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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.
Hi Anita! I remember seeing the horror film “Them” at the Byrd. The theater was full of kids and it was a blast on Saturdays. Usually double bills and drive-in type of movies. I have been afraid of ants ever since! I thought I saw “King Kong” there on a re-re-release or it could have been the State. Went to every movie theater on Madison St. all the time sometimes two in a day via the streetcar lines. I loved all the candy :Milk Duds. Halloway bars and of course the real butter popcorn…..Um-m-m-m-m.
Great photos jwballer. The marquee needs freshning up. Looking forward to attending this theater. Will they be showing first-run, 2nd-run or classic cinema?
You are sure on target Anita when you talk about the real estate agents. We started getting “flyers” in the mail as eary as 1955 telling us to sell before everything comes crashing down. I am sure they made a fortune on scaring people and businesses. If we all held on, maybe we could have prevented it from moving so fast. But everybody on my block were moving up to the North Side of Chicago and my family didn’t want to be left out. I remeber seeing all these moving vans week after week. I am not surprised the neighbood never re-built. No money, the city is dead broke. Maybe Rahm has new ideas. We’ll have to wait. We switched to going to the State Theater on Sundays because afterwards, we always went to Ray Foley’s for dinner. My mother loved the Prime Rib, as I did and their wonderful
horseradish. I loved the red booths. We were regulars when they moved north at Touhy & Lincoln. The State Theatre is long gone, but the building where Ray Foley’s was still stands as a reminder of better times.. I feel like I just met an old friend Anita!
I do remember the Red Goose shoe store and remember buying shoes. I loved going to St. Philips Basilca when the Knights of Columbus would march and we would go to the Easter services because some relatives went there and we would light up the candles and they turned off the church lights. I felt like I was in heaven! I look around at my great neices and nephews deep into their personal DVD players and on their phones texting to each other sitting on a couch, and I think you have no idea what you missed. The fact that they nothing to say proves I am right. I cried when told we were moving because of the neighborhood changing. It was a magical place and we were magical people!
Anita, What a memory!! I had forgot half the names you mentioned. But I remember them all. Loved the Martinique and the green river shakes and the Dutch Mill candy stores and the dime stores and the opening of Goldblatt’s and all the personal appearences. This was a kid’s paradise. Couldn’t wait to get up in the morning to head down there!~I know you are giving Scrabble and many of us a thrill!
Wecome Anita to our blog!! Your restaurant was across the atreet form the Marbro and a block down. It might still be there. When Scott or someone else reads this, I am sure they will help you. I know if you go to Madison Crawford or East Garfield Pk, you can take a photo tour of the street today. I bet we ate in your restaurant many times. I bet Scrabble would remember. I am looking for a color photo of the Marbro marquee myself. I too had relatives at St.Mel’s.
Scrabble, I think you & I & Scott are the only ones that really love and remember those times at that intersection and that time! I have been to many places since those days, but nothing warms my heart as remembering going shopping with my mother for a special outfit at all the wonderful stores and shoe salons and seeing a movie at the Matbro or Paradise and a quick bit to eat or a soda at the Walgreens on the corner.. THOSE WERE THE DAYS…….
I just met someone and we were talking about the Madison Crawford shopping district. He told me he took his date to the Marbro Theatre for a matinee and after the movie they went to The Three Sister’s store on the corner of Madison/Crawford and bought her a pink angora sweater. They have been married for 60 years. Longer than the Marbro Theatre existed!!
Ron, there are photos of the auditorium in the present state. I saw them as I was reading the entire posts. I am in Chicago and our Uptown Theatre is in similar state. Alot of water damage, but not quite as dispair as the Keith’s. The auditorium at Keith’s is a lost cause I believe because it would take millions to restore it to the beauty it was once. And the question would be for what? Isn’t that the reason they triplexed it in the first place? Our focus should now be the Loew’s Kings where new life awaits it.
Enjoyed all the chatter and photo’s.. I wonder if this is the theater I have seen for years when the airplane landed at Laguardia.
The theater I am thinking of had a large vertical sign and I believe it said B.F. Keith’s. Could it be another theater? According to these photos, RKO Keith’s never had a vertical just a rooftop sign.
