Lorraine Theatre

324 East Main Street,
Hoopeston, IL 60942

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Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Article from the News-Gazette (Champaign IL) of 1/23/14:

Group Working to Save Hoopeston Movie House By Tracy Moss

HOOPESTON — It’s tough re-opening a movie theater in the middle of a rough winter.

“We just need the weather to cooperate,” said Jim Richards, a Hoopeston resident involved in the effort to save the historic Lorraine Theater.

The Save the Lorraine Foundation took over the theater last month after Hoopeston native Fontella Fraley Krout bought it from the bank that had foreclosed on the previous owner. Krout immediately donated the Lorraine to the foundation, which took possession on Dec. 13.

To keep the heat and lights on, the foundation began showing movies on weekends, beginning right after Christmas in the little Lorraine, a smaller theater about a block away that is part of the property. The foundation had a good turnout that first weekend for “Fast and Furious 6” and “The Goonies.”

But the next weekend, the winter storm that paralyzed most of Illinois blew into Hoopeston.

“It’s been a little shaky since then,” said Richards, who is gearing up for this weekend’s showing of “Dirty Dancing” and “Cars.”

The Lorraine Theatre opened in 1922, showing only silent movies until 1937, when Axel J. Claesson, a theater designer from Chicago, remodeled it into an art deco style theater. A sound system and restrooms were added then, too. In 1992, the projector system was upgraded, and a digital surround-sound system and speakers were added along with a new screen.

In 2007, longtime owner Greg Boardman sold it after almost 20 years, and the theater has struggled since then. A California man, Joshua Caudle, bought it in 2008, but by April 2012, the theater closed when the bank foreclosed on the property, according to Richards.

It has sat empty for more than a year, and in August, Richards and more than 30 other Hoopeston area residents met to discuss saving the theater. They decided to form the foundation to take over the property, which includes the Lorraine Theatre, and what’s known as the Lorraine II or little Lorraine, a separate store-front theater set up by the previous owner that is about a block and half from the Lorraine and seats about 50 people. But, Richards said, Main Source Bank could not donate the property to the foundation.

That’s when Krout heard about the situation through a Realtor friend and decided she could buy the theater and donate it to the foundation.

“I have fond memories of going there when I was young,” said Krout, who lives in Danville. “I would just truly hate to see it closed permanently.”

To bring customers into the theater during the Great Depression, the Lorraine Theatre hosted “bank roll nights.” Once a week, a drawing was held, and a cash prize was given away, and if no one won, the money rolled over to the next week, and a larger prize was given away. Bank roll nights continued into the 1950s.

Krout remembers winning $90 one bank roll night, which was a lot of money to a 16-year-old in those days. But as an avid movie-goer, she was just as excited about the six-month free movie pass that came with it. Krout was at the Lorraine at least three times a week using that free pass.

“I probably saw some I didn’t even like,” she said.

Once the foundation took possession last month, Richards, president of the foundation, and the other members got to work cleaning the little Lorraine, which is in better shape than the Lorraine. The little theater is functional, and that’s where the foundation is showing the weekend movies for freewill donations. That should keep money rolling in to pay for heat in the Lorraine and other bare necessities, like liability insurance, until the group’s nonprofit status comes through, and they can begin fundraising and grant writing in earnest.

Richards said it will take a lot of money and work to restore the Lorraine, which needs its marquee repaired; some tuckpointing on the exterior and inside; new carpeting; a ceiling, heating and more. Richards said once the group gets its nonprofit status, it will begin getting estimates for the necessary repairs, so the foundation’s members will know exactly how much it’s going to cost to restore the theater.

In the meantime, they are committed to showing movies at and renting out the little Lorraine, not only to pay insurance and utilities, but to keep an active presence in the community.

“Showing we are a visible force rather than just letting the theater sit,” he said. “It’s a unique building. It was one of the premiere theaters here. … We need to put it back to that.”

jcg022897
jcg022897 on December 22, 2013 at 2:47 am

The Lorraine Theater is Reopening. We have started a foundation to restore It to her former glory. Lorraine Screen 2 is up and running public events. For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/www.lorrainefoundation or www.savethelorraine.com

onargatheater
onargatheater on July 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm

The Lorraine theater closed a few months ago.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

Although the interior of this theater could certainly be classed as Art Deco, the facade, apart from the marquee and boxoffice, is not. The building’s front is splendidly classical, and deserves to be noted as Beaux Arts in style.

Should the Lorraine close, it won’t be the first theater Hoopeston has lost. The August 14, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World mentions a Princess Theatre and a Lyric Theatre in operation at Hoopeston. I would assume that both are long gone. There was also the McFerren Opera House, which was listed in the 1906 edition of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide. A booklet published for Hoopeston’s centennial in 1977 said that the opera House had burned down on February 20, 1937.

larry
larry on September 16, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I’m afraid the end is near here

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 16, 2010 at 6:41 pm

If this place is indeed for sale, why don’t the sellers post a link with the sale information? Price, yearly taxes etc. Then anyone who may have other buyers who might be interested, would have some type of link to forward. Why all the mystery between this page, and the story on CT’s “For Sale” page?

kja
kja on August 31, 2010 at 4:21 pm

This is by far the best theater in the country. The best sound system the best leg room. I have been in the industry for years. I am extreamly saddened to here it may close. I understand what it takes to keep an older theater in operation. I understand the community needs as well. If Hoopeston looses this theater that will not only be a nail in the coffin for the theater but for the city as well. How many articles are out there boasting about the grandure of the Lorraine? I would bet hundreds. Even with the economy the way it is the city leaders MUST do what it takes to keep this icon open. Even if it means the tax payers supporting this wonderful theater. If the town looses this theater, it will be extreamly difficult to get families and businesses to re-locate to Hoopeston. Businesses look at other successes in the town and other failures. If the community and leaders of a community will not assist or unable to help keep a theater open for the people. The city doesn’t attract other potential businesses. The death of a theater often telss the future of a community. Businesses also look at the enrollment of schools in the area. If enrollment continues to decline new businesses tend not to re-locate to that area. Wake up – do not let this wonderful theater close. Do what ever it takes.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm

What a grand looking facade, especially the marquee and lights!

