Showing 376 - 400 of 419 comments found
I watched the company clean the facade of the Granada and I thought
they were “sand blasting” it. The men told me “No” because that would leave holes in the terra cotta, so they “steam cleaned” So there you have it from the horses mouth. Not that I am a horse!
This was done in the 70’s under Plitt. They also cleaned the Uptown
at the same time I believe. I might be wrong about that. but I seem
to remember that. It wasn’t soon after that the Plitt chain closed them both. Maybe they cleaned them to sell them. The Granada as well as the Marbro had a little yellow cast to the facade. Before the cleaning, it was quite darker, like the Marbro which was never cleaned and had some of that coal dust floating around in the air.
So much fun sharing stories with you Scott…..
Scott, My Dad never talked about the acoustics or lack of them at the Paradise. I just think he was so overwhelmed that he didn’t care.
After all the hoopla died down, they went back to the Marbro on a steady note. It was closer to where they lived at the time and as we always say, the Marbro booked better product. I suppose B&K did get all the Marks Bros. packgage theaters for pennys. I wonder if they would have gone into bankruptcy anyway even if the Paradise wasn’t built. After all it was the depression and the Paradise was closed for a few years wasn’t it? When it re-opened, I bet it didn’t reach decent crowds untill the war years. The candy counter was on the right, the Marbro was on the left as you passed the gate from the small outer lobby. I did remember the tunnel. Us kids would like to “prowl” around the theater in-between double features. They destroyed it way too soon. They should have tripelexed it for the neighborhood. All the small theaters were mostly gone by then and the area was still stable, in my opinion.
Scott, it certainly was a major project for B&K. My father went opening week with his brothers and sisters and said to me he never was so amazed since. He was in his teens and he remembered all the ushers looking so well dressed. Their mouths dropped as they entered the marble lobby, but almost passed out when the ushers opened the door to the auditorium and proceeded in and as the balcony stopped they looked up and saw that beautiful sky and stars and clouds. They were used to going to the Marbro, but this was amazing. He never stopped talking about it right up to his death. I wonder if Garfield Park has a chamber of Commerce that would have pix’s. This theater was a very big deal for the West Side in the 20’s. Thinking of the Loews Paradise, I wonder if another 4000+ seat theater was right around the corner like the Marbro, maybe the same thing would have happened to that Paradise. Looking back, B&K should have put their efforts into buying out Marks Bros., they would have saved $$$$$ in the long run. As you say, the area could never have supported both huge theaters even as early as 1929
When you saw the Granada Scott, it was on its last legs. The hole in the window was the “coat of arms” and went to the heirs of the Marks
Bros. They were already planning the wrecking. It was a shame. Why couldn’t Loyola keep the entire building and build on top to make that bland tower. Perfect for the school and a real treasure. It was so like the Marbro wasn’t it? One of the most beautiful theaters in Chicago. Did you notice the man renting the theater had the facade
steamed cleaned and the terra-cotta looked like new. He was also in the process of putting in flood-lights on top of the marquee to light up the facade. He had grand plans. But lack of parking(same old story) and fighting a university proved hopeless…..
The Granada Theater, the twin to the Marbro, was to have been re-born in the late 70’s and 80’s. It was leased to a man who had great
expectations but not much cash I’m afraid. He put a building in behind the lobby going out to the ‘L’ and was to put in a huge kitchen for the restaurant on the upper lobby. He re-draped the stage with a bright red curtain, put in new carpet and repainted the marquee red and white. He also re-lamped the entire inside coves. He
bought a rather large bar with cut glass inserts from a lounge in Wisconsin. It fit beautifully between the marble columns in the lobby. Unfortunatly, when he applied for a liquor license, it was blocked by Loyola University, who of course owned the land. He booked a few shows of local talent and 2nd-run films for $1.50. I talked to him when I went to see a James Bond film and he told me “I never expected the heat bill to be so high and had to be turned on hours beforehand just to get the theater comfortable” He didn't
make it. Of course he also had grand plans to build a garage too.
That never hapened either. I told him he should talk to Loyola and
have a deal to use their parking on show night behind the theater. But I think Loyola wanted the building down. So the Granada was in pretty good shape awaiting the wrecking ball!!
