Theater that ran old films holds grand memories

Deseret News, 10 February 2006

Article Summary:

Art Proctor opened the Avalon Theatre as a first-run house in 1963. His first film was "Taras Bulba." In late 1973, as an experiment, he showed a double-bill of “Mutiny on the Bounty” and “San Francisco.”

“It was a full house. We had to turn people away. It broke my heart to say, 'You'll have to come back another night.'” (Art Proctor)

In the mid-1970s he took over the Blue Mouse downtown to expand his showing of classic films.

“I wanted to run those movies at the Avalon, but we were just too booked.” (Art Proctor)

Later (before the 1980s) he opened the Avalon Video Store, with an emphasis on classic titles. By 2006, the store featured more than 5,000 VHS tapes and a couple of hundred DVDs.

In the 1990s, he removed 100 seats from the Avalon and added a stage, booking comic hypnotists to supplement the theater's business.

Now he has sold the Avalon and it has become a venue for punk and hard-core rock concerts.

Art Proctor was “the Salt Lake Valley's patron saint of old movies.”

“Through good times and bad, Art stayed true to his convictions, and the result is that many, many people have their own Avalon memories today, favorite films they shared with friends and loved ones.” (Chris Hicks)