Lans Theatre

3524 Ridge Road,
Lansing, IL 60438

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

rivest266 on July 24, 2017 at 7:22 am

This opened on January 29th, 1947. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

DavidZornig on July 14, 2017 at 5:54 am

Thanks for sharing your memories Fred. I have never been to the Lans. I only shared the photos and descriptions as I found them from the various sources I credited.

Fred Schiller
Fred Schiller on July 14, 2017 at 12:21 am

Speaking of mementos, my new avatar is my one and only memento from the Lans. It’s a letter from the marquee. One day the manager (Her name will not be mentioned in an effort to protect her family) walks up to me and my friend Rob, and she asks if we want to earn some extra hours by painting the marquee letters. In all honesty they looked mostly fine to us. They were black and had an array of chips, dings, and rust speckles. Rob and I were both confused when our manager showed us the many cans of red paint she had purchased. The color change would only be noticeable to people driving past the sign during the day. Once it got dark enough for the lights to come on, they were essentially silhouettes. Painting the metal letters was going to be a tough job but we were being paid by the hour. In reality, we had no idea of what we were doing, but we tried. Rob dipped the face of the letters in the red paint while I quickly painted the sides. There wasn’t much elbow room down the the basement so could only do 20 letters or so at a time. While the paint dried we went across the street and stuffed our faces with pie. When we got back the letters looked pretty good with only a few touch ups to do. It was when we were picking up the painted letters that we noticed that enough red paint had profusely dripped off the letters.

So, being the clever fellows we were, we went around to gather up as much old newspaper we could. After spreading out a bed of newspaper, we tried painting another batch of letters, unfortunately to mixed results. The red paint had slowly dripped onto the newspaper, but then it soaked through the newspaper down to the basement floor. So, we were stuck with a bunch of red marquee letters with a halo of newspaper scraps on them. As time went on we found we could paint the letters with only a modicum of waste and mess. It’s been almost forty minutes to notice since the letter painting took place, but I’m betting if I could somehow get down to the basement of the pizza place, the outline of those two sets of letters would still be there.

I actually took four of the marquee letters: FRED, but over time enough people had pestered me for the letter to their name. There went R and D. The E is probably in a box buried under a pile of Black Widow spiders. I really only wanted the F, so if it’s gone forever, I hope the new owners are enjoying theirs. During the years that passed I kept the F on my office wall. It was getting a bit dull and full of dings, so I decided to paint it myself. I wasn’t happy with black or gold, so I used a sparkly gold paint. It looks so good I’m tempted to try and track down the RED to make a set.

Anywho, I just thought I’d share.


Fred Schiller
Fred Schiller on July 13, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for the note, Mike. Hey, DaveZorning, you’ve been talking about photos of the Lans for a while, but were you aware there was a glass etching of photo INSIDE the ticket taker’s booth. I think at one time they would tape the current show schedule to it, but in ‘76 when I started there is was just this black window in the red battered ticket box. Is this old news to you? I wonder what happened to that ticket box.

Boom on July 5, 2017 at 11:39 pm

A video of the current Organ arrangement on the inside.

Boom on July 5, 2017 at 11:36 pm

Replacement parts for the marquee were becoming hard to find. It has been replaced by a modern facade. They attempted to keep the classic style.

DavidZornig on October 27, 2016 at 9:21 am

Also the 1969 photo I added had this description.

January 1969 photo & copy credit The Lansing Journal. New owner William Mallers took over. They remodeled some of the interior and they starrted showing “First Runs” of older movies

DavidZornig on October 27, 2016 at 8:05 am

The Lans had a a pre-opening event on January 28, 1947. An image of the invite has been added to the Photos Section, courtesy of the Lansing Historical Society. So the Overview should be changed to Opened January 28,1947.

DavidZornig on October 27, 2016 at 7:43 am

1965 photo added courtesy of Brian Pearson‎.

DavidZornig on October 27, 2016 at 7:38 am

August 1954 photo added courtesy of Lansing Historical.

editpro on July 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm

As a kid in Lansing in the ‘50s, I remember that the Lans had a unique programming approach—it would play family/kids films Friday-Monday, then offer more adult fare the nights of Tuesday-Thursday. And it never offered double features…. we would head to Hammond, Indiana, theaters for twin bills.

justinterested on September 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Please note, there is an pipe organ in the old Lans Theatre, the console was moved to I assume where center stage would have been, (if there was a stage) the organ is played for the entertainment of the diners. The Pizza is very good.

