El Rancho Theater
612 Lakeshore Dr.
|1908 - Appears to be empty lot
|1922 - Appears to be empty lot
League of Historic American Theaters, states:
Lakeside Cinema /El Rancho Theatre
Built: 1922 Seats: 299
||1924 - Sanborn Map shows "movies"|
|1937 - Sanborn Map shows "movies"
1940 - 5 June - El Ranch, Remodeled Theatre Throughout, To Reopen Wedensday
a completely remodeled theater, even including the name, will be opened to the public tonight
when the former Palms Theater makes
its bow to the public as The El Rancho.
The management has also changed and the theatre is now owned by Culver Theatres, Inc. and
is manafed by Frank Higley, who comes her here from Huntington, where he had theatre experience.
About the midle of the month he will move his family into the J. O. Ferrier hous. Besides his wife,
he as a faughter Thelma, who graduated from high school this year.
The first change to greet the eye ar the theatre is the entire new fromt, which is of knotty pine
and log cabin siding in keeping with the show's noew name. A new sign with neon lightinf has been
etected above an attractive marquee, which has brilliant flasher type lighting.
On the right had side of the entrance is the ticket booth, while on the opposite corner is a
The lobby has also been changed with new walls, new fixtures and the doors relocated for more
concenient entrance by the public. Two new restrroms have been installed.
The interior decoration crried out the motif of the theatre's name, and appropriate murals decorate
the walls, while new fixtures and redecorating add to the general pleasing appearance. The seats
have all been rearranged and reupolstered whie the floors have bee refinished and new carpet laid.
Other improvements include a rebuilt stage, a mdern air-conditioning system, a new screen, and
projection machines that have been sent to the factory for complete over-hauling and
The management used all local labor and material as far as possible, and stresses its determination to
give this vicinity the best possible in the way of motion picture intertainment.
1940 - Aug. 21 - The El Rancho Theatre closed Monday, but may reopen later in the week with
age restrictions in froce.
1940 - Sep 25 - Change of Venue for Culver Movie Suit
A suit by Everet Hoesel against Culver Theatres, Inc. and Adolph A Henkel on a contract in
which the appointment of a receiger is asked has been given a change of venue from the
Marshall Curcuit court to Warsaw.
The theatre was closed a couple of weeks ago, wereupon Mr. Hoesel, former owner, and now
holder of a contract with the new owners, filed suit for various violations of the agreement, it
is stated, though the exact terms of the suit have not been announced.
Frank Higley, manager of the El Rancho Theatre, moved with his family to Huntington Tuesday.
1943 - Nov. 3 - FIire Alarm At Show
When the smoke from a burning film seeped into the auditorium of the EL Rancho Theatre about
10:20 last Wednesdau night, a spectator became excited cried "Fire"! and tore out of the place to
call the fire department.
Of course, there was nothing for the firemen to do when they arrived and there had been no danfer
since the fikm is run in an enclosed housing on the projector and the boot is entirely fireproof
The audience can always be sure that they are in no danger when a film catches on fire, for it can't
possibly spread to the rest of the building.
1941 - May 14 - Cases set For Trial in Circuit Court.... Matter set for June 21... W. B. DIskey, etc.
vs. Culver Theateres...
194_ - 1984 El Rancho - Evert
& Sadie (Carter) Hoesel
1944 - Jan 26 - Corn Popper Starts Fire -
An over heated corn popper started a fire in the lobbyof the El Rancho theatre shortly afternoon Sunday.
Damage was limited to the popper machine and a part of the front wall. The matinee was held as usual
1945 - September 5 - Evert Hosel Sells Theatre to LaPorte Man
Evert Hoesel announces the sale of the El Rancho Theatre to Roger Powers of LaPorte,
who will assume management SUnday, September 9. Mr. Powers will move here as soon
as he can secure a place to live.
He states that the name of the theatre will remain as it is and that he will continure Mr.
Hoesel's policy of secruring the finest pictures on the marker.
He plans to make several improvements in the theatre as soon as possible.
Mr. Hoesel has succesfully operated the show for over a decade, plans to ddevore his full
time to the insurance business.
