The Rex theater, located on A Street West, seemed to be amongst the most popular places of amusement for citizens of Vale Oregon throughout the 1900s and into the early 2000s. Astonishingly enough, the Rex theater stayed in business from 1914 all the way until 2016 when it was shut down. The original owners of the theatre in 1914: Hadley and Cooper, the owners of the Rex theater, were two men who previously owned the Isis Theater; the two men took all of their equipment from their previous location and brought it to the Rex to turn it into a fully functioning theater. The image shown below is an article from Malheur Enterprise which is a weekly newspaper in Vale, Oregon, that has been in business since 1909 (1); the article addresses the opening day of the Rex theater, stated as being "Malheur County's Largest Playhouse...", from the previous Monday as well as introducing the manager and owners of the theater. On October 4, 1914, I.B.Quisenberry (manager, who can be seen in a tagged photo below) opened the doors of the theater to host the local high school's play which was said to have filled all 370 chairs of the theater.
The Rex theater was a theater that hosted several different types of acts. Although the local high school's play debuted the Rex on opening night there were motion pictures, serials and other types of acts that filled up the theater's schedule. On October 17, 1914, only a few weeks after the opening day of the Rex, an advertisement came up in the Malheur Enterprise which entailed the promotion of a serial that would begin showing at the theater soon as well as a peculiar act from 'Madame Viola'. As seen in the article below, a new serial will be coming to the Rex theater and begin playing just a few days after the article posting. "Lucille Love: A Girl of Mystery" was a serial directed by Francis Ford and produced by Universal Film Manufacturing Company (2). "Lucille Love" is addressed as being a big hit for the folk of Vale, Oregon, which shows why the new serial, "The Trey O' Hearts", will be another popular show for the town of Vale at the Rex theater. As noted above, the Rex theater hosted other acts besides motion pictures, serials, plays and dance, as seen in this article, the Rex was the host of 'Madame Viola' who's act includes trained birds and other animals. This article notes that 'Madame Viola' is a returning act to Vale, Oregon, and something that cannot be missed.
In the below article, again from the Malheur Enterprise, it is written that there was an accident that occurred with the Rex theater's projector. The Rex had a Powers Motion Picture Projector; Powers Motion Pictures Projectors were motion picture projectors that were originally manufactured by The Powers Peerless Cameragraph Company of New York in the year 1906. This year matches with the opening of the theater as well as the timing of this accident. The projector had to be taken to Portland in order for it to be fixed, which took only a few days; while the Powers projector was being fixed in Portland, Quisenberry started using an old projector from the theater he managed before the Rex. It seemed that the accident that occurred with the projector was a big enough deal to post on the front page of the local newspaper to let the town's people know that the theater will be up and running again shortly.
The advertisements posted below, taken from the Malheur Enterprise on April 28, 1917 and June 29, 1918, show as an example of the types of ads the Rex would publish in the paper as well as showing the average price for tickets for patrons. The first ad is a weekly schedule for the theater; these weekly schedules were very common for the Rex. In the schedule, it shows that on Thursday and Friday the theater will be showing local films. Local films were very common at the theater as they were commonly shown every week. At the bottom of the weekly schedule, the price of admission is listed for the theater; 5 cents and 15 cents, as listed, was a very common price for the theater when showing motion pictures. However, in the following advertisement for the play, "The Beast of Berlin", it shows that the price of admission was 25 cents and 50 cents. This shows that there were different prices of admission at the Rex depending on the type of act they will be hosting. Something special that is noted in the second article is the fact that it is quoted, "New York stood up and cheered like mad--so will you when you see it..."; this quote shows that the Rex theater had a high enough reputation to get the same acts from a market as big as New York.
Something noteworthy about the Rex was expressed in the Malheur Enterprise on August 28, 1920. In this article posting, it is noted that the Rex theater will undergo a "redecoration" under the new management of Otto J. Petrich. It is stated that when new management took over the theater, they believed the theater was in a run down condition meaning they would add in some new aspects to make the theater first class. In the article it is addressed that the management will be adding a larger picture onto a larger screen as well as adding in new designs and decorations. This article proves that the Rex and its management was proud of their theater and made it a priority to keep up on the building and make it a place where people would be proud to go.
One promotional strategy from 1922 is illustrated in the clipping below. The article doubles as a coupon, and addresses that the Malheur Enterprise and manager of the Rex theater, Otto J. Petrich, came to agreements that this specific advertisement in the paper would work as a 15 cent voucher towards an admission to the theater for the coming Saturday and Sunday's performance. It seems as if this strategy would work very well for the theater, as the Malheur Enterprise is the only newspaper in the town and something that was widely read during these times.