Photo Record

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Catalog Number 2003.011.026
Object Name Print, Photographic
Description Ground breaking for The Elk Grove Cinema, July 1971.

Per Nanci Vanderweel, the following people in the photo are identified as (from left to right): Walter Pancoe (Developer/builder from Walart Management Company), Chuck Willis (Village Manager), unknown, Robert Calkins from Centex Corporation, Ed Hauser, George Spees (Village Trustee), Neil Cooney (Former President of the Bank of Elk Grove), another developer/builder of the theatre, Nanci Vanderweel.

Collection o Schuette Biermann Farmhouse Collection
Notes The Elk Grove Cinema opened in November of 1971 as a single-screen Jerry Lewis Cinema seating 500. It was constructed adjacent to The Grove Shopping Center, located at the southwest corner of Biesterfield and Arlington Heights Road. The cinema was developed by the Pancoe family, with Walter Pancoe as the first owner. The theatre was the first in the Jerry Lewis chain to be built in the Chicago area.

The first feature was "The Red Tent" shown on November 24, 1971. An adult ticket was sold for $1.25 and tickets for children were 50 cents.

In 1973, the theatre switched to independent ownership because management hoped it could bring better movies to Elk Grove Village on its own. In 1974, the cinema was criticized for its plans to show an X-rated film, which sparked a debate on censorship and ultimately the showing was cancelled. The majority of films originally shown at the theatre were G and GP-rated but R-rated movies were shown periodically to attract new audiences, make additional money, and fill gaps when new family friendly films were unavailable. Late in 1980, the theatre was under new management and in 1981,began offering all ticket admission at $1.00 charge.

According to June 18, 1985 Daily Herald article, the Elk Grove Cinema was closed due to lack of ticket sales because moviegoers started flocking to new modular theatres in shopping malls and no longer viewed films at neighborhood, single screen theatres. The Elk Grove Theatre re-opened in 1987 as part of the Classic Cinemas with new screens, expanded auditorium, new seats, and concession counter. In 1997, Classic Cinemas purchased the theatre and in 1998, a new addition opened with four total auditoriums. In 2007, the theatre expanded to include two new auditoriums with big screens, stadium seating, and digital sound.

Source Mary McCarthy
Search Terms Groundbreaking