Showcase Cinemas Milan

107 West Tenth Street,
Milan, IL

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Charlieg55
Charlieg55 on October 16, 2013 at 9:27 am

If my last comment was seen as an attack on someones comment, it wasn’t meant to be, just a correction of his/her facts. If you don’t allow that, than you need to eliminate this option.

The Showcase Cinemas located in Milan, IL; built in 1967, opened 1968. 2 screens each seating 960. Construction on Cinema 3 started the late fall of 1971 and opened the spring 1972 with its own concession stand which was rarely open after the first 6 months. Changing the marque out front was hazardous (dangerous during winter months)as there were no safety chains or guard rails to protect the ushers who worked after hours to change the letters( we also had the same issue changing the letters at the Memri next door). Usually you backed your car up to the base of the marque and put the extension ladder base in the trunk. You then climbed up to the first platform for the Cinema 2 signage, pulled the ladder up and then ran it through the hole in the platform for the Cinema 1 signage. Letters and numerals were tossed up one at a time, or you tied some together with a thin rope and pulled them up from down below. The theater also popped all of the popcorn in 20# bags for other QC theaters in a 10x12 room located behind the main concession stand. What was funny was that there were cigarette and candy machines located across from the main concession stand. Once a month starting in the summer of 1971, very hard ‘R’ and X-rated films started to be shown after the 10 pm hour. “Fritz the Cat” and “Cry Uncle” were just a few. As an usher or usherette, you needed an authorization signed by your parents to allow you to usher the ‘R’ and ‘X’ rated films. Average pay for the week was about $40. Family members tickets were 25 cents each. I ushered films of all ratings during my stay there. “Big Jake w/John Wayne”, “Bless the Beast and the Children”, “Drive He Said”, “Willy Wonka”, “Klute” w/ Jane Fonda. The list goes on. They split Cinema 2 and added the rest while I was in the military. The last theater to be split was Cinema 1 just before they closed the doors. There is more to this, but for another time.

TomBarrister
TomBarrister on September 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm

This complex put almost all of the downtown theaters out of business when it opened in 1968. The ones that survived went to second-run status. This was essentially abandoned in favor of a bigger complex across the river in Davenport. A Hy-vee supermarket and a few other establishments now occupy the property.

jhphetjr
jhphetjr on January 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Ah, yes. I remember this one well. My family moved to the QC in 1981 so dad could take over as Managing Director. We were too late for Star Wars, but I sat through Raiders of the Lost Ark a dozen times, and Superman, E.T., and Porky’s – the first R-rated film my parents ever let me watch. Even worked there one summer as a grounds keeper before switching to the newly opened (and short-lived) RazzMaTazz on the same lot.

BattlePriest
BattlePriest on April 23, 2005 at 6:00 pm

I saw Star Wars at Showcase Cinemas in Milan when I was 7, and saw every movie of my childhood there until 1983 when a small one screen theater opened up in nearby Moline, IL.

I was disappointed when Showcase cinemas spit most of their original theaters, thereby making their big screens not that big, but If I remember right,they left just one of the big screens in tact for big first day showings. I move away to Chicago in 1991 and only saw a few movies there in the following few years, when coming home for holidays.. then I never saw the theater again till several years later when I moved back to the Quad Cities, only to find they closed it in favor of the Showcase Cinemas in Davenport, which is one of those Cookie Cutter megaplexes.

While the Cookie Cutter type theaters are nice, and modern…. I preferred the old school Showcase Cinemas in Milan, and was sad to see it torn down. The property is now being used to build a new Hy Vee grocery Store… all I can say is.. That property is supposed to have a theater on it… the grocery store that is now in its place is an abomination of the property :)