• October 5, 2010

    Cort Theater pictures

    CHICAGO, IL — Does anyone have any pictures/info on the Cort Theater that was in downtown, Chicago during the 1920’s?

    I have a Theater Annual that was published in 1947 that did a rundown of all shows that played in Chicago from that year, as well as a summation of Chicago’s past theatrical history. I can find info on all of the long gone venues, such as the Erlanger, Woods and the Illinois and Princess, but nothing comes up on any Google search on the Cort except an article on it’s opening of 10-23 of 1909 in the NY Times. It said that the interior was a replica of the Taorima Theatre of Messina, Italy which was destroyed in the recent earthquake.

  • September 10, 2010

    ISIS Theatre, Chicago: was it ever built?

    (Southtown Economist, October 6, 1926)

    Ada and 69th Sts. Site Brought $48,000 from Movie Palace Building Corporation

    There is probably no district in Chicago so thlckly populated as the immediate neighborhood of 69th and Ada sts. that lacks amusement facilities as does the community in whioh the Isis Theater and building Corporation will erect its $750,000, 1,800 seat theater and office building.
    When completed, the new theater, on the southeast corner of 69th and Ada sts. will be operated by the Isis interests or turned over to one of the large theater corporations now operating in Chicago, according to W. J. McDonnell, who represented both parties in the transfer of the property. The site was purchased for a reported price of $8,000.
    Z. Erol Smith has been secured as the architect to draw plans for the theater and the 15 apartments, seven stores and four offices which will occupy the building.
    The theater, both as to exterlor and interior finish, has been designed in the Egyptian style, following closely the original model of the temple to the Goddess Isis on the island of Philae, above the first cataract of the Nile. The temple was first built by Nekhinehf, the last of the native Egyptian kings, about the year 350 B. C. The Roman emperor Justinian I closed its altars in the sixth century A. D.
    (Artist’s rendering included in article.)

  • September 3, 2010

    1970 Map of Midtown Manhattan, with theaters highlighted

    This is a 40-year-old map of midtown Manhattan. The many movie theaters, now practically all gone except Radio City Music Hall and the Ziegfeld, are represented in yellow on the map.


    If you want to test your memory by identifying the theaters just from their street location or first initial, have fun! If you need help, here is theindex.

  • August 6, 2010

    Movie theaters are heart of downtown

    HOLLISTER, CA — In this story from the Gilroy Dispatch, the writer looks back to childhood memories of going to the nearby State Theatre. He also discusses the importance of the ritual of going out to the movies.

    There’s a ceremony involved with “going to the movies” that TV can’t duplicate. You buy your ticket at the little booth under the marquee overhang, bending a bit to place your money through the little window. After stepping into the lobby, the uniformed usher takes your pass and tears it to show you are among the elect allowed to pass into the cinema sanctuary. Buttery popcorn, Junior Mints, Jujubes and Raisinettes – the holy communion of movie-goers – are displayed behind glass. Coca-Cola pours forth from the sacred soda machine. After buying your sacrament snacks, you proceed into the holy of holies … the darkened movie theater.

    In the State Theater in Hollister, a heavy black curtain hid the screen before the show. When the theater dimmed to darkness and the drapes parted, the projector revved up and cast its image-filled light in a dust-mote beam over the audience. That night when my dad introduced me to the magic of movies, I found myself transported to another world where the drama of a duck that laid golden eggs unfolded before my eyes.

  • July 21, 2010

    Woman compiling oral history of San Diego-area drive-in theaters

    ESCONDIDO, CA — Here’s a great story about a project to list San Diego area drive-ins. There’s some great info with helpful opening and closing dates of various theaters.

    Still, colorful memories of the Escondido Drive-In flicker in the imaginations of longtime Escondidans like MaRaya Schrokosch.

    Schrokosch recalled her first visit to the once-thriving venue, in August 1973. Its marquee lights beckoned to her road-weary children, who had just moved with her and her fiance from Illinois to Escondido.

    They began to chant, “We want to see the movie!”

    Read more at Sign on San Diego.

  • July 15, 2010

    Extreme Usher: The Imperial Six

    TORONTO, CANADA — An usher looks back at his days at the Imperial Six, 70’s incarnation of the Canon Theatre.

