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this 1956 paradise photo just screams old chicago long gone neighborhood movie palace. streetcar tracks and trolley wires too on crawford. in 1959 when my parents drove me by i remember the closed paradise (shortly before demolition). and i’m pretty sure the marquee truncation was necessatated by street widening because you can tell how narrow the sidewalk looks. when the (old) marquee had too much outward overhand a tall truck might clip it with street widened (that wasn’t before).
correction, not Sun-Times but DNAinfo (Heather Cherone)
hi! this very recent sun-times article says a lot IMO about where things are w/ Portage (& Congress) and Carranza’s desired next step:
Mr. Carranza booted out the ‘little guys’ Northwest Film Society after they’d done so much work to fix up the Portage (for film use at least) over the years, and his latest tactic’s to enlist the ‘big guys’ realtors Paine/Wetzel to better deal with the liquor license denial problem.
(Do you smell anything?)
We know who our friends are and aren’t.
(previous) management and the Northwest Film Society had printed up a screening schedule that in fact went beyond mid-April which proved optimistic because the owner pulled their plug friday 5/24, and hasty relocation for 2 weekend films was arranged at music box theatre plus the patio theater.
my impression is the (new) owner threw a fit resulting from denial of liquor license. if he gets it rest assured the portage will become like the congress theatre he also owns (perhaps not coincidently now suffering a liquor license suspension itself), and ultimately the locals may wish they hadn’t voiced their opposition to the religious organization that wanted to use the portage as a church.
this place now has one of those big red ‘X’ signs tacked up on the front
i heard that’s supposed to indicate to first responders not to use herculean efforts to save the property in the event of a fire or something and above all, not to try going inside it to rescue anybody because it’s (supposed to be) vacant unless they have specific info/instructions to the contrary
but to me that big red ‘X’ seems more like a roundabout warning to homeless & vagrants not to venture inside because nobody’s going to come looking for you if there’s a property emergency
when they were manufacturing on Kostner Schwinn had their own unique way of forming the head on bicycle frames from one sheet metal piece, avoiding certain welding operations. it had its pros and cons, but looking back on it, mostly cons. its discontinuation maybe the only good thing to come out of closing the kostner plant
i had no guilty conscience even slight about seeing monster movies, who would? i saved my guilt for more important, or at least expensive things.
i don’t mind repeating myself that the old monster movies i looked up @ legion of decency were rated CONDEMNED. a slight disappoinment at my age then but also irrevelant i confess, and looking back it now it made its own kind of sense, those things could be condemned for any number of reasons by any right thinking person, which viewpoint is comfortably irrelvant.
i checked myself back then, i wasn’t looking up anything but ‘monster movies’, they all came up Condemned. I went regardless
“….monster movies classified B by Catholic Legion of Decency”. actually back then the Legion of Decency typical gave those movies their CONDEMNED classification I do recall
OK. i’m trying to picture it as you say, perhaps they had an employee side door entrance @ kostner. it seems to me both schwinn & zenith plants had direct access to the bloomingdale line freight tracks there. in the mid ‘70s i played in the proverbial garage band (except it was in a basement) at the drummers home on tripp st which’s right there. all a stones throw from the original location of GUY’s pizzeria on armitage, great stuff it was
if ever there was a photo of dear old GRAND Theatre in its dying days that black & white one is it. of course i remember the ‘soda shop’ immdiately to its east with the delicious lime rickey drinks, it was run by the family of one of my grammar school classmates, and they sold buttered popcorn that was so over-drenched with topping that’d always oil stain my clothes yet i couldn’t resist
i believe it was spelled LYONS not LIONS btw. i’d bowl there, they had lanes in their lower level, and alternate with Pulaski Bowl a couple blocks east. was the Schwinn bicycle factory on Kostner or Austin? i think they closed mid-‘80s. i maybe confusing Schwinn with the location of the old Zenith factory, or not
the damage i’d mentioned has thankfully been now boarded-up
notice the rena theatre—as deteriorated as it is—still retains it’s original flagpole atop, a tall one. i don’t think others like it can say that
i’ve just noticed a major exterior brick tuckpointing job underway here. of all the large old inner city former theatre buildings i believe the central park continues to be in the best shape
judging by that fine 1964 B&W photo the GARFIELD remained for other purposes since the marquee advertises some show and it looks closed but not necessarily vacated much less abandoned
passing RENA by earlier today i notice more than one boarded-up 1st floor window and door busted wide open
now that’s one fine Alex Theatre photo, makes me want to run across madison to the box office
unfaded anscochrome, NIHE
i’m on their email showtime mailing list. i like this place and’ll insist here there is nothing to dislike about it (OK bensenville has a little ways to go for becoming a nightlife hotspot). almost a ‘where have you been all my movie-going life?’ theatre choice.
that’s one fine old color photo, a kodachrome i imagine
can see the elevated station when it was positioned at randolph then. autos with tailfins
and chinese restaurant hoe sai gai. there’s a ‘_____hamburger’ there at the SW dearborn/randolph corner, can’t quite make it out…..not wimpys
i remember as a kid really liking the stores & restaurants in the block that unfortunately were demolished for the civic/daley center a couple years later
i’m glad when a religious organization takes over a former theatre, and can live with bingo activity doing similarly, because it means the building’s lease on life has been extended instead of it falling into disuse & vacancy. we’ve had far too many heartbreaking examples of that
what i say above goes double for former theatres which could be characterized as old movie palaces. personally i favor these alternate useages specifically for the distinct possibility at least a percentage can and will revert to film exhibition once again. that’s a goal quite compatible with this cinematreasures site, and why i’d point out a missed opportunity like the BelPark
sears parking lot 2-½ block east, not a convenient asset even if sears made it plainly known portage theatre parking was permitted
parking issue aside—it’s not that important to me personally—restoring the belpark yes was a blown theatrical opportunity
of course the BelPark’s different, with potential closeby parking too (Patio theatre doesn’t have that). a blown opportunity
i don’t share those impressions of that area, having first moved there in 1981
liquor is liquor—restaurant served or store bought