McVickers Theater

25 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60602

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Showing 51 - 75 of 82 comments

Broan
Broan on May 15, 2006 at 2:01 am

I saw an article that said the architect for the fourth McVickers was Thomas Lamb with Newhouse & Bernham associated.

carold913
carold913 on April 2, 2006 at 11:12 pm

I have found a 1870 picture of the McVickers theater in chicago, i would like to share it with this website but i don’t know how. if someone wants a personal email of this pictures you can request it at also i am interested in all pertinents information on two theaters. one is called the Four-Star and the other is call the Imperial both were located on Chicago’s west side during the 1960’s. i grew up in this neighborhood and would love to hear about these two movie theaters.

MIACARLSON
MIACARLSON on March 6, 2006 at 9:48 pm

I agree…and no, I didn’t. The family was able to go into his estate and pick out things before they were sold at auction and I didn’t want to look like I wanted everything. It gives my 13-and-15-year-old daughters something of the past as well. But they have always enjoyed antique stores! :)

cinemagirl
cinemagirl on March 6, 2006 at 10:51 am

I love how just a plate or silver cup can open up avenues of discovering these interesting glimpses into the past. Did you get one of the Faberge Eggs too?

MIACARLSON
MIACARLSON on March 5, 2006 at 6:52 pm

If I recall, I received the “Shenandoah” plate from the estate of a 2nd cousin who lived in the Everett, Washington area. He was an antique collector and had numerous Faberge Eggs – which were amazing! At the time, I collected plates and this was one of the several which I chose to receive because it was so different from the norm.

cinemagirl
cinemagirl on March 2, 2006 at 9:04 pm

I found out about Jacob Litt on josephhaworth.com. Apparently he was a producer who wanted to further his career. So he produced a revival of the play “Shenandoah” which was successful. It seems the play was about the Civil War. It’s cool that you have that plate. Where did you get it? My Great Grandfather Steven Smith won a silver cup for tap dancing in the play “In Old Kentucky”, mentioned in the post above.

MIACARLSON
MIACARLSON on March 2, 2006 at 4:12 pm

I have a commemoration plate made of some sort of cast iron from the 50th performance of “Shenandoah” on June 20th, 1898 at the McVickers Theatre in Chicago. The management is listed as Jacob Litt and the plate has a raised image of a man on horseback along with two men on the ground. I have always wondered about the significance of the plate.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 18, 2006 at 4:07 pm

On my first visit to Chicago by myself (no parents) in the 1950s, I stumbled off the train on a cold gray winter morning with snowflakes in the air, and went walking around— came around a corner and saw the McVickers, with its majestic facade and its colorful marquee all lit up. What a grand sight! I knew that it was the sucessor to a line of historic theatres. Its facade alone made it an instant landmark in my eyes.

cinemagirl
cinemagirl on October 18, 2005 at 11:24 am

I would love to have that photo. My Great Grandfather performed there in the early 1900’s as a tap dancer. He won a large silver cup. He was in a Vaudeville act. He travelled to Chicago from Toledo by train. Since he was just a young man and couldn’t afford the fare,but desparetly wanted to go he found an empty car and jumped on. What an adventure for him and the reward of the silver cup was worth any trouble he encountered. We still have the cup and the number he wore on his back as he performed, along with his wooden soled tap shoes. He met his wife on the Vaudeville circuit…she was a “fortune teller” we had the crystal ball she used but my mother sold it at a GARAGE SALE!!!!

ajnos
ajnos on October 18, 2005 at 12:27 am

I am trying to find a home for a photograph I rec’d. The photo is prob. circa 1900-1915-ish and is glued (?) onto a cardboard frame which, at the bottom, states the following in gold lettering: :Stevens (photographer ?) Dresden Panel, an emblem looking like an artists pallet which has the word “souvenir” written on it; and then the words: McVicker’s Theatre Chicago" (apostrophe is there!).
She is wearing a very formal, puffed sleeve, high neck corsett-type jacket with formal skirt. It appears she is wearing a badge of some sort on her left breast. Are you aware if this theatre hosted any special benefits for honored women? Thanks for your terrific insight to this great Chicago landmark! I am originally from a suburb of Chicago and love this stuff!

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on September 23, 2005 at 4:45 pm

I saw “Russian Adventure” at the McVickers and it was in 3-strip. The McVickers re-ran most of the 3 strip Cinerama travelogues in the ‘60’s, and since it was set up for the format threw in “Russian” narrated by Bing Crosby. One of my disappointments was that they didn’t show “Windjammer” in that series. It had only a limited run in Chicago originally since it had opened at the Opera House and had to make way for the opera season. At the time the McVickers was doing 3-strip, the Christian Radich, the ship in “Windjammer” docked in the Chicago River just a few blocks from the McVickers and allowed people to tour it. I waited in line for some time to do so, and thought with all of the interest in the ship it would have been a perfect time to bring the film back to the McVickers. The McVickers was also the first 70mm booth I was in. I was still in high school and was in Chicago getting clothes for school and saw a matinee of “Porgy & Bess” at the theatre. Afterwards I asked to see the booth which was at the back of the orchestra, and one of the operators was kind enough to give me a piece of 70mm film from “Oklahoma”. The last time I was in the theatre was after its legit days, and went in with an RCA service man who was setting up a video projector in the balcony for an upcoming fight. By that time the theatre was a grind house, and the 70mm projectors had been moved up to the original booth in the back of the house over another booth that had been built for spotlights during the legit days.

