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The description is incorrect. The Vitagraph was leased by Lubliner & Trinz from the start. It opened September 12, 1914 with the Vitagraph feature “My Official Wife”, one week after L&T opened the Biograph with the same feature.
And in May 1914, Alfred Hamburger and Lubliner & Trinz competed for the lease, with L&T winning. Pictures started showing July 1 for 15 and 25 cents.
Lubliner & Trinz did not win the next year, with the Strand Theater company taking over for the summer season. Although it was named and patterned after New York’s pioneering Strand, the Chicago company was unrelated. Motography noted, “The men behind the Strand Theater Company, strange to say, are almost without experience in the film world. E. C. Devine, the president, having for years been engaged in the automobile business on Michigan avenue, Chicago; J. S. Inderrieden, the vice-president, being a wealthy commission man with offices in the commission district on River street, and A. J. Pardridge, the treasurer, being one of Chicago’s best known real estate dealers and heavily interested in one of the city’s largest department stores.”
Devine and Pardridge took the lead, hiring a manager, E. Q. Cordner, with a long experience in New York theatre, and designer Earl H. Reid. The addition of an elaborate stage setting with a 25 piece orchestra brought the first public deluxe theater experience to Chicago (showing Paramount exclusively), over 2 years before the purpose-built Central Park. Prices ranged from 10-50 cents for evenings, and Orchestra Hall did much to make motion pictures respectable to a higher-class audience in Chicago. Following this successful summer, the Strand company moved to its own theater, the former panorama building.
Summer 1916 brought new management by Wessels and Voegli (orchestra managers), showing VLSE pictures in their new “cinema-concert” format, with real accompaniment to the pictures onscreen, including film of orchestra conductor Arthur Dunham. The projection booth was located in a box seat. Manager was H.W. Hill. Seating capacity was 2577 at the time. It was declared a “picture palace” in Motion Picture News.
For summer 1918, the theater was leased to show Paramount/Artcraft pictures. A new curved screen was installed to remove distortion, with a visiting D.W. Griffith declaring it the best projection he had seen. This arrangement continued through the 1920 season. First National pictures took over in 1921, returning to Paramount in August. It was closed for the 1922 season, as Paramount made a deal with the Jones, Linick, and Schaefer circuit.
In May 1923, Martin Henoch of the Stratford Theater leased Orchestra Hall for the summer, opening with “Safety Last”. The same film played for eighteen weeks straight – 1,260 shows and 300,000 patrons.
In 1924, Lubliner & Trinz took over summer management. In 1926, they started a revival policy, showing ‘old’ movies from years past. After a bad 1927 season, the Hall only opened briefly in 1928. With the coming of talkies, Orchestra Hall was no longer appropriate.
Movies returned in Summer 1933 to capitalize on the nearby Century of Progress, leased by Aaron Jones, reviving Jones, Linick, and Schaefer along with the Woods, State-Lake, Randolph, and Rialto. This run for the duration of the World’s Fair would be the last regular exhibition run at Orchestra Hall until August 1942, showing “No Greater Sin”.
Before Barbee, Ascher Brothers had intended to build a 3000 seat theater in the building June 1918, which would have been the first very large purpose-built movie theater in the Loop. This obviously fell through.
Movies at Orchestra Hall may have started in August 1912, with the second convention of the Motion Picture Exhibitors' League of America. In addition to films, the convention also showed motion pictures of the exhibitors taken earlier that afternoon at the Selig plant. The exhibition also rotated projectors, so a comparison could be made of the capabilities of different projectors. Accompaniment was not by symphony, but a Wurlitzer Orchestrion.
This must have been one of the first deluxe exhibitions in Chicago.
Not that I’ve ever seen. Very little is known about the organ.
Here is a post with rare interior photos of the 3 Penny before it was completely gutted. The Lincoln must have been an unusually elaborate nickelodeon in its day.
Currently seats 570 – one 300-seat, two 135-seats.
Building permit record in Chicago Tribune, Jan 3, 1913, shows a theater to be built by Barney Balaban at 1600 Millard. Sanborn map shows that the existing building was extant in 1923. Unless it was demolished sometime in between, this may have been a very small and simple nickelodeon, just 4 years before the Central Park.
Try http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/17506 for those, david
There’s also some indication that the Ravinia Theater showed movies for a time.
The Pearl seated 720. The 1912 Sanborn map shows a small nickelodeon on the second floor of a building at 15 (Later 515) Central. The 1918 Sanborn Maps show the Pearl open, the 515 Central theater closed, and another, vacant theater next door seating 448 at 519 Central (this being the Highland Park). Between 1918-1924, a stage was added to the Pearl.
So, the Alcyon was actually the fourth theater in HP.
William Pearl operated the Highland Park theater from ~1910-1917 (no CT listing). The Pearl opened in August 1917, architect William D. Mann, and seated about 700.
It did reopen about 1937-1942, showing talkies.
Upon opening, the Alcyon was operated by Louis Laemmle, brother of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures, who had a small circuit. In 1932, it was operated by Johnny Jones of Jones, Linick, and Shaefer, then in 1933 by the Orchard Theatre Company, before going back to William Pearl
William T. Hooper was architect and F.W. Janisch the structural engineer. Hooper and Janisch did not do much theatrical work.
Jay, scroll up on this page, click Illinois, then click “Demolished” below the map on that page.
The Alamo opened in early September 1926 for the Lynch circuit, which was under Balaban & Katz/Lubliner & Trinz control. It was planned under the name “Vogue Theater” but opened as Alamo. Architects were Hooper & Janisch and the theater had a three manual Kilgen organ. It was remodeled in 1938 to plans by Roy B. Blass, with a new White Way marquee, stainless steel front, black granite corners, and a new managers office. In 1952, owner Arthur Sass alleged that B&K had strongarmed him into giving them a 25% interest, threatening to build a competing theater across the street and shutting him out of product if he did not comply.
I would guess that would probably be a few spots at a small auto-repair type garage in the area, not a parking ramp like you might picture.
that would be http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/united-states/illinois?status=closed
Uploaded a photo of the auditorium. Looks like this was one of Ascher’s oddball “cornerwise” theaters, with the screen off in a corner.
This might be it: http://archive.org/stream/motography56elec#page/192/mode/2up
This would have been on Garfield Blvd/55th, not 55th Place. Historic Aerials show that it stood until at least 1972. It seems to have operated as a series of dance halls and bars after closing as a theater, most notably the Rhumboogie Cafe.
They never had 5. That was probably two films sharing the same screen.