Friday, March 24, 2023

Majestic Theatre, New Paxton Theater, Paxtonian Theater, Paxton Theater, and Finally the Majestic Paxton Theater in Paxton, Illinois. (1913-2007)

The Majestic Theatre in Paxton, Illinois (just North of Champaign) was the largest and most impressive theater when it opened in 1913, with a seating capacity of just over 350. It was designed by the firm of Mesar, Hunt and Sullivan for A.B. McCollum, who owned a handful of area theaters then.

The Majestic Building contained not only the theater but storefronts as well. Some of its interior plaster styles and metalwork were based on what the architects saw in a downtown Chicago theater. The theatre initially presented both vaudeville and concerts on its tiny stage, in addition to movies. The last vaudeville act at the Majestic was in 1929. 

In 1930, the theatre was wired for sound after being closed for about a year for remodeling. 

When the theater reopened, it had a new name, the New Paxton Theater (the original choice was the New Wonder Theater, but it was changed at the last minute). A new marquee was also put up around this time.

Not long after the name change, another name change occured, this time as the Paxtonian Theater. In 1935, air-conditioning was installed, and by this time, the theater was simply called the Paxton Theater, the name it would continue to be known for nearly five decades.

In the 50s, Cinemascope and Vistavision films played on Paxton's screen. By the end of the 70s, however, business was falling off at the theater, despite blockbusters like "Rocky" and "Star Wars" having successful runs there.

Its new owner in 1983 attempted to lure in new patrons by remodeling the aging theater, installing new seating and restoring the marquee, but the Paxton was closed within a year.

Four years later, Scott Graham and the newly formed Majestic Paxton Theater Group reopened the theater. The group, besides renaming the theater once again, the Majestic Paxton, further restored the theater, and seating was reduced to 219.

The Majestic Paxton hosted dinner theater, live performances, children's theater, and film screenings for many years but was closed in 2005.

A word from Scott Graham, who remodeled and reopened the Majestic Paxton theater in the fall of 1983.
Hello. My name is Scott Graham. I am the one who kept a promise to my community, Paxton, remodeled and reopened the long-time closed Majestic Paxton theater in the fall of 1983. I wish to clarify that business at the Majestic Paxton theater was very, very good. 

I keep reading articles that I closed the theater because it could just not make it. This is totally untrue. The theater was shut down by the then real estate owner for perceived frivolous reasons, against my will. Had this unfortunate event not happened, I guarantee that the Majestic Paxton theater would still be open, thriving, and continuing to serve the Paxton community and area. 

I understand this Grand Lady is again abandoned and in disrepair, bringing sorrow to my heart. I pray someone will again fall in love with Her and give Her the attention she deserves. Paxton, you have a real jewel under your noses. Please don't lose Her forever this time!                                                                                        February 14, 2007   

The Historic Majestic Paxton Theatre was Destroyed by Fire on November 13, 2007.
PAXTON, IL — A fire Tuesday morning completely destroyed the historic Paxton Majestic Theatre building, which included the theater space and apartments on the upper floor. Firefighters from six area departments fought the blaze and saved nearby buildings from destruction. No one was injured in the fire. By Tuesday afternoon, firefighters were still on the scene, as the remains of the theater continued to smoke. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to the State of Illinois fire marshal's office.

The Paxton Majestic, also known as the New Paxton, Paxtonian and Majestic Theatre, originally opened in 1913 in a building dating to the 19th century. It was last used in 2005 for live theatrical stage productions.

Paxtonians are shocked and mourning the loss of a Paxton landmark. Rhonda Blackford, who works across the street from the theater building at a florist shop, says, "It was just so sad to see something so historical go up so fast."

The Paxton Majestic burned to the ground in a blaze on Tuesday, November 13, 2007.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Hamburger University, from the World Renowned, McDonald's Corporation, Chicago, Illinois.