Scott, The one thing I think that saved the Loews is the fact that
it is near Fordham University with all the students and and teachers
living nearby and Little Italy with all their shops. The stores alongside the Paradise are open and not blighted. Granted they are mostly spanish, but there is a big police presence because of the school and the Botanic Gardens and Zoo nearby. Everything that our Paradise didn’t have. Can you just imagine the CPA’s at B&K offices in 1929 when the theater just opened with a huge mortgage I am sure and then THE GREAT DEPRESSION hits. I wonder how many of them hit the pavement on State Street after throwing themselves out the windows! We had that great marquee, they had none to speak of.
Concerning the trolley on Pulaski Rd and the year it stopped operating, we need to hear from trolleyguy… Scott and I are waiting trolleyguy………..
Welcome back Scott!!
Maybe it was 1951 0r 2. I know I saw the streetcars, Also
the Cicero ave ones were the same color, why they were was beyond
me. Could it have been an electric bus maybe? I was very young,
but had a keen eye never-the-less. Do you mean that marquee didn't
even last 8 years? Why did the Loews Paradise survive and not our
Paradise? Both were built far from the downtown crowd, both are
in questionable neighborhoods and crime infested. I was in the Bronx
theater when it was triplexed in the 70’s. Now its back to a performing live event theater. One thing I do know, it is not a getto
like Pulaski and Lake are today. Maybe that is the reason it is
still around to be enjoyed.
Scott, Have a great 4th! Hear from you when you return. I thought
about the parking lots again. You are probably right. They could never have held thousands of cars that would have held approx.
8 thousand people for those two palaces. I went back into my mind and I remember going downtown on the Madison streetcar and as you know they had to obey the trafic lights. As we were going east on Madison, a red streetcar going south on Pulaski Rd. was at the stoplight. It must have been 1953. So they were still running at that time. Washinton Blvd. had gas busses. Chicago Ave. had trolley
buses. Can you just imagine being on a streetcar going north at night and coming under the original Paradise marquee with all the colors flashing. One would need “sunglasses” for all the brightness!
Must have been quite a sight
You are right Scott. The Paradise was gone before people left. So
it must have been a real money pit. It is hard to imagine one of
them still in business when they cannot even open the Uptown as
you say. I do hear the owners have an option across the street to build a massive garage. But of course banks are a little “tight"
today when it comes to loans. And then there is the econony you know!
Hi Scrabbie! I think that was the name. Thanks. I would have remembered Woolworths or Kresges for sure. I have a photo memory which sure helped me in school with high marks. I may not have known
what I was answering, but I saw it somewhere. It was so much fun to empty the capsules of the red rinse and dip our hair in the solution. I am glad to hear you remembered Noreen rinses. Nobody
else I know today can remember the name. Maybe their memory is going fast like Scott’s! Sorry Scott, I’m only kidding…
Scott. That Sat afternoon was the ONLY time I remember the Paradise
being filled with kids. It was for that special personal appearence.
Every other time I was there it was a “ghost land” I think a tv station put the event on or a company. The stage wasn’t used in a while and the whole thing was not done well. So there was a coal
plant not far away. That would explain why the facade was blackened.
I was there 22 years after it opened and it was black already. One has to imagine how the lungs of the people that lived there daily
might have looked. The Marbro was also dirty, but nothing like the Paradise. You are wrong about the parking Scott. Do you not remember
the parking lots the city created by buying and tearing down homes
in the 50’s There was a big one on Monroe in front of the Marbro and
behind the theater. Als on a big lot near the Paradise. You can see them in the front of the Paradise Annual. This was the first mall without being a mall. Old Orchard and Oakbrook were not built yet. The city and the community knew the stores were a goldmine. Even though the streetcars were gone or going, there were enough people to realize the needs of the car-loving public to be met. The fact
that this was done in the mid-50’s, leaves me to believe they thought this intersection would be around and thriving for a long period. If the “flight” did not occur, I think maybe the Marbro and Paradise could have survived if they were marketed wiser. Don’t you think? Everyone on my block moved to the suburbs to get away from the crime and despair and the businesses went to. A Shame!!!
Scott. Sorry to hear your memory is going fast! The dimestore was
either Kresges or maybe began with a N. It was very large and I think
it is still there. The building that is. A fun place for a child. I
think the name Marbro was on the bottom of the dish set. She collected them all and alot were broken. She only had a few left. I think she had a “crush” on one of the ushers. She never said, but that was my view. She went to the theater alot sometimes to see the movie twice. I don’t think it was for the dishes either.
