In 1910, Thrasher’s Opera House was built on Mill Street in downtown Green Lake by Charlie Thrasher. It first hosted vaudeville and traveling theatrical companies, but is best remembered for the movies that Charlie showed as soon as electricity became available, around 1912.
A favorite reminiscence about the Opera House is that when the mail arrived in town, the movie would stop and the crowd would go across the street to pick up their mail. When they returned, the movie would resume!
The seating arrangement was simplicity itself…wooden kitchen chairs arranged in groups of five. These Spartan accommodations deterred no one, and people came from miles around to see the movies. At other times, meetings were held there and it was also used for school functions, including plays, proms and graduation ceremonies.
The fact that the opera house was originally the hub of community activity is no surprise. When it was built over 95 years ago, the facility hosted school dances, basketball games, town meetings, and lectures. Before TV and radio, the days of vaudeville brought traveling theatrical companies to Green Lake, performing for large audiences.
As time evolved, so did the opera house. Shortly after electricity was introduced, Thrasher purchased a projection system and began showing silent films for the admission of one quarter. Audiences watched intently as a single piano player highlighted the dramatic scenes on the screen. A movie was shown every night and sometimes changed as often as three times a week. By 1929, Thrasher was showing "talkies" after he installed the proper equipment for sound movies.
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