Comments from LouRugani

Showing 126 - 150 of 226 comments

LouRugani commented about Alan Theatre on Sep 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm

“March 18, 1952: Mr. and Mrs. Daniel C. Davis, operators of the Alan theater, have begun remodeling the building and plan to show an additional movie each week.” (The theatre was owned by Charles Carter, the justice of the peace.)

LouRugani commented about Fort Jackson Theater on Sep 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — The Fort Jackson Theater opened last weekend to rave reviews. Theater opens after two-year closure November 19, 2009 By STEVE REEVES, Fort Jackson Leader Soldiers with the 187th Ordnance Battalion filed into the theater to get the first seats at the Fort Jackson theater grand opening. Crowds gathered outside the theater at least two hours before the movie – a sneak preview of “The Blind Side” – was slated to begin.

Jason Rosenberg, AAFES general manager, Col. Lillian A. Dixon, garrison commander, and Billy Wood, movie theater manager, cut the ribbon during the grand opening of Fort Jackson’s movie theater. Dixon said she made the project, which took two years to complete.

Rene Muniz was one of the hundreds of people who stood in line Saturday to get a sneak preview of the renovated theater, as well as a free screening of the film, “The Blind Side.”

Muniz, chief of Fort Jackson’s Information Assurance Division, gave the theater two thumbs up. “I had been waiting a long time for that theater to open back up, and I wasn’t disappointed,” Muniz said. “Everything was nice and new and very attractive. And the movie was excellent, also.”

Muniz said it’s a big plus for the Fort Jackson community now that the theater has reopened. “I’ll definitely be a frequent visitor,” he said.

The theater holds 750 people, and it was a packed house Saturday. Many of the attendees were no doubt lured by the free movie, but everyone was treated to a sparkling new theater interior.

“Opening the theater is a double bonus for the Fort Jackson community,” said Col. Lillian Dixon, Fort Jackson garrison commander. “It has always been a key venue to our training mission. It also enhances the quality of life for our Soldiers, families and retirees. It will be a great outlet for our graduating Soldiers and their families during Family Day.”

Dixon made reopening the theater a priority when she arrived at Fort Jackson in 2007 and said she is pleased with the result.

“You can’t help but smile when you walk inside the facility,” she said. “I invite everyone to support the theater. The price is right and the company is even better.”

The renovated theater features new seats, curtains and carpet, fresh paint, upgraded projection equipment and concessions, and a new Dolby Digital sound system.

Matt Gibbs, project manager for Fort Jackson’s Directorate of Public Works, said approximately $600,000 in garrison funds went toward the renovation of the theater, which had been closed since 2007 because the facility had deteriorated so badly.

The renovation project began in April, Gibbs said, and was completed just before the theater’s grand opening last weekend.

Matt Shealy, chief of engineering for DPW, said the theater’s ceiling had been badly damaged by water leakage and maintenance of the interior had not been kept up in recent years. “It was just a tired, old space,” Shealy said.

Aside from being a major source of entertainment on post, the theater was a multi-use facility because of its large capacity.

“The theater is as important for training as it is for movies,” Shealy said. “We just don’t have that many spaces on post that can hold 750 people. We really needed the theater to open back up.”

But being a source of entertainment is a large part of the theater’s significance to Fort Jackson, Shealy said.

“We need a theater on post because that’s important for the families,” he said.

LouRugani commented about Paramount Theater on Sep 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Rapp and Rapp also designed the atmospheric GATEWAY Theatre in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

LouRugani commented about State Theatre on Sep 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Built in 1908 during the booming lumbering era in Michigan, the STATE Theatre was known as the BIJOU and was redone in 1930 by C. Howard Crane, who used local labor using hand-crafted plaster casts for the 9,500 square-foot theatre. As years passed and owners changed, the Mayan murals were painted over and water damage became evident. The Dow Chemical Company Foundation provided financial support for the restoration project.

