United Artists Theatre

45 W. Randolph Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 51 - 75 of 135 comments

DavidZornig on June 16, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Great post KenC. I mentioned over on the Surf/Playboy/Chelex/Sandburg Theatre page, that some “North By Northwest” scenes were shot at the Ambassador East Hotel. And a famous still of Cary Grant peeking around an alley wall, was shot across the street almost to Astor. Behind the building at the S/W corner of Astor & Goethe.
Someone else had posted that Grant himself was at the grand opening of the Walgreen’s that replaced the Sandburg Theatre in the early `80’s.

KenC on June 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm

A clever and unique way to advertise a new film: from the Chicago Sun Times movie listings on Sunday, June 21, 1959. The world premiere all America wanted… (and Chicago has it for the United Artists Theatre July 1) “We’ll never tell what happens to Cary Grant, but we’ll not keep your secret, Mr. Hitchcock! We know every city in the country beseiged M-G-M Studios for the world premiere of your motion picture, ‘North By Northwest.’ We know that making ‘North By Northwest’ has been your secret ambition for many years. We know that you actually filmed many of its scenes right here in Chicago. And we know that this not only is your best picture, but Hollywood’s biggest; a multi-million dollar suspense-drama that has never been rivalled in screen excitement. So you see, we have special right to be proud that Chicago was your choice- that you chose our city and our United Artists Theatre for the world premiere July 1. Most of all, we want everyone to know that you personally will be here with Miss Eva Marie Saint to appear at our world premiere celebration opening night.” – Balaban & Katz

JRS40 on June 12, 2009 at 10:32 am

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.

DavidZornig on May 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm

FYI. JRS40 posted a list on 05/02/07, of films that played at the United Artist’s from 1964-1980. “West Side Story” appears to have played there on/week of 10/13/71. Albeit 10 years after it’s original release.

Another milestone I just noticed is, that the golden voice of The Turtle’s Howard Kaylan apparently graced the UA screen twice. In the theme song to “Guide For The Married Man” in 1967, and as an actor in Zappa’s film “200 Motels”. Now there is an odd distinction befitting his humor.

MPol on May 24, 2009 at 9:32 am

Love those photos! Thanks for posting them, Lost Memory.

btw—did the great, golden oldie-but-goody movie/musical classic “West Side Story” ever play at this theatre at any time? Just curious.

DavidZornig on April 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm

In KenMc’s 04/11/09 post of the 1972 picture, “Diamonds Are Forever” is playing at the Woods down the street.

Me and a buddy saw that there multiple times. Jill St. John, Lana Wood, & a lengthy car chase through “old” Vegas with a Mustang ending up escaping on two wheels. A young man’s dreams fulfilled on a daily basis.

JRS40 on April 24, 2009 at 10:43 am

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.

DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Nice! With even the old Bismarck sign way down the street. And the rear of a mid `60’s Rambler tooling along. Thanks for posting.

Oh, and “Reactivate Notification Status”.

kencmcintyre on April 11, 2009 at 12:11 pm

This photo circa late sixties or early seventies is for sale on eBay:

DavidZornig on February 22, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Great pic. It shows the giant ABC logo that replaced the Balaban & Katz neon in the photo at the top of this page.

Nice Toronado in the traffic too. A year or two later they had an optional funky, wrap-around rear window. Which today would cost more than the car to replace.

DavidZornig on December 19, 2008 at 7:55 am

Greetings. I had thought the same thing too. But a friend of mine reminded me of how massive the entrance to the United Artists Theatre was.
It’s multiple glass doors spanned a good distance East, even though it was located on the West corner of that block. It’s possible there was one or two storefronts between it and Flo’s, but not much more than that.

I remember the swing girl had her own set of spotlights isolated on her alcove. Wireless technology was pretty scarce back then, if available at all. So any corded mic would seem cumbersome for someone swinging out over the sidewalk. Presumably needing both hands. Otherwise she’d start going sideways.
As with the old Vaudeville folks, she probably just projected her voice really well. The movement is all that was necessary to capture attention.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on December 19, 2008 at 6:05 am

Seems to me Flo’s was a little closer to State Street and not right next to the United Artists? I think the women on the swing had a microphone and would talk to the folks down on Randolph Street. Seems like I recall her saying something like “Come to Flo’s, Fabulous Flo’s”, as she swung on the swing, anyone remember that? Years later it seemed like a bookstore and Burger King got located in those buildings before everyting got torn down, including the United Artists.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on December 19, 2008 at 2:33 am

Unbelieveable. Gee, what is next? Oh, time to set the Chicago theater on fire? Maybe use it as target practice for some new bombs from outer-space? How could they mess with UA?

DavidZornig on December 6, 2008 at 11:22 am

You are a God BWChicago. Flo’s it is, or was. Thanks! My barber concurs. Thanks for the tiemline.
Flo the owner was apparently a heavy set gal who dated the dance instructer named Tony Paris. Only in Chicago would we now learn this, eh?
My barbers club was called Club Malibu located at 3309 N. Clark. Not downtown as I had thought.

Broan on December 6, 2008 at 11:18 am

It was also Mambo City from 1954-1956. Quite a checkered history.

Broan on December 6, 2008 at 11:12 am

Flo’s was the Preview Lounge from 1947-1960. That space was called variously the Upstairs Room, Encore Room (a couple weeks 1953-1954), the Modern Jazz Room (1956), the Upper Limbo (half a week in 1957), the Modern Jazz Room (1957), Mambo City (1958-1960), Curtain Call Theater(1960-61), the Kit Kat Club (1961-62, had waitresses costumed as kittens)…

So you see why they might go as flashy as a swinging girl to get some attention, with a record like that.

Broan on December 6, 2008 at 10:38 am

It was Flo’s restaurant, a Gay ‘90s saloon themed restaurant with a cabaret style dance and performance space upstairs.

DavidZornig on December 6, 2008 at 10:24 am

Well, at first my barber thought the club was called the Preview. But he thought that was on another block.
He than came up with the Velvet Swing, which would make sense, but he wasn’t sure. He said I was going too far back. I’ll see him in a few weeks and re-quiz him. At least we’ll learn the name of his own club.

Rolando on December 3, 2008 at 3:20 pm

My sanity is saved! Thanks David for your post. Looking forward to what your barber can recall. Haven’t been home to Chicago since 1979; I believe it’s time for a visit.

DavidZornig on December 3, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Greetingsw Rolando. You were not dreaming that. I clearly remember the restaurant with the girl on the swing too. I posted about it ont the Oriental page I think. I mistakenly thought it was on that side of Randolph. But now as you say it, I’m pretty sure it was next to the United Artists.

I thought it was either a German or New Oleans themed place. She definately wore either Laderhosen or a short skirt/bloomers.
The facade of the restaurant building had a tall cut-away on the left side above the entrance. The swing was actually suspended inside of that. But when she swang out on it, she was over the sidewalk. The cut-away was deep enough to not have her hit the back when she swung back in.

I put a call into my barber who owned a nightclub downtown in the `60’s. I’ll post back with an answer when I get one.

Rolando on December 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm

I remember going to the United Artist to see “Cabaret” when it first came out. Not many people in the theater but my brother, sister and I had a great time. I seem to recall there was a restaurant next door to the U/A and there would be a girl on a swing over the door. Was I dreaming this?