221 S. Main Street,
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Cinema Associates (Official)
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Previous Names: Spencer Opera House, Boyer Opera House
In 1890, E B Spencer opened the Spencer Opera House in Kendallville at a cost of over $25,000.
The ornately decorated opera house could seat around 750 in its auditorium on the ground floor and balcony. It hosted opera, legitimate theater and minstrel shows.
By the turn of the century, it was sold to Al Boyer, who renamed the Opera House for himself. In addition to the programming of the previous ownership, it also featured vaudeville acts.
The Boyer Opera House was closed during WWI, but was reopened in 1919 and refashioned as a movie theater.
Briefly run by the Deardorf family during the 1920’s, it was sold to the Hudson family in 1929, who had it renamed the Strand Theater.
The Hudsons at the time also owned two other Kendallsville movie houses – the Colonial Theater and the Princess Theater – both long since vanished.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s, the owners increased seating to 953, and added a new screen and modern sound system. Also, it began to offer serials and double features on Saturdays.
In 1952, a 33-foot tall CinemaScope screen and stereophonic sound equipment were installed. It was also around this time that candy and popcorn were sold for the first time at the Strand Theater. To woo audiences away from their tv sets in the late-1950’s and first half of the 1960’s, the Strand Theater began to feature long runs of Hollywood epics like "Cleopatra", "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence of Arabia". The 1959 showing of "Ben Hur" remains the all-time highest attended movie at the Strand Theater.
In 1980, the Hudsons twinned the Strand Theater, with about 400 seats in each auditorium. They also increased the lobby and office space and the outside ticket booth was removed.
The Strand’s fantastic 1960’s-era "Space Age" style marquee, somewhat altered when the theater became a twin, remains the highlight of its exterior.
Despite ever-increasing competition from nearby multiplexes, the Strand Theater remains an integral and popular part of downtown Kendallville.
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