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Aside from the split-level configuration of the lobby, which depended upon the lift elevator to give access for our disabled guests, the space had an ongoing problem with odor and moisture. Both GCC and Wehrenberg probably spent a lot of time and money trying to correct those issues.
I can assure you that no part of the 14-plex is the same as the old 6. I worked for Wehrenberg when the new construction happened. We didn’t want the old building due to numerous problems with that space. Since the new build was separate, the old theatre was able to operate until the landlord and tenant wanted it to close.
Sorry, but there is no part of the original GCC 6-plex that was incorporated into the new Wehrenberg-designed 14. The two theatres are in different sections of the mall.
The description in the overview has it correct. The building was built as a twin, then had two screens added onto it in ‘76. At some point (maybe '92, but possibly before) the large house was triplexed to make it a six. Then the replacement 18 was built on the site of the demolished six. It was never in the mall; it was always at the same site east of the mall next to Butterfield Road.
The entire wing of original 10 auditoriums has undergone conversion to luxury seating. Two will be Five Star Lounge theatres, and the other eight will feature “Suite Seats.” New restrooms in the old wing are also part of the project.
Although some signage resembled GCC font, this was built by L&M, who also operated the Isle in downtown Aurora. The larger house was split to compete with Plitt’s Fox Valley 4, which opened in December, 1977.
Eventually, Plitt took over operation, followed by Cineplex Odeon in 1985.
This location has been restored and is now open and operates as the Finke Theater, for live performances only.
This theatre was the source of some of my stranger experiences back in the 70’s when I was working as a relief manager, including this one: On a beautiful weekend afternoon, the lobby doors were open to take advantage of the outside air. As the concessionaire was filling the buttermat with Kraft topping, a bird flew through the open doors and into the buttermat and drowned.
The Crocker was a Plitt Theatre in the mid-70’s when I joined the company. I remember two things about the time I helped out covering shifts there: (1) the classic front was way more impressive than any of the interior, expecially the ugly auditorium, and (2) the guy my DM hired to run the place would take a short break to “go down the street” and come back reeking of alcohol.
The new owner of the Illinois put a lot of heart, soul, and cash into the building. He reopened the long-closed balcony as a third screen shortly after taking over. Digital projection has been added, and the restrooms got a long-needed makeover.
I worked one evening helping out at the Commons Cinemas when they were still operated by Kerasotes. That location was definitely an old GCC house. The Yes Cinema, however, was operating in a different location in the mall. I don’t know if the Yes moved to the old Kerasotes/GCC site after Kerasotes closed; if not, these two locations are not the same.
When this theatre only had two triplexes as competition, it could churn out some big boxoffice numbers with a good booking. A couple of interesting facts: (1) Aside from a theatre organ, there was also a turntable in the stage floor. (2) When a would-be burglar broke in and attempted to rob the house safe, all they were able to do was to ruin the dial and make it impossible to access. The safe and its contents were left alone, since it was going to cost more to access the safe than the house fund contained!
AMC graciously offered a lot of Kerasotes area managers management positions at theatres, and I was with them from the Kerasotes buyout until my location, Crestwood Plaza 10 in St. Louis, closed in May 2012. I’ve been looking for work since. (Finding employment is a lot harder in your 50’s than in your 40’s!) Kerasotes is a great organization with some of the finest professionals I have worked with in my long career, and I’m glad they still go on with their ICON concept.
I’m Dave. I also worked with Bill Studdert at Orland 1-4 and will be forever grateful for that opportunity, since Bill was my connection to the glory days of the old movie palaces. Gilbert Tamm was my assistant at Stratford 1-4. Crossed paths a lot with Ed Butkovich. And I was one of Pat’s DMs from 1988 until 2006, in Chicago and then Houston. I’ve worked for six different companies in 10 states in over 120 locations over 39 years. The sad thing, as this website proves, is that probably 75% of those theatres are now gone forever.
Sadly, I’ve always realized this day would come, but tried to block it out. The original sentences for the two were life without parole, but those were overturned due to a pre-trial technicality. For the retrial, they pleaded guilty and received 40-year sentences. The two killers would be about 40 years old now, since they were 16 or 17 at the time of the murder. I think Ron was only 28. (Theatrelifer: I’m guessing that you are Jim?)
Map location is incorrect. The theatre is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of MO routes 47 & 100, about ¾ of a mile southwest of where the Google map has it plotted.
In the late 70’s, when Plitt Theatres installed a new concession stand at the River Oaks 2-3 in Calumet City, they moved the old stand to the Times. This theatre had also been reseated with Massey Astro-Rocker seating (probably also removed from another location).
When AMC purchased Kerasotes, the Wings property became theirs. The last time I was in the theatre, I observed a very large hole in the roof of the left-hand auditorium, which birds used to enter the building. This theatre was similar to another Kerasotes location, also closed, in Sullivan, MO.
The Dundale Drive-In was leased by Plitt Theatres for one or two seasons in the early 80’s. Plitt was the last operator of the location.
That Vietnam movie sounds like “The Green Berets” with John Wayne. Jim Hutton met his demise in the fashion described.
This location was a Plitt Theatre in 1976 when I joined the company. It was in the far south end of Ed Konradt’s district, which also included (at that time) the Wildey in Edwardsville, the Grand in Alton, and the Madison and Palace in Peoria. Plitt closed it within a few years; maybe that was when Bloomer took over. Sadly, years after its closure but before its demolition, the body in a murder case was discovered on the grounds.
This was actually an L&M location, along with the downtown Joliet theatres. I was friends with the long-time manager of the Bel-Air, John Strain. He had some pretty wild and funny stories about the place. One of the stranger ones was when the refinery behind it caught fire; the light from the flames made the area too bright for a decent presentation of the movie on the screen.
I’ll always remember the first time I saw “Annie Hall.” It was at the Hillcrest, still a 1000+ seat single-screen in 1977. Woody Allen films really didn’t play that well in Chicago’s collar cities, and I was one of about four people watching the movie. But every time a funny line happened, you could hear all four of us, in our own corners of the auditorium, laughing out loud. Our laughter echoed in that cavernous room.
The Commonwealth Bannister Mall 5 was located inside the now-demolished Bannister Mall. AMC’s sixplex was across Bannister Road from the mall.
I believe the Plaza 4 opened in 1972, because it was already open when I moved to Lincoln in August, 1973.
Downtown Lincoln at that time had the Plaza 4, Douglas 3, Cinema 2, Stuart, State, Hollywood & Vine 2 (where I worked), and the Embassy (porn house). The only other indoor houses were the Cooper/Lincoln on East O Street, and the Joyo in Havelock (far northeast Lincoln). There were two drive-ins, single-screeners on either end of O Street. Three theatre circuits were headquartered in Lincoln at the time: Cooper Foundation, Douglas Theatres, and Dubinsky Theatres.