Lyman Theatre

320 Jeffers Avenue,
Lyman, NE 69352

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Ideal Theatre, Topper Theatre

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The small town of Lyman had a long-running movie theatre called the Lyman Theatre. But in the 1920’s, two venues appeared on the scene in 1927 which was unusual for such a small town. One venue was the Ideal Theatre that became the Lyman Theatre and the other was the Gem Theatre.

G.B. Parberry launched the Ideal Theatre on August 20, 1927 with motion pictures. The 400-seat venue was superior to the Gem Theatre which had opened earlier in the year but without a sloped floor and with only one projector causing delays between reels. It was sandwiched between the Lyman Grocery and Produce Co. and Forbes Store. The north side of the building contained the Ideal Barber Shop. Parberry promised a 170-seat balcony which could be added if it were needed. It doesn’t appear to have been added.

On December 19, 1929, Parberry added sound to play talkies and that would be a difference maker as the Gem Theatre stopped showing movies in 1929 and reverted to community dances and other live fare until 1936. But the Depression proved to be too challenging for the Ideal which closed on September 27, 1930.

In November of 1930, a group of business operators were determined to keep the venue going as people were beginning to drive out of town to see movies. On March 3, 1931, the theatre relaunched as the Lyman Theatre with the film, “The Royal Family of Broadway” with Fredric March. New seating and a new RCA sound system were featured. Don Corwell was the manager.

Mr. & Mrs. Robert Goodall took on the Gem Theatre, wiring it with a new sound system, and relaunching it as the Plaza Theatre. The Plaza Theatre launched on October 27, 1939. The Plaza Theatre vanquished the Lyman Theatre. But the Plaza Theatre burnt down on May 23, 1943. With World War II material shortages, it was nearly impossible to build a new theatre. So the Goodall’s re-equipped the Lyman Theatre and reopened it in 1943. It launched on December 16, 1943 with Randolph Scott in “Bombardier”, the theatre was known as the Topper Theatre. Howdy Frye was the manager. Mr. & Mrs. Galen Stewart took on the venue on February 20, 1947 and relaunched, and returned to the Lyman Theatre name with Lassie in “Courage of Lassie”.

In 1951, the theatre was delinquent in taxes and sold at auction. Charles Scheinhosts reopened the theatre on October 11, 1951. On March 3, 1955, Scheinhosts installed a curved panoramic screen to present CinemaScope films. Seating appears to have been reduced to just 200 seats. He sold the theatre to Mrs. Francis Osier on February 10, 1966. She appears to have closed the theatre in 1969 after 42 years of operation.

The floor was leveled and the theatre was used for retail and then office uses. The building was still standing in the late-2010’s but had neither a roof nor any original elements. Restoration appeared impossible and demolition was almost assured.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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