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WCCO Viewers’ Choice For MN’s Best Movie Theater

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(credit: CBS) Matt Brickman
Matt Brickman is the co-host of WCCO-TV Saturday Morni...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This is traditionally a big weekend at the box office, with a lot of new movies to see.

But where’s the best theater in the state? Your votes sent me to Wadena to check out the Cozy Theatre.

In 1914, with the world on the brink of war and Woodrow Wilson in the White House, the Cozy Theatre opened its doors on Jefferson Street in Wadena.

And when the curtain opened for the first time, the film on the screen was “The Last Days of Pompeii,” starring Fernanda Negri Pouget and Eugenia Tettoni Fior.

The Cozy has been in Dave Quincer’s family since his great-grandfather bought it in 1923. He says his grandma always told him that Wadena was a great movie town.

“We survived television being introduced in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, and the video thing in the ‘80s, and now we’re going through the digital projection conversion and we’ve gotten though that,” he said.

Even though the Cozy has adapted to changing technology, it’s maintained its look and charm.

“It’s definitely an Art Deco style,” Quincer said. “There’s a lot of design elements unique to that period.”

The theater even has a crying room for upset kids.

“In the day, it was a place you could take a child who was maybe making too much noise during the movie,” Quincer said.

Over the years, he’s taken great care to restore the Cozy, because to him and his family, it’s more than just a movie theater.

“I associate a lot of my periods in time with what was playing at the theater,” Quincer said. “When my dad died, ‘Schindler’s List’ was on. When my mom died, ‘The Lion King’ was on.”

The theater is also a landmark of his family’s history.

“I spent a lot of time over the years just hanging out with my dad,” Quincer said. “I used to sit on the floor in the ticket booth while he sold tickets…I was just kind of his shadow for many years.”

When he finally took over the Cozy from his dad in 1992, they talked about restoring the theater and even expanding.

“He was terminally ill at that time, and so he knew he wouldn’t be able to see that through,” Quincer said. “So, I hope he’d be impressed. I think he’d be proud.”

Compared to most theaters, the Cozy is a bargain. Tickets for regular movies are $7 and $8 for 3D.

Next Thursday, I’m looking for the Best High School Hockey Rink in Minnesota. Send me your choices on Twitter.

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