Showing 726 - 736 of 736 comments found
Greetings. Landmark status for the building housing the Village Theatre, was broached again maybe 10 years ago. Ald. Natarus' stance was that any landmark status would limit future owners from doing renovations. Or prevent them from beng able to sell it.
Duh, that’s the point. To possibly protect buildings from their owners, If the owners actions could harm it’s very existence, facade, or historical signicance.
A term politicos coincidentally like to use against a building as well. As “in no historical significance”. Or “no architechtual sigificance” for that matter.
As with the Esquire and virtually anything else once in his ward, Natarus' opinion on landmarks is thankfully now moot.
I personally questioned him years back on the phone, on the rationale of not landmarking the now since demolished Coe mansion/Ranalli’s at Dearborn & Elm.
He’d actually called me in response to an e-mail I wrote to his office, implying his constituency had passed him by. By not protecting the Gold Coast’s neighborhood charm, in favor of OK-ing any development involving demolition that came down the pike.
He said the placement of the balconies on Ranalli’s exterior, negated it’s ability to be landmarked. Who was the Ald. when the balconies went up? (Brief Silence)
Of course he was.
So using his own argument, owners renovations prevent landmark status,
just as landmark status prevents owners renovations.
He said “I do the best I can”.
So basically his opinion helped greenlight demolition of the Coe and all the 100 year old brownstones adjacent to it. As they were all deemed not worthy of saving.
He claimed we were just losing a few more bars. Which he couldn’t name by the way. Instead the tax revenue generating high rise that was built in it’s place is now a reality. Even it had stops and starts during construction. Then some folks who bought the high end condos, actually complained about noise on Division St.
That’s like moving next door to Midway, and beefing about planes overhead.
The new Ald. has since showed with the Children’s Museum controversy, that he’ll at least do all his homework entirely, instead of just going along with any and all proposed developments. So hopefully The Village & Esquire will get 2nd looks under his watch.
Theatres seem particularly hard to protect though. Because it takes artistic visionaries with lots of money, to make anything else out of them even remotely viable. Some reasonable renovations have to be made. With The Village it’s just the building’s facade, part of which is the theatre ornamentation.
With the Esquire, it’s really just a matter of saving the marquee & facade. Let them build out the inside however they want or need. Like the Biograph did.
The Village Theatre certainly has huge potential given it’s location. And it’s essentially perfectly square interior for remodeling.
Maybe Latin School could pony up some dough and make it their “part time” auditorium. A sort of Theater Workshop complex. They could probably even have help on the taxes as a learning institution.
P.S. To more accurately answer your question, I believe you too are correct. The HoB restaurant portion is and rather above the old theatres space.
The old theatres were accessed via the buildings lower level. But the 3 theatres would have cielings and screens that would likely span upwards, if that makes sense. Marina City was into “levels” for everything. Steps up to step down, etc.
The 3 hall configuration is intriguing. I’ll check it out. The screening rooms though seemed small compared to other theatres.
It again would be neat to see the original Marina City plans versus the HoB floorplan.
The ice rink was in the lower level too on the State Street side.
I’ve never looked in Smith & Wolensky’s lower level to see how it was changed. They seemed to have actually built up and down, in their space. There was a little offset room for the mini Zamboni the rink used throughout the day and night. There were 3 sisters regularly from Sacred Heart Academy, that were if anything professional skaters. They routinely melted the ice. Every pun intended.
Greetings. My recollection was you accessed the theatres either through the West tower residential entrance, now the HoB lobby, and down an escalator. Or via the small Dearborn Street stairwell.
I don’t remember there being any type of real main entrance to the theaters.
The space age looking tube I refered to was access from the office building that housed Spencer’s Bowl, later the HoB Hotel, and ran under the main driveway overhead that connects State St. to Dearborn St. Through Marina City’s property. This access I believe still exists, and is next to the HoB HR office down on that level.Just West of the building commissary.
Part of the original “city within a building” concept, was the non-descript way that it included everything you would ever need. Stores, restaurant/bars, movies, skating, bowling and a boat marina complete with gas pumps.
More non-descript was the theatre’s actual indoor entrance. No real lobby to speak of. Once downstairs, just a few steps up to a counter for both tickets & refreshments. Only those backlit/shadow box poster housings on one wall indicated it was the theatres. Blue burlap walls were behind the ticket counter. All `60’s modern looking. Remember, these were likely considered Marina City’s theatres. Not the public’s, but yet it was open to the public. Like their own version of Cribs on MTV. Maybe Super Cribs.
Furthermore, the original plan was to regularly ship the buildings garbage away via barges on the river. Each floor has a trash chute that filled a hanging dumpster, that was then cabled away and down out over the river and onto a barge.
I don’t think this plan lasted long, or was even ever actually utilized as planned. In late 1990 or so, I was down near the marina, and saw a long suffering trashman, endlessly winching and aligning this cabled dumpster to his below street level access. In order to winch it onto a truck to be driven away like you normally see at construction sites. The whole process seemed to take 20 minutes or better. He just kept shaking his head.
I can’t imagine using trash barges was ever cost effective on a regular basis.
There was Marina Cinema’s signage facing South, on the giant horseshoe shaped building. Underneath that was the Dearborn stairwell entrance. If anything, this entrance could be considered the main one. If you weren’t already in the building.
Hope this helps.
I’m a newcomer to posting on Cinema Treasures. And just love it and am thankful it exists. Thanks to Bryan and all those who contribute.
So far I’ve learned I need to remember to Log-In every time I visit the site. When I didn’t, all that I wrote in the comments was lost until I did.
I know, I know, get a computer. And throw my WebTV on a barge. It’s so 1999 though.
I agree with Bryan that it would be truly sad if some attempt to save the Esquire’s facade is not made. Any developer would be viewed as a hero, were they to incorporate the old, into whatever new plans.
The Esquire facade is the undisputed anchor of Oak Street. I grew up there.
The entire area is under going a development assault that seems unprecidented. Retail mania and soulless towers are replacing everything that made the Near North Side a neighborhood. Sadly I just moved a year ago from the area, after over 45 years.
Back to the Esquire though. Many memories I have back when it was a one screen house. Godspell, That’s Entertainment, Slueth, Man Who Fell To Earth, and of course Blazing Saddles. I went with a teacher who lived in my building. Our faces hurt from laughing.
As you can see from photos others have posted, the Esquires entire overhang was filled with lights. This guaranteed you that squinty feeling you wanted after a movie, no matter what time of day.
Next door to the West was a quaint little book store. The closest cloth awning in one of the `70’s pics posted.
It had a special section devoted just to film. That’s how retailers thought back then. They customized their inventory to neighboring customers.
There was also a place called Musicraft, that sold high end home audio equipment. Either in that Pickle Barrel location, or next to it.
The Esquire was really a well run, classy place as a one screen. It aged a bit when the traffic of six screens started to take it’s toll. It’s hard to clean up the aisles in between showings, when start times are scheduled only minutes apart to maximize patronage.
I remember seeing “The Perfect Day”, the Clint Eastwood/Kevin Costner effort set in the `60’s there. Maybe 1992 or so.
Oak Street had everything. Shops, Bars, a bike shop, hair dressers, art galleries, even a huge Jewel grocery store across from and East of the Esquire. A B&G diner type restaurant was on the corner of Rush & Oak where Barney’s of New York stands now. NY?
I remember showgirls with five o'clock shadow, eating breakfast at that B&G.
The Esquire’s endless neon seemed to illuminate the entire block. It really gave you the feel of big money believing in a small neighborhood. One block away on Bellevue was all brownstones, with bars & niteclubs trimming the Rush Street perimeter.
I was sad to see it close, and hope that any developer takes into consideration it’s visual history to what’s left of the neighborhood.
We need a hero.
Thanks to BWChicago posting some photo links to the Carnegie Theatre page, I was reminded of some Marina City Cinema memories. (The current House of Blues was pictured.)
As with most of Marina City, there was an illuminated, space age type tube, that was one of the access walkways to the Marina Cinema’s entrance. Something you’d see in 2001 A Space Oddity or a Bond film.
There were then 3 illuminated poster boxes showing what was playing on each screen, just outside the entrance & concession stand. The 3rd of such boxes was relegated to “Coming Attractions” when the place was reduced to 2 active screens as outlined in a another post.
Depending on who was working where when, it was sometimes possible to cross from theater to theatre in between shows. Some ushers looked the other way. Some were justifiably strict. I think they staggered the start times to discourage this practice.
Imagine the unions horror were they to have known that someone was getting to see two films, when they paid for only one. The humanity!
Though morally, it was still wrong.
This was evident on the one and only time I did it. This particular day, we left a PG film and got into an R rated one. We thought we were slick, until it turned out to be a 2nd run of Bonnie & Clyde. The films brutal depiction of violence at 12 or 13 years of age, was all we needed to know that what we had done was wrong. Nightmares for weeks.
I remember seeing American Graffitti there, Juggernaut, and Chariots of the Gods. I think The Poseidon Adventure had a 2nd run there, after it’s first run at The State Lake.
We also skated regularly at the Marina Ice Rink. Now the lower portion of Smith & Wolensky’s Steak House. There was also a seafood restaurant behind the rink, the Nantucket Cove or something. Also a sports bar over looking the river called the Time Out. Though it still sported a nautical interior from it’s original incarnation.
I was just at Marina City 2 weeks ago.
the lower level is still very winding, and it appears some House of Blues offices partially occupy the old theatre’s space. The building’s small grocery store or commissary is still there. Though the deli counters were kind of sparse looking. That haunted empty feeling the lower level always had.
One good thing about the Marina Cinema’s was access to buses in both directions on both State & Dearborn streets.
I only wish it had remained open long enough to screen the afore mentioned Steve McQueen film The Hunter. It would have been neat to view chase scenes in Marina City, from Marina City.
My mom grew up in the Biograph’s neighborhood. We drove by recently during the “Public Enemies” 1934 street recreation, and she bolted from my car to take pictures for her brothers. She said it was exact down to the street car tracks laid down the middle of Lincoln. She then remembered as a child in the `40’s, that on the Dillenger anniversaries, someone would loosely paint footsteps of where Dillinger ran from the Biograph and down the alley, where he met his demise. Neighborhood kids would run the same path while playing.
Which triggered my memory that up until 1980-something, the theater itself had one seat painted silver inside. Supposedly where Dillinger sat.
I’m pretty sure it was still painted when I saw “Tucker” there in 1988.
My last film to enjoy at the Biograph was “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.
A freebie a friend had gotten passes too. NBC’s local critic Norman Mark sat in a previously taped off seat in front of us.
I asked him if Dillinger sat there, and got my smile for the day.
P.S. The Three Penny Cinema across the street from the Biograph, was already closed down prior to the recent filming. A vintage, prop hotel sign was hung off the front.
I remember reading back when the United Artist’s ran the Sensurround film Earthquake, the old structure actually did suffer slightly. To protect the public, mesh netting was quickly hung at ceiling height to catch any pieces of plaster that may have continued to jar loose. Similar to what was done at Wrigley Field a few years back.
If anyone else remembers this quick fix, or can locate an original article about it, maybe they can cite where.
“Scarface” on Christmas Day 1982 or`83, was my last time at the United Artists.
I concur it was still in pretty good shape by then. “Say hello to my little friend”, was uttered only on screen, not at our feet.
Hello Cinema Treasurers. BWChicago is chronologically correct. The “old” Carnegie Theatre was indeed demolished after the 1966 fire.
What I disputed was the “status” as closed/demolished, after the final closing in 1986.
In 1986 it was actually renovated, but not back into a theatre.
The space that is currently occupied by Hugo’s Frog Bar, is actually the completely renovated space that previously housed the theatre. Same structure, because it’s eternally connected to the high rise, and located directly beneath the buildings parking structure. The term “demolished not long after” in the Carnegie’s lead paragraph, I think implies the theatre building itself was completely torn down, which was not the case.
Also the term “a restaurant has since been built on the site”, should probably read “in the site”.
Since there is no real alternate status term for such a scenario in the Cinema Treasures glossary, I guess demolished as a theatre is what matters.
I make the distinction only because a good portion of the theatres have/had unique freestanding structures of their own. And some were indeed demolished after they ultimately closed. The Carnegies exterior facade was relatively modern, and really just consisted of the marquee and glass doors. Hugo’s Frog Bar actually uses the upper framework that previously supported the Carnegie’s old diagonal sign, for it’s own signage. The old marquee overhang at street level, was removed and replaced by a smaller overhang for the sidewalk cafe. I believe balconies have since been installed above the overhang.
