Kenosha Theatre

5913 6th Avenue,
Kenosha, WI 53143

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LouRugani on June 8, 2021 at 5:51 pm

PROCLAMATION - Whereas one of the technical advances for which our country is noted has been taking place in the entertainment field with the development of three-dimensional motion pictures and

Whereas on May 6 the city of Kenosha will become the first city in Wisconsin where theater patrons can enjoy the advantages of the latest and most modern development in this field known as stereophonic sound,

Therefore I as city manager declare Wednesday, May 6 as “Stereophonic Three Dimension Day” in Kenosha and express best wishes to the local theater which has brought this unique entertainment experience to our citizens.

      1. CUSTER, City Manager (Kenosha News, May 6, 1953 for the simultaneous premiere of HOUSE OF WAX at the Kenosha Theatre.)
BobbyS on September 16, 2018 at 11:02 pm

We visited the theater two days ago and saw wheel barrows and opened paint cans and brushes and ladders in the lobby. The same items we saw last year. Yet next door were fixtures with exit signs etc and chairs & table and a set of golf clubs. We thought maybe the people just walked away yet the lights and a ceiling fan were on. Does anybody know what is going on? Only a block from from the beautiful Library Park. This looks like a beautiful theater project in the making!

LouRugani on April 2, 2018 at 9:08 pm

A labor dispute closed the KENOSHA Theatre from March 25 to April 15, 1932, when differences were settled at a day and night conference in Milwaukee. The employees agreed to another cut of 43%. Duke Ellington and his orchestra played the KENOSHA on May 8, 1941.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 24, 2017 at 7:53 am

The Kenosha is one of the 24 theaters in my new book, “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater,” which is available on Amazon or your local bookstore

DonaldKirk on December 22, 2016 at 6:52 am

I have restored/refurbished/reopened historic theatres in the past; and with proper management, no amount of money is too hard to get. They recently spent $95 MILLION, restoring the King Theatre in NYC. I own Kirk Entertainment and work with a lot of name stars; and much of the funds could be raised having them do concerts as fundraisers (reduced rates or free). I’m inquiring about the Palace Theatre in Gary Indiana and it’s in far worse condition; but, the Jackson 5 grew up there and the place is now very important. I would be willing to work with a preservation effort for the Kenosha Theatre

LouRugani on August 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm

(From Boxoffice, October 29, 1938:) William Exton posted $10 to be given any man over 21 years who would remain two full days and one whole night in the lobby of the Kenosha Theatre in a coffin during the two-day engagement of “Frankenstein” and “Dracula”.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

Hope something happens with this one. Seems like they were making progress six or seven years ago. It would be a shame if that was all for nothing.

LouRugani on March 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Kenosha Theatre projectionist Elmer George Hayek, 84, of Springfield, Illinois and formerly of Kenosha, WI, passed away at 5:00 p.m., November 5, 2001 at his residence. He was born June 23, 1917 in Detroit, MI, the son of George and Mary Exton Hayek. He married Alice Louise Reis in Lake Geneva, WI on August 30, 1938 and she preceded him in death in 1995. He moved to Kenosha at age 16 to work for his uncle, William “Bill” Exton at the Roosevelt Theater. Later in life, he was a motion picture operator at the Kenosha, Orpheum, Roosevelt, Gateway, and Keno theaters. He then worked as a linotype operator and foreman of the composing room at Lloyd Hollister Printing and Pioneer Press in Wilmette, IL. Mr. Hayek lived in Kenosha from 1950 until 1999 when he moved to Springfield, IL. Mr. Hayek was a member of Bristol Oaks Country Club, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and was a volunteer for the Kenosha Memorial Hospital. He had also served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II. He enjoyed playing golf and was devoted to his family. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and a brother: Albert. He is survived by a daughter: Susan (husband, Michael) Shaw of Springfield; a sister: Evelyn Willard of Mena, AR; a grandson: Scot Shaw of Cambridge, MA; and a nephew: George Hayek of El Dorado Hills, CA. Remains were cremated and Private Memorial Services will be observed at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, 2315 Clearlake Ave., Springfield, IL 62703. (The Kirlin-Egan and Butler Funeral Home and Cremation Tribute Center, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield, IL.)

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on August 3, 2011 at 10:44 am

A blog post on the Kenosha theatre is up at After the Final Curtain

MiltonSmith on May 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Also, I think the website for this theatre now is Hard to say, doesn’t seem to connect to anything and the .org doesn’t look like its been updated in a very long time!

MiltonSmith on May 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm

No, no updates in a long time. To restore this theatre would require a massive amount of time and money. More than any volunteer effort could possibly do. Still would love to see it happen, just don’t see HOW it could happen, unless someone has $25 million to spare.

