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Main Street
Panguitch, Utah
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Cinemas 5
Vernal, Utah

When Warren Mott and his sons opened the Twin Cinema on 23 November 1973, it was the largest theater complex between Denver and Salt Lake City.  The lobby featured a huge crystal chandelier with 54 lights suspended over a round concession and ticket counter.  The 500 and 300-seat auditoriums were equipped with carpeting, drapes, “stadium type upholstered seats,” stereophonic speakers, and 21 by 40 feet Cinemascope screens.  The adjoining El Diamante reception center was converted to a third auditorium after Kent Limb purchased the theater in 1982.

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Newspaper advertisement for the Elite Theatre in 1917.

, 17 August 1917

Elite Theatre
(Opera House, Star Theatre)
Main Street
Panguitch, Utah
About 1920  
January 1933  
Opera House

The opera house was built about 1893 and served the community as a show house, roller skating rink, and automobile repair shop.<1> The building was owned by A. C. Tebbs and was also refered to as a hall.<2> The opera house had a level floor and may have had moveable chairs so the hall could be used for both roller skating and moving picture shows.

Star Theatre

In the summer of 1913 the Star Theatre in Panguitch showed movies to "well filled houses." "People are pleased, enjoy themselves and often see much that it instructive and beneficial. Electric lights and fine music and costly films are drawing crowds."<3> The last reference to the Star Theatre in the Panguitch Progress newspapaer was in August 1913, when the Star Theatre was to be enlarged with 200 opera chairs, a sloping floor, and a new stage.<4> It is likely that the Star Theatre was run in the opera house and was renamed the Elite Theatre after the remodeling was complete.

Elite Theatre

In September 1913, A. C. Tebbs and G. G. Purrington formed a partnership to convert Mr. Tebbs' hall into a 400-seat moving picture theater. The theater was to have "the latest modern machinery, electric light plant, ornamental electrical fixtures, [and] radium gold fiber motion picture screen".<2> The new Elite Theatre opened between 17 and 20 October 1913.<5>

A sign with the name "Elite" in electric lights hung above the theater entrance and extended three feet over the concrete sidewalk. The entrance was 14 feet wide, with rooms on either side of it. The front doors and box offce set back 12 feet from the sidewalk. The entrance was decorated with ornamental chandeliers and beautiful oil paintings. The foyer of the theater ran the full width of the building. The auditorium had three seating sections separated by two carpeted isles. The walls of the auditorium were lighted by six colored bracket lights on each side. Ventilation was provided by three electric fans.<2 & 5>

Sam's Garage

It appears that a new theater, named the Kinema Theatre, was built about 1920. The Elite Theatre then closed and was converted into a garage and service station called Sam's Garage. In January 1933 the former opera house was "relegated to the limbo of things forgotten".<1> Owner Sam Barton demolished the structure so he could build a new, modern "auto hospital" on the site.<6>

1. "Sam's Garage Being Razed", Garfield County News, 27 January 1933, Page 1
2. "Moving Picture Theatre for Panguitch", Panguitch Progress, 19 September 1913, Page 1
3. [Moving Pictures at Star Theatre], Panguitch Progress, 13 June 1913, Page 1
4. [Improvements to Star Theater], Panguitch Progress, 15 August 1913, Page 1
5. "The Elite Theatre", Panguitch Progress, 17 October 1913, Page 1
6. "Work Starts on New Sams Garage", Garfield County News, 17 March 1933