Biograph Theater

2433 N. Lincoln Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60657

Unfavorite 31 people favorited this theater

Showing 101 - 125 of 130 comments

TracyN
TracyN on January 17, 2006 at 2:56 pm

The plaster pieces you refer to were from the auditorium, not the lobby and I was responding to your comment about the lobby. Much of the plaster like what you pulled from the dumpster had water damage, and more of it was damaged in earlier renovations. They did try to salvage it by prying it off the wall, but the pieces literally pulverized in the effort. (Please note – the debris in a dumpster is very unstable and it can be quite dangerous to dig around in one). I don’t know about the Biograph over the door – are you referring to the faux deco lettering that was added in the 80s? The renderings that you mention are conceptual sketches only and do not represent a completed design. Hope this helps!

Broan
Broan on January 16, 2006 at 9:19 am

I personally grabbed a couple chunks of ornamental, albeit relatively simple, plaster from the dumpster last week. Certainly it’s been remodeled a number of times in its history, and this was probably covered over, but it did exist. Are either of those wood sections to be maintained? And what about the main theater, or the upstairs? And yes, I agree it will probably be an improvement over the most recent appearance, and it will look nice, but it’s not really restoration. Brick does fit with the Victory Gardens aesthetic from the current location, which I do like. Why was the ‘Biograph’ over the doors removed? And why is the white pediment over the entrance missing in the renderings? Is the marquee going to be repainted correctly, with the proper typeface and striping missing in the present paint scheme?

TracyN
TracyN on January 16, 2006 at 8:53 am

There was very little in the lobby to preserve. That area of the theater had no detailed plaster work of any kind. There was one small wood section that had some painted detail, and a short run of carved wood that appears to have had lights in it at one time, but other than that, it was pretty much concrete and ductwork. The original bricks on the walls will be exposed and cleaned, it should be a nice restoration from the current drywall.

Broan
Broan on January 6, 2006 at 12:45 am

Interior demolition recently began. The lobby is now essentially gutted. Sad, I had thought they would try to restore it.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on October 18, 2005 at 3:05 pm

The 2000 film, High Fidelity, starring John Cusack, filmed in front of the Biograph. John does monologue about Dillinger being shot by the FBI because of his (expletive) girlfriend tipping them off (going along with the theme of the movie).

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 26, 2005 at 2:48 pm

This is a vintage photo of the Biograph Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 12, 2005 at 4:09 am

This is a 2003 photo of the Biograph Theater.

vinnie69
vinnie69 on August 15, 2005 at 6:19 pm

I have to agree with markh cause I attended The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Biograph too from 79 to 83 and it also brings back great memories too and I also remember Trax Wax too mark near the Biograph. It was great growing up there.

reiermann
reiermann on July 5, 2005 at 9:41 am

True story: I was watching The Prince of Tides here a few years ago. I was sitting toward the back and was there pretty much by myself. In front of me I was watching various audience members look down once in a while into the aisles. Shortly afterward I heard a loud squeeking. I looked down and about 12 inches from my feet was a very large rat. I jumped out of my seat and ran into the lobby. I asked for a manager and he told me that there was a big rat infestation in the theater because there was some kind of renovation work going on next door. I had him retrieve my coat and got my money back. Believe it or not, I did go back to the Biograph but sat with my feet tucked under me for the entire movie.

cinemajunkie
cinemajunkie on June 29, 2005 at 5:53 am

Village Entrainment is the biggest dumb as*es working in the theater exhibitor business today. Village has no public relations first of all. They do no advertising what so ever. There are no newspaper ads and not even the Village Entrainment web site works anymore
http://www.villagetheatres.com The Webmaster had some kind of falling out with Village, which am sure was over money. Village has grown over the years but does not have the money to keep theatres running, either because they don’t have the financial backing or they simply don’t want to spend the money. Biograph Theater was sentence to death under Village’s name. Village sentenced Water Tower Theatre to death. That is just to name a few. Note to big chains if you want to destroy a theatre without a bad mark on your name sell it to Village Entertainment. Landlords want a reason to use a theatre space for other use rent it to Village! At Village Entertainment will kill them all!! No theatre is too big! 1,2,3, 4 screens even 5. Heck give us 20 we kill them too!

Horace
Horace on June 27, 2005 at 11:02 am

As has been an annual tradition for years, the JOHN DILLINGER DIED FOR YOU SOCIETY will convene outside the Biograph on the evening of July 22, 2005. The public is invited. Also, Dillinger’s alley is still there. Contrary to popular belief. tho, the telephone pole there has been replaced many times.

