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The theater is currently occupied by Alpha Floral. A peek through the front window reveals that at least some of the lobby decor is still intact.
Standing in front of the doors, there’s an overwhelming smell of mold, but the lobby and concession area look clean and ready to go. All the storefronts appeared to be vacant.
Prior to the construction of Walgreens, the theater was called Teatro Plaza. Judging from the marks left on the marquee from old letters, it was also once called Los Plaza, accomplished by removing the E and W from LOEWS and moving the S to the left.
I was inside shortly after Teatro Plaza shut down and the marquee announced the construction of “5 modern theaters.” The partition between the entrance and what is now Walgreens was already there; the hallway was exactly as br91975 described, and there was a folding table set up right inside the door for ticket sales. Some demo work for the Walgreens had already begun, though there was no indication that it was being converted to retail. The mezzanine level wrapped around the lower lobby, similar to the Loew’s Jersey, and there was a small concession area and a couple of arcade games upstairs. Everything had been painted solid blue, but the ornamental plaster still appeared to be in very good condition. I didn’t venture into the auditoriums.
I think you’re referring to the Hollywood
You can also see half a sheild at the top of that column, the last remnant of the terra cotta.
Drake Bowl is also gone, having been replaced by a multistory condominium building.
On another note, does anyone know if the building at 3630 West Montrose was a theater or ballroom? Sure looks like it.
According to an employee at a local business, the theater is occassionally used for senior citizens' events.
Here’s a photo of the Drake in 1967, from BusTalk.net: View link
The “decaying marquee” on the Leroy was installed just for the filming (similar to the Times Square Restaurant across the street becoming the “Riverside Diner”). In its last days as a concert hall, the Leroy just had a flat sign mounted on the wall above the doors.
Getting back to the Stadium, it reopened in September, 1996 with a concert by Myron Floren of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra.
Not only could the Patio and Portage (don’t forget the LaSalle Bank Cinema, too!) coexist, they could bookend a new arts and entertainment corridor along Irving Park, similar to the way the renovation of the theaters in the Loop created the theater district on Randolph. Imagine a crop of storefront performance spaces, “brew & view”-type pubs, production facilities, and these two grand spaces to showcase major classic and independent film events and live performances. The programming would be varied enough that they would complement each other rather than compete.
Article in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune: “Des Plaines Theater’s restoration at standstill”
Is this renovation work proceeding? The marquee is advertising judo classes, and the lobby appears to be full of old cash registers.
Maybe the stage shows will keep it going, but I can'I don’t know how this is going to make it as a first-run, $8-a-pop movie house. The draw of the Wilmette was the price and the selection of independent releases that you wouldn’t even find at the Landmark or CineArts. Even with the “renovations,” which I think did more harm than good, it’s still the same cramped theater with uncomfortable seats and a third-rate sound system, with several modern megaplexes nearby. To make matters worse, when I got there at 7:02 for a 7:00 show and asked if there were any previews, one of the staff assured me there was, and he had “just started it.” So I paid and walked into the auditorium – several minutes into the movie.
How did the Village of Wilmette allow the marquee to be replaced?
According to the article, the marquee will be restored and reinstalled. “Victory Gardens” will replace the “Essaness” script.
The official site is up at http://www.portagetheater.org Watch for details on the Silent Summer Film Festival, coming July 19 to August 25.
Depite the selling off of a lot of the ornamentation, it looks like the Nortown had definite potential. The upstairs is in much better shape that I expected, if it hasn’t degraded significantly in the last two years.
We’re working on a website, temporarily up at http://www.hopetunnel.org/portage Nothing much yet, and not all the links work.
There will be a Chamber of Commerce event this Saturday, with a screening of Pirates of the Caribbean at 6:30 P.M.
They’re showing Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein and To Be or Not to Be this weekend
More stuff coming up – Next weekend, June 3 & 4, will be That Night in Rio and Weekend in Havana. Love will be shown June 22-25.
In addition to the Silent Film Festival, the Portage is showing Call Northside 777 and Niagara several times over Memorial Day weekend, and Friends of the Uptown will be presenting Uptown: Portrait of a Palace at 8:00 P.M. on June 8. Also coming up is Vladan Nikloic’s Love.
Here are some photos of the inside & outside of the Portage, taken today:
Updated: Castle Cinema auction canceled
Providence Journal 7 to 7 News Blog, April 21, 2006
PROVIDENCE — An auction planned this morning for Chalkstone Avenue’s Castle Cinema has been canceled.
The restaurant and neighborhood cinema was scheduled for a foreclosure auction at 10 a.m., after its owners, New Concept Entertainment, failed to get the theater up and running since assuming ownership in January.
The auction company, Irving Schechtman & Co., confirmed this morning that the auction has been “completely canceled, not postponed.”
The proceedings were canceled because New Concept Entertainment filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection yesterday. By federal law, the filing automatically halts foreclosure auctions, pending a review of the company’s assets and liabilities by a judge.
A source in the community says the owner is putting “shops on the first floor, banquet facilities on the second floor, and a theater on the third floor.” Not exactly sure if that’s going to be fit into the existing main floor/balcony configuration or if new floors will be built in the building’s shell.
There were lights on in the lobby Saturday night, 3/31. Much of the ornamentation in the lobby is still intact. There appears to be some demo work going on, at least to remove damaged sections of plaster and/or non-original sheetrock walls; it didn’t appear that any of the ornamental plasterwork was being removed.
SFSC’s silent film festival was postponed, due to delays in the permitting process. Guess we’ll have to keep waiting…
The retail floor occupies both the lobby and auditorium areas of the building. The projection booths are still visible on the back wall of the auditorium.