About the Crystal Theatre

The Crystal Theatre is a single-screen,125-seat, independent movie theatre housed in the historic Dinkel building in downtown Carbondale, Colorado. Showing a mix of art and commercial movies, we are open year-round, 7 nights a week. In 35 years, since July 1985, we have presented over 1,645 movies to more than half a million moviegoers.
The theatre space was part of the W. M. Dinkel Mercantile Company store, built circa 1912. It was converted to a movie theatre, The Crystal Theatre, in 1949 by entrepreneurs who had other Colorado theatres in Grand Junction and Minturn. The auditorium had 210 seats; four of those original seats are now in our lobby. The 1949 admission price was adults 44¢, students 35¢ and children 20¢.
Television brought hard times to movie theatres and the original Crystal Theatre closed around 1962. In the 1960's, W. M. Dinkel’s grandson Wally DeBeque along with local parents, showed movies as fundraisers for the Recreation Department. In the 1970s it was used for live theatre, the local Talent Show and a 16mm film series sponsored by the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities. The theatre space was condemned and closed in the early 1980s.
In 1979, we had arrived in Carbondale with our 1-year-old son Bryan, and brought with us an interest in showing movies somewhere, somehow. The idea to revive the theatre was hatched in the kitchen of longtime local, Brad Hendricks. While discussing possible venues Brad said, “What about the Crystal?" And the rest is history.
With construction assistance from friends in various trades and fully supportive landlords (Wally & Betty DeBeque), we did an extensive remodel from early 1984 - mid 1985. Our original idea of folding chairs, 16mm projection and black & white classics quickly gave way to a complete re-model and 35mm projection of feature films. The Crystal Theatre re-opened on July 19,1985 and welcomed an enthusiastic sold-out crowd to the first feature, "The Breakfast Club". See the photo gallery below.
Our 35mm projection gave way to digital in 2013 after an enthusiastic fundraising campaign.
In addition to showing movies, the Crystal Theatre hosts private parties, benefits for various filmmakers and organizations and has been a downvalley venue for AspenFilmfest/Shortsfest since 1996.
Our commitment has always been to provide quality entertainment at a reasonable price in a clean, comfortable, friendly and fun atmosphere. From the time of the remodel when passers-by would stop in and offer encouragement, to the present day, we have been inspired by the generous support that the theatre has received.
Today, thanks to all of you, we are still showing movies. See you there! Bob & Kathy Ezra January 2018
p.s. November 2021:Due to Covid-19, the theatre closed its doors on March 13, 2020 and did not re-open for movies until June 25, 2021. It was a challenging time for every theatre and the movie industry as a whole. We were able to stay connected with you by offering walk-up concessions on the weekends and virtual cinema online. A heartfelt Thank You to all of you who helped us navigate those 15 months. Your support and encouragement showed itself in so many ways, we are humbled and grateful.
A special thank you to a spectacular staff. We couldn’t do it without you.
Photo 2013: Sue Horn, Nancy Smith, Shelle DeBeque, Elizabeth Gauger, Lynn Burton, Heather Fitzgerald, Kathy, Bob, Debra Burleigh and Will Grandbois.
Not pictured: Mark Chain, Hank Van Berlo, Patty Phelan and Wendy Stewart

The Crystal Theatre circa 1980, before the space was condemned and closed.
It had served as a venue for community events, including The Last Spring Talent Show. (photo: Jim Ryan)
The beginning of the conversion to a movie theatre.
(Bob Ezra top, David Toivainen on the ladder) Winter 1984
Marquee construction(David Toivainen in front)


Before & AfterTop: The lobby and future concession area. The original doors were replaced by solid oak doors obtained from the Garfield County Courthouse during its remodel.
Bottom: Lobby and concession area. The seats are a few of the original theatre seats circa 1940. 1985
Before & AfterLeft: The restrooms were originally in the back of the auditorium (No separation between the auditorium and the restrooms!). The space above the restrooms was the old projection booth.
Right: Present day
Before & AfterTop: Auditorium, including the partition/soundwall separating the lobby from the auditorium. 1985
Bottom: Present day
Before & AfterTop: Framing for the screen. A stage was already in place from years of live performances. 1985
Bottom: The screen was hung at the back of the stage.
Before & AfterTop: The auditorium during early construction. The stairs to the stage were originally on the left side and were relocated to the right side to accommodate an emergency exit. The heat pipes were concealed in a soffit. All the electrical was brought up to code. 1984
Bottom: The wainscot on the the walls was pulled of off the ceiling and acoustic tiles installed. When removed, it was almost black from years of coal residue. A cleaning with TSP revealed the current finish. The fir floor was sanded and refinished. The seats had come from a theatre in Minturn , CO and were completely re-painted and re-covered. 1985
Lobby, including 4 original Crystal Theatre seats, and hallway to the restrooms. The left wall of the hallway is the partiton wall built to separate the lobby from the auditorium.
Present day concession
Present day auditorium
A new screen, carpet and seats were installed following the digital conversion.