LouRugani commented about Barrington Square Theaters on Sep 9, 2012 at 9:30 am

(December 10, 1979, Northwest Herald) Six-screen movie complex opens in Hoffman Friday by Thomas J. Moore, Herald business writer

The Northwest suburbs will have six new movie theaters — all under one roof — by the end of the week when the Barrington Square 6 Theatres in Hoffman Estates opens Friday. The six-screen movie complex in the Barrington Square Mall at Higgins and Barrington roads will bring to nine the number of new movie houses opened locally this year. Two of the others are at Woodfield Shopping Center in Schaumburg and one at Randhurst Shopping Center in Mount Prospect. THE BARRINGTON Square operation is owned by American Multi Cinema of Kansas City, Mo., and is the firm’s second entry in the Chicago area movie market. The company also owns the Ogden 6 Theatres in Naperville. American opened the first multi-auditorium theater in the country in Kansas City in July 1962. It operates 526 theaters in 78 cities now, including two in Buffalo and Toledo with eight separate auditoriums each. The company’s Hoffman Estates and Naperville theaters offer the most screens under one roof in the Chicago area, with six each. The Barrington Square 6 Theatres are of varying sizes, according to manager Paul Kalas. The smallest seats 250 persons while the largest contains 375 seats. Kalas said the theater complex is capable of showing the same movie in two adjoining theaters using the same copy of the film. He said the projector system is set up to run the same film with only a 30 second-time lag between what the viewers see on the separate screens. THE OPENING of the theater complex also will increase the number of commercial movie screens in Hoffman Estates to nine, but Kalas said he thinks the market is sufficient to support them all. The Century theater in the village has three auditoriums. Kalas said he expects Barrington Square to draw from Schaumburg, which has its own four-theater complex as well as Hoffman Estates and Hanover Park. The Tradewinds Cinemas in Hanover Park has two screens. He said Barrington Square will also draw customers from areas north and west of Hoffman Estates where there are fewer theaters. Kalas said the six theaters here will be competing for the same first run movies that the other nearby theaters want. Barrington Square 6 Theatres' main attraction, aside from the greater choice it can offer, is that it will try to match or beat the lowest admission and concession prices among competing theaters, Kalas said. He said the regular admission price will be $3 for adults and students and $1.50 for children. During the grand opening Friday and Saturday, everyone will be admitted for the regular children’s price, he said.

LouRugani commented about Vet Theatre on Sep 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm

TOOTER TOOTS WINS HIS CASE – CHICAGO, Feb. 3. 1932 – Lawyers clustered around Judge Edward Casey, hands cupped to ear, as a sedate man blew measured blasts on a tin whistle. “Listen judge,” Leslie Parry, blower, would say. And then a shrill wheee-e-eee would come from his whistle. Parry, acoustic engineer, was making his experiment to convince the judge that sound equipment installed by the Johns-Manville corporation in the Lucille theater, 653 North Cicero avenue, is effective. The equipment had been reproduced in court. After the acoustic properties of the courtroom had been demonstrated as an example of sound properties in the theater, Judge Casey entered judgement of $575 against the theater for installation of the equipment.

LouRugani commented about Bugg Theatre on Sep 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm

(August 1, 1958) CHICAGO (AP) — The movie “The Fly” has closed a run at the Bugg Theater.

LouRugani commented about Ruskin Theater on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Built in 1948 by Harold Willis, the Ruskin Theater was the hub of entertainment for the surrounding communities. Since closure, the theatre has been used for various purposes, including a thrift store. One positive aspect is that this historic building is located within the Downtown Ruskin Redevelopment Plan area.

LouRugani commented about Princess Theatre on Sep 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

The PRINCESS Theatre was built by Henry L. Rhulander in 1927 and was converted to sound films by 1931.

LouRugani commented about Hi-Way Drive-In on Aug 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

The Hi-Way Drive-In Theatre’s architect was Irving M. Karlin of Chicago, Illinois, who brought it in for a construction cost of $90,000. The capacity was listed as 628 cars. Opening day was July 1, 1950. By September, 1950, the admission price had been reduced to 55 cents.

LouRugani commented about Movies on Aug 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

(The Morning Call, December 14, 2003) Historic Hellertown movie theater gets new owner at auction – CFO for prior owner vows not to tear down art deco-style building.

By Matt Assad Of The Morning Call

The Movies building in Hellertown sold for $117,000 at auction Saturday, but the sale didn’t move the Main Street landmark any closer to renovation.

