100 tidbits as Peerless turns 100

A century’s worth of facts gathered to commemorate theater’s June 13 opening

1. The Peerless Theatre opened June 13, 1919.
2. Its address is 212 S. Interocean Ave.
3. In 1998, the Adolph Coors Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant for redevelopment of the theater and youth facilities.
4. Original seating capacity was 450.
5. After being closed for 12 years, the Peerless reopened Christmas Day 1998.
6. The stage was originally 25 feet by 32 feet, large enough to accommodate road shows.
7. In 2010, “Up” began a series of movies played in Spanish.
8. A grand reopening was held March 13, 1999.
9. Bricks from the original building were saved, cleaned by FCCLA members and reused when the theater was reopened.
10. In 2004, local churches sponsored showings of “Passion of the Christ” for the Easter holiday, and 1,265 tickets were sold.
11. Golden Plains Recreation Center bylaws were adopted in 1989.
12. Holyoke’s trade at home campaign sponsored a free movie series in 1959.
13. Everette Harte painted murals in the building in the ’40s. 
14. A flag was put on display in the lobby to honor Operation: PC Cares in 2008.
15. Poor attendance led to reduced hours in 1961, and the theater was closed three nights a week.
16. There are 142 seats in the theater.
17. H.B. Phelps was the manager in 1919.
18. The current president of the GPRC/Peerless board is Erin LeBlanc.
19. “Jailhouse Rock” kicked off a classic film series in 2004.
20. Rows of chairs that rock were installed in 2000.
21. Nov. 3, 2012, was the first CineMagic fundraiser.
22. About 530 people attended “Prince of Egypt” over the reopening weekend.
23. A closed captioning device was added for hearing impaired patrons in 2018.
24. A Rec Center Task Force was established in 1988; it was the predecessor of GPRC.
25. In 2011, the Peerless was the Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.
26. In 1958, Hofmeister Bros. Inc. sponsored a 10-week matinee series.
27. Construction of the original theater began in 1918.
28. Fathom Events were brought to Holyoke in 2010.
29. Ralph and Linda Statz ran the Peerless Theatre from May 1979 through December 1986.
30. In 2001, the GPRC board began hosting Bingo twice a month to raise funds for the theater.
31. The inaugural CineMagic event generated over $23,000 in revenue.
32. Six operas were included in the 2011 Metropolitan Summer Encore Series.
33. A ladies’ lounge and restroom were opened in 1961 for the convenience and comfort of shoppers and visitors.
34. Audio description devices were added in 2018, making movies accessible for visually impaired patrons.
35. In a crazy coincidence, “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?” was playing when Holyoke lost power one night in 1969.
36. Still quite popular after 30 years, “Gone with the Wind” played Dec. 12-14, 1969.
37. A Simplex motion picture machine was used in 1919.
38. According to bylaws, the GPRC/Peerless board must have nine members, but more are allowed.
39. Holyoke Community Federal Credit Union donated the building in 1990 for the theater to reopen.
40. The theater was originally heated entirely with steam.
41. For most of the years since reopening, the Peerless Center has been the meeting place of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
42. Edna Lewis, manager at the time, announced a possible closing due to lack of patrons in 1958.
43. The theater’s name came from its Peerless sound system.
44. Adult tickets cost 33 cents, and children’s tickets were 17 cents when it first opened.
45. A bandstand was added to the Peerless in 1921 with funds raised from “Earthbound.”
46. In 1943, the theater was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Carl W. Jung and Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Brase.
47. Volunteers removed seats in 1990 and installed new ones in 1998 to prepare for reopening.
48. After the theater closed in 1986, Video Barn movie rental was housed in the building until 1989.
49. “The Eleventh Commandment” was the opening photoplay in 1919.
50. Unlike the current offerings, the confectionery at the front of the building in 1919 included tobacco and cigar cases.
51. In 1997, 25 people met and committed to raising $223,000 to reopen the Peerless.
52. While the current theater has a large vertical “Peerless” sign, a similar one read “Theatre” in the past.
53. R.E. Guild, an experienced theater operator from Nebraska, purchased the Peerless in 1920.
54. When it upgraded to 3D, the Peerless was the only theater from Fort Collins to North Platte, Nebraska, to offer 3D movies.
55. A cry room upstairs allows parents and guardians to watch movies even when a young child is with them.
56. When it reopened, the Peerless had the only digital sound system in northeast Colorado.
57. Regulation opera chairs were used when the theater initially opened.
58. Ticket prices in 1943 were 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults.
59. There is space for four wheelchairs in the theater.
60. A “Wall of Fame” in the lobby features donors that made the 1998 reopening possible.
61. In 1943, the theater was open every night of the week.
62. When the Peerless reopened, tickets cost $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, and $3 for preschoolers.
63. In the ’40s, the line to get into the show sometimes stretched south to the end of the block.
64. Today, 3D movies are shown on Sundays at 7 p.m.
65. Mr. and Mrs. Bert Lewis bought the theater in 1948.
66. Seven CineMagic events have helped fund the theater in recent years.
67. When it closed in 1986, the average film cost $400 to show.
68. A new sign with a digital marquee was installed in 2000.
69. Charles DeCastro bought the Peerless in 1963.
70. Today, a $500 PERK card will give a couple admission to movies for the entire year.
71. In the ’30s, Helen’s Beauty Salon was housed at the Peerless.
72. To this day, community members that volunteer in the concessions stand help keep the doors open.
73. When the theater closed in 1986, the average weekly attendance was 25-50 people.
74. A new gaming room opened in the basement in 2017.
75. The 2009 State FCE Convention was held at the Peerless Center.
76. “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones” was the first Fathom Event to show in 2010.
77. During movies, the gym is often used to play basketball.
78. In 1984, admission was $3 for adults and $1.50 for children.
79. Construction of the 50-foot-by-150-foot building was started by owners H.L. Timmons, Robert L. Johnston and H.C. Phelps.
80. At its start, films were shown every night except Sunday.
81. In 2000, an elevator was added.
82. Digital projection and 3D movies were introduced in 2011.
83. Children used to be seated by ushers in the first three rows.
84. Currently, movies are shown in Spanish on Friday nights and English Saturday-Monday.
85. Bricks used in the building’s construction were made in a kiln west of Holyoke.
86. The gym in the Peerless Center measures about 30 feet by 39 feet.
87. At one time, the theater featured a smoke room.
88. In 1943, films cost $10-$35.
89. Though movies continued to be shown, the Peerless Center closed for three months in 2002 to regroup financially and reevaluate business practices.
90. In 1991, the building’s roof caved in.
91. GPRC’s first paid director was hired in 1995 with a grant from Youth Crime Prevention and Intervention.
92. The Peerless partnered with Christian Theatrical Releasing in 2013 to bring faith-based and family films to the screen.
93. When Ralph and Linda Statz purchased the Peerless, they converted the living quarters above the lobby into a rental apartment.
94. When Edna Lewis owned the theater, she traveled to Denver to preview movies rather than booking through traveling salesmen.
95. During Charles DeCastro’s ownership, the painted murals were covered by wallpaper ones.
96. After reopening, the dance floor was installed in the basement, and various dance classes have been taught there since.
97. In the ’40s, average attendance was 75-100 people each week.
98. As it does today, the original theater had offices on the second floor.
99. In addition to previews, toons and newsreels used to show before the films began.
100. Today, five people are employed by the Peerless.

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