Loop Theater

165 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 26 - 50 of 75 comments

KenC on July 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm

From the Sun Times movie directory dated Friday,May 7. 1971: The Stewardesses 3D OPEN LETTER TO LOOP THEATRE MANAGER Dear Sir, We saw ‘THE STEWARDESSES’ at the Loop Theatre. WOW! Are all stewardesses like the ones in the movie? (signed) John and Mary Dear John and Mary, I don’t know. I haven’t met every stewardess. Max Milstein, Mgr. Loop Theatre. (Mr. Milstein was a real person-real name. He worked for Balaban & Katz for years; I remember him from the United Artists theatre in the mid 60s. A short guy with glasses and a dry- sometimes wicked- sense of humour. As managers go, a nice guy.)

JRS40 on July 23, 2010 at 9:39 am

Mike – you’re welcome.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Great story KenC.

KenC on July 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Re: the newspaper ads for “VIXEN”– on Fridays, for many weeks during the run, the advice columnist Ann Landers (sister of Dear Abby) was spoofed. One example (not the funniest, but the only one I have): from the Sun Times dated Friday, July 11, 1969- OPEN LETTER TO JANE ANDERS Dear Jane: I run a gas station. I’ve been going steady with the same gal for 20 years, but can’t get up the nerve to propose. Last week she suggested my taking her to see “RUSS MEYER’S VIXEN,” but I turned her down. What do you think? (signed) BASHFUL. Dear Bashful: There is no Fuel like an Old Fuel. —JANE. About a month or two before VIXEN started its run, I remember reading that quite a few guys would buy a ticket and time it so they would enter the theatre JUST to see the trailer for VIXEN- and then leave. If memory serves- admission price of $3.00 for perhaps a two and a half minute trailer? No wonder it was a smash hit.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Thanks for listing all those movies.

0123456789 on July 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm

This beautiful theatre shouldnt have been torn down.

JRS40 on November 18, 2009 at 10:03 am

tim – I have seen the ads for THE STEWARDESSES and he actually used that same ad base for Russ Meyer’s VIXEN which played for almost a year there. Sadly I never got to enter the Loop, Carnegie or Cinema though I saw them all from the outside once or twice.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on November 17, 2009 at 12:18 am

JRS40, You’re absolutely right about not everyone being a fan of Mr. Brotman. Even Tom Brueggemanna acknowleged that Brotman was difficult. I worked at the Cinema Theatre for 6 months in 1981. I never got to know Brotman. I only saw him at the Cinema on it’s last day (September 13, 1981). It’s just if you look at the movie ads in the 1960s and 1970s, you will see that Brotman was a true showman. One of my favorite ads was back in October, 1976 when APE opened at the Loop. It had this big splashy full-page ad, boasting about the movie being in 3-D and all the exciting stuff in the movie. The movie was horrible, but it was another example of Brotman’s style. If you ever get a chance, try to get copies of newspaper ads for THE STEWARDESSES in 3-D. These ads are priceless.

JRS40 on November 16, 2009 at 10:10 am

In my collection of reviews and such that I saved as a kid I have an interview Gene Siskel did with and about Oscar Brotman. Others interviewed were not fans of Brotman’s but admired what he did with the Loop Theater having to compete with the palances all around it. From 1969-71 the Loop was the most profitable of ALL the downtown theaters (an AMAZING feat) and the theater was nicknamed “The Little Giant.”

Tim – the story you tell is included in the article. It also talks about how he had a dolphin in a large fish tank on State Street during the run of FLIPPER and had an usher dressed as a gorilla when they ran the horrible film EQUINOX. For the movie BUCK AND THE PREACHER Brotman created place mats for restaurants all over the city. The studio refused to pay for even part of this so Brotman paid for it himself and the Loop had the highest grosses for BUCK AND THE PREACHER in the entire country. Then the studio came back and begged him to create this mats for other markets and not only paid for it all but reimbursed Brotman for the original batch.

DavidZornig on November 10, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Great story Tim. I still stay in touch with the former manager of the Carnegie during it’s heyday in the mid `70’s.
I’ve posted before that he called all the promotions the “Genius of Oscar Brotman”.
I’ve in the past informed him of CT’s existence and it’s importance in keeping these long lost gems alive.
I patiently await his finally adding the many insights and stories he has of Oscar Brotman.
As a courtesy, I have not named him until he submits to CT on his own.

I also have some recently found some pics of the Carnegie I will add when I can.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on November 10, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I’d like to tell an Oscar Brotman story I heard back in 1981 when I was working at the the Cinema Theatre. The story goes something like this: Back in 1971, the legendary schlock producer Jack H. Harris was about ready to release a movie called SHELIA. The legendary Oscar Brotman made a brilliant proposal to Mr. Harris. Brotman proposed changing the title of the movie to HONKY. Harris went along with the idea and the movie was a box-office hit. I’m telling you all, there is NO showmanship like that anymore.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 29, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Hey teddy666. I used to work with you at the Village Theatre. If you have any idea into getting in touch with Channel 2 News, maybe we could go down there and see if they will dig up old video tape from around 1975 when Gene Siskel did a popcorn tasting test at the concession stand at the Loop Theatre. Also, if you can get in touch with any of Oscar Brotman surviving relatives, maybe they’ll have old photos of the Loop. I used to work for the late, great Don Klein at the Adelphi Theatre and he had old photos of the Loop. I know of a historical society that may have old pictures of that theatre that Mr. Klein’s relatives donated to. I fondly recall the electic line-up of films at the Loop. One week they’ll be playing a John Cassavette’s movie, the next week a kung-fu movie. I remember THE STING playing there for 6 months. I remember the X -rated CINDERELLA playing there for a long time. They also had 3-D; Russ Meyer movies; blaxploitation; Walt Disney movies. What a place, and I never saw a movie there. It closed in March, 1978 with a masterpiece entitled STRAIGHT TIME, starring Dustin Hoffman. Loop Theatre 1939-1978. It was a small gem.

teddy666 on June 26, 2009 at 1:47 am

I would love to see a lobby shot of this theater.

