United Artists Theatre

45 W. Randolph Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 101 - 125 of 129 comments

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

Bad ass. What a great bursting effect.

Broan
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
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
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
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:

http://davesrailpix.com/cta/htm/cta0228.htm

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

BrooklynJim
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
kencmcintyre on June 1, 2006 at 3:09 pm

Here is an interesting article about the United Artists Theater:
http://tinyurl.com/n7f5s

johnlauter
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
sdoerr on March 26, 2006 at 4:43 pm

Here’s what is set to take place now at Block 37:
http://www.108northstate.com

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
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
Broan on June 28, 2005 at 7:57 am

The correct link for my above comment is here

Broan
Broan on June 28, 2005 at 7:52 am

Some 1953 views of the United Artists and several other loop theatres are available at Real Chicago: Chicago in the Fifties. Interesting to see the old marquee, before the more familiar huge wraparound. It must have been a real challenge to make a marquee work around a curved corner entrance.

UAGirl
UAGirl on January 18, 2005 at 10:28 am

Will,

You nailed it on the head! Here’s your star for the day. * :)

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on January 17, 2005 at 1:06 pm

Ron, while others can explain this in much better detail, in a nutshell, many of the Hollywood studios owned, operated or otherwise were involved with theatres. You make more money if you show the picture you made in your own theatre. So Paramount Pictures owned Paramount Theatres, RKO owned Keiths and Orpheums, Warner Brothers owned Warner theaters. If I remember the story right, Loew’s theatres operated the other way, the theatre chain created MGM studios to provide material for their screens: a subtle twist on who owns what. United Artists studios got the Apollo Theatre in Chicago and made it into one of their prime exhibition halls. When the theatre changed hands years later, the name stayed the same.

Again, trying to keep this long, complex story brief, the Consent Decree of 1947(?) separated most of the studios from their theatres. Paramount, MGM, Warner and RKO were the main studios effected. (I think) Smaller studios like Columbia, Universal and Disney owned few theatres and were not included in the Consent Decree, but neither did they have enough realestate for it to matter much.

That’s the gist of it anyway.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 15, 2005 at 2:45 pm

What relationship, if any, did this theatre have with the United Artists movie studio? Was it a preferred place for United Artists films to be shown?

Broan
Broan on August 23, 2004 at 7:28 pm

This view would be roughly from the Woods theatre, wouldn’t it? The substation, I believe, is the building with the U-shaped facade in the photo. Incidentally, this substation is, as I undersand it, a significant factor to why Block 37 has not been developed; the power to much of the loop is controlled from this building and consequently the block is snaked with power lines, the relocation of which would inevitably cause all sorts of havoc to the loop. This is a textbook example of why buildings should not be torn down until plans are absolutely finalized. Also, the text on that lobby photo page isn’t really correct in saying it was built inside an existing structure, rather it was a remodeling of a live theatre venue, correct?