Showing 101 - 125 of 153 comments
Great to read your post. I hope you read all the posts for the Southtown. I have two others prior to this one that you’ll find my experiences very similar to yours.
I forgot to mention the increase from nine-cent admission price to twenty-five cents to theaters in 1953 (or ‘shows’ as we also referred to them). I think that worked out to a 277% increase. No small amount for those times. Our mother used to give us fifteen cents for the show: Nine cents for admission and six cents' worth of candy from the Ace Department Store at 63rd & Halsted Sts. I felt devastated by that hike. I thought I’d never get into those shows ever again.
You mentioned the Southtown ‘was one of seven theaters in the Englewood Neighborhood …’ I remember only six (63rd St.: Southtown, Englewood, Stratford, and Linden; and Halsted St: the Empress and Kim). I know there were others in Englewood further out that had closed down earlier (the Harvard at 63rd & Harvard St. being one). What was the seventh? Speaking of the Harvard, do you remember it?
I’d like to hear more about your Englewood experiences. I have postings on all of the theaters in the Englewood district. The posting I have on the Ace Theater (you and I knew it as the Kim but it’s listed here as the Ace) that you might appreciate. I exchanged postings with a another Englewoodian named Quixote. You can read them on the Ace Theater site. His experiences were quite similar to mine.
Your last sentence reflects my feelings about Englewood exactly: ‘… remember with fondness … a neighborhood that was a kid’s dream!’ Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Tell me what else you remember about Englewood.
Found a real nice 1926 aerial photo of the Forum Theater.
The names of Shubert, Field, Wrigley (and yes, Comiskey as well) are names of human beings. We honor humans. Corporations are not human beings. The problem with corporate naming is that they are ‘buying’ legitimacy. Bear in mind the tax write-offs for corporate sponsorship, so maybe those sponsorships are not all that altruistic. Remember when Enron Field in Texas had to be paid to have their name taken OFF the building? My original point was that, because taxpayers are the main contributors (usually to build a new stadiums), why not name it Taxpayers' Stadium?
Who is Vicente Fernandez? (No ‘n’ in his first name.) He is one of Mexico’s most popular singers, called the ‘King of the Rancheros.’ Born Feb. 17, 1940 in Huentitlan del Alto in Jalisco, Mexico.
He has recorded a total of 56 albums. At one point, he performed (for free) at the La Plaza de Mexico in front of an audience of 54,000, still a record for the Plaza. He still performs. Just recently, Fernandez announced that he planned to open a mariachi theme casino in Las Vegas called Guadalajara, Guadalajara.
He probably appeared at the Congress Theater in 1988.
Earlier this year (on a different theater), I posted a note regarding the Bob Hope/Stratford Theater connection. I wrote the following:
“At the point of repeating my earlier post about this theater: Bob Hope: During the 1920s, when he was nobody, he had just come from a booking agent’s office in the Loop, looking for work. He found none.
Hope later stated that, at that moment, he decided to give up and go back to Cleveland and go into some other line of work. As luck would have it, he ran into a fellow performer on the street who recommended that he try the West Englewood Theater at 63rd and Ashland Ave., (later to become the Ogden Theater). There, he caught a couple of weeks' work. The theater said they could really use him at their other vaudeville theater, the Stratford. He remained at the Stratford Theater for about a year as the emcee and honed his act. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve heard him state that where he really got his start was at the Stratford Theater in Chicago.”
Glad to add this tidbit to the Stratford trivia.
Here’s a picture of the old Admiral Theater:
And a postcard (circa 1939-40):
Here is an old picture postcard of one corner of 63rd & Halsted. Just to the left of Whelan’s Drugs is the Linden Theater. No year is stated but it appears to be from the 30s or 40s.
With the exception of the Southtown, all of the theaters in Englewood, at one time or another, featured either vaudeville or burlesque. I remember reading on a chat room from a woman who’s back porch faced the rear of the Empress Theater and she remembered watching the strippers taking smoke breaks on the fire escape. As for the Stratford, it’s where Bob Hope got his start in the 1920s.
You’re correct in noting the Southtown (built in 1931) wasn’t as old as the Englewood. However the above-noted Stratford opened in 1919, only seven years after the Englewood, so the ‘more nostalgic’ label might be a bit too narrow. In addition, the Empress opened in 1913, same year as the Englewood.
Good to hear about the theaters around 63rd & Halsted. Hope to hear more.
On the South Side, the Englewood and the Linden were practially across the street from each other (743 & 726 W. 63rd St.), with the Stratford (715) down the street. Around the corner, the Empress (6226 So. Halsted) and the Kim (6219)were similarly placed. Honorable mention might go to the Capitol at 7941 So. Halsted and the Cosmo, 7938 So. Halsted.
The Englewood district was loaded with theaters.
From the Los Angeles Times this morning (March 18, 2005):
“Chandeliers, Tiles Are
Stolen From Fox Theater”
“Thieves broke into the historic Fox Theater this month and stole chandeliers and tiles valued at $251,000, according to city officials.
"The thieves apparently pried open a side door and stole three Spanish-style chandeliers, 300 handmade 1920s-era Spanish tiles from a stairway and 85 tiles from the basement.
"The city sees the once-luxurious landmark as an integral part of its efforts to remake its faded downtown. Their goal is to turn the theater into a performance arts venue.”
