Juneau Theatre

609 Historic W. Mitchell Street,
Milwaukee, WI 53204

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Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on August 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

A Mighty WurliTizer Theater Pipe Organ, Opus 1639, a 2/4, manual/rank, keyboards/sets of pipes, was shipped from the WurliTizer factory in North Tonawanda, New York on May 5, 1927. It had a curved console, 292 pipes, an 18 note cathedral chime, 30 note xylophone, 30 note glockenspiel, bass drum, kettle drum, cymbal, snare drum, tambourine, castanets, Chinese block, horse hoofs, surf, bird, train, auto horn, fire gong, steamboat whistle, siren, tom tom, and door bell.

In 1970 the WurliTizer was sold to a private owner in Burlington, Wisconsin and that same year it was installed in a church in Burlington and was made playable. Anyone know what church, is it still in the church, or what has happened to the organ in the last 43 years?

“The selection of a WuliTizer Organ by the owners of the overwhelming number of the leading exhibitors from coast to coast is conclusive evidence of WurliTizer supremacy in the art of organ building.”

LouisRugani
LouisRugani on April 3, 2011 at 2:11 am

(December 5, 1935)
Branded “Outside Job” Today

Wielding axes, pinch bars, and possibly sledges, vandals caused an estimated damage of $10,500 to the Juneau theatre at Milwaukee.
There has been no labor trouble at either the Sheboygan or the Juneau theatre, and neither had there been any picketing, nor were any employes discharged.
About ten days ago In Milwaukee, ground glass was thrown into two projectors of the independent Atlas theatre, 2342 N. Third street causing about $1500 damage.

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on November 29, 2008 at 2:27 pm

BWChigo: This is a beautiful picture of the interior of the Juneau. I do recall that the organ was still there in the 1940s. It seemed to be covered with a tarp or canvas cover. I don’t recall ever hearing it played. I never got close to the organ. It was considered in bad taste to sit in the first rows for a movie. Everyone said you would have a pain in the neck from looking up at the screen.

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on April 28, 2007 at 2:51 pm

The Fox theaters were listed under one block with the exception of the Grace, Pearl, Layton and Fox-Bay which were listed with the independents, Standard chain and Warner Bros. theaters.
Larry Widen and Judi Anderson in SILVER SCREENS lists the Juneau Theater as having 1097 seats. The Film Daily YearBook for 1954 also lists it as having 1097 seats whereas the 45 YearBook states 1100.

TimothyRuf
TimothyRuf on April 25, 2007 at 11:40 pm

Having search through copies of the Milwaukee Journal and Sentinal in the year 1954 and a bit before in recent days, I saw that those theaters were always advertised seperatly from one another, but the Fox movie houses always were under one block.

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on April 25, 2007 at 10:30 pm

In the 40s and 50s the Juneau theater was a Warner Brothers theater. The other Warner Bros. theaters in Milwaukee were WARNER, ALHAMBRA, GRANADA, NATIONAL, EGYPTAIN and MILWAUKEE theaters. All Warner theaters were well maintained and very popular with movie-going Milwaukeens.

TimothyRuf
TimothyRuf on April 25, 2007 at 6:37 pm

dts, et al. Mr. Jim Rankin Passed away on January 3rd, 2007. Sadly, we have lost a person with great knowledge of movie theaters in the Milwaukee area.

I’m not certain what happened with his vast collection of information.

dtsamuel
dtsamuel on January 2, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Yes, I wouldn’t mind having a scanned image of the colored post card, even black and while pictures of the building would be great. I would like to put together collection of pictures that I can enlarge and use at the building to bring back memories for those interested.
Thanks !
-dts

dtsamuel
dtsamuel on January 2, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Yes, I wouldn’t mind having a scanned image of the colored post card, even black and while pictures of the building would be great. I would like to put together collection of pictures that I can enlarge and use at the building to bring back memories for those interested.
Thanks !
-dts

JimRankin
JimRankin on December 18, 2006 at 6:48 am

Mr. Samuel: The only color image I know of is a hand tinted post card of the auditorium in 1910, but I doubt you are restoring the auditorium.

dtsamuel
dtsamuel on December 18, 2006 at 1:23 am

Folks, I’m the new owner of the building, i.e as of July 2005. I started the renovation work and hope to be complete June of 2007. If anyone of you have any color pictures of the building either of the inside or outside, I would love to get a copy. Thanks

-dts

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on October 10, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Last week I walked through the neighborhood past the Juneau building, the empty storefront where the Park once was, the 8th Street building and the Modjestka which has seen better days. The Granada is gone, only an empty lot remains. Our house has been gone since the 60s when the expressway was built. Yes, it was a great neighborhood.

jeffgaj
jeffgaj on October 9, 2006 at 9:31 pm

Thanks for the reply Dave. I grew up on the corner of 7th & Maple, just a few blocks from you. You may have delivered the paper to our house. You have me by a few years though. I went to St. Anthony’s on 9th & Mitchell during the mid and late 50’s. What a great neighborhood we both lived in back then. My memories are all about family, church and fun. How things have changed. As a retired police officer, I am allowed by law to still carry a gun, and if I perchance have to drive through the old neighborhood, that gun is always on my seat right between my legs.