MiltonSmith on November 27, 2010 at 8:57 am

Compare those recent photos with the photos from the Life Magazine, you see just how far gone that theatre is, sadly.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 15, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Many not-so-cool modern phtos here:

View link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Interesting, but I’m not sure what the angles it:

View link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Many cool Kenosha Theatre pictures at this link. Scroll through using thumbnails at right:

View link

LouisRugani on August 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm

(May 17, 1937)
(May 14, 1937 – Oshkosh Daily Northwestern)
Kenosha, Wis. â€" William Exton, theater manager, reported to Kenosha police today that three stranded actors, two women and a man, whom he was “giving a lift” to Chicago, beat him up and drove away with his car four miles south wf Waukegan. Chicago police found the car abandoned.
Exton reported that the trio had thrown him in a ditch. He hitched a ride back to Kenosha on a truck. (Mr. Exton. victim of the incident in the story from Kenosha, is a former Oshkosh man, having served as manager of the Strand theater about two and a half years ago.)

LouisRugani on June 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm

(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.

LouisRugani on April 20, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Brothers Guilty at Kenosha, Says Jury
March 30, 1929 â€"(AP)â€"
David Dotz, 25, former Rookie policeman and his brother, Alex, 21,
former nightwatchman, were found guilty of being accessories to the
burglary of the Kenosha theater last December by a jury in circuit court here late Friday. The jury deliberated four and a half hours.
The two will not be sentenced until after the trials of Angelo
Tarello, accused of the robbery and James Martin, also accused of being involved in it. These are set for April 22. The penalty for the charge against the brothers is not less than 15 years nor no more than 40 years in the state penitentiary.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 29, 2010 at 10:19 am

Article and recent photo. From this view it seems the worst of the damage is in the “sky”:

View link

LouisRugani on January 29, 2010 at 8:50 am

That organ was later removed and installed within the basement of a home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

LouisRugani on October 7, 2009 at 4:31 pm

(Sheboygan Press, December 19, 1928)
Watchman Confesses Kenosha Theatre Robbery Was Frame-Up
Kenosha, Wis.â€"(AP) â€" Police announced today that Alexander Dotz,
night watchman at the Kenosha theater which was robbed of $1,022 in cash had confessed that the robbery was a “frame-up” and implicated
four other men, all of whom were under arrest.

The confession also revealed, police said, that Dotz’s brother, a special policeman, had watched the robbery from the balcony of the theater, planning to trap the men, but instead lost his nerve and allowed them to get away.

James Martin, 40, proprietor of a roadhouse where Dotz’s confession
said the job was planned the day before it took place; Joe Tarrello,
20, and Victor Carbellin, 29, Racine, were under arrest here. The fifth man, Angelo Tarello, 35, was arrested by Chicago police. Tarello was held at the Chicago detective bureau after he refused to
waive extradition, Plans were being made here to request extradition papers at once. Police said Martin had $548.40 in his pockets when arrested just as he was getting his car preparing, they believed, to making a getaway.

Dotz' confession said he told his brother David, 26, about plans for the robbery in which, in addition to the $1,022, a total of $710 of theater ticket books were taken, at 2 p. m. Monday afternoon.
The robbery took place early on Tuesday. The men tied Dotz to a chair where he was found by his wife when she came down to clean up the theater at 5:45 a. m. Tuesday. Dotz in his confession to police said his brother watched the robbery from the balcony but did nothing to stop it. A few hours after the men left, his confession read, the brother came back to see how he was getting along. Tarrello, police believed, was the leader in the robbery. The four men held here were charged with being accessories. Police had not determined what action to take against Dotz’s policeman-brother who joined the force a few months ago as a member of the special police group hired to aid in curbing disorder here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm

The December 13, 1952, issue of Boxoffice ran an article about the 25th anniversary of the Kenosha Theatre, mentioning a few highlights of its history. It said that, after two years of operation by Universal, the house had been leased to Warner Brothers in 1929 and then to Standard Theatres five years later. Standard bought the building in 1950.

The opening program on September 1, 1929, included vaudeville acts Bert Gordon, the Arnaut Brothers, and Nancy Gibbs with a company of ten performing an act called “Dear Little Rebel.” The first movie shown in the new house was a silent film called “The Irresistible Lover.” (Sound films came to the Kenosha in February, 1928.) Ted Stanford played the Wurlitzer organ and Karl Von Hoppe conducted the theater’s orchestra.

The theater presented many live acts over the years, including Veloz and Yolonda, Donald O'Connor, and The Three Stooges. Orchestras that performed at the Kenosha included Duke Ellington, Ray Noble, Lawrence Welk, and Bob Crosby. Singing groups appearing included the King Cole Trio and the Mills Brothers.

LouisRugani on August 27, 2008 at 11:28 am

Here’s a 1927 postcard view of the KENOSHA Theatre looking to the southeast: View link

MiltonSmith on July 29, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Good luck with that, is all I can say. Expecting the city to co-sign 24 million in bonds? I highly doubt the City of Kenosha would go for that at all.

Also, how would they plan to expand the bathroom stalls from 9 to 50?? Where on Earth would they find the real estate to do it without mangling up the original building? Tho, truth be told I’ve never been in it and perhaps there is some space that could be converted without altering the theater.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Looks like a bond issue to finance the theatre was under discussion at some point recently.