Known Years of Operation

Dec 8, 1916 - Dec 31, 1930

Number of Seats



O. M. Whittington, Claude Smith, J. B. Sparks, L. C. Rudow
Grand Theatre Opening Day 1916
Grand Theatre Opening Day 1916

The Grand Theatre located in Bend, Oregon opened on December, 8th, 1916 (1) and doesn't have a definite closing date. In one newspaper clipping from May 1931 an advertisement for a “Free Dance” stated that the event was held in “the old Grand Theatre building” (14) and there are ads for the Grand Theatre up until October in 1930 so, it closed somewhere in between October of 1930 and May of 1931. The Grand Theatre had 300 seats and charged anywhere from 5 cents up to 50 cents. This theater was located on Bond St. in the historic O’Kane Building. In 1922, the owner of the O’Kane Building, Hugh O’Kane, was fined $25 for not heating the building at an appropriate temperature. J. B. Sparks, the owner of the Grand Theatre at the time, testified that he saw the temperature was 44 degrees when it was supposed to be kept at 65 degrees. This testimony was scrapped and O’Kane pled not guilty to the crime and it seemed as though nothing came of the case (6&7). The Grand Theatre seemed to be a place that everyone in Bend knew of to the extent that other companies described their locations as “Opposite Grand Theatre” so their customers knew to go to the Grand Theatre and then cross the street in order to find them (13).

Grand Theatre 1921
Grand Theatre in 1921


Bond St. in 1917
Bond St. in 1917

The Grand Theatre changed hands in 1923 and this new management promised to “always show the best of pictures and as soon after the first run in Portland as is possible” (10). In 1925, Bend joined Paramount Week and the Grand Theatre showed popular Paramount films at the time. Showing popular, well known films seemed to be something that the Grand really strived for and always included in their programming. This theater also held many local events for the community to attend including the Fire Department’s comedy show and a Wrestling Match (5&8). These events seemed like a great way to get people to come into the theater and be exposed to it and then want to come back for a film. Another way the Grand Theatre got people to come in was through their advertisements, contests, and deals. Their advertisements often had a very thick black border in order to separate it from the rest of the page (11) and sometimes they were shaped in a theme that was related to the film being shown. For example, they made an ad that was shaped like a cross when they showed, “The Life of Our Savior” on Good Friday (3). The Grand Theatre also held some Baby Contests that ranked the babies to see who the most popular baby in Bend was. The prizes included a gold locket and cash for runner ups (2). There was also “Booster Days” held at the Grand in which tickets were 11 cents only if you had the correct change (4). They also held special matinees for school children that cost 5 cents (12) in addition to their showings just for children that were free for children. At these showings they promised “a Souvenir to every boy and girl who [came] to meet [them]” (9). These promotional strategies seemed to work and happened very frequently.

Advertisement for Booster Matinee
Booster Matinee Day Advertisement


Works Cited

    1. Bend Bulletin, Dec. 8th, 1916, Page 4 
    2. Bend Bulletin, March 15th, 1917, Page 12
    3. Bend Bulletin, April 2nd, 1917, Page 3
    4. Bend Bulletin, October 21st, 1920, Page 4
    5. Bend Bulletin, November 26th, 1921, Page 4 
    6. Bend Bulletin, January 13th, 1922, Page 1 
    7. Bend Bulletin, January 17th, 1922, Page 1 
    8. Bend Bulletin, January 30th, 1922, Page 2 
    9. Bend Bulletin, December 14th, 1922, Page 6
    10. Bend Bulletin, November 1st, 1923, Page 5
    11. Bend Bulletin, October 26th, 1925, Page 5
    12. Bend Bulletin, May 14th, 1926, Page 5
    13. Bend Bulletin, August 9th, 1928, Page 15 
    14. Bend Bulletin, May 27th, 1931, Page 2
    15. Bend Bulletin, December 9th, 1916, Page 1
    16. Sanborn Maps 1917
    17. Sanborn Maps 1920
    18. Sanborn Maps 1928
    19. Sanborn Maps 1941
    20. Cinema Treasures - Grand Theatre