Does anybody remember the name of that very lage dime store that was near the Marbro? How about you Scabbie? It was not Woolworths. It was on a corner and had the entrance on a triangle. I was watching
a film with two girlfriends, we were all about 14, and the star,forgot her name, had such a sun red hair that photographed so
beautiful in that 1950’s technicolor that we decidied to become redheads as we were leaving the theater. We found our way into this 5 & 10 and went to the hair aisle and bought noreen rinses. They came in a capsule. You would fill the sink up with warm water, open the capsule and dip your hair into it. It was fun. I went to a birthday party a few days later and my mother was there and she said “How nice your hair is coming in red” I said “Really!"
Oh those naive 1950"s!!!!
“The Bridge on the River Kwai” was beautiful on the Marbro screen. We alsways went as s family to thr Marbro at night. Sometimes my brothers and father would win to see a war film, but I didn’t mind
because they would also go and see a musical or love story for mother and me. Anyway, I always had the candy counter! I just loved
going there no matter what was one the screen. Just being in that place and going in past that marquee was enough for me. We never went during the week. School you know and “I Love Lucy” etc. I wonder
how they did box office wise. TV must have taken a big toll on them don’t you think? I had a aunt who died a few years ago and she was still using the dishes from the Marbro which she got on “dish night"
during the depression. When I asked for them, her family said they threw those things out. Just imagine, I could have sold them on E-Bay. Not on your life!!!!!!!
Scott, I do think the fact that the Paradise was away from Madison st. was a factor in its failure. I know you lived north of there, but I hardly went to Lake st. Madison and Crawford was THE intersection for business and I think it is what kept the Marbro
over the Paradise. That is why I think they did entertain the idea
of putting the big 70mm screen for “The Robe” in 1954 if only to
make it special to go there, They could have had reserved seating
and hire more ushers like downtown. But I guess they thought it through and decided Marbro was better in the long run.
Hello Scott! Guess who??????
I just posted on the Marbro site.
Maybe we should all have a reunion some day at Madison and
Pulaski. All of us “The West Siders”. Unfortunatly we would have to
arrive in our own tanks. Armored of course. All the technology in
the world could not save the Paradise. It was technology that was
Scott, I got the e-mail from the former usher that I met in Skokie and he gave me the same information as you did, but he called it
the Rodgers Park Art Center. Maybe he wasn’t there for a while and
they changed hands, or in this case bodies! I still intend to go and will give you a full report. What ever happened to thr Marbro seats?
Were they installed in other operating theaters? I went to the final
showing in the Granada theater and the seats in the balcony were in pretty bad shape. Main floor were re-done. The film was “Bow-Won-Ton-
the dog that saved hollywood”. There were 50 people in the theater
on the final thursday night. Mr. Whitiker was the mananger for Plitt
Theaters. Did you ever see “The Bridge on the River Kwai” at the
Scott, I think you are right. The man said Greenview Ave. I’ll
have to pay them a visit. Also I think I will pay a visit to Cinema
Treasures/ Paradise. Maybe I’ll find you there. Every show I attended
myself in the 50’s also had few people. When you think of it it
was amazing it was still opened 7 days a week after the advent of
TV and staggered to 1956. I can’t remember one famous movie I ever
saw there. I went to alot of westerns with my brothers. I remember
going to the Marbro to see John Wayne in a 3D western. We all got
the glasses in the lobby and we sat in the huge balcony and had
“Swords” and “Bows & Arrows” thrown at us. Those matinees were
very well attended and we had to hunt for seats.l
Scott, It was a bland marquee. But at night with all the flashing
and the orange letters and vertical,it did make a statement and
brightened on Pulaski Rd. Sure needs some brightening up today!
The theater I am thinking of is the Lifeline Theater on Glenwood.
Is that the one you are thinking of? I am waiting for an e-mail from
the former usher to confirm what I thought he said. Those seats must
be in pretty good shape don’t you think? They were only 30 years old
when they were moved downtown and I’m sure they were never “worn"
due to the fact the theater was closed for a while in the "30’s"
and not a large attendence in the 50’s. When you think about it,
if $10,000 was not considered a good day at the Marbro, can you just
imagine what a dismal day at the Paradise was like. Imagine the heating bill alone to warm up that high ceiling and balcony space.
Scrabbie,You are right it was Robert Hall. I must have seen the Robot
there or at Goldblatts. Also the same for Cassidy.