Then again, it didn’t move it any closer to demolition either, because it was bought by Ramzi Haddad, the chief financial officer for the building’s owner, Abe Atiyeh.

Atiyeh, a Bethlehem developer and owner of several senior housing complexes, bought the 1940 theater last year for $160,000, and Haddad said he was simply protecting the investment.

“You can’t even buy a house for a $117,000.” Haddad said. “I have to think about what I want to do with it, but I know I’m not going to tear it down.”

That’s what Rosana Rao wanted to hear most. Rao is a Hellertown gallery owner who has been looking for civic-minded investors to revive the 500-seat, 8,000-square-foot theater.

“Well, at least this gives us more time to put together a group that can save it,” said Rao, who has organized a group to try to save it. “This is better than letting it fall into the hands of someone who wants to tear it down.”

People from around the region once flocked to what was then known as the Sauconia after it was built by John Kofler in 1940. The art deco-style theater remained open until Kofler’s daughter, Elle, died early last year.

But in recent years the theater, which seats almost 600, had trouble drawing crowds, with its leaky roof staining the ceiling and walls, and its inefficient heating system keeping the place at a temperature more suitable for hanging meat.

Atiyeh bought it last December, with plans to turn it into a community center where bingo and school plays could be held. He replaced the roof and made a few repairs, but he abandoned the planned renovation and decided to sell it at auction.

The noon auction drew more than 50 people, but only a few serious bidders.

Auctioneer Joe Setton starting the bids at $300,000, but it was clear the dilapidated building wouldn’t fetch that when the first bid didn’t come until Setton dropped the number to $50,000. For five minutes, Angel Bas of Hellertown and Ed Hill, a Hellertown paving and excavating company owner, outbid each other, driving the price up to $110,000.

That’s when Haddad jumped in with rapid-fire bids, each time upping Hill’s price, and sending a clear message that Hill was not getting the building unless he went much higher.

Hill wouldn’t do that.

He said if his bid had won, he would have explored all options, including demolition.

Bas said he planned to turn it into an upscale restaurant and dinner theater that could have opened as quickly as 30 days after closing the sale. Bas said he hopes in the coming months to find other partners and approach Atiyeh and Haddad with a new plan to buy it from them.

“I know we can save it,” Bas said. “We just need a chance.”

LouRugani commented about Dale Theatre on Aug 26, 2012 at 4:42 am

TIME Magazine reported that Dale Theater owners Rubenstein & Kaplan tried a hardline action against TV and rowdy teenagers by barring adolescents, except those accompanied by adults, from their Dale Theater and claimed success in bringing adults back to the movies. They then reopened the long-closed Arion Theater with the same policy.

LouRugani commented about Fox La Brea Theatre on Aug 26, 2012 at 4:32 am

In the early 1960s a television documentary (which may have been “Hollywood and the Stars”) had a clip of the closed La Brea Theatre to illustrate the onslaught of television.

LouRugani commented about Aldridge Theater on Aug 25, 2012 at 7:10 pm

The Aldridge Theatre was slightly west of where the Haywood Building (Deep Deuce Grill) is today. Owned by Zelia Breaux and F.E. Withrow, the Aldridge opened in 1919. Big bands, vaudeville acts and movies were featured regularly. Music legends such as Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Duke Ellington appeared at the Aldridge.

LouRugani commented about Columbia City Cinema on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm

The architect was Marks & Cooke of Towson, Maryland. Combined seating was listed at 1,000.

LouRugani commented about Geneva 4 Theatre on Aug 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm

(From another forum:)

The original stage and fly areas along with a small orchestra pit are generally intact. The original balcony in the 1928 building was split off from the main floor in 1985. With the current seats, and balcony reopened, the original theater could seat a little over 500. There was also an addition built in 1975 on the north side of the theater that was split into two theaters in 1985, each seating 150 to 200. Fund-raising is still ongoing, and the Friends of The Geneva Theater organization is currently working with the city to see if they would commit TIF Funds towards the purchase of the building. The plan is to restore the building for reuse as a Community Arts Center with a combination of a performing arts venue in the original 1928 portion, and multi-use visual and cultural arts space in the north portion of the building. Further information may be found at

LouRugani commented about Bijou Theatre on Aug 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm

George Howard had two Bijou theaters, the first on the west side of the 200 block on South Main St. which was earlier a roller skating rink, and there were theater owners before and after Mr. Howard had it.

