The Two Fallon Theatres

Destroyed Boutique, 1954
This photo shows interior damage to a dress boutique downtown after the 1954 earthquake. The Fallon Theatre, not far away, only needed minor repairs.

The Fallon Theatre remained much the same for the next 50 years. Thanks to Flood, who used materials to make the building fire-resistant, and Architect Frederic DeLongchamps, who designed it to be earthquake-resistant, it survived several fires and the major earthquakes of the 1950s with relatively little damage.

1980s Fallon Theatre Newspaper Clippings

The next big change came in 1983. Until then, The Fallon Theatre had only had one screen. Though more people could fit in a single showing, this meant that the theater could only handle one movie at a time.

Fallon Theatre Schedules

Monthly calendars were sent out to the people of Fallon, showing what would be available and when. By the 1980s, Bob and Mary Erickson owned both the Fallon Theatre and the Drive-in and advertised both together. What differences do you notice between the two? How is this different from what you see at the Fallon Theatre and Fox Peak today?

1980s Fallon Theatre Newspaper Clippings Fallon Theatre November 2019
A "Newie": This is one of the film cameras purchased in 1983. This change helped keep pace with movie technology.
Fallon Theatre November 2019
The Fallon Theatre was showing its age. These indents in the floor were worn by decades of projectionists standing in the booth, and this was hardly the worst of the wear.

 However, it was around this point that things were beginning to change. The expansion of cable tv, VHS, and home rentals each took a section of the Fallon Theatre’s market and it became harder and harder to make ends meet.  Something needed to be done to save the Fallon Theatre.  

Film Splicer

Showing a film used to be a lot more complicated than it is now! Before the 1980s, switching the reel meant switching between two projectors every 15 minutes or so.

In 1983 the Fallon Theatre switched to a “platter” system where six rolls of film would be spliced together and fed through one projector. These platters were about 4 feet in diameter. Then at the end of the run, the film had to be cut apart with a splicer like this and returned.