Portage Theater

4050 N. Milwaukee Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60641

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Showing 51 - 75 of 199 comments

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on November 10, 2009 at 12:43 am

A study in the duality of man. Dennis Wolkowicz: one of the nicest guys in the world. Jay Warren: cold, subdued, reclusive. I can’t understand it. These two gentlemen share a lot in common; but, they have divided personalities. Wolkowicz is a man of the people; Warren retreats below the catacombs of the Portage and plays the organ non-stop (the Phantom of the Portage?). It’s no small wonder that these two men are never seen in the same room together.

mp775 on May 21, 2009 at 8:26 am

Joe Campanella from CLTV has a great photo gallery from the Silent Film Society of Chicago’s April 26th benefit for the restoration of the Portage’s “new” 1927 Kimball organ:


ctheatrics on March 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm

I am looking for photos, drawings, ground plans, remembrances etc. of the Henry L. Newhouse Forest Theatre 7526 Madison street, Forest Park, Illinois. I am located in NYC. Thank you.
Craig Jacobs

Broan on February 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Here is a better scan of the previous image.

kencmcintyre on December 13, 2008 at 10:42 am

Sorry, it was B&K, not R&K. My mistake.

kencmcintyre on December 13, 2008 at 10:41 am

From Boxoffice magazine, May 1950:

Sears, Roebuck & Co. will use R&K’s Portage Theater for Saturday morning shows for children. The program was arranged by manager Nate Ruttenberg.

jamesW on November 2, 2008 at 6:38 am

The recent screening of Son of Dracula at the Portage was a great night! A good time was had by all (almost all) It was mostly families many of them from the neighborhood. It had a real “block party” feel to it. Sveengoolie made an appearance, he is always good for a few laughs. I hope they can do this every year and make it an annual community event. Thanks Portage!
JW Chicago.

CatherineDiMartino on October 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm

My husband and I went to see Svengoolie and a screening of “Son Of Dracula” last night. And we doubt we will EVER come back to the Portage for an event like this again. The audience was extremely ill-behaved during the film. They talked on their cel phones and out loud to one another. They were taking flash photos of the screen and of each other with their cel phone cameras! Kids were running up and down the aisles. People brought crying infants to the movie. Good Gravey—can’t people sit and watch a classic film anymore?

At one point I had considered finding the manager and demanding our money back. The sad thing is that this reflects poorly on the good people who worked hard to make the Portage viable again. And I’m sorry to say this, but this is why home theatre has become so popular!

KenC on August 5, 2008 at 7:38 pm

In the book “IMAGES of AMERICA: PORTAGE PARK” by Daniel Pogorzelski, there is a nice shot of Milwaukee Ave. -looking south- on page 48. The Portage theater is on the right, with its original marquee, ornate tera-cota decor, and great vertical sign. I’m guessing the photo is from the 1930s. On page 51 is a small pic of the Patio, after it closed in 2001. On page 87- one more pic of the Portage(the marquee) plus an old advertisement for upcoming shows. According to the text, the PORTAGE PARK opened in 1920; the name was shortened to PORTAGE in 1932. I saw “POSTAL” on Sunday, May 25. A grand total of 4 people in the auditorium for the 5p.m. showing. In late January of this year, I went to a double feature at the Portage: “BRIDE OF THE MONSTER” plus “PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE”. In spite of a snowstorm that evening, it was well attended. The Portage was- and is- a great theater.

mp775 on June 24, 2008 at 5:25 am

The Silent Film Society of Chicago’s Silent Summer Film Festival is coming! Six fabulous Fridays, July 18 to August 22 at 8:00 p.m.

mp775 on May 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Correction to the above: Dark Victory and Swing Time have been rescheduled to August 6 and August 13, respectively.

mp775 on May 21, 2008 at 9:50 am

The Portage website is temporarily down due to server issues. In the meantime, here’s what’s coming up:

