Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tales of the Uptown

Death at the Uptown (1933)
A bizarre botched robbery occurred at the Uptown Theatre in 1933. 21 year-old Ted Fisher had been fired from his usher post due to a gun being found in his locker, but was present one month later during a hold-up as he was in the office, mixing drinks with on-duty managers. After a struggle with the bandit, Fisher was shot and killed. What makes matters strange is that a holdup note was later found in his pocket that read, "Open that safe and take the cash from yesterday and today's receipts and come out the alley door, and lay it on the stone wall, and then walk up the alley to the railroad tracks, and then turn left. Don't look back or call for help, or you'll be shot. You are covered all the time." While it might seem that Fisher was in on the robbery, it does not explain why this note was not used. Perhaps Fisher arrived to rob the theater only to find himself beaten to the punch, but this is mere speculation.

Uptown in Court (1970)
A lawsuit seeking to force the Uptown Theatre to admit a 14-year old girl to Midnight Cowboy was dismissed on July 1, 1970. This suit was brought on by Mrs. Lynne Rosenzweig on behalf of her daughter, Denise Silberman, who was turned away despite having her parents' permission on April 11. Seeing as the film was rated X, no one under the age of 17 could be admitted under any circumstance.

Rosenzweig's attorney was her own husband Jerry, who argued that the theater had violated Denise's rights by keeping her out and had no authority to do so. As the Minneapolis Star article writes, "The judge rejected both contentions."

Proposed Death at the Uptown (1975)
"When the Stars Didn't Fall on Hennepin Av." was an article written for the Star Tribune by Irv Letofsky, published on July 8, 1975. It concerns an attempted American Graffiti class reunion by then-owners Metropolitan Theater Co. that would have brought together the film's seven stars. Only two showed up, however, who were Mackenzie Phillips and Bo Hopkins. General manager Dennis Slusher is quoted as saying, "I was going to commit suicide today," and Letofsky later writes: "We just wanted to create some excitement," said Slusher, who as of late last night had not done himself in.

Blair Witch Success (1999)
A Star Tribune article published on July 25, 1999 touched on the opening of The Blair Witch Project at the Uptown on July 16, which managed to sell out every show. The opening week grossed over $100,000, a national record at the time for Landmark Theatres.

Theater manager Hugh Wronski was quoted as saying, "We're selling out of everything, even the Snow Caps. Nobody ever buys Snow Caps except a few weirdos." The article goes on to tell a story of a recent sold out show where Wronski approached a patron sitting on the steps in the balcony to inform him that he could not sit there. "He said, 'why not?' and I said, 'fire marshal.' He said, 'I'm a fireman' and pulled out his Minneapolis Fire Department ID. So I let him be."

Climbing the Tower (from the Star Tribune, 3/9/10)
People are used to drama at the Uptown Theater in Minneapolis, but not the kind that had busy Hennepin Avenue blocked off Tuesday night near Lake Street.

Firefighters rescued a young man about 7:30 PM from the theater's vertical sign, which towers over the heart of Minneapolis' Uptown district.

Police and fire crews weren't sure how long the man had been up there before someone saw him and called for help about 6:45 PM.

Minneapolis firefighters were alerted about a possible graffiti-tagging incident where "someone got themselves into a situation and needed help getting down," Assistant Fire Chief Cherie Penn said.

Police don't believe it was suicidal, Sgt. Henry Halvorson said.

Authorities has Hennepin blocked between Lake Street and Lagoon Avenue for at least a half-hour before a ladder crew raised an aerial device with a basket to get the man off the sign, Halvorson and Penn said.

"He was pretty cold, so he wasn't talking to us much," Halvorson said of the man, adding that he was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center to be checked out.

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