The McDonald's chain was famously born when an ambitious milkshake mixer salesman named Ray Kroc partnered with and eventually bought out Maurice and Richard McDonald, two brothers with a small but popular chain of hamburger restaurants. Kroc opened his first new location in Des Plaines, Illinois 1955, naming it McDonald's.
The McDonald's № 1 Store Museum (1955-2017) in Des Plaines, Illinois, was a replica of the first McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, opened by Ray Kroc in April 1955. The company usually refers to this as The Original McDonald's, although it is not the first McDonald's restaurant but the ninth; the first was opened by Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California, in 1940, while the oldest McDonald's still in operation is the third one built, in Downey, California, which opened in 1953. However, the Des Plaines restaurant marked the beginning of future CEO Kroc's involvement with the firm. It opened under the aegis of his franchising company McDonald's Systems, Inc., which became McDonald's Corporation after Kroc purchased the McDonald brothers' stake.

The third McDonald's restaurant opened on August 18, 1953, at 10207 Lakewood Boulevard, Downey, California. It was also the second restaurant franchised by Richard and Maurice McDonald before the involvement of Ray Kroc in the company. The original building is a museum, while the red roof in the background is a modern McDonald's serving food and kid's toys.

Hamburger University started in 1961 with a class of 15 people and was held in the basement of a McDonald's restaurant in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Fred L. Turner, a grill cook, developed and operated the educational program. Soon, Turner's McDonlad's corporate education and training programs became the pioneering concept for other businesses. 

Fred Turner became McDonald's CEO in 1973 and replaced Kroc as Chairman in 1977, later named Senior Chairman upon Kroc's death. Under Turner, McDonald's expanded its operations to 118 countries, with over 31,000 outlets and over a billion hamburgers sold. Fred retired in 2004, serving as Honorary Chairman until he died in 2013.

Those who attended Hamburger University in its earliest days received hands-on instruction from Fred Turner and Ray Kroc.

Hamburger University was designed exclusively to instruct personnel employed by McDonald's Corporation or by McDonald's Independent Franchisees in the various aspects of the business and operations of McDonald's.

The first "Corporate College" was created by General Electric (GE) as a place for Nationwide management employees to learn in conjunction with the company's business plans and development goals. GE Crotonville, Ossining, New York, started in the mid-1950s. Today, it's called the GE Management Development Institute.

This makes Hamburger University one of the first corporate education programs of its kind. McDonald's retains more rising stars by developing talent and leadership at Hamburger University.

McDonald's Global Headquarters was located on an 80-acre campus in Oak Brook, Illinois, from its founding until 2018, when the McDonald's headquarters moved to Chicago's West Loop into a new complex built on the former site of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios.

Managers in McDonald's restaurants graduated from Hamburger University, eventually moving to a 130,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility on the McDonald's Home Office Campus in Oak Brook, Illinois.

       1) Google; Googleplex
       2) McDonald's Hamburger University
       3) Apple University
       4) Disney University
       5) Intel Network Builders University

Students at McDonald's Hamburger University, for example, at the restaurant ownership level, learn to successfully run a restaurant and report and analyze the books. Further education is necessary to become an executive to support the franchises and help them develop business skills and focus on leadership skills. With a degree, the graduate is confident and ready to support McDonald's employees, restaurant owners, and sales growth.

Hamburger University is a fundamental degree-granting institution, so much so that credits earned can be applied toward an associate's or bachelor's degree at other colleges and universities.

McDonald's Home Office Campus and Hamburger University moved to 1045 West Randolph Street, Chicago, and opened in its new home in June 2018. 
1045 West Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois.

McDonald's office space, including Hamburger University, occupies 490,000 square feet of the building.

They have grown from the old main campus in Oak Brook, Illinois, to the addition of seven satellite campuses worldwide at one time: Tokyo, London, Sydney, Munich, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Moscow. A faculty of 30 resident professors teach and communicate in 22 languages with the help of translators and technology. 

McDonald's has reopened its doors under a new name in Russia after the fast food giant pulled out of the country over its invasion of Ukraine. Fifteen McDonald's restaurants in and around Moscow reopened with their new name, "Vkusno & Tochka," which translates as "Tasty and that's it." Businessman Alexander Govor, who already owns 25 restaurants in Siberia, agreed to buy all 847 Russian McDonald's outlets after the chain boycotted the country in early March. He vowed to keep all their 62,000 employees on equivalent terms for at least two years.

To date, Hamburger University has produced around 330,000 degree holders worldwide.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.