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Ask Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor Yo...

Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor
Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor, Entertainment Industry Executive
Category: Entertainment
Satisfied Customers: 2897
Experience:  Entertainment Consultant 25 yrs. Record labels. PR firm. Published Writer. World Traveler.
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Do you have any information on historic ...

Customer Question

Do you have any information on historic theaters in Champaign Illinois?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Entertainment
Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.
Hello Lou,

There's the Virginia Theatre, you can see more by clicking the link. Other than that, you can click here for a list of the historical buildings in Champaign. Let me know if I can be of further assistance

Chase
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I am looking for information on theaters that no longer exist, specifically the Lyric (opened 1911), the Neil Theater and the Crystal Theater. Any older information?
Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.
Let me check, give me a few minutes.

Chase
Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.
The Lyric at Cinema Treasures.
more info on The Virginia

I found little to no info on Crystal and Neil, but I found this little blurb

"The Crystal Theater opened around 1912. It was designed for both vaudeville and silent movies. The Crystal was owned by George Dethlefs who also owned the smaller Lyric Theater across the street from the Crystal Theater.

Over the years the theater was remodeled and a balcony was added. The Crystal Theater closed in the 1960's. Today, the First National Bank which was located next to the Crystal theater, expanded into the theater building."


the problem is, it's for Manning, IA, which was a little strange. Do you think you have the locations confused?

Chase

Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor and 2 other Entertainment Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yup, knew about Cinema Treasures. Does seem strange, as these theaters were across the street from one another in Champaign Illinois, though I am not finding much on them. The owners name is XXXXX XXXXX for me though. Thanks.
Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.
Are you in Champaign? Have you gone to the Hall of Records?

Chase
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes and looked at the Sanborn Maps. I know these theaters existed, though perhaps for not that long. Just can't seem to find much actual primary source material on them. The Champaign County Historical Archives have a local history vertical file marked Neil Theater but not that much in it, as often the case it is an "incompletely processed file" Our University main library and newspaper library have some general information listed but I haven't yet actually looked at it. We also have a collection of theatre programs 1868-1989 which may have something in it but may refer to live theater only. The list includes some of the old downtown theaters (the Walker, Belvoir, Rialto, Virginia) but not the lyric, neil or crystal.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Signing off for a while.
Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.
Because the names of the theaters are the same, I'm wondering if the site got the state wrong?

Chase
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Good thought but I found Mr Dethlef's obituary and he was very well liked and it was a time that the Manning IA paper actually wrote obituaries that told you a persons professional history. He was definitely in the theater business in Manning IA.
There were lots of nickelodeons and early theaters called Crystal. Very popular. Makes finding details on specific ones more challenging. Thanks