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- In May 1923, it was announced in the Shreveport Times that a new 2500 seat opera house would be built totaling $750, 000. In October 1923, construction began. The people causing this to happen were the Saenger Brothers and Ehrlich Brothers. The Saenger Brothers lived in Shreveport and were both pharmacists who owned and operated a drug store. In their drug store was a 1 cent coin operated "kinetograph" peepshow machine. These machines were also known as "movie-ollas". Customers dropped a penny in the machine, turned the handle, and they saw moving pictures. The Saengers became interested in moving pictures through this machine. They saw an opportunity in the movie business and after some research and contact with Ehrlich Brothers who already owned and operated Majestic theatre at 601 Milam Street, the Saengers decided to embark on a joint venture with them. Their first was the "Saenger Theatre" at 620 Milam Street ( Capri ). They had already purchased the property The Strand is located on and knew it would be an ideal location for a beautiful opera house and movie theatre. So The Strand turned out to be the "flagship" of their chain of 320 theatres in the south. It was on July 3, 1925 that the Strand Theatre opened with a production of "The Chocolate Soldier, " a comic opera. In 1927 the Saenger Brothers moved their corporate base to New Orleans, and between the years of 1928-1929, Saenger Theatres, Inc sold to Para-Paramount Publix for a reported $10 million. Today we reap the benefits of all of these efforts by many to rescue, restore and reopen this magnificent theatre. It is a treasure in our communities that has been recognized nationally first by USA Weekend and the AMC Magazine as one of the top 5 glitziest theatres for live performance anywhere in the country.
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