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The cast of the 1912 community-theater production of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera "The Mikado" is seen at the Orpheum Theatre in Twin Falls. The Orpheum moved in 1921 to its present location on Main Avenue North.


One hundred years ago this week, the Orpheum Theatre in Twin Falls ran an advertisement encouraging residents go to the movies to support the war movement.

The U.S. had entered World War I less than a year before and the Twin Falls Weekly News carried pages of news from the front lines.

“Go to the theatre ‘overhere’ and help the boys ‘overthere,’” said the Orpheum’s ad, appealing to residents’ sense of patriotism.

The federal government had placed a war tax on theater revenue, resulting in reduced attendance; the Orpheum took out the large ad in the weekly paper in hopes of bringing back business.

“The boys who are lying out in the trenches need every ounce of aid America can give,” the ad said. “Every time you go to the theater, you are piling up the pennies for an American lad in khaki.” The Orpheum said it collected $1,500 in war tax in three months’ time.

“Uncle Sam needs the dollars for the war,” the theater said, along with an advertisement of its show that week, “A Little Patriot,” starring 6-year-old Baby Marie Osborne. The movie is “a wonder story of laughter and joy with just enough pathos and a timely appeal. She organizes an army of kids and captures a spy.”

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One of America’s first child stars, Osborne went on to star in a dozen movies as an adult. She later became a Hollywood costume and wardrobe designer, and worked on 1974’s “The Godfather: Part II.” She died in 2010, just months before her 100th birthday.

The Orpheum Theatre was housed at several locations before moving in 1921 to its present location on Main Avenue North.

Mychel Matthews reports on agriculture and rural issues for the Times-News. The Hidden History feature runs every Thursday in the Times-News and on If you have a question about something that may have historical significance, email Matthews at


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