Local entertainment landmark reduced to rubble

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JEFFERSON CITY - The iconic building which was once home to the Truman 4 Theatres is no more.

Construction workers began demolishing the old movie theater Wednesday.

Seeing the building in pieces like that brought back fond memories for some.

KOMU 8 Anchor Jim Riek said the theater was iconic because everyone went there to see movies. According to Riek, it was the only real theater at the time that you could.

"Jefferson City wasn't really a big city, and it still isn't. It was the gathering point of Jefferson City," Riek said. "It was very typical to see anybody from your neighbor come in, to the governor of Missouri would come in and watch movies. Then on Friday nights if the Missouri football team were playing a home game they stayed at the next-door Ramada Hotel, and so the Missouri football team would show up and they would watch a movie there. Everybody associated with Jefferson City would show up at that movie theater on any given night."  

When the Truman 4 Theatres owner said it would be permanently closing the theater, KOMU 8 reported it was because they did not have the funds to keep the cinema alive in the digital age.

"The movie business today, you need to have more than just four theaters under one roof, and it just didn't work," Riek said.

"Oh, that hurt, because I remember where I would always park." Riek said when first seeing the rubble that was his first workplace.

Riek earned his first dollar at the theater as a sophomore in high school, when it first opened as the "Ramada 4."

He said the work did not pay a lot, but he had the chance to meet a lot of people who he learned a lot from.

"What you don't realize is movie theaters rely on kids to run the place because they can't afford big salaries. I got paid $1 an hour when I started and shortly later it was $1.10, so you weren't going to make very much money," Riek said. "But it was fond memories, and when I saw that picture of it coming down it was like, oh my gosh, I have so many memories in that place."