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Today, September 13, is a sad anniversary. It was on this date in 1981, the Cinema Theatre showed its last picture show: ATLANTIC CITY with Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon. The theatre was torn down about 3 days later. As a matter of fact, all the theatres that were in operation around that area at the time are all gone. I still miss the Cinema Theatre. It was my first movie theatre gig.
Jay Warren for Mayor, 2011
I just went by the Village Theatre earlier tonight. They finally took off that sign on top of the marquee that said: “For Lease Summer 2006”. Now, there’s a new sign that reads: “For Lease 8000 square feet. Price Associates (312) 445-6300.”
As I’ve mentioned up above, there are many successful venues in bad areas. The Riviera and Aragon Ballroom are in bad areas and, yet, people go to them. The Congress Theatre is in a bad area and, yet, people go there to watch concerts. There was once a time when Wrigley Field was in a bad area and, yet, people went there to see Cubs games (of course, I’m talking 40 some years ago). Now, we Cinema Treasures fans can do one or the other: we could sulk about how bad an area is and let a wonderful theatre just sit there and rot; or, we could support Mr. Valentine and encourage him to re-open the Colony Theatre if he wants to, and turn it into a successful concert venue. If there’s a concert there that people want to see, they will park their cars in the lot next to the theatre and go. Of course, they won’t roam around that area late at night, but hopefully they’ll have a wonderful experience at the Colony.
It was a Loews-Cineplex theatre from 1998 until 1999. It became a Loews-Cineplex theatre after the Cineplex Odeon/Loews merger took effect in 1998; however, by orders from the Justice Department, Loews Cineplex had to sell a bunch of their theatres to avoid a monopoly, so the Biograph was sold to the newly formed, but short-lived Meridian Theatres. Other theatres that were sold were Water Tower, Burnham Plaza, Broadway Cinema, Old Orchard, Hyde Park, and Bricktown Square. These theatres would all go out of business within a couple of years.
The Esthena Theatre was located at 3709 N. Southport. It was a liquor store for many years until it got torn down in 2000. It’s now a condo.
I just watched an episode of the late 1950s television series, M SQUAD, starring Lee Marvin. The exteriors were filmed in Chicago. In tonight’s episode, Lee Marvin can be seen getting into a car and across the street is the Esquire Theatre.
Yes, Jerry was there. He was at the Village from October, 1981 until early 2004. He was also at the Cinema from 1970 until 1981. He died in May, 2004.
Hey, Jim. Type in “Marquette Theater 63rd Street and South Kedzie Avenue.”
The Marquette Theatre now has a Facebook page. Check it out.
I was brave and made a trip earlier tonight to see GREENBURG. The Pipers Alley is still the same: pathetic. The staff has low morale; the presentation was lousy; the complex was empty as usual. AMC; please sell this place. You obviously don’t care about it. Sell it to Cinemark Fan; or, sell it to some independent operator who would like to return the Pipers Alley to it’s 1990s glory days. It’s amazing that this theatre is still open. It’s downright depressing.
Back in the summer of 1977, I went to the Colony Theatre to watch MURDER BY DEATH and TAXI DRIVER.
MAD MAX was intially released in the United States in 1980. Orion re-released MAD MAX in the spring of 1983. I saw it at the McClurg Court Theatre.
Oh, contraire………… The Michael Todd WAS twinned in 1986. Here’s what happened: M&R Theatres took over the Michael Todd in 1985 after it was closed for 6 years. They also wanted to take over the next-door Cinestage Theatre, but the owners of that porno palace put up a short fight. Eventually, M&R got both theatres and changed the name to Dearborn Cinemas. The plan was to twin both theatres. M&R did manage to twin the Michael Todd; however, they never got around to the Cinestage. The Cinestage side of the Dearborn Cinemas was occasionally opened, but the Michael Todd twinned side remained open until 1988. The M&R Dearborn Cinemas was a complete failure.
The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan is located in a dying downtown area and yet people go there to watch concerts and movies. People go see plays and attend live shows in Rogers Park in some pretty bad areas. People walk through some bad areas to cross over the Dan Ryan to get to U.S. Cellular Field to watch the White Sox. Yes, it’s a bad area, but I have hope for the Colony. I hope Mr. Valentine’s dream comes true. I miss going to the Colony. I haven’t been inside that theatre since 1981.
The River East 21 opened in the fall of 2002 and the McClurg Court Cinemas closed at the end of summer, 2003.
Trust me, J.W.; they’ll never come to town. I wish they would gut the inside and restore it to it’s original theatre self. Of course, they would have to do live performances there; it could never be a full-time movie house again. Can you imagine going to a concert near the lakefront? Now that would be awesome.
Tim, I have heard that Willis Johnson has vowed NEVER to operate a theatre in the city of Chicago, mainly because of tax issues.
CF If you get a chance check out Colony Theatre facebook page and become a fan.
Okay, let me first give a little history on the Evergreen Theatre because I think I might have caused some confusion. The theatre opened in 1964 as a two-plex. When you walked into the building back in it’s early days, there was an enoromous lobby. On the right side (the southern end of the lobby) was Theatre 1. It had roughly 1200 seats (blue in color); on the left side (northern end of lobby) was Theatre 2, approx. 950 seats (orange in color). When I first went to the Evergreen Theatre in December, 1977, to see CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND in 70mm, I watched it in Theatre 1. About 6 months later, M&R added a new screen, constructed in the huge lobby area. It was called Theatre 3 and they cramned in 550 seats. In the early 1980s, the general manager decided to change the number order. The 1200 seat remained known as Theatre 1; however, the small theatre between the orginal two auditoriums became known as Theatre 2 and the 950 seat theatre became known as Theatre 3. In the fall of 1983, Theatre 3 (formerly 2) got a wall built down the middle; henceforth, they became Theatre 3 (440 seats) and Theatre 4 (470 seats). The last time I saw a movie there was in 1986. Theatre 1 was still the same and as far as I know it remained that way unti the theatre closed in 1999.
I used to work at the Evergreen, in 1983. M&R converted a section of the huge lobby into a smaller 550 seat auditorium in 1978. In 1983, they twinned what used to be called Theatre 2 and they became Theatres 3 and 4. The theatre closed in 1999 as a Loews Cineplex theatre.
Wouldn’t it be nice if an independent operator took over the theatre. Believe me, Pipers Alley used to be a half-way decent theatre. It used to have 70mm in 2 auditoriums. I think that AMC only operates it because perhaps they are stuck in a lease. I don’t know. But you are right. Let’s hope for a new tenant.
Normal, Ill. is a small town. Chicago is a big city with big taxes. The Patio has been closed for NINE years now. Nobody’s offering to re-open it. If I had money to burn, I would re-open it as a multi-purpose venue. I just don’t see it happening. Tim O'Neill
The Colony Theatre now has a Facebook page. Please become a fan.
I liked it better when it was known as A Walter Reade Theatre.