New 400 Theaters

6746 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60626

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Showing 76 - 100 of 107 comments

ACEngel
ACEngel on September 14, 2007 at 9:50 pm

The 400 Theatre has special memories for me. During the early to mid 1960’s an annual Halloween party was held, where a Master of Ceremonies tossed candy to the kids all dressed in costume, a Best Costume award was given, followed by a “scary” movie, such as Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula or an Abbott and Costello fright/comedy film. I also worked there (age 14-15) on school weekends and during the summer restocking the Concession stand and general cleanup duties. I would let my friends in through the door behind the screen (on the Columbia street side) and we sneak in during the movie. Of course, the double wide seats were great for dates and I had my first kiss there at age 13. I lived on Columbia just up the street and worked at Frankfort’s Drug Store as a delivery boy and stock boy. Next to the theatre was a club called the Pink Fink, where the cleaners is located now. There was a barber shop on the other side, which later became a head shop. I worked there, too. A great theatre, indeed.

Jonah
Jonah on September 14, 2007 at 4:31 pm

One look at Village Entertainment’s garish and useless Website, at www.villagetheatres.com, should tell you much of what you need to know about this company’s (lack of) smarts. Most of the theaters they purchased in the last decade have since closed. Wthout exception, the company will blame some circumstance beyond their control for a theater’s demise. It’s doubtful that they have a vision or even a viable business plan.

Went here often during the 1990s, when it was the 400, and only very sporadically since (my last visit was probably around 2005). This theater has been rotten for a while, before and after Village bought it and later put up the garish signs reading “Now First-Run and First-Class!” The improvements were minor and mostly cosmetic.

When the theater was ‘plexed out in the 1980s, some of the projection booths ended up off-center and the result is a fair bit of keystoning in certain theaters. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed this at another dedicated movie house.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on June 28, 2007 at 9:07 am

I might be able to get down here & see 1408 after July 6th. Maybe during one of the following weekdays.

CatherineDiMartino
CatherineDiMartino on June 28, 2007 at 5:54 am

I saw the photographs from Mekong (as linked in one of the posts above). This theatre was also named the 400 Twin at one point.

I’m not sure what the future of this theatre will be, so I’m going to try to make it up there with my husband or some of my friends to see a show there soon.

joanellen
joanellen on June 25, 2007 at 11:56 am

Thanks, again, BWChicago. I wonder if Ginnie might have had a false memory about the projectionist. It seems more likely that someone made a verbal announcement about the bombing.

Speaking of memories, I spent time as a child at the Avalon in the 1950’s. Very fond memories. I moved from Chicago in 1970, so did not keep up on the theater (the New Regal?) until recently. I found some photos on-line of the Avalon. Can you recommend a good book with more Avalon interior photos and/or on-line sites?

Broan
Broan on June 24, 2007 at 2:19 pm

The Tribune’s archive is online. I wonder how the projectionist would have projected that message.

joanellen
joanellen on June 24, 2007 at 10:22 am

Thanks, BWChicago, that was fast work. Did you find that on line or at a library? I really appreciate it. My friend who was at the theater in 1941 is 87 years old now & has some memory problems. But talking about movies & songs triggers all kinds of interesting conversations with her. She used to write a lot & part of her autobiography that she wrote in 2001 contains a detailed description of being in the theater (she just couldn’t remember the name of the film). Ginnie wrote, “…the action on the screen stopped. Since this was a frequent occurrence, someone called up to the projectionist to wake up, or change the reel, when we all realized the screen was fully lit and we could see the silhouette of fingers working with a strip of yellow paper. Suddenly,the statement was clear: THE JAPS HAVE BOMBED PEARL HARBOR! There was a murmur through the theater…Lou said, ‘Most of our Pacific Fleet is there. If they did real damage’…someone else finished the thought, ‘It would mean we’d be in the war!’…The theater lights came on and I looked around at so many people, just like us, ordinary middle-class, in a state of bewilderment…we started to file out of the theater soberly, quietly. We had all been through so much with the Depression that we seemed to know we just had to face up to this next impossible situation…”

Broan
Broan on June 24, 2007 at 7:27 am

Errol Flynn & Fred MacMurray in “Dive Bomber” and Joan Bennett & Henry Fonda in “Wild Geese Calling”

joanellen
joanellen on June 24, 2007 at 12:56 am

I have a friend who was at The 400 Theater on December 7, 1941, when the movie was interrupted with an announcement that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. How can I find out what movie was playing?

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 15, 2007 at 7:18 pm

Cinemark Fan,

I still stand by my prediction that Village Theatres (aka Village Entertainment) will be no more by the end of 2008.

