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Functions: Opera House
Previous Names: Holmes' Opera House
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Holmes' Opera House opened on November 30, 1910 with “Missouri Hen”, a live chicken poultry judging contest in the agriculture-centric La Belle, Missouri. Early on, the theatre booked live acts but motion pictures were an early staple. Like most small town opera houses, the venue changed to a predominate policy of movies.
Leo H. Mulinex programmed at the Opera House and he renamed it as the Crystal Theatre in 1914 moving to full-time movies. Due to poor ventilation on the second-floor facility, Mulinex added the Crystal Skydome was added in May of 1914 on an adjoining lot between the Opera House and the Farmers and Merchant Bank for summer operation. It had its own Motiograph projector and piano opening May 9, 1914 and has its own page on Cinema Treasures.
The Skydome had finished its 1917 season and the Crystal Theatre hardtop was back in service in October of 1917 when disaster struck. On October 12, 1917 - just prior to a sold out showing of “Battle Cry of Peace” with a full, live orchestra, a fire broke out on the first floor in the Bohon’s Café restaurant consuming the entire building and spreading to the Skydome ending both operations. The fire then spread to the bank and turned to Pomeroy Street taking out the Skrvin Department Store.
Instead of rebuilding, Mulinex decided to retire on the spot. The fact that only 25% of the operation was covered by insurance may not have helped.
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