Comments from DRum

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DRum commented about Coralville Drive-In on Apr 30, 2020 at 12:27 pm

I grew up in Iowa City. As I remember the Drive In was in town was surrounded by residential areas. The city wanted them to build higher fences. Seems to me the entrance where the screen was had very high wooden fencing but the rest of the fences were not as high. When I was a teenager we would park on the street as the area behind it was uphill and watch R rated films. The city wanted them to build like a 20 foot high privacy fence where no one could see the screen. I don’t know if that was what the lawsuit was about.

Later I was working at the Campus Theater and the Drive In was closed. At that time there was a big building boom going on in Coralville. I kept saying we needed to build a new theater there before another company came in. I was told that Myron Blank owner of Central States Theaters and his son in law Arthur Stein who was General Manager were so upset with the city of Coralville they vowed never to build there again. They did end up opening the Coral IV there in 1991.

Another thing I remember is they had a big fight with Iowa City. I don’t remember the year but the city came up with new ordinances for signs, they wanted them all flat on the front of the buildings. They told Myron Blank that he had to remove all of the theaters marquees. I don’t know if there was a lawsuit but I know they were able to keep their marquees.

DRum commented about Capri V Theatre on Jan 5, 2017 at 7:08 pm

When the original theatre burned, Myron Blank son of A.H. Blank was in charge of building the new theatre which was quite a challenge due to all the shortages during WW II.

DRum commented about Capitol Theatre on Jan 5, 2017 at 7:04 pm

I was the manager of the Capri V from 1991-1995. The Capri was split into 4 smaller screens by splitting the main floor in half and the balcony was also split in half and the Capitol was left as the largest theatre. They were all operated as one theatre with 5 screens. Im not sure when this was done but my guess is around 1987. I did a lot of research on all the theatres that had been in Ottumwa and had quite a few photos, but due to a house fire I lost all of my research. The building was built in the late 1800s and had been a clothing o store or something similar. I know above the theatre therer was a number of rooms and one single bathroom. It may have been a hotel but I always assumed it was like apartments, rooms rented out. One interesting thing is the building had another floor that was taken off at some point. I had pictures showing it with and without the extra floor. And upstairs there was a door with a sign above it saying Moose Club and the steps now end at the roof.

DRum commented about Englert Theatre on Jan 5, 2017 at 6:38 pm

The Englert was a beautiful theatre that played many of the biggest films of the time. I dont know the exact date but somewhere around 1983-84 they split it in two. They had planned to split main floor and balcony to make 4 screens. But they decided not to because they would have to put in an elevator for disabled patrons to get into upper auditoriums. So they made 2 screens each with a main floor and a balcony.

DRum commented about Iowa Theatre on Jan 5, 2017 at 6:32 pm

As a manager trainee I worked here from 1983-84. It was a neat old theatre but very run down. Money wasn’t put into it because it made little if any profit. It was not used for any big blockbuster films.As I remember at that time it often closed during the summer when students were out of town(?).It had a small lobby with a tiny concession stand and the tickets were sold thru a window onto the outside. Around that time someone offered to buy the place and central states theatres agreed to sell. It was demolished and replaced by a Burger King. When it sold I was able to take some seats out of it and had permission to take the I O W A letters off the marquee. I tried to get the letters out but we had sleet and ice and they were frozen in place.

DRum commented about Varsity Theater on Jan 5, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I was the manager here from 1987-1988 and also had helped out there in 1983-84. it had a large auditorium and my fsvorite memories were when we showed the Rocky Horror shows at halloween to sellout crowds.I believe it closed around 1989-90 when the bank bought it.

DRum commented about Strand Theater on Jan 5, 2017 at 6:17 pm

I remember going to this theatre as a child. I believe it showed a lot of children films such as disney films. I was 13 when the fire closed it.