Marbro Theatre

4110 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 51 - 75 of 271 comments

amoswald on March 6, 2012 at 8:07 am!/groups/51222342741/ St. Mel’s!/profile.php?id=100002065858388 Austin Neighborhood.

BobbyS on March 6, 2012 at 7:55 am

I too am trying to find the St. Mels search. I did .see a picture in the local paper achives dated 1940’s where a large group of St Mels students marching down Madison St. towards the Marbro Theater for graduation exercises. Also found out Marks Bros. Inc was not bought out by Balaban & Katz Inc in the 1930’s, rather both corporations were bought out by Paramount-Publix and both were subsidies of the giant film studio looking to buy theaters to show their films. The Marks Bros. name was eventually dropped.

Burkesniece on March 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Amoswald – 2 days on FB … St. Mels – what is exact name to search?

Scrabble on March 2, 2012 at 6:13 am

To enjoy a photo gallery of magnificient theaters, go to:

Burkesniece on March 2, 2012 at 1:17 am

amoswald – Hello, new here! My aunts, The Three Burke Sisters sang at the Marbro, as well as other Chicago theaters. In the late 1930’s they ended their careers, and Rita Burke married a football coach from St. Mels! I just got a facebook acct., I will check out their page. Thanks for the info.

amoswald on February 1, 2012 at 8:54 am

Good question, Bobby. Neon is very expensive. We had a neon sign in front of our family restaurant. It was so amazing to look down from our apartment on our name in lights. What a great time.

BobbyS on February 1, 2012 at 8:49 am

I had to walk two blocks to see what they were putting on the sign on Thursday nights. Couldn’t wait ‘til Friday when I walked by. You had it easy. By the middle 50’s, there weren’t any bulbs on the vertical sign. Pink neon only and elevator trucks were used to re-gas the tubes. I think maybe there were bulbs at one time when they first updated the sign, because you could see the holes were the bulbs used to be. I wonder what year they did the neon.

amoswald on January 31, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I lived on Madison one half block west on the south side of the street. I’d open the window to check the marquee to see what movies were playing. You can’t beat that memory.

JoelWeide on January 31, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I am amazed by the size of the upright sign. I wonder what it took to change the blubs on it?

amoswald on January 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm

If any of you are on FB, there are photos and memories of the Marbro and other B&K theaters posted on the Austin neighborhood group and the St. Mel’s group.

Scott on January 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I have added a photo of the Marbro, which is actually a postcard view of the theatre from 1929. It shows a little more of West Madison Street than most of the other early pictures I’ve seen.

BobbyS on August 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Great photo..Would love to see same photo in late 40’s & 50’s same view new signage. Thanks.

Broan on August 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Here is a nice early view

BobbyS on July 30, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Ditto, I will also check it out. Always interested about stories of the majestic Marbro….

amoswald on July 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Thanks for this reference. I will check it out.

Evanston_Dad on July 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Anyone with memories or interest in the old Chicago West Side would also enjoy Jack Clark’s novel “Westerfield’s Chain”. It is set on Madison street in the 90s, and a pharmacy across from the former Marbro Theater location figures prominently. but there are many references to the pre-riot West Side. Jack Clark is a chicago writer and Cab driver who grew up in the Austin neighborhood in the 70s. Check out

amoswald on July 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm

All true, it was very sad to see the neighborhood decline. My mother would not let us see West Side Story when it opened at the Marbro – she was right. There were fights in the theater and damage done. One of my friends had some of her hair cut off as she watched the movie.

I also knew kids whose families slept in shifts in the apartment – 12 or more people living there. We could never go inside and the kids had to stay outside all day long so they wouldn’t wake the people who were sleeping during the day and working the night shifts in factories nearby.

BobbyS on July 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm

SBGreig, I read the book and thanks for reccomendation. It opened my eyes! It seems the city was a fault for so many reasons. Not inforcing # of people living in small quarters (4 families living in a one flat with up to 5 names on mailboxes) Not fixing basic infrastructure streets etc, despite pleas from business owners to protect their property and much much more. It was a great read and for the first time I understand what happened to my “playground” even though the city had plenty to lose with sales tax decline.

BobbyS on June 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm

The Marbro had its share of out of control youths gone wild in the early 60’s which led B&K to think what to do. They talk about “flash gangs” today, well they had them back then too. The West Madison area became very unsafe and led people to flee in great numnbers.This great theater became a very unsafe place to watch a movie in the dark…….

SBGreig on June 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm

For an understanding of what was behind the collapse of the Great West Side after WW2, I recommend the book “Block By Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side” by Amanda Seligman.

My mother lived with her parents on the West Side from about 1954 to 1958; she remembers West Madison and the Marbro fondly. From her memories, even in the 1950s it was apparent that the area had seen better days; by the early 1960s things were spinning out of control and it was time to get out.

As an example, in the summer of 1961 the owner of the fabled Graemere apartment hotel at Madison and Homan was literally chased out of Garfield Park by a group of local street youths; he sold the area landmark that December. My mother remembers other instances of street crime flaring up around the time her parents left the area in 1964.

BobbyS on May 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Very unfortuante the people I went with told me all about the “relics from the past” and I was very interested seeing them. The restaurant had a sale a few months ago and sold most everything.
They kept the fountain in the lobby from Italy which is beautiful and the dining room from France for private parties which I loved. Everything else was sold. The owners want to appeal to a younger more “hip” crowd I was told. I was sad to see that but the food was outstanding and the young Prom crowd seemed very happy to be there. I thought the downtown looked very sad with all the vacant buildings and “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs. It must have been quite a city in is day. But all the river towns in Ill. have the same fate. It is really no different than Joliet or Aurora. But unlike the other two, they still have three theaters standing even though two are shuttered.. Maybe there will be a boom again in the future and the crowds will once again appear. I was impressed with the Midway. I will have to visit the site.

BobbyS on May 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Scott, I went to Rockford this week-end to see Circus Solei at the Metro Center. The Coronado marquee was all lit up in the afternoon. As we were leaving we passed the still closed TIMES Theatre and I saw the closed Midway. Name still on marquee and the attraction boards covered up. It had a very regal facade. Can you tell me something of the interior? Went thru Love’s Park and we had dinner at the Breakers on the Rock River. It was wonderful. The city looks tragic!

BobbyS on April 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm

For those who remember the Marbro, click on Muvico Rosemont and read the posts. Be sure and click on the pix’s post to see some beautiful shots. I agree with someone who thinks the design of the facade had our Paradise influence. This is a beautiful and colorful addition to our Chicago movie scene and gives one a feeling how our beloved Marbro looked at night on Madison St. so many years ago.

BobbyS on April 27, 2011 at 9:02 am

I remember going to the Marbro during Easter week along with hundreds of others to be inspired by the latest biblical epic on the great screen. In many ways it was like going to a church with a quiet respect among the many.