MALEK Theatre

December 1938

While Dorothy and her parents were visiting Bob and his family in Chicago for Thanksgiving, Dorothy’s mother mentioned how Dorothy may lose her job as Mrs. McCrea wanted to sell the Uptown Theatre. Bob then tells his father that he wanted to purchase the theatre.

On December 3rd, Bob and his father made the trip to Gladbrook to look at the theatre. They immediately went to the bank in Gladbrook to borrow the $20,000. Being from Chicago, the bank was unwilling to loan strangers that amount of money. Bob’s father ended up loaning them the money and they started their banking in the town Garwin, seven miles up the road.

Even though they were not married, they purchased the theater in both their names and took over the Uptown Theatre on December 9, 1938. Dorothy’s mother insisted they marry right away and four days later on December 13th, they got married.

They chose Tuesday the 13th as that was their day off from work. After the wedding, they moved into the fully furnished apartment above the Uptown. The apartment even had air conditioning and oil heat (automatic).

For the next couple of years, the young couple were living a charming life! Their own apartment, working nights at the theatre, sleeping in the mornings, and loving their new way of life as entertaining the locals. Everyone not only loved the couple but loved doing business with them.

They even had Gilly Wells, a film salesman from Warner Brothers, question why they do not invest in a bigger theatre in a larger town. Bob simply replied, “If you ever find the town, let me know.”