May 19, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Today’s story is about the Grand Opening of the Uptown Theater in downtown Junction City in May of 1928. The theater was located on the east side of Washington Street across from the Bartell. The address was 611 North Washington Street.
Seats were filled to capacity as early as 7:00 PM. Three performances were given and the theater was kept filled until the end of the last show. Each lady in attendance was presented with a rosebud until the supply ran out at about 9:00 PM. The roses had come from West Side Floral, who had also sent a beautiful basket of flowers to the management, which was placed at the center of the stage. Jerry Baler of Lawrence was the guest organist for the opening and his performance on the Reuter organ pleased the audiences as well as the performance onstage by the Bratton Brothers. A feature picture followed the live entertainment. The picture was titled “Four Walls” and starred John Gilbert. Several out of town guests who attended this opening of the Uptown Theater included a number of representatives of California film companies.
This format of a live performance followed by a movie was common not only at the Uptown Theater, but also at earlier theaters in Junction City. Live accompaniment during the movie was also common. Background music was played by an organist and sometimes by an orchestra, which went along with the action on the screen.