The Arnprior Theatre
was purchased by the O'Brien Entertainment Corporation about 1928. It
was modernized to be a motion picture theatre and re-opened in 1929. This
is the earliest photo we have of the O'Brien Theatre circa 1930.
||In 1949, air conditioning was added and the coal boiler was converted
to oil. Around this time they "modernized" the theatre
again. They removed the great awning and sign, and put on a neon
sign with triangular marquee.
This was to stay until 1999. In 1950, the owners put plywood in
the lobbies to square everything off - which hid the decorative
arches between the foyer and lobby.
By the 70's, the O'Brien Entertainment Corporation had sold its
five theatres to a Toronto based group which, over the years, sold
off each theatre to individuals.
By 1989 not much had changed at the Arnprior Theatre.
When buyers Kevin Marshall and Murray Adolph bought
the building in 1999, it was delapidated.
Photo shows the old ticket booth,
now the back of the office.
Photo shows where
the new ticket office resides.
On July 1, 1999, Kevin quit his camerman position at CHRO and started
ripping out seats in his new theatre. Old ductwork was removed, the plywood
was taken down - to discover the arches intact. All the old stuff was
removed, and the building brought back to its original look. But much
needed to be done.
We extended the balcony of 1923, moved the bathrooms to the main floor
(from basement), moved the concession area back to allow more room in
the lobby, put in new seats and new projection gear.
Grand Opening was June 2, 2000, eleven months and 1 day after Kevin and
his buddy hauled out 300 seats (approx. 2 tons of parts) to make way for
Since that time, we've painted the outside of the building. In 2003, Dolby
surround sound and DTS (Digital Theatre Sound) was added and new speakers
and subwoofer on the main floor were installed.
In the future? One or two more screens, hopefully a large awning and O'Brien
sign similar to the 1930 model. See you at the show!