Uptown Theater

4816 North Broadway,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Showing 251 - 275 of 436 comments

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 1, 2007 at 8:23 pm

No secret. The owners are listed on this lawsuit filed in 2005:
http://tinyurl.com/2vlw3f

BartHalleman
BartHalleman on February 25, 2007 at 9:02 am

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
BartHalleman on February 21, 2007 at 8:46 pm

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
BartHalleman on February 20, 2007 at 7:22 pm

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

Broan
Broan on February 17, 2007 at 9:05 pm

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

BartHalleman
BartHalleman on February 17, 2007 at 8:51 pm

was it cohan or ziegfeld?

Broan
Broan on February 17, 2007 at 8:09 pm

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

BartHalleman
BartHalleman on February 17, 2007 at 7:01 pm

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
BartHalleman on February 15, 2007 at 9:17 pm

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

BartHalleman
BartHalleman on February 15, 2007 at 9:14 pm

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
UptownFilm on February 8, 2007 at 10:23 am

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
upaava on February 3, 2007 at 12:05 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
Cam on February 2, 2007 at 11:20 pm

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
upaava on February 2, 2007 at 10:46 pm

Cam,

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
Cam on February 2, 2007 at 8:19 pm

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
GWaterman on January 30, 2007 at 12:03 pm

Cam, great photos.

Cam
Cam on January 29, 2007 at 9:56 pm

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
kencmcintyre on November 9, 2006 at 4:28 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
mp775 on October 25, 2006 at 3:54 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
andygarner on October 25, 2006 at 12:58 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.

Broan
Broan on October 7, 2006 at 9:29 am

I think it might have been edited, but the full version didn’t cover much of the history anyway.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on October 7, 2006 at 6:48 am

I saw the documentary last night on WTTW Channel 11. It was on a show called “Image Union.” Was I watching an “edited version”? It was ½ hour long. I would have liked to learn more about the history of the theatre.

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on October 6, 2006 at 9:37 pm

Thay did i just finshed watching it all i have to say is VERY GOOD YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE IT!!! :) It is on Image Union and i think that it is to be rebrocasted on Sunday night i beleve at 1130p or may be
midnight check your listings look for “Image Union” it is the 1st of the flims to be aired. Thank you for your time :)

CinemaE
CinemaE on October 6, 2006 at 7:49 pm

View link

I believe PBS channel 11 in Chicago is airing this program tonight (10/6/2006) at 10:30 pm.