Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 226 - 250 of 277 comments

TRAINPHOTOS on May 23, 2005 at 11:20 pm

In 1981, the Chicago Theater was cleaned up somewhat to show a restored print of Abel Gance’s 1928(?) silent classic “Napoleon.” Carmine Coppola (Frances Ford’s father) conducted the Illinois Symphony Orchestra to accompany this. As I was working for Andy Frain Ushering at the time, I was able to work at this and get paid to see it, whereas the public was charged $25.00!

DonM435 on May 4, 2005 at 3:26 pm

They had a good-sized screening room upstairs. I saw an advance of The Poseidon Adventure with a group of invited college newspaper editors.

freddyr on May 4, 2005 at 12:14 pm

John, thank you for your offer. I have updated my profile to open my email address. Please send all Chicago theater bookings from 64 thru 80 (and other downtown theater bookings if you have them). Thank you! Thank you!

JohnSanchez on May 3, 2005 at 7:15 am

Freddy – I have the bookings of the Chicago from 1964-1980. Leave your email addy and I will send the list to you from 64-70. If you want the bookings from 71-80 let me know.

JimRankin on May 2, 2005 at 8:15 pm

The best source of the photos you seek is right outside of Chicago at the Theatre Historical Society of America in suburban Elmhurst. See their directions to their offices as well as their E-mail address at: Note that you must make an appointment before visiting them for research and photos, according to the instructions on their ARCHIVE link.

Likely the Chicago Historical Society as well as the public library will have other photos. Best Wishes.

freddyr on May 2, 2005 at 2:24 pm

I grew up in Chicago and have many wonderful memories of being downtown during the 1950’s and 1960’s. I am interested in finding a list of the movies that played the Chicago Theater from 1958 through 1970 and also interested in pictures of downtown theater marquees from the 50’s and 60’s (Roosevelt, State-Lake, Loop, Chicago, Oriental, United Artists and Woods). Any idea where I can begin to locate this stuff? Thank you very much.

RobertR on April 20, 2005 at 6:48 pm

That’s a great shot.

JohnSanchez on March 21, 2005 at 10:12 am

The Chicago still shows movies every so often. The last few years it has been home to the opening night of the Chicago Film Festival. In 2003 I saw “The Human Stain” and last year “Kinsey.”

Broan on March 16, 2005 at 6:41 am

This is because the stage at the Chicago is rather shallow, compared to the Oriental, which had its stage expanded into an adjacent building, or the Palace, which just had a deeper stage to begin with, since it was built as a premiere vaudeville house. Of course, never say never- after all, Todd Rundgren will be playing a concert at the Oriental soon, and I don’t believe anyone’s played there before.

DonRosen on March 16, 2005 at 6:04 am

I’m surprised nobody mentioned that Donny Osmond stared in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the Chicago Theatre for nearly two years! An earlier post stated that Broadway shows didn’t appear there. I saw “Joseph” at the Chicago Theatre and it was wonderful, including Donny Osmond flying above the audience!

bruceanthony on March 1, 2005 at 3:40 pm

The Chicago Theatre should start a film series during its dark days. I think if it was done properly it could be a huge draw for this theatre. The Chicago was one of the most successful movie palaces in the country being the flagship house for Balaban and Katz.I think the Chicago has been underused since it was restored. The Chicago no longer has broadway shows since the Palace and the Oriental were restored so it has to rely on concerts and dance. I bet Roger Ebert would be a big supporter of a classic film series at the Chicago.Make sure you get a great film programmer.brucec

Patsy on February 12, 2005 at 6:55 pm

Tone: I hope that you get many responses to your inquiry. I didn’t grow up in the Chicago area so can’t help you with any personal memories of the Chicago, but good luck with your worthwhile project. I know that the Fox in Atlanta GA just celebrated its 75th anniversary and have asked residents of Atlanta to share their Fox memories on the Fox website.

Patsy on February 12, 2005 at 6:51 pm

The curved window on the front facade of the Chicago is absolutely beautiful and makes me think of the recent curved window that was destroyed in Mishawaka Indiana at the former Tivoli! :–(

Patsy on February 12, 2005 at 6:46 pm

Easton’s is in Canada so are you north of the border?

