Theater draws crowd for final show

Late-comers line up for tickets just before "Bolt" starts Sunday night at OK Theatre. The facility is now closed for business, though it is in the market for a buyer.<br> Elane Dickenson/Chieftain

Nearly 115 county residents watched the last picture show at OK Theatre on the last Sunday in December, several times the normal Sunday crowd.

"There's a lot more here than usual," said co-manager Bonnie Theabolt, who estimated the normal Sunday audience at 30 to 40. "Everyone knows that it is the last movie, and wanted to see it. Everyone's really sad about the theater closing."

OK Theatre has been an institution in Enterprise since 1918.

David and Lori Brandt, who now live in California, announced at the beginning of December that they were closing the historic theatre at the end of the month. The Brandts bought the theatre in 2001 and made many improvements.

However, the couple's daughter died last year, and unable to sell the business, they have been dividing their time between California and Wallowa County.

The theatre building is still on the market, however, and Theabolt is cautiously optimistic about the future.

"People are still looking. Hopefully it's not the last movie forever," she said, adding that the Realtor had received several calls after a story about approaching closure appeared in the Chieftain. "(Co-manager) Phil (Caldwell) just showed a couple around last night."

"I'm meeting with a couple of people this week while I'm here," David Brandt said in a telephone conversation Monday. "We're still hopeful that someone will step forward and buy it."

In addition to movies, the theater is regularly used for community events, including Missoula Children Theatre plays , Soroptimist Shop fashion shows and school concerts.

The last picture show (for now) at the OK Theatre was the animated movie "Bolt" showing, which attracted a mixed family audience of all ages.

"It's kind of sad," said Joanie Kiser of Joseph, who watched the film with husband Jack and children Casey, 10, and Codie, 5. "I'm glad it was a cartoon so that we could bring the kids to watch. We had to make sure we came and saw the last movie," she said as the final credits rolled.

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