Moviegoers line up on Hornbeck’s final night of business in Shawnee

Kim Morava
The Shawnee News-Star
Moviegoers line up for the last night of movies at Shawnee's downtown Hornbeck, which closed for good at the end of business Sept. 29.

Moviegoers lined up around the block Tuesday night for a chance to catch a final show at the Hornbeck in downtown Shawnee.  Because of the long COVID-19 closure and difficulty in getting movies from studios, owners with Jones Theatres decided last week to permanently close the downtown Hornbeck and Penthouse, while the Cinema Centre 8 and Movies 6 locations will remain open in Shawnee. News of the closure prompted many to share comments and memories and mail to line up for the final day of operation to see two classics — Back to the Future and The Goonies.

Owner Ronny Jones said a very nice and unexpected thing happened on the last night at the Hornbeck when a local band director played Auld Lang Syne for the crowd.

“Right in the middle of our rush between 7 and 7:30, Toppie Lincicome appeared on the sidewalk outside the theatre with a trumpet in hand. There was a line of people waiting to get tickets,” Jones said. “Toppie played Auld Lang Syne note perfect for the crowd. Applause and cheering erupted outside and in the lobby when he finished. It made the Hornbeck closing a real party.”

Lincicome is the band director at Grove School and worked at Jones Theatres when he was in high school.

News of the theater’s closure prompted many to visit for a showing one last time, while many others shared their thoughts and memories with the News-Star.

Kay Pruitt of Shawnee said she was dating in the 1980s and went to the Hornbeck all the time.  

“I loved going upstairs to the Penthouse.  The dark red carpet and spiral staircase seemed so fancy and special.  I always loved the bathroom where they had a regular toilet and a tiny toilet in one stall.  Great for a mother and child.  I went this week and watched Back to the Future and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I will miss the Hornbeck!”

Jones said they hope to find a new use for the building, but will first on shutting things down properly. Watch for any updates.