Wizard of Oz Celebration This Week!

The Towne Cinema in Watertown will be hosting a 4 day celebration of the life of Meinhardt Raabe who was the Munchkin Coroner in the “Wizard of Oz” and was Oscar Mayer’s first Little Oscar driving the first Wienermobile.  Meinhardt was born in Watertown, raised in Farmington, went to high school in Johnson Creek, attended the former Northwestern College in Watertown, and went on to graduate from UW-Madison.  The theme of the celebration is “There’s No Place Like Home”.


We will be showing the film  “Wizard of Oz” for 4 days.   The screenings will be free and open to the public.  They will include both matinees and evening shows.

The  times are:

Wednesday Sept 2  at 7pm   (Birthday cake celebration at 6:30pm just prior screening.)

Thursday Sept 3  at 7pm

Friday Sept 4  at 12 noon & 7pm

Saturday Sept 5  at 12 noon


The first night of the celebration will be on the 100th anniversary of Meinhardt’s birthday who was born on September 2, 1915.


To kick off the celebration we are having an event that will include a birthday cake with 100 candles and the singing of Happy Birthday to Meinhardt. This will take place at 6:30 just prior to the 7 pm showing on Wednesday.  One hundred cupcakes from Sweet Talkin’ Treats will be given away free in honor of Meinhardt.


The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile with a Hotdogger team of two will be coming to

Watertown on Wednesday, Sept. 2, to help kickoff the celebration.  It will be at the Towne Cinema starting at 3:00 pm and will be a part of the 6:30kickoff event.  The theater is located at 308 E. Main Street.  Visitors to the Wienermobile will get to use the special virtual reality headset to experience a ride in the “hot dog on wheels”.


The Wienermobile will park in front of the Towne Cinema the same location that Meinhard Raabe posed for a photograph with the first Wienemobile after the film’s release in 1939.   (In an early photo Meinhardt posed in front of the marquee that read “‘The Wizard of Oz’ in Technicolor”.  The photograph is courtesy of the Watertown Historical Society.   It is an absolutely beautiful B&W image.)      (see below)


Costume contests will be held at the Wednesday and Friday 7:00 shows.  Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 costumes.


The free tickets can be picked up at the theater in advance.  They will also be available at the door, space permitting.


We are also very excited to announce that Wednesday evening will include the revival of the historic outside ticket booth as part of the celebration.  Moviegoers will be able to get their tickets at the booth that night and at future select events and showings.


Memorabilia and early photos of Meinhardt in his role as a Munchkin and as the first Little Oscar will be on display in the theater lobby.  The Towne Theater built in 1913 has been a part of our community for over 100 years.


In 2013 Watertown and it’s surrounding communities rallied behind the theater to support a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $70,000 in 60 days to keep it’s doors open and help purchase the new Digital Cinema Package projectors. For our celebration, a new digitally remastered “Wizard of Oz” will be projected in DCP using one of those projectors.


We are also working with the Jefferson County CAC to collect slightly worn or new boots to benefit local people that are in need.  We will be giving out free passes for future movies to everyone supporting this effort.


For more information go to the Towne Cinema’s Facebook page

or call the theater at (920) 390-4500.

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