I did some research a few weeks ago, and when Village first became a chain circa 2000-2002, the company DID advertise its cinemas and did appear to be a legitimate chain and not a “crash-and-burn-operation”. The December 20, 2002 edition of The Chicago Tribune shows the following cinemas that Village advertised and the movies playing there:

HINSDALE: Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers
GLENWOOD: Two Weeks Notice, Wild Thornberry’s, & Lord of the Rings 2
BURNHAM PLAZA: Gangs of NY, Lord of the Rings 2, Drumline, Empire
BLOOMINGDALE: Gangs of NY, Two Weeks Notice, Lord of The Rings 2, Drumline, Star Trek Nemesis, Die Another Day.
STRATFORD: Wild Thornberry’s , Lord Of the Rings 2, Hot Chick, Harry Potter & the Chambers Secrets, Analyzze That.
WATER TOWER: Personal Velocity, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Emporer’s Club,Ararat.
BIOGRAPH: Analyze That, Two Weeks Notice, Gangs of New York.
VILLAGE: Gangs of NY, Rodger Dodger, Emporer’s Club, Man From Elysian Fields.
VILLAGE NORTH: Lord of the Rings 2, Drumline, Star Trek Nemesis.
GOLF GLEN: Two Weeks Notice, Gangs of NY, Wild Thornberry’s, Lord of the Rings 2, Harry Potter, and Analyze That.

Apparantly, Village Entertainment was promoting its cinemas and had decent bookings (although it still gets decent bookings). And Water Tower was showing art films! The questions are what happened and when did Village become a “crash-and-burn” operation?

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on June 15, 2007 at 10:33 am

Whew, that was a close one. You see, two of my brothers snuck off and saw Escape From LA here back in 1996. They lied and said it was at Water Tower so our mom wouldn’t know. But I didn’t go because I was too young for them to take me that far. Ever since they said it was such a great throwback theater, I’ve been trying to get down there.

Isn’t it odd that they didn’t book a new movie like Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer? Anyway, I’ll see what I can do about going here this week and snapping some auditorium shots.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 15, 2007 at 10:26 am

Hard to say what will happen here. Either way, I am not sure anyone needs to rush out to experience the old 400. It is a productive neighborhood movie house, but no movie palace to be sure.

Broan
Broan on June 15, 2007 at 9:41 am

Try calling again. I heard showtimes for today and tomorrow.

CatherineDiMartino
CatherineDiMartino on June 15, 2007 at 9:34 am

Uh-Oh! That’s not good news for those who live in Rogers Park.

Village’s website says that the theatre is still open. I think that once this place goes, that’ll be it for Village’s chain.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on June 15, 2007 at 9:05 am

Does anyone have any photos of one of the four auditoriums at Village North? Because I’ve searched for showtimes, and there’s no listing. I called them, but no voice giving showtimes. It’s just ringing. I belive it’s closed. I hope I’m wrong though.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 10, 2007 at 7:27 pm

Cinemark Fan…

Remember that the link is to a blog about the Village North’s building for sale, nothing official. But it does add to my theory that Village Theatres will be out of business by next year.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on June 10, 2007 at 10:51 am

Oh snap, I better get down there ASAP. Maybe next weekend.

Broan
Broan on June 10, 2007 at 10:44 am

You sure about that, Catherine?
Village Theater For Sale?

CatherineDiMartino
CatherineDiMartino on May 29, 2007 at 10:12 am

This will probably be the last of Village’s theatres to survive. It gets good walk-in trade from Loyola and the neighborhood.

The website should be shown as www.villagetheatres.com

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on April 18, 2007 at 1:19 pm

The entry for the Guild Theater at 717 West Sheridan in Chicago shows that it was known as the Essex as well as the Pine Grove, Panorama, and Little.

RickB
RickB on April 18, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Did the Essex ever have another name? I’m not finding much about it here, or elsewhere.

GrandMogul
GrandMogul on April 18, 2007 at 10:39 am

NEWS ITEM, when the Village was previously called the 400 Theatre:
Chicago Daily News, Thursday, October 7, 1954, p. 53, c. 1:
Retreat From TV Ending: CLOSED MOVIES TO REOPEN
by Sam Lesner
Four of Chicago’s closed movie houses are reopening!
The Essex theater, Sheridan rd. near Lake Shore dr., closed for two years, reopens Friday with the widely acclaimed French-Italian omnibus film, “The Seven Deadly Sins.”

The Calo Theater, 5406 N. Clark, another victim of the theater-devouring TV giant, will be reopened Oct. 22, with Jack Webb’s “Dragnet,” the first feature length film version of Webb’s TV program which was No. 1 in the Hooper ratings for September. (Isn’t that poetic justice, or something?)

The 400 theater, another North Side film house that has been dark for some time, is being remodeled for a new lease on its former movie life.

The Armitage, 3545-51, also an early TV victim, is being remodeled for an early reopening—-as a film house, of course.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 31, 2007 at 7:30 am

This is one theatre that Village seems to have improved. See photos of the theatre the way I remember it in this gallery:

http://www.mekong.net/random/cinema6.htm

It was a dump in the 80’s & 90’s. They put up that 400 Twin sign and seemed to start twinning the place. Then all work stopped. But they continued to operate in a state of shambles.

Note that these photos may not be reproduced without permission of their owner.

Broan
Broan on December 3, 2006 at 5:01 pm

Oh, shoot. I forgot to edit that before linking.

Here are photos of this theater.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on October 16, 2006 at 1:11 pm

Village is now advertising legal movie downloads on its website.

Is it me, or is it just plain wrong for a movie theatre chain to do this?