308 E. Main Street,
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Towne Cinema (Official)
Functions: Church, Community Center, Movies (First Run)
Previous Names: Classic Theater, Town Theater
News About This Theater
- Oct 22, 2013 — A community saves the Towne
- May 6, 2013 — Movie Houses of Worship spotlights theaters in need
- Mar 16, 2013 — Watertown movie theater trying to raise funds to stay open
Family owned small town theater in a building that dates back to 1848. Originally operated as a general store, then converted to movie house in the early-20th century. Converted into a twin screen house, then the dress shop next door was purchased for the third auditorium. The flyloft is still intact, though not in use.
It screened first-run mainstream films until closing in late-2011. It re-opened February 10, 2012. Provides space on Sunday mornings for church services and lets local groups utilize the stage for events. It has been equipped with digital projection.
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Recent comments (view all 10 comments)
Here’s an interesting bit of advertising history touching on this theater. In the late 1920’s, the Kellogg company used Hal Roach’s “Our Gang” to promote its new cereal, Kellogg’s Pep. On this page there’s a letter sent from the Pathe Exchange to the Classic Theatre in Watertown, Wisconsin, “suggesting” to the theater’s operator a course of action by which the house could secure “…additional and earlier bookings on OUR GANG comedies….” The already somewhat overbearing tone of the letter was given a sinister note by the “SEES ALL – KNOWS ALL” watermark which appeared on Pathe’s stationery.
A Willis Norton opened the Classic Theatre, according to the local historical society.
I went to visit my folks for Thanksgiving this year and saw the latest Harry Potter movie there. I just got back from a Christmas visit with them and am sad to report that the Towne Cinema is closed — probably for good. I used to go to this theater all the time when I was a College student in Watertown in the mid 80’s.
The TOWNE CINEMA in downtown Watertown is reopening with a midnight showing of â€œThorâ€ on Friday, May 6th at 12:01 a.m. Doors will open Thursday at 11:30 p.m. The Towne Cinema will also be showing â€œThor,â€ â€œFast Fiveâ€ and the 1939 classic â€œThe Wizard of Ozâ€ throughout the following week.
The theatre has been closed since mid-December of last year when Steve Lind, the former lessee of the facilities, decided to terminate his lease. Lind and his family had leased the business since November of 2004.
The new operator of the theatre is David Glazer, who also owns and operates the ROSEBUD CINEMA DRAFTHOUSE (nee TOSA Theatre) in Wauwatosa and the TIMES CINEMA in Milwaukee.
The newly-refurbished cinema will play a mix of first-run films as well as special family matinees, classics, independent movies and midnight cult favorites.
Theater seems to be closed. Dropped from website and phone disconnected.
Theater is still up and running! @Trolleyguy https://www.facebook.com/TheTowneCinema Thanks! Management
The local TV station in Madison today had a report about how the Towne was struggling to convert to digital projection. There were some shots in the projection booth of the platter system in operation.
I’m not a resident of the area, but I wish the residents of the town all the best of luck in raising the necessary funds so that the Towne Theatre can convert to digital projection and stay open. There’s a real dearth of independent, non-profit movie theatres here in the USA, generally, and the more of them that can stay open, the better off things will be.
A recent story details the success of the Kickstarter campaign to purchase 2 digital projectors. The third one will have to wait for a while. Here’s the link: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/on-wisconsin-a-community-saves-the-towne/article_21990597-f411-5d31-a50c-95268348d15c.html
Open again on a limited basis with first-run films.