Majestic Theatre

757 W. Main Street,
Lake Geneva, WI 53147

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Community Theatres Inc.

Functions: Retail

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Majestic Theatre, Lake Geneva, IL

George A. VanSlyck opened the new Majestic Theatre in downtown Lake Geneva on September 23, 1912 with vaudeville. He began movie programming just two days later using the theatre for both live and filmed entertainment. The theatre transitioned to full-time movies becoming the town’s silent movie house. W.L. Duske’s neighboring popcorn stand served as the theatre’s de facto concession stand for many years. Though comedies were very successful at the Majestic Theatre, VanSlyck cancelled all Fatty Arbuckle pictures after the actor was charged with murder in 1921.

The town’s original live events space and theatre, Centennial Hall, did not feature a stage worthy of live acts. It was built in 1876 on Main Street by John Burton of Burton’s Flouring Mill on Mill Street. The Hall turned Ford Opera House would loom large in the Majestic Theatre’s future as it was decommissioned and later razed for a modern movie house in the Geneva. The opening of the new and more majestic Geneva Theatre in 1928 and its equipping to sound the next year cast a pall over the Majestic Theatre.

Community Theatres Inc. bought the Geneva Theatre just days prior to its grand opening. It would then purchase the Majestic Theatre to rid the town of competition. Dual movie theatre operation in Lake Geneva ceased in September 1928 as the Majestic Theatre returned unsuccessfully to live entertainment in October of 1928. In the final blow to the theatre’s future, Duske sold his popcorn stand equipment to Chicago interests in May of 1929 - which became the theatre’s final operational period under C.W. Nebel.

Live summer entertainment, sporadic events and church services ended the venue’s run in 1929. In 1930, the venue was remodeled for retail purposes beginning with an A&P Grocery Store. That retrofit is visible in the 2020’s as the building still stands and used for retail purposes.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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