Gem Theatre

105 W. Main Street,
Lewistown, MO 63452

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The Gem Theatre was opened on May 4, 1911 with a live band performance. The theatre seated 225 and was closed for the summer in 1933. It reopened in September 1933 and had another period of closure in 1937 when it was reopened again It finally closed in September 1939 and became a community center.

Contributed by Chris1982

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dallasmovietheaters on December 31, 2021 at 5:22 pm

The Gem Theatre appears to have opened on May 4, 1911 with a live band event. However, it was predominately a film theatre with some live events and vaudeville in its programming mix. Business in town was boosted in 1917 when the only theatre in nearby La Belle just 6 miles away burned down. At that point, there were two movie theaters in the small town as the opera house largely converted to movies under the Princess Theatre nameplate. The Gem hosted the film, “Battle Cry for Peace,” with a live orchestra in November of 1917. That was the film to have played in La Belle at its Crystal Theatre the day it burned down. “The Covered Wagon” was one of the theater’s biggest silent era hits in the history of the Gem.

In 1930, the Gem installed Gates Motiotone sound to play talking pictures. W.E. Porter closed the venue for the summer in 1933 returing to reopen it in September of that year. The theatre closed due to business conditions later though was relaunched by Mertz Film Amusement Company in 1937 with a refresh. Once again, it closed effectively ending business as the Gem in September of 1939. It was sold at a trustee auction to a group of local merchants in October of 1939 and was used as a community center with some sporadic film screenings apparently not under the Gem nameplate.

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