Silver Screens: A Pictorial History of Milwaukee's Movie Theaters

Overview

Silver Screens traces the rich history of Milwaukee's movie theaters, from 1890s nickelodeons to the grand palaces of the Roaring Twenties to the shopping mall outlets of today. And the story doesn't end there: in the past two decades, the revival of interest in preservation and restoration of theaters has confirmed that there's still life in these beloved old structures. With the publication of Silver Screens, authors Larry Widen and Judi Anderson help ensure that our old theaters, those being restored and those...

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Overview

Silver Screens traces the rich history of Milwaukee's movie theaters, from 1890s nickelodeons to the grand palaces of the Roaring Twenties to the shopping mall outlets of today. And the story doesn't end there: in the past two decades, the revival of interest in preservation and restoration of theaters has confirmed that there's still life in these beloved old structures. With the publication of Silver Screens, authors Larry Widen and Judi Anderson help ensure that our old theaters, those being restored and those long since vanished, will remain forever embedded in our collective memory.

In this revised edition of their book Milwaukee Movie Palaces, the authors present new findings on film innovations, drive-in theaters, projection booths, movie promotions, noted theater personalities, recent restoration efforts, and much more. Illuminated with more than a hundred photographs, including many never before published, Silver Screens is a stunning tribute to the legacy of the movie theater.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The movie theater holds a unique place in American history and culture. It is the place in every community where, for more than a 100 years, people from all walks of life have gathered to share a common experience, where together they laugh and cry and find joy and inspiration. Larry Widen and Judi Anderson have captured that spirit in words and images in Silver Screens: A Pictorial History of Milwaukee's Movie Theaters. Having literally grown up exploring every nook and cranny of many movie theaters, including some in this book, I share the same love of these magical places — whether they be magnificent palaces or unassuming show houses — that Larry and Judi so passionately write about." (Steve Marcus, chairman and CEO, The Marcus Corporation)

"The history of Milwaukee's theaters is as fascinating as that of any great American city, and the authors expand considerably upon their previous achievement by explaining the highways and byways through which the moving image reached our Silver Screens. Within six chapters they describe the advent of movies and the places that showed them from 1842 through 2006, both in the forms of the people who dance through its pages as well as the many theatres they built and which we have come to love and remember, as tenderly recalled here." (James H. Rankin, architectural historian)

"This book will become a 'must have' for every theater history buff. ... We who love old theaters revel in everyone's story, everyone's success, and share the sadness across the miles when a treasured old theater is lost. Even when they are lost, they can live on in our hearts when memorialized through the written word. 'Silver Screens' will take its place among other great theater history sagas." (Karen Colizzi Noonan, president, Theatre Historical Society of America)

"Twenty years ago the authors of this book penned Milwaukee Movie Palaces, the first guide to local cinemas from before the 1960s, when bland boxes replaced the more substantial, often architecturally interesting structures of earlier eras. Silver Screens is an expansion and rewrite, correcting the odd error, drawing from additional research, inserting the requisite fun-fact boxes ('Important Films of the Silent Era,' etc.) and bringing the story up to date. But aside from noting the decline in cinema attendance and the introduction of stadium seating, Silver Screens can't help but focus on the first half of the last century, when moviegoing was a weekly pastime and most Milwaukeeans walked to neighborhood cinemas. Profusely illustrated and capably researched, Silver Screens is a must for local history buffs and film aficionados." (David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870203688
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Edition description: Revised edition
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,272,719
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Widen is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer with more than 25 years experience in advertising, marketing, and communications. He writes about travel, local history, and popular culture and is the author of Tombstone Blues; Lar and Len: A Long Strange Trip; and Vintage Milwaukee Postcards.

Judi Anderson
has a degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; she is an advertising brand manager for Aurora Healthcare in Milwaukee.

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