Gem Theatre had finally shown its last movie, though it soon reopened as a live country music theatre, the Sugar Loaf Opry, which lasted about half a decade.

Afterwards, the Gem Theatre fell into serious disrepair, but in 1995, before it could be razed, a group stepped in to save the Gem Theatre, which held so many great memories for so many Heber Springs residents. Though the interior was entirely rebuilt, in a style that complemented the Art Deco fa├žade, the exterior was restored and relit, looking very similar to its 1940’s appearance.

An adjacent store was gutted and transformed into dressing rooms and an extension of the original lobby space. Its formerly small stage was enlarged to 30 feet deep and 33 feet wide, and state of the art light and sound systems were installed. In the lobby annex is an art gallery with revolving exhibits, which have become as popular as the stage shows and concerts which now draw crowds to the Gem Community Theatre once more.

In 2016 it became a first-run movie theatre, renamed Gem Movie Theatre.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

rivest266 on December 16, 2022 at 1:19 pm

tried this on ChatGPT:

The Gem Theatre in 117 west main in Huber Springs, Arkansas 1939-1984 and reopened 2009. has 430 seats

it returned this: The Gem Theatre in Huber Springs, Arkansas was a movie theater that operated from 1939 to 1984, and then reopened in 2009. It had 430 seats and was located at 117 West Main Street in Huber Springs.

The Gem Theatre was a popular entertainment venue in Huber Springs and was known for showing a variety of movies, including popular releases and classic films. It was a central part of the community for many years, and its closure in 1984 was a significant loss for the town.

In 2009, the Gem Theatre was reopened after a group of local residents worked to raise funds and restore the building. It now operates as a non-profit organization and continues to show movies and host other events. The Gem Theatre is an important part of Huber Springs' history and continues to be a beloved community gathering place.

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