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Historic Grand Ledge theater will soon be under new ownership

Former Grand Ledge Sun Theatre owner, Chuck Pantera, sits at the Sun Theatre booth smiling with his beloved cavalier Isabelle sitting on the counter next to him.
Courtesy: Chuck Pantera
For many years Chuck Pantera and his pet cavalier Isabelle sold tickets at the Sun Theatre booth. Now Pantera is retiring and selling the business to Tim Booth.

Grand Ledge’s historic Sun Theatre is being sold. When Chuck Pantera bought the Sun Theatre in 1988, the venue became known for its cheap tickets and Pantera’s pet cavaliers – which were often spotted sitting next to him at the ticket booth.

The theater has been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Fewer movies were being made during the pandemic and we struggled to stay open with restrictions in place," he said.

But Pantera has been working on a succession plan. He says the new owner will be Tim Booth, who already owns several properties in the Grand Ledge area.

“Everybody is just wonderful. It's the greatest community in the world. This is unbelievable how everybody supports one another and I think that he would fit that profile very well," he said.

The Sun Theatre was one of the first theatres in the area to run "talkies" or "talking pictures," according to its website. "Talking pictures" was the term used in the late 1920s and early 1930s to differentiates films incorporating audible dialogue from silent films. At the time, admission to the theater was 10 cents.

When Chuck and Sandy Pantera bought the theater, the first renovations the family did was remove 10 seats to make way for seating for people in wheelchairs or with physical disabilities. For many years the couple kept ticket prices at $2.00.

According to Pantera, Booth plans to reopen the theater and resume screening films sometime in the new year. Booth will officially become the new owner on Jan. 1, 2023.

The Pantera family will be opening up the theater on Dec. 17 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a goodbye open house.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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