Grand Island Movie Listings

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving! I had a wonderful time with my family, eating too much and playing games with the little ones. (and the not-so-little ones) A slumber party at Grammie’s house is the perfect ending to Thanksgiving Day, providing the mommies freedom to engage in the Christmas shopping phenomeonon known as black Friday. Yeah, they can have that experience while I stay home with the babies, right? Of course, I send money with them to take advantage of the sales without the hassle of dealing with the crowds and chaos. Works for me!

As promised, I looked into the haunting of the Grand Theatre in Grand Island, NE. located at 318 West Third Street in downtown Grand Island. It is an art-deco style building in the heart of the historic downtown. Really, that entire area has a myserious historic feel to it. It’s pretty cool.

The Grand Theatre was built in 1911 and first opened its doors as the Lydia Theatre, showing popular silent films of the time. It enjoyed minimal success, but being a small operation, it struggled to keep up with competitors. Over the following decades it lost its shine. The Lydia underwent a modest makeover and was renamed the Little Grand in 1930. It was half the size, then, as it is now.

In 1936 The Little Grand closed its doors and construction on a new, much larger version began. A fire slowed progress on the project but it opened in May of 1939 with a magnificent grand opening to celebrate the most beautiful modern theatre around. The theatre enjoy enormous success under the leadership of long time manager, Wally Kemp, who was a major player in the promotion of the business. He developed extravagant childrens shows that entertained generations of Grand Island children until 1975, when he retired. Many referred to him as “Uncle Wally” and he was a well loved figure in the community.

Business declined drastically without the talented Wally Kemp at the helm. Eventually, multiplexes flooded the area and the Grand Theatre was forced to close its doors again. A group of area businessmen created a foundation; refusing to allow the last movie palace in Grand Island to die. They stepped in to save it from extinction.

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