Rex Theatre

405 State Street,
La Belle, MO 63447

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Missouri Theatre, La Belle Theatre

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The Rex Theatre was a movie theatre that lasted about twenty years under three different operating names. The town of La Belle had been serviced by the Crystal Theatre and Crystal Skydome operating in its Opera House and adjacent lot from 1914 to 1917 playing movies (both have their own pages on Cinema Treasures). But fire in October of 1917 consumed both buildings. Town’s residents who wanted to see movies had to go to nearby Lewistown just about six miles away until a new theatre was created.

The Missouri Theatre was that replacement and it opened in downtown La Belle on May 31, 1919. Hawkins and Golden ran the venue on a three day a week operational schedule Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Missouri Theatre Co. took over operation in order to refresh the theatre with sound using the Gates Motiotone sound system to play talking pictures. It also boasted of installing over 500 yards of sound felt treatment and its grand reopening on September 5, 1930 with Marilyn Miller in “Sally”.

The Missouri Theatre struggled in the Depression and closed for a brief period with merchants presenting free films in 1934. However, it resumed with all new RCA Photophone projection as the La Belle Theatre on June 9, 1934 with Ronald Colman as the “The Masquerader” on the big screen. The La Belle suspended operations after the November 4, 1937 showing of Alice Faye in “You Can’t Have Everything”.

Under new operator Junior Yenter, it was refreshed and became the new Rex Theatre on January 9, 1938 with James Stewart in “Navy Blue and Gold". The policy was a feature film, a newsreel, a comedy short, and other short subjects.

Much as what occurred in the previous Crystal Theatre and Skydome, fire destroyed the Rex Theatre operation on February 24, 1939. Appropriately enough, the final film to play was “Thanks for Everything” with Adolph Menjou. 18 months later, the replacement Rialto Theatre was opened on August 6, 1940 with Cary Grant in “His Girl Friday”. It lasted almost 15 years until a minor fire ended its operation in February of 1955 (It also has its own page on Cinema Treasures)

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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