DavidZornig on April 25, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Oh, how I miss those street lights.
It sure was a sight looking South down State Street from the “L” tracks.
All the vintage buildings with the “modern” `60’s street lights hanging over the traffic with their cold glow. Lower Wacker still had all the green lighting too.

DavidZornig on April 12, 2009 at 6:25 am

Reactivate notification status.

Trolleyguy on December 16, 2008 at 2:04 pm

In the 40s and 50s,The Loop was also a place for bus travelers who were making connections to catch up on the news and spend a few minutes relaxing. It was located around the corner from the Trailways bus station, which can be seen in the 1988 movie “Red Heat” Before the new Greyhound station was built, their buses used a storefront across State street from the Loop Theater, near the State Lake theater. So, it was just a quick dash across the street to catch a newsreel.

DavidZornig on November 20, 2008 at 4:14 pm

What a telling picture. You can see the transition from electric buses to gas. The bus further back is still powered by the trolley line above, while the bus in the foreground isn’t tethered. They still used the electric trolleys as late as 1970 on some routes. I was on one at North & Clark whose trolley connection popped loose from the roof on a turn. The driver simply climbed up top and reattached what was needed.

The Capitol place on the corner of the alley reads as a lounge. Of course the larger marquee to the left is the Chicago Theatre with a Tyrone Power flick. Funny that the Loop Theatre is running newsreels as entertainment.

You can just see the famous Marshall Fields clock in the background. The Walgreens was just replaced a few years ago.

Broan on November 20, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Here is a 1948 photo from LIFE magazine.

jclaudio on September 24, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Teddy666 you sound like a guy named Rocky I used to know back in my Cinema Theatre/Village Theatre days!

teddy666 on September 6, 2008 at 12:14 am

It would be amazing to see any pictures of the interior of this theater. Jerry supposedly had stacks of pictures, but unfortunately I never had a chance to see them. Does anyone have any pics of this place inside?

teddy666 on September 5, 2008 at 10:44 pm

I worked and trained as a manager for years with Jerry Usher (RIP), one time manager of Cinema Theater & Loop Theater from 1966-1978. He told me all sorts of stories about movie theater life in Chicago at that time and I’d like to share some stories with you. About the Loop Theater: Jerry mentioned how lines of people wrapped around and down the alley between the Chicago and Loop and across the back of the building every day for months and months when Russ Meyer’s Vixen premiered. He said he had never seen anything like it. He spoke how one day when he was in the lobby Russ Meyer himself dropped in with two envelopes; one with $1000 cash for him and another with $500 to be split amongst the workers who helped make Vixen such a success in Chicago. Jerry said Russ Meyer paid for his trip to Puerto Rico that year! He spoke of Ilsa being the nastiest movie the theater played and how furious the owner was with it when he finally saw it. He also mentioned that he would walk around outside the theater dressed in a tux holding a mic and a small amplifier and announce what movies were playing (true showmanship!). He used ‘Harry Cherry & Raquel’ in his example. He said the theater was on a year to year lease and they never knew when it would be up. He said it lasted much longer than he thought it would. When it did finally close in 1978 he was recruited by then owner Bob Taylor and longtime associate to run The Village Theater. And he did until his death in 2004.

JRS40 on August 20, 2008 at 10:07 am

David – Yes “The Front Page” is on the schedule I listed, December 1974. It’s easy to miss but it’s there.

KenC on August 18, 2008 at 7:03 pm

My first trip to the Loop Theatre was in 1958. “THE CRAWLING EYE” plus “COSMIC MONSTERS”, a double feature I couldn’t resist.About a decade later, a very different movie: “VIXEN”. Although the Loop played some great movies- both serious and exploitation- I didn’t care much for the theatre. Way too small for a downtown theatre; when it played a hit(more often than not) the crowds did not help my claustrophobia. A bit of trivia: The manager of the Loop in the early 70s was a short, jolly man with glasses -Mr. Milstein(sp?).In the early to late 60s, he was the manager of the United Artists. To David- I remember the Treasure Chest. I’m sure it was on Randolph, a little West of State St. on the South side of the street. Not far away was a bookstore with a wild (for the time) adult section. Close by was a restaurant- the 17, if memory serves.

DavidZornig on August 17, 2008 at 11:42 pm

I remember seeing the “The Sting” at The Loop Theatre the day of my grade school graduation in June of `74. Still in my red velvet bow tie. Yikes. Also saw the Ben Hecht film “The Front Page” there, though it’s not listed above.

What some may not remember is on the corner above the neighboring Walgreen’s, was the longtime Winston billboard that had a giant face that blew out smoke rings. I think it also had a giant clock, and was reduced to just the clock when cigarette ads took a beating.

Years later when the Loop Theatre was reduced to being an electronics store of sorts, they had hanging speakers that were obviously blown. Blasting music out of their doorway towards the street. Like that was somehow the hook to get folks inside. You almost had to hug the curb to avoid it.

Which reminds me of another Loop area legend. A place called the Treasure Chest. An arcade type place filled with old time pinball & bowling machines with wooden balls. Glass counters everywhere filled with everything from playing cards to glass pipes. Even switchblades on request. Why? I think it was South of Randolph though. Closer to Madison.