Pioneer Theater Operator Dies Of Heart Attack

Salt Lake Tribune, 18 November 1935, page 36

Harry R. Rand, for more than a quarter of a century a prominent figure in theatrical circles throughout the intermountain country, died Friday morning at his home, 1574 Fifth East street, of a heart attack.

Known as the "Nickel King" during the early days of the motion picture theater, Mr. Rand was instrumental in the founding of a chain of theaters in Denver and Salt Lake City in 1908 and 1909.

Starting his business career at youth in New York state with the management of a group of small hotels, Mr. Rand gradually branched out into larger fields, starting with the management of the Metropole hotel at Broadway and Forty-second street in New York City, now dismantled.

Chain of Hotels

He branched out with his own chain of hotels in the late nineties and the early part of the twentieth century, including the Hotel Rand in Cincinnati, and the Hotel Langham in San Francisco, which was destroyed by the San Francisco fire in 1906.

Moving to Denver in 1908 to regain the fortune lost in the fire, Mr. Rand, together with his son, Walter S. Rand, opened two of the first motion picture theaters in Colorado, the Gem and the Dreamland, and in the following year added to their chain with the founding of the Empire theater in Salt Lake City.

During the next two years the Photoplay on South Main street, the Daniels on South State street and the Rand theater on Main street were added.

Dogs and Horses

Mr. Rand had long been a fansier of horses and dogs, and during the early years of his life in New York sate was active as a breeder of these animals.

About 16 years ago Mr. Rand took over the management of the Isis theater. Although he had given up most of his holdings, he continued in this capacity until two years ago, when he retired.

Several years ago Mr. Rand was a candidate for the city commission, and although not successful in the election, had always taken a keen interest in civic affairs.

He was born in Heranton, Pa., June 22, 1863. His wife died in July, 1934, and he is survived only by his son, Walter S. Rand of Salt Lake City.

Funeral services will be conducted Sunday at 3 p. m. in the E. G. O'Donnell mortuary, 23 Fourth East street. Burial will be in Mt. Olivet cemetary.