Iao Theater History (1925-1938)


Maui Amusement Company begins design of a new longer building to replace their Hippodrome Theater (presently the empty lot between Sig Zane Designs and American Savings and Loan on Market Street).


A major fire destroys five buildings across from the Hippodrome. Razed property becomes available which has a larger frontage than the Hippodrome. Maui Amusement Company takes advantage of the situation by purchasing a fire-razed parcel which would eliminate the expense of tearing down the Hippodrome. Plans are modified for the new larger lot.


The revised plans are made public and work is started on the new theater. Theater Plan Details


Theater name is announced. Iao Theater Naming Details


Iao Theater opens with two showings of the romantic comedy "Sporting Goods". Opening Night Details


First live stage play, A.A. Milne's "The Dover Road" is presented by the Little Theater of Maui.


New "talkies" projection equipment is succesfully tested a week after installation.


Four showings are made of Iao's first "talkie", the musical comedy "Rio Rita".


Sound equipment is upgraded. (New tweeters for improved high frequency reproduction, twin power amplifiers for improved reliability and new sound head on projectors to handle latest film format)

Early Iao Theater Who's Who

William Ledward

Manager, Iao Theater

M. G. Paschoal

Manager, Maui Amusement Company
Also Maui's representative to the Hawaii Territorial Legislature

Edward Walsh

Credited for supervising theater construction, probably also the designer/architect

H.B. "Sam" Weller

Possibly owner, Maui Amusement Company


  1. The Maui News, December 15, 1926, pg. 1, col. 1
  2. The Maui News, December 17, 1927, pg. 1, col. 6
  3. The Maui News, April 21, 1928, pg. 1, col. 5
  4. The Maui News, May 23, 1928, pg. 1, col. 3
  5. The Maui News, July 11, 1928, pg. 1, col. 3
  6. The Maui News, August 25, 1928, pg. 1, col. 1
  7. The Maui News, March 1, 1930, pg. 1, col. 6
  8. The Maui News, March 8, 1930, pg. 1, col. 1
  9. The Maui News, April 2, 1930, pg. 1, col. 3
  10. The Maui News, December 17, 1938, pg. 1, col. 7

How The Iao Theater Got It's Name

Wailuku Theater Scene Before Iao Theater

Back to "Iao Theater, 1940"

Page revised 2/14/18 by Maui MeshWorks