Towne Theatre

Grand Avenue,
Fox Lake, IL 60020

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Towne Theatre - $25,000 Reward - The McHenry Plaindealer Fri Mar 3 1978

Opened May 27, 1950 with June Haver in “The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady”. The Towne Theatre went over to new owners in 1957 who turned it into an adult movie theatre.

The theatre was bombed in March 1977, the work of a professional, due to the theatre using non-union projectionists. The damage was so severe, the theatre never reopened and it was demolished.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

LouRugani on August 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

(Daily Herald, April 13, 2007) • (Then-) Current Mayor Cindy Irwin was questioned in the Towne Theater bombing that took place on March 16, 1977. The movie theater, owned by then former mayor Joe Armondo and famous for showing X-rated movies, was using nonunion projectionists to show movies. Irwin was later absolved of the crime, believed to be done by the disgruntled projectionist union.

LouRugani on August 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

(Daily Republican-Register, Mount Carmel, Illinois, March 17, 1977) Bomb in porno house investigated FOX LAKE, IL. (UIM) – The bomb that destroyed the Towne Theater, which showed pornographic films, might have been planted by the mob to extract a “tax” from the owners, according to a federal official. Peter Vaira, head of the U.S Justice Department’s Chicago Strike Force against Organized Crime, said Wednesday it was possible the bombing was carried out by mob forces. “There has been a move in the mob to shake down some bookstores – to exert a street tax,” he said. Syndicate figures are “in general, trying to collect a street tax from any kind of pornographic outfit,‘ Vaira said. The blast knocked down three brick walls of the theatre at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and triggered a fire 90 minutes after patrons left the movie house, authorities said. No injuries were reported but damages were estimated at $175,000 to $200,000. Fox Lake Police Chief Hay Walk said a "high explosive’ was placed near the rear exit doors. Although police found no physical evidence of a bomb, Walk said nothing else could have caused such severe damage.

LouRugani on March 2, 2015 at 6:27 pm

The address was 66 Grand Avenue.

LouRugani on March 2, 2015 at 6:54 pm

(DAILY HERALD, Thursday, May 25, 1950) The new Towne theatre on Grand Ave. in Fox Lake will be opened Saturday evening, May 27, marking a big step forward in the growth of the community.

The theatre, operated by the Robert Helson Corporation, will offer as its first attraction “The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady” which opened in the Oriental Theatre in Chicago only two weeks ago. The doors will open at 6:30 p. m. and the first performance starts at 7:00 p. m.

The Towne will be under the management of Jonas Fugett, long time employee of the Helson firm, headed by Robert T. Held of Chicago and Robert C. Nelson, well-known Lake County attorney and school board attorney for the Fox Lake Grade school.

The new theatre is of the most modern design with every facility for patrons' comfort as well as entertainment. More than 600 Kroehler Pushback seats have been installed. This new type of seat makes it unnecessary to stand when someone desires to pass to and from other seats in the aisle. Those who desire hard-of-hearing aids may ask the head usher and they will be provided without charge.

The screen is a Starke custom built Cycloramic screen which is the newest type of screen and the first type of screen with any major improvement for vision from the sides of the theatre made in the past 20 years. The projection and sound equipment is high intensity Motiograph 35 carbon-arc, the best available equipment on the market. The draperies are beautiful sateen finish fireproof material. The carpeting is extra thick and is in a beautiful design of four shades of gray.

One large wall surface of the lobby is adorned with a “black-light” mural of the Lake Region painted by Hans Teichert, the best theatre decorator in the United States.

The refreshment accommodations are complete, popcorn, cakes, candy bars, etc. The building, which is one of the very few completely fireproof theatres in Lake or McHenry counties, is finished in Indiana limestone with three all-glass entrance doors.

Ample free parking facilities have been provided for patrons of the theatre, and the operators have promised that every effort will be made to obtain the latest and best film fare.

50sSNIPES on July 10, 2021 at 1:44 pm

Opened With “The Daughter Of Rosie O'Grady” As Its First Attraction. The Theater Was First Owned By The Robert Helson Corporation.

rivest266 on March 26, 2022 at 1:05 pm

Grand opening ad posted.

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