2469 Washington Avenue
Ogden, Utah 84401
(1923 - 1949)
H. E. Skinner, former manager of the 2500-seat Alhambra Theatre, long contemplated a theater what would “justify a five or seven day run for big pictures.” He filed articles of incorporation for the Colonial Theatre in early November 1923, with capital of $25,000 and plans to open on Thanksgiving Day. Joseph Pantone, who later became a partner, thought the “small theatre has a bright future because the smaller establishments do not have the heavy overhead of larger picture houses and can share the saving with their patrons.”
The Colonial was built in a store building vacated by the Paine & Hurst company. The draperies were “beautiful and interior decorations new and artistically selected.” Upholstered seats had a nine-spring bottom and were “the finest there is made.” The theater had its own lighting generator. Walls and ceiling were fireproof. The ventilating plant provided 20 cubic feet of air per minute for every seat in the auditorium, heating fresh air over steam coils in the winter and cooling through filtered water during the summer.[2, 4]
The Colonial Theatre opened on 29 November 1923, with Marion Davies in the Cosmopolitan production “Little Old New York.” An orchestra provided music for the Thanksgiving Day opening, with a pipe organ expected to be installed within two weeks.[2, 3] Management promised “the greatest shows the industry has ever known will be seen at the Colonial.”
In July 1924, H. E. Skinner announced the theater would be redecorated and the heating system renovated for the fall and winter seasons.
The Colonial Theatre incorporated with H. E. Skinner as president and Belle Skinner as secretary and treasurer. John N. Spargo, H. B. Taylor, and G. W. Jack completed the directorate. In July 1924, Joseph Pantone purchased the interests of H. B. Taylor and his associates. C. M. Stringham, who for several years operated theaters in Price, Helper, and Rains, purchased the Colonial Theatre in October 1925.
In January 1935, A. L. Glassmann announced that the Colonial would be made into a “comfortable, cozy, well-heated and well-ventilated theatre with excellent sound and project facilities.” The Young Electric Sign Company installed a new marquee. A “bright and inviting” lobby with a “larger and more cheery” foyer were created by expanding into recently vacated retail space. New seats were installed in the auditorium, with the capacity increasing from 389 to 490. The interior was decorated with new carpets and drapes. Management also promised “choice features carefully selected from the major studios of Filmdom." The “new” Colonial Theatre opened on 22 March 1935 with Eddie Cantor in Kid Millions.[7, 8]
The Colonial Theatre appears to have closed at the end of May, 1949.
1. "New Theatre Company Files Articles in Ogden", Salt Lake Telegram, 09 November 1923, page 24
2. "New Theatre Almost Ready", Ogden Standard Examiner, 25 November 1923, page 11
3. "Colonial Theatre Opens Tomorrow", Ogden Standard Examiner, 28 November 1923, page 6
4. "Ventilation for Theatre Provided", Ogden Standard Examiner, 30 November 1923, page 8
5. "Buys Share in Colonial Theatre", Ogden Standard Examiner, 22 July 1924, page 8
6. "C. M. Stringham Family to Move to Ogden, Utah", News Advocate, 01 October 1925, page 5
7. "Colonial to Become Cozy, Film Theatre of Larger Capacity", Ogden Standard Examiner, 24 January 1935, page 14