Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I found this article in an old Dunn County Herald dated Dec. 5, 1918.

J. A. Berdahl, Dunn Center, N. D., Coming Young Exhibitor, Books Productions for His Town Before They Appear in Leading Cities of North Dakota:

Dunn Center, N. D., should be congratulated. That little city has a motion picture exhibitor who would make good anywhere. The community in which he lives owes Mr. Berdahl a debt.

Berdahl is well known among motion picture exhibitors throughout the northwest for his hustling enterprise.

Recently, while on a visit to Minneapolis, in search of new productions for his theatre for the coming season, Berdahl attended a private showing of "The Right to Happiness." This is the great production starring Miss Dorothy Phillips which begins its Minneapolis engagement Saturday, Sept. 27.

So pleased was Mr. Berdhal with "The Right to Happiness" that he immediately booked "Destiny" and "Paid in Advance," in which Miss Phillips also appeared in the leading roles.

"Destiny" recently appeared at the New Garrick theatre in Minneapolis, the leading motion picture theatre of the northwest, where it literally jammed the theatre for seven consecutive days. "Paid in Advance" is another production which will be caught in the tide of popular favor wherever it is presented.

Dunn Center, N. D., is indeed to be congratulated. As far as entertainment for the coming season is concerned, it will be on a par with Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the other large cities of the middle west. Watch out Dunn Center! Somebody is going to come along and steal that wide-awake theatre manager right from under your very nose if you don't watch out.
In the same issue, Dunn County Herald also printed a congratulatory letter from Universal Pictures' Director of Publicity, Cliff Blanchard. I'll include his last paragraph.

Dear Mr. Berdahl:

. . . In booking "The Right to Happiness," "Paid in Advance," and "Destiny," you have certainly prepared for a big season with these marvelous productions. I wonder if the people of your town really understand what you are doing for them in bringing such high class productions to them. Why "The Right to Happiness" has not yet concluded its New York appearance, and you have it already booked. I guess at's [sic?] putting Dunn Center on the theatrical map O. K.

Very Sincerely,
Cliff Blanchard

The theatre that the journalist and Blanchard (seemingly the same person) are both referring to is the abandoned Dvorak Auditorium, which I still would like to buy if I could. It's one of the last historic places in Dunn Center, and it needs a new roof before winter. I see that theatre as not only the heart of Dunn County, but also of all of western North Dakota.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you should write up a short essay including some history about it such as this. photos too of it in the past and as it is presently and send off some press packets of sorts to people who might have funds to help you. Act as if the theater is one of your new albums that you want to get made. Make it a rock star! Perhaps the Bill and Melinda gates foundation...Paul Allen, maybe there are some philanthropists in North Dakota. It's not a lost cause....