Olsen, a former student of Babcock's who had also studied in the East,
formed the Moroni Olsen Players in the fall of 1923; it became the only
successful repertory company in the western United States in the 1920s.
For seven years the company toured Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon,
Wyoming, California, and Canada putting on plays including Pygmalion
and The Taming of the Shrew for schools, organizations, and communities.
When the Great Depression dried up financial resources, the company
disbanded and Olsen went to Hollywood, where he acted in such films
as Annie Oakley with Barbara Stanwyck.
after World War I, the growth in popularity of motion pictures led to
the failure of many legitimate theaters. Additionally, the Intermountain
states experienced a recession in the 1920s while overhead and capital
expenses for theaters increased. The Salt Lake Theater, which had never
been a moneymaker, was in debt and needed $26,000 for renovation. Heber
J. Grant, LDS church president and at one time the major proprietor
of the Theater, sold it to Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph for
$200,000. Amidst much controversy, the theater was demolished in late
1928 and a telephone exchange was erected in its place.
Colonial Theater, which once competed with the Orpheum vaudeville circuit,
became the Victory movie house and the area's pioneer "talking picture"
Theater when it presented Al Jolson in The Singing Fool. It was a popular
place until it was destroyed by fire in 1942. Also during the 1930s,
a number of circuit movie-theater companies were formed. The Latter-day
Saints also showed movies in their cultural halls, with proceeds going
to various church interests.