Broan
Broan on June 3, 2005 at 7:05 am

I don’t think it really was about that. It was open right up til Victory Gardens announced their purchase, and they had been investigating it for a long time. And the ownership shuffle probably didn’t help, but that was largely a matter of bankruptcies. Granted, VG has seemingly done very little renovating so far (funding?). It’s good to see it in the hands of someone who will use it rather than tear it down, even if their plan isn’t totally ideal. It should at least look better.

cinemajunkie
cinemajunkie on June 3, 2005 at 6:19 am

The thing I can’t understand is how can 3 Penny keep surviving but Biograph seemed unable to stay afloat? It is not like I want 3 Penny to close anything but the Biograph is across the street and people seemed like they just didn’t want to go to Biograph .

Broan
Broan on March 16, 2005 at 6:36 am

The Dillinger alley is still there, the buildings around it have just changed. View link This shows a diagram of the Dillinger Shooting; the grocery was demolished recently and a coldstone and qdoba now occupy its site. The 3 Penny is still there, twinned. As far as I know, the only theatre just off Argyle was the Argmore, but that closed in the 50s. Perhaps you’re thinking of the Bryn Mawr, directly next to the Bryn Mawr stop? The Century Centre, and all the other theatres you mention are all listed on this site.

motogal
motogal on March 16, 2005 at 4:17 am

Ken, the Three Penny is directly across the street from the Biograph. Regarding The Century, it continues to expand and there are now seven movie screens on the top floor of the mall; they show artsy and foreign films these days.

kenraney
kenraney on March 16, 2005 at 12:16 am

The alley where Dillinger was shot no longer exists as a building was built over it. I saw Rocky Horror there as well in 1978-79. The show was well established and regulars brought all the props. The show was always packed. I maybe confusing locations, but wasn’t there a small “Arts” theater called the Three Penny across the street?
I recall a revival theater opening off the Argyle “EL” stop. I saw The Wizard of Oz on the big screen there for the very first time. I was thrilled to see details I never saw on all the years I’d seen it on tv.
Living on the northside in what was then called “New Town”, Belmont was my EL stop and I often saw films at the Lakeshore Theater.
I worked in an old theater on Clark Street that had been converted into an mini-indoor shopping center. The ornate white stone facade was all that was left and it was called The Century. Anybody know anything about it?
Ken Raney

QUIXOTE
QUIXOTE on January 21, 2005 at 8:16 pm

I only saw one film at the Biograph, back in the early 1970s… A DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVITCH. Don’t remember the last of the film tho; I and the Lady I was with had smoked our brains out on weed before coming in, and we fell asleep! <<grin>>

Back then, the whole area was a hippie hangout; right across the street was the old folk music club, “Somebody Else’s Troubles”.

motogal
motogal on October 10, 2004 at 5:21 pm

Brian Wolf & br91975, the Biograph has (or had, as the case may be) three screens: one main one on the first level and two smaller ones upstairs. On thing I found charming was the old-fashioned ticket seller’s box.

br91975
br91975 on September 9, 2004 at 7:18 pm

The Biograph was a three-screen house although, having never seen a film there, I can’t attest to the layout.

Broan
Broan on September 9, 2004 at 6:58 pm

Also, I believe this was a three screen, as there were only three placards and three films booked. But never having been there I can’t confirm this.

Broan
Broan on September 9, 2004 at 6:55 pm

The Biograph Theater has now closed. This despite the listings showing it open today. Oh well.

Broan
Broan on August 22, 2004 at 12:56 pm

You’d have to contact the owner, Village theatres. http://www.villagetheatres.com

mikeylikey
mikeylikey on August 22, 2004 at 10:46 am

Are there any old pa amplifiers from the Biograph available for purchase… That is, of course, if they are not going to be otherwise used.

Michael

markymark
markymark on July 3, 2004 at 7:05 am

I attended “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at The Biograph from 3/80 to 6/83 and it holds very special memories for me.
Anybody know if the beautifully ornate building a little to the north which once housed Wax Trax records was of any historic signifigence?

fmtheis
fmtheis on June 28, 2004 at 10:21 am

I just returned form a trip to Chicago which included a family reunion and a tour of the Biograph. (My great grandfather built it, owned it until 1922 when it went to a holding company controlled by his wife Lena and brother Charles… and then it was transferred to his 7 children in 1947. My grandmother sold her interest in 1972 – I am curious which relative Mr. Lubliner is?. Part of my documentation includes tax payments (really neat, and cheap by today’s standards)and floor plans throughout its history.

The theater is going to be turned into a ‘legitimate’ theater in the next few months, significantly changing the interior structure (little remains of the original). The main theater will lose half of its seats when a stage is built, and one the upper theaters will be modified with flate (rather than raked) floors. Exploratory tests have shown some original work may be hidden beneath the dropped ceilings, but it is too early to know what can/will be preserved.