He was born in Florence, Kansas on, Jun 28, 1890, and later lived in Little York, but died on Jan. 28, 1973 at San Rafael, Calif., where he’d gone after the death of his second wife on Dec. 24, 1972.

He’d worked as a cigar maker at Fairfield, Iowa in 1910, and it seems that he had the winning ticket on the lottery which won him about $1,200. With that, he came to Monmouth early in 1911, intending to buy the Lyric theater, then in the Quinby building, later the Elks building east of the Monmouth public square. That deal didn’t go through, and he bought the Bijou Theater, which prospered and so he erected a new building with the theater within.


LouRugani commented about Towne Theatre on Aug 19, 2012 at 11:28 am

(Daily Republican-Register, Mount Carmel, Illinois, March 17, 1977) Bomb in porno house investigated FOX LAKE, IL. (UIM) – The bomb that destroyed the Towne Theater, which showed pornographic films, might have been planted by the mob to extract a “tax” from the owners, according to a federal official. Peter Vaira, head of the U.S Justice Department’s Chicago Strike Force against Organized Crime, said Wednesday it was possible the bombing was carried out by mob forces. “There has been a move in the mob to shake down some bookstores – to exert a street tax,” he said. Syndicate figures are “in general, trying to collect a street tax from any kind of pornographic outfit,‘ Vaira said. The blast knocked down three brick walls of the theatre at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and triggered a fire 90 minutes after patrons left the movie house, authorities said. No injuries were reported but damages were estimated at $175,000 to $200,000. Fox Lake Police Chief Hay Walk said a "high explosive’ was placed near the rear exit doors. Although police found no physical evidence of a bomb, Walk said nothing else could have caused such severe damage.

LouRugani commented about Towne Theatre on Aug 19, 2012 at 11:04 am

(Daily Herald, April 13, 2007) • (Then-) Current Mayor Cindy Irwin was questioned in the Towne Theater bombing that took place on March 16, 1977. The movie theater, owned by then former mayor Joe Armondo and famous for showing X-rated movies, was using nonunion projectionists to show movies. Irwin was later absolved of the crime, believed to be done by the disgruntled projectionist union.

LouRugani commented about Brainerd Theatre on Aug 19, 2012 at 4:49 am

Baehr Theaters Co. came from Bemidji and erected the theatre block.

LouRugani commented about Brainerd Theatre on Aug 19, 2012 at 4:37 am


December 6, 1968


Arising out of a fire and explosion in a building owned by defendants E. J. Baehr and M. S. Baehr and leased to defendant Bonita Amusement Company, Inc. One action was for personal injuries sustained by Richard Raymond, an employee of one of the tenants of the building; the other action was for personal property damage sustained by William Peabody and other tenants. The cases were tried together before John T. Galarneault, Judge, and a jury, which returned verdicts for plaintiffs against defendant Bonita Amusement Company only. Said company appealed from the judgment entered in each case upon the basis of stipulated damages.

On December 28, 1964, a fire occurred in the Baehr Building constructed and owned by defendants E. J. Baehr and M. S. Baehr. Bonita Amusement Company, Inc. was the prime lessee of the Baehr Building and was responsible for the repair and maintenance of the building. Actions were brought by the sublessees who sustained property damage and the employee of the lessee who suffered personal injuries from the fire and explosion. The issue was whether the fire was due to the negligence of defendants.

The jury returned verdicts against Bonita and Bonita appealed. The plaintiffs asserted that the fire originated in the negligently maintained incinerator system of the building, either from fire escaping from its defective burning chamber and igniting combustible material on the floors directly above it or from intense heat in its deteriorated flue igniting a wood meter cabinet adjacent to it on the second floor, and that regardless of such origin the fire’s damaging spread was due to three other negligent acts or conditions for which Bonita was responsible: A recurring prevalence of smoke from the defective incinerator system lulled the plaintiffs into complacency concerning the hazard of an existing fire; Bonita’s caretaker, in opening the door to the meter cabinet, then engulfed in flames, permitted the fire to burst out into general conflagration; and Bonita had its own responsibility for permitting the existence of a wood-framed ventilation duct, negligently constructed by defendants Baehr, along which the fire traveled across the building to the point where the building exploded.