Take Care.

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on October 6, 2006 at 12:22 pm

JEFF GAJEWSKI, here is a late response to your inquiry. Our house was on the corner of 5th and Becher and I attended St. Josaphat’s School.In 1950 I had a paper route which criss-crossed Mitchell between 5th and 11th Streets and passed 5 movie theaters: the Juneau, the Park (where my sister and her friends went each Tuesday to get a free dish), the 8th Street(WHAT A DUMP! but wonderful B movies and three westerns each Saturday), the Granada (air-conditioned) and the magnificant Modjeska.

JimRankin
JimRankin on October 3, 2006 at 3:34 pm

Those are great memories, Dave. If you think of any more, I know everyone will enjoy them. It is such memories that bring our history alive!

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on October 3, 2006 at 2:13 pm

GREAT PHOTOS!! The Juneau I knew had a different marquee, It was triangular not square with three lines for listing the attractions with JUNEAU in large neon horizontal letters across the top. In the 40s the building was converted from an office building into an apartment building for defense workers. Everyone went to inspect the ultra-modern apartments. In the 40s and 50s there was a men’s clothing store on the corner called ANTOINNE’s “Call Me Max."
I had a paper route for one of the Polish papers. Papers were dropped off in front of the Juneau. So, each day while waiting for the papers I would study the lobby cards and photos. The current attraction was advertised in the windows facing Mitchell and the next attraction was in the windows in the outer lobby. The Juneau changed its films on Tuesday and on Friday. And of course, being boys, the paper boys loved to run around around the ticket booth. At that time admission was 35 cents before 6 and 50 cents after, kids admission 18 cents.

jeffgaj
jeffgaj on September 7, 2004 at 5:59 pm

Absolutely right Dave. You are obviously a Juneau veteran. There was also a little-known entry door off the alley that dissected the block north/south. My grandfather would take us through this door which entered into a long corridor terminating right behind the inside ticket-taker position that you described. We would then be passed through for free of course. What part of the neighborhood were you from Dave?

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on September 6, 2004 at 10:39 pm

The Juneau had a long lobby. You bought your ticket at the ticket booth on Mitchell Street and then proceeded through the outer lobby into the inner lobby where the tickettaker took your ticket. Then you walked into the theater but upon entering the auditorium you had to make a left turn and proceed up a steep grade, the entire length of the theate,to the back of the theater where you could then enter the main floor of the theater or go up the stairs to the balcony.
There were exit doors in that back lobby which opened onto Sixth Street. When the first movie left out with most patrons using the Sixth Street exit, second-acters often snuck into the Juneau.

jeffgaj
jeffgaj on June 26, 2004 at 4:48 pm

I remember the popcorn machine well Dave. As I said in my initial post, my grandfather was the janitor there for many years and one of the things I liked to do when he let me in the theatre during non-operation hours was to have gramps fire-up the machine and make some popcorn. Were you from the neighborhood??

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on June 26, 2004 at 2:19 am

An interesting fact about the Juneau was that it did not have a concession stand untill the 1950s. It had two vending machines but no popcorn stand. When the popcorn/concession stand was installed, the theater became known for the noisey popcorn machine which could be heard throughout the main floor.

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 13, 2004 at 4:08 pm

Please let me know if you learn anything more about this theatre. Thank You. Jim Rankin =

jeffgaj
jeffgaj on January 30, 2004 at 2:38 am

I grew up in the 50’s living on the same block as The Juneau. My grandfather was the janitor there for many years and as such I would sometimes go to see him at work on a summer morning. He would let me in the Juneau and I would wander and roam about its vast (at least to a young boy) interior. I remember the backstage area (behind the screen) with its many catwalks and dangling curtain ropes dating back to the live vaudeville days. A lower-level below the stage area contained the dressing rooms where the actors must have prepared themselves. My friends and I went to see movies at The Juneau at least once per week, sometimes more. I remember the Sunday double feature with anywhere from 5-25 Looney Tune cartoons sandwiched in between the movies. The building now sits dank and dreary in a neighborhood that has over the years transformed from warm and tranquil to cold and hostile. Indeed a sad and lonely fate for a theatre that brings back such happy childhood memories for me.

Jeff Gajewski
Waterford, Wis.