Bio Theatre

1615 Fifth Avenue,
Moline, IL 61265

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dallasmovietheaters on June 10, 2019 at 7:41 am

Woodyatt’s Bio Theatre was a new-build movie theater opened on December 12, 1912 by Albert C. Woodyatt with help from his two sons. Woodyatt had operated the Auditorium in the 1890s and opened the Lyric Theatre with his son, Lee, in 1910. The Bio became a second-run discount house and was known as “the only dime movie theater in Moline.”

Woodyatt closed the Bio on August 4, 1929 suggesting that collusion within the movie industry by chain circuits was a monopoly designed to harm independent operators. The location was converted to a Baker Furniture store.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 4, 2014 at 8:35 am

“The Bio theater, at Fifth avenue, between Sixth and Seventh streets, Moline, has opened,” was the brief notice in the January 4, 1913, issue of Motography, which means the event probably took place in late 1912.

In 1919, the Bio Theatre had a two manual, 27 register Möller organ, Opus 2792. Its fate is unknown.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 3, 2014 at 11:04 am

I think the correct address for the Bio Theatre is most likely 1615 Fifth Avenue, which would be in downtown Moline, rather than 1615 Fifth Street, which is in an old residential district. There is also this item from the August 26, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World which, though it doesn’t give a street number, does say that the Bio was then on Fifth Avenue:

“Moline, Ill. — The site of the Bio theater on Fifth avenue, has been sold to R. S. Woodburn, a local real estate dealer. It is given out that for a while at least the Bio, operated by A. C. Woodyatt, will continue.”
It’s possible that Mr. Woodburn later decided to kick the theater out, but more likely that he would have decided to keep it as a tenant. The building now on the site houses the Moline Community Center, but it is a low, wide structure that occupies at least three lots from 1613 (next door to the Illini Theatre building) to 1617, and it looks too modern to have been the building the theater was in. I’d surmise that it dates from the 1950s at the earliest, and probably housed a chain store or small local department store.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 3, 2014 at 10:33 am

A Mrs. A. B. Woodyatt of the Bio Theatre, Moline, sent reviews of recent movies to Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World in the spring of 1928. An A. C. Woodyatt was operating the Lyric Theatre on 6th Avenue in 1911, so the Woodyatt family was involved in film exhibition at Moline for quite a while. Albert C. Woodyatt also operated a piano shop in Moline.