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Just saw a history of Cinerama. Tv in 1952 was cutting into the movie tickets and the bosses in Hollywood new something bigger and better had to happen. They developed along with Lowell Thomas the giant screens and what a success it was. First showing in 1952 at the Warner Theater, where “Jazz Singer” wowed them in the 20’s, it played there for a year. It lasted 10 years with “How the West Was Won”. That was the last film in that format and the end of Cinerama.
They could not put that screen in the many movie theaters in the country so they came up with Cinemascope (which was called the poor man’s Cinerama). The Marbro had a very large Cinemascope screen, larger than other theaters at that time, which leaves me to believe they had bigger and better plans for the Marbro.
Absolutely true about theaters built for live shows that were turned into movie houses. Many on Broadway during the heyday of the motion picture. I just saw tonite a wonderful prelude disc on the “How the West Was Won” on Cinerama. The history of it begining in 1952 on Broadway and absolutely taking NY by storm. Playing to sell-out crowds for years at a time. It gave movie palaces a second-life as TV tried to kill them. Every city had one and the people couldn’t stay away. It is only a matter of time before 3-D today begins to fade also. Thank goodness for the centers for the performing arts that have been the saviour of the motion picture palace.
A wonderful thought. However the way people get they entertainment today is different even from 1970. Movies are no longer screened in a special theater with stars twinkling etc. They are just put into the largest screen when they first open and on to smaller screens as the weeks go on and then “out the door”. The Cineplex is here to stay. Unfortunately!
One might say the Paradise was our “ROXY” in the fact it was the first of the deluxe houses to be leveled. At the time I couldn’t believe what was happening. How could someone be doing this to “my place”? I would stand across the street and watch in horror as the cranes would swing into the palace of entertainment!
I really never understood why the Norshore theatre was torn down and the dilapidated Howard theatre remained. I know movie attendence was down and the Granada was a mile away, but still the beautiful Norshore was close enough to the northern suburbs that other venues should have been considered. Pershaps a symphony hall or an arts center. It might have even saved the neighborhood! I can’t understand why Loyola didn’t incorporate the Granada into a building for their own usage and rent it out occasionally for live shows. Plenty of parking with their lots. These magnificent buildings come along one in a lifetime.
David, the pix were great. Part 1 & 2 had a few clips of the Marbro, Three Sisters store, Walgreens, OG shores, Berlands Shoes, trolleys going down Pulaski Rd, A&P store and much more… Loved it. Wish there were more. Would love to see more in the 1950’s.. Many thanks..
Thanks David. I will look it up right now and hope to find it!
Oh Scrabbie, I forgot about the lime rickeys.. I even forgot the name. They were delicious. I never had them there, but elsewhere.
I never went to the Grand theatre but I bet Scott did. He lived north of the Paradise. We kids stayed around Madison & Crawford. There was so much to do and see! I am amazed when my great nephews and nieces say they are bored..even with all their appliances they are hooked up to. I don’t remember a boring minute of my youth!
I also like the green river and of course the chocolate phosphate. That was also very good. I am looking forward to your short story. I am working on the picture of the ALEX for you to include and the Byrd theatre. Imagine movie stars in our own backyard! Those picture houses were such a thrill for us, weren’t they?
Scott & Anita, Do any of you remember the Three Stooges appearing on the Marbro stage in the early 50’s? I heard today from someone who said they did three appearances in one day before the movie starting with the Chicago Theatre, then to the Uptown Theatre and then on west to the Marbro. I don’t remember except I know the theater would sometimes put on a “Stooge” short along with many cartoons on a Saturday afternoon. So I assume it was probably a Saturday.
Scott, Actually it did look the same as the last time I past by about five years ago. I understand from people that know, the Patio is all cleaned up and repainted just awaiting an occupancy license
from the City of Chicago to re-open their doors. You would think the city would put that matter on a fast-tract to get the many businesses that are closed around there to re-open and get the money flowing again. But again as you mentioned, its not a priority and there must be globs of red tape. Good Luck to them really!!
Scott, the site looks dismal to say the least. It is still used as a storage/dumping ground for industrial equipment. Lots of pipes etc. Next time I pass I will look to find a name on a trailer. Maybe the city owns it for back taxes. Wonder if the basement under the lobby is still there? Speaking of the city, they are dragging “their feet” in issuring the Patio Theatre a license. So the re-opening is put on hold for now.