It is so much fun to go back in memory. The dress shop.“Three Sisters” on Pulaski was a grest shop. My favorte was “Kanes” next door to the north. One of my cousins was a model for the salon. This
was an outstanding place. It was like going to the movies. You would
tell the saleslady what you had on mind for a special event and she would start the fashon show with live models with the clothes she
thought you might buy. They eventually moved to the Ambassidor Hotel
where they stayed for 30 more years.
I sure wish you would have taken your little camera Scott and
taken a color shot of the Marbro at night. I have not given up my
search to find one. I just want to see that marquee in motion one
more time. You can see the Paradise in color on a tour of Pulaski and Madison from a bus going north. I found it on Cinema Treasures
and it is still there. It shows the marquee with all the chasers
and the orange lettering. I am sure there is somewhere someone
took a family picture underneath the Marbro. The thing is to find
it!!! Joe and I watched the carpets of the Paradise being rolled
up and carried out the front door and stacked by the front door and loaded up into a truck. I believe this was a day or two after the
theater was closed forever. We would wander over there and stand across the street. I had a brick for awhile, but it got lost in the
move. Now for the seats. As you know, the seats were sold to the
Coliseum in Chicago. That building is gone. One might think the seats
were also . Guess again….. How would you like to know where they are now? And you can sit in them again—— on Chicago’s north side.
Scott, Alot of the paradise statues were saved and I saw them at a wedding in the 60’s at
a place called royal banquets. I believe it was either on grand ave or chicago ave. These were
the statues from the side of the auditorium walls and the lobby walls. I remembered them from
my movie days and couldn’t keep my eyes off of them during the wedding dinner. Joe D had
the piano, a player piano from the Marbro, in his house. Wonder where it is now? I bet the
statues also are in Limbo because I bet Royal Banquets are also long gone. Joe’s piano was in
the Marbro upper lobby, and of course like the Marbro itself was very ornate. There are parts
of the Granada facade that were saved and of course you know the twin of the Marbro and
installed in a Barrington home around the entrance door. Even the faces that were on top
of the large center window. It is quite something to see!!
Scrabble, I am amazed myself what I am remembering after so many years. I never thought
about these in years. I love this site! You and Scott are wonderful. You mentioned Goldblatts.
I watched them dig the hole for the store on that corner. Don’t remember what stores were
destroyed to make way. I was at the opening week. It was a very big deal for that shopping
district. Makes me think they thought it would always be that way. There were ballons and
celebrity guests. The building still stands, but not a Goldblatts I believe. Madigans is Diana's
now. remember the Three Sisiters store? Was kiddie-corner from Goldblatts. As far as
Polk Bros you mentioned, Yes, we went there often. They also had events to bring in the kids
who in turn brought in the parents to buy washers and dyers etc. Did you ever see Tobar the
robot? a full size robot on display that was working from a remote control, walking around the
store. We also saw Hop-a-long Cassidy, the tv star cowboy. He was either at Polks or Goldblatts.
I could have cared less, but my brothers wanted to go. In those days the family had to go together.
Scott, The name on the wrecking housing that controlled the ball
was United. I don’t know if that was the first or second company
that ws hired. Hanging oneself from a balcony is dramatic. I expected
it from a man that was destroying such a beautiful place!
Scrabbie, I was at the “High-lo” grocery store opening. It was on
Laramie but south if Madison-I know because we had relatives on
Adams st. near Laramie and we walked there. Opening week they had
“little oscar” from Oscar Meyer and his weinermobile. I got to
shake his hand and he passed out bubble gum and little whistles
in the shape of red hots. The store had a first class deli and I
remember the hot corned beef that was sliced right in front of you.
we were eating it on the way back to the relatives. There was a
beauty shop in the lower part of an apartment building on Laramie
south of the High-Lo and north of the “L”. My mother and Aunts
went there. The name was “Bobbies” I believe. The reason I remember
it was my first perm. Talk about a nightmare! They brought
out a contraption with wires hanging from it and wrapped my hair
into it. I looked like a space cadet on the screen at the Bryd
theater. The girl was doing three customers at one time and she
over-cooked mine. I could smell it. My hair was frizzy and wild
looking. I cried. The operator said we will start the conditioners
next week. I couldn’t wait to start the hair cuts. As I got older,
I went to Mr. Joseph’s on Madison St. That was a first-class salon
with alot of high-brows from Oak Park and River Forest. I loved
all the pampering and they had excellent operators!!!!!!