The Baehr Building was a three-story structure which, with the exception of exterior walls and masonry floors and firewalls on the first floor, was constructed primarily of wood. It was equipped with an inside incinerator system, located toward the west end of the building. The burning chamber of the incinerator was in the basement and its flue rose vertically through the building to the roof. On each of the three floors there was a small door to the incinerator flue, into which tenants dropped combustible trash to the burning chamber below. Adjacent to the flue, on the second floor, was a meter cabinet made of wood. At the top of the flue was a wire screen to trap materials rising from the burning chamber.

The incinerator system had not been adequately maintained. Brick had fallen from the upper part of the burning chamber, creating an 8-by-10-inch opening at the upper rear wall of the chamber, and some of the brick inside the chamber was cracked. The interior of the burning chamber and flue had never been inspected, and no repair work had been performed upon the system in 11 years. Its flue was deteriorated as far as an observer could see above the level of the basement ceiling; the brick lining of the flue, which was not constructed of firebrick, was about 2 inches less thick than the 12-inch thickness indicated in the original blueprints. The wire screen atop the flue may have been clogged, for, although it was necessary for the caretaker to clean the flue out about once a month to avoid backup of smoke into the building, it had not been cleaned in 2 months and a smoky condition had existed in the building for some hours prior to the fire. The fire’s origin was somewhere in the immediate area of the incinerator system below the third floor of the building.

Fire had existed in the incinerator on the day of the fire. Due to the Christmas weekend there was an unusual amount of trash for incineration, and it was burned by Bonita’s caretaker from about 9 o'clock until about 10 o'clock in the morning. There was evidence, including charred wires above the burning chamber, from which a jury could find that intense heat or flame escaped through the hole in the burning chamber. The ultimate inference, the difficult one in this case, would be that this heat or fire was transmitted to the second floor to the meter cabinet where the fire was discovered in full flame at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, a little more than 4 hours after the morning’s trash burning.

The jury had before it a multiplicity of theories as to the origin of the fire and theories as to the spread of the fire, and was unable to ascertain upon what basis the jury found that defendant Bonita was negligent.

LouRugani commented about Fox Theater on Aug 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Demolition could start this week on the former CenterPoint MarketPlace property, and that means time is running out on a renovation of the Fox Theater.

The city’s Community Development Authority on Monday hired Chicago-based Meridian Industrial Service Corp. to demolish the downtown mall for $278,000, $72,000 less than the lowest estimate, which was between $350,000 to $500,000 to tear down the middle of the empty building. The demolition will leave an empty space, which could allow the back of the Fox Theater to be restored. The back was removed from the theater to make space for the mall when it was built in the 1980s.

But Mayor Andrew Halverson said there is other interest in that soon-to-be-empty space. “(The owners of the theater are) going to have to move quick for us to reserve any space. We cannot just wait and not do anything because there’s potential they might do something.”

The possibility of restoring the over-century-old Fox Theater on Main Street had been used by the city and the Sanders family, who owns the building, as one of the selling points for borrowing $5.9 million to redevelop the mall area.

The Sanders family was working with a committee to restore the theater, but has yet to announce definite plans for the building. Committee spokesman Gerry McKenna said talks had come to a standstill and that the committee was waiting to hear from the Sanders family on what they wanted to do with the theater.

LouRugani commented about HEART Theatre, Effingham, Illinois. on Aug 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

1940 photo.

LouRugani commented about LIFE Magazine essay on the KENOSHA Theatre, May, 1938. (Bernard Hoffmann photo) on Aug 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Heywood-Wakefield seating.

LouRugani commented about Sprague Theater on Aug 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm

(Racine Journal Times, Thursday, December 13, 1945) ARCHITECT DIES

MILWAUKEE – Alexander H. Bauer, Milwaukee architect, died in a Milwaukee hospital Wednesday from a cerebral hemorrhage suffered while attending a business meeting here. Bauer, a past president of the Wisconsin Institute of Architects and a 32nd degree Mason, is survived by his wife, Etta.