Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 76 - 100 of 277 comments

Broan on April 19, 2009 at 9:13 pm

That one is very interesting, especially compared to the 1944 one I posted earlier: View link

kencmcintyre on March 7, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Here is a 1951 photo from the U of Chicago library. I’m not sure if this has already been posted:

DavidZornig on December 21, 2008 at 3:18 pm

I just saw a promo on VH1 for something called “Fall Out Boy-Live from the Chicago Theatre”.
Apparently “hometown” band Fall Out Boy filmed a live concert at the Chicago Theatre very recently, to be broadcast via FuseTV and/or VH1. In conjunction with a Dec.16th CD release.
It apparently has aired several times since.

As when Conan O'Brian was here several years back, maybe some of the interior architecture will get camera time.

Sure wish the recent Brian Wilson show had been filmed too. I know nothing of Fall Out Boy.

DavidZornig on December 8, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Oh, I get it. Geez. Well they succeeded at that game. Since it took almost 70 years to finally re-develop.
Still a shame.
If that building had remained and went condo even in todays market, the historic aspect would be monumental.
Masonic Temple Lofts…hmmm, maybe not.

Broan on December 8, 2008 at 7:32 pm

Because they had to pay taxes on all that vacant office space in the depression, and the full-height atrium meant that it was rather inefficient to operate. The lowrise replacement was an example of a building called a “taxpayer” because it would bring in enough income to pay the property taxes until such time further development would be possible.

DavidZornig on December 8, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Nice pic. Showcases those perimeter lights on the arch again.

I just happened to notice in BWChicago’s Sept 1st post/photo from 1939, that they are actually in the process of demolishing the Masonic building next door. What an absolute waste.
How and why on earth was such a mammoth building ever destroyed, when it clearly couldn’t have been that old by 1939? Only to be replaced by low rise retail space (including the Loop Theatre) until just recently. What happened?

DavidZornig on November 28, 2008 at 8:29 am

I meant labor intensive at the Woods.
Their upper marquee was easily 2 stories tall.

DavidZornig on November 28, 2008 at 8:25 am

Yeah, those letters truly are cool. I’d forgotten until I saw the Woods page that some theatre’s had those. I think the State-Lake did too.
Must have been pretty labor intensive to change them all out as the movies changed. Maybe why they replaced them all the the blank white marquee’s withe the hanging letters.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 28, 2008 at 8:07 am

The bulb-lit marquee letters in the ‘48 photo are really cool. I guess there must have been electrical contact stips behind the front panel.

kencmcintyre on November 27, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Here is another Life photo from November 1958:

Broan on November 20, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Here is a 1948 photo from LIFE magazine.

DavidZornig on November 7, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Ah, what a relief, thanks. I thought from the angle that it was a Lake & Wabash. The site of Harold Washington College. I think I have it’s location in my mind now. Thanks again.

Broan on November 7, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Yeah, it’s still there. Helmut Jahn’s office is in the dome.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 7, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Did they tear down that office building with the turrets? Last time I was downtown it was still there. I’d be pretty surprised if it was gone.

Broan on November 7, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Some of them are still working, but not all.

DavidZornig on November 7, 2008 at 1:34 pm

I see from some of the pictures attached to various posts, that the entire building that houses the Chicago Theatre once had lights on it’s perimeter. Over the arch, down the sides, etc. Not just the sign & marquee.
I wonder if those light fixtures are still in place and operational. Or were they removed during any renovation work over the years.

Also it’s a shame that we lost the giant building behind it with the four corner turrets, and the huge center spire.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 5, 2008 at 9:13 am

Regarding BW’s comment of 9/28: I guess it is time to restore the restoration. Definitely an interesting turn of events. It sounds as if MSG Entertainment may have struck a deal with the office building behind the theatre.

GFeret on November 5, 2008 at 7:47 am

and in a week or so BRIAN WILSON w/ back-up band The Wondermints

DavidZornig on November 4, 2008 at 11:00 pm

For all the time I spent haunting Chicago area theatres, strangely this beautiful flagship, namesake gem was the least of them. “The Blues Brothers” was the only film presentation I could come up with off the top of my head.
A perfect example though, since it is such a recognizable one from Chicago’s own past.

Mayor Jane Byrne reopened the door to films being made in Chicago. The first Mayor Daley was cool to anything that might/could have presented a bad image of the city.
So NO was implied to a number of film & TV projects over the years. It’s why we remember `70’s New York streetscapes better, without having been there.
My late father told me Warren Beatty’s early black & white film “Mickey One”, was even shot partly on the sly in some areas of the city. Sometimes using bartenders he knew as extras.

On the other hand, I’ve been to a few concerts & plays at the Chicago Theatre since the 1980 “Blue’s Brothers”. Laurie Anderson, Chita Rivera, both of which I wondered why I was at. Either placating friends and/or, a hope to be girlfriend I couldn’t say no to. She certainly could say no though.

I also saw the live musical “Beauty & the Beast” there in `97. That one with my mother. Geek check.

Most recently though, I had the honor of seeing my mom appear on the Chicago Theatre’s grand stage, as one of the performers in the “Serendipity” show.
A yearly musical showcase of multi-talented Chicago seniors, produced by the Chicago Dept. of Senior Services.

To that I took my 90 year old great aunt. Who once inside, said she had not been in the Chicago Theatre since the 1930’s. Nor downtown for that matter.
It was a thrilling day. My mother had been a chorus girl just blocks away (Wabash & Kinzie), at the Silver Frolics in the early `50’s. Some of her surviving showgirl friends came too. A full circle if there ever was one.

The timeless splendor of the Chicago Theatre was incredible. And a perfect setting for the performers, most of whom were 70 and over. It was taped by Chicago Works/Cable23, and re-airs frequently.

The only downside was that due to two matinees the day we were there, the 2nd show ticket holders, mainly elderly & bused in, were forced to huddle in the cold vestibule until the previous crowd could be ushered out, from a show that hadn’t ended yet. Some shown out through the same doors we were in front of. Doors of which other than the center sets, were locked due to limited security staff. Locked theatre doors??? Really? I just reminded myself to call about that one.

The Chicago’s interior was a beautiful as ever. Elevators helped some of the less agile to the upper balcony floors. But guidance once up there was also limited. Seat numbers being strictly adhered to, even when 90 percent of the balcony was empty anyway.

Other than some frustrating, common sense inadequacies, like my spelling, the Chicago Theatre is/was a stunning example of how occasionally we get saving historic structures right in this city. I recommend seeing anything you can there. Which as of late has been very versatile. Ray Davies to Donnie Hathaway to Robin Williams to Glamorama.

Broan on September 28, 2008 at 4:53 pm

View link MSG apparently does have upgrades planned for the Chicago, including possibly moving the Radio City Christmas Show there.

JRS40 on September 26, 2008 at 9:58 am

Just walk up to the theater. The tours on the weekdays are at noon and they let us in about 11:50. Saturday, I think, there are two tours – one at 11am and one at noon. Double check on the website Cinemark. Earlier it said that the tours were only through September which would mean you would need to go on Tuesday at the latest but we couldn’t find where it said that on the website so perhaps they changed the policy. If you go let me know what you thought.