McVickers Theater

25 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60602

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Showing 51 - 75 of 91 comments

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 11, 2007 at 8:17 am

Grand Mogul- please recheck the 1944 date on your Gossip Column clipping—the movie version of “Oklahoma!” came out in the 1950s and was a big hit.

GrandMogul on April 10, 2007 at 10:30 am

Chicago Tribune, Monday, October 3, 1944, s. 3, p. 4, c. 3:
Tower Ticker, by Herb Lyon

“… . The McVickers may not play Mike Todd’s "Oklahoma!” after all. The cost of installation for the big, new Todd-AO process is estimated at a half million."

Broan on January 8, 2007 at 8:47 pm

They may have assessed a similar plate before. There is a 1978 Chicago Tribune antiques article about a similar plate. The columnist did not know about the item, but referred the writer to a Sharon Darling, curator of decorative arts at the society. This being nearly 30 years ago I’m sure she’s no longer with the society but after this and perhaps others like it there is more information on file.

carold913 on January 8, 2007 at 8:20 pm

the chicago historial museum will be glad to take they are located on clark and north ave. they would be glad to rent it from you or buy it. not sure of the price because something like that can’t be priced. contact them immediately. because i would hate to hear something happen to such a variable part of our legacy.

MIACARLSON on January 8, 2007 at 8:10 pm

I really believe that the plate I mentioned before should go to an historic agency in Chicago, or a theatre group….but don’t know how to get it to them. Anyone have any idea?

carold913 on January 8, 2007 at 7:56 pm

i think this is the first picture of the McVicker theater in chicago on madison and dearborn before the chicago fire. it seems to be fitting to allow everyone to see what it looks like. follow this link

View link

JimCalvin on July 3, 2006 at 2:56 pm

I also saw “The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm” at the McVickers Theater. I remember sitting way up in the balcony and still being engulfed by the screen – it seemed so huge at age 9 or 10. I also remember the sound being so good that NOTHING came close to it until digital surround in the 90’s â€" seriously!! The animated dragon in one of the fairy tale dramatizations was so good as a special effect, to my memory, that nothing compared until “Star Wars”. I had thought I was there in October of 1963, but could be it was 62. My birthday was that weekend and my family was in Chicago so my father could help plan a judges convention. We stayed at another long-gone Chicago landmark – The Hotel Sherman House (replaced by the Illinois building in the 70’s or 80’s). That weekend I say Henny Youngman at the College Inn Porterhouse at the Hotel Sherman (where Don McNeil’s breakfast club originate on WLS radio), saw Cinerama for the first and only time at McVickers and also saw a Dean Martin “Matt Helm” movie at the Chicago Theater (why did my parents take me to that horrid movie with near nudity? – oh, yeah, to see the Chicago Theater), and visited the Museum of Science and Industry for the first time. A great birthday weekend. I fell in love with Cinerama and the Museum of Science and Industry. Somewhere my mom still has the soundtrack album for “The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm” with the souvenir book on Cinerama. I can still remember the theme music for the movie â€" it was quite good.

Broan on June 17, 2006 at 2:47 pm

Here is a profile from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s HAARGIS system. It includes a small picture.

Broan on May 14, 2006 at 6:01 pm

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

carold913 on April 2, 2006 at 3:12 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 on March 6, 2006 at 1:48 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 on March 6, 2006 at 2:51 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 on March 5, 2006 at 10:52 am

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 on March 2, 2006 at 1:04 pm

I found out about Jacob Litt on 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 on March 2, 2006 at 8:12 am

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 8:07 am

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 on October 18, 2005 at 3:24 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 on October 17, 2005 at 4:27 pm

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 on September 23, 2005 at 8:45 am

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 on May 4, 2005 at 3:20 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 on February 7, 2005 at 5:32 pm

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 on February 7, 2005 at 3:52 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 on February 7, 2005 at 1:30 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 on January 27, 2005 at 12:25 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.