Showing 551 - 575 of 605 comments
This theater should NEVER have been destroyed. They were way too
in a hurry to get some rent from a stupid idea about putting in a grocery store. So many other options should have been considered. I don’t even know if there was a “Save the Paradise” program. I think a Church would have been the right idea. The preachers are all telling their flocks how to get to Paradise, Well……………..
If anyone ever saw a movie there, you would never forget it. Just ask Scott! A place of beauty is a joy forever.
Scott, The Paradise was indeed very colorful. Even toward the end of her life. When we went into the auditorium we went up front to the left . There was a statue or a fountain ( have to check the annual)
in front of the exit cove leading out to the alley. This little cove
was bathed in green lights. Could have been a green spot on the ststue. But I do remember and how pretty it looked. Never saw a star, but that does not mean there were a few still operating. I also was young and interested in the picture. Strange thing I almost
took the theater for granted, thinking it would always be there near
the Marbro and life would be the same always. Of course thats how a young person thought back in the 50’s. You are right the second marquee was changed slightly to eliminate some angle lighting and raise the attraction signs. They did this before the Marbro got their new design, about four years. Wonder why they picked such a plain
marquee and then jazzed up the Marbro. I would imagine that marquee was costing plenty as I mentioned above, and the business just didn’t warrant it anymore. Would love to see the books for those years. Is there a B&K library somewhere?
More thoughts from me….. The Kedzie and Kedzie Annex were across the street from the Senate. They were all on the north side of Madison. I was never in them. Senate once. The picture of the Crawford shows a milk glass marquee similar but much smaller to the Paradise. I guess the powers to be thought a newer marquee was more important for the modern look than a vertical. The Paradise vertical came sometime after 1941. Wonder who made those decisions? Someone in accounting maybe? Strange because the Granada got a new vertical in 1941 and left the original marquee. Too bad they couldn’t have just changed the block lettering to milk glass and left the rest on the Paradise. But as was dicussed here often, the cost of the bulbs
and the tax on them plus the costs of electricity did it in!
Scott, I get it about the organ. He changed it. Thanks for pix of
paradise marquee. I saw this before. Was that not the original vertical wwith a new marquee? That is the picture that is in thre distance from the Crawford. The top which you cannot see in this clip
has the ornamented heavy top with Balaban & Katz on it. It is dated
1941 so it would be correct. It was too far to see the marquee and I assumed it was the original, but I can clearly see it was this one.
So the Paradise had three marquees? The third was just a refashioned
second. The sidewalls of the auditorium were a colbalt blue, and the exit doors leading outside from the main floor were green. That I remember well. You are right about the Railto lobby drapes. There are none. I thought you ment the audtoriums. Still they just got new carpets and a new cleaning on the main stage drape. Thanks for telling me how to zoom. I am working on how to get the Crawford, State, Byrd, Senate on line to you. Did you ever go to the Kedzie
Scott, I am going by the photo of the Crawford which is dated 1941.
on the back is the opening date and the closing date (1960). I was gone by 1960 and I would not know. The glossy photo is looking north from our library on Pulaski. The streetcar tracks are quite visible and in the distant you can see the Paradise’s arge vertical sign and marquee. So if the Marbro signage was redone in 1941, they must have done the Marbro first which would make sense. But in 1941 the Paradise original signs were still in place. Does that confirm what you know? I am trying to get these photos to you to see. I never saw the Paradise organ either. I remember the theater rather dim most of the time. The light by the exit doors were green right? Not much light from the ceiling after a movie. I think I tripped a couple of times. The Rialto has been refreshed every couple of years. The drapes are beautiful and just like the original and furniture is in the inner lobby with oils on the wall. It is worth a repeat visit just to hear the Barton again. They work on it all the time and it is in mint condition. I had no idea the Paradise organ was destroyed?
Was it during the move to Calf.? I can’t imagine someone dropping it.