Additionally, the Carnegie previously had name & movie title signage on the State Street side of the building as well. That has since been replaced with several old fashioned single bulb fixtures by Hugo’s. Windows on the same elevation were added so diners could presumably view State Street. Or to brighten up the back dining room. These windows would be where the backstage of the Carnegie’s movie screen would have been. dave
A friend of our family Jerry Dukor RIP, was one of the Playboy’s manager’s during the run of the Playboy produced “The Naked Ape”. They had a live chimp in a tuxedo in the lobby, in and out of the arms of it’s equally attired handler. I want to say that Johnny Crawford the film’s star,(also of “The Rifleman” & song “Cindy’s Birthday” fame), may have been there also. But I can’t remember. It was quite an affair with mobile spotlights out front, etc. Hefner lived a block and a half away too. I remember the afore mentioned Playboy carpeting well.
Being a pre-teen, and about as close to it as the chimp was at times.
The midnight double bills were legendary. Tandems of Python films, “War of the Worlds” with “Day the Earth Stood Still”. Both the Three & Four Musketeers Oliver Reed films,(originally filmed as one), etc.
We were teens and they’d let us ino virtually anything because we were neighborhood regulars. Something that would come back to haunt us come drinking age.
The last two films I saw there were “Mad Max” & the Chicago made “Stony Island”. Siskel was actually at the “Stony Island” showing I was at, even though it was by then a few years old. He was a true film buff and greatly missed.
The pizza place lost in the “fire”, along with Ting-A-Ling was called Chester’s Pizza. The corner restaurant long after the theatre entrance was moved to Dearborn, was called the Copper Top. With some of the dining tables adorned in copper.
The current Walgreens is still active 24 hours. With ironically an Edwardo’s Pizza behind the Walgreens now on the Dearborn side, instead of Division St.(The Walgreens was since slightly enlarged, and ate up half of the Edwardos space.)
Since Cary Grant was at the Walgreen’s grand opening, I wonder if he knew he was only a diagonal block away from the Ambassador East Hotel. Where he’d shot some exteriors for “North By Northwest”. One famous still were he’s hiding behind a nearby building. dave
I breifly knew one of the managers at the Carnegie in the 1970’s. He doubled as the house organ player as well. The organ was to the left of the stage, an a welcome novelty to such a newer theatre.
I ran into him several years ago, and we reminisced about the various promotions they did for the films during his time there. He called it “the genious of Oscar Brotman”, the theatre’s owner.
During the Chaplin festival, huge animated signage was constructed over the theatre’s existing marquee. Artistically changed out with each Chaplin film.
During a film’s run called “Blue Water, White Death”, they had a large, cylindrical tank built on the sidewalk. With a wetsuited diver inside.
It was a showing of the Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter” however, that put them over the top. In addition to a giant Jagger lips logo, they’d lined the stage with additional PA speakers to replicate the concert experience. This could be heard a block away. And in the then, rental apartments above. Now condos.
They often had ushers dressed to coincide with any given film’s theme. I distinctly remember an in-house “greaser”, for “The Lords of Flatbush”. The nearby Playboy Theatre occasionally did the same, but not to the same degree. The on street promotions were an added bonus to Rush St. revelers. Next door was the famous niteclub “Mister Kelly’s”, later restaurant Sweetwater, and now Gibson’s Steakhouse. Hugo’s Frog Bar is now “in” the old Carnegie site. The building was not “torn down” as previously mentioned. As the Carnegie was part of an apartment/bank complex including Mister Kelly’s, when it was all rebuilt after a fire in the late 1960’s at corner tenant Steinway Drugs. That was the previous building that was demolished to make way for what was the built including the “new” Carnegie Theatre. As I remember, it never went to a multiple screen format before it closed. I could be wrong. The nearby Esquire had though, and survived until just a few years ago as a result.
I was unfortunately at the McVickers during it’s decline. I was the ride to a heavily advertised, short-run showing of “Make Them Die Slowly” in late 1982 or early `83. A campy horror film billed as “Banned In 31 Countries!”.
The tag line apparently worked, as the by then decaying structure was clearly overwhelmed by the those who showed up.
The restrooms were located in the basement. Needless to say the archaic plumbing was no longer up to the task of large crowds. As the ensuing flood approached the grand stairwell upwards, management saw fit to only rope off the area, instead of closing and/or causing chaos/losing money.
As with most of the downtown theatres already in decline, rodents could be heard and felt under foot during the feature presentation. So much so that at one of the many points the film stopped, rowdier patrons would yell: “Hey rats, the film broke!"
As if the rodents were somehow in charge or running the projector.
It was sad to see the once grand, vintage facade and ornate interior in such disrepair. Running "Make Them Die Slowly” sadly became a fitting end to a glorious theatre history. As previously documented, the McVickers closed shortly thereafter.