Varsity Theater

1326 W. Wisconsin Avenue,
Milwaukee, WI 53233

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Showing 14 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 17, 2012 at 6:12 am

For anyone coming across my earlier comment, Boxoffice decided not to limit access to its archives to subscribers only after all. Anyone can see the scans of nearly 3000 back issues at The Vault.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 29, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Why does everyone have to Charge to see local paper wants some crazy amount to see the old newspaper ads on our old theatres.I guess i could go to the Library for free and access,but what a pain everyone has to make a buck.History should be free.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm

mdmjcc: I was viewing the older back issues of Boxoffice on the web site, but the magazine has removed its archive from that free site (and all the links to it I’ve posted here have gone dead.)

They are in the process of posting the archive to the vault on their own site, where it will be available only to subscribers. I don’t know how long it will take them to get the entire archive posted. I’m not a subscriber myself (its beyond the means of my very limited budget), so I haven’t been keeping track of their progress.

mdmjcc2 on July 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Sorry to members to post to one member, but Joe Vogel – – I have subscribed to Boxoffice for twenty-five plus years. I cannot access there “The Vault” for the time frames prior to 1980’s. Do you have a way do do so?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 9, 2010 at 11:00 pm

The photo ken mc linked to is not the Milwaukee Varsity. A photo of the Varsity was featured in an article in the signage industry trade journal Signs of the Times, issue of August, 2007. The article was about Poblocki & Sons, the Milwaukee-based company which provided the marquee for the theater. A pdf of the article is provided by the Poblocki Sign Company web site.

A few photos of other theaters for which Poblocki provided signage, including both old houses and new multiplexes, can be seen in the company’s Entertainment Portfolio.

kencmcintyre on November 30, 2008 at 10:28 am

Is this the Varsity in Milwaukee? Photo is dated 1951.

DavidHurlbutt on August 12, 2006 at 2:43 am

I was not aware that Milwaukee’s State Theatre had a listing. Please move Hildegarde and the State to the correct location.
On a hot summer afternoon in 1959 I looked out of a classroom window at Marquette University and saw a hundred or more nuns in full habit entering the Varsity Theater to see a preview of THE NUN’S STORY. The Nun’s Story opened the next week at the WARNER THEATER. I did see that beautiful film at the Warner. Seeing Audrey Hepburn canoe down the Congo on that giant screen in the comfortable Warner was wonderful. I stayed for a second viewing of the film.

JimRankin on August 12, 2006 at 12:49 am

Re: STATE THEATRE: Guess my memory is failing me, since I had completely forgotten that the STATE has been listed here at: /theaters/10874/

With DavidH’s permission, I will copy his Comment over there.

DavidHurlbutt on August 11, 2006 at 3:56 am

In the 1920s' silent movie days Hildegarde Sell who went on to be THE INCOMPARABLE HILDEGARDE played the piano at the State. Hildegarde who was billed as the ultimate chanteuse had a popular national radio program THE RALIEGH ROOM in the 1940s and because of her affected mannerism was the butt of many jokes. She also wrote the best seller Over 50 So What?

JimRankin on August 11, 2006 at 2:48 am

Since State St. is an East/West street, I am going to think that you meant East of 27th St., and therefore what you probably saw was the former STATE, once a 900-seater on one level from 1915 through 1955, according to Larry Widen’s “Milwaukee Movie Palaces” (to be reissued, enlarged, as “Silver Screens” next year). It is unusual that you recognized it since it never had a stagehouse, and inside, virtually no decor to speak of. It was designed by local man Frank Andree and once had a small Kimball pipe organ of unknown specs. It would have been on your right (the north side of the street) as you drove west. It is at 2616 W. State St. Feel free to add it if you like.

kencmcintyre on August 10, 2006 at 2:12 pm

This is a note to Jim Rankin, who is a fount of information on these Milwaukee theaters. I drove down State Street last week, going northbound below 27th Street. I saw what appeared to be an old theater, which is now retail. Given that there are 71 theaters listed for Milwaukee, perhaps you may recall a theater in that vicinity. Thanks.

kencmcintyre on August 10, 2006 at 2:10 pm

There is a picture of the Varsity on this page:

DavidHurlbutt on July 12, 2004 at 2:48 pm

Always considered a neighborhood theater, in 1949 the Varsity did have a road show engagement of THE RED SHOES.

JimRankin on June 23, 2004 at 6:57 am

If you learn anything more about this theatre, please let Jim know at