Ted Mann's story could be the classic example of reaping the benefits of persistence and dedication. An enthusiastic boy with an infectious love for cinema, Mann grew from a young theater usher into a shrewd though compassionate entrepreneur and the owner of one of the most renowned movie theaters in the history of Hollywood. "Not bad for a sod kicker from the sticks," as Mann once joked with a close friend.
Born in Wishick, N.D., in 1916, Mann began to harbor his love for the movies while working as an usher and attending the University of Minnesota in the 1930s. Leasing the troubled Selby Theater for $100 a month, Mann breathed new life into the movie house, running the place almost single-handedly and tackling responsibilities from popping the popcorn to running the projector. Acquiring 25 more theaters and drive-ins throughout Minnesota by the age of 40, Mann sold his successful theater chain to General Cinema Corporation in 1970.