11/10/2011 6:39 PM
JERSEYVILLE – On Nov. 26, the house lights will go down at the Stadium Theater-for the last time.
“This is a real loss,” area resident Paul Frazier said. “A family of six used to be able to see a movie, get refillable drinks, and buy popcorn for $20. I have lost track of all of the movies we have seen there; my family will be sorry to see this theater close.”
After 62 years in operation, the Stadium Theater, located at 117 E. Pearl St. in Jerseyville, will close its doors. Known for its low prices and concessions, the popular movie buff’s destination entertained generations of Jersey County residents since opening as a one-screen theater on Nov. 21, 1949.
In 1972, the Stadium became a Kerasotes ShowPlace theater, expanding to a two-screen theater in the mid-1970s. In January 2010, Kansas City, Mo.-based movie operator AMC Entertainment Inc. announced the acquisition of Chicago-based Kerasotes ShowPlace Theaters LLC for $275 million.
AMC assumed operation of the Stadium Theater in May 2010.
Kerasotes owned 96 theaters and 972 screens in 21 mid-sized, suburban and metropolitan markets, primarily in the Midwest. The company opened its first theater in Springfield, Ill., in 1909 and began a major expansion in the early 1990s.
At the time of the purchase, 90 percent of the Kerasotes theaters acquired by AMC had been built by 1994 or later. AMC began closing some of the older Kerasotes locations, and for Jerseyville’s only theater, the writing was on the wall.
“Here at AMC, we are always looking to upgrade our theater circuit,” AMC media spokesperson Ryan Noonan said. “We look at each theater on an individual basis, and performance is probably the biggest thing we look at.”
Jerseyville Mayor Richard Perdun says he remembers paying 35 cents a ticket to see the latest films.
“When I was in elementary school, we would go to the double features every Friday night,” Perdun said. “In the early 1960s, there was not a lot to do in the way of entertainment. It is really a shame that it is closing.”
Sylvia Decker, who is now a clerk at The Telegraph, worked at the theater as a cashier for 15 years.
“I am sorry to hear about the Stadium closing,” Decker said. “It is an institution in Jerseyville, a place to take the family for first run movies at a modest price. People of all ages came to the show, and many employees worked there for years. There are few theaters left like that now.” …
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