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I did know that. But I realized it after I sent it off. It did open for a brief time. A local woman tried to rent it out and it really never took off. The same reason why the company that called it the New Regal re-habbed it and lost money on it and closed it. Lack of interest and tickets I persume. I never really didn’t understand why Oprah didn’t invest and operate the theater. Being a local gal and all. After all it is quite a landmark on the Southside and would mean more to the people than a school in Africa would. The Paradise NEVER would have made it past the 60’s, unfortuately.
Scott, I am hoping they will give details about Garfield Park in the years it was developed. It was pretty nice along with Douglas Park.
Chicago had very good planners when it came to parks. Sorta like the people that developed Central Pk. in NY. Every little detail was thought about for the comfort and enjoyment of the population. And we were quite safe to roam around in them. I loved the lagoons!
LuisV, You sure know your theaters in NY. Is the Leow’s 175th and the Leow’s Valencia in Queens still operating as churches? I have been to both and my mouth dropped when I entered 175th st. What a wonderful upkeep to a beautiful building. Really was a Wonder Theater! I have to sadly agree with Scott about the Paradise here being saved for a church. Scott “hit the nail on the head”. The area is a ghetto today and no way would a flock pay the high price of keeping it opened and operating. What ever became of Chicago’s Avalon Theater on the Southside of Chicago? Another of Lamb’s creations. It was a major theater/ church/ performing art center.
Now closed I believe. If that couldn’t make it, the Paradise never would have. I wonder if that location on 79th is a ghetto?
Scott, I think you are absolutely correct. It had to be the fondness
factor. They knew I am sure that tv was not to go away anytime soon, and would even grow to make large one screen theaters fade away to dust. It was the old-timers (now us) that came from the west side that had such respect for their beautiful buildings and a long colorful history, they just wanted to “hang-on”. Great point!
I still say, it would have made a great “house of worship” like the Salem Baptist Church and should have been researched more at the time.
Sell it for $1 like Loew’s did in NY. Think of the demolition costs
that would have been saved, AND we would still have our Paradise!
My pleasure Scott, Lets hope they might be new photos of our Paradise and Marbro in the mix. One can only hope…..
I never thought of it until you mentioned it. We were lucky to have been in the Paradise until 1956. I am sure you were there many times as I was when the house was empty. Felt like a big vast empty cave most of the time. Never really thought at the time that somebody had to pay the bills to keep this place opened. Strange also that B&K never booked a “sure-fire” hit there that I can remember. Everything went to the Marbro and State theaters. They had all the latest hits from Hollywood. I am sure this was intentional don’t you? So why didn’t they close it earlier if it was suck a drain? Thank goodness they didn’t. I heard a story that one of the Balaban’s didn’t want too. Also he didn’t want stage shows to cease at the Chicago Theatre
until he passed on. Do you think there is merit to this story Scott?
I think his name was Barney.
Scott, I often wondered myself why West Garfield never gentrified?
The park is beautiful. Oak Park was a skip & jump away as you say. The transportation (even without the trolleys) is close to the loop.
There is a program on WTTW in late November on the Monday after Thanksgivg I believe called “Bicyling the Boulavards” on Chicago Sts.
This is the latest installment of Chicago-remembered. Many of the beautiful parks will be featured as well as the neigborhoods. Should be interesting!
Thanks OeOeO for the map view. It was like being on an airplane looking down to my former “playground” in the 50’s. Scrabbie is right about Robert Hall & Goldblatt’s. Also spent alot of time at Madigans next to the Marbro. I think some of the suburbs are trying to have that feel to them today. A library down from the movie theater along shops and places to munch. Downers Grove is like that. Park Ridge and Elmhurst too. But they all pale in the comparison of the large scale that Madison & Crawford had.
Nor to me Scott.. Who wants to go and see glass towers that resemble one another or row houses that look like cardboard. I wonder how they would reclaim Lake St. around Pulaski? or for that matter Madison St. and Pulaski. I think Lake St. is even worse. How are you going to make the population re-locate in order to build the new buildings? Maybe they are waiting for Socialism to take root where all housing will be paid for by the government. We’ll see after Nov 2nd where this is heading!!!!
Scott, Yes I have been in the Leow’s Paradise since it was been re-opened. Once when they were doing the construction just before the finished job and once when they were setting up for a rock hip-hop concert. I JUST WALKED IN AND SMILED…. It usually gets me in (like the American Express card)!! I must say to you it was very bitter-sweet. They did an amazing job of re-furbishing on one hand, and then on the other what could or might have been done to our own palace if the conditions were differently. After all the Bronx Paradise was still showing films in the 80’s even though it was a quad, it was still open!! Waiting for the day to"re-bloom". Ours never really had a chance.
ShawnS, Great photo of a beautiful sign. Ornate as the great theater itself. My only memories of the theater is 1950 onwards to the closing. I assume the shop was closed by then. Good of you to recall the times. He must have loved going to work in such a beautiful building every day!
LuisV, I have been to all of the above. I go to NY quite alot. A family member graduated from Fordham in the Bronx. I love Arthur Ave and all the wonderful food. Roberto’s is my favorite. The Botanic Garden and the Zoo are great. You are right, if the area was not stable, the Leow’s Paradise would not be open today. However Chicago does not have the desire or the vison to follow suit. Our crime problem is out of sight. Every night on the tv is the latest number
of drive-bys and mostly winding up dead. No wonder there isn’t any neighborhood theater outside of the downtown or near north that exits. We have the closed Uptown that is close to your Leow’s Kings in size and it remains a question mark. Have you been to Leow’s Jersey? I am hearing great things are happening there. I rank our politcal leaders a BIG FAT 0.