Scott, The Crawford was closed in 1960 and the Alex was the last theater in Garfield Pk. The State was the last in Austin. With the population so dense, one would think at least one movie theater would have survived! Now for some interest reports. Yesterday I went to a pipe organ concert at the beautiful Rialto in Joliet. What a gem!!!!. Were you ever inside? The organist said before a number,“I played this on the Chicago Paradise theater 5 manual organ, but not in the theater, I wish I could have. Instead I played it at the Richard Vaughn Studio in California. Richard Vaughn bought the instrumant and installed it out West. Then it was sold to a resident in Arizona. After that person died, the estate sold it. It now resides at Symphony Center in Hartford Conn. and is in excellent condition.” He went on to say, the Marbro organ was a twin to this one and was removed in 1959 and now is at the former Loews State in Providence R.I. Of course the external decorations were different.
Scott, did you ever hear the Paradise organ? I never did. Mainly I went to Sat matinee’s. I did hear the Marbro alot. It was played on the week-ends that we went before the feature. It sounded wonderful.
It was removed sometime around the arrival of “Ben-Hur”. It really added to the thrilling experience of going to the Marbro didn’t it?
So now these two wonderful machines are now near each other again. Not around the corner as they were, but on the same coast….
Scott, I have a picture of the inside of the Senate. It is really quite plain. After we moved away from the West side, we moved up north burbs, but my mother’s best friend who lived with her family down the block from us moved to Loves Park in Rockford. We visited many many times for twenty years until the woman died. Small world!!! I sure wish you lived in Chicago Scott. I will save the pictures for you. The State was the B&K house on Madison St. The picture is amazing. Bet you go to the Fox alot! Have a good week-end…..
I don’t know what happened to the above message, but I think you get the drift. I just came across a pretty good photo of the Senate theater in the early 20’s with two streetcars in front Scott. I do not know how to paste them on the computer. I will have to ask someone. Also I came across a picture of the Byrd theater on Madison St. and an excellent photo of the State Theater from a good friend of mine. I forgot how beautiful the State theater was even though
I went to it alot.
The Man who took out the Marks Bros.“coat of arms"from the Granada
also told me it was terra-cotta. He also was the one who removed
other pieces of artwork that were bought by the man in Barrington.
I think the shine you mentioned was a coating that was applied sometimes. But as you said, those two theaters did not have a shine
to them. I wonder where thay kept the molds to use again one year later in the Marbro?. Must have been quite a warehouse don’t you think?
You do know that the theater owners M&R are Marks and Rosenfeld,
don’t you? I would assume it is THAT Marks.
Thankyou Scott for the wonderful photos of our beloved playground.Do you think the clouds were painted on for the photograph? They look
quite intense. I am glad you found the site. Are you a member of Theater Historical Society of America?
I know Fred and have been to his beautiful “Basement Bijou"What a dream place. Too bad the Venetian is not here today-short sighted
to say the least!!!!
I watched the company clean the facade of the Granada and I thought
they were “sand blasting” it. The men told me “No” because that would leave holes in the terra cotta, so they “steam cleaned” So there you have it from the horses mouth. Not that I am a horse!
This was done in the 70’s under Plitt. They also cleaned the Uptown
at the same time I believe. I might be wrong about that. but I seem
to remember that. It wasn’t soon after that the Plitt chain closed them both. Maybe they cleaned them to sell them. The Granada as well as the Marbro had a little yellow cast to the facade. Before the cleaning, it was quite darker, like the Marbro which was never cleaned and had some of that coal dust floating around in the air.
So much fun sharing stories with you Scott…..
Scott, My Dad never talked about the acoustics or lack of them at the Paradise. I just think he was so overwhelmed that he didn’t care.
After all the hoopla died down, they went back to the Marbro on a steady note. It was closer to where they lived at the time and as we always say, the Marbro booked better product. I suppose B&K did get all the Marks Bros. packgage theaters for pennys. I wonder if they would have gone into bankruptcy anyway even if the Paradise wasn’t built. After all it was the depression and the Paradise was closed for a few years wasn’t it? When it re-opened, I bet it didn’t reach decent crowds untill the war years. The candy counter was on the right, the Marbro was on the left as you passed the gate from the small outer lobby. I did remember the tunnel. Us kids would like to “prowl” around the theater in-between double features. They destroyed it way too soon. They should have tripelexed it for the neighborhood. All the small theaters were mostly gone by then and the area was still stable, in my opinion.
