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The LINCOLN opened at 6:30 PM on May 28, 1921, not as indicated above in an erroneous article from a local daily newspaper. The opening-night feature photoplay was “The Heart of Humanity” starring Dorothy Phillips. The LINCOLN was equipped with a pair of Simplex projectors and a new Fotoplayer instrument that could, it was claimed, reproduce the sounds of a piano, a reed organ and a pipe organ, and was said to cost $10,000. The Chicago Statuary Company furnished ornamental plaster wall medallions and a lobby statue. (They’re gone now.) Eugene Fonte decorated the theatre and W. I. Brenner Electric furnished and installed the lighting fixtures. At first the LINCOLN’s format was a new program every day. “The Great Redeemer” was the next feature to play there.
(April 19, 1930)
Theatre Deal Goes In Effect At Midnight
Warner Brothers To Take Over Sheboygan Theatre And Other Theatres In Wisconsin
It was unofficially announced today that Warner Bros, one of the leading film companies in the United States, has taken over the Wisconsin branch of the Universal Theatrical Enterprises chain of theatres, and that the concern will assume ownership at 12 o'clock midnight tonight and will start operating these theatres Sunday.
Theatres included are the Sheboygan theatre, which was erected at a cost of $600,000 and which was opened to the public in 1928; Venetian theatre at Racine, Kenosha theatre at Kenosha, and all the Universal theatres in Milwaukee except the Alhambra. Among the Milwaukee theatres are the Lake, State, Downer, Juneau, Nation and Kosciuszko.
The deal, which has been in the course of consummation during the past week, involves millions of dollars in theatre values.
Manager K. G. Wood of the Sheboygan theatre today would not make official comment as to the completion of negotiations, but admitted that he was notified late Friday to take a complete inventory of his theatre, and to check meters at the close of business tonight.
The Sheboygan theatre is one of the most up to date in the state chain. It is equipped with the latest Western electric sound equipment, with new changes and installations made from time to time as improvements are made in the sound facilities. The theatre in Spanish atmospheric design has a seating capacity of 1,600.
I posted it, and you may call me Louis. The purpose of Cinema Treasures is to preserve and disseminate the history of film theatres, much of which is very elusive. In the case of this rare and (obviously) historic article, its source and date were inadvertently omitted but in retrospect it actually holds the CCAC up to praise for its successful in-progress efforts since those earlier dark days. Perhaps it will inspire further support.
June 28, 1949: Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Jahnke were given a farewell party at Fox Isle Saturday evening. The Jahnkes recently sold the Ford Theater to Joe Baisch of Milwaukee and will leave next month for the west.
(RACINE JOURNAL-TIMES, May 20, 1948)
The foundation for the new Ford Theater, being built for Gust Jahrike (?) and son, is nearing completion.
(RACINE JOURNAL TIMES, Monday, January 3, 1958)
Blaze Drives Patrons Into Cold; Theater Lobby Damage Set at $1,000
WATERFORDâ€" Patrons of the Ford Theater in Waterford were chased out into the cold Sunday night when the popcorn machine in the movie house caught fire. The Waterford Fire Department put out the blaze which caused an estimated $1,000 smoke and fire damage to the machine and plaster in the lobby. The patrons, undaunted, trooped back into the theater to see the rest of the film after waiting outside for 20 minutes. Firemen said the fire was caused by a short circuit in the machine.
(Racine Journal-Times, July 6, 1945)
New Management Of Douglas Theater In Charge July 10
The Douglas Theater, 1639 Douglas Ave., will begin operations under new management July 10, Bernard and David Sherman, managers, announced.
Formerly owned by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Krusienski, the theater will be independently owned and operated by the Shermans.
Bernard Sherman owns a Milwaukee theater and David Sherman is a former druggist.
The new managers intend to live in Racine.
Rival Theater Sends Employe;
(Racine Journal-Times, March 8, 1946)
He’s a Winner
Clarence Bylsma, 2305 Blake Ave., assistant manager of the Granada Theater, has $250 tucked in the bank at the expense of the Douglas Theater.
