Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, June 7, 2015, pg. 6
This is a special month in Albion history. It was exactly 100 years ago on Saturday, June 12, 1915 that George Bohm (1890-1951) opened his first Theatre in Albion. It was located at 106 W. Porter St. in the old Commercial Hotel building, which we knew as the "Moose" building. The Theatre was located on the right (east) side of the ground floor, next to the arched "tunnel" between it and the Eslow Block on the corner.
The wiring for the new Theatre was done by Nick Otto, an expert electrician from Kalamazoo who did the wiring for the Butterfield theatres. The original admission prices were 10¢ for adults, and 5¢ for children. In those days, that would have meant a buffalo nickel for the kids.
More was included for the price however, for in those days the films were silent. So the music was provided by live musicians. George Bohm was an accomplished musician, who had played four years with the Boos’s Band out of Jackson, and had played in the Athenaeum theatre orchestra. He utilized his siblings as the Bohm Saxophone Quartet, consisting of George, Albert (1887-1960), Gustave (1897-1967), and Mayta (1894-1950). They not only performed at Bohm films, but across Southern Michigan at various events. George also provided his own orchestra at his theatre.
The grand opening on June 15, 1915 was a great success. The Theatre was filled to capacity, and owner George had to turn away at least 500 people from the inability to seat them all. Bohm initially showed Mutual, and Fox Films silent movies. For the historical record, the first film that George Bohm showed was "Ambrose’s Fury," a 1 reel (12 minutes) Keystone Films flick. It starred Mack Swain, Louise Fazenda, and Alice Davenport. The film was directed by Dell Henderson, and produced by Mack Sennett. You can view it on Youtube today, complete with piano music in the background. The second film that same evening was "In the Switch Tower," (2 reels long), a drama also released in 1915. You can look up reviews and statistics for both films on Google search.
The first Bohm’s Theatre was only here for a little over a year. In 1916 George purchased the larger Censor Theatre at 223 S. Superior St. and thereby closed his W. Porter St. location. George operated the Censor Theatre until the newly built Bohm Theatre opened in December, 1929.
We previously wrote about the first Bohm Theatre in the March 11, 2011 edition of this column where we pictured the front of the building. So from our Historical Notebook this week we present the Bohm Theatre Grand Opening advertisement on the front page of the Albion Evening Recorder, June 12, 1915.
The Bohm Theatre Grand Opening advertisement
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic