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I’m looking at a June 3rd, 1965 Chicago Daily News that lists it’s name as only the “Palace Theatre, Randolph at LaSalle”. “My Fair Lady” is the film.So maybe “Palace” should be added as one of it’s former names.
This is a lttle off topic but not really. I toured the Sanfillipo Mansion near Barrington in 2005. Had I been up on my CT reading back then, I would have known to asked the more than gracious host to point out the various architectual gems saved from the Granada. There were numerous pipe organs, Victrola’s & kaliopies throughout. Even a fully equipped retro diner.
The grounds had an outbuilding that had a reconstructed 1890’s indoor fairgrounds with a working carousel from the era.
Their was white terra cotta stone work that adorned some of the building’s interior. So I wonder if that was some of it.
It was an all day affair celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Ford Thunderbird. They even allowed the number 50 to be spelled out on the sprawling lawn in parked Thunderbirds. Photographed from a helicopter no less.
Hauntingly, a playerless pipe organ that rose from a stage floor in the house gave us a concert at the end. We also toured the pipe organ mechanicals room. Like the Granada, it’s fascinating what men could build.
Cue Track: “Burn Down The Mission"
-Elton John/Bernie Taupin.
If it was fully renovated & updated as recently as 1999, it should be able to be kind of a turn key operation to start running films again. The official website at the top of this page still shows it owned by the same owners as the Rotunda Theatres.
Who are adverstising all first run at their other theaters on the same site.
If they still don’t own it, Why not rent it back to them for a low fee and show some of those first run films there also? It would keep it open and in the public eye. And also make it appear more viable to any investors who might be willing to take a chance on it.
Sitting empty (or filmless) just adds to the stigma. The only upside is it appears they still are doing open mic events with bands etc. If that information is as current as the other half of the page on their website.
Chicago and Evanston Illinois had a number of theatre’s that tried the revival house concept in the late 70's & early80’s. The Parkway, Varsity, Coronet, Music Box & others.
70's & early
They would run different double features every day and/or every other day of old Sci-Fi, classic comedy’s, Hitchcock thrillers etc. Even midnight shows at some. Some had old cartoons & newreels deliberately added in for schtick.
They would print & place full color calenders in the Reader newspaper each week. With all the old taglines blazing across each page.
As someone else posted, the novelty crowds were there at first. And mind you this was also the era when the VCR & VHS rental was starting to go full steam.
It was great for just a few years. But eventually the theaters couldn’t hang on with only that. It seemed that was the last gasp for some of them.
The Varsity, Coronet & Park West for sure. The Music Box is still around, but is more of a true arthouse theater now. With occasional revival films and/or hometown premieres.
If there was a way to sell the movie tickets far in advance like stage plays & musicals, maybe someone could get a revival house to fly full time. But whose going to buy tickets to an old movie, and then remember to go on a regular basis?
I wish some millionaires would approach the seller and tell him they’d buy it only if it REMAINS a functioning drive-in.
Some of the photos and links about the reuse are now dead. Did this place ever actually get torn down?
According to the website you just posted, both theatres are to be restored. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of their upcoming event.
Well now that’s some good news. Thanks for posting.
Any idea as to what year the original Oriental style roof treatment was removed?
I bet there’s a lot of nice old brick work behind all those false facades.
Great story Tim. I still stay in touch with the former manager of the Carnegie during it’s heyday in the mid `70’s.
I’ve posted before that he called all the promotions the “Genius of Oscar Brotman”.
I’ve in the past informed him of CT’s existence and it’s importance in keeping these long lost gems alive.
I patiently await his finally adding the many insights and stories he has of Oscar Brotman.
As a courtesy, I have not named him until he submits to CT on his own.
I also have some recently found some pics of the Carnegie I will add when I can.
Yes maybe. But the ability to maximize the space in a completely new structure, built from the ground up has to be more doable than renovating an existing space.
Even if they were to keep the mutiple floors currently at the Esquire, how big could each shoebox be to be viable? Versus new shoeboxes that can be built to spec in an open floor plan of their own design?
I would think they’d need many mores screens with potentially different pictures playing on each to make it work.
I remember how big the auditorium was at the Esquire back when it was a one screen. I still don’t envision it as workable as a multi story building they can build from scratch.
As truly great as that scenario would be, I think the Muvico folks would probably consider the Esquire space too restrictive for what they’d want out of a new venture.
In comparison to the space downtown that they passed on. Which is considered by the city the “theater district”.
The Muvico out in the suburbs looks like a palace. Even with multiple screens inside of even a reconfigured Esquire, it likely wouldn’t be enough space to satisfy them, and without parking.
I’d think size wise McClurg Court would be more doable if they were even to entertain the idea of renovating an existing space, versus building a new facility to their own specs.
The Esquire probably seems like an arthouse in size to them.
The demographic on paper for movie goers around Oak St. probably wouldn’t be enough for them even if it included everyone on CT. Because sadly there are no other theaters left in the Rush St. area with/from which to even properly gauge theater foot traffic.
Plus I think they’d probably require massive parking access wherever they choose to go.
If Muvico did magically want the space, I’d fear they rip it down and build their own structure anyway.
I’m for saving the Esquire structure & facade no matter what ends up going in there.
Nice. As we learned here in Chicago, it was never about what the meters could earn. It’s about the tickets/fines that will be generated. Evidenced in the article’s “Master Plan” of the area being renamed a “commercial zone”.
That’s a way to structure the ticket fines to be higher in that “zone” than other zones. In Chicago it’s called “Central Business District”. Even though such areas includes massive residential clusters. Most living there long before the overdevelopment and the new applied “designation”.
They are $50 tickets…for a meter. Miss the payment deadline and it doubles. Amass three unpaid tickets (down from 5), and it’s the boot.
Oh, and they are 2 hour maximum. So seeing a movie and making it back to the car in time would be a stretch.
The fact that Hoboken’s parking manager already factored in they’d be 4 hour meters, implys they always expected to add them specifically around the theater. Guess that was a gift, or maybe a way to appease esidents who would be forced to use them too.
I wonder if the proposed meters were ever a factor in the minds of the theater’s developers beforehand? It’s kind of mentioned by one of the council members.
Theater tickets should be the only ones to worry about.
So how does closing them all at one time improve Redstone’s chances for an overall sale?
You’d think that having them up & running would make them appear more viable to buyers.
At least they could still sell off individually too stop whatever bleeding he thinks the whole chain is suffering. If that. Cutting their losses in such broad strokes just alienates everyone involved. All those people suddenly put out of work, when it can’t really be necessary.
If they are retaining some theaters, why not figure out why the under performing ones
are doing so, and adjust to remedy it.
Also contacting the local governing bodies of those individual towns affected couldn’t hurt.
To help get the ball rolling on possible theater conversions to cultural or performing arts centers.
What an awesome looking building. Too bad it can’t be saved.
BTW II: A Mr. Haven’s wrote an excellent comment yesterday that posted to that current story on the home page.
Maybe CT admins can transfer it directly to this Capitola page.
I guess it’s doomed when the Mayor doesn’t consider it historic.
Then they cite the property forcing abatement due to health concerns. It’s just a route to get the owner/ developer to tear it down all the quicker.
Wonder how many of those “threatened” Eucalyptus trees will come down to build the hotel?
If the developer included plans for a small stage within the hotel, it might quell any backlash.
Though no one even commented to the newspaper’s article forum.
The link to the current status & story is on the CT Home page BTW.
Interesting. I guess the church could still rent it out to others for live events, but not sure how that would work with their tax exempt/non for profit status.
Doing so might quell some of the negativity posted in the comments on the Flathead Beacon site. If resistant community members felt it was open to other cultural events.
Taking it off the tax rolls seems the biggest complaint.
I see several mentions of the old Mill Run Theatre in some of the older posts.
Where exactly was the Mill Run located?
I know we went there a few times for various shows. Thanks to all.
Here’s a silly question.
Did the Bel-Air Drive In’s name actually have the hyphen/dash in the middle of it?
The sign appears to have taken some creative license with an extended portion of the “A”. But with the spacing between the “Bel” and the “Air”, it appears to me to really be just the “Bel Air”.
I only ask because all of the posts refer to it as the Bel-Air. Just curious. I guess only the incorporation papers might yield the answer. Just curious.
Your plans do sound great CinemarkFan. Here’s some extra food for though.
One of the problems I’ve heard/read of in the past, was that some studios and/or distributors were dictating where and what theaters their mainstream films would be released to, to play.
Particularly presumed blockbusters like say “Dark Knight”. If you don’t have the deals in place in advance, it’s possible you wouldn’t be able to secure copies and show certain films, even when or if they are NOT at other theaters nearby.
Best to do some research with other theater owners, as to how they are able to request films in advance. Both mainstream and arthouse films.
The Music Box folks might be able to steer you in the right direction. They premiered “The Break Up”, and then went back to their usual fare of art films.
As well intentioned and as welcome your plans are, there will be unforseen roadblocks that defy logic in some instances. I’m not quite sure lack of attendance was any factor in the closing of McClurg. It certainly seemed very viable up to the end.
Shouldn’t there have been annual city inspections that would have caught that stuff much earlier? Why did it take a parent’s complaint, no doubt a connected one, for the city to step in?
Ironic that it survived as an X-Rated house for so long, and then gets shut down when it’s finally booking the types of things we’d want all older theatres to host, in order to survive.
Sounds like some random CYA on that city’s part. Fire system not up to code? You’d think the city would have been on top of that way earlier, like after The Station night club fire. Chicago reinspected all it’s bars immediately after it’s own E2 tragedy.
I wish you well in your pursuit CinemarkFan.
It couldn’t hurt to bounce your ideas off of the newer 42nd Ward Alderman Brendon Reilly. He’s a younger guy, and much more in tune with the wants & needs of the neighborhood than his long time predecessor.
He was recently instrumental in the landmarking of the Village Theatre on Clark Street.
In 1970 we lived at 863 N. Dearborn. Which is directly across Bughouse Square (Washinton Park), from where the Newberry Theatre stood. You could see the theatre from our front door, but it was non descript and dwarfed by the Jocke Buick lot & signage next door to it.
The park itself is historic as many soapbox debates took place there in the 1920’s. The late Chicago author Studs Terkel would often go to the annual reenactments they still have there.
By 1970 the park was overun with winos & degenerates. There was a structure in the center where a fountain is now, that many would drink & sleep in around the clock. The Salvation Army headquarters was across from the park on Delaware, which is now condos.
863 N. Dearborn is now home to Hazelden Rehab.