Known Years of Operation

Mar 30, 1911 - Jan 1, 1968

Number of Seats



L.C. Morgan, W. J. Pancake, Van D. Brink

Additional Facts

  • Previously open as the Pictorium Theatre.
  • Prineville's only moving picture theater until 1938.

The Lyric Theater in Prineville, Oregon had a tumultuous start to its existence. The first stationary moving picture show opened in Prineville in 1909, as the Emporium Electric Moving Picture Show, with manager Frank E. Brocius. It is likely that this predecessor of the Lyric was actually run by his wife, however, as can be seen in Figure 1. The Emporium was located in the I.O.O.F. building in downtown Prineville, very close in proximity to the future location of the Lyric (Figure 2). In September 1910, the Emporium was purchased from Mrs. Brocius by L.C. Morgan, who would become the most important figure in shaping the Lyric’s history. There were a few license-timing issues during the purchase, but by February 1911, Morgan’s theater was up and running as the Pictorium, showing mostly one reel dramas and comedies (Figure 3). 

Between February and March 1911, the name of the theater was changed once more, from the Pictorium to the Lyric. The Lyric officially opened on March 30, 1911, and would stay open under that name until its final closure. During the period of time between Morgan buying the theater and it opening as the Lyric at its permanent address, the theater got potentially relocated several times, to a Mrs. Maling’s “new brick building” and then to the Glaze building, which is likely where it ended up (Figures 4 & 5).

In the first few months of its operation the Lyric continued to show small dramas and comedies, along with Westerns. It often ran ads in the paper advertising specific films, and there was a regular “At the Lyric” section in the Crook County Journal. As it gained more popularity, however, Morgan became fully involved with the exhibition scene and began to show larger pictures. He quit his job at the forest service and made several trips up to Portland to learn about the latest in theaters and moviegoing. By the end of 1911 the Lyric was showing three-reel films, and in 1912 big production company pictures were regularly shown. In fact, Morgan wrote an ad personally urging people to go see one such film, Dante’s Inferno (Figure 6).

Morgan operated the theater to great success until 1916, when he and his wife moved to Michigan to be near family, and the Lyric was sold to a W.J. Pancake. Pancake was a seasoned theater operator, making trips to Portland just as Morgan had done, and got praise for the quality of pictures he was able to show at the Lyric (Figure 7). As an interesting tie-in to the recent pandemic, there are several theater ads from 1919 instructing people to wear masks and stay protected (Figure 8). In 1920 the Lyric got its first pipe organ. The theater continued to show big films and operated as the primary theater of Prineville until 1938, when Ken Piercy bought the Lyric and also opened the Pine Theater. He continued to operate the Lyric for a while as a B theater, but after a fire in 1968, the Lyric was permanently closed. It had been open for almost sixty years.


Map of IOOF building and moving picture building
Figure 2. Map of I.O.O.F. building and Moving Picture building.
Description of problems with timing of getting the license from Mrs. Brocius
Figure 1. Mrs. Brocius



Announcement saying the Pictorium will move into Mrs. Maling's building.
Figure 4. Mrs. Maling's building.
List of films showing at the Pictorium
Figure 3. List of films showing at the Pictorium.


Morgan's personal ad in the paper to go see Dante's Inferno at the Lyric.
Figure 6. A personal note from Morgan urging people to see Dante's Inferno.
Announcement saying the Pictorium will relocate to the Glaze building.
Figure 5. The Glaze building.


Short snippet from the newspaper reminding people to wear a mask in the theater.
Figure 8. Children were ordered to wear a mask while performing at the Lyric.
Clipping saying that W.J. Pancake has been able to procure some quality films for the Lyric.
Figure 7. Praise for Mr. Pancake's theater running decisions.


Figure 1. Crook County Journal, 09-29-1910, p1

Figure 2. Digital Sanborn Maps, 12-19-1913, p2

Figure 3. CCJ, 02-02-1911, p2

Figure 4. CCJ, 12-22-1910, p1

Figure 5. CCJ, 01-26-1911, p2

Figure 6. CCJ, 04-25-1912, p4

Figure 7. Moving Picture World, 01-1918, p1609

Figure 8. CCJ, 10-02-1919, p12

Works Cited

  • Crook County Journal [Prineville], 1908-1921

  • Variety, 19 October 1913, p 876

  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1913, p2

  • Film Daily Yearbook, 1940

  • Moving Picture World, 16 June 1917, p1828

  • The Exhibitor, 19 August 1948, p3

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