Portage Theatre

4050 N. Milwaukee Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60641

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Showing 101 - 125 of 202 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 30, 2006 at 5:05 pm

I heard that a process server showed up at the Portage a few weeks ago looking for someone named Paul. But the last name wasn’t Fortini.

It’s good to see that dealing with the City of Chicago and neighborhood leaders is not as impossible of a task as some might have led us to believe.

Broan on November 17, 2006 at 9:19 am

Here’s a great recent shot of the Portage. In fact, it’s so recent, it says it was taken tomorrow.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on November 9, 2006 at 5:13 am


It does seem like the evening was a success. Our only complaint was that the seats needed either refurbishing or replacing. But that was a minor complaint and we think that will occur in time. One thing at a time, right?

I don’t know if it is too late for suggestions, but here are some:

1) Concerts, especially fundraisers, which could feature Chicago/Illinois talent such as Billy Corgan, Wilco, Buddy Guy, Son Volt, Robbie Fulks, BoDeans (okay, they’re Milwaukee, but they are still popular in Chicago).


3) Film festivals, such as by actor/actress, director.

4) Film festivals of movies that were “just beneath the radar”.

5) A film festival of the Christopher Guest/Harry Shearer/Micheal McKeon “Mockumentaries”—Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Mighty Wind, Best in Show".

portageparkmom on November 2, 2006 at 12:02 pm

Paul, I’m glad you came out to the Portage on Friday Night – This event was organized by a group of residents (myself included) and the Six Corners Association. We really had alot of fun planning the event and hope to plan several similar events in the future including but not limited to the 2nd Annual Monster Film Festival (we are thinking of going 3D for this one)Oct 26 – Oct 31, 2007. We were thrilled to see a line of people down the block and around the corner it proves yet again that people are interested in the Portage Theater. Some ideas for future shows are a Godzilla Fest, Star Trek Fest, Cartoon Saturday and more. Please keep checking the Portage website for updates or go to www.sixcornerschicago.com for more info. Thanks again for attending the event.
If you have any other ideas please let me know we are meeting to discuss future events next week I would love to hear them.

Broan on October 30, 2006 at 8:18 pm

Today’s was a trip to the Harold Washington library, to use the Art Institute’s Avery Index. I was looking to see if there was anything on the Adelphi, Pickwick, and Esquire, (I copied beautiful photos of all three,) and while I was waiting for more journals to be pulled I thought i’d look up the renovation architect’s name in the Tribune archives. So that’s how. I had the name before, for the Adelphi, but I guess it never occurred to me to look.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 30, 2006 at 8:08 pm

Where do you find this stuff B?!?!

Broan on October 30, 2006 at 7:48 pm

The Portage’s 1940 modernization was by Mark D. Kalischer, who also remodeled the Adelphi and Harper (Hyde Park)

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on October 28, 2006 at 8:51 am

Per my above comment, I forgot to add the letter (B) to my comment about smaller independent theatres!

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on October 28, 2006 at 8:46 am

My girlfriend and I went to see THE MUMMY here last night (10/27/2006). Rich Koz made an appearance as his SVENGOOLIE character. He made a “star entrance”, riding up in an old hearse. The red carpet was laid out for him and his “entourage”—some cheerleaders, a guy in a mummy suit and a guy in a Frankenstein’s Monster suit. For those of you who don’t know who Rich Koz is, he works for WCIU-TV 26. He is the last on-air local entertainment TV host (ie not news nor Public TV) in Chicago. He hosts a Three Stooges show as himself and he does the SVENGOOLIE show, which is old monster movies. Click here http://home.comcast.net/~grotto1/richkoz2.html or here http://www.wciu.com/ for further information on him.

The theatre was fairly crowded for this. The line to get in for people who pre-purchased their tickets, was down the block and around the corner. This takes me back to the days when (A) Chicago was a haven for diverse, local programming (Bozo/Bob Bell, Ray Rayner, Frazier Thomas, etc). It also reminds me of the days when smaller independent theatres HAD monster movie festivals and other special programming. Hey, even Plitt’s Will Rogers Theatre on Belmont Avenue did live children’s shows into the 1970s!

