United Artists Theatre

45 W. Randolph Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 101 - 125 of 135 comments

GrandMogul on April 10, 2007 at 11:22 am

Chicago Tribune, Friday, June 17, 1960, s. 1, p. 18, c. 1:
Tower Ticker, by Herb Lyon

“… . Billy Wilder’s racy flicker, The Apartment,” had a better United Artists box office opening than “Some Like It Hot,” with Marilyn Monroe in person. This guy Jack Lemmon takes all… . "

CatherineDiMartino on March 15, 2007 at 6:50 am

See my comments on the Roosevelt Theatre pertaining to this picture http://members.aol.com/citypan/BLK3791789.JPG photo of “Block 37”, on which the United Artists stood. The photo appears to be taken immediately prior to the demolition of every building seen on the block. On the right in the distance (on Randolph, the street that the taxi is not on) can be seen the blank marquee for the UA.

Volumes could be written on not only the failure of “Block 37”—indeed they have—but on the failure of State Street Mall too. But, thanks to the revivals of the Oriental and the Cadillac Palace, and the addition of the Goodman, this corner is a lot more vibrant than as shown in the picture.

(And yes, Paul F., I do remember the scene in “Adventures In Babysitting” when the car passes by the still-open UA and the Woods).

KenC on February 11, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Interesting. I knew “SOME LIKE IT HOT” played the UA; didn’t know Marilyn was ever there in person. And Chicago got the World Premiere?!?. Anyway, at the other extreme, in 1965… I think September or October, if memory serves…Johnny Crawford, the son in the TV series THE RIFLEMAN, made a personal appearance at the United Artists to promote the film “VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS”. A few other cast members joined him. The co-feature was “SEASIDE SWINGERS”. I think this double feature lasted all of two weeks. “SOME LIKE IT HOT” played considerably longer.

GrandMogul on February 9, 2007 at 11:53 am

At what movie theatre did glamorous Marilyn Monroe make her only Chicago stage appearance?

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Thursday, March 19, 1959, ad announcing:

Scoop! Today Only IN PERSON MARILYn MONROE, on stage! One Appearance Only at 12 Noon!

NOTE: She was in Chicago for the World Premiere of the Billy Wilder comedy, “Some Like It Hot.”

KenC on December 20, 2006 at 7:29 pm

You’re right, CineMaven, the United Artists did show “FRIDAY the 13th PART 3” IN VIVID 3-D (as the marquee proclaimed). I think I was downtown on opening day. The line to get in was long…from the boxoffice ,almost to State street…a sight not seen since the 60s(“A SHOT IN THE DARK”, “HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE”, “WHO’s AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?”) among others. Not only was the line long, but very SLOW. I left and drove to the Norridge theatre to see it. By the way, the UA showed a number of 3-D films… some good “ANDY WARHOL’S FRANKENSTEIN”; some really bad “COMING AT YA”.

DimitriusStrong on December 17, 2006 at 11:39 pm

I’m pretty sure in my early years I recall my mother taking me to this theater and we saw my very first 3-D film which was “Friday the 13th 3-D”.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 20, 2006 at 1:05 pm

Bad ass. What a great bursting effect.

Broan on November 20, 2006 at 9:54 am

Short 1927 video clips of the United Artists marquee can be seen by searching http://www.wttwdigitalarchives.com/searchres.php for 26128 or 26129. A 1954 color view can be seen by searching for 25332.

VintageBob on November 14, 2006 at 9:22 am

Brian Wolf is also a saint! Thanks again Brian! :-D

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 5, 2006 at 6:00 pm

Brian Wolf is a mad man…a posting mad man that is…

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 1, 2006 at 6:28 pm

Incidentally, all of these comments are being generated by the fact that they are finally building something on Block 37. A friend of mine who should know says it is some sort of public transit center.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 1, 2006 at 6:24 pm

There was a great Mike Royko (Royco?) column years ago on the UA. Someone complained of seeing first a rat, and second a really large rat scoot across the aisle of the theatre while watching a movie. The author of the letter told Royko he was so disgusted that he left. On the way out he mentioned this to an usher, who did not seem to care. Royko’s response was:

“The usher did not care because what you saw scooting across the aisle was one of the theatre owners.”

