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WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 18, 2011, 09:23 PM

The movie theater in Crookston turns 100 this month

Crookston, MN (WDAY TV) -- It was built as a vaudeville show house and would host such people as Mark Twain and Houdini.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ, WDAY/WDAZ

Crookston, MN (WDAY TV) -- It was built as a vaudeville show house and would host such people as Mark Twain and Houdini.

It's not just great movie popcorn that has kept the Grand Theater in Crookston open for more than 1-hundred years. It's the three families who have owned the business. The latest is the Moore family who bought the theater six years ago.

Bob Moore / Owner of Grand Theater: It's very ornate. It just has the resemblance of walking into an old Catholic Church.

The theater which once had box seats, a balcony and could seat about 800 people was built for live entertainment acts.

Bob Moore: "It has an old stage it has all of the old dressing rooms left in it."

Movies began to show here in 1918 and haven't stopped since.

Brian Moore/ Theater Manager: “Longest continuous running moving theater in America."

Bob Moore: "It's the only theater running in the United States that has never shut down.”

That's a title the Moores wanted to keep when they renovated in 2006.

Bob Moore: “We ran with the small side open, the twin part that has been added since and continued to operate during he renovation."

With stadium seating you might not recognize the interior from 100 years ago, except for plaster wall art.

Brian: We kept the heads that where under the balcony and put them up in the theater.

The next big change here is the farewell to film in the projection booth where a digital projection system will replace it. Another necessary change to keep Grand going for another one-hundred years.

The city plans to hire a Mark Twain impersonator next year to perform at the theater.

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