711 Hennepin Avenue,
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Architects: Harry Lawrie
Styles: Gothic Revival
Previous Names: Blue Mouse Theatre
The unusually-named Blue Mouse Theatre opened in 1920 after more than a year of construction at a cost of around a quarter million dollars. This downtown Minneapolis house could seat around 1,500 in its elegantly decorated auditorium and contained a marble staircase in its lobby.
Its façade was decorated in white terra-cotta done in a Neo-Gothic style, and rose a full three stories over Hennepin Avenue.
Following a takeover by the Finkelstein & Ruben chain, it was renamed the Lyric Theatre on June 23, 1923, after an older theatre of the same name directly across the street from the Blue Mouse Theatre had closed.
For most of its existence, the Lyric Theatre was a second-run house, playing films after they had had long runs as the larger houses like the Minnesota Theatre or the State Theatre, just up the street.
In the late-1950’s, the Lyric Theatre started to play roadshow films, with reserved seating, starting with the epic “The Ten Commandments” in 1957. This film, and a handful of others afterwards, would have decent runs, but only mediocre grosses compared to many other roadshow houses in the Twin Cities.
By the 1960’s, it went back to second-run films. In January 1971, the Lyric Theatre closed with John Wayne in “Rio Lobo”. Not long afterwards it was demolished to make way for a new cinema, the Lyric Twin, which, just before opening, was renamed the Skyway 1 & 2.
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