Clark Theatre

11 N. Clark Street,
Chicago, IL 60602

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Showing 51 - 65 of 65 comments

Broan
Broan on August 20, 2006 at 10:38 am

Here is an early postcard view of the theater

KenC
KenC on April 2, 2006 at 6:37 pm

Some of the films I remember seeing at the Clark- with a special fondness: “DIABOLIQUE” very late (1 a.m. to 3 a.m.) I got chills and goosebumps- literally! “LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES” with Jeanne Moreau-very daring and sexy for the time. “GIRL WITH A SUITCASE”– Claudia Cardinale on the beach, while the hauntingly beautiful song “Il cielo in una stanza” played. Ursula Andress in “THE TENTH VICTIM”. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in “BEDAZZLED”. A great Peter Sellers double feature,“A SHOT IN THE DARK” plus “THE PINK PANTHER” (spring or summer of ‘65 or '66)– especially memorable because the Clark had a nearly full house. They had to open the balcony; it was the first and only time I got up there. If memory serves, the balcony had considerably more seats than the main floor. I, too, wish to thank Bruce Trinz for for running a great operation.

LongGone
LongGone on March 27, 2006 at 2:38 pm

The Clark Theater is the greatest movie house of all time. Talk about getting a lot for your money, for a buck or less – and at almost any time of day or night – you could see some of the greatest movies ever made. On arriving in Chicago in early 1966 I worked as a clerk at the (old) 1st National Bank of Chicago, just a half-block away from the Clark. For a poorly paid bank clerk the Clark was a cultural life-saver. The film I remember more than any: Jules et Jim, with Oscar Werner and Jeanne Moreau. What an education the Clark provided. Thank you very much, Bruce Trinz, for your magnificent contribution to Chicago life.

Broan
Broan on March 5, 2006 at 12:50 pm

Yes, there were, at total opposite ends of the street, and both by the same architect. And it was indeed built in 1911. The 1872 Adelphi was elsewhere in the loop, and was better known as Haverly’s, once the largest in Chicago, at Monroe and Dearborn. That theater had a rather interesting history. It was built following the fire using the outer walls of the old custom-house. It seated around 2500, a rickety firetrap with only two exits for the balconies and galleries accessible via crooked stairs, was rebuilt in 1878 and closed in 1882, replaced by a new Haverly’s theater across the street, incidentally, known as the Columbia, which later burned. Perhaps Mr. Woods, who remodeled the 1911 Columbia into the Adelphi was alluding to this earlier prominent theater.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on March 5, 2006 at 5:40 am

So there were two theatres on Clark Street named “Adelphi!”

ceb
ceb on May 16, 2005 at 10:46 am

Brian,

I know that this is perhaps too many details when you need to try to get information on thousands of theaters. The 1940 Film Daily Yearbook lists 19,084 theaters.

The statement about the names history came from me, not Bruce. Here is the answer:

The theater was built as The Adelphi, for example, the collection of the New York Public Library has an 1873 program for the Adelphi Theater Chicago.

In 1911 it was turned into the Columbia Burlesque, hence the construction pictures. The original Adelphi didn’t have a marque.

In 1923 it was turned back into the Adelphi.

View link

Bruce says you could climb stairs several stories into the flies and shreds of scenery still remained.

The Clark was still changing bills weekly when Bruce got there after the war, and he developed the policy of more frequent changes until the change became daily.

Broan
Broan on May 15, 2005 at 11:07 am

I think Bruce must be mistaken about the order of names- the photographs linked to on this entry prove that it opened as the Columbia (during construction, during for example), and was later the Adelphi (as in this 1927 view), before being renamed the Clark.

The 1911 Loop Street Address Renumeration Guide shows the address of the theatre entrance to be 11 N Clark and the hotel 15 N Clark. It’s not unusual for a theatre to take on the address of the building its part of, for example, the listed address for the Shubert/Majestic isn’t really accurate, so that’s likely what happened here.

I’d like to thank Bruce for all his important contributions to chicago film exhibition over the years. Although i’m too young to have experienced them, I can appreciate that he played quite an important role.

ceb
ceb on May 14, 2005 at 10:11 pm

My friend Bruce Trinz doesn’t do computers. He is 87 and last October he and I walked around The Loop for three hours.

He has two corrections of what is said above:

The Clark was at 11 North Clark Street.

The Late Show started at 4 am.

I would add, that the theater was the Adelphi before it became the Columbia as part of the “Columbia Burlesque Wheel”.

Bruce is very pleased about what you have said about the theater and him on this site.

Paul, I have a number of editions of Hark! The Voice of the Clark which I will gladly send you by fax or e-mail. Contact me at

DonM435
DonM435 on May 4, 2005 at 3:28 pm

During my college years (1969-73) I worked part time downtown in the summers. I used to stop here nearly every day after work to catch an older film I’d missed.

Broan
Broan on February 11, 2005 at 7:06 am

View link Here is a 1911 image of the then-Columbia theatre shortly before opening, from the Library of Congress
View link Here is an interior view while under construction

paulench
paulench on December 28, 2004 at 6:52 am

I owe my film history education to the Clark. Since there were no VCRs back in the sixties there was absoultely no way have access to many classic and foreign films other than at the Clark.
My friends and I relied on (and even began some) college and school film series with rented 16mm copies of classic movies, often inspired by films we saw at the Clark. Here is where I saw double features of Hitchcock or Welles or Fellini – and on the big screen! Even today with the plethora of DVDs available, often with valuable bonus extras on board and on a big screen TV, it’s just not the same as seeing the movie in a theater.
And I so wish I had kept the “Hark, Hark, the Clark” bulletins – those one-line rhyming summaries were brilliant! Would someone be willing to scan a few to share online?

KenC
KenC on August 18, 2004 at 8:58 am

Ah, yes…the monthly programs- if memory serves, the heading was “HARK, HARK…the voice of the CLARK”. The two ditties I remember are for Hitchcock’s “THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY”– (By Harry they’re harried… he just won’t stay buried!) and for Bergman’s “THE DEVIL’S EYE”– (Womans virture’s a sty…in Beelzebub’s eye). Remember the suggestion box in the lobby? You could fill out a card with your name, address and film request…and the Clark would notify you a few weeks ahead of the playdate. Remember the square clock with the green background positioned to the left of the screen? What a great theatre…what a great way to get a film education!

JamesCoyle
JamesCoyle on August 17, 2004 at 11:05 am

In the 1960’s Bruce Trinz managed the Clark and programmed the greatest array of movie doubles ever shown, anywhere. A different double every day, month after month, year after year. He sent out monthly programs listing all the films under the title “Hark the Clark!” I still have several years of these schedules and it is almost unbelievable to look at them now and see how he covered every type of movie. He wrote clever little ditties to accompany some of the films. My all time favorite was for the Marx Bros. film, “Horse Feathers”—simple and to the point, he wrote: “Marx Bros. at college/ Make farce out of knowledge.” The theater was open almost 24 hours and I often had friends come in from out of town (as far away as New York) for the 3:00 a.m. double, then we would go out for breakfast about 06:30 a.m. while the theater closed for a quick cleaning. Then we would go back at 08:00 a.m. for a second, different double feature. Later in the early 1970’s I moved to New York and in the theater comments registry for the New Yorker (another great revival theater) I saw many comments lamenting the passing of the Clark as a revival house. The movie grapevine was active and the demise of the Clark was mourned across the country.

BenCybulski
BenCybulski on March 11, 2004 at 12:03 pm

“He took in the 4 AM show at the Clark – excitable boy, they all said” -Warren Zevon

KenC
KenC on November 23, 2003 at 6:12 pm

The Clark was the most unique theatre in Chicago. A different double feature every day of the year. Two dramas, two westerns, two foreign films , thrillers or comedies. Was open almost 24 hours a day…doors opened at 730 a.m. first show at 8 a.m. The last double feature would start at 3 a.m. Admission was cheap for downtown…85 cents for adults college students 65 cents and on Wednesday women got in for 25 cents! On the mezzanine level, there was a section called the “Little gallery for ‘GALS ONLY’”.From the early to late 60’s spent many hours at the Clark. Favorite memories: Luis Bunel “LOS OLVIDADOS” plus “VIRIDIANA”, “PSYCHO” plus “SEANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON”, “A SHOT IN THE DARK” plus “THE PINK PANTHER”, “THE BALCONY” plus “NO EXIT”. By the early 70’s it went to soft core sex films before closing.