Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Worked His Way Up from a Janitor to an Owner in Movie Theater Business Dec. 31, 1927 - Feb. 10, 2018

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Worked His Way Up from a Janitor to an Owner in Movie Theater Business Dec. 31, 1927 - Feb. 10, 2018

Article excerpt

"The show must go on" was the kind of attitude Michael Cardone displayed toward whatever life threw at him.

The son of Italian immigrants, he was born in Philadelphia, but seven years later he was on boat heading to Sicily. The hardships of the Great Depression forced his parents to return to the old country with him and his brother and sister.

"It wasn't much better there, but it was home for his parents," said his son Anthony Cardone of Upper St. Clair.

The elder Mr. Cardone spent his formative years in Sicily, where he taught himself to play the accordion and to draw. It was also where he met his first wife, Caterina (Lena) Sindoni.

"Actually, my mother's village was just a 2-mile walk away," his son noted.

Mr. Cardone came back to the United States when he was 22, speaking only broken English.

"He was drafted into the army and served briefly at Fort Knox in Kentucky," his son said.

Soon after, Mr. Cardone was hired as a janitor by Warner Brothers theaters in Greensburg. He eventually worked his way up the ladder to become division manager and advertising director for the company's tri-state theaters.

A self-made success, Mr. Cardone died Feb. 10 from complications of Alzheimer's disease at the Kane Regional Center in Scott. His second wife, Angela Cardone, was by his side. He was 90.

"When my dad came back to the States he improved his English by watching television and the movies," his son recalled, noting that his dad fell in love with the movies.

Mr. Cardone went back to Sicily in 1955 to marry his childhood sweetheart, and a year later she immigrated to the U.S.

Working in the movie theater business kept him away from home evenings and weekends as he advanced his career.

"He literally went from janitor to usher to doorman to assistant manager and then manager," his son said.

Mr. Cardone worked in theaters around the Pittsburgh region and in West Virginia. He developed his promotional and publicity skills, which won him awards and more promotions.

"My dad liked drawing and painting and it was definitely part of his makeup," his son said. "I think it helped him when it came to promoting the movies because he had to use his imagination. …

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