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Sunday, Sep. 14, 2014

Tiptonville theater making debut after renovation

Sunday, November 22, 2009

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Eric Burress of Burress Flooring Company in Troy spreads an adhesive on the floor as his son, Tyler, watches. They planned to finish laying the wood-grain tile in The Strand Theater on Friday.
Tiptonville Main Street is rolling out the red carpet Saturday night as it opens The Strand Theater for the first time in more than four decades.

The old motion picture theater has been renovated - complete with a new roof, a new heating and cooling system, a new ceiling and new sheetrock on the walls. The original seats were refurbished. And, light fixtures reminiscent of the theater's heyday have been installed.

To celebrate the theater's new look, Main Street plans to hold a dinner and grand opening ceremony Saturday. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Street Center with a menu that includes roast beef with a horseradish sauce, potato casserole, green beans, fruit salad, rolls and carrot cake.

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Décor, such as this in the concessions area, recall The Strand Theater's history. The theater was built in 1915 and showed movies for several decades before becoming a Masonic Hall.
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Old-fashioned sconces and the refurbished seats bring grandeur back to The Strand Theater in Tiptonville. A grand opening will be held Saturday.
After the dinner, participants will stroll down a red carpet to the theater itself. Tours begin at 7:30 p.m. Chilled white grape juice and Hollywood mints will be served in the lobby. Visitors will be asked to take a seat at 8:15 p.m. as Ray Allison plays show tunes on an organ donated in honor of Hubert and Laverne Perkins. Tiptonville Mayor Danny Cook will recognize dignitaries and present awards to those who helped make the theater possible. Among those are Forcum-Lannom, which provided the sheetrock, and Lowe's of Dyersburg, which donated the paint.

Tickets are $15 for the dinner and theater program or $8 for the theater program itself. Tickets are available at Tiptonville City Hall and must be purchased by Wednesday because city hall will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Proceeds from the events will be used to retire the theater debt. Tiptonville Main Street Treasurer Suzanne Davis said the organization has invested about $100,000 in the theater and received $50,000-$75,000 in free labor from Northwest Correctional Complex prison crews working under the direction of Steve Jones and Gerald Bell.

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Posters depicting movies filmed at Reelfoot Lake are highlighted in the lobby of the renovated Strand Theater in Tiptonville. A grand opening is planned Saturday.
Davis said the renovations wouldn't have been possible without $80,000 worth of grants from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the now-disbanded Kiwanis Club as well as generous donations from local building supply companies.

Citizens also purchased plaques for each of the 259 seats in the theater. At $50 each, the plaque fund-raiser generated another $12,950 for the renovations.

Now, Main Street is selling spots on a wall plaque in the lobby for $25 a name.

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The marquee may be gone, but the Strand Theater is almost ready for opening night. The renovated movie theater in Tiptonville will be open for tours Saturday night. Tiptonville Main Street is encouraging people to make a night of it with a dinner at the Main Street Center before the grand opening.
The lobby features the curved walls and the tan and red tiles laid when the theater was built in 1915. Movie posters from Hollywood's Golden Age are featured along with posters from movies filmed at Reelfoot Lake: "Raintree County" and "U.S. Marshals." Davis said the group is trying to get a copy of the "Mystery Lake" movie poster, too.

Main Street officials hope the 45-by20-foot stage will eventually become home to plays, seminars and, perhaps, even movies. Davis said a theater owner in Memphis had promised to provide some old movie equipment, but he died before the donation was made. So, she's looking and waiting for some movie equipment. The theater has sound equipment, but it still needs a curtain for the stage.

A new marquee outside would be nice, too, Davis said. The old marquee and the old concrete film projection room were removed. Both were causing structural problems to the theater's front wall.

Among those being honored Saturday night are: U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Yates and Sons in Tiptonville; Forcum-Lannom in Dyersburg, Cargill Corporation, Reelfoot Lumber Company, Lowe's of Dyersburg, Bill Stalnaker, Harmony Lodge No. 184 and the Kiwanis Club. Recognition will also be given to the Northwest Correctional Complex staff, including Tony Parker, Tommy Mills (who used to work at The Strand), Gerald Bell and Steve Jones.



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