Question… If folks cannot afford $5 for a ticket then how much do these ‘yuppies’ blow on a late' coffee or their nails?.
Get a life by removing your fat rear end out of your couch and go see a first-run movie before the cinema is gone… and then you’ll wish you had!

movietheatres
movietheatres on July 16, 2010 at 12:15 am

The current website of the Lorraine Cinemas including photos and all other information can be found here;

www.CineMajesticLTD.com

jwballer
jwballer on March 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm

A 3/8 Geneva was installed in the theatre in 1922.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 26, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Love their marquee very old school.

JPizzle
JPizzle on December 8, 2009 at 8:59 am

The ART theater group has built an extension to the stage this summer and will be putting on 3 presentations next year!

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on November 17, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Here’s another one of my recent pictures of the Lorraine:

View link

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 26, 2009 at 10:30 pm

I always wanted to go to this gem; now’s a good reason.

(As yahoo maps would say, go to Route 25, make a left, 826 miles, theater is on your right…)

movietheatres
movietheatres on August 22, 2009 at 1:04 am

CineMajestic’s Lorraine Cinema Celebrates Anniversary with GONE WITH THE WIND

Hoopeston, IL – CineMajestic LLC, the region’s leader for State-of-the-Art sound with first run films and the most comfortable theatres is celebrating it’s first full year of operation of the Historic Lorraine Cinema with the presentation of the the cinematographic David O. Selznick classic, Gone With the Wind, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh on Friday October 2nd through Sunday October 4th.

“We’ll have the exclusive national play of Gone With the Wind and I’m very excited to finally see this classic” stated Joshua Caudle, owner of the Historic Lorraine Cinema. “I actually have never seen it because it just seemed a waste to see it on TV or even just at home. Now I can say it was the smart thing to do because I’ll see the new print the right way, and I’ve already got a lot of people coming to town to get this treat too. And its a great way to showcase all the work we’ve done on the Lorraine in the last year as the hands down most comfortable place to see a movie anywhere in the area. We’re really expecting this to be well received and that our community is proud of the gem they have at the Lorraine.”

The Lorraine Cinema was originally opened as a live house in 1922 and features a full balcony, stage for live events, and classic Art Deco decor historic artwork throughout. Last year, all new seating was installed with an industry leading five foot wide spacing between rows of seats to maximize comfort and eliminate any visual obstruction for films.

Warner Brothers is sending one of the newest select prints, which has been remastered with pristine picture and modern full Digital Sound, including the elite 8 Channel SDDS Sound featured at the Lorraine, so the experience is anticipated to be first rate.

“We’re celebrating a great first year of being here” explains John Pauley, Manager of the Lorraine Cinema. “Gone With the Wind hasn’t been seen by most on the big screen, and with the brand new seats, the five foot wide aisles, killer sound and the lowest prices on tickets and snacks, we know we really have the best theatre and we want everyone to come and see that too.”

Gone With the Wind will be presented on Friday October 2nd at 715pm, Saturday October 3rd at 2pm and 715pm, and Sunday October 4th at 2pm. Tickets are a flat $5.00 each and on sale now at the Lorraine Cinema Box Office. Advanced ticket purchase is highly recommended.

movietheatres
movietheatres on August 14, 2009 at 7:56 am

This is the new site and has some brilliant photos of the place, recent one!

www.cinemajesticltd.com

movietheatres
movietheatres on June 19, 2009 at 5:26 am

Just an update on this great spot. Both auditoriums have the all new high back flip up armrest luxury chairs, and the aisles are 5 feet wide! No squirming in your seat when someone wants to walk by. Ticket prices are still lower than any other new movie theatre anywhere in the area, and they have an SDDS 8 Channel Digital Surround Sound system that just awesome.

Tons of parking, restaurants right down the block, lowest prices, and all that legroom, well worth a visit.

moulinrouge
moulinrouge on March 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Last October, the Lorraine got new owners! Finally, someone who lives in the same town as this historic gem and can manage it closely. Here is an interview with the new owner on Smilepolitely.com: View link

The old seats have nearly been replaced in the auditorium with luxurious new ones, and the owners are repainting all of the interior with a green and gold theme. It feels like the Emerald City when you walk inside… in a good way!

ricklanders
ricklanders on January 18, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Can someone please tell me how to get in touch with Bob Meza, the photographer who took the photo of this theater and apparently many other theaters? I saw a post with someone using the name BobMeza, if this is you, please e-mail me at , I would like to talk to you about your photography. Thank you.

uptownjen
uptownjen on October 26, 2007 at 8:50 pm

is the theater staying open while they look for a new buyer?

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on September 14, 2007 at 6:15 pm

theate rfor sale …looks like a gem

hilde1951
hilde1951 on August 15, 2007 at 12:40 am

I was hired to count movie patrons at the Lorraine Theatre on this past friday and Saturday, and it was like walking back into my childhood(I’m 55 now), this place brought back such good memories. Even though I grew up in Kansas City, it’s still the same feelings.
I really enjoyed the time I spent there. The only thing better than the Theatre itself, were the people who work there! Thanks to you all!!