Historic cinema screen reappears at Donna Reed Theater | New
Mahrt noted that during his research into the opera minutes he discovered that John Fastje, who owned and operated Fastje Furniture in Denison for many years, was also one of the silent film pianists.
Two ancient banners, proclaiming “Bank Night” at the theater, were also found in the basement.
“They were used to a lot of (attendance) at the movies in the 1930s because people were looking for an escape, but in the 1940s and 1950s it really went down,” he said.
One solution was to organize “bank evenings” where participants could win a lottery based on the number of tickets or seats.
“They had a price of $ 50, a price of $ 100, and a price of $ 250,” Mahrt said. “A bank would sponsor it to get people to come. “
He said the plan is to “hang up the banners so people can see them.”
The theater’s original Greek backgrounds, which have appeared in many photos from older high schools, are stored locally and could also be returned to the theater to help show the changes over the decades, Mahrt said.
Mahrt, who is an industrial technology teacher at Denison High School, has his “The Construction World” class at the theater.
“We do a bunch of stuff in the theater to winterize and clean up – basically Roy (Voggesser’s) checklist that he couldn’t do,” he said. “We walk through, checking the boxes and fixing the windows he always wanted to fix.”