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Wire opened here about a month ago, a music venue a little different from Fitzgerald’s a block or so east, but direct competion nevertheless. Driving by at night you’ll see a huge videoscreen illuminated through the large windows @ Wire that definitely suggests the movie theatre screen that once existed there. No doubt there were elements about this property the new owners were aware of when they decided on the former Oakwyn to start Wire. That little stretch of Roosevelt is gaining some steam, or at least trying to, what with Autre Monde and Bodhi Thai new restaurants there.
MB bulletin: crystal ball foresees screen #3
humor aside there’s news the theatre is expanding by purchasing the north adjacent property, ostensibly for the purpose of building a third auditorium in the existing building there. the sale just closed i think
the brachs factory—as decrepit as it was—actually served a post mortem purpose partially spruced-up in a recent batman movie filmed in chicago. besides that it had been penetrated by urban explorers, sometimes called ‘parkour’, my oldest son included. i’m glad they finally decided to reduce it to deserved rubble, but it just goes to show you how long—decades—something as useless as that could endure
the guyon is solidly boarded up, that it remains today may mean sopmething or it may mean nothing at all. it’s exterior color may’ve saved it so far, but my wife said it’s one of the 10 most endangered, and i can think of one or 2 others i marvel they still remain. we drove by it i think the same morning we drove by and took a last loving look at St. James Church which they just did demolish. and btw the brachs candy factory finally is being leveled.
i wonder can somebody tell me the exact location of the swimming pool for garfield park back then?
the vertical sign for the GUYON hotel looks further out (north) to me in that photo, although i know the Paradise theatre address actually was a few doors further (must be the actual placement of the sign, since the hotel’s a long building). my wife asked me to drive by it (the Guyon) a couple months ago because she knew it’s on an endangered list. as a kid i went with my mom frequently for madison/pulaski in late ‘50s-early '60s (goldblatts, alex/marbro/crawford theatres)
the 1950’s black & white photo recently posted showing the CRAWFORD Theatre on the right side of Pulaski Rd is terrific in my estimation. one can also see in the distance the marquee of the PARADISE Theatre, and even further on the left is another vertical theatre-like sign (but it must be for something else, maybe somebody has an idea). this photo is looking north from the middle of the intersection of pulaski rd and monroe st (just pretend you’re a northbound chicago surface lines streetcar)
one can’d discuss chicago theatres that acquired substantial gay patronage without mentioning the old Newberry theatre on Clark St by the library (later metamorphosizing into the Chestnut Station). i’d also say it’s very unlikely the ALEX theatre ever acquired that audience slant
yes, my link above would have to be of the ‘copy-to-clipboard-and-paste’ variety, and this’d be the first i’ve heard there’s no more ‘inside’ to the theatre! such a relief they got landmark status so a real-estate developer could capitoli$e on the theatre facade—all they ever really wanted.
here is a link to activity at this building site by a real estate developer, and reading it it seems to affect the theatre or at the very least its facade:
my fear is given enough time this proposed new condo/high-rise corner development will in fact gobble up the gold coast (village) auditorium itself given the theatres' current dormant if rather sorry state. of course we have other clear examples of new residential (and other) re-development that retains only the original theatre facade for quaint decorative purposes
this 1956 paradise photo just screams old chicago long gone neighborhood movie palace. streetcar tracks and trolley wires too on crawford. in 1959 when my parents drove me by i remember the closed paradise (shortly before demolition). and i’m pretty sure the marquee truncation was necessatated by street widening because you can tell how narrow the sidewalk looks. when the (old) marquee had too much outward overhand a tall truck might clip it with street widened (that wasn’t before).
correction, not Sun-Times but DNAinfo (Heather Cherone)
hi! this very recent sun-times article says a lot IMO about where things are w/ Portage (& Congress) and Carranza’s desired next step:
Mr. Carranza booted out the ‘little guys’ Northwest Film Society after they’d done so much work to fix up the Portage (for film use at least) over the years, and his latest tactic’s to enlist the ‘big guys’ realtors Paine/Wetzel to better deal with the liquor license denial problem.
(Do you smell anything?)
We know who our friends are and aren’t.
(previous) management and the Northwest Film Society had printed up a screening schedule that in fact went beyond mid-April which proved optimistic because the owner pulled their plug friday 5/24, and hasty relocation for 2 weekend films was arranged at music box theatre plus the patio theater.
my impression is the (new) owner threw a fit resulting from denial of liquor license. if he gets it rest assured the portage will become like the congress theatre he also owns (perhaps not coincidently now suffering a liquor license suspension itself), and ultimately the locals may wish they hadn’t voiced their opposition to the religious organization that wanted to use the portage as a church.
this place now has one of those big red ‘X’ signs tacked up on the front
i heard that’s supposed to indicate to first responders not to use herculean efforts to save the property in the event of a fire or something and above all, not to try going inside it to rescue anybody because it’s (supposed to be) vacant unless they have specific info/instructions to the contrary
but to me that big red ‘X’ seems more like a roundabout warning to homeless & vagrants not to venture inside because nobody’s going to come looking for you if there’s a property emergency
when they were manufacturing on Kostner Schwinn had their own unique way of forming the head on bicycle frames from one sheet metal piece, avoiding certain welding operations. it had its pros and cons, but looking back on it, mostly cons. its discontinuation maybe the only good thing to come out of closing the kostner plant
i had no guilty conscience even slight about seeing monster movies, who would? i saved my guilt for more important, or at least expensive things.
i don’t mind repeating myself that the old monster movies i looked up @ legion of decency were rated CONDEMNED. a slight disappoinment at my age then but also irrevelant i confess, and looking back it now it made its own kind of sense, those things could be condemned for any number of reasons by any right thinking person, which viewpoint is comfortably irrelvant.
i checked myself back then, i wasn’t looking up anything but ‘monster movies’, they all came up Condemned. I went regardless
“….monster movies classified B by Catholic Legion of Decency”. actually back then the Legion of Decency typical gave those movies their CONDEMNED classification I do recall
OK. i’m trying to picture it as you say, perhaps they had an employee side door entrance @ kostner. it seems to me both schwinn & zenith plants had direct access to the bloomingdale line freight tracks there. in the mid ‘70s i played in the proverbial garage band (except it was in a basement) at the drummers home on tripp st which’s right there. all a stones throw from the original location of GUY’s pizzeria on armitage, great stuff it was
if ever there was a photo of dear old GRAND Theatre in its dying days that black & white one is it. of course i remember the ‘soda shop’ immdiately to its east with the delicious lime rickey drinks, it was run by the family of one of my grammar school classmates, and they sold buttered popcorn that was so over-drenched with topping that’d always oil stain my clothes yet i couldn’t resist
i believe it was spelled LYONS not LIONS btw. i’d bowl there, they had lanes in their lower level, and alternate with Pulaski Bowl a couple blocks east. was the Schwinn bicycle factory on Kostner or Austin? i think they closed mid-‘80s. i maybe confusing Schwinn with the location of the old Zenith factory, or not
the damage i’d mentioned has thankfully been now boarded-up
notice the rena theatre—as deteriorated as it is—still retains it’s original flagpole atop, a tall one. i don’t think others like it can say that
i’ve just noticed a major exterior brick tuckpointing job underway here. of all the large old inner city former theatre buildings i believe the central park continues to be in the best shape
judging by that fine 1964 B&W photo the GARFIELD remained for other purposes since the marquee advertises some show and it looks closed but not necessarily vacated much less abandoned