The Pryor Jeffersonian, Pryor, OK 23 May 1963, Page 1
Allred Theater in Pryor, Oklahoma
Lineage: James Frederick, William Bailey, Frederick Copeland, Bailey, Jonathan, Theophilus, Solomon, Solomon born 1680 Lancashire, England
James Frederick Allred, known as "Fred" and/or "JF", began showing silent films in 1916 at the Allred Theater in Pryor, Oklahoma. The historic theater has Art Deco architecture outside and, following J. F. Allred's high standards, state-of-the-art technology inside. The theater was upgraded and improved as film and movie technology changed from "talkies" to Cinemascope. Mr. Allred added Stereophonic Sound in 1953.
Today, when you approach the theater, the first thing you notice is how nice it looks from the outside as you’re passing by. From its big triangle-shaped marquee reading “Allred” on both sides to its tiled ticket booth to its blinking light bulbs, you can’t miss it. It dominates the street. However, as you enter you’ll soon notice how altered the theatre is. Built in 1916 with 235 seats, it was given an Art Deco style makeover in 1934 with an increased seating capacity. On April 27, 1942 the theatre was virtually destroyed by a tornado. It reopened in 1942 as a 400-seat theatre.
Doyle Oliver purchased the theater from Mrs. Allred in 1963 and his son, Gene Oliver worked to restore the original interior and installing new equipment and technology to provide a Digital/3D Cinema experience. Its main auditorium was been divided into two screens with a third screen shooting off the back of the building. Oliver spared no expense in the renovation and the town celebrated his efforts.
The Allred was the first small-town independent theater owned in Green County to commit to DIGITAL/3D film projection. In 2009, Mayor Jimmy Tramel applauded Mr. Oliver’s investment in the community as he watches sales tax increases reflected by the Allred’s historic grosses. “Mr. Oliver’s commitment to modern movies has enhanced the downtown business area for Pryor. He helps all our community by enabling our citizens to shop in Pryor. Other businesses also benefit from the Allred’s presence,” said the Mayor. “Towns this size are very fortunate to have such an investment in the community. Every dollar spent at the Allred and other Pryor businesses helps the city and the county in these difficult times”. Sadly the atmosphere of the old place was altered somewhat when the theater eventually expanded to include 4th and 5th screens and auditoriums. Mr. Oliver sold it and it was closed in mid-August 2012, but reopened as a 3-screen cinema in 2013.
“Those of us involved in community development in cities the size of Pryor are very aware that our downtowns will not only survive, but thrive, if we focus on building them into the entertainment center of the town,” stated Barbara Hawkins, Chamber of Commerce Director. She continued, “Mr. Oliver began the trend for us in 2000, when he returned to Pryor, remodeled, expanded and turned the Allred Theater into a state-of-the-art movie complex. Because of the trend he set, we now have restaurants added to our downtown mix. Today, he is again going to the front of the pack, with his latest investment in DIGITAL/3D film projection. We are very grateful that he returned to Pryor and pursued his vision to help position our community as a leader in Northeast Oklahoma economies.”
Travel OK https://www.travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.27044