In 1912, A.H. Nelson and Carl Hotz opened the SAVOY THEATRE in the building now occupied by the senior citizens center across the street from the COZY. They sold the Savoy to E.C. Klatt who ran it for a short time and sold it to O. Calkins and A.D. Beardreau.
In the fall of 1913, Mr. Calkins and Mr. Beadreau announced plans to build a new home for the Savoy Theatre on the old Wimwell corner just south of the Leader Store. The building would occupy the entire lot being thirty three by ninety eight feet and be one story high with a complete stage.
On Tuesday March 10th, 1914 the Cozy Theatre had its grand opening. The first movie shown at the Cozy was called "The Last Days of Pompeii", an eight reel feature which cost $250,000 to complete. No set price was charged for the tickets to the grand opening as every businessman in the city was given an opportunity to purchase as many tickets as he wished and pay as much for them as he wished.
A woman named Ann Langer won a contest to name the new theatre. Her winning entry, The Cozy, won her the contest prize of $5.
In 1919, the Cozy was sold to one of Wadena's old-time residents Mr. Pierce M. Getter. Mr. Getter ran the Cozy until 1923 at which time he sold it to John C. Quincer of Groton, South Dakota. Before moving to Wadena, Mr. Quincer had owned a theatre in Oakes, North Dakota.
On August 15th, 1929, the first talking motion picture was shown at the Cozy. It was called "The Canary Murder Trial" featuring William Powell. This was followed by Al Jolson in "The Singing Fool." An article in the local paper stated that many in the audience said it was without exception the greatest motion picture they had ever seen.
In May of 1938 the Cozy was closed for extensive remodeling. The roof was raised and a 200 seat balcony was added. The entire theatre was completely remodeled and it was at this time that the art deco neon marquee was added that is still in use today. While the theatre was closed, movies were shown at the Memorial Auditorium. The picture below is taken from the balcony of the theatre showing the screen before it was widened to accommodate Cinemascope in 1954.
On August 24th, 1938 the Cozy re-opened on main street in its new and expanded building. Robert Young starred in the first movie shown at the new Cozy entitled "Rich Man, Poor Girl." Admission prices were 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults.
In 1940 John Quincer sold the theatre to his son Clarence Quincer who had been in the business with him since 1923.
In 1954 both John and Clarence Quincer died and the theatre continued to be run by Clarence's wife Della and her two sons, Don and Rich.
In May of 1955 Della, Don and Rich continued Clarence's plans for expansion by building and opening the Wadena Drive In Theatre south of town. The Drive-In was open from April through September every year until dwindling business forced the Drive-In to close permanently in July 1989. In 1964 they also purchased the Prairie Drive-In Theatre in Perham, Minnesota and ran that until it closed in July 1987.
In April 1986 a video store was added to the lobby of the theatre with over 2500 movies to rent. The video store closed in April 1996 to make room for an expanded theatre concession area and the addition of a second screen. The Cozy Twin Theatres officially opened on June 7th, 1996 showing "Twister" and "Mission: Impossible."
The theatre continues on in the Quincer family as it is now owned by Rich's son David Quincer.
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON
SEE YOU SUMMER OF 2017
the Quincer family is happy to continue the tradition at STARLITE DRIVE-IN.
Starlite Drive-In Theatre © 2016