ROAD TRIPPIN' Marshalltown: Film History
Monday January 18, 2016 —
MARSHALLTOWN, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - From the outside you can almost imagine the excitement as movie lovers paid sixty cents at the box office and went inside to watch the silver screen flicker to life on the night of the grand opening gala at the new RKO Orpheum theater in 1949. Its the first one the studio built right after World War II and it sent one of its biggest stars of the time, Roy Rogers sidekick Gabby Hayes, to welcome the Marshalltown audience into the new palatial 900 seat theater. Its the kind of place that did so well for decades in small towns across Iowa and then died a slow death at the hands of multiplexes in malls. The same thing happened here as the grand old theater was boarded up and a date with the wrecking ball seemed certain. Fortunately the golden age of cinema lives on, thanks to caring people, grants from the state and the Iowa Valley Community College who came to the rescue with a vision for the future. Today you can still see a movie here, in the beautifully renovated 152 seat theater. You can still grab popcorn and Milk Duds at the concession stand and best of all you can wander the two story gallery that shows the incredible history of Iowa film. Posters, pictures and memories from Field of Dreams and Twister to The World According To Garp, Its a Wonderful Life and The Bridges of Madison County are all here. Also a running filmography on Iowa actors from John Wayne and Donna Reed to Ashton Kutcher and Elijah Wood. Theres also a special collection dedicated to one of the most famous international film stars to ever live. Jean Seberg grew up right here in Marshalltown and was discovered by director Otto Preminger on the University of Iowa campus. It is truly an amazing piece of living history where movie making and watching can be celebrated.