Downtown Cinema

315 S. Barstow Street,
Eau Claire, WI 54701

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Cameo Budget Theatre, Eau Claire, WI

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Cameo Theatre opened in the late-1940’s. This theatre showed second run films when it was operated by Grengs' Theatres. By 2012, it was operated by Micon Cinemas.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 6, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Here is another photo of the Cameo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 20, 2008 at 12:14 am

Another photo can be seen here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 20, 2009 at 7:03 am

Blueprints for a Cameo Theatre at Eau Claire are in the collection of the papers of the architectural firm Liebenberg and Kaplan held by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Various items about the theater in the collection are dated 1940, 1945 and 1946. I don’t know if this was a new building in 1940, or if Liebenberg and Kaplan just did a remodeling of an existing theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm

According to this article the Cameo was built in 1945 and opened in 1946. A second screen was added in the 1970s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 26, 2009 at 3:12 am

In that case, the 1940 date on the Liebenberg and Kaplan papers web site might be a mistake, or perhaps a plan to build in 1940 ran into problems, and then the owner had to wait until after the war to get the project built.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 26, 2009 at 3:27 am

As you said, it’s possible that they had plans to build the theater in 1940 but something happened to change those plans. Maybe they had problems with financing. The Cameo is not listed in the 1940 or 1945 Film Daily. It is listed in 1950.

kenosharay on January 27, 2011 at 12:18 am

Back when this was a one screen theatre it was known as Cinema 1 for a period of time.

Trolleyguy on November 30, 2011 at 3:50 am

Theater website refers to it as “Downtown Cinema>”

movieman547 on February 11, 2012 at 6:20 am

It was built in 1945 by Minnesota Amusement Company the owners of the other theatres in Eau Claire at that time, (State Theatre, O'Klare Theater, Badger Theatre) The Hollywood Theatre was under construction at that time also, it was being built by Sheldon Grengs. To my knowledge, MN Amusement Co. put up the Cameo in hopes of keeping the Grengs family from completing construction of the Hollywood. The plan didn’t work out, the Hollywood construction was completed and opened. The Cameo was open until 1951 then closed until 1966, when Gene Grengs, Sheldon Grengs son re opened it as the Cinema 1 theatre in 1966. It ran as a first run theatre til 1992, then closed for a year and re-opened as a Budget theatre in October 1993. It was called the Cameo Budget Theatre until Sept 2010 when Micon Cinemas of Chippewa Falls purchased the Grengs Theatres and re-named it the “Downtown Cinema. I know a lot of Eau Claire theatre history, as I have worked at them since 1976, and done extensive research.

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