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Realto Theatre, 1926.

The Realto was originally intended to be a vaudville theatre, but was converted to motion pictures in 1922. Its opening film was William C. de Mille's "Nice People" with accompaniment by the Chicago Netto Ladies Orchestra. In 1928, the theatre converted to talkies.


Iris Theatre, 1922

The Iris was constructed by William Roy Sample in 1912. The theatre had 733 seats. Previously, he had operated the Bell Theatre in the old Casper Town Hall. During the days of silent movies, the Iris accompanied the action on the screen with the Iris Orchestra. In the early 1920's the theatre presented in addition to a feature film, musical reviews complete with soft shoe dancing, comedy specialties, and "big shoe" dancing. Occasionally the review would also be presented on Tuesday night. The Iris Orchestra, conducted by Sample, also played for dances on Wednesday and Saturday nights in the first floor ballroom of the Masonic Temple. The ballroom was converted to a lodge room in 1964. By 1922 both the Lyric and the America had been acquired by the Bishop-Cass chain out of Denver. Admission to the Iris for all seats at the time of the above photo was 40. At the time, in addition to the America, were two other theatres, the Columbia which advertised as "Casper's Family Theatre" located on West First Street off of Center, and the Wyoming where seats ran from 10 to 25. Later with the opening of the "New Lyric Theatre," later known as the Rialto, the Iris became the Rex Theatre.


Center Street, 1947. Photo by Thomas G. Carrigen.

On the left is the art deco America Theatre also owned by William Sample prior to his death. Further down the street is the Rialto with the false parapet. .


Left, Advertising Photo, Hotel Gladstone;
Right, Rex Theatre, 1939. Photo by Thomas Carrigen

Following World War I, Thomas G. Carrigen (1896-1967) took a job as a traveling washing machine saleman and was in Casper when he was let go. He obtained employment as a draftsman. Subsequently he was employed as a projectionist in one of the theatres. In 1922, with his wife, he opened a photgraphy studio on Center Street.


Center Street, approx. 1947. Photo by Thomas Carrigen.

On the left hand side of the street is the Rex. Directly across the street is the America Theatre. On the exteme right hand side of the photo is the Rialto. During Saturday Matinees, children were admitted to the Rex for ten cents.


Southwest corner of the Rialto Theatre, approx. 1986. National Park Service Photo.

The Realto is now on the National Register.


Center Street, approx. 1956. Photo by Thomas Carrigen.

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