Wood River Theatre

113 N. Wood River Avenue,
Wood River, IL 62095

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 6, 2009 at 11:28 pm

The May 20, 1968, issue of Boxoffice ran an item about the planned construction of a new, 1000-seat theater in Wood River, to be called the Wood River Cinema and to be located on Edwardsville Road. It was a project of Cinema Systems, Inc.. But the item also included the following information: “The old Wood River Theatre, converted in the early 1960s to a shopping center and cocktail lounge, burned to the ground in January 1966. It had been built in 1917….”

Judging from the style of the Wood River Theatre building as depicted in the painting Bryan Krefft linked to above, I’d say 1917 is apt be the correct opening year. That sort of tapestry brick and terra cotta trim was long out of fashion by 1932. The marquee in the painting certainly looks like something that could have been put up in 1932, but a February 4, 1939, Boxoffice item said that the Wood River Theatre had reopened after a complete remodeling, so that might be a more likely date for the installation of the spiffy moderne marquee.

An August 21, 1954, Boxoffice item said that the Wood River Theatre was being fitted for CinemaScope. The house was then being operated by the Publix Great States circuit.

As for the proposed Wood River Cinema, after a few more items in Boxoffice late in 1968, reporting that plans had been completed, the name never appears in the magazine again that I can find. Most likely the project never got built.

kencmcintyre on May 9, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Here is a March 1940 ad from the Alton Evening Telegraph:

KenRoe on January 21, 2007 at 4:57 am

The Wood River Theatre opened in 1932 and closed in 1961.