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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.
Tim – I honestly don’t know for sure but I would guess they did as the theater was equipped for it.
Cinemark I would have to agree that the SL was the bigge rof the two screens but probably not by as much as one would think.
If you look at the booking list I printed above it confirms that the theater opened on 11/10/71 with FIDDLER.
Cinemark – CUTTERS WAY did play at the Biograph so you should be able to find it on microfilm as Tim suggested.
Try the website AMERICAN CLASSIC IMAGES. Click on Theaters and then Search for the state you want and go from there.
Ah yes the Beauty Spot. Let’s not forget Roma’s pizza just down the street on Ridge.
CinemarkFan – The last time I was by there the theater was still standing but that was early June. I haven’t heard anything so I assume it is still there but I suppose you never know.
Yes if you look at the other Loop palaces where I list the bookings you will find MANY re-releases through the years. WOODSTOCK and 2001 are just two that played many times through the years after their initial releases.
CineMark – No the big theater never really had the huge crowds it once had in the last years of its life. Even seeing each of the new STAR WARS films on opening night and I would say it was half full for each at best. The last really big crowd I can remember seeing there was the 1997 re-release of STAR WARS. SPIDERMAN had a fairly good crowd too.
Sadly the Loop had the reputation back then of being a dangerous place where whites would never be seen at night because African-American and Hispanic gangs were taking over the streets. This is one of the reasons, mostly unfounded by the way, that these beautiful palaces failed. People stopped showing up, especially at night. It didn’t help that the Oriental down the street had been taken over as home turf by one gang – one of the reasons that theater was eventually shuttered. But the reason for the double features like this was the need to try and grab the movie loving audience for a film like COTTON CLUB and then show a schlock horror film, marital arts or whatever to appeal to the gangs. I don’t know that I necessarily subscribe totally to that theory but it does make sense in a weird way. This theater was, after all, the last of the great palaces to close.
Cinemark I think that is an awesome idea. I really do. ANY film lover who loves that theater would enjoy that. Also, for some unexplained reason, I remember another movie I saw in #1 and I don’t see it listed anywhere in your lists above but I could be wrong. The reason I remember is a friend came to visit and didn’t believe we had such a big, beautiful theater as this one so I took him and the movie was THREE KINGS and the date would have been around September of 1999.
To help make ends meet a little better the new management of the Art has now started Saturday night Midnight showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and recently won the approval to serve liquor which is leading the way to have live performances and comedy shows. In fact the Art recently had a comedy night on Saturday which I found interesting that they would postpone what you would figure to be their busiest movie night of the week.
Actually this pic has to be from the late 70’s. The Oriental didn’t stop using the front of the marquee until late in its life. Plus if you look at my booking list above this is not playing in 1972.
Ken, the photo you have linked is from 1972 as the picture playing is CABARET. If you look at my list of bookings above you will see it opened in Feb that year and played until May. Great photo and thanks for sharing.
Those pictures are tremendous LTS! The State-Lake was one of the very few theaters I was in back in the 70’s and I remember just being blown away by its sheer size and elegance. Thankfully I didn’t know anything about the mice/rat problem or it might have made the experience totally different. Oh how I wish this building had survived as well.
PopcornFan – I just double checked my booking list for #4 and you are correct (not that I doubted you since you worked there) that both COMIN AT YA and HOUSE OF WAX played that screen. But I am positive I saw the two I listed across the street in the back at 5-6. So maybe 5-6 had both screens 3-D capable and #4 was made that way in preparation of COMIN AT YA. There was no real reason to make it 3-D capable when it opened in 1978 as 3-D movies were long in the past.
PopcornFan – I am pretty sure the 3-D was in 5-6 in the back. I saw “Dial M For Murder” and “Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone” in 3-D both in that building.
Great photo BWChicago but I have to correct you on the date. Having looked up HOW TO STEAL A MILLION and DUEL AT DIABLO (both clearly playing on the right side of the picture) both were released in 1966. If you look at the United Artists across the street you can see Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton starring in a movie. In 1966 it would have to have been WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Having done much research in the past I know for sure WOOLF played the UA and was its all time highest grosser until 1975 when JAWS opened. So the picture has to be a 1966 night.
This link lists Indiana theaters. Note that the Ridge is listed and the address is the same as the Glen. The mystery continues.
MPol you are correct. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was the set up for SOME LIKE IT HOT. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon witnessed it and had to go on the run, thus dressing as women and joining a band. Although it took place in Chicago I don’t think those scenes were filmed there.
RegionRat those are outstanding photos. As one who drives by the theater nearly every day I have always wondered what it looked like inside. How did you ever gain access to the theater? I can only think of two ways – posing as a potential buyer or less gentlemanly means.. lol. Did you find any good souveniers to sneak home? Plan on going back again? If you would prefer to not answer here feel free to email me at
Sounds great Cinemark. I am keeping my fingers crossed every day for you. I hate seeing that beautiful building just sitting there. I think it would be great if you could get films like THE VISITOR and FROZEN RIVER, neither of which came to NW Indiana.
FYI – Back in the eary 80’s the only theater that was equipped to show 3-D was #5-6. I saw HOUSE OF WAX with Vincent Price there as well as DIAL M FOR MURDER.
I have two older brothers and in asking them seperately they both insist the Ridge was the same building where the Glen was. Both also remembered another theater right on Broadway that Jase may be referring to that was turned into a furniture store but neither could remember its name. It does make sense though. Why would a theater named the Ridge sit on Broadway and not Ridge Road? Even though we are taling about intersecting roads it makes more sense that the Ridge was on Ridge Road close to Broadway instead of vice versa. Also the status of the theater should be changed to OPEN and its function be LIVE SHOWS.
David – My pleasure. I know how fun it can be to peruse a list like this and have many memories come flashing back. I was never in the Playboy (or subsequent theaters) but wish I had had a chance to.