1946 - Aug. 28 -
Fire of unknown origin
damaged the El Rancho Theater Monday with an estimated
damage of $20,000. Roger Powers, manager, stated that the show will be closed about
three months for repairs
1946 - Sept 25 - El Rancho Theatre Being Remodelled
Work is profressing on the remodelling of the El Rancho Theatre, which was recently damaged
The entire interior has been torn out and is being rebuilt with every saftery and fire proctection
possible, as well as making the building more comfortable for the patrons and with better
The basement is being eliminated and the new floor will rest on a solid foundation.
A new ceiling will be installed.
The management hopes to have the work completed in time to reopen the latter of October.
1945-Sep 5 - 1946- Nov. 12 - Roger POwers
1946 - Nov. 13 - El Ranch Theatre Reopens After Fire
The rebuilding og the El Rancho Theatre, badly damaged by fire Aug. 25, has been completed
and the grand opening will be held Thursday evening of this week, although shows were held
the first week to test out the equipment.
The interior of the theatre is virtually all new and has been rebuilt by specitifations of the state
fire marshall's office.
Safety has been the main consideration with protection from fire incorporated in the
structure from every possible angle.
The floor is of concrete with no masement below, while the ceiling is all new, as is the stage.
There are checks throughout so that fire cannot spread as it did last summer.
All stage fittings are new and new sound equipment has been installed.
The ceiling has been dropped four feet so that with the latest type of sound equiment patrons
will enjoy the finest reprooduction the theatre has had here.
A new ventilating system has been added in a newly constructed room at the rear of the theatre
and will add greatly to the public's comfort in both summer and winter.
The interior has bee redecorated and a new wainscoating added, along with new lights, new
carpets, 300 new seats and refinished lobby with cement floor.
Another safety addition is the placing of two exit doors at eash side of the stage leading directly
out doors without obstuction.
Louis Moreau succeeds Roger Powers as Manager of the El Rancho. He is married and has three
children, and will move here from Walkerton as soon as he can find a place to live.
He is experienced in the moving picture business and plans to give the community the bert in
1946- Nov. 12 - ? - Louis Moreau, Manager
1947 - May 14 — Evert Hoesel Leases El Ranch Theatre
Evert Hoesel has leased the El Rancho Theatre from George Graf of LaPorte, taking over
management May 9.
He is no stranger to the business, having formerly operated the show for a number of years.
He is installing a cooling. system for the comfort of the show-goers this Summer.The plant will
cool the air by means of coils through which cold-water passes.
1949 - Sep 28 - Add To Equipment At El Rancho Theatre
Twp new dual amplifiers were installed lat week at the ElRancho Theatre. Evert Hoesel manager,
stated that were placed into operation on Sunday and that the new installations would improve
the quality of sound and prevent breakdowns.
Next week new lamp houses and rectifiers will be installed at the ELranco, Mr. Hoesle announced.
1951 - Mar 28 - EL Rancho Theatre Floor Being Raised
Does that tall fellow who invariable blocs your view at the theatre bother you?
Are there time when llady's har provides a viewing hazard for seeing the screen?
If you have been bothered in the past by such obstacles, particularly at the local El Rancho
Theatre , you will be insterested to know that Evert Hosel, owner of the theatre is taking steps to
correct any such situation.
The floor at the rear of the El Ranco is being raised in a graduated way to a height of approximately
14 to 16 inches of the benefit of patrons of the theatre.
The work started this week is expected to be completed soon
1951 - Dec 19 - The New picture theatre called "Culver Theater will open on Christmas Eve.
1953 - Nov 25 - El Rancho Begins Installation of CinemaScope
Hoesels Spend $15,000 To Bring Town Latest In Entertainment
Mr. and Mrs. Evert B. Hoesel, who have owned and operated Culver's El Rancho Theatre
for the past 18 years , today made the first announcement of the most important milestone in their
Her's the big news and it is big in more ways than one:
Work will begin next week on the installation of a new wide motion picture screen
and CinemaScope with stereophonic sound.
MOst of the new equipment, which has revolutionized the entire movie insudtry, is already at the
theatr on Lake Shore Drive.
It includes the new and sensational Mericale Mirror Wide Screen new booth equipment, and magnetic
The magnetic sound heads are necessarty to pick up the sound from the four sound tracks and
carry it to the nine speakers thoughout the theatre.
Three of the nine speakers are behind the hugh screen and the other six speakers are being placed
throughtout the auditorium.
PAtrons of the theatre will soon be able to enjoy new "depth" and "breadth" of sound and optics as
well as new techniques in production, processing and projection plus an ever increasing developement
in technicolor and other color processess.