Bylsma was sent to the Douglas last Thursday by his employer, Max Krofta, to investigate Foto Pay-Day. He not only investigated it, he
won it. “It couldn’t happen again in a million times,” chuckled
Krofta. Bylsma, a senior at Horlick High School, said he would use the money to attend college.
(Racine Journal-Times, March 8, 1946)
Equipment for Foto Pay-Day Seized in Douglas Theater Raid
Headed by Ass’t. Dist. Atty. Louis Hardy, a police squad at 7:30 p. m. Thursday raided Foto Pay-Day in the lobby of the Douglas
Theater, 1639 Douglas Ave., seizing a rack containing approximately
6,000 small envelopes and photos of a youth who was last week’s winner of the $250 grand prize.
Sgt. Josepn Konicek, and Detectives Elmer Emmick and Earl Hahn, who were in the squad, said a long line of expectant patrons disbursed when they went into action.
Raid Follows Opinion.
The raid was ordered by Dist. Atty. Harold Koebel who said Atty. Gen. John E. Martin had given an opinion in which he found Foto Pay-Day to be a lottery. When it was advertised 10 days ago by Dave and Bernard Sherman, Milwaukee, operators of the theater, they were summoned to Koebel’s office with their attorney and warned not to continue, Koelbel said, and promised to cease operations, so when he saw advertisements in Wednesday and Thursday issues of the newspapers, he ordered the raid. Ass’t. Dist. Atty. Hardy said
Foto Pay-Day operates as follows:
The rack is set up just inside the lobby and a 35-cent admission
ticket entitles the holder to draw an envelope as he surrenders his
ticket. Each envelope contains one cent and some also contain certificates. These range in value from $1 and $5 up to the grand prize of $250.
Certificates Turned In.
Certificates are turned in at the office with the understanding that
the management is purchasing the right to use photo of the holder.
Those of $1 certificate holders can only be used in the lobby while
S5 holders may see their photo displayed on the outside bulletin
boards. Winner of the $250 certificate gives the theater owners the
right to use his photo for any purpose they may see fit.
Capt. Sam Nelson, who directed work of a dozen officers at the
station in opening the 6,000 envelopes said the work was completed
at 9 p. m. and a tally showed approximately $60 in pennies, (all
new): 122 one-dollar certificates and five $5 certificates. He said no grand prize certificate was found so total cash represented was $207.
No Warrants Issued.
Dist. Atty. Koelbel said a Michigan man, known to him only as
Turner, installed the photo-game at the theater. The theater owners and their attorney are to confer with the district attorney late today on disposition of the case. No warrants have been issued.
There is a 1940s photo of the HOLLYWOOD at Wisconsin Theatres www.onelist.com/group/WisconsinTheatres .
(Kenosha Evening News, April 14, 1921)
KLINKERT BUYS THE BUTTERFLY
Butterfly Theatre to be Purchased by the Klinkert Interests
SAXE RETAINS OTHERS
Negotiations are under way today for the transfer of the Butterfly Theatre on Milwaukee Avenue, one of the chain theatres formerly owned by the late Charles Pacini and recently sold to the Saxe-Dayton company, to the Klinkert interests of Racine, the owners of the building in which the theatre is located. The purchase price for the theatre is understood to be in the neighborhood of $12,000, this price to purchase the lease and equipment of the theatre. The sale does not carry with it the right to participate in the film franchises formerly owned by the Pacini estate, but it is understood that arrangements may be made with the new management of the theatre for a continuation of many of the film services now used in the theatre.
SAXE TO TAKE OVER PROPERTY.
“This deal has not been closed,” explained Joseph Funck, the administrator of the Pacini estate, “but it has advanced far enough to be a certainty. We expect to sign the papers on the deal on Friday afternoon. The money for the sale is now in my hands and will be transferred to the Saxe-Dayton interests, who included the ‘Butterfly’ in the purchase of the Pacini theatres here several weeks ago."
