FREEPORT — Just one hundred decades back, the Lindo Theatre opened in downtown Freeport with the demonstrating of the silent movie “Miss Lulu Bett” at an admission value of $2.50, which by specifications then was an high-priced ticket for the VIP crowd that gathered in the newly developed $250,000 theatre named immediately after Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, who made Freeport well known with their downtown debates.
On Wednesday, the Lindo performed “Miss LuLu Bett” once more, charging $2.50 a individual again, in honor of its 100-year anniversary.
Once once more, a significant group gathered to be component of background. Some came to see what a movie from 1922 was like.
Willis and Shirley Johnson, who procured the Lindo Theatre in 1984, greeted theatergoers as they entered the theater. The Johnsons are responsible for the theater’s renovations, which flip the space into a multiplex cinema.
Willis Johnson spoke to the group before the afternoon show, beaming with delight.
“I try to remember heading through the renovations, taking people today off the avenue to assist shift items to be open to the crowd when we reopened,” he reported. “We experienced to obvious the foyer. We greeted the folks who arrived to see what we did to this historic theater.
“One of the reasons we arrived to Freeport is our film shipping and delivery business at the time instructed we come to Freeport. We observed the theater. We knew we experienced a foreseeable future here.”
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The Lindo is owned by the Johnson spouse and children as element of Basic Cinemas. It is the oldest of the 14 theaters the family members owns in Illinois.
“We constantly think in downtowns,” Shirley Johnson reported. “It’s about the heart of a local community.”
Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller grew up observing movies at the Lindo.
“I recall plenty of good popcorn and sitting in a large audience, wondering as a little woman I was with a million folks looking at the identical movie,” Miller said. “I assume the Freeport neighborhood is very traditional, and the Lindo is a legacy for many people today. It speaks Freeport.”
Jamie Spelman has been standard manager for the Lindo for 21 a long time. She credits the Lindo’s survival to the Johnsons. She mentioned the family members normally takes fantastic treatment of the theater.
“The Lindo is exclusive because of the people in it, and the memories designed in this article,” Spelman mentioned. “I believe that the Johnsons genuinely love their movie theaters.
“I recall sitting down in the auditorium at their Tivoli Theatre for the first time for a meeting. You could continue to see the awe on Willis’ face and Chris confirmed off how a clap would echo inside of the dome in the ceiling.“
Just in advance of the novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown of educational institutions, outlets, dining establishments and theaters throughout the state, Spelman mentioned a Lindo standard handed her a handwritten note highlighting one of their beloved memories at the Lindo.
Spelman said she still has the notice. She examine it a number of instances while the theater was closed since of the pandemic.
At-property streaming solutions will never ever replicate the fully immersed, shared working experience of the film theater, Spelman mentioned.
“Wiping a tear throughout an emotional scene, understanding that anyone next to you is undertaking the exact issue is just not the identical at dwelling, in which there are tons of distractions that get in the way,” she reported.
Chris Johnson, CEO of Typical Cinemas of Downers Grove, stated there are options to celebrate the Lindo’s 100 several years throughout 2022.
The Lindo Theatre Century Series will keep on with month-to-month showings from every single decade. Impending movies are “King Kong,” “Citizen Kane,” “Vertigo,” “2001 Place Odyssey,” Grease,” and additional. For much more data visit www.classiccinemas.com.
Jane Lethlean is a freelance correspondent.