Rex Theatre

111 S. Main Street,
Elk City, OK 73644

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Griffith Amusement Company, Video Independent Theaters Inc.

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Story Theatre

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Rex Theatre

Ed J. Story broke ground for a new-build movie house located at 111 S. Main Street in Elk City in late-August of 1919. The main auditorium’s ceiling was 25 feet high with a gold-fibre silvered screen and a $6,000 Fotoplayer instrument procured from the American Photo Player company in Berkeley, California. The Story Theatre Fotoplayer would be operated by J.A. Fillmore of the Hippodrome Theatre in Fort Worth. Jack Peyton was the projectionist showing the first film at the Story, “Daddy Long Legs" with Mary Pickford on January 24, 1920.

In November of 1925, Griffith Brothers took on the location along with the Ritz Theatre. The name change occurred on December 3, 1925 with “Black Cyclone” and a more official grand relaunching on December 6, 1925 with Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments". The Story/Rex Theatre and the Ritz Theatre were the circuit’s 18th and 19th locations that would grow 75 in just three years.

Griffith closed briefly in 1929 to install Vitaphone for sound films. It relaunched with a grand reopening on May 1, 1929 with William Powell in “The Canary Case Murder". The most interesting decision made at the location was the banishment of all concessions because with “sound films” there could be no distractions. All three of the Griffith Brothers were on hand for the ceremony. As was the case for a number of the Griffith Theatres, its “Bank Night” promotion was challenged in courts as a lottery in 1934.

As the Rex Theatre was reaching expiry of its 30-year lease, Griffith was prepping a new-build theatre that would be called the Westland Theatre. But in December of 1949, Video Independent Theatres Circuit took on the Elk City location. Their opening of the Westland Theatre appears to have ended the Rex Theatre’s full-time service in 1950.

Volney Hamm took on the venue using it sporadically before selling it to Video Independent Circuit in 1955 as Video Independent was likely looking to end any competition. Video Independent used the theatre to advertise shows at the 66 Drive-In and the Westland Theatre at least until early-1957. In 1957, the venue was used as an army recruitment space. In December of 1960, it was completely gutted and transformed after a salvage sale for a new retail venture in January of 1961.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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