Marbro Theatre

4110 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 76 - 100 of 265 comments

BobbyS on March 18, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I think Scott would remember Vito’s. Saturday was almost a Marbro day for thousands of west side kids. The car lot you mention I believe was Milo Brook Ford. Anyone remember that? There was also a pontiac dealership nearby. I know I said it before, there was everything you could want to do along Madison St. Who would ever think it would all be gone in a few short years?

cabfm on March 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm


I too am a West side product. I grew up on LaVergne and West End. Went to Spencer grade school and two years at Austin. We moved in 1967. Spent many Saturdays at the Marbro. My cousin worked at Three Sisters. Mom used to take us to the library on Pulaski and afterwards
we had shakes at the Walgreens. Goldblatt’s was the place to shop. I remember getting social security card on Madison not far from Polk Bros. The Byrd was closer to my house, but it didn’t show the movies that the Marbro did. My doctor was on Washington Blvd. and Cicero. Mom shopped at the A&P. Dad bought a new car from the lot on Madison (forget the name) We hung out at Columbus Park during the summer. Got in the pool for a dime.

Later, we went to the Tiffin on North ave. There was an awesome pizza place called Vito’s there. I still remember their pizza.

Sadly my memory is not what it used to be, but I have enjoyed reading here. Thank you.

BobbyS on March 14, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Wasn’t that the most beautiful marquee? Especially at night with all those white chasers and flashers with the Balaban & Katz logo?

BobbyS on March 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I can not believe I never went back after 1959. I could have. I sure wished I had. I guess I always thought it would be there I guess. I settled down up north and went to the Gateway alot, but of course it was no Marbro. But I guess I was so interested in my new school and new friends that I never gave much attention to the Marbro. Oh, if one could only turn back the clock!!

Richard3150 on March 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

I used to go to the Marbro often as a kid. May have seen RODAN there the same night I saw a hula-hoop for the first time (59?).
When my brother graduated from St. Mel HS ca. 1962, they held the commencement at the Marbro. I thought that was class. Never went back, and it vanished into thin air a couple of years later.

BobbyS on March 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Just saw a history of Cinerama. Tv in 1952 was cutting into the movie tickets and the bosses in Hollywood new something bigger and better had to happen. They developed along with Lowell Thomas the giant screens and what a success it was. First showing in 1952 at the Warner Theater, where “Jazz Singer” wowed them in the 20’s, it played there for a year. It lasted 10 years with “How the West Was Won”. That was the last film in that format and the end of Cinerama.
They could not put that screen in the many movie theaters in the country so they came up with Cinemascope (which was called the poor man’s Cinerama). The Marbro had a very large Cinemascope screen, larger than other theaters at that time, which leaves me to believe they had bigger and better plans for the Marbro.

BobbyS on February 18, 2011 at 9:16 am

Oh Scrabbie, I forgot about the lime rickeys.. I even forgot the name. They were delicious. I never had them there, but elsewhere.
I never went to the Grand theatre but I bet Scott did. He lived north of the Paradise. We kids stayed around Madison & Crawford. There was so much to do and see! I am amazed when my great nephews and nieces say they are bored..even with all their appliances they are hooked up to. I don’t remember a boring minute of my youth!

Scrabble on February 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

Did anyone ever go to the Grand Movie Theatre on North Avenue and Drake? There was a little snack shop one door east of the Grand Theatre, where they made the absolute most delicious and refreshing lime rickeys. I can still taste them — they were oh so yummy. One time, I made the mistake of sucking onto one of the pieces of sliced lime that was put into the drink, and my goodness, my lips and chin really broke out something terrible.

BobbyS on February 18, 2011 at 8:58 am

I also like the green river and of course the chocolate phosphate. That was also very good. I am looking forward to your short story. I am working on the picture of the ALEX for you to include and the Byrd theatre. Imagine movie stars in our own backyard! Those picture houses were such a thrill for us, weren’t they?

amoswald on February 18, 2011 at 6:04 am

By the way, I was a chocolate lover – it was my sister who went for the Green River shakes. The shake was made like a vanilla shake but the soda fountain jerk added the lime flavored syrup that went into Green River soda when it was dispensed from the fountain. The Green River shake was a lovely green like something from the Emerald City of Oz.

amoswald on February 18, 2011 at 6:01 am

Yes, I saw them and my sisters and I bumped into them in the lobby. I am writing a short story about the theaters and include this appearance. Spanky from our gang also appeared. It was a thrill for all of us, but, I remember as a small child I was surprised that they were all older than they appeared on TV.

BobbyS on February 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Scott & Anita, Do any of you remember the Three Stooges appearing on the Marbro stage in the early 50’s? I heard today from someone who said they did three appearances in one day before the movie starting with the Chicago Theatre, then to the Uptown Theatre and then on west to the Marbro. I don’t remember except I know the theater would sometimes put on a “Stooge” short along with many cartoons on a Saturday afternoon. So I assume it was probably a Saturday.

BobbyS on February 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm

My brothers were in the leagues at Cascade Lanes but I forgot the name before Anita mentioned it. It was very well populated as I recall. The store was A&P I bet. I don’t recall the National except for the one on Cicero south of Madison St. I always thought the National Tea store was the store that replaced the Paradise Theatre. But maybe I was wrong. I do remember going into a Kroger but I don’t know where it was. Loved the candy stores, Dutch Mill and all those soda fountains!!! Scott never had a green river Anita. Explain to him what he missed…

amoswald on February 9, 2011 at 9:51 am

I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime. But I can see it in my dreams.

