Andy Jackson recalled, “When we were kids, we used to go to the Cozy Theater - we’d pay a nickle to get in and a nickle to buy popcorn. An old Italian, Belforte, had a popcorn wagon that was glassed in with a gas burner, and he’d sit there and shake it. He had a little teapot that he’d melt butter in. We’d go in there with a bag of popcorn in our hand. And Annie Peterson, she used to play the piano in there — they were silent movies, you know — and when she got excited by something that was happening on the screen, she’d beat the hell out of that piano.”
Ed Wargin was another kid who loved going to the movies. “They used to have these serials that would just keep goin’ and goin’ and so we would just keep goin’ and goin.’ ‘Ruth of the Rockies’ was the main feature with Ruth Roland. I remember that because we went all the time. Sometimes we’d go twice a week and see the same one. They weren’t open every day — it was Wednesday, Saturday and I think Sunday. It seemed like vacation time for us kids. We had so much to do, but this was really special.”
The theater was one of the many properties owned by Konstantly Klimoski. Originally located at 47th and Washington and then relocated farther north across the railroad tracks. Jackson recalled, “It was a storefront kind of thing, not very big.”
The repeal of prohibition led to the demise of the Cozy Theater since Klimoski could make more profit from a saloon than from dime movies. The tavern and the theater are both gone now, but the memories of Belforte and his popcorn wagon, live music and the drama of Western serials live on.
4855 Washington in 2016 - one of the addresses for the Cozy Theater
Ruth Roland starred in many Western serials
Theme music helped set the mood