Fri-Sun, May 23, 24, 25: U.S. Premiere of Postal at 5:00, 7:00, 9:00 P.M. each day
Wednesday, May 28: Bette Davis in Dark Victory (1939) at 1:30 P.M.
Sunday, May 31: Mirosław Szołtysek i Wesołe Trio at 7:30 P.M.
Wednesday, June 4: Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers in Swing Time (1936) at 1:30 P.M.
Friday, June 13: Double Feature – Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966) at 8:00 P.M.; Vampire Circus (1972) at 9:30 P.M.
Sunday, June 15: Smart & Clever at 4:00 P.M.
Wednesday, June 18: Doris Day & Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk (1959) at 1:30 P.M.
Friday, June 20: Double Feature – House of Wax (1953) at 8:00 P.M.; King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) at 9:45 P.M.
Saturday, July 26: World Premiere of The Blind and the Dead at 12:00 P.M. hosted by Master Ron Fitzgerald; live music by Grigori3

mp775 on May 20, 2008 at 1:00 pm

How about a first-run movie? The controversial Uwe Boll film Postal with Zack Ward and Dave Foley premieres at the Portage this Friday, May 23.

ericg765 on May 20, 2008 at 11:40 am

My father grew up around the corner on Belle Plaine between Milwaukee and Cicero….and I grew up a little further west near Portage Park too…so I remember the Portage as a child and later in life.

The Portage has been doing pretty well as a specialty theater – doing weekly classic film showings, the occasional musical group (Rickie Lee Jones and Tegan & Sara have played there recently), and they’re home to a majority of the silent films playing in the Chicago area. You should check out their website (www.portagetheater.org – which seems to be temporarily down at the moment), they keep a schedule of what’s going on.

Honestly, they make pretty good coin working the specialty niches. Once the neighborhood gets back on track (namely Milwaukee Avenue), it’ll look much better. The inside is not intricately rehabbed (like the Patio Theater once was)…but it looks pretty good. Definitely serviceable now. Check it out when you can, Greene!

Greene on May 20, 2008 at 11:33 am

Hi! I grew up not far from the Portage on Belle Plaine. I’ve seen so many good second-run movies here growing up that I was wondering why it doesn’t show these types of movies now like the Logan does? Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great the Portage is renovated and open again. Since I’m still living in the area I guess I’m just curious why it doesn’t show these second-run movies instead of silent movies and old movies like it is now. Is it too expensive for the owner and just not profitable? Clearly they would make more by showing newer movies as the attendance would be higher.



Broan on May 18, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Paul Warshauer’s involvement in the Portage Park theater (under the Henslowe Group banner, prior to Grande Venues) took place prior to the restoration of the theater. It was only open briefly under his tenure as a theater, but he did bring a church group in which resulted in some zoning issues later. At the time of his departure the theater was still divided in two and had not been redecorated. Warshauer did upgrade some of the equipment, however, and claimed to have put 100k into the project.

veyoung52 on May 18, 2008 at 8:34 am

Can anybody confirm if a group called the Retzler Development Group of Grand Island, Ne had any involvement in any of the reopenings or restorations of this theatre? Thanks.

mp775 on April 8, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Paul F – in response to your 11/9/06 comment, it’s not an all-Christopher Guest festival, but This is Spinal Tap will be at the Portage on May 5! (It’s actually a rock music film fest, with The Wall and The Song Remains the Same)

RobinW on February 22, 2008 at 3:49 pm

I am glad that the present owners of the Portage have been able to make a go of this place. There does seem to be a bit more work that needs to be done to the Portage. I hope that a vibrant theatre can bring back investment such as restaurants and stores to this stretch of Milwaukee Avenue.

I’ve been here for the silent movie festivals that have been here.

Broan on January 28, 2008 at 4:16 pm

It appears that the Portage reopened as a twin under M&R on or near March 5, 1981.

PaulMayer on January 28, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Wow, what memories this page has given me. I was born and raised in the Portage Park area and would walk to the Portage Theatre every Saturday when I was a kid. I’ll be 65 this year but way back then, my mother would give me 50 cents each week to get out of her hair. 25 cents to get in the theatre and 25 cents to buy candy at the candy store that was to the right of the theatre. Anyone remember that place?

They’d have double features that would have us on the edge of our seats. I remember the early years where we’d sit in the front row with our necks bent back to see the huge screen. As we got older, we’d sit in the cubby hole sections at the back of the theatre with our girlfriends in the dark. I recall that I really don’t remember much of the movies I saw during that period.

I went away in 1960 when I joined the Army and haven’t been back since. But the photos and seeing that the old Portage has been brought back to life has put a smile on my face.

Thanks, Paul Mayer