I have to agree with you LuisV on some parts and with Scott on others. Bronx and other buroughs are better than 20 years ago.
But I wouldn’t stroll down the streets in the Bronx at any time.
Scott is right about Chicago. I feel the same because we both “lived it”. Maybe a new mayor is a good thing. New blood and all that. We need a person of vision. Bring back the showmen of yesteryear…
I was talking with a developer and said that in 50 years, most of the neigborhoods will be leveled in Chicago and new neigborhoods will be rising. Could be. I was on Madison St. in the near West Loop around Racine and I couldn'e believe how trendy and modern it looked. New stores, alot of townhomes, shops and eateries. After Racine and the Chicago Stadium it is as we recall and talked about before. So maybe there is hope. When I see it, I will believe it. Even though I will not be around for sure.
Scott, I think you are recalling the Paradise correct. I do remember the upper levels of the theater being rather plain compared to the rest of the theater. And there were hallways all over the place. I
think sometimes the balcony was closed and roped off, but we as kids always found a way to “get up there” and we did. I do remember one time being at the Marbro and coming down from the balcony going around the “Balcony Closed” sign and being yelled at from the mananger. I guess the only way a patron of today has that feeling is in an upper seat in today’s stadium seating style. Boy did they miss alot!!!!!
LuisV, New York is working better than Chicago granted. But if you never walked on our West Side or for that matter South Side, you would be taking your life at hand. Bronx is safer than where Scott,
Scrabbie and myself grew up. Leows Paradise made a wonderful comeback. Chicago needs a firm mayor who will deal with the many problems that our neighhoods face. It has been in a mess for 50 years. Almost like it was intended to be. Like a plan that was hatched. Maybe Rahn Emmanuel is the answer. People say he gets the job done. And boy do we need to get the job done. I myself feel it
is a lost cause. How can you reverse a downward move to the gutter?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back when it was great. The only way to do that today is in our memory. What I really miss is the way people treated each other with respect and all the glory those days meant to me. Thanks gang!!!
Scott, I would love to say also, better days are ahead for Chicago.
But how can I? City is broke, state is broke and gangs have taken over. When I wrote about roaming the streets, not to mentioning
how we would roam the movie palaces like we talked about. The tunnels at the Paradise and the upper parts of thr Marbro. Remember
how exciting it was. We would play hide and seek at the Marbro in between features and all the places to hide. Sometimes behind drapes.
We were always afraid of the ushers, which were few toward the closing. What great days!!!
Thank you OeOeO for the site. Are you watching Scrabbie? It was
so nice to take the “trip” down Madison & Pulaski again. Were
you from the area? One had to live there to really appreaciate the
wonder of it all. Imagine a 10 year old being allowed to roam around the streets of Chicago and to discover all the neat places to visit and never being bothered by crime and drive-bys. No cell phones, no
gps. Just our little brains. And wasn’t it all fun??????
Wish there were a picture of the streetcars passing the Marbro in the 50’s! I rode the green hornets alot on the Madison line and I am quite sure it was after 1954. Why would they discontinue them? They were always packed. Maybe the person writing the book is wrong. I do not remember the Western Ave line running and the Madison line not.
Thanks for the info. Those streetcars were wonderful and a great way to get to your favorite movie palace.
Thanks for map info. I pased there a couple of years ago when
the Eisenhower was jammed. Hard to believe it was the same place. Everybody that we knew DID NOT want to move. We were sorta forced too. We had neighbors that were wonderful. Jewish, Irish, Italians and others. We all got along fine and visited each other’s homes and had different foods of different countries. When we got to the suburbs it was nothing like that. Of course times were different also. As I said in a different posting, it seemed Chicago didn’t mind the neighborhood changing and I would like to know why? Didn't
the alderman & commiteemen want to keep their jobs and the city losing all the sales tax? Nobody enforced any laws on the books.
OeOeO, I recall the Madison streetcars running after 1953. Would say more like 1956. But my mind sometimes fades like Scotts. Sorry Scott! But if you read it, maybe its true. The Pulaski streetcars were red I am sure also Cicero ave. I can agree on 1952, but not Madison in 1953-that seems too early. True about the Paradise failure
not due to transportation. I think that gorgous theater was doomed from the start or shortly after opening. As I said before, I cannot understand how the City of Chicago let this goldmine of a tax basis go away and into ruin. You can visit almost any town in Europe and see it the way it was 200 years ago!
The former Lawndale Theatre located on the same street as the Paradise and Rossevelt Rd is being stripped and sold on an auction site. Seems the church that was in it is out of business as well as the building that was part of the theater which housed apartments.
Both buildings look vacant and reminds one of photos of the Blitz
Scott, I just saw your comment on the Patio site. You sure get around. I think it was a while back. I wonder if you are on others.
I have to start looking.
Scott, I remember the sign being rather large for Peter Pan with
alot of neon lettering. I thought it was next to our Marbro, but I could be wrong. Could have been across the street. I was “too busy"
starring at the glorious marquee most of the time. But I do remember
those hamburgers and thw waitresses wore uniforms with little peter pan collars. That I do remember. They also had a wonderful shirt steak and great french fries. With all the candy at the shows and real butter on the gallons of popcorn I have consumed in my lifetime and all the richness of the many ice creams, I am amazed I am still alive!!! Walking daily and exercising and counting calories does have its merits.
Scrabble, what an experience you had that day! Your mother must have
been mortified. Scott is right, it was all down hill from there for poor old Garfield Park.