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Published December 19, 2011, 01:10 PM

From Houdini to Digital Tech, Crookston's Grand Theater Celebrates 100 Years

CROOKSTON, MN (WDAZ-TV) - The Grand Theater in Crookston will complete it's 100th year this month. It was built as a vaudeville showhouse and would host such people as Mark Twain and Harry Houdini.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

CROOKSTON, MN (WDAZ-TV) - The Grand Theater in Crookston will complete it's 100th year this month.

It was built as a vaudeville showhouse and would host such people as Mark Twain and Harry Houdini.

It's not just great movie popcorn that has kept the Grand Theater in Crookston open for more than 100 years, it's the three different families that have owned business over that time.

The latest is the Moore family who bought the theater six years ago.

"It's very ornate. It just has the resemblance of walking into an old Catholic Church," owner Bob Moore said.

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

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

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

"Longest continuous running moving theater in America," theater manager Brian Moore said.

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

That's a title the Moores wanted to keep when they decided to do major renovation in 2006.

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

With the stadium seating, you might not recognize the interior from 100 years ago, except for the some of the original plaster pieces of wall art the Moores wanted are part of the decor.

"We kept the heads that were under the balcony and put them up in the theater," Brian Moore said.

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 100 years.

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