Showing 26 - 50 of 153 comments
Don’t know quite what to make of this one:
From the front page of the January 30, 1911 edition of the Englewood Economist (precursor to the Southtown Economist),there are three short blurbs regarding upcoming acts at local theaters. They list three: the Linden, the Marlowe (63d/Stewart), and the Empress. The first graf reads:
“The master ventriloquist, "Trovello,” is bringing to the Empress (formerly Trevett) theater next week a spectacular scenic ventriloquist novelty entitled “The Little Chauffer at the Boston Road Inn,” which will eclipse any production of this kind ever seen in vaudeville… . “ It then further describes Trovello.
My question is: What was this Trevett (theater) that was around two years before the Empress opened?
There is also a news brief of the same newspaper but from June 1907 that headlines: “Vaudette Still Open” Under that, in parentheses it reads: “Sixty-third street near Halsted)” It goes to describe the bill at the theater. Never heard of this one either. Anybody? Bryan? I’m very curious. If I find out anything else, I’ll post it.
Interesting promotion by the Stratford Theater in May 1930. It held a “Most-Popular-Englewood-Girl” contest. The contest ran for four weeks. Ballot boxes were placed in the Stratford Theater lobby. To be a qualified contestant, you had to: 1-Live in Englewood; 2-Be between ages 17-27; 3-Be single. First prize was all-expense trip to Hollywood, with a six-week course in dancing. When the course is completed, the winner was placed with a Fanchon and Marco stage show unit under a 35-week contract.
The winner was Sharlee Fairchild, 19, 510 W. 66th Place. Runners-up were Pearl White, and Hazel Almquist.
In the ads from the 1930 Southtown Economist, the Empress advertised their Thursday night boxing matches in addition to their regularly-scheduled burlesque shows.
An interesting item from the Southtown Economist of Weds., June 20, 1928:
TO STAGE PUBLIC WEDDING
Wedding bells, with the necessary ring, license and minister furnished by the management, will sound for the adventurous couple who are chosen by Harry J. Bryan, manager of the Englewood Theatre, to be the principals in the public wedding which will be staged at the theater Thursday evening of next week.
Any couple in Southtown who contemplate marriage late this month is eligible for the contest. The wedding is to be no trial or companionate affair, Mr. Bryan assures, and the winning couple must be, he said, most serious in their intent. All names to be entered in the contest must be left at the theater by the end of the week.
The wedding ring, a platinum band studded with diamonds, has been donated by Holland’s Jewelry Store, 6351 So. Halsted St., A floor lamp with an onyx-trimmed base and an elaborate silk shade is to be given by the Becker-Ryan* company. Other donations, although the list is as yet incomplete, will include frocks for the bride’s party and the bride, furniture and other articles.
For the ceremony, which is to take place during the regular evening performance, the theater’s organist will play the Wedding March, and a minister, to be selected by the management after a conference with the prospective bride and bridegroom, will read the wedding service. This is the first public ceremony to be staged at the theater.
*Note: The Becker-Ryan company, a department store, occupied the 63rd & Halsted corner where Sears, Roebuck was later located. According to the Southtown Economist, the ceremony took place between Harriett Anderson, age 16, 6350 So. Racine Avenue, and Ralph G. Mixer, age 19, 524 W. 72nd St. The married on Thursday evening, June 28, 1928.
From a website I ran into by chance, there is mention of a rather prominent painter (for the time) commissioned to do murals at the Empress Theatre. His name was Edgar Payne. The website address is:
It’s worth a look.
(I don’t remember seeing any murals at the Empress but I was a kid who kept his eye on the screen, not the walls.)
From the Los Angeles Times: Tuesday, February 15, 1949. Pg. 20.
Purchase of the Forum Theater and Building, 4050 W. Pico Blvd., by Sheriff C. Corwin and Sol Lesser, the latter a veteran producer and showman, was announced yesterday. The purchase price is undisclosed.
Corwin and Lesser will take over the operation of the 1800-seat theater tomorrow. For a number of years the Forum has been operated by Warner Bros. The new owners do not plan any changes in the policy.
A hint of possible television developments at the place was given, with the new owners stating that a large ballroom on the second floor and adjacent studios are suitable for television plans and are definitely in the future plans of the showmen.
