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The BigScreen Cinema Guide:News & Events

Weekly Classics Curtain Closes at The Paradise

The Paradise Theatre: Where The Classics Are 6229 W. Greenfield Ave, West Allis, WI 53214 (414) 259-5122

For Immediate Release January 9, 1996

Weekly Classics Curtain Closes at The Paradise

With the release of the February 1996 Weekly Classics schedule, the Cream City Theatre Corporation, which managed the Paradise Theatre since 1989, announces its plans to discontinue management of the Theatre including the presentation of classic films.

A special "Manager's Choice Series" of classic films will be presented February 8, 9, and 10. The films scheduled are "Manhattan," February 8 at 7 & 9 PM; "The Third Man" February 9 at 7& 9 PM; "Caddyshack," February 9 at midnight only; and "City Lights," February 10 at 7 & 9 PM. Tickets will be sold on a first come first served basis. Seating is limited. Admission to each show is $3.00 for adults, and $1.00 for children under 15, with all proceeds going toward closing expenses. In addition, six free screenings of "Cinema Paradiso" will be held January 19-21 at 7 & 9:15 PM each night.

"Classic film presentation has never been a smart business move," said CCTC vice president Ben Weinstein. "There is a reason we have been the only theater outside of New York and California showing these films in 35mm - it's not financially feasible to do so, most people in the business are amazed that we've lasted this long. We have kept the doors open in sheer defiance of bottom-line reality."

Since December 1992, the Paradise has operated with an all-volunteer staff. All restoration efforts have been achieved through unsolicited donations and volunteer labor. Throughout the five-plus years of classic film presentation, admission for films has been kept low (currently $2.50 for adults and $1.00 for children) in order to keep the classics as affordable and accessible as possible.

According to CCTC president and Paradise manager Charlie Tennessen, "Closing the Paradise has been a very agonizing decision, it simply came down to two issues. #1 - can Weekly Classics ever be profitable or at the very least support itself? and #2 - can we continue operating at a loss? The answer to both questions is 'no,' so we've opted to close now in order to cut our losses."

The Paradise not only showed Milwaukeeans classic films; under Tennessen's management, it became a state-of-the-art movie facility, with an 800 square foot screen. Dolby SR surround sound, and two top-of-the-line Todd AO projectors. People came from as far away as Chicago and Minneapolis to experience "Lawrence of Arabia" in breath-taking 70mm. In addition, the Theatre's stage was once again utilized for dramatic productions, magic shows, and musical concerts.

Volunteer coordinator and promotions manager Vivian Frederick said "The most difficult part of this decision lies in the realization that we have been very important to many people in our community. The support we've received from the volunteers, the media, and our devoted weekly patrons has been our motivation to keep going for the past four years."

Because the CCTC does not own the theater building, it is unknown whether the theater will reopen in the future under new management. However, it is unlikely that Milwaukee will ever again have a theater which features classic films in 35mm on a regular basis.

Tennessen added "We're proud of what we've achieved in six years of management and we know we're leaving the Paradise in much better condition than when we arrived. Even so, closing the Paradise is like watching a movie with a sad ending."

It is asked that all outstanding Paradise gift certificates be used prior to January 31; holders of certificates may also contact management for a full refund. Owners of Classics Passes may be entitled to a partial refund. All passes are void as of January 31 and are not valid for the Manager's Choice Series.

Please call 259-5122 with any questions of for additional information for additional information

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