Ideal Theatre - Ithaca MI

Address: 221 E Center
City: Ithaca
State: MI
Zip: 48847
County: Gratiot
Open:
Capacity:
Owner History:
Theater Type: Small Town Movie Palace
Number of visits to this page: 6354
General Information:

Source: Andy Gray

The Ideal Theatre, at 221 E. Center Street in Ithaca, Michigan. was a 1938 remodeling project for my grandfather's Johnson Construction Company. A newer bank building and a parking lot now occupy the site where the theater stood. Al Johnson left us with several color images that he took several years after remodeling the theater. The first is a street view taken in June 1949. A 1948 film "The Dude Goes West" appears on the marquee.

He shot the next street view in June 1950 when "Key to the City" was being shown. The last five color slides were taken inside the theater in September 1952. It's not known who the artist was, but the elaborate pastel murals in these images are very similar to murals in other Johnson theater projects (e.g. Flatroc, Harbor, Rapids and the "new" Hudson). The last slide shows a painting, perhaps by a local artist, showing a farm scene with cows, sheep and two horse-drawn sulkies.

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Info Updates:
2/23/2016 - Judy Riedel Tugen
Arthur Earl Gibbs owned the building. He died in 1924. He was married to Ethel Mae Beechler Gibbs. The building eventually became my mothers, Dora Arlene Gibbs Riedel. My Grandmother Gibbs owned and operated Ideal Theater while I was growing up. At least from the 40s until sometime in the early 60s when she sold it to my father, Robert Riedel. My father was the projectionist, my grandmother sold tickets and my uncle took tickets and was the usher. Not sure when it closed but I believe it was in the 70s. I was even taught how to run the old carbon arc projectors in my teens. I ran the popcorn machine from 1959-1961.
12/2/2003 - Box Office Magazine
Sept 1963 Issue - Robert Riedel reopened the Ideal at Ithaca September 19.
 Photos:10
Ideal Theatre - COURTESY AL JOHNSON
COURTESY AL JOHNSON
Ideal Theatre - COURTESY AL JOHNSON
COURTESY AL JOHNSON
Ideal Theatre - COURTESY AL JOHNSON
COURTESY AL JOHNSON
Ideal Theatre - COURTESY AL JOHNSON
COURTESY AL JOHNSON
Ideal Theatre - COURTESY AL JOHNSON
COURTESY AL JOHNSON
Ideal Theatre - COURTESY AL JOHNSON
COURTESY AL JOHNSON
Ideal Theatre - COURTESY AL JOHNSON
COURTESY AL JOHNSON
Ideal Theatre - FROM JACK MILLER
FROM JACK MILLER
Ideal Theatre - OLD PHOTO
OLD PHOTO
Ideal Theatre - OLD PHOTO
OLD PHOTO
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