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Article from the News-Gazette (Champaign IL) of 1/23/14:
Group Working to Save Hoopeston Movie House
By Tracy Moss
HOOPESTON — It’s tough re-opening a movie theater in the middle of a rough winter.
“We just need the weather to cooperate,” said Jim Richards, a Hoopeston resident involved in the effort to save the historic Lorraine Theater.
The Save the Lorraine Foundation took over the theater last month after Hoopeston native Fontella Fraley Krout bought it from the bank that had foreclosed on the previous owner. Krout immediately donated the Lorraine to the foundation, which took possession on Dec. 13.
To keep the heat and lights on, the foundation began showing movies on weekends, beginning right after Christmas in the little Lorraine, a smaller theater about a block away that is part of the property. The foundation had a good turnout that first weekend for “Fast and Furious 6” and “The Goonies.”
But the next weekend, the winter storm that paralyzed most of Illinois blew into Hoopeston.
“It’s been a little shaky since then,” said Richards, who is gearing up for this weekend’s showing of “Dirty Dancing” and “Cars.”
The Lorraine Theatre opened in 1922, showing only silent movies until 1937, when Axel J. Claesson, a theater designer from Chicago, remodeled it into an art deco style theater. A sound system and restrooms were added then, too. In 1992, the projector system was upgraded, and a digital surround-sound system and speakers were added along with a new screen.
In 2007, longtime owner Greg Boardman sold it after almost 20 years, and the theater has struggled since then. A California man, Joshua Caudle, bought it in 2008, but by April 2012, the theater closed when the bank foreclosed on the property, according to Richards.
It has sat empty for more than a year, and in August, Richards and more than 30 other Hoopeston area residents met to discuss saving the theater. They decided to form the foundation to take over the property, which includes the Lorraine Theatre, and what’s known as the Lorraine II or little Lorraine, a separate store-front theater set up by the previous owner that is about a block and half from the Lorraine and seats about 50 people. But, Richards said, Main Source Bank could not donate the property to the foundation.
That’s when Krout heard about the situation through a Realtor friend and decided she could buy the theater and donate it to the foundation.
“I have fond memories of going there when I was young,” said Krout, who lives in Danville. “I would just truly hate to see it closed permanently.”
To bring customers into the theater during the Great Depression, the Lorraine Theatre hosted “bank roll nights.” Once a week, a drawing was held, and a cash prize was given away, and if no one won, the money rolled over to the next week, and a larger prize was given away. Bank roll nights continued into the 1950s.
Krout remembers winning $90 one bank roll night, which was a lot of money to a 16-year-old in those days. But as an avid movie-goer, she was just as excited about the six-month free movie pass that came with it. Krout was at the Lorraine at least three times a week using that free pass.
“I probably saw some I didn’t even like,” she said.
Once the foundation took possession last month, Richards, president of the foundation, and the other members got to work cleaning the little Lorraine, which is in better shape than the Lorraine. The little theater is functional, and that’s where the foundation is showing the weekend movies for freewill donations. That should keep money rolling in to pay for heat in the Lorraine and other bare necessities, like liability insurance, until the group’s nonprofit status comes through, and they can begin fundraising and grant writing in earnest.
Richards said it will take a lot of money and work to restore the Lorraine, which needs its marquee repaired; some tuckpointing on the exterior and inside; new carpeting; a ceiling, heating and more. Richards said once the group gets its nonprofit status, it will begin getting estimates for the necessary repairs, so the foundation’s members will know exactly how much it’s going to cost to restore the theater.
In the meantime, they are committed to showing movies at and renting out the little Lorraine, not only to pay insurance and utilities, but to keep an active presence in the community.
“Showing we are a visible force rather than just letting the theater sit,” he said. “It’s a unique building. It was one of the premiere theaters here. … We need to put it back to that.”
Link here to fire article.
I remember being on a high school class trip to the city. We were coming down Broadway and were walking under some scaffolding as we approached this corner. As we emerged into the daylight, what did greet our tender eyes than the marquee of the Circus Cinema, proudly announcing its current attraction: ANAL INTRUDERS.
After our jaws dropped we all starting laughing, and needless to say our catchphrase for the rest of the day, and for some time afterwards, was “Anal Intruders,” which is also to this day my go-to name when I need to make up a porno title.
I saw the Christmas show on Saturday morning and two things struck me — one, the use of the ceiling arcs nearest the stage for projecting animated trains and Christmas scenes. I’d never seen the ceiling used that way before and if was very effective.
Second, during the two 3D portions of the show, the screen (picture sheet? ha!) they used was abysmal. It was several panels assembled together and the seams were so prominent and visible that it was really distracting and reduced the effectiveness of the 3D images. My suspension of disbelief was sorely tested during those sequences.
Otherwise, as usual it was marvelous to be in such a grand house again; it just warms me all over.
There’s a photo in the Photos section yet the overview image is the street view. I thought a photo automatically replaced the street view…?
Has the theater reopened?
I am currently reading the novel The Pawnbroker; the film adaptation directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Rod Steiger opened here at the Cinema Rendezvous (and at the Beekman and the RKO 23rd Street) on April 20, 1965.
1059? Was it a silent movie? Illuminated? Starring The Byzantines and the Saxons? And directed by the pope in Rome?
Steven, I’m sorry too about your father. What was his name here?
What a treasure trove. We’ve got to get these copied onto each theater’s photo page.