TLSLOEWS on March 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

In my days with Loews we had our conncession girls trained to ask if the patrons want “Butter Flavoring” since it was not really butter and to avoid any lawsuits.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

fred,enjoyed the story on Buttered popcorn.I have been on CT a couple of years and that was the first time i had ever read that on the Butter.It was the same thing at the theatres I worked at.thanks.

TLSLOEWS on March 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Thanks for the photo Don, and the story anon99.

ratkins99 on March 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm

It is a summer morning and Scott and I do our usual of collecting pop bottles from sand lots and pooling our money together. You get 2 cent deposit on the bottles, which we turn in at the meat market. The movie cost 35 cents, and you want 10 cents for popcorn and 5 cents for pop. 50 cents total. Then we ride our bikes over to the Lans from the Indiana side. The movie matinee is “The First Men in the Moon” based on the novel by HG Wells, released in 1964, and I was eleven.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 28, 2010 at 9:19 pm

From around 1949 a photo of the Lans Theatre in Lansing.

kencmcintyre on March 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm

There were some photos in Boxoffice in November 1947:

Alive on December 9, 2009 at 10:04 am

I was on my way home one evening and as I walked passed the Lans that they just finished they were having there Grand opening for all the dignitaries in town. The door was open so I walked right in and passed through the lobby into the theater. There was a 4 foot high wall before the seating so I leaned on that wall and watched the movie. The movie was Three Little Girls In Blue with the Andrews Sisters.I think it was early in 1947. I later got a job there and was a usher and did other things like make popcorn, clean the popcorn machine, change the outside marquees and the posters discribing the movie. It was great having it in town. Rich

chinaboat on June 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm

803, well wha’d'yanno, didn’t think it was that big. The walls were stucco painted with a bizarre underwater theme basically aqua or blue-green with 18" wide twisted strands of darker blue and green seaweed going up perhaps 15 feet, five foot high sea horses floating about and huge seashells. The house lights were huge wall sconces that looked like immense scallop shells; I regret not being able to obtain one but I had left town by then.

As I said, it was a tad bizarre, but at least it was decorated unlike today’s boxes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 11, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Construction on the Lans Theatre began during WWII, but was delayed by material shortages. Kalafat Brothers, the operators of the house, scheduled the opening for January 29, 1947, according to an item in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of February 15 that year. The Lans was designed by Chicago theater architect Erwin G Fredrick.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on January 13, 2008 at 9:15 pm

The Lans Theater now Beggars Pizza is a building that is now 61 years old which means the Lans Theater must have opened in 1947. Lansing was settled by a lot of Dutch folks and those Dutch Reformed are pretty strict so it’s understandable what kind of movies the Lans showed. It’s a wonder they allowed the theater to be open on Sunday!
When it was Pipes and Pizza, Roger Triemstra, the WGN AM720 Radio, Superstation WGN TV9, Meteorologist from 1965 to 1998 was one of the owners. As far as I know a theater pipe organ had never been installed in the theater and the owners installed a 4 manual Barton Theater Pipe Organ. I don’t remember how many ranks and I don’t recall where it came from, but it’s a safe to say it came from Wisconsin cause all Bartons came from Oshkosh.
I don’t know about now, but as of last year Glenn Tallar was playing the Barton each Tuesday and Saturday night for Beggars Pizza. He’s 20, lives out southwest of Chicago in Homer Glen, is a Lockport Township High School graduate and goes to Columbia College. He sure makes it a fun place to eat pizza!

“Gee Dad, it’s a Barton!”

jeffdal on January 13, 2008 at 3:05 pm

This was indeed a great place. I think I saw every Disney movie there from 1974 until it closed!!!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 5, 2005 at 8:59 am

Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook,1950 edition it had a seating capacity of 803.

editpro on May 5, 2005 at 8:18 am

My older brother and sister worked at the Lans in the mid-50s; my brother was friends with the son of the owner, Roger Shearer. I did see a lot of Disney movies there, but I also such offerings as Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate, and Dr. Strangelove. Things I most remember:
For years, the theater has a split-week billing schedule—family movies played Friday-Monday and more adult films played Tuesday-Thursday.
Summer Kiddie Matinees—Tuesday afternoons throughout the summer, the theater offered free shows for kids, which consisted of 26 cartoons (so they said; nobody ever counted) and a movie. It was sheer bedlam with popcorn and candy boxes flying about and hundreds of kids laughing, screaming, running and pretty much ignoring what was on the screen. Very similar to the scene in the movie theater in Gremlins. Ears would be rinnging for an hour after you left the theater. It was great fun.