ŠTed Schaar 2016

Hi-Way 26 Outdoor

From 1962 to 1967,110 Mr. Lalor was also responsible for Hi-Way 26 Outdoor, Janesville first new theater since the Jeffris.

Located on Milton Avenue (Highway 26) just west of the Highway 14 intersection,
about where Woodman's is today, it opened on June 21, 1949, a Tuesday and summer solstice for the Northern Hemisphere.111  

Perhaps Ted Karatz, president of Badger Outdoor Theatres Company, Hi-Way 26's owner
or one of his employees knew the astronomical significance.  But it meant true darkness and showtime would arrive the latest of any day of the year.  The Gazette article about the opening states the drive-in was "...a mile north of the city." 112 

Mid-City Outdoor

Not quite a year later, on Saturday, May 6, 1950, its cross-county rival, the Mid-City Outdoor Theater, opened between Beloit and Janesville, on Highway 51 near Townline Road.  

It was operated by Standard Theaters of Milwaukee,
developer of the unusual 41 Twin at 7701 South 27th Street in Franklin, which is two suburbs south of the Milwaukee city limits; the 41 Twin had unusual, back-to-back screens. 113

I spent many happy hours at both outdoors, first as a grade schooler taken mainly by my oldest brother Forry, a paraplegic, who found it difficult to attend regular theaters, and later as a teenager with a driver's license and a date.  It was great fun!

Wild In The Streets

The most memorable movie I saw at the Hi-Way 26 was 1968's Wild In The Streets, a youthquake-Now-Generation epic  heavily influenced by what was called the Generation Gap and produced long before the term Baby Boomer gained everyday meaning and currency. 

Although it didn't coin the phrase, "Don't trust anyone over thirty," Wild
In The Streets etched it into fictional stone.  It is set in a time when the voting age is 15 and mandatory retirement occurred at—what else?—30.114 

It all made sense at the time.

Highway 26 outdoor Janesville, aerial.
Hi-Way 26 Outdoor, 1956. Screen is toward the 14-26 inter-
section; the dark square in the center of the parking area
is the concession stand
-projection booth. Cropped 1956
United States Department of Agriculture aerial.
Thanks to the Robinson Map Library, UW
Department of Geography, Madison.
Hi-Way 26 Outdoor Janesville, Wisconsin
Hi-Way 26 Outdoor circa 1960s given what appears to be a Chevrolet or GMC
 Suburban from that decade parked outside the concession-stand-projection-
booth. Found online, photographer unknown, but it's reasonable
to think he or she arrived in the vehicle. Probably I parked
at a number of the speaker stands visible in the image.
Mid-City Outdoor screen
Midcity Outdoor Janesville Wisconsin grand opening
Click for larger image.

Theater manager Bill Lawler
Janesville theater manager Mr. Lalor.
Highway 26 Outdoor Janesville opens
Babies who attended the opening and enjoyed a
bottle in the car while the movie unreeled
 are now just a little older than me.

Hi-Way 26 opens 6-21-1950
Article about Mid-City opening.
Just six years after it opened, Mid-City
Outdoor was remodeled.  See below.
Mid-City Outdoor Remodeled 1956
Click for larger image.


15. Jeffris Memories



Kerwin Mathews Day