I lived a couple of blocks from this theater in the early 70s. At that time, however, it was a country and western bar. I went in there a few times. Can’t remember the name. It stayed for about four or five years, closed and then re-opened as another nightclub with Latin music.
P.S.—Very sharp of Joe Vogel to point out that it’s Colorado Street in Glendale and Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. It seemed not even Glendale residents knew that.
Can’t place the nude scene movie but the Jerry Lewis film was probably one of two: Visit to a Small Planet (Paramount, 1960), or Way, Way Out (20th Century Fox, 1966).
Sometime in Spring 1975, I took my fiancee to the Mayfair. They had a live production. It was an English music hall production, complete with a pompous master-of-ceremonies. I remember the theater being pretty small but quite clean.
Good to hear from you. In ‘Road to Perdition,’ I seem to remember the same thing. The word ‘Perdition’ in the title refers actually to a town in Illinois (the crime boss is head of the mob in Rock Island, IL). I’m just as in the dark about the other film you mentioned.
It’s quite ironic that you mention the Cook County Assessor’s office website—with photos no less! Ironic, because I just came upon it, just last Saturday! I’ve got photos of three houses where we lived. I was a bit overwhelmed looking at them. Thanks for reminding me of the Lynn and the Rex. Both were before my time. Still, it was interesting looking at them. The Rex looked quite impressive.
I just read today that Ralph Bunche School, 6515 So. Ashland Ave., is being put on the close list.
Will post when I have more.
In looking over some of my books on Englewood, I must correct myself regarding the name of the fire we both witnessed. The correct name of the company was General Furniture, not Fish Furniture. (Fish Furniture was on 63rd St.)
Memory is gooooiiiinnnggg.
Hadn’t seen any of these photos. I know the area with the power house very well, my dentist’s office is directly across the street from it. The firehouse is there and there is a DWP building right next to it. Not sure if it’s the same or a new one. Didn’t know about the name Diaz St. That’s a real nugget! Thank you.
Thanks for the response. As I said, I worked at the Green Sheet from ‘75-77 in the Composing Room. Worked mostly graveyard shift (in printing it’s called the 'lobster’ shift). I remember the bowling alley. Didn’t grow up in Van Nuys; in fact, born and raised in Chicago. However, been in So.Cal. 35 years, plus 2 ½ years in the military, so I’ve lived more than half my life here. In addition, I married a native who was born at Hollywood Presbyterian Hosp. and raised in Encino. When she grew up there, it was mostly farms. Our kids were born here also. Lived in the same house here in Studio City for 29 years. I’m am a big history nut so I love hearing stories about So.Cal. history.
That’s why I said “off” Van Nuys Blvd. I couldn’t remember the name Friar St. I worked at the Green Sheet in 1975-77.
No Green Sheet (now Daily News) off Van Nuys Blvd. It’s in Woodland Hills.
Quite a story. If you graduated from CVS in 1967, your age would be about 55 (I’m 60). My brother went to CVS. He would’ve graduated in ‘60; he was in the same class as Chicago Bears’ Dick Butkus.
My own story is not all that disimilar. Originally, we lived on Garfield Blvd., just east of Western Ave. After briefly living in Ohio in the late 40s, we moved back to Englewood, first living with my grandfather at 60th & Normal Blvd. in 1949; then moved to 60th & Union for four years. After that, to 64th & Green St. (one year); then to 65th & Stewart Ave. until April 1958, at which time we moved to Oak Lawn.
I went to St. Martin’s School 1950-1954, 59th & Princeton Ave.; then to St. Bernard’s School 1954-1958, from where I graduated. Following four insufferable years at Oak Lawn Comm. H.S., I enlisted in the Marine Corps where I played in the band on Okinawa and 29 Palms, Calif. After my discharge in Jan. ‘67, I moved back to Oak Lawn and stayed for two years, then drove back to So. Calif. in 1969. I received an A.A. in 1972 from Glendale College and eventually became a typesetter. Got married in 1975 and more or less graduated from Calif. St. Univ. in 1978, majoring in journalism. I went to work for Daily Racing Form in 1977 and stayed until they kicked us out in 1993. Then became president of L.A. Typographical Union and served three years. Later served as a business rep for the office workers’ union for about three years. Went to work at a dot.com in Jan. 2000 and got laid off Nov. 2003. Been unemployed since then.
In remembering Englewood, I don’t recall a Kroger west of White Castle. I do remember there was a bowling alley west of it. They probably tore it down for the Kroger’s. I’d guess they were similar in size. As for Perkins Bass School, I do remember it. I just never knew it’s name. I remember Louis Champlain School, Beale School, and the ever-popular Kershaw School. We hung around their playground quite a bit. As for the schools I attended, St. Martin’s is closed I understand and St. Bernard’s is now St. Benedict the African, a composite parish of St. Martin’s, St. Bernard’s, and Our Lady of Solace.
When I lived at a three-flat at 65th & Stewart, a Superior Court judge lived on the third floor, Judge John H. Lyle. He’d lived there since the early 1920s. He had a taxi take him to court and back, every day. He once was once an alderman from Englewood and even ran for mayor during the 1930s. While we lived there he wrote a book that eventually became a national best-seller, “The Dry and Lawless Years” (Prentice-Hall Inc., 1960). It was about his battle with the gangsters of the 1920s, including Al Capone. Quite exciting book.
Speaking of books, there’s