Uptown Theater

4816 North Broadway,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Showing 251 - 275 of 440 comments

mp775 on March 20, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Geo, for a more recent peek inside the Uptown, watch the trailer for last year’s Uptown: Portrait of a PalaceView link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 20, 2007 at 2:26 pm

I heard a rumor (take it as nothing more) that they had problems keeping the heat on this past winter. Obviously, that is not a good thing if true.

jukingeo on March 20, 2007 at 1:53 pm

Hello All,

Rich—Yes, you are absolutely correct, The Uptown is physically larger than Radio City. Keep in mind though Radio City still does have a greater capacity. I have always been a lover of Radio City Music Hall, but after seeing the interior picture of the Uptown, I had to do a double take. The Uptown clearly can rival Radio City in sheer beauty alone once fully restored.

I really am anxious to see this building get restored. But it just seems like there are always road blocks and red tape encircling this building. There is a perverbial black cloud hanging over the Uptown.

I admit I have not been keeping up on current events with the Uptown. Last I heard they were doing some sort of stabalizing work and removed the beautiful parapet on the crest of the building. But I have not heard much about the restoration of the interior and how that is going. I hope it is moving along. The last interior pictures I saw were from 1990.

I KNOW TRUTH—Nice to see you around and still posting, I remember we were talking about another Chicago Theatre at about the time you were marauding Paul (supposedly he is working on a theatre in Youngstown now. I’m curious as to how that project is panning out). I know that you followed the Uptown closely, but I guess you haven’t heard anything new lately, huh?


BartHalleman on March 2, 2007 at 11:08 pm

so what happens next?

kencmcintyre on March 2, 2007 at 1:23 am

No secret. The owners are listed on this lawsuit filed in 2005:

BartHalleman on February 25, 2007 at 2:02 pm

my only question is who is this developer that is being kept so secret? And what type of venue would be at the Uptown??

BartHalleman on February 22, 2007 at 1:46 am

there are so many buildings in the uptown district that are historical. I will be more than happy to share what I have. All you have to do is ask.Except for Paul Warshauer

BartHalleman on February 21, 2007 at 12:22 am

I see I was mistaken. I do apologize.No hard feelings?

Broan on February 18, 2007 at 2:05 am

Cohan, the page for it is here.. Incidentally, Ziegfeld’s father also had a theater, whose page is here.

BartHalleman on February 18, 2007 at 1:51 am

was it cohan or ziegfeld?

Broan on February 18, 2007 at 1:09 am

Cohan used to have a theater here, too. Cohan’s Grand Opera House. Listed here as the RKO Grand.

BartHalleman on February 18, 2007 at 12:01 am

I currently own a copy of Continuous Performances. The life of A. J. Balaban.Since I have seen how Mayor Daley likes to do one up on New York. I can picture the Uptown restored and the rivalry continuing with New York vs. Chicago. After all Chicago is the home of the old Harris theatre and that was the partner of George M. Cohan of New York! The Harris theatre is now part of the new Goodman Theatre. And Mayor Daley was involved with that. Imagine the ball being dropped in Times Square vs. Uptown Square?

BartHalleman on February 16, 2007 at 2:17 am

I almost forgot I have a list of all the historic properties in the neighborhood. Part of the Uptown Historic District.

BartHalleman on February 16, 2007 at 2:14 am

Hey guys, I am new to this site. I am a history buff even though I am a little young. (41) I do know that there was a lot of rivalry between New York and Chicago. Example Time Square vs. Uptown Square. I also am very familiar with many exploits of Paul Warshauer. Since I was one of his victims. I met him at one of the UTCA consortium meetings. A friend also met him and from day one did not like him. I will be a new member now. Hope to hear from you all real soon.

UptownFilm on February 8, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Rich and Cam,

Actually you can see the Uptown Theatre as it is today in the documentary “Uptown: Portrait of a Palace” by John Pappas and Michael Bisberg. It offers an extended look at the state of the theatre now – both good and bad.

It re-ran on Chicago PBS station WTTW11 this past weekend and is available to Comcast digital cable subscribers in the Chicago area under “Get Local –> WTTW OnDemand –> Image Union” through tomorrow. You can also purchase a copy from Compass Rose publishers at www.compassrose.org All proceeds from the sales go to promoting the restoration of the theatre and surrounding neighborhood.

upaava on February 3, 2007 at 5:05 am

Hi Cam,

It’s hard to imagine how large the Uptown really is (aside from its inner decor and beauty). One way to glimpse its size is to view the front of the theater from Braodaway avenue, where we can see the building going up about four stories, and disappearing back as far as we can see in the pic you provided; then realize that this entire structure is only its lobby!! The Uptown lobby has been used in recent movies (as described earlier in this thread), such as in “Home Alone 2,” where it was the toy store.

