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I believe that in the 1980s (towards the end), the Varsity was doing revivals and classic films a la the Parkway in Chicago.
If that’s true, then it may have been the VCR and not the multi-plex that did in the Varsity and the Parkway.
The marquee on the Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC (which is still a movie theatre) looks very similar to the one which once adorned this place. Could the two theatres (or at least the marquees) have been designed by the same person?
The marquee for this theatre looks very much like the one that was on the old Varsity Theatre in Evanston, IL. Could the two theatres (or at least the marquees) have been designed by the same person?
The Block 37 straddles the Blue Line and Red Line subways. It is also close to the Loop L structure and the Metra Electric and the South Shore Line. So, yes, a transit facility is going in as it would make sense to have it there.
Life’s Too Short:
In reading several histories of the Brickyard Mall, many in the neighborhood did not want it in the first place. Initially the mall did a renumerative business however as the years went on it began to be more of a hangout. As I said above, the mall lost its three anchors (Wards, Penneys, and Kmart) within a matter of months of one another.
The “Lifestyle Center” of big box stores that replaced the mall appears to be doing well. The “Lifestyle Centers” tend not to be hangouts because people go there to shop and then leave.
The Bricktown wasn’t really located in the Brickyard. It was located in a shopping center—a strip mall—located adajacent to the mall.
The Bricktown wasn’t exactly
As I recall, the theatre was a single story one. There were about 2 or 3 free-standing pay booths as you entered. The auditoriums I beleive, were to the right on the south side of the building. I believe that the gym occupies the same structure tho I’m not 100% sure of this.
You seem to have the same affinity for these 1980s ‘plexes that I do. When you did your papers for school, did you include Cineplex-Odeon and its rapid downfall? I read a link to an article when C-O first entered the Chicagoland Area and the great optimisim the company had. I often wonder what went wrong. Of the 17 or so cinemas opened by C-O between 1987-1989, most have closed and some have even been demolished.
One more note on the Bricktown. By 1993 the theatre had already become rundown and scuzzy.
To some extent, the Bricktown was intended to be the replacement for the Will Rogers and the Mercury (and to a lesser extent the Montclare, but that theatre was never owned by C-O/Plitt). As other people have said, the Bricktown was nice when it opened up, but quickly fell into decline. It lasted only 11 years.
I must admit that I have a peculiar interest in these 1980s multiplexes opened by Cineplex-Odeon. They were once considered modern, but quickly became obsolete and now only a few remain.
When exactly did the Will Rogers close? I recall that in the ‘70s and early '80s, it was operated by Plitt. Did the Will Rogers make into the Cineplex-Odeon chain?
Per the comment by Riis Park above, it was Cineplex-Odeon which opened up the Bricktown Theatre. To some extent, the Bricktown was intended to be the replacement for the Will Rogers and the Mercury (and to a lesser extent the Montclare, but that theatre was never owned by C-O/Plitt). As other people have said, the Bricktown was nice when it opened up, but quickly fell into decline. It lasted only 11 years.
Here is a photo:
Apparantly they are showing Bollywood films here too!
In reading the posts on this theatre, and other places, you’ll discover that rumors had been circulating for a long time. These rumors had been going on since before AMC took over. Under Loew’s, it had been somewhat of an “art house” in recent years, showing such fare as MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS, GOOD NIGHT & GOOD LUCK, etc. AMC however, has begun a program called AMC SELECT, which shows films such as these in its regular theatres (not necessarily a bad idea). With the implementation of AMC SELECT, though, the Esquire has lost whatever edge it did have.
It would be nice if the landmark marquee and facade could be kept. I’m not holding my breath though! I’d better get up there, take a few photos, and see some films there. I still beleive that with some fixing up, the Esquire could remain viable.