Also wasn’t there a RKO or BF Keiths somewhere in Westchester Co?
I remember passing it in the late 60’s. Could have been Younkers.
Thanks for the update on Loew’s Kings. Sounds so good. Do you think there is a chance Barbra Streisand would actually might do a concert there in 2014? Maybe the first show as a fund-raiser? Also is there a Loews company anymore? I know they were bought or merged with AMC theatres. I look so forward to attending a show at the Kings. I must go to something at the Loews Paradise. Do they still call it Loews Paradise or just Paradise?
I bought the book and went to a lecture by Irving Cutler. Does anyone remember “Little Joe’s” across the street from the theater? They had a wonderful N.Y. cheesecake. I really believed the Marbro would outlive them all, even the Alex. It was the most beautiful and in a better central area than any of the others.
Yesterday, Friday, I was on my way downtown from the western suburbs when the traffic on the Eisenhower was so bad, I decided to take Lake St. I passed the Paradise site and it looked grim. The Guyon Hotel still sits vacant. As I came south to Madison St. I noticed on the side of the building that housed Walgreens on the northeast corner of Madison & Pulaski was the original sign: Madison & Crawford building on the side of the building. Goldblatts is now Payless shoes. I had the car doors locked!!!!!
I loved the Coronado and was happy I finally made it out there. I am planning to go there in May when the Circus Solie will be there for a two day run. I think its May 7-8. I picked up a flyer when I was there. But what I am really looking forward to is visiting the Fox in St. Louis in March. Hope to see you there in March Scott!!
That is correct. That is where I heard it. The console is beautiful and sounds fabulous. I am sure he would sell to the people who are refurbishing the Kings and perhaps a deal could be struck. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the original wonder organ back in its home?
Lets hope they can come to terms…
Thanks TheatreOrgan for the link. Great pix!
Must have been a sad day when the Marbro organ was removed. It was played until it left, mostly on week-ends I remember. Would love to see the wonder organ of Loew’s Kings back in the theater again. Its possible. The organ is in mint condition sitting in a home in the western suburbs of Chicago. And its a gem!
The only problem I can see regarding the parking at Loew’s Kings is the lack of it. I do not know how safe the neighborhood is at night for the thousands of people it would take to fill the theater to walk to from their cars. I know here in Chicago, The Uptown has a public parking lot a block away. I really don’t know what the safety factor would be. There was talk of buying the businesses across from the Uptown to build a large parking lot for the theater project if it ever came to be. A great theater needs a great parking arrangement. Thanks again for the great links.
I’ll be there also. Re-opening night at the King’s. Sounds like a dream! Thanks all for the information everybody. The original wonder organ sits in a home in a suburb of Chicago. I have heard it played many times and is the most ornate, beautiful cream colored music machine I have ever seen. I understand it is for sale and maybe, just maybe Ace would buy it and once again it would thrill the masses once more!!
Scott, My feeling exactly as I turned the corner in my car. The vertical is out of size. Too small. Must look nice at night with the chasers on. When was the original taken down and replaced with this one? When you think of the Marbro’s giant sign which could be seen for many blocks away, that’s a vertical!! I loved the inner lobby with all the beautiful lamp treatments. They were setting up for the night performance of RSO. I plan to go back again! I was also sad to see all the vacant lots and stores for rent around the theater.
Scott, I made it to the Coronado Theater Sat morn. What a GEM as you said. It reminded me of a smaller Atlanta Fox with all the courtyards lit up. It was in excellent condition and the organ sounded wonderful. What a thrill you must have had watching movies there. Almost like the Marbro as far as ornate surroundings are concerned.
Scott, I have never been to the Coronado or seen a picture of it. I should be quite impressed by your description. Blue uniforms huh.
Wasn’t the B&K ushers dark red or maroon? Was the Coronado ever under the B&K umbrella? I hope March 28 works out.
The Nortown on Chicago’s north side once during Christmas had red and green builds replacing the regular white and the lower chasers. Probably done by the manager. This is when it was still B&K’s.