Palace Movies Through the Ages

For nearly 90 years, The Historic Palace Theater in Hilo, Hawaii has been shown first run and independent movies.

Through the Ages – Movies at the Palace Theater –

Silent movies Reign Supreme at the 1925 opening of the Palace Theater.

f1 <alt=This is a still of Douglas Fairbanks in the 1925 Son of Zorro

 Grand Opening with “Don Q – Son of Zorro” starring Douglas Fairbanks


The Palace Theater is a Gathering Place in 1933

Kids gather in front of the theater for a group photo in September of 1933.

Photo from the collection of John De Mello, courtesy of Roger Angell and Lyman Museum



Mickey Mouse Club is a Popular Event for the Keiki on Saturdays

From the early 1930’s through the mid 1950’s, generations of Hilo kids grew up attending the Mickey Mouse Club on Saturday mornings at the Palace.

Photo from the collection of John De Mello, courtesy of Roger Angell and Lyman Museum


f4 Johnny De Mello, a popular organist at the Palace

Popular organist Johnny De Mello (seen at right in 1933) performed at the Palace for about ten years beginning in 1932. He had previously been featured at the Kaimuki Theater, in Honolulu. During his time at the Palace he hosted the Mickey Mouse Club, staged many shows and musical revues, and had a weekly live radio show over KHBC from the Palace. In the 1940s Johnny returned to Honolulu. In 1955 he was appointed house organist at the Waikiki Theater and played there until his retirement in 1978.



Movies during the 1930sf6 f5 <alt= The Stagecoach movie poster


Movie goers loved what we now call the Classics like STAGECOACH with John Wayne and MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY with Clark Gable and Charles Laughton

Consolidated Theatres buy the Palace Building and continue showing films.


Movies during the 1940sf8 f7


The big screen showed BEAU GESTE with Gary Cooper and Ray Milland and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME with Charles Laughton andMaureen O’Hara.




Movies during the 1950sf10 f9


Hollywood produced movies like THE ROBE with Richard Burton. And who could forget SOME LIKE IT HOT with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis? All screened at the Palace in the 1950s.




Movies during the 1960sf11 f12


John Wayne is back with co-star Maureen O’Hara in MCLINTOCK and was followed by Jack Hawkins in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.






f13 f14
Movies during the 1970s


Audiences watched ENTER THE DRAGON with Bruce Lee and… of course….STAR WARS with Mark Hamel and everyone else!





f15 f16 Movies during the 1980s


Jack Nicholson creeps everyone out in THE SHINING and later Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield has them laughing in CADDYSHACK.




f17 Palace Theater reopens in 1999 with HIFF

Renowned film critic Roger Ebert attends the Grand Reopening of the Palace Theater after needed structural considerations have been completed. Audiences were treated to AMY, a film from Australia.