When a community saves part of its past

As MPR News Rochester reporter Liz Baier told us last summer, many small theater owners are struggling with an expensive dilemma:

The movie industry plans to switch to all-digital technology by 2013, rendering traditional 35 millimeter film prints obsolete.

That leap to state-of-the-art projection may please audiences, but upgrading to digital projectors is expensive and the switch might force small movie theaters, including many in Minnesota, to close their doors for good.

The Fargo Theatre, while just barely not in Minnesota, faces the same problem. It’s one of those old Vaudeville-era theaters that was lucky enough to survive while others faded or were demolished, like this one from Superior, Wis., my hometown. That said, The Fargo still needs to raise $200,000 to modernize its projector.

Enter, the funny Internet video.

It’s cute. But moreover, it’s heartening to see a community invest in institutions that define its past. It says a lot about where it’s going in the future.