From the Los Angeles Times: Thursday, February 8, 1934.
SHOOTING OF BANDIT
Justifiable homicide was the verdict of a Coroner’s jury yesterday at an inquest into the death of Homer Clyde Johnston, 19 years of age, of 1752 West Fifty-first Street, shot by police officers during an asserted attempted robbery of the Forum Theater at West Pico Boulevard and Norton Avenue January 20, last. The wounds were inflicted by Police Offiers Jackson and Heath in performance of their duties. Lee Angier, 20, asserted Navy deserter, arrested in connection with the attempted robbery, is held in the County Jail pending trial.
On June 5, 1946, the Shubert Theater was ordered closed by the Chicago Fire Commissioner for violation of fire regulations. The theater did not have a required electric pump on their sprinkler system. (The theater had ordered it but had yet to be delivered.)
From the Chicago Tribune of August 2, 1908 —– In The Theaters … Vaudeville Bills:
“The Lyceum, a new low priced vaudeville house at Thirty-Ninth street and Cottage Grove avenue, opened last evening. The opening bill included Sophia Everett and and company in a comedy sketch, Lottie Wilson, a soubrette and others. The theater, which seats 600, will introduce the innovation of changing its bill twice a week.”
On Jan. 26, 2005, I asked: “Was this theater (probably in its earliest days) ever known as the Chicago United Theater?” In less than an hour, you answered that both entities had the same address, 715 W. 63d St. and added “ … I wonder if it may have been an earlier, smaller theater on the site of the Stratford?”
I think I have the answer. In July 1925, the owner of the property was Chicago United Theatres, Inc. (the Cooney circuit of which you spoke). They sold a 6 ½ percent mortgage bond on the building. (It was known as the Stratford Building and Theatre and it extended down to Union Avenue. That’s a lot of real estate.) Their description of the building is as follows:
“The building contains four stores, a modern fireproof theatre, five offices and twenty-one 2 and 3 room apartments. The theatre is five stories in height … ” In addition, the property [in 1925] was appraised at $1.275 million.
The point is: they shared the same address because the Cooney organization probably had their office (or one of their offices) in the Stratford Building.
What do you think?
Like I said, only a short while on Normal Blvd. Lived with my grandfather for about five months in 1950, then moved to 60th St. Lived on 60th St. for four years. We were four houses east of Union Ave. Both the houses were two-flats. The house on Normal Bl. has been torn down; however, my house on 60th Street (built in 1893) is still standing. I went to St. Martin’s School (1950-54) and later to St. Bernard’s School at 66th and Stewart Ave., 1954-58.
I’ve lived here in Southern California for the past 38 years.
St. Brendan’s was on the SW corner of Racine Avenue and Marquette Road, but still across from Ogden Park.
You lived at 505 W. 60th Place? I lived at 650 W. 60th Street. Before that (for a short while) I lived at 5950 S. Normal Blvd., 157 yards away from your apartment building.
When did you go to St. Martin’s?
On Thursday, June 19, 1884:
THIRD WEEK OF CONTINUOUS SUCCESS.
The Magnificent, Spectacular, Dramatic, Ballet Pan-
Sixth â€œExcelsiorâ€ Matinee Saturday
SPECIAL PERFORMANCE SUNDAY NIGHT
(Obviously, the typefaces and sizes were different; but there it is, the performance was called ‘Excelsior!’.)
The following news short from the Chicago Tribune of January 29, 1932
“DIES WHILE AT MOVIE”
“Louis Bierman, 45 years old, 7137 South Seeley avenue, died yesterday in his seat at the Stratford Theater, 715 West 63d Street, while watching a motion picture.”
Yeah, I agree: The place looks pretty drab. I’m just thankful I had the opportunity to live there.
I think every few blocks there were little mom-and-pop grocery stores. If they were around a school, they were called ‘school stores’ because they carried a lot of school supplies that grocery stores wouldn’t. When we lived at 65th & Stewart, kitty-corner from us were five stores: one dry cleaners, one shoe repairman, and three (3!) mom-and-pop grocery stores—-all contained within a strip of 60 feet and all making money. The one chain-mom-and-pop store was Royal Blue. I can’t ever remember seeing one right in Englewood but on the outskirts of it, e.g., 53d & Union Ave. Always remember those strange lights in front with the blue haze. Anybody remember them?