    Neither one of the grand movie palaces of the pre-tv era (although it had been in its previous incarnation as the 3,000 seat Imperial), nor a megagigaplex of the post-modern era, the Imperial Six sat, uncomfortably but functionally somewhere between the two, as close in time at its birth to WWII as it is to our own. It still evoked the excitement and spectacle of going to the movies, but was, perhaps, one of the first signs that moviegoing was being transformed: fewer theatres, with lots of screens. Tens of thousands of people streamed through its doors during a preview week, just to look around before any movies were screening.

    Architect Mandel Sprachman kept some of the old elegance of the past, commissioning original art (hanging sculptures made from metal and found objects, and giant fibreglass figures kissing in the dark), exposed unseen elements of the building (two of the theatres were constructed in the backstage spaces) and saluted the heritage of the building with historical signage and a sensually surrealistic mural.

    Read more at Silent Toronto.

  • July 9, 2010

    Fox theaters in three CA cities were once Hollywood’s proving grounds

    POMONA, CA — During Hollywood’s golden age, studio executives would rely on local audiences in three cities of California’s Inland Empire to provide insight into how the rest of America would react to their productions. Very hush-hush sneak previews were held regularly at the Fox San Bernardino, the Fox Pomona and the Fox Riverside. The audience feedback would influence the final cuts that were made to many now-classic films, including “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz. Why these three places?

    Read the answer in this article from the L.A. Times.

  • July 7, 2010

    First Hollywood movie filmed on Whitley Estate on October 26, 1911

    Of all the products of popular culture, none is more sharply etched in our imagination than the movies. Most Americans instantly recognize images produced by the movies: Harrison Ford, as Indiana Jones, as an adventurous archeologist in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Sean Connery, the gun-toting James Bond in “Goldfinger”, and Carrie Fisher, the beautiful princess who is fighting the evil emperor in “Star Wars”. Even those who have never seen “ET”, “Casablanca” or “Gone With the Wind” respond instantly to the advertisements, parodies, and TV skits that use these films' dialogue, images, and characters. So when was the first Hollywood movie filmed?

    According to Hollywood myth, the first film made there was produced Cecil B DeMille’s “The Squaw Man” in 1914, after the director decided not to alight in a snowbound Flagstaff, Arizona, but to proceed to Los Angeles. However, in 1911 a new exciting era of Hollywood was ushered in. The motion picture industry already had several studios in the heart of Los Angeles. The movie “In the Sultan’s Power” was produced in 1908 by Colonel Selig. It was the first full-length motion picture shot in an old mansion at Eighth and Olive.

  • July 3, 2010

    “Back To The Future”…Happy 25th!

    [b]BACK TO THE ‘80s

    Compiled by Michael Coate[/b]

    He was never in time for his classes… He wasn’t in time for his dinner… Then one day…he wasn’t in his time at all.

    The most popular movie of 1985, and one of the most popular of the 1980s, Back To The Future was released twenty-five years ago today. Robert Zemeckis' “comedy adventure science fiction time travel love story” is remembered for its wonderful cast headed by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd and for its clever, Oscar-nominated screenplay full of effectively executed set-ups and pay-offs. And on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of this crowd-pleaser, I thought I’d present a collection of information that includes some production history, historical data and trivia. So, without further ado, enjoy this quick-reference anniversary tribute to Back To The Future.

  • July 2, 2010

    Happy 40th Birthday – Norridge!

    Written & Compiled by Tamir Sharif (aka CinemarkFan)

    Times change, and places come and go. But the Norridge Theater is a survivor.

    NORRIDGE, IL — On June 26th 1970, M & R Amusements opened the Norridge, a then two screen theater located 5 blocks from the Harlem-Irving Plaza (H.I.P for short) in northwest suburban Norridge, Illinois. This theater quickly became a northwest side institution that has now outlived its predecessors that were once in the surrounding areas, such as the Mercury, Golf Mill, Lawrencewood (aka Niles Square), and Old Orchard (the ladder two being fellow M&R theatres). It has also outlived the Harlem Outdoor Theater, which stood directly across the street from the H.I.P. That opened 24 years before the Norridge, and closed in 1976. That is now the site of a busy strip-mall.