TONIGHT AT DUSK…

After the recent postings on movie theaters in Schaumburg Township, I was reminded by a reader of an earlier movie “theater” I had forgotten.

As a number of the oral historians mentioned in their accounts that can be found on our Local History Digital Archive, outdoor movies were shown on Thursday evenings on the southwest corner of Schaumburg and Roselle during the late 1930s and 1940s.  These movies were older,  always free and sponsored by the businessmen of the community.

The people of the township–and even some from Roselle who had ridden their bikes–would gather around the large screen on their blankets and chairs and would watch the first half of the movie.  At the midway point, the projector was turned off for 15 minutes.   A trip was then made across Roselle Road to the Hattendorf grocery store or Schnutte’s tavern (now Lou Malnatis) for a candy bar or some ice cream.  After getting their snacks and visiting for a bit–which often extended the intermission to 25 or 30 minutes–the audience then watched the last half of the movie.  Obviously, weather could be a factor in the showing like it was in 1941 when the movies had to be postponed for a few weeks.  The viewings ran into the end of September that year.

On Wednesday evenings in 1941 the movies were shown at the Rainbow Inn that was located on the southwest corner of Roselle and Higgins Roads.  In 1942 they were held on Tuesdays.   It was simply a field with a big screen.  Farmers would drive up and park their cars and watch the movie from the fenders of their cars.  As reported in the Daily Herald, Schlitz beer direct from the keg and D&W ice cream were served.

Stories have also been told that during this time–which coincided with World War II–a search light was located along north Roselle Road.  As a prank the operators of the light would shine it on the screen at the Rainbow Inn so that it would block out the movie.

Not only did Schaumburg Township sport modern movie theaters beginning in the 1960s, but they also had their own two temporary drive-ins before the development came!

This information was derived from Mrs. Presley, Mr. & Mrs. Ravagnie, Mrs. Wochnick, Mr. Moeller and the Daily Herald.

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