I think that if the remaining small houses such as the LaGrange, the Pickwick, the Logan did more film festivals and made it fun to attend, and reached out to their respective communities for support, people would go! They sure did last night.

mmccune on October 6, 2006 at 9:04 am

The Chicago Horror Film Festival is at the Portage this weekend (October 6-8, 2006). I haven’t been in the Portage in over 5 years and can’t wait to see the theatre in its newly restored glory!.


portageparkmom on October 3, 2006 at 3:06 pm

I would love to have you attend the film festival we have so much to talk about. The Portage Theater has all of a sudden taken off most weekends for the month of October are now booked up and more are coming including an NBC casting call. check out their web site for more details of what is happening at our beloved Portage Theater.

portageparkmom on October 1, 2006 at 3:39 pm

The Six Corners Business District will host its inaugural Six Corners Monster Film Festival at the Portage Theater Friday Oct 27th – Tuesday October 31st. Monsters will roam the streets of Six Corners, Pedicabs will deliver patrons to the world famous Fantasy Costume Headquarters and a variety of fabulous restaurants.
Svengoolie will make a guest appearance and sign autographs on opening night. The theater lobby will be decorated in a haunted house theme and each night will host a costume contest (dress as a character from the movie) for additional information go to our web site http://www.sixcornerschicago.com/monsters
The purpose of this event is to promote the Portage Theater and the six corners shopping district. We hope to host events like this several times a year to promote the neighborhood, the commercial district and the theater.

ISUProfessor on August 13, 2006 at 7:01 am

I stumbled on this site with great nostalgia. I grew up near Harlm and Irving and my first job as a 16 year-old (1964) was as an usher at the Portage. I met my first girlfriend there, she worked behind the candy counter. I have fond memories of the people who worked there: the 80+ year old projectionist, the seemingly ancient (to a 16 year old) ticket-taker (Sam) who would shuffle across the lobby to his station at the wall-to-wall glass entranceway, the manager who kept the office door locked while “confering” with the head candy girl, and the red jacket, blue pants and bow tie the ushers were required to wear.

Ah…the old days.

mp775 on June 21, 2006 at 7:31 am

The official site is up at http://www.portagetheater.org Watch for details on the Silent Summer Film Festival, coming July 19 to August 25.

mp775 on June 13, 2006 at 3:46 pm

We’re working on a website, temporarily up at http://www.hopetunnel.org/portage Nothing much yet, and not all the links work.

There will be a Chamber of Commerce event this Saturday, with a screening of Pirates of the Caribbean at 6:30 P.M.

MaryP on June 13, 2006 at 9:28 am

They’re doing the “Serenity” charity benefit on June 23. Details at: http://www.serenity.reversedrive.com/

mp775 on June 11, 2006 at 6:11 am

They’re showing Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein and To Be or Not to Be this weekend

mp775 on May 28, 2006 at 5:01 pm

More stuff coming up – Next weekend, June 3 & 4, will be That Night in Rio and Weekend in Havana. Love will be shown June 22-25.

uptownadviser on May 26, 2006 at 4:42 am

Please correct: In the 80s, its auditorium was divided in two, and the interior received a modernization in which much of the little that remained of its original decor was lost.

Is not true!~

The division project simply built a wall in the not-exactly-middle of the auditorium. Very little original decor was lost. Aside from long-gone (and kind of ugly light fixtures), the auditorium retains almost all of its decorative plaster and details.

It has been lovingly renovated for single-screen presentation!

mp775 on May 25, 2006 at 4:27 pm

In addition to the Silent Film Festival, the Portage is showing Call Northside 777 and Niagara several times over Memorial Day weekend, and Friends of the Uptown will be presenting Uptown: Portrait of a Palace at 8:00 P.M. on June 8. Also coming up is Vladan Nikloic’s Love.

jwarren on May 22, 2006 at 7:00 am

Organist Mark Noller did a great job accompanying the Chaplin films for the Portage Theater’s opening program to the delight of the 1,000 plus in attendance. Mark is house organist at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre and is regularly featured by the Silent Film Society of Chicago along with associate organists Dennis Scott and Jay Warren.

Broan on May 22, 2006 at 5:36 am

The seats are the largely same ones that were in there when it was a twin. Seating has been reduced to 1321 due to a much-expanded stage, larger seats, and deeper aisles. Also as an interesting note, the original (tiny) stage and proscenium is still behind the screen, blacked out so as to not interfere with the modern screen, now among the largest in Chicagoland.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on May 22, 2006 at 5:25 am

I was there yesterday (5/21/2006) for the 6:30pm showing of MODERN TIMES. There were only about a dozen people in the auditorium. I hope that the owners of the Portage can keep the momentum going and earn enough to keep the place open!

They did a good job of restoring the place. Maybe not as elaborate as the Tivoli in Downers Grove, but nice nevertheless. The seats installed there seem like they were re-used from another theatre. They are comfortable but do not have cup holders. They are however staggered so that everybody has a good view.

I never thought I’d see the place re-open. The last movie I saw there was PREDATOR (circa 1990). Even though the place had been twinned, it hadn’t been cleaned.

Best of luck to the new owners!

BTW, the posting needs to be updated. It should now be listed as “open” with a single screen. The function should be “classic & silent films.”