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Went by this theater Saturday night (12-15) and was surprised to see the marquee lit up and “Happy New Year” on it. I hope this restoration goes through and the theater is reopened soon. DuQuoin has taken some hard hits in the last decade but it’s one of my favorite Southern Illinois towns and the Fairgrounds are one of America’s most famous.
The Stifel Theater (Kiel Opera House) in St Louis just screened The Brain there in October for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Does that mean it is now a “Cinema Treasure”?
If I may speculate, my guess is the lease arrangement was much more favorable across the street at the University Place. Plus AMC had put some money into the University Place as well. If one had to go, it made sense that it was this one.
This is the Sunset DI in Evansville, Indiana
But if you have a projector you can show your own movies out the back of your apartment on a giant screen.
The two routes of 66 that ran through Springfield were 6th street (Business I-55) and Illinois Route 4. The Route 66 DI is located between these routes along US 36/I-72 frontage road. The original 66 Drive-In was located on 6th Street just off the exit from I-55. Their claim to being on Route 66 is incorrect.
The 66 Drive-In in Springfield was demolished back in the ‘80’s. The Route 66 Drive-In in Springfield is the former Green Meadows Drive-In that was dormant for many years by Knights Action Park and reopened. It is not located on the former Route 66 as it goes through Springfield. The Sky View in Litchfield is the only active Drive-In on Route 66 through Illinois.
A couple of things. One, Sappington is not a city. The theater is in unincorporated St Louis County in an area that is known as Sappington. But the postal city address is considered St Louis. Two, the Ronnie’s 8 and the Ronnie’s 20 are two different buildings. The Ronnie’s 8 was built on the property while the Ronnie’s Drive-In was still operating. Later after the Drive-In property was redeveloped, the Ronnie’s 20 was built to the north of the Ronnie’s 8 and then the Ronnie’s 8 was demolished for more parking.
This one is a vacant lot now.
It’s called Knight’s Action Park and is still operating.
We were fortunate enough to receive a guided tour of the Ritz Theater renovation from the owner, Jim Puckett, yesterday while we were photographing along Route 66. He, along with his wife Judy, have been faithfully restoring the Ritz for 9 years, and they are now within a couple of months of opening for screenings and shows from local artists. It will be ready to go sometime in January, though they would love to do a screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life” this Christmas if possible. Pictures of the interior renovation have been posted in the photo section. The theater looks great, and I wish the Pucketts the best of luck. Can’t wait to get back to see a show sometime in the future.
When you look at the side of the building, you can see that part of the wall was saved (I posted a picture showing this). But I agree that it was a practical and cost saving measure in the construction of the new building.
I can verify the lobby and auditorium are gone. You drive through the former lobby to get to the parking lot where the auditorium was.
Theater is now closed.
Don’t know what it was like back in 1989, but getting out on Hurstbourne now is no picnic.
Timing is everything. That’s the only time I have ever been up there to get the pic.
rvitale10, sorry I just saw this post today. If you still need to contact me my email is
And the carpet was matched as closely as possible to the original carpet and it looks great. The good news is the floor is still there and intact and could be uncovered sometime in the future if the owners so desire. Considering the scope and expense of the original and ongoing restorations of this theater and how such care is taken to match it to its original look, I can’t get too upset about the choices the owners have made.
Chris, I loved going to the Granada. Even with the water-stained ceiling and the broken and worn seats, it was my favorite among the theaters I frequented in the ‘70’s, including the Avalon and the Crest.
Scott, I agree that the financial viability played a part in the restoration of the property. It wasn’t just a theater, it was also an office building that was being eclipsed by newer and bigger office buildings in the area. At the time of the decision to take the building down decisions were being made or were made on restoring the Fox in midtown. Personally, I believe the correct decision was made, especially given the sketchy history of the American (Loew’s Orpheum) property in recent years and the explosion of the Grand Center area in midtown.
Chris, I was able to finally take the Fox Theater tour yesterday and this topic came up. There were two reasons given. Since most of the Fox shows are during the fall and winter it was a safety issue to avoid people slipping on the floor. The other reason was that it reduced the noise level in the lobby.
Scott, I do agree. The Fox certainly lives up to its name “The Fabulous Fox. ”. I never had the opportunity to go inside the Ambassador so I can’t compare them. But they are all impressive in their own way. Heck, even in its dilapidated condition I was really impressed with the Granada before it came down.
Patsy, as much as I would like to you can’t save them all. We are fortunate here in St Louis to still have the St Louis Theater(Powell Hall), the Tivoli Theater in the U City loop(still showing movies), Loew’s Orpheum (now the American), The Fabulous Fox Theater, and the Peabody Opera House (though not a former movie palace it is just as ornate as the Fox). That’s about as many performance venues that a city of this size can accommodate.
The Roberts brothers who owned not only the theater but hotels, television stations, and other holdings, have had financial difficulties and have sold the theater as well as other holdings to another developer who is evaluating the next step for the theater.
This one is definitely closed.