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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
Music Box would die for a parking lot. I would die for a parking lot going to the Music Box.
Lack of a lot was always cited as the main handicap when the Portage fate looked grim a ½ doz yrs ago.
i solve both above problems on bicycle
plenty of vehicular trafic to go around, and then some, at both cicero/irving park & cicero/belmont. like Community Bank the Hotel Elinor are very longstanding neighborhood fixtures, hardly transient.
6 corners has had great difficulty keeping an anchor store at its large southeast corner, i could rattle off many names going back to Kee
normal access to liquor is the common theme, as such it’s either positive or negative
“(cicero & belmont) doesn’t have the visibility,
transit access, or commercial district….as the portgae does”. Huh? Of course it does as much or moreso as 6 corners. Tell all this to Community Savings Bank president Dale Cleven, i’d bet he’d be surprised to hear it.
if the belpark has too many seats for films it must have too many seats for senior bingo, and that’s not stopping it
objecting to a liquor store across the street? i recall an objection to a a church taking over the portage because then 6 corners restaurants couldn’t get a liquor license!
empty lots, free parking or otherwise, certainly are better than no lots at all
i’d say they got it backwards
the film society at the portage should’ve renovated the belpark when they started—not the portage. if they had they’d have a bigger more grande old chicago movie palace, plus plenty nearby parking to boot because of the empty used-car lots right around the belpark that’ve been unused for a few years now. parking’s what they sorely lack there at the portage
with that the church would be just fine at the portage and welcomed to it
no rocket science here, loews decided years ago the norridge didn’t bring in enough business to warrant multi-screen investment in digital projection, and from that point on they just wanted to phase the place out quietly
exact same thing happened a year or so ago w/ piper’s alley theatres
corporate execs. ask themselves “are we going to pay for new digital projectors on all these screens?” for each of their theatre properties and not in every case does the answer come back affirmative. especially when the underlying real-estate might have some pretty good value for other commercial ventures
quite a contrast to 3 decades ago or so when harlem avenue was so congested with cars turning into the norridge theatre parking lot on a friday/saturday night
oldest double-feature that comes to mind i saw at the norridge’s from early ‘70s – EXECUTIVE ACTION / RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE
there’re 2 definitive 8x10 BW photos of the ROYAL THEATRE—from 1958 and maybe 5 yrs later. they’re both on file for anybody to reference at the Chicago History Museum; i just saw them myself and will make request to allow them to appear here leading-off this CT theatre listing, where you might say they rightfully belong.
The earlier one is just as i remember it down to the admission prices seen.
there’re 2 fine 8x10 B&W HARDING THEATRE photos i stumbled across over the Memorial Day wknd thanks to my wife Claire’s help, in the files of the so-called Chicago History Museum, or as anyone with a proper sense of history would say Chicago Historical Society (history per se does not get remodeled). One image’s from 1961, the other just prior to demolition in 1963, both from out in front of the bldg on Milwaukee Ave showing the full vertical sign & marquee. The 1961 shows marquee lettering advertising a food catering operation, which tells me even by that year films had ceased.
With any luck and proper overtures too at least one of those images will lead-off this CT Theatre listing before long
enjoy one, that’s what the city has landmark designation for
Ald. John Arena wants to block use of Portage Theatre by a religious organization because, in his words, local restaurants won’t be able to get liquor licenses with a church nearby.
Repeat, BECAUSE LOCAL RESTAURANTS WON’T BE ABLE TO GET LIQUOR LICENSES WITH A CHURCH NEARBY
if this ain’t rolling-on-the-floor-laughing material i don’t know what is
the religious organization needn’t worry, with enemies like this who needs friends
i see now. so theatre’s like the ALEX at that critical time could stay upon longer hours but only if they contributed to their power needs with their own on-site generators
so many theatres in the same newspaper ad i referenced for the ALEX post above specify long hours – either 10:00 a.m. or 1:30 pm continuous shows to midnight
my kind of showtimes
i walk past the (former) ALVIN THEATRE a couple times a year, when me & wife Claire get a yearning for a slice at Hoosier Mama’s Pie bakery right next door. recall last year (2011) people there talking ALVIN building was on the market
even today no movie theatre does,
though would you patronize a theatre that advertised:
“Our Digital Projectors are Windmill powered!”
a 1946 Chicago newspaper theatre listing contains an ad for the ALEX THEATRE, showing a line there that reads:
“WE MAKE OUR OWN POWER!”
somebody have an idea just what this means? no other theatre in that local movie listing makes such claim
a 1946 Chicago newspaper movie listing contains a listing for SCHINDLERS, and the location shown in teeny-tiny ad print is ‘Milwaukee & Huron’
to me it’s particularly satisfying the see the central park theatre from outside on the west face which is open to view
why, it’s just common brick? the black fire escapes, leading off several emergency exits at various levels, all stand in fine shape and each and every incandescent bulb at the door bays remain constantly illumnated. a typical but very good urban vista in my opinion you might agree if you saw it in person. gives one some impression the building remains open for business as usual, movie theatre that is