Scott, it certainly was a major project for B&K. My father went opening week with his brothers and sisters and said to me he never was so amazed since. He was in his teens and he remembered all the ushers looking so well dressed. Their mouths dropped as they entered the marble lobby, but almost passed out when the ushers opened the door to the auditorium and proceeded in and as the balcony stopped they looked up and saw that beautiful sky and stars and clouds. They were used to going to the Marbro, but this was amazing. He never stopped talking about it right up to his death. I wonder if Garfield Park has a chamber of Commerce that would have pix’s. This theater was a very big deal for the West Side in the 20’s. Thinking of the Loews Paradise, I wonder if another 4000+ seat theater was right around the corner like the Marbro, maybe the same thing would have happened to that Paradise. Looking back, B&K should have put their efforts into buying out Marks Bros., they would have saved $$$$$ in the long run. As you say, the area could never have supported both huge theaters even as early as 1929
When you saw the Granada Scott, it was on its last legs. The hole in the window was the “coat of arms” and went to the heirs of the Marks
Bros. They were already planning the wrecking. It was a shame. Why couldn’t Loyola keep the entire building and build on top to make that bland tower. Perfect for the school and a real treasure. It was so like the Marbro wasn’t it? One of the most beautiful theaters in Chicago. Did you notice the man renting the theater had the facade
steamed cleaned and the terra-cotta looked like new. He was also in the process of putting in flood-lights on top of the marquee to light up the facade. He had grand plans. But lack of parking(same old story) and fighting a university proved hopeless…..
The Granada Theater, the twin to the Marbro, was to have been re-born in the late 70’s and 80’s. It was leased to a man who had great
expectations but not much cash I’m afraid. He put a building in behind the lobby going out to the ‘L’ and was to put in a huge kitchen for the restaurant on the upper lobby. He re-draped the stage with a bright red curtain, put in new carpet and repainted the marquee red and white. He also re-lamped the entire inside coves. He
bought a rather large bar with cut glass inserts from a lounge in Wisconsin. It fit beautifully between the marble columns in the lobby. Unfortunatly, when he applied for a liquor license, it was blocked by Loyola University, who of course owned the land. He booked a few shows of local talent and 2nd-run films for $1.50. I talked to him when I went to see a James Bond film and he told me “I never expected the heat bill to be so high and had to be turned on hours beforehand just to get the theater comfortable” He didn't
make it. Of course he also had grand plans to build a garage too.
That never hapened either. I told him he should talk to Loyola and
have a deal to use their parking on show night behind the theater. But I think Loyola wanted the building down. So the Granada was in pretty good shape awaiting the wrecking ball!!
Scott, The one thing I think that saved the Loews is the fact that
it is near Fordham University with all the students and and teachers
living nearby and Little Italy with all their shops. The stores alongside the Paradise are open and not blighted. Granted they are mostly spanish, but there is a big police presence because of the school and the Botanic Gardens and Zoo nearby. Everything that our Paradise didn’t have. Can you just imagine the CPA’s at B&K offices in 1929 when the theater just opened with a huge mortgage I am sure and then THE GREAT DEPRESSION hits. I wonder how many of them hit the pavement on State Street after throwing themselves out the windows! We had that great marquee, they had none to speak of.
Concerning the trolley on Pulaski Rd and the year it stopped operating, we need to hear from trolleyguy… Scott and I are waiting trolleyguy………..
Welcome back Scott!!
Maybe it was 1951 0r 2. I know I saw the streetcars, Also
the Cicero ave ones were the same color, why they were was beyond
me. Could it have been an electric bus maybe? I was very young,
but had a keen eye never-the-less. Do you mean that marquee didn't
even last 8 years? Why did the Loews Paradise survive and not our
Paradise? Both were built far from the downtown crowd, both are
in questionable neighborhoods and crime infested. I was in the Bronx
theater when it was triplexed in the 70’s. Now its back to a performing live event theater. One thing I do know, it is not a getto
like Pulaski and Lake are today. Maybe that is the reason it is
still around to be enjoyed.
Scott, Have a great 4th! Hear from you when you return. I thought
about the parking lots again. You are probably right. They could never have held thousands of cars that would have held approx.
