Rockne Premiere

On October 4, 1940, Hollywood came to South Bend in the form of the world premiere of Knute Rockne, All-American. All four local theaters, the Granada, Palace, Colfax, and State, participated in screening the feature film that showcased one of the most famous of Notre Dame’s football coaches. Shown in this photograph are some of the 24,000 fans who turned out for the prestigious evening. Pat O’Brien, who played the role of Knute Rockne, and Ronald Reagan, cast as George Gipp, were on hand for the opening gala. Other notables present included Bob Hope, Rudy Vallee, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. A sign for the Granada Theater is partially visible. Also shown is a large banner that was strung between the Granada and the Palace. The Granada opened its doors on February 16, 1927, and the Palace on November 2, 1922. Both were located in the 200 block of North Michigan Street. The Palace closed in 1959, but the building was saved and reopened as the Morris Performing Arts Center. The Granada succumbed to the wrecker’s ball in 1971, and a park is now located on the site. Donated by Kathleen Mullins.

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