In the 1940s, the Conway Theatre on Front Street and the much older Grand Theatre on Oak Street were both owned by Malco Theatres which had taken over operation of the Grand in 1935. The manager of both was Mayor James J. Kane until the mid-1940s and then by Sidney B. “Robbie” Robinson.
During World War II, both theatres often showed news reels of the war effort and even led war bond campaigns, showing a feature film to those who purchased “E” bonds as well as showing a film as part of a recruitment effort to find workers for the ordnance plants nearby.
Both theatres also participated in the annual Conway Kiwanis Christmas party for local children. All Faulkner County children would be bused to the theater to watch a feature film. After the show, as the children were leaving, a Santa Claus would give each child a paper sack with candy, fruit and nuts.
The Grand Theatre closed in 1956 but the Conway Theatre continued to attract moviegoers until the 1970s when the new Cinema I and II opened in the Faulkner County Shopping Center between Wal-Mart and Kroger. The Conway Theatre soon closed and the building stood vacant until the early 1990s when it was torn down. There is still on the east side of Front Street by the Brick Room where the movies used be.
This generic ad which resembled a business card, was used to promote both theatres. To see more Faulkner County artifacts, visit the Faulkner County Museum, its Facebook page or its website, www.faulknercounty museum.org. Help preserve our county’s history with your tax-deductible donation.