By the way, that smell of popcorn came from two department stores: Kresge’s 5 & 10 Cent store at 63d & Halsted and W.T. Grant’s, just down the street at 63d & Green. The odor of popcorn from Grant’s was quite strong.
You’re correct. The sounds of clanging streetcars, honking horns, and those green buses that belched great amounts of odorous exhaust when they pulled away from 63d & Halsted—-wonderous memories, all of them. And yes, I remember the junk wagons driven by a horse that came down the alleys: “Rags and iron!” (I always thought they were saying ‘Rags and lions.’ Never figured that one out.) Like Chuckie Z. says: “God! It was great!”
Flickchick (and anyone else)
You seem to get into the old neighborhood periodically. I have a question: What replaced Carr’s department store after it was torn down. I’ve tried looking at it through Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth but the image isn’t clear enough. I’ve even telephoned the post office across the street (I live in Southern California). They, however, didn’t understand what I was talking about. Anybody?
From the Chicago Tribune, March 22, 1925:
“The design for the building, which is expected to cost $840,000, has been drawn by Loewenberg and Loewenberg, architects.
The ground, purchased for $151,000, fronts 175 feet on Kedzie ave. and 125 feet on 59th street. The Spanish type of building will contain, beside the theater, a large Chinese restaurant, twelve stores, six offices, and twelve apartments … ”
You’re correct. It became a storefront church about 1958, I think. It’s since been demolished for a parking lot.
On Wednesday, Christmas Day, 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life” had it’s Chicago premiere at the RKO Grand Theatre.
On April 29, 1918, amid some labor problems, a bomb went off in front of this theater, destroying the ticket seller’s cage, theater front and the lobby. It also put a good-sized hole in the sidewalk.
To Bryan Krefft:
You are correct. I researched it a little more and found that this theater’s first name was the Avenue Theater. (See my posting for today, November 28, 2007.) I should have seen it wasn’t the Empress just by the address: the Empress was on the west side of Halsted Street with an even-numbered address, while the Avenue had an odd-number address.
This story from the Trib might explain this theater’s first name change. (Monday, November 19, 1906)
THEATER FIRE; AUTO RUN.
Horan Breaks Records to Englewood Blaze
A whirlwind automobile ride which violated every speed ordinance in the Chicago code, smashed any number of records, and brought Fire Marshall Horan from the foot of Chicago avenue to Sixty-third and Halsted streets in nineteen minutes, made an early morning fire which destroyed the Avenue Theater yesterday a memorable one for the new chief.
The fire was discovered shortly after 5 o'clock, in the three-storey frame structure which houses the stage of the theater. In an incredibly short time, the light building had become a furnace, the heat of the fire breaking windows in flats and stores for nearly a block in Halsted street and Englewood avenue. Within less than half an hour, the structure and its contents, which were valued at $20,000, were destroyed. No one was hurt.
Just before the [illegible and unreadable] Assistant Marshall Burroughs, Marshall Kenyon and ten firemen had a narrow escape from injury when the roof and walls of the stage structure fell in. The adjoining building, at 6235 Halsted street, which was occupied by the Clifford Bros.‘ saloon, was partly destroyed.
The building was owned by John, Michael, and Henry Clifford. The theater was leased to Samuel Morris, owner of the Avenue Stock Company. His wardrobe was entirely destroyed.
Crossed wires on the stage are believed to have caused the fire. The theater, it is said, will be replaced at once by a modern steel structure having a seating capacity of 2,500.
Hey, how about “Gaily, Gaily”? It’s the 1969 film of Ben Hecht’s early days as a young reporter in Chicago. I had a one-day job as an extra in the film. I’m in the first scene where Hecht, just off the train, gets his suitcase stolen and is caught up in a labor rally in the park that is raided by the police. That part was filmed in Lincoln Park. It was also one week prior to the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The film company rented out the Coliseum for costuming and props. Had some noted actors in it: Beau Bridges, Melina Mercouri, Brian Keith, George Kennedy, Hume Cronyn, (a very young) Margot Kidder, Wilfrid Hyde-White, and John Randolph. Was also nominated for: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration; Best Costume Design; and, Best Sound. Part was also filmed in Dubuque, Iowa; Galena, Illinois; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.