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Razing of Showplace Cinemas South in Evansville Set for This Summer

Showplace South Sign (Dave Westrich)

This is reminiscent of the demise of Ross Theater.  Do you remember the Ross with it’s historical ties to Evansville?  Granted the Showplace South building doesn’t have the architectural character or history the Ross did, but memories were made there, nonetheless, for many Evansville residents, and soon Showplace South itself will become a memory.

Paul Stieler, owner of the Showplace Cinemas in Evansville, Newburgh, Princeton, Connersville and Henderson, has decided to tear down the Showplace Cinemas South building.  He plans to build again and accommodate a new business that wants to lease the 3 acres that will be available to them.

Showplace South (Dave Westrich)

Stieler says that the cinema has always made money, so that’s not the reason for the razing.  Why then?  It’s because the film industry will discontinue using actual film for their movies and the cost is too high to digitalize the theaters.  (Stieler says that it costs around $80,000 to digitalize each theater.)

My family is sad to hear this news, since we enjoy the movie theater experience at a lower cost, despite the fact that we can rent many of the movies and watch them at home.  There’s just something special about sitting in a theater, watching the big screen, and eating your popcorn and a drink with your friends and family.  Especially when it costs only $2.50-3.50 per person to do it!

Two movies I remember watching at (then) Showplace Cinemas East (now South) were Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.  My mom and dad drove from Cincinnati to visit me and to see how I was getting along.  I was in my early 20’s and had just recently moved to Evansville for jobs at WGBF-AM (’80-’81) and WKDQ (’81).  It was exciting to see such great movies with my parents at a time when I was just starting out on my own in the radio industry.

More special memories were made after Jenny and I were married and had Emily and Elliot.  We’ve been to Showplace Cinemas East many times for fun times!  The draw was always the bargain basement price of admission.  It simply costs too much to go to the other cinemas very often.  I guess that means that we’ll be doing more renting.  However, I will miss the theater experience that I could afford at Showplace Cinemas South.

Thanks, Paul, for keeping Showplace Cinemas South going as long as you could!

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