Johnson, president of Classic Cinemas, was co-owner of a printing
business before he became an exhibitor in 1978, following his purchase
of the single screen Tivoli Theatre in downtown Downers grove, Ill.
The circuit currently operates 86 screens at 15 sites in Illinois,
buying and renovating classic moviehouses as well as building modern
about you would most surprise the majority of your fellow exhibitors?
In the 1950s I was a gearhead and was involved in drag racing and
would you wish for if a djinn offered to grant one wish (assuming
you couldn't wish for more wishes)?
Co-existence of mankind.
would you be if you weren't a cinema operator?
Consultant on rehabbing downtowns.
is your favorite filmmaker and why?
Tough, but I'll go with Sydney Pollack, because he made "The
Way We Were" and a lot of other good movies.
TV show do you hate to miss?
I don't really watch TV.
your favorite book?
"In Sam We Trust" by Sam Walton or "My Way"
by Dave Thomas.
kind of lunchbox did you have as a kid?
I didn't have one. I lived half a block from school and went home
every day for lunch. Now I live three blocks from the office and
we still go home.
your favorite movie theatre in which you and/or your partners have
absolutely no investment?
The Oakland Paramount, although it's no longer a movie theatre.
sacred cow would you most like to barbeque?
the best thing about running a cinema company?
You can always be the center of conversation.
Finding help who are willing to learn
the best thing about living in Illinois?
It's just a great state without a lot of economic ups and downs.
your most admirable quality?
your least admirable quality?
do you most admire and why?
My five kids because they have all made it on their own, choosing
their own direction.
is your single greatest accomplishment?
My wife and I have worked together in our company seven days a week
for 24 years and we still get along, enjoying ourselves and talk
do you wish someone had told you earlier?
To stop and smell the roses. They did, I just didn't listen.
was the single best piece of advice you ever got?
In 1978 just starting out in the theatre business, "don't use
do you define success?
When something comes out the way you hoped it would.
would you like to be remembered?
I'd be happy if I was remembered.
your personal philosophy could be summed up on a bumper sticker,
what would it say?
Do your own concessions.