When did Keith-Albee go their own way? I remeber going to B.F. Keith’s in Washington D.C. in the 70’s. I also saw the last days of the RKO ALBEE in Cinn. just before they locked it up and started demo along with the Gibson hotel next door. It was some block!
Thanks for the update… They sure knew how to design and build them didn’t they? Just this photo proves what a magical place this once was and should be retained for the future. Very few buildings today give you the “wow” factor when you enter them. No wonder people cherished them so much.
Scott, the Guyon has scaffoldling around it like something was going to happen to it years ago like you mentioned. But it looks like the money dried up and they just walked away. Well in 20 years since you drove around there, not much has changed. At least the businesses are open and lit up. There was traffic because it was rush hour even though it was dark I didn’t feel I would get in trouble. Actually Lake St. & Pulaski looked far worse and in very sad shape. It is real hard to imagine a glorious movie palace once graced this corner of the world. Oh to ride one of those streetcars again!!
My brothers were in the leagues at Cascade Lanes but I forgot the name before Anita mentioned it. It was very well populated as I recall. The store was A&P I bet. I don’t recall the National except for the one on Cicero south of Madison St. I always thought the National Tea store was the store that replaced the Paradise Theatre. But maybe I was wrong. I do remember going into a Kroger but I don’t know where it was. Loved the candy stores, Dutch Mill and all those soda fountains!!! Scott never had a green river Anita. Explain to him what he missed…
Scott, I wonder where the millions went or what pockets it landed in for the re-hab of the Guyon. It looked like a bomb was dropped on it. I loved the Coronado. I am going to join the orgsn group next time I go. Only $10 a year and they had wonderful coffee & sweets 30 min before the concert. Very well attended I thought from local people on a frigid morning. Well worth the drive and the plaster work was a sensation. Now that you mentioned it, I could see a little Roxy influence. Its a glorious temple and would love to watch a real film on the screen. I went to Loews Jersey site and saw their classic film events and organ programs. Quite impressive. I have to ask next time if the Coronado does film. Hope you can make the Fox next month Scott..
The only reason the governor turned down the grant, I believe, is the state would have to match it and of course operate the system when it got started. And we all know about low ridership etc. I think Mayor Daley floated the idea a few years ago and was voted down. They went for express buses instead (cheaper and less invasive). Nothing like tracks I say! Where you ever in the Ventian Theater in Racine? I have seen parts of it in Fred’s basement Bijou.
I loved taking the North Shore Line to Milwaukee and visiting all the movie palaces there and restaurants.
OOP’s, I thought I was on the Alex site…. I will work on posting that pix.
I am going to ask some people who know all about the internet, not me
I am new at all this, and see if I can somehow post my picture of the Alex on this site. Maybe you can use it in your report. It certainly wasn’t one of the palaces, but it did serve the community well and was well attended as I recall.
Nice to hear from you Trolleyguy. I read somewhere where Rahm Emanuel has a soft spot for light rail. If he becomes mayor, I think West Madison St. doesn’t have a chance, but maybe, just maybe, there would be hope to restore the trolley on State St. going down to Soldier Field and Navy Pier and then west to the train stations in the west loop. Wouldn’t that make a great loop? I think the ridership would be there during the day and even at night when the theaters let out. They could travel down Randolph to the train stations and then back on Washington to State St. Funding might be a problem however..
Demetri, I wonder how the Pickwick theater does it in Park Ridge. They show first-run and have a pretty good attendance. I pay $5 because I am a senior citizen, but I see plenty of younger people there when the new film opens. I think the community would pay it. After all, the muli-plexes charge almost $10 and they could never give you the experience of your beautiful theater! But of course, I am prejudice. I think the Patio is a national treasure!
A first-run film in a beautiful theater with a great screen and a pipe organ before the feature! Sounds like 1950’s Chicago! I am sure this will be a big hit not just for the neighborhood but for all of Chicago! The best of luck, and I and my friends will be regular patrons. Looking forward..
The Bryd was renamed “PEPE” in the last years. They just put the letters over the BRYD name and showed Spanish films. I was long gone by then, but I do have a picture with the PEPE name. I wish I knew how to post a picture on this page. The Bryd was a fun place to see all your friends and scream together for the horror flicks..
The Alex was wild and as far as rats, I think some of them paid admission and sat in the seats! Didn’t go there too often. I liked the Crawford around the corner and of course the Marbro & Paradise. Isn’t it strange, the Alex was the last movie theater to survive in an area that had so many.