A big change ahead for historic Dells Theater

Eye on KELOLAND

For many of us, it’s been a long time since we’ve experienced the simple pleasure of going to a movie theater. Some theaters are back open with safety measures in place. One of those is the Dells Theater in Dell Rapids.

In this day of megaplexes and stadium seating, the Dells Theater, built in 1938, is…

“Like walking into a time machine,” said owner Jeff Logan.

Logan, who owns theaters in Mitchell and Huron bought the theater in 1998 and admits The Dells has a special place in his heart.

“We’ve poured a lot of blood sweat and tears into it over the years and we’ve brought in pieces, so in some of the decor and signage, we brought in some signage that used to be in the Roxy in Mitchell was art Deco,” said Logan.

Other 1930s art deco pieces were brought in from the State Theater in Huron and other places.

“Every detail should enhance the feeling and the atmosphere, these plaques came out of classic theaters in Chicago,” Logan said.

However, there are plenty of original pieces from 1938, from the original stencils on the ceiling, to the original curtains, to these lights installed 83 years ago designed to make the audience feel warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Also a sign of the past, this cry room.

“So mothers could come to the show, if their baby starts to fuss or toddler they can go in this room which is attached to the ladies room and there are two panes of glass, it’s a soundproof room, they have a speaker in there they can watch and hear the move and not bother the rest of the audience,” said Logan.

The Dells Theater features a modern projection room complete with a high definition projector. So you might say the theater combines the past and the present.

Brian Anderson is an important part of the present. He’s one of the managers and has worked for Logan for 11 years, first in Mitchell then in Dell Rapids. He believes a small-town theater has its perks.

“You know everybody I can see somebody coming into the theater from the street and I will basically have their popcorn and pop ready because you know they are regulars, said Anderson.”

Brian says coming to work in the historic building is a special experience.

“Working there for so many years, a part of it felt like it was mine, I was always there taking care of it, and its just, it felt like a second home to me, I loved it, and if I ever had the opportunity I said I’m not going to let it pass by, I would have to buy it,” Anderson said.

And so he is! Brian is no longer just a manager, he’s the new owner of the Dells Theater. And we are making the official announcement right now on KELOLAND.

“We would really only want to sell to the right person and Brian is definitely that person”

He might be nervous to be a first-time business owner, but you might say Brian’s childhood prepared him for the movies.

“I was in movies TV shows, commercials TV movies,”

Brian spent his early childhood in California and his parents encouraged him to seek acting jobs. Here he is, in the striped shirt, in an episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years.

“I did that for about two years and you know being behind the scenes, just being in my favorite shows that I watched all the time, and since a young age I’ve just loved movies, said Anderson.

Both Brian and Jeff hope that “love of movies” and the experience of going to a theater continue for the customers.

“Starting basically February looking at the schedule there’s a good stream of movies coming out. and that makes me feel a little bit better,” Anderson said.

“So the theater is in good hands and we feel very good about that,” said Logan.

Brian plans to increase the theater’s social media presence and rent out the theater for video game players who want to play on the big screen. He is hoping more new movies come out. “The Little Things” staring Denzel Washington will be the first movie under new ownership starting February 1.

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