County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Ideal Theatre: Perfectly Ideal for a Small Town


Our family was very excited to see a show at the newly remodeled Ideal Theatre last Sunday. It felt really good doing one of our favorite pre-pandemic activities.

The newly remodeled theater didn’t disappoint. The balcony that held so much intrigue for my kids was available to sit in and I agreed now that they are older. It gives the best view of the scope of the work done in the building.

A little part of me wanted things to stay the way it was when I was a teenager and movies were $1. And for the last 10-12 years taking my growing pack of boys to the movies every time there was a child-friendly film.

For some reason my boys always saw the opportunity to go to the movies as a time to dress up. They went to movies as cowboys, police officers, civil war soldiers, and many other characters. Perhaps they thought they’d be in a movie instead of watching.

No amount of nostalgia can begrudge the beautifully remodeled theater. True to its original but thoughtful to modern amenities, it’s a tribute to downtown one-screen theaters everywhere. The seats are comfortable, the surround sound (gently) shakes your seat, and the popcorn is delicious.

In this week’s history section, the young men of the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corp, attend a movie at the Ideal Theatre in the 1930s. It’s just one of the many memories and historical footnotes the theater is a part.  For the Clare community to hold on to this tradition is truly an asset.

While it’s not a dollar to see a show, it’s still about half the price paid the last time we went to a multiplex theater, and much more than the nickels the CCC boys paid over 90 years ago. Tickets cost $6 for adults, $5 for children under 12, and $5 for matinees.

One thing that hasn’t changed, it’s still Citizen State Bank Time at the Ideal Theatre according to the familiar clock next to the theater screen.


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