Cost of the new euipment which will make the Culver movie house as up-to-date as any in the United
States is approximately $15,000.
There is a possiblity that the first wide screen pictures will be shown in December. In. January "The Robe"
written by the late great Hoosier-born (Columbia City) Lloyd C. Douglas, will be exhibited. "The Robe",
produced by 20th Century-Fox is currently attracting thousands of theatre-goers to the State-Lake
in Chicaho where Mr. and Mrs. Hoesel first saw CinemaScope a few weeks ago and then and there decided
that the best was none too good for the entertainment of the people of the Culver area.
1954 - Jan. 27 - Culver's CinemaScope Makes History
El Rabcho Theatre Smallest In U.S.
To Have Latest Motion Pictures
"The Robe" Bby Columbia City-Born Lloyf C. Douglas Is Intial Offering Beginning January 29
The El Rancho Theatre in Culver has the unique distinction of being the smallest theatre in the
entire United States to install Cinemascope, according to the giant Radio Corporation of America.
Work began a month ago to install, at a cost of $15,000, the new wall-to-wall screen and other
equipment including 12 stereophonic sound horns placed throughout the house.
Mr. and Mrs. Evert Hoesel, owners and managers, announce the showing of "The ROde" the spectaclar
echnicolor film based on Columbia City-born Lloyf C. Douglas' book of the same title starting Friday, Jan. 29,
and continuing for several days.
CinemaScope which was inknown a year ago, is considered the most improtant step forward in motion
pictue history since the advent of sound reproduction.
Twentieth Century_Fox president SPyros P Skouras, and research director, Earl SPonable in December 1952
saw a demonstration of potion pictures using the andamorphic lenses developed by Prof. Henry Chretien.
Skouras immediately obtained rights to the process
CinemaScope calls for two lenses, one on the camera which compresses an ectremely wide field of vision onto
regular 35mm film and a second on the projector, which espands the compressed image to a wife screen.
At the end of Januaru 1953 Twentiety Century-Fox studio production chied, Darryl F Zanuck, announced the
decision to film "The ROde" in CinemaScope.
Meanwhilte Twentieth Century-Fox obtained exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute CinemaScope lenses on a
world-wide basis, but conscious of their debt to the art of the motion picture, the executives revealed that
CinemaScope would be made available immediately to all producers, the only reservation being that the
productions woudl be restricted to films of the highest quality.
As a result many fine puctures will be forth coming from other major studios.
Mr. and Mrs.Hosel who are planning to bring to their screen many of these fine pictures deserve a hearty vote
of thanks for making available to the Culver community the latest and bet in moving pucture entertainement
1959 - May 13 - Brilliam New Marquee At El Rancho Movie - Evert Hoesel's EL Rancho Thetre is sporting a
nicely repainted marquee which has been equipped with brilliant neon trimmings in color.
1959 - Sep. 20 - Hoesel Says He Will Close Movie If FLoods Persist
Scores Marroned After Downpour
Following Satruday night's deluge Evert B. Hoesel, owner and operator of the El Rancho Theater, told the Citizen that
he will close his motion picture show unless something is done immediately by town officials to alleviate the flood
situation along Lake Shore Drive across from the park and the Pennsylvania station every time we have a heavy rain.
The EL Rancho was packed when the rains came and nobody could get out of the theatre after the show because -
as usual - the sidewalk and street were inundated making walking and access to automobiles impossible
A repeat performance of the flooded area took place ealry Monday night when another cloud burst hit Culver
Mr. Hoesel was still burned up when we went to press today and again stated that Culver will be movie-less unless
somebody gets on the ball and solves the drainage problem in his business neighorhood without further delay.
1960 - NOv. 30 - Culver Movie Theatire Will BE Closed on Wednesdays. ... effective immediately... Mr. and Mrs.
Emert B.Boesel, the owners, feel that it is wisse to give up their 7-day-a-week businees grind and that they are
rentitled to a day off like other folks...
Sometime during the 1970's it briefly sold again to some big chain from South Bend promising big changes - but
the sale olny last for about a year and the Hoesel's were again at the helm of theater; with the help of their son
and his wife Gwen (Graham) Hoesel John &
Gwen went on to manage a theater in Plymouth.
It was sold and became Lakeside Cinema, see 612 Lake Shore Dr.
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