Lyell Theatre

1356 Lyell Avenue,
Rochester, NY 14606

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Dipson Circuit

Architects: R.E. Van Alstine

Previous Names: Dipson-Lyell Theatre

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Lyell Theatre

The Lyell-Mt. Read Shopping Center launched in 1948 with 21 “Stores of Tomorrow”. The entertainment was provided by the Dipson-Lyell Theatre. Owner William Dipson of the Dipson Circuit chose Greer Garson in “Julia Misbehaves” as the opening film with Sally O'Neil in “Sixteen Fathoms Deep” as the second feature on December 26, 1948.

The Lyell Theatre hit its peak in the 1960’s dropping double-features and getting content after engagements in downtown theatres including big blockbusters and family-friendly Disney films. But the 1970’s saw significant changes as the theatre gravitated to X-rated films under Jan A. DeGroote in 1975 after experimenting briefly as a sub-run discount house.

A pressure group called “Parents for Clean Living” boycotted both the theatre and its neighboring stores to attempt to drive porn films out of the Lyell-Mt. Read Shopping Center in 1978. That move failed and the theatre made it into the video age closing at the end of its lease on July 31, 1993 after almost 45 years of operation.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 28, 2021 at 4:12 am

The August 18, 1948 issue of The Exhibitor said that the Dipson circuit’s new theater in the Lyell Avenue shopping center was designed by architect R. E. Van Alstine. I’ve been unable to find any other references to an architect of that name, though it does sound vaguely familiar. Perhaps a typo was involved, but if so I can’t puzzle out what the name should have been.

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