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Theater holds history, provides entertainment

September 25, 2008

The line of people standing and waiting is followed up through Veteran’s Park, past Foster Sports and into the classic Falls Theatre. Inside there is a young boy collecting ticket money, but gives no ticket. Instead he hopes you enjoy the show.

The next line is for the fresh popcorn that cost 50 cents, or a candy bar for 75 cents. The low prices of the popular entertainment venue in town are one of its many features. An old fashioned movie poster of “A Sainted Devil,” starring Rudolph Valentino, adds to the classic film noir feeling of the theater’s lobby with a classic cinema-style bench sitting in the center near a velvet rope.

The Falls Theatre is a family owned local business of River Falls that provides first run movies at an affordable price. Located on Main Street in downtown, the theater attracts people of all ages that are willing to pay only $3 to see one of the latest films in a River Falls historical landmark building.

“I go there because it’s super cheap and they have decent movies,” said Chris Solomon, student and movie-goer. “One thing I do like about it and don’t like about it is that they only have one movie. But you can ask ‘Want to go see the movie?’”

Before the theater was built, the building was a confection shop and harness shop from 1884 to 1912. In 1912, the plot housed a tailor, a dry cleaning business and a pool hall, according to the Historic Preservation Committee of Pierce County. The theater was built in 1927 by Emil Carisch and P.W. Ramer, who was once on the Board of Normal School Regents and who the UW-River Falls’ athletic field is named after.

Stan McCulloch then purchased the theater in 1972 as “a labor of love,” according to the theater’s Web site.

McCulloch owned the theater for over 30 years before his     . His family has taken over the theater, but has kept it running successfully with the same values he had instilled in the business. Michelle Maker, McCulloch’s youngest daughter, is the current owner of the theatre.

In the lobby is a trophy on display from a Kare-11 special in 2003 for the Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award. Kare-11 reported on the theater, or “soft theater,” for “Stan’s Legacy,” which is also a book that is available for purchase online and in various local businesses of River Falls.

Most movies shown are at both the 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. showings, but occasionally there are two different films. On Saturday and Sunday there is a 2 p.m. matinee showing. Movies change once a week or every other week on Fridays.