BobbyS on February 6, 2011 at 6:23 pm

OOP’s, I thought I was on the Alex site…. I will work on posting that pix.

BobbyS on February 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I am going to ask some people who know all about the internet, not me
I am new at all this, and see if I can somehow post my picture of the Alex on this site. Maybe you can use it in your report. It certainly wasn’t one of the palaces, but it did serve the community well and was well attended as I recall.

amoswald on February 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Me too, Bobby. It is great sharing these memories. We were such lucky kids.

BobbyS on February 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

You are sure on target Anita when you talk about the real estate agents. We started getting “flyers” in the mail as eary as 1955 telling us to sell before everything comes crashing down. I am sure they made a fortune on scaring people and businesses. If we all held on, maybe we could have prevented it from moving so fast. But everybody on my block were moving up to the North Side of Chicago and my family didn’t want to be left out. I remeber seeing all these moving vans week after week. I am not surprised the neighbood never re-built. No money, the city is dead broke. Maybe Rahm has new ideas. We’ll have to wait. We switched to going to the State Theater on Sundays because afterwards, we always went to Ray Foley’s for dinner. My mother loved the Prime Rib, as I did and their wonderful
horseradish. I loved the red booths. We were regulars when they moved north at Touhy & Lincoln. The State Theatre is long gone, but the building where Ray Foley’s was still stands as a reminder of better times.. I feel like I just met an old friend Anita!

amoswald on February 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

Oh and I think the Peter Pan was actually closer to Cicero near the Knights of Columbus where I took swimming lessons. A&P and Market Basket were in the 4200 Block of Madison and National Tea was in the 4300.

amoswald on February 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

Absolutely Bobby. It was a shame that the neighborhood deteriorated. I know my parents invested in Purcell Hall and other church ventures to try and keep people from leaving. But the unscrupulous real estate agents known as blockbusters spread fear and distrust and people and businesses fled in droves. I think we were some of the last to move, largely because the family business was dissolved and the business sold. They tried to get my Dad to buy it back, but he never really worked in the business and was not interested in starting. His aunt and uncle moved on to manage Ray Foley’s.

I am still surprised the neighborhood was never rebuilt and I dream of the day when I hear that urban renewal reaches the West Side.

We were magical people and we still are because we remember the days of glory.

BobbyS on February 5, 2011 at 11:09 am

I do remember the Red Goose shoe store and remember buying shoes. I loved going to St. Philips Basilca when the Knights of Columbus would march and we would go to the Easter services because some relatives went there and we would light up the candles and they turned off the church lights. I felt like I was in heaven! I look around at my great neices and nephews deep into their personal DVD players and on their phones texting to each other sitting on a couch, and I think you have no idea what you missed. The fact that they nothing to say proves I am right. I cried when told we were moving because of the neighborhood changing. It was a magical place and we were magical people!

amoswald on February 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

Do you remember that Goldblatt’s sold pets like small monkeys. I will never forget when my brother and sister climbed out of the stroller when my Mom was talking to a friend and let the monkeys and birds and anything else in a cage loose. My Mother beat it out of the store fast.

Since we lived on the third story we used to climb over the railing onto the rooftop of the restaurant and run along the roofs on Madison Street. The merchants, like the folks in Red Goose shoes, would come out and yell, “Hey you kids, get off the roof.” We had the best time growing up there. We were so sad to leave it but the family business was sold and my Dad was transferred to another firehouse from the one at Fulton and Kilpatrick. He worked on his days off at Bantam Books and when Bantam moved from the Chicago River to Des Plaines, we moved to the northwest side to be closer to my Dad’s work and to my then new high school, Mother Guerin. Both my Mom’s and Dad’s relatives all lived on the West Side. My parents went to St. Mel’s. They started dating in High School and were married at St. Mel’s Church. We have a long family history there. Too bad my parents were never into taking pictures. My Mom would take some pictures and throw them into a box. I wish we had some photos of the old neighborhood now.

Does anyone remember Mayblossom McDonald’s Dance Studio. I took ballet lessons there when I was a tiny tot.

amoswald on February 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

I am so happy to read these memories of the West Side and look forward to reading many more.

BobbyS on February 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

Anita, What a memory!! I had forgot half the names you mentioned. But I remember them all. Loved the Martinique and the green river shakes and the Dutch Mill candy stores and the dime stores and the opening of Goldblatt’s and all the personal appearences. This was a kid’s paradise. Couldn’t wait to get up in the morning to head down there!~I know you are giving Scrabble and many of us a thrill!

amoswald on February 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

Sadly the restaurant burned down after we moved from the neighborhood I think in the late 60s. It was a nightclub and an African American radio station broadcasted out of the restaurant before it was demolished. My Dad was a Chicago fireman and he heard about the fire and went to see if he could buy any of the salvage, like the beautiful stained glass his grandfather imported from Europe or the glass doors with S on them but all he found was a vacant lot. It was a beautiful place. My Dad’s grandfather came from Prague when he was 2. He was a grocer first and then started serving lunches that proved so popular they opened the restaurant. The family ran it until the 1960’s. I used to look out the window of our apartment to see the Solick’s neon sign and the Marbro marquee. What beautiful sights. We saw the 3 Stooges and Spanky at the Marbro. And remember when they had Hercules appear for the opening of Hercules Unchained? Kids today do not know what they are missing.