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 1, 2006 at 6:13 pm

View link

Go to this link and enlarge the United Artists Theatre picture found there to full screen dimensions. Notice that the organ grill designs have a goddess head incorporated into them. I found one of them intact in the rubble while the building was coming down.

I should see if THS wants the thing now that I am talking about it. It certainly doesn’t do much good sitting in storage.

What an idiot I was to be crawling around in that place during demolition. One falling chunk of steel would have been the end of me.

How strange it was to look out the ports of the intact projection booth (complete with Playboy Magazines) to see Marshall Fields.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 1, 2006 at 6:05 pm

Well, I am guessing it still wasn’t cheap to run a five-story moving electrical sign every night.

Large-scale bummer that this place was torn down. The Woods…eh…I could take it or leave it. But this place had a fabulous interior which was not in bad shape at the end.

BrooklynJim on July 20, 2006 at 12:24 pm

Yessir, Life’s too short, it IS crazy – and wild, too, but energy costs were considerably cheaper back then. We’ve got SDG&E and you probably have Con Ed, both ripoffs these days. But in the good ol' days… Really wish you could see the multitude of bright yellow chase lights that I mentioned in my 6/18 post about the MAHP video, “Chicago Trolleys.” It was a special treat for the eyeballs. WOW!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 20, 2006 at 9:50 am

That United Artists vertical sign is crazy. I wonder how much it cost to run it for a night? It is certainly a testament to how profitable these places were in their prime.

BrooklynJim on July 20, 2006 at 8:57 am

Here’s a URL for a 1932 shot of both the United Artists and Oriental Theaters by Bill Volkmer:


[Correction to my earlier post: MAHP is an acronym for Mid-America Heritage Preservation Foundation.]

BrooklynJim on June 18, 2006 at 11:22 am

Movie buffs and railfans oftn have a lot in common. Earlier this month, I purchased a 28-minute video on eBay about Chicago Trolleys that had aired on WTV back in 2002. Timeframe stretched from the ‘30s to the '50s, and most of the footage was in color. One shot of the very late '40s/very early '50s United Artists Theater was stunning, with brilliant chase lights doing their job late in the day! This is a tape to get if you wish to see some of the theater’s earlier grandeur.

The folks who market this tape (still not available on DVD, however) are MAHP: Mid-America Historical Preservation and can be contacted at P.O. Box 464, Whiting IN 46394. Cost is low (I won my copy with a single $8.99 bid), and all proceeds fund their other preservation projects. Worthwhile and recommended!

kencmcintyre on June 1, 2006 at 3:09 pm

Here is an interesting article about the United Artists Theater:

johnlauter on April 8, 2006 at 6:24 pm

I believe this to be a picture of the Wurlitzer style “H” organ in the United Artists Theatre.

I was in the theatre in 1979, it really had the appearance of a reto-fit. It was a grind house at the time, the manager humored us and let us see the auditorium.

sdoerr on March 26, 2006 at 4:43 pm

Here’s what is set to take place now at Block 37:

It appears to have stalled though as there has been no news since 2005 and the only change noted at the site is the movement of earth.

barryr on February 7, 2006 at 9:06 pm

In the 70’s, I remember seeing a couple of Sensurround films at the United Artists: “Earthquake” and, some years later, “Midway.” The sensation was rather like one of those vibrating beds gone out of control. In retrospect, it’s amazing that old structure didn’t collapse on us. I also remember “Star Wars” being there for what seemed like forever the summer it came out, although I had seen it further north at the Esquire.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 31, 2005 at 5:26 am

Turner Classic Movies just held a week long retrospective of the films of Alfred Hitchcock that included a documentary on the making of “North By Northwest.” There is some brief footage of the film’s World Premier at the United Artists Theater in Chicago, a week or two before the film opened in New York at Radio City Music Hall. The marquee depicted at the top of the page dates from 1958 with a Cinemascope presentation… However, “North by Northwest” was filmed in VistaVision and released the following year. Did they install a VV screen somewhere in between or was the screen already there for some time and used for Cinemascope presentations with some sort of masking?

Broan on June 28, 2005 at 7:57 am

The correct link for my above comment is here