Marbro Theatre

4110 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 251 - 271 of 271 comments

MKuecker on December 13, 2006 at 2:15 pm

You are correct. That used to be a McDonald’s Restaurant. The movie palace was replaced by something that claims to have killed over a billion cows to serve a nation’s indigestion. I had forgotten that it’s an insurance agency now. Today the site of the old movie palace is covering people’s personal “assets”

corvetteguy1963 on December 13, 2006 at 10:59 am

I just drove down Madison today,and on this property now sits an insurance office ,that once looks to have been a McDonalds.

kencmcintyre on November 3, 2006 at 4:03 pm

The Garfieldian announced the appointment of Ed O'Donnell as Marbro manager in August 1940. Can you imagine any paper making that announcement today?

Emmet “Ed” O'Donnell was recently appointed manager of the Marbro theater. Mr. O'Donnell was born and raised on the west side and lives at 4810 Washington Blvd. He has had many years of experience in managing theaters, and was in charge of the McVickers theater when the first vitaphone movie was snown in Chicago in 1927.
Mr. O'Donnell started as an usher at the Central Park showhouse on Roosevelt road in 1919, was promoted to assistant manager, and then transferred to the Chicago theater as assistant manager.
He then managed the Oriental, McVickers and Roosevelt theaters downtown, and was manager of the Paradise theater when it opened in 1928, and again when it reopened in 1934.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 24, 2006 at 2:04 pm

I wonder about the last words of the opening write-up. Don’t get me wrong. This place was a fabulous building. But I wonder if anyone living out in Garfield Park today remembers this place.

MKuecker on May 30, 2006 at 9:52 pm

The Marbro was actually the blond haired twin sister of The Grandada How I’d love to see interior pictures. :)

DonnaShelley on April 6, 2006 at 8:37 am

Ok, 1936, is the reason. I wasn’t born yet. Still very cool.

DonnaShelley on April 6, 2006 at 8:13 am

That is an incredible pic of the Marbro!! Was it an actual photo or an artful composite of technology?
I don’t remember that many people ever being on Madison Ave. at one time.
Wow, it is really good to see the Theatre alive and well!! Thanks for the look back!

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 6, 2006 at 7:56 am

An excellent night time view of the Marbo’s marquee can be seen on the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) calendar. You can click on the following link: View link

If you need a lower resolution, click here: View link

The CTA’s annual calendar has many fascinating vintage views of its service are (Chicago and neighboring suburbs). This calendar is meant to be printed and used as a wall calendar.

While we’re on the subject, I wonder how many movie theatres, both vintage and multi-plex, are still served by streetcars or their modern descendants, light rail. This would be in the U.S. and Canada.

bleedingchicago on March 16, 2006 at 5:50 am

Hey everybody

I am a Michael LeVan. I have lived in the city of Chicago my entire life. I am a filmmaker and a attendee of Columbia College, heading into my final year. I love all the old movie palaces of Chicago. It has been my intent for sometime to Make a documentary on the history, and the ongoings of these historic theaters in the present. The means to make this documentary are finally in my grasp. I planned on featuring 3 theaters, the Copernicus Center(formally The Gateway), The Patio(Formally The Avalon), and The Uptown. While the Documentary will focus on the entire history, These are the three that will be visual examples, and the ones i would like to film in. I have spoken with the People at The Gateway Theater, and they are estatic that i am doing this. The only problem now is The Uptown and the The Patio. These two theaters seem to have ghosts of owners , or even managers. If somebody could help me in finding someone to talk too, i would be very appriciative. Also, this documentary will require interviews, and finding old information as well. If anybody would be kind enough to do either that would be fantastic. My somewhat set date to start filming is June 10 ,2006. My goal with the entire project is to help and benifit these theaters. Help alot more people to gain interest, and all the profit that i attain, if any, will be donated to help with these theaters. I am going to submit it to Wttw(Pbs Chicago) , and also the History Channel. So if anyone would like to help in anyway, they can contact me at my email.

or by phone (773)-656-5821

Well i appriciate if you read that entire thing, and hopefully i will be hearing from you

Michael Levan of Bleeding Chicago Productions

JAY12 on February 19, 2006 at 4:39 am

What a grand palace, it was like a European castle. In the early 50s my older brother brought [smuggled] several pidgeons concealed in a paper bag into the Marbro. He released them while sitting in the balcony during a movie.
He met the manager several years after the incident and the theater had been demolished,he told him that he was the one that had released the birds. He said that the manager was still very mad and said that they had a terrible time catching them!!!

