The Elite Theatre on a 1911 Sanborn fire insurance map. - , Utah
Elite Theatre

338 South State Street
Salt Lake City, Utah

(Before 1908 - After 1912)

The Elite Theatre was open from about 1908 to 1912.[1]

Max Florence, a Russian emmigrant and saloon operator, opened a small movie theater in downtown Salt Lake City. Florence expanded over the next couple years so that by 1908 he “practically controlled everything in the film and picture show line in the city”. His success inspired competition and soon his businesses suffered. In order to satisfy his creditors, Florence had to turn over almost all his assests except the Shubert and Elite Theatres.[2][3]

In September 1911 Max Florence gained infamy in Utah by trying to blackmail the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Florence secretly photographed the interior of the Salt Lake Temple and then tried to sell the amateur photos to LDS Church President Joseph F. Smith for $100,000. In reply President Smith said, "I will make no bargain with thieves and traffickers in stolen goods." Florence told a group of reporters in New York, “. . . I had a mind to wire to that Mormon prophet that if he made me any madder that I'd come back there and steal the angel Moroni off the main steeple.” The LDS Church later published the book “The House of the Lord” by James E. Talmage, which included professionally-taken photos of the temple's interior.[3]

1. Polkís Salt Lake City Directory, 1908; Polkís Utah Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1908-1909, 1912-1913
2. Deseret Evening News, 11 November 1910
3. "Iím Here for the Cash": Max Florence and the Great Mormon Temple", By Gary James Bergera, Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, Number 1 (Winter 1979), Utah State History CD-ROM