Higginsville tries to save its Davis Theatre 4

HIGGINSVILLE, Mo. - The Lumiere brothers first made pictures move over a century ago, so it's no surprise that they are changing today, but those changes are causing a problem in a small Missouri town.

It's the story of one family who risked it all to live their dream.

It's the story of a small town coming together to fight for their way of life.

It's the story of the Davis Theatre 4 in Higginsville, Mo.

And it's kind of a sequel; Fran and George Schwarzer have saved the art deco palace from the wrecking ball once already.

"We had heard that it was going to be razed and it was going to be a parking lot and that was just not acceptable," Fran Schwarzer proclaimed.

"So we jumped into it without any knowledge of what we were doing," her husband George added.

For 13 years they've run the place as a break even proposition and learned as they went.

But now they face a new threat.

"The studios are not going to hang onto 35 mm in any way shape or form, they're going to convert everything to digital so even if you want to show old movies you've got to have digital projection equipment," George said.

That upgrade was impossible to pay for. When word got out that the theater would have to close, the townsfolk got organized.

"There were just a whole bunch of us who decided that's not OK," said Collen King of Friends of the Davis Theatre 4.

The group has been fundraising and has even brought the theater into second place nationally in a Reader's Digest contest.

But even the first place winnings will only pay for about half the cost of upgrading just the main auditorium. Still, there's too much to lose for them to just give up.

Visit http://wehearyouamerica.readersdigest.com/ to vote for the Davis Theatre in the Reader's Digest contest.

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