Rockne Theatre

5825 W. Division Street,
Chicago, IL 60651

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Showing 26 - 38 of 38 comments

las1301 on June 12, 2006 at 5:17 pm


Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 12, 2006 at 5:15 pm

The best sources for historical theatre material is the Theatre Historical Society of America in Elmhurst, IL. Visit their web site:

Other contact info:

Theatre Historical Society of America
York Theatre Building
152 North York, 2nd floor
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-2806
Telephone (630) 782-1800
Fax (630) 782-1802

I am sure they must have material on the Rockne, which you can purchase copies of for a small fee. I think Richard Sklenar still runs the archives: a very cool and knowledgable person.

las1301 on June 12, 2006 at 4:25 pm

Does anyone know where I can find some photographs of the Rockne from the 1940’s? I’m working on a gift for my Dad, and he used to go there every Sunday as a little boy!

Any info would be greatly appreciated!

Broan on April 16, 2006 at 9:15 am

The firm is Gallup & Joy, like the Admiral, i’m pretty sure.

dteilers on January 29, 2006 at 1:35 pm

In 1964 I lived on Austin Blvd off Division with my parents, two sisters, and a brother. At five years of age my Mom took me around the corner to see my first movie (Von Ryan’s Express) and it also the first time I recall going somewhere at night. I was fascinated by the flashing marquee towering over Division since I had never been on Division after the sun had set. Later that year we moved to our first home on Laramie Avenue off Washington and several years later to Race Street off Austin/Mayfield. In the summer of 1970 after returning from my first European vacation, my mother informed me that the Rockne was now showing porn — the end of an era but not my very early childhood memory.

TomCarlino on December 23, 2005 at 4:11 am

The Rockne had two apartments in the building and I lived there from the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies. Growing up in a building like that was awesome and a lot of my relatives worked there. I remember seeing Sonny and Cher being usherd in the back door to play there to avoid the crowds out front We all watched from the fire escape in the alley. I watched so many great movies like all of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns and the planet of the apes movies as well as the pink panther movies with Peter Sellers. Towards the close of the the theater I also worked there and would come in afetr hours with my band and play in the acoustically beautiful auditorium.
What a time I had in those years.

moreeka on November 26, 2004 at 9:05 pm

When I was twelve I used to sneak out of the apartment with another girl whose grandma was supposed to watch us after school. She left us with the girl’s mom who disappeared and left us with her boyfriend’s teenage son who disappeared. We spent a quarter for a bus ticket and transfer and spent many afternoons at the Rockne theater. We would buy our candy at a drugstore and sit down in the afternoon to watch Marilyn Monroe movies( which we snickered at) till the feature(cartoon marathon) or a horror movie came on.
Lots of memories, great entertainment…saw the Tingler with the wired seats. No adults ever knew cause our timing was perfect. moreeka

Dalelarsen on November 8, 2004 at 5:34 pm

Actually, the Rockne was at the corner of Monitor and Division as I lived in the 1000 block of Monitor. Saw many movies there….only, occasionally was the balcony open (in the 50’s). Later, my wife and I lived in the 1000 block of Mayfield and we would lie in bed and say R – O – C – K – N – E …..Rockne!!!! If you timed it just right, when the marquee would flash the entire name, ROCKNE, our bedroom would light up greenish from the marquee. One other item of interest.. My aunt, Hellen Larsen, won a prize for re-naming the theatre to Rockne in a contest. Lots of great memories from those old age. Would be fun to hear from others from that era if they have time. Dale Larsen

richardg on May 25, 2004 at 8:02 pm

I finally saw the inside of the Rockne for the first time on May 23,2004. The Rev. A.J. Griffin, I felt, found it difficult to believe anyone could be interested in old theatres but he eventually tried to understand my passion. The inside of the Rockne today looks nothing like a movie theatre. The seats have been removed and church pews installed. A lowered false ceiling completely hides the balcony. I believe a false wall was installed along one side of the auditorium. The wall separates the church kitchen from the sanctuary. The Rockne showed its last movie in 1979 and remained vacant until taken over by the church in 1985.

chicagojack on April 27, 2004 at 1:23 pm

I lived just down the street from the Rockne in the 70’s. I seem to remember it showing children’s films for the early part of the decade, then switching to the aforementioned adult films. Looking at the picture, I was surprised…I don’t remember the domed facade or corner signage, just a vertical “ROCKNE” sign on Division street. Does anyon know when they took down the facade?

Trolleyguy on April 26, 2004 at 12:36 pm

The intersecting street at Division where this theater is located, is Mayfield, not Mansfield.

Trolleyguy on December 31, 2003 at 8:34 am

I remember this theater as the Rockne. It was renamed after Knute Rockne of Fighting Irish fame after his untimely demise in plane crash. It was always a neat place to watch a film, especially since it was one of the few neighborhood places that had a balcony.

Unfortunately, it became a porno house in the 70,s. Nice to see it’s a church now.

TomGreenbaum on December 22, 2003 at 8:20 am

I have a ticket to the Amabassador theater from the 30’s and also a Program of Events from the same period and am looking to sell it.

Is there anyone interested?

Tom Greenbaum