Teton Theatre to close; reopening is a mystery
By Mark Huffman, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
September 29, 2012
The lights are going out at Jackson’s oldest movie theater, but if the screen will be lit again isn’t known.
Jackson Hole Cinemas owner Frank Londy said Friday that after Sunday’s showing of “End of Watch” Teton Theatre would be “closed for the off season.” He wouldn’t say if the downtown theater will reopen for the winter.
The theater building is owned by the Gill Family LLC, which is directed by Robert Gill. The Gills are longtime residents of Jackson Hole; members of the family still ranch south of town. Gill did not return a call Friday.
Another person with an interest in the theater building, Ken Rominger, wouldn’t talk Friday about what might happen at the building.
Rominger and Suzanne Marino were the owners of the old Cadillac Grille and Billy’s Burgers, across North Cache from the theater. They transferred their liquor license to the 120 N. Cache address of Teton Theatre in February, after their Cadillac lease ended and a new restaurant opened in that space.
The transfer of the liquor license spurred plenty of questions last winter about whether Teton Theatre would close and be replaced by a new Rominger-Marino restaurant.
The license held by Rominger and Marino is in a status called “approved but not issued.” Their license is attached to the theater building and can be made active if they apply to the town of Jackson and show they’ve met the requirements of state liquor laws and have received permits from Jackson building and fire officials, a town official said.
The closing of Billy’s at the end of March prompted widespread dismay among its fans. Billy’s was open for 28 years, its tight space usually crammed. It was the place where residents directed tourists who asked, “Where’s the best hamburger in town?”
Construction of Teton Theatre began in 1940; it opened in 1941.
The 300-seat theater was built by Bruce Porter, a progenitor of the Gill family and also builder and operator of the old Jackson Drug store. Starting in 1922, Porter ran the Hole’s first movie theater, the Jackson Theater, above the drug store.
Londy runs Jackson Hole Twin Cinema and MovieWorks Cinema. He’s the only movie theater owner in Jackson.