A new motion picture theater, especially one that had the first air-conditioned interior in Rogers, was big news in 1927, and the Victory Theater management promoted its opening on a cold December night to the fullest. The silent movie American Beauty plus an Our Gang comedy were the opening bill in the 750-seat theater. In 1929 Clarke arranged for a new sound system to be installed to accommodate “talking pictures.” For three decades the Victory Theater thrived, but by the mid-1950s competition from drive-in movies and then from multiscreen cinemas in nearby cities threatened the survival of such small-town, privately owned theaters as the Victory. Ownership and management changed a number of times during these lean years. In 1994 the Rogers Little Theater board of directors purchased the building and had it rehabilitated as a dinner theater. The auditorium now has a stepped floor to accommodate table arrangements for dining and good sight lines, while the original balcony is theater seating only. The minimal stage of the original auditorium was replaced by an enlarged thrust stage suitable for drama and varied stage performances. The building announces its function in the large rectangular marquee and the ticket box at the center of the entrance, but its exterior appearance has residential Mission Revival touches in the large mullioned windows and red tile roof over its central portion.
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Rogers Little Theater (Victory Theater)
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