PGlenat on February 12, 2005 at 9:18 am

Patsy, I think countless cities and towns have (or had) such a landmark clock as a favorite meeting place. In this area it was a giant four dial, mahogany cased clock in the center of the main floor of a department store. A common phrase heard was ‘meet me under the clock at Eaton’s’ and you’d often see people just standing and waiting in that area of the store. I’d love to know whatever happened to it since the store was demolished a couple of years ago for the construction of a new downtown arena. I know many artifacts from the building were salvaged and sold and I’m sure it was too.

Patsy on February 12, 2005 at 7:58 am

Bryan: Thanks for the additional clock info and to read that there are two of those unique looking clocks on that building is really something! My hometown had a clock on its telephone building that I’m trying to have replaced, but it may never happen as the clock is in pieces and it may involve more ‘red tape’ than I’m willing to encounter!?! And the slogan “Let’s meet under the clock” reminds me of an old clock in Erie PA that is the lobby of the former Boston Store on State Street as the slogan there among customers was “Meet me at the clock”. BTW, Erie has the restored Warner Theatre in State Street.

Patsy on February 12, 2005 at 7:05 am

Brian: Your posted site with the Oct 1944 photo was most interesting as I noticed the very unique clock on the side of one of the buildings. Never have seen one quite like that one…wonder if it is still there?

Patsy on February 12, 2005 at 6:58 am

Bryan: When I clicked on the word HERE I found that wonderful night view of the Chicago with its wonderful curved front window! Thanks.

Broan on December 14, 2004 at 12:05 am

View link Here’s an Oct 1944 photo of the Chicago from the Cushman collection with the vertical painted blue. I don’t know why…

Rolando1956 on September 9, 2004 at 4:20 pm

I agree with MarkH about getting a thrill looking at all the marquees. I recall standing at State and Randolph in the mid-60s and being blown away by the marquees that lined those two streets. When I saw “Cabaret” at the United-Artists, I remember the huge Liza Minnelli poster atop of the marquee. What a shame it’s gone. I haven’t been home to Chicago since 1979, but reading all these posts is making me want to come home….and of course get some White Castle’s.

Broan on August 29, 2004 at 7:09 pm

This photo from the Chicago Daily News collection of the Library of Congress, shows state street in 1926, with early marquees of the State-Lake and Chicago visible.

Broan on August 17, 2004 at 4:09 pm

A couple more factoids on the Chicago, verbatim from their email newsletter:
“On the original blue prints , the theatre was not called "The Chicago Theatre.” What was the original name proposed for the theatre?

Capitol Theatre and Ambassador Theatre

Both of these names appeared on working drawings and renderings. It was common to change a buildings name while plans were being finalized or even as the building was being built.

Perhaps Balaban & Katz resisted the name due to announcements that a number of new theatres around town were also considering it. In the end, they were the only ones to actually go through with the idea.

The Chicago Theatre is actually the sixth to bear the name. The first opened in 1838, and was a small dingy theatre located at 8 and 10 S. Dearborn. Others included a “Chicago” at 614 S. State, John B. Rice’s theatre on Randolph, the Olympic theatre on Clark (later the Apollo), the Chicago Opera House, and the American Music Hall after it was taken over by the Shuberts."

Broan on July 30, 2004 at 12:44 am

A shot of the side of the Chicago theater, showing the painted billboard in the alley, is visible in this Chicago Tribune gallery (free registration req’d). This shot also includes a sliver of the old Loop Theater, what would have been the ‘stagehouse’, were there one

deleted user
[Deleted] on July 24, 2004 at 5:32 pm

Thanks bryanb ;–) As I recall in October 1968, the Michael Todd was featuring a re-release of Mike Todd’s “Around the World in 80 Days”.
“Funny Girl” in June 1969 was already being shown in general release (non-roadshow). I really appreciate your input bryanb, but the theatre I saw “Funny Girl” in was one of the “palaces”. The experience was amazing with a movie theatre complementing the saga of Fanny Brice and her Ziegfeld days. Thanks again!

deleted user
[Deleted] on July 24, 2004 at 4:51 pm

Need some data here: Can anyone tell me what big Chicago movie house showed the roadshow hard-ticket engagement of “Funny Girl” in October 1968. I remember seeing “2001: a space odyssey” in Cinerama at the CineStage but cannot recall the theatre name for “Funny Girl”. Thanks.