Clampers honor Fallon Theatre’s centennial

Plaque recognizes the 1920 opening of the iconic downtown business

The Julia Bulette 1864 chapter and its outpost Copper Queen 1915 of E Clampus Vitus recognized the Fallon Theatre’s centennial, which was Dec. 20, 2000, with a plaque. In the back are Mayor Ken Tedford, left, Mike Berney, center, and Dr. Stuart Richardson from the Fallon Community Theatre nonprofit organization. In front, from left, are Congressman Mark Amodei; City Councilwoman Karla Kent and Glen Perazzo, Fallon Community Theatre; and Joe Macduff and Scott Reed, the Julia Bulette 1864 chapter and its outpost Copper Queen 1915 of E Clampus Vitus.

The Julia Bulette 1864 chapter and its outpost Copper Queen 1915 of E Clampus Vitus recognized the Fallon Theatre’s centennial, which was Dec. 20, 2000, with a plaque. In the back are Mayor Ken Tedford, left, Mike Berney, center, and Dr. Stuart Richardson from the Fallon Community Theatre nonprofit organization. In front, from left, are Congressman Mark Amodei; City Councilwoman Karla Kent and Glen Perazzo, Fallon Community Theatre; and Joe Macduff and Scott Reed, the Julia Bulette 1864 chapter and its outpost Copper Queen 1915 of E Clampus Vitus.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

The Fallon Theatre received a special recognition on Sept. 11 to honor the iconic movie house for its 100 years.
The Julia Bulette 1864 chapter and its outpost Copper Queen 1915 of E Clampus Vitus, which presented a plaque to the Fallon Theatre group, is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of the West’s heritage. Since it opened on Dec. 20, 1920, the theater has been one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in Nevada, and the building rises above the other downtown businesses with its tall, iconic Fallon neon sign and marque on 71 S. Maine St.
“It was heartwarming to see a large group like that recognize the Fallon Theatre,” said Dr. Stuart Richardson, president of the Fallon Community Theatre.
Richardson bought the theater in 2014, and then the nonprofit theater group bought the business from the Fallon optometrist with a grant from the state. He said the community rallied to ensure the landmark remained in Fallon and still lit up Maine Street.
“This is really neat,” said Mike Berney, past president of Fallon Community Theatre. “This is a gift to the city and theater and community.”
When the theater celebrated its centennial in late December, guests saw the movie, “Humoresque,” which was shown on the same date in 1920. Other silent movies from that era also played on the big screen during the open house.
During the night, guests took tours to view the projector room, the two auditoriums, the basement, which is now used to store supplies, and the upstairs that now houses a photography studio. Before the remodeling the top floor, a three-bedroom apartment overlooked Maine Street.
Berney said the Clampers approached the theater group and asked if it would be interested in receiving a commemoration for the theater’s centennial, which was last year on Dec. 20.
What made it special for Berney and the members of the theater group is the presentation occurred after the city’s 9/11 ceremony. Both Mayor Ken Tedford and Congressman Mark Amodei attended the dedication.
“This is very nice for our community,” Tedford said. “This (theater) group has worked very hard to bring the theater back to where it was years ago.”
Tedford thanked the Clampers for their generosity and outlined a future project.
“We have a project to re-do that marquee and return it to its original appearance,” he said.
E Clampus Vitus has chapters in California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and outposts in other western states. Secretary Joe Macduff from the Julia C. Bulette 1964 Chapter said it’s an honor for the chapters to preserve the region’s history. He said each chapter has a goal of presenting a minimum of one plaque each year.
“We are putting up five around the area,” he said, grinning in approval.
The idea for the theater’s plaque was inspired by Clamper Scott Reed. He said his girlfriend’s father is also a Clamper, and he approached the organization about honoring the theater.
“Joe and I presented it to the (theater) board here,” Reed added.
While the Julia Bulette Chapter originates in Virginia City, Macduff said Copper Queen 1915 includes all of Churchill and Mineral counties and a majority of Lyon County. Copper Queen 1915 also had a spaghetti fundraiser for the Churchill County Museum several years ago.


Steve Ranson/LVN
Two dozen members from the Julia Bulette 1864 chapter and its outpost Copper Queen 1915 of E Clampus Vitus were in Fallon on 9/11 to present a plaque to the Fallon Theatre.




FALLON THEATRE
In operation for more than 100 years, the Fallon Theatre is the oldest continuously operating theatre in Nevada. Originally called the Rex Theatre, this building embodied the dream of traveling vaudeville performers John W. Flood and his wife Mabelle, who were well-known for their acrobatic and singing talents. Designed by prominent Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps to be “the finest theatre in Nevada,” the Rex opened on December 30, 1920 as a vaudeville theater and silent movie house.
With the introduction of synchronized sound into motion pictures in the late 1920s, the building was remodeled and redesigned for the new talking picture shows. The original balcony was eliminated and the design changed to a Spanish motif including arches, cove ceilings, and black iron trim. It reopened as the Fallon Theatre on September 1, 1930, as one of only two theatres in Nevada with the technology to play “talkies.”
The Fallon Theatre provided live entertainment and films throughout the years with only a few interruptions. Fires in both 1939 and 1943 necessitated closure and repair. An earthquake in the summer of 1954 caused the theatre to close again, though the structural damage to the theatre was minimal. While repairs were taking place after the earthquake, a wide screen was installed so the people could enjoy recently introduced CinemaScope films. Additionally, in 1983 the theatre was closed for remodeling as the single auditorium was divided into two theatres when a new projection room with soundproof walls was added.
A group of volunteers created Fallon Community Theatre, Inc., a non-profit organization, in 2014. In 2017, they purchased the Fallon Theatre with funding from a Community Development Block Grant. The objective of FCT, Inc., is to renovate this historical building and maintain it as a modern cinema and community center.
Dedicated on September 11, 2021
Copper Queen 1915 Outpost of Julia C. Bulette 1864 E Clampus Vitus

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