Broan on February 11, 2006 at 10:28 am

The cook county assessor’s office changed their system. To access pages there now, change the ‘/filings/searchnew/’ in the url to ‘/ccaosearch/’.

I came across an article saying that a copy of the Marbro was to be built near the Tivoli in Woodlawn, presumably before the Granada deal popped up.

JimRankin on February 10, 2006 at 8:49 pm

Bryan, I get upon clicking:

“Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error ‘80004005’

[Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] Data source name not found and no default driver specified

/filings/searchnew/searchdetails001.asp, line 47 "

DonnaShelley on September 22, 2005 at 5:36 pm

P.S. Do you remember the Martinique? It was the Ice Cream parlor on the northwest corner just down the block to the west of the Marbro. It served the famous “Tummy Buster” creation. I always thought that combo of theatre and restaurant was heaven. Great to go to after a date. I’ll see if I can scare up a pic of a date there.

DonnaShelley on September 22, 2005 at 5:31 pm

Wow, that’s amazing. I remember Mr. Konradt and ran into him in the middle 1960’s or so at a LaGrange theatre he was managing. I introduced myself and my husband to him thinking that he might have actually remembered me a humble candy girl. He didn’t lead on either way, so I was happy. That era was the last great hurrah of that neighborhood.
Funny, I’ve been to the Rialto theatre in Joliet, and it’s gorgeous alright..but I wrote the manager to ask how many seats there were in it. I believe it was right above 1,000 or so. Now that brings you to the incredible reality of how big that grand mama, the Marbro, really was – topping at almost 4,000 seats.
How lucky we were to have been there. How very lucky indeed.
Need more pics people!

StuartSwanson on September 22, 2005 at 10:00 am

I also worked the Marbro between 1957 & 1959. Ed Konradt was the manager. Mr. Russo’s relief ticket taker was Sam Weiss, a retired bowling ball salesman (no kidding). One of the Projectionist’s was Henry Gussenberg. His brothers were both shot dead in the St. Valantines Day Massacre. I loved working there so much, I landed up managing movie theaters for over 25 years. Those were great days on Madison Street.
Stuart Swanson

DonnaShelley on June 17, 2005 at 6:58 pm

I am amazed and thrilled to see my old movie house again. Awesome work everyone. I wish there were more pics of the inside. I worked there when I was in high school as a ticket seller and candy girl between 1959-1962. I was awed by this theater and felt honored to even be a part of it. I remember old Mr. Russo, the ticket taker, who regaled me with stories of his dealings with buying and selling vegetables by the car load from trains in old Water Market St.
I can remember the 10 Commandments playing there. The spiral stair cases that went to the lavatories, so outstanding, everything.
So much history and I’m glad to read of some of the artifacts still in use at other place. I also remember feeling bad about the Paradise Theater being torn down. I made a point of seeing the very last movie they ever showed. I thought the title was “The Red Sundown” but now I’m not even sure. Both theaters were great and sorely missed.

MKuecker on June 15, 2005 at 10:17 pm

The Marbro theatre was actually the twin sister of The Granada Theatre :) Please if anyone has photos of it, exterior or interior I’d like to do a piece on it on my website which is a tribute to The Granada

teecee on March 17, 2005 at 11:20 am

Another old photo (note incorrect spelling in the title):

Patsy on February 13, 2005 at 8:30 am

Sam_e: Thanks for sending me that lovely email and informing me of this former Chicago theatre. Great reading!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 10, 2004 at 11:08 am

Excellent photo! But according to the text, it was supposed to be a picture of the truck!

JimRankin on May 21, 2004 at 2:56 pm

The MARBRO had many unusual features, the lobby’s ‘flying’ staircase being perhaps the most memorable, but the auditorium had at least one notable feature too: the illuminated giant discs. These four gilded sheet metal discs were about three feet in diameter and contained cut out spaces filled with dyed isinglass panels that allowed the incandescent lights mounted behind them to show through in jewel-like colors. There were some of the trimmings made for the Grand Drapery against which they hung to cast halos of light upon the shimmering satin drapery cloth. They were probably wired in to the proscenium lights circuit and went on whenever the front wall was illuminated. They are shown in perhaps the only good photos of the area in the catalog of the E.L. Mansure Co. of 1928 as examples of some of the more unusual decorations made by that prominent firm, which still exists as a small division of the Joanna Western Mills div. of the Crown Henry conglomerate, in Joanna, S. Carolina. The same designs of convex discs were also used in the late lamented GRANADA in Chicago, and these were removed before demolition and stored in the nearby UPTOWN. The Mansure catalog is preserved at the Theatre Historical Soc. in Elmhurst, Ill. and they can be contacted at: