Roxy Cinemas

827 LaSalle Street,
Ottawa, IL 61350

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Roxy Cinemas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened around 1910 as the Gayety Theatre, a vaudeville house. In 1932 it was renamed the Roxy Theatre and became a movie theatre, operated by Alliance Theater Corp.

When GKC took over the Roxy Theatre in the mid-1980’s, the chain twinned the theatre. A few years later, four more screens were added when a new addition was built next to the old building.

Now part of the 21st Century Cinemas chain, the Roxy Cinemas continues to feature first-run films.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

JimRankin
JimRankin on May 26, 2004 at 11:24 pm

It is amazing how many theatres are named ROXY in imitation of the once famous name of the New York City panjandrum of the movie palace: Samual Lionel Rothapfel = “Roxy”. His namesake was the famous ROXY THEATRE in NYC, which outlasted him by only 25 years when it was demolished in 1960. The whole story is in that landmark book “The Best Remaining Seats: The Story of the Golden Age of the Movie Palace” by the late Ben M. Hall in 1961. Various editions of it are sometimes available from www.Amazon.com, but only the first edition contains the color plates.

curlingskate
curlingskate on May 30, 2004 at 6:02 pm

I worked at the Roxy in Ottawa befor, during, and after the twin remodeling. I agree that it was in fact a vaudeville theater befor a movie house. The stage behind the screen was a full wood floor stage with flies above, and dressing rooms below. There was a light panel behind the stage with copper knife switches. I was told that it once had a balcony. This was probably one of the finest vaudeville theaters in Illinois in it’s day.

Sunsplash
Sunsplash on October 4, 2006 at 12:29 am

The Roxy was built circa 1910. During the Cold War, the basement served as an emergency shelter and there are still rations supposedly stored there.

FloydCrook
FloydCrook on March 13, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Roxy Cinemas

827 La Salle Street
Ottawa, IL 61350

Show Info (815) 433-8303
For Further Info 433-1816

arfranpe
arfranpe on December 9, 2008 at 5:46 pm

The Roxy in Ottawa, was originally the Gayety and was a vaudeville house. It was an art showcase with six large paintings by Isabelle Sanders, an OTHS teacher, who was also an artist. They were of Starved Rock and other areas. My mom played the organ there during the silent era and at the Orphuem, too. I once helped her install new curtains, as she was an interior decorator, and was hired to do so. In the late 40s, shows ran Sun-Tue, then a double on wed with dish night, and then Thur -Sat. If the projectionist missed his cue, we would all stomp and clap until movie came back on. The Roxy greeted 3D with Bwana Devil and Cinemascope with the Robe. IT also featured the first push back rocking seats. The box office was out front on the sidewalk, and the original marquee hung over the walk and there was also an upright sign. For years, it was An Alliance Theater.

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on November 17, 2009 at 3:56 am

Here are a couple of my recent pictures of the Roxy:

View link
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jesswunman
jesswunman on April 3, 2010 at 11:47 am

I remember and dearly loved Isabelle Sanders' paintings that were in the Roxy. arnie P, do you have any idea what happened to them? Please contact me…

Chris1982
Chris1982 on June 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm

The name change from Gayety to Roxy took place in 1932.

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