8 thousand people for those two palaces. I went back into my mind and I remember going downtown on the Madison streetcar and as you know they had to obey the trafic lights. As we were going east on Madison, a red streetcar going south on Pulaski Rd. was at the stoplight. It must have been 1953. So they were still running at that time. Washinton Blvd. had gas busses. Chicago Ave. had trolley
buses. Can you just imagine being on a streetcar going north at night and coming under the original Paradise marquee with all the colors flashing. One would need “sunglasses” for all the brightness!
Must have been quite a sight
You are right Scott. The Paradise was gone before people left. So
it must have been a real money pit. It is hard to imagine one of
them still in business when they cannot even open the Uptown as
you say. I do hear the owners have an option across the street to build a massive garage. But of course banks are a little “tight"
today when it comes to loans. And then there is the econony you know!
Hi Scrabbie! I think that was the name. Thanks. I would have remembered Woolworths or Kresges for sure. I have a photo memory which sure helped me in school with high marks. I may not have known
what I was answering, but I saw it somewhere. It was so much fun to empty the capsules of the red rinse and dip our hair in the solution. I am glad to hear you remembered Noreen rinses. Nobody
else I know today can remember the name. Maybe their memory is going fast like Scott’s! Sorry Scott, I’m only kidding…
Scott. That Sat afternoon was the ONLY time I remember the Paradise
being filled with kids. It was for that special personal appearence.
Every other time I was there it was a “ghost land” I think a tv station put the event on or a company. The stage wasn’t used in a while and the whole thing was not done well. So there was a coal
plant not far away. That would explain why the facade was blackened.
I was there 22 years after it opened and it was black already. One has to imagine how the lungs of the people that lived there daily
might have looked. The Marbro was also dirty, but nothing like the Paradise. You are wrong about the parking Scott. Do you not remember
the parking lots the city created by buying and tearing down homes
in the 50’s There was a big one on Monroe in front of the Marbro and
behind the theater. Als on a big lot near the Paradise. You can see them in the front of the Paradise Annual. This was the first mall without being a mall. Old Orchard and Oakbrook were not built yet. The city and the community knew the stores were a goldmine. Even though the streetcars were gone or going, there were enough people to realize the needs of the car-loving public to be met. The fact
that this was done in the mid-50’s, leaves me to believe they thought this intersection would be around and thriving for a long period. If the “flight” did not occur, I think maybe the Marbro and Paradise could have survived if they were marketed wiser. Don’t you think? Everyone on my block moved to the suburbs to get away from the crime and despair and the businesses went to. A Shame!!!
Scott. Sorry to hear your memory is going fast! The dimestore was
either Kresges or maybe began with a N. It was very large and I think
it is still there. The building that is. A fun place for a child. I
think the name Marbro was on the bottom of the dish set. She collected them all and alot were broken. She only had a few left. I think she had a “crush” on one of the ushers. She never said, but that was my view. She went to the theater alot sometimes to see the movie twice. I don’t think it was for the dishes either.
Does anybody remember the name of that very lage dime store that was near the Marbro? How about you Scabbie? It was not Woolworths. It was on a corner and had the entrance on a triangle. I was watching
a film with two girlfriends, we were all about 14, and the star,forgot her name, had such a sun red hair that photographed so
beautiful in that 1950’s technicolor that we decidied to become redheads as we were leaving the theater. We found our way into this 5 & 10 and went to the hair aisle and bought noreen rinses. They came in a capsule. You would fill the sink up with warm water, open the capsule and dip your hair into it. It was fun. I went to a birthday party a few days later and my mother was there and she said “How nice your hair is coming in red” I said “Really!"
Oh those naive 1950"s!!!!
“The Bridge on the River Kwai” was beautiful on the Marbro screen. We alsways went as s family to thr Marbro at night. Sometimes my brothers and father would win to see a war film, but I didn’t mind
because they would also go and see a musical or love story for mother and me. Anyway, I always had the candy counter! I just loved
going there no matter what was one the screen. Just being in that place and going in past that marquee was enough for me. We never went during the week. School you know and “I Love Lucy” etc. I wonder
how they did box office wise. TV must have taken a big toll on them don’t you think? I had a aunt who died a few years ago and she was still using the dishes from the Marbro which she got on “dish night"
during the depression. When I asked for them, her family said they threw those things out. Just imagine, I could have sold them on E-Bay. Not on your life!!!!!!!