It was also announced that the closing up of the deal for the sale of the Majestic, Strand and Butterfly to the Saxe-Dayton company would take place at this same time. The new owners of the Majestic and Strand will take over the property on Saturday evening.
WILLARD WELCH MANAGER.
Coincident with the announcement of the change in ownership of the theatre came the word that Willard Welch who since the death of Mr. Pacini has been manager of the three theatres, had been retained by the Saxe-Dayton company as manager of the Majestic and Orpheum theatres. No immediate changes will be made in the management of the theatres as the Saxe-Dayton theatres is well pleased with the successful management of the theatres in the past.
The same valuable film franchises held by the Pacini theatres have been purchased by the new company and the same high grade attractions will continue to be shown at the theatre.
The REX was closed by then-owner Stanford “Stan” Kohlberg, who was concurrently running the Racine GRANADA. Kohlberg once owned over 30 theatres in Chicago.
May 12, 2010)
Could Paradise indeed be lost?
Possibility exists that theater
could be razed
By MARK SCHAAF
West Allis â€" City officials and developers over the last several months have spent considerable time pondering the future of the Paradise Theater, which opened at 6229 W. Greenfield Ave. in 1929.
It is now increasingly possible there could be no future at all.
The city has issued a razing order for the 81-year-old building because of its current state of deterioration.
The building will need to be repaired soon if there is any chance of saving it. It could be demolished as early as this summer if no private or public financing comes through, West Allis Development Director John Stibal said.
Stibal plans to ask the council how the city should proceed. Aldermen may consider how much, if any, public money should be used to salvage the theater.
Memories of the way it was
One of those aldermen, Dan Roadt, said he has fond memories of the theater growing up and would love to find a way to keep it standing.
Roadt is a lifelong resident of West Allis who grew up at 88th and Arthur streets. During his youth, he would often walk with his brothers and neighbors a couple times a month to catch a movie.
“We were always up in the balcony with the troublemakers,” Roadt said with a laugh.
But he wonders how many other residents have the same personal history with the Paradise Theater, and doubts a large number of them would support a public investment.
“I would love to save it, but at what cost?” Roadt said. “It’s a beautiful building, but it needs a lot of work.”
Mayor Dan Devine, too, said he hopes something can be worked out but it will come down how much the city is willing to put into it.
“I’d hate to see it go because it’s an iconic structure,” he said.
Long after last picture show
The movies stopped showing in 1996, and the theater has struggled to attract a permanent tenant since. The Paradise Family Life Center, a religious group which moved out early last year following a foreclosure, was the last group to occupy the building.
The State Bank of Chilton owns the building and has been trying to sell it ever since. The former owner of the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse in Wauwatosa expressed interest in the building earlier this year, but plans never materialized.
forstd – May 11, 2010 7:43 AM
It would be a shame to see the Paradise go away. I have so many fond memories of the old gal. I grew up in West Allis in the 60’s. Our Dad would give my brother and I each a dollar and we would walk from 94th and Schlinger down to Greenfield Ave. Sometimes we would see a movie at the old Capitol Theatre, but mostly it was The Paradise. The movie didn’t matter, WWII movies, Disney, Elvis, Hercules, or Godzilla. It was such a beautiful old theatre. Sadly most of the old palaces are gone, but this one will always be a part of my life. Happy Trails old girl.
El gato – May 11, 2010 8:51 AM
Time does indeed march on, and we are people without a real culture or identity. We love to just toss old things out and bring in the new. History will remember us as “the great throwaway consumer society”, and we won’t have a place alongside the Romans, Greeks, or Egyptians culturally or architecturally!
joeytg – May 11, 2010 9:07 AM
Nice old Theatre… many good memories…. as I recall parking was always an issue in that area. Its too bad that some millionaire kinda guy from the old neighborhood cant come back in and save it. Bad economy / timing for such a project.
Italy – May 11, 2010 1:50 PM
It would be nice if they could save it. If they can’t they should make sure a good salvage company comes in and saves what ever it can.
