Sunday, April 09, 2006

Urban in the Suburbs

At 6817 Douglas was the Urban Theater, in--where else?--Urbandale. It's been more difficult to find concrete information about this locale--it appears to have opened around 1952, but I never did find out when it closed as a theater. The location has operated as a dance and gymnastics studio for at least a couple of decades--this photo from 1986 still shows traces of the Moderne style it was built in, with glass bricking on the left, and the unused one-sheet frame on the right. Nowadays, the fa├žade looks very different--the makeover has placed a cloth or plastic awning where the marquee once was. (If anybody has more info on the Urban--which supposedly also ran as the Bijou at some point--I'd be grateful.)

4 comments:

bustedacres said...

Man, the 80s knew how to ugly-up everything, didn't they?

It's good to see you posting more stuff here. I like the silent widow story, too. Do you ever go to the Silent Movie place on Fairfax nowadays? Is it still running?

Mark said...

Madison and I went to the Silent Movie last Labor Day to see "The General", plus a Charlie Chase short and a Felix cartoon!

I like the new host there--charming and knowledgeable. They had a great trivia contest, and the audience blew me away with their smarts.

Out back, there is a nice garden for intermissions.

Well worth a visit!

Julie said...

Corner House has been at that location for close to 40 years now -- my sister took gymnastics there in the early '70s, not too long after it moves from its original location at 56th and Urbandale.

Joe said...

I can't tell you when the Urban Theatre closed, but I've found that it opened in 1948. The trade publication Boxoffice reported it in its issue of June 26 that year. It had 375 seats, was first operated by a fellow named R.V. Keeney, formerly of Milo, Iowa, and the builder was named J.E. Fredregill.