By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Oct 21, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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Tonight's program at Ripon's Campus Theatre features Jack Benny in "It's in the Air," along with cartoon shorts and newsreels.

That was the schedule back in 1935 when Ben Marcus opened the single-screen movie house and began what became The Marcus Corporation.

The official commemoration of that anniversary comes at 6 tonight, with the re-dedication of the Campus' marquee, a replica of the original.

It's a nod to the past by a company that has moved far beyond its small-town beginning.

Carlo Petrick, Marcus' marketing manager, says the company grew gradually from its Ripon roots, adding a theater in Tomah, and within five years, coming to the Milwaukee are with the addition of the Tosa Theatre, now the Rosebud.

"The Tosa represented the first foray into major markets," Petrick told me.

From the roots as a chain of movie theaters, the Marcus Corp. now has 684 screens at 55 locations in eight states, and has a string of 18 hotels, with The Pfister as its flagship.

But there's a nostalgic charm in its beginnings. The Ripon celebration has stirred memories in that Wisconsin community of the importance of the Campus in that community.

Tim Lyke, the publisher of the Ripon Commonwealth Press, editorialized about his own memories:

"Many Ripon boys’ and girls’ first dates were at the Campus. We boys would hold hands with our girls for the first time there, and then awkwardly wonder what to do when our mitts became sweaty ('Do I let go and dry off my hands on my pants? Will she notice?')."

In addition to the Ripon event and a couple charity fundraisers in Milwaukee at the end of the month, Marcus has an ongoing on-line promotion for its customers, and is offering a "founder's week special" of $7.50 for a movie admission, with a free 64-ounce popcorn and 20-ounce soda.

And the tailgate champ is ...: No, it doesn't make sense around these parts, but a team of Seattle Seahawks fans beat a bunch of Lambeau Field parking lot veterans on Food Network's "Tailgate Warriors."

Guy Fieri hosted the confrontation taped in August at Seattle's Qwest Field (you'd think it would have been more fair to do this on neutral ground.)

The Seattle menu was heavy on salmon and crab. That strong focus on the best from the waters of the Northwest may be what won over the judges.

Green Bay's "Team Tundra" started with a bratwurst appetizer and a main course that featured an elk sandwich topped by Door County cherry chutney. The green and gold group was led by Door County restaurant owner Andy Mueller, who said he's been the personal chef to Reggie White.

Said Mueller, "We done our best, it's just this time it didn't happen. I wouldn't do it different, I wouldn't change it for the world."

On TV: National Public Radio has fired commentator Juan Williams for comments he made on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News Channel show. He said that seeing Muslims dressed in traditional clothing on planes made him "nervous."

  • Speaking of Fox News, it's launched a few new ads with the slogan "Move forward," making fun of competitor MSNBC's nearly incomprehensible "Lean Forward" ad campaign.
  • Jon Stewart told Larry King Wednesday night on CNN that his Oct. 30 "Rally to Restore Sanity" isn't political at all. " It is, in fact, not a political rally," he said. " It is a visceral expression of ... a people fed up with the reflection that they are shown of themselves as a divided people."
  • NBC's "Saturday Night Live" is back with a new show this weekend, with Emma Stone hosting, and the Kings of Leon as the musical guest.

Here's a little "Glee": I've heard grumbling from fans of Fox's "Glee" that this week's show was a rerun. Well, next week's isn't, with a "Rocky Horror" theme that fits well the week before Halloween.

Here's a sample for those going through "Glee" withdrawal:


Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.