The 1940s were a time of loss, love and victory. Many communities celebrated the end of World War II with victory shows.
In 1944, show performances were planned for the St. Charles High School auditorium. Because of overwhelming ticket sales, the event had to be moved to the Arcada Theatre.
The show was put on by employees of the Operadio Manufacturing Company under the direction of Delos Owen. The money raised went to the USO.
A competition was created for local businesses to sell the most tickets to the show, and whichever business won would receive its own private showing. Businesses included Burgess-Norton, Modern Steel, Hawley Products, U.S. Printing and Lithograph, RotoColor, Howard Aircraft, Howell Co., St. Charles Manufacturing Co., Moline Malleable, and the Operadio Manufacturing Co.
Because of the huge ticket sales, there were three sold-out shows, and 400 people were turned away. According to victory show records, Operadio sold the most tickets and made $1,757.55, which would be more than $23,000 today.
More than $1,000 in profits was raised, which today would be about $13,300. The money was used to support soldiers and their families.
Make sure to check out the unique architecture of the Arcada Theatre during the St. Charles History Museum’s ’40s Night at the Arcada on March 23. The night will include music, dancing, food, drinks, caricatures and much more.
For information, visit www.stcmuseum.org.