In reading the posts on this theatre, and other places, you’ll discover that rumors had been circulating for a long time. Mike Oakland Park, these rumors had been going on since before AMC took over. Under Loew’s, it had been somewhat of an “art house” in recent years, showing such fare as MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS, GOOD NIGHT & GOOD LUCK, etc. AMC however, has begun a program called AMC SELECT, which shows films such as these in its regular theatres (not necessarily a bad idea). With the implementation of AMC SELECT, though, the Esquire has lost whatever edge it did have.
Howard B Haas,
I’m sure that one would need to get permission from AMC to photograph in the place. Does anybody know how “fan friendly” AMC is?
AMC is doing this in Chicago too!
Correction—that should be “Mr. Burrows”, not “Bellows.”
Jim Rankin, you state the unfortunate cold, hard truth. While I beleive that the city and county amusement taxes are skewed against the small businessman, the owner of the 3 Penny should have been aware that his taxes would be accountable for.
This is the same thing that essentially did in the short-lived Meridian Theatres chain—failure to pay taxes.
But Mr. Bellows also had a liquor license for his theatre and those aren’t cheap. Not to mention the insurance his business would have required with that license. He could have cut his costs without too great a loss in concession revenue by getting rid of his liquor license.
That the 600 North occupies the top floors of a retail business probably explains its design. They probably had to wedge the auditoriums in whichever way they could. Refer to an above comment in which the author states that it’s like going to an IMAX film, particularly if you are in the first few rows.
You are right though, since the remodeling, it is a nicer place.
The Esquire is okay. The washrooms appear to be clean. The floors are also clean. But new seating is needed! They appear to be using the same seats from the ‘80s makeover. There are no cupholders.
Some art deco touches remain, particularly the railings. There is also a neat little cafe/seating area. The staff seems improved under AMC. Unfortunately, the Esquire has terrible popcorn. If AMC was willing so put just a little money into this place, freshen it up a little, and get better popcorn, it would be a terrific movie experience.
If you are in the area and they’re showing a picture you really want to see, then the Esquire is okay, but it could be better.
My girlfriend and I walked past this place on our way to Navy Pier recently. One of the windows was not frosted over and we peeked inside. The place still looks relatively intact, “Cineplex-Odeon-Mid-1980s-Carpeting” and all!
I regret that I never saw a movie here.
That might be a little tough. Village has only recently begun advertising its theatres (and only the North Riverside & Lincoln Village). I think though that circa 2002, when they first became a “chain”, they advertised. You may also want to look at microfilm/microfiche issues of THE DAILY SOUTHTOWN & the neighborhood newspapers.
And I seem to remember that briefly this theatre may have been known as the Village South. Can anyone confirm this.
Cinemark Fan, it being a former single-screener seems likely. Consider that the Village, Village North, & LaGrange were all formerly single screeners.
Please refer to my above comment about the city’s tax structure. The 8% amusement tax from the city simply makes it hard for the little guy to stay in business. Why can’t these taxes be on a sliding scale? The full amount for larger corporations like AMC and Keresotas, less for smaller chains like Village and for the indy guys.
But according to the Crain’s article in the above post, the opening of Landmark’s Century Cinema really put a dent into this guy’s business, although I wonder whether or not the 3 Penny saw an increase in patronage after the closure of the Biograph.
I just realized something. If Rooding says he’s going to have stadium seating installed in this place, how the heck is he gonna wedge it in? The Village is way too tiny.
I believe that the Lake in Oak Park was an Essaness at one time too!
CINEMARK FAN—As an update to my above comments, Village did keep places like the Golf Glen and the Burnham clean. And if I owned the Golf Glen, I’d have closed it too after finding out that a new 18(?) screener would be going in at Golf Mill. Perhaps if Village quit boasting about renovations that they couldn’t do and won’t do, and just concentrated on getting good films, keeping thier places in good repair, and advertising, they might be better off. And making incremental repairs to their theatres too!
BTW, how is your theatre chain project for school going? Are you gonna do one on Meridian Theatres?