Well, well. Take a look at this:
Tucked away in Palm Springs is a movie theater complex called Camelot that shows mostly quirky indie films, hosts the local gay and lesbian film fest, and takes money from gay people to give to horrible politicians.
The news broke this weekend on a local blog, where a lawyer unveiled the results of a little campaign finance sleuthing. The theater’s owner, Rozene Supple, has made a series of contributions over the years that read like a checklist of people who don’t like LGBT people.
Michelle Bachman? Yep. Proposition 8? Yes indeed. Allen West? Oh yes.
(We have to admit that there’s a part of us that misses Allen West, the super-crackpotty politician from, naturally, Florida, who lashed out at Lady Gaga for calling America “home of the gays.”)
And it gets worse: According to attorney Robert Tansey, who dug through Supple’s donation records, she was more than a little sneaky about how she donated to Prop 8. Initially, she listed the money as coming via her homeowner’s association. The record was only corrected after the association received a large volume of complaints, Tansey reports. (Conversely, we wonder how Bachman and West would react to her upcoming hosting of The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival?)
So, now that we have this information, what do we do about it? Well, there’s always the possibility of a boycott. Supple’s free to spend her money on nutty causes that hurt her own patrons–just as the people of Palm Springs are entitled to withhold theirs from her.
The optimal outcome in a situation like this would be an apology from the donor, a promise that it won’t happen again, and a big donation towards marriage equality. Might we suggest an amount at least equivalent to all the combined money she’s given to antigay causes? That’s what a Gold’s Gym franchisee in San Francisco did after it came out that the CEO of Gold’s supported a Karl Rove PAC: the franchisee cut all ties with Gold’s and donated a ton of money to local LGBT causes.
Will Supple follow suit? It certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask.
Full story here:
Art Thearer’s 100th anniversary advertisement added to photo section.
Here are some details about the celebration:
A CENTURY OF CINEMA:Celebrating 100 Years at the Art TheaterTues, November 12 from 6:00PM – 10:00PM
6:00PM – From Nickel To Pixel: The Art’s History
-The premiere of the new short documentary The Art Lives, produced by Luke Boyce of CU’s Emmy-award winning Shatterglass Studios!
-The premiere of the new book The Art Theater: Playing Movies for 100 Years with authors Perry C. Morris, Joseph Muskin, and Audrey Wells!
-An “Old Hollywood” costume contest! Dress your best & enter a chance to win The Art Theater: Playing Movies for 100 Years!
-Food & drinks!
8:00 PM – TIME TRIP with the Andrew Alden Ensemble
A specially-commissioned film/music event
Classic shorts ranging from the earliest cinematic experiments to Buster Keaton & the 1960s avant-garde accompanied by the ANDREW ALDEN ENSEMBLE. This program was curated by Austin McCann, our GM, and Andrew Alden.
Tickets are available to the whole event ($20, $15 for co-op owners) and just for TIME TRIP with the Andrew Alden Ensemble ($15). Tickets can be purchased here.
1700 seats! We need someone to get inside with a camera and let’s see how it looks today.
I walked past this place last night and my heart was broken. TGIFridays, indeed.
While the main auditorium was demolished, is there anything left to see of the foyer, reception hall or grand foyer?
And all those people in the 1940’s going into the theater in the middle of the show, and staying until they got to the part where they would say “this is where we came in…!
Meanwhile, the seats that were installed by Mr. Calderone himself haven’t been changed since, and the floors are extra sticky because there are still no cup holders. In 2013. At a first run Regal theater.
Yet they continue to charge full price, plus extra for 3D.
We’ve heard this before. Any link to the article?
What exactly is that supposed to be a link to?
Ray Dolby was included in the In Memorium section of this year’s Emmy awards show.
After examining the ad for Frankenstein, I belive it is for its first run engagement, seeing how it’s a single feature presentation (with a newsreel.) Frankenstein was re-released many times over the years, but usually as part of a double bill with Dracula or similar second feature. Also, note the 35 cent admission price, which seems right for depression-era 1931.
As to Sitting Bull, while westerns were usually B pictures, this one, with its nearly brand-new CinemaScope and Eastmancolor, and billed as “the mightiest spectacle ever staged!” seemed to have higher aspirations.
Maybe Bosley Crowther said it best in his NY Times review — “…it is such a lot of nonsense, for all its dazzle in color and CinemaScope, that one is inclined to drop it as just another noisy western film.”
I just checked ticket prices — Zone A (up front) are only $651. each.
Put me down for two!
Bway, can you add that pic to the photo section?
Put the word you wish to highlight,such as “Here” or another word directing the reader, in brackets [ ] and then right next to it (no spaces) put the link in parenthesis ( ) and when you post your comment the word in brackets should be blue and when clicked on it will lead to the link provided in the parenthesis.
It’s hard to remember which comes first, so I remember it alphabetically, that is, the Bracket comes before the Parenthesis (B before P, see?)
Here’s the direct link to the NY1 report, but it seems you must be a Time Warner subscriber to play the video. (And they spelled marquee as marquis and I don’t see a way to submit a correction!)
I was watching “Born Yesterday” last night and Judy Holiday said while visiting the National Gallery that it was fancier than the Radio City Music Hall… I had to smile and think of you guys!
Bow Tie is just doing the booking. The theater is still controlled by lessee Cablevision.