Cinema 1

121 E. Wisconsin Avenue,
Appleton, WI 54911

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Marcus Theatres

Firms: Sauter & Seaborne

Previous Names: Varsity Theater

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Cinema 1

The Varsity Theater was opened around 1942. While small, it had two balconies, one regular balcony and one that was glassed in that we called “the crying room” for mothers with babies. The Varsity Theatre was still open in 1956. It was renamed Cinema 1 on December 27, 1968. It was closed in 1986.

Contributed by dave kalz

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

OakCreekmovielady on July 11, 2016 at 2:29 pm

The Varsity became the Cinema 1 in December 1968. The theater had been purchased by the Marcus Theaters group and underwent some remodeling. It became a $1.50 discount theater circa 1982 and closed in 1986. The Cinema 1 in later years was known for its sticky floors (candy, spilled soda).

Around the time Cinema 1 closed Marcus used it’s parking lot to build a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant (Marcus' restaurant division at the time had the franchise rights for Wisconsin). A few years later the Cinema 1 was demolished.

OakCreekmovielady on July 11, 2016 at 2:31 pm

I’m in search of information about this theater’s days when it was known as the Varsity. Who owned it? When did it open, and why was it shuttered for a while in 1968.

OakCreekmovielady on July 11, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Around 1980 Marcus Theaters quietly remodeled the balconies into office space and used it as it’s Fox Cities regional offices for its Appleton-Neenah-Little Chute area theaters and drive ins.

LeslieB on February 15, 2017 at 10:08 am

In May 1968,the Post-Crescent published an article that said the theatre had been closed for several years. It would be refurbished and reopened by Ben Marcus of Marcus Theatres. It was going to be known as Cinema II, because they were planning on building a Cinema I, but that must not have happened. It was supposed to be opened in August 1968 and show domestic and foreign art films.

rivest266 on May 27, 2017 at 9:37 am

This opened as Cinema 1 on December 27th, 1968. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

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