As a child I was dazzled as I sat in the lower orchestra area, engulfed by the immensity of the theater, and gazed up about 5-6 stories to the “stars” twinkling at me in the ceiling, as if from the starry skies themselves. It saddens me to think of the kids of recent generations going to the little boxes we call multiplex theaters, not knowing what they’re missing. Hopefully, the Uptown can be reborn so they can glimpse an age of cinema treasures otherwise lost to them in time.

Cam on February 3, 2007 at 4:20 am

Hi Rich —

Yes, I think you’re right about the size: I recall hearing that although there are (were?) several theatres with more seats, the Uptown was the largest in terms of square footage. The foyer and lobbies were huge.

I noticed as I was looking at some of the pics posted you pointed out above, at http://www.chicagosuptowntheater.com/, that the theatre actually looks better in those photos then it did when I saw it fifteen years earlier. Of course, that may just be because the guy who took those pics is a way better photog than me! :–)

upaava on February 3, 2007 at 3:46 am


I regularly went to movies at the Granada and Uptown in the ‘50s, and early '60s; and although the Granada was quite beautiful, there was no comparison to the Uptown. The Uptown is the largest freestanding theater in the entire country (larger even than Radio City Music Hall), and if/when restored will be a wonderful showcase for Chicago to the World.

Let’s keep working to see the Uptown returned to her old glory. It will be a wonderful day for me, and for those of more recent generations, to walk into a restored Uptown and marvel at, arguably,
the greatest cinema palace of all time.

Cam on February 3, 2007 at 1:19 am

Thanks for the kind words about the photos.

I have no idea what it’s like now, but even back in ‘90 the Uptown was in bad shape inside. One of the guys working there told me that a drain line from one of the roofs had broken open, and water had been pouring in for a really long time. I still vividly remember one room with walnut paneling on all the walls… and it was totally ruined, warped and buckled from all the water. I hope they can save it, but it won’t be easy.

Sad to think that the Granada, which was in far better condition, was demolished… and all the while, the Uptown sits empty, decaying year after year.

GWaterman on January 30, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Cam, great photos.

Cam on January 30, 2007 at 2:56 am

A few photos of the Uptown, including some interior shots taken in 1990, can be seen in Set #3, here: http://www.mekong.net/random/theatres.htm

kencmcintyre on November 9, 2006 at 9:28 pm

On October 14, 1927, Clara Bow was starring in “Hula” at the Uptown:

That Clara Bow now occupies the coveted position of attracting more people to the theaters in which her pictures unreel than any other young woman star of 1927 is again being demonstrated with the release of “Hula,” her latest picture. “Hula” comes next Monday to the Uptown Theater, and Balaban & Katz are expecting a rush
of customers, therefore.

“Hula” exhibits the peppy Miss Bow as a wild little child of some
Hawaiian island. She is wild just because she grew that way, having
a dissolute old father and no mother to guide her. Only the kindly natives take good care of Clara, teaching her to be a good girl if a tomboy. And also teaching her the native dance that gives the picture a title.

Thus when love, in the form of Clive Brook, is made known to Miss
Bow she has a hard time of it. Miss Bow has “it,” in the various stages of dress and undress that her role calls for.

On the stage at the Uptown Bennie Krueger and his band will offer “Tokio Blues.” “Tokio Blues” is one of the most novel revues
ever seen at the Uptown. These artists combine their native charm
and grace with the Yankee pep of jazz performers. And the oriental
beauty of the Japanese girls is a pleasant change from the typical
North American beauty. Willie Solar, the featured comedian of
“Tokio Blues,” is a well-known comic from vaudeville and revues.

mp775 on October 25, 2006 at 8:54 pm

The film is only 26 minutes long, but what a 26 minutes! It’s one of the best documentaries I’ve seen on any subject, and it’s a must-have for anyone involved in theater preservation.

andygarner on October 25, 2006 at 5:58 pm

Anyone who cares about the Uptown should buy a copy of “Uptown Portrait Of A Palace” just so you can “visit” the Uptown as often as you like and hopefully the dvd will raise awareness of how fragile the building is, and that sooner rather than later restoration can be started. it is good to know that the building is secure and guarded against intruders we all owe a great dept to those volunteers who selflessly continue to look after the building.
Is the equipment still in the projection booth, and are there any photos of the booth that you can share with us at the Cinema treasures site?
with kind regards,
AndyGarner U.K.