Mortified West Allis Resident – May 11, 2010 2:59 PM
Since the closing as a movie house the Paradise has never been used to its potential. It was once the headquarters of Agnos Enterprises, complete with a gigantic, egomaniacal, ugly blue sign â€œdecoratingâ€ the front of the building. Next came the church, with their unending promises and undercapitalized plans. The city was more than tolerant with both Agnos and the church. I love the building and once hoped for the best, but now it probably should go. I have two questions.
How long will the razed land remain an undeveloped mess? What will replace the building? An empty lot filled with demolition rubble, would hardly be an improvement. Most of the buildings that surround the five corners have made an effort to improve their facades and improve storefronts. The City is doing the neighbors of the Paradise no favors if they demolish the building with no firm plans for clean-up, potential blight and re-development.
mabookery1tdsnet – May 11, 2010 9:05
Since I grew up in this area, I’ve seen umteen gazillion movies at the Paradise. My daughter worked there while she was in high school. It was the place for a few first dates for me. Before the church took it over, I used to walk there on a Friday evening to see a movie. I remember the Capital and Allis theaters too, in fact my dad managed the Capital for a while back in the mid 50’s. My dad often told us about going to the Paradise when he was a kid for the serial short films they showed and the vaudeville acts that appeared there too. My daughter told me of the orchestra pit in front and the dressing rooms on some precarious stairs behind the stage. Good memories in that theater. Demolishing it would be like demolishing a large part of West Allis history.
JimH5 – May 12, 2010 9:05 AM
There ought to be room in West Allis for that building to be used for all kinds of events. High School Drama & Music, Community Theater, Community Meetings & Family Events, High School Graduation.
How much will it cost to save?
James J – May 12, 2010 9:44 AMÂ»
The building used to house a lot of businesses, not just the movie theater. It still could. While I understand that grand movie theaters like the Paradise are a thing of the past, the space can easily be used for many different purposes. It would be much cheaper and better for the neighborhood to keep the building whole and find other uses for it. To tear it down and have an empty lot for ten or more years would hurt the area more than leaving an empty building in place.
The City should provide a low interest loan to the owner to at least seal the building and make it look presentable on the outside. A future low interest loan could be provided for a future owner or tenant to renovate the building.
Whether you like it or not, this building sits on the gateway to West Allis. It is a monumental landmark and it would be hard to replace with something as impressive. The corner of the building should be fixed at the city’s cost to make it more appealing. Nowhere else in West Allis is there such an important gateway to the city.
(From ‘Boomers!’, Feb. 2010)
Cedarburg’s Retro Rivoli Draws Mainstreet Raves
by Kellie Huber
In 1889, Boerner’s dry goods store was built in the heart of downtown Cedarburg. When business waned, a Milwaukee movie mogul assigned the storefront a new identity and opened the building as a cinema in January 1936. The Rivoli, located at W62 N567 Washington Avenue in Cedarburg has been a movie venue ever since.
Although the Rivoli had been operated by Marcus Theatres for many years, Marcus decided not to renew its lease in 2006, an action which would force the 250-seat single screen theatre to close. Many residents felt the charm of their quaint town would suffer without the cinema. Public opinion prevailed, and the Cedarburg Landmarks Preservation Society (CLPS), a small Cedarburg non-profit group, committed to restore the building to its former glory.
Approximately $1,000,000 was spent to purchase and restore the building. Many professionals and craftsmen donated services and materials, while individuals, foundations and community organizations donated nearly $600,000. As the restoration continues, people continue to donate, showing overwhelming support for the project.
Opening in January 2007, ticket prices were reduced to $3, and tickets are only $2 on Tuesdays. In addition, concession prices were cut in half. The new business model included a commitment to family entertainment, meaning that R-rated films are not shown. Typical Rivoli fare includes animated cartoons, romantic comedies, and classics, among other films that are appropriate for all ages.
Over 900 people from Cedarburg and the surrounding area form the volunteer work force. Although a professional projectionist is paid each day to operate the theatre, four to six volunteers per show manage all ticket sales and concessions. Seven p.m. showings are offered daily and matinees are offered on Saturday and Sunday. Sell-outs are common Saturday and Tuesday nights.
The revised plan has been a hit with the public. Attendance reached 22,000 in 2007, jumped to 36,000 in 2008 and exceeded 48,000 for 2009. As a result of this initial success, the CLPS has undertaken plans for the 2010 restoration of the auditorium.
The retro Rivoli has beaten the odds. Established in a renovated storefront, abandoned by its parent company, and then lovingly restored by local residents – this local treasure will continue to draw young and old alike for many years to come.
(Brownwood Bulletin, July 2, 1958)
Closing of Lyric Theater Ends 40-Year Business Span
When the Lyric Theater here did not open for the matinee performance Tuesday afternoon, it marked the end of an entertainment span covering 40 years.
The theater was closed Monday night by its owner, Mrs. James F. Holland. The Brownwood landmark was opened in 1918 and ranked as one of the oldest in West Texas.
In addition to serving up a varied movie diet for area patrons over the 40-year period, the Lyric participated in many community activities during the time.
One of the first recorded in the files of The Bulletin was in March of 1936 when The Bulletin and the theater cooperated to present free theater tickets to careful drivers in the city. A secret committee of 10 men watched for careful drivers in the downtown area, and when
such a driver was spotted the license number was taken. The driver was later given the free tickets.
1936 was a busy year for the Lyric. That year saw many things, including a change of managers from Robert D. Sparks, who retired, to Pierce Thomas. Thomas gave way to Lew Bray in December of the
same year. That was also the year movie stars John Boles and Gene Autry visited Brownwood and the Lyric. Boles attended a movie there Nov. 23, 1936 as he and his brother spent the night in Hotel Brownwood on their way to a deer hunt in Mason.
A native of Greenville, Boles played in such movies as “Rio Rita,” “Rose of the Rancho,” “A Message to Garcia,” “Craig’s Wife,” and “Back Street."
Autry, whose movie credits need no introduction to local western fans, was in Brownwood Dec. 1, 1936. He made personal appearances at the Lyric Theater during the day. The singing cowboy was accompanied
by his storied horse, Champion. The two paraded down Center and Austin avenues from the courthouse to Daniel Baker College.
In December 1936, renovation work started on the Lyric. The theater was closed from Jan. 3 to Jan. 8, 1937, to complete the work. Improvements included a new screen, new seats, new sign, and a new heating system.
The next movie star to visit Brownwood and the Lyric was Rufe Davis, mimic and hillbilly performer. He visited on Dec. 5, 1938. Davis achieved fame through his ability to imitate almost any sound, from a mosquito to a crack railroad train. He was billed as one of the nation’s top comics at the time.
Jackie Coogan, who was a star in both silent and "talkie” movies, was at the Lyric for a two-day engagement Feb. 6-7, 1939. He was featured in more than 20 movies during his career, including such favorites as “The Kid” and “College Swing."
Final ownership changes for the Lyric were in December, 1952, when Guy Cameron purchased the theater from Texas Consolidated Theaters, Inc., in May, 1953 when James F. Holland and C. A. Thomas purchased
the firm from Cameron, and in May, 1958 when Mrs. Holland became owner.
Minor Terrorism Worried Chicago Police Wednesday
CHICAGO, Sept. 30 1931.â€"(IP)â€"An outburst of minor terrorism, marked
by three bombings, a stench bomb in a theatre, and the smashing of windows in five stores, gave police additional mysteries to clear up today.
The bombs exploded at Erhardt & Sons Paint shop, Arthur M. Gelden’s painting and decorating shop, and an Oak Park apartment building where George J. Erhardt Jr., one of the owners of the Erhardt & Sons shop, resides.
The stench bomb was set off in the Avaloe movie theatre, while the window smashings were at five Consumers' Sanitary Coffee and Butter stores. The bombs caused considerable damage.
(The Austin Reporter, August 4, 1965)
Theater Owner Ousts Reporter
“What are you doing? Get out of my building!” Dave Pielet, owner of the dilapidated Symphony theater, screamed hysterically at a Community Publications reporter Monday.
The reporter was standing in the middle of the public sidewalk surveying the debris-filled interior of the 4935 Chicago ave. theater.
“If you don’t,” he shrilled, “I’ll slap your face!"
With that, he jumped into his big car, gunned the motor angrily and sped away.
Earlier in the course of this sidewalk interview, third of a series of lunch hour encounters with the theater owner, Pielet suggested an alternate campaign for this newspaper in lieu of concentrating on the eyesore theater.
"If you want to do something,” he suggested in a voice loud enough to cause passersby to turn and stare, “why don’t you take care of all these taverns. There’s one, and there’s one and there’s one. I don’t like them in my neighborhood,” he concluded.
Pielet, who gained a month’s stay of execution on an order to demolish the theater on the basis of a building permit calling for $20,000 in repairs, refused to comment on the type of business the theater will be used for. Manager of one of the stores housed in the Symphony theater building said he didn’t know if there was a prospective tenant. “He keeps saying he isn’t ready for a tenant,” commented the store manager, “so I guess all we can do is wait and see.” The case is scheduled for its next hearing before Judge Richard Napolitano on Aug. 17.
TRAIN GUNS ON WEST END
(The Garfieldian, April 7, 1965)
Another abandoned eyesore theater building will be a topic of discussion at the Austin Community organization housing committee meeting scheduled for 8 pm. tomorrow (Thursday) at the Austin YMCA, 501 N. Central. It is the West End theater building at 125-35 N. Cicero which was converted to a dance hall after movies were halted but is now vacant. The building was described as “a hazard and blight on the community” by Mrs. Marcella Kane, 5010 Washington, who is vice chairman of me United Property group. Mrs. Kane said that the owner of the building, Success Savings & Loan Association, La Grange, and managers, Wm. J. Eitel, realtors, 1910 Addison, have been invited to attend the meeting. The West End action is the outgrowth of the campaign to get the vacant Symphony theater, 4937 Chicago, repaired or razed which was started by the Austin News.
According to the ACO, owners of a third building at 4854 Fulton, and representatives of National Mobile Pantry, were also invited to the meeting.
(The Garfieldian, April 7, 1965)
Car Smashed by Bricks From Decaying Theater
Falling bricks from the decaying Symphony theater, 4937 W. Chicago, broke the windshield of a car parked in an adjoining lot Saturday.
Neighbors said the bricks came within five feet of the sidewalk, on which there was a steady flow of Saturday shoppers. Witnesses also said it was fortunate that children who frequently play in the parking lot were not present when the bricks plunged to the ground. “This is not the first time this has happened,” said Robert Rowley, a salesman for Harlo Electric Co., 4941 Chicago, car owner, “but when it does I’m always glad the damage is caused to a parked car instead of some child playing in the lot or a passer-by on the sidewalk."
The bricks fell from the west side of the theater, a structure that has not been used for 15 years which the city is currently suing to have torn down on the grounds that it is 56 per cent depreciated.
Rowley said that he and other employes of Harlo who park in the lot have had their cars nicked frequently by falling pieces of brick and mortar from the crumbling wall of the 40-year-old abandoned theater. "It seems to happen mostly during temperature changes from hot to cold or vice versa,” he said. “The things just start flaking off that building, nicking the paint on our cars. It’s very annoying because we can’t use but half of our parking lot. We try to park at the side of our own building instead of by the Symphony. Wish I had on Saturday."
The Symphony, which has been in and out of court since 1961, is currently set for its next hearing on April 20 before Judge Richard Napolitano, when the city hopes to enter its petition for demolition of the structure. Members of the AGO housing committee and affiliated Central Austin organization are compiling all available records from police, fire and health departments for presentation in
court at the next hearing. The committee, headed by the Rev. Joseph Ognibene, of Our Lady Help of Christians parish, has invited Symphony owner Dave Pielet to attend its next meeting on the theater set for tomorrow (Thursday) at 8 p.m. in the Austin YMCA, 501 N.