DonM435
DonM435 on May 4, 2005 at 11:20 pm

In its last years, they showed stage plays and movies, sometimes in alternating runs! I saw the road company of Man of La Mancha here in between movies.

paulench
paulench on February 8, 2005 at 1:32 am

I do recall the Cinerama’s Russian Adventure being shown at the McVickers in the mid 1960s, although I was away at college and unable to see it during its run there. I remember the newspaper advertising which mentioned Bing Crosby’s narrating the film. Whether or not it played anywhere else in the US, I’ll let someone else investigate.

I found this web site which confirms my recollection of the Chicago engagement:
View link

veyoung52
veyoung52 on February 7, 2005 at 11:52 pm

I am well aware of the Music Hall in Detroit. What I am NOT aware of is any evidence that 3-strip “Russian Adventure” played anywhere else ouside of Paris and Brussels, and, of course, Russia. YOur logic is false, btw. That the 70mm version of “TIC” played ANYWHERE is no indication of how the original film ran.

phillster
phillster on February 7, 2005 at 9:30 pm

NOT SO about “Cinerama Russian Adventure” only playing here in 3-strip. IOt also had a successful run, in that format, at the Cinerama Music Hall in Detroit which, by the way, was the second Cinerama installation in the US after the first in NYC at the Broadway Theatre. The Music Hall was also the larget and most successful of the US CInerama theatre, often playing out to sold houses with bookings sometimes being extended for such a long time that a second Cinerama theatre was installed, called The Summit, which only played the single frame 70MM Cinerama movies. phillster on Feb 7,2005 at 4:25 pm

melders
melders on January 27, 2005 at 8:25 am

The only surviving theater by Adler and Sullivan is the Auditorium theater. This is a shame, since they where considered the best theater designers of their time.

Englewood
Englewood on January 13, 2005 at 4:02 pm

Our eighth-grade class, St. Bernard’s School at 66th St. & Stewart Ave., took our class trip to the McVickers to see “The Ten Commandments” in 1958. Walked to the L station at 63rd & Harvard, rode it downtown, got off at Randolph St. and walked to the McVickers.

dvdmike
dvdmike on January 13, 2005 at 2:56 pm

Good thing it didn’t collapse with anyone in it.

RickB
RickB on January 13, 2005 at 2:26 pm

The 1984 closing date in the description sounds about right. If memory serves, the building was condemned because the facade was in danger of collapsing.

dvdmike
dvdmike on January 13, 2005 at 12:10 pm

By the early seventies, the McVickers was a dump. The carpets were sticky and the seats were in disrepair. At this time, the theater was a three films for a dollar movie house. I don’t remember exactly when it closed, but I believe it was the late seventies.

Patsy
Patsy on January 13, 2005 at 3:57 am

Such a shame that this Chicago theatre and the Garrick are no longer with us today as they both were connected with the famous Alder/Sullivan team!

paulench
paulench on December 28, 2004 at 9:10 pm

The McVickers I remember was showing Cinerama films in the sixties. I saw “How the West Was Won” there three times. My sister recalls seeing the 70mm, Todd-AO road show of “South Pacific” there in the late 1950s (I still have her program book from the show.)
I did see “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” at the McVickers when the theater had converted to 70mm, single projector Cinerama.

veyoung52
veyoung52 on November 28, 2004 at 5:39 am

A very versatile venue, being Chicago’s original Todd-AO house in 1955, then a moveover location of CineMiracle’s “Windjammer” from the Opera House; and then the 26 frame-per-second Cinerama in 1962. Only venue for the 3-strip “Russian Adventure” in the U.S., the 70mm version having a number of stateside runs. There is also a possiblity that horizontal VistaVision ran there. The McVickers was certainly not among the 10-12 original VV houses literally hand-picked by Paramount in 1954. But there are press releases beginning in mid-1956 that the distrib had plans to lease/rent VV projectors to “deluxers,” as “Variety” called them, that had booked “10 Commandments.” Along with the Chicago McVickers, that list would also include the New York Criterion, the LA Beverly, and the Philly Randolph. I vividly remember the Randolph run and the screen was gigantic compared to those I had seen there prior to the DeMille epic. Am I safe in assuming that if true VV ran in NY and LA (I can’t imagine Par not having it presented in at least those 2 prime premiere cities in VV), and Philly might have, then why not Chicago? Comments?

ratheater
ratheater on September 8, 2004 at 7:39 pm

I worked at the Mcvickers theater in the late 60’s early 70’s as a usher.During that time they had stage shows as well as movies .I remember James Earl Jones in the Great White Hope and Sherman Hemsley in Purlie.

Broan
Broan on September 6, 2004 at 7:13 am

Also here.
The Library of Congress site has this mislabeled as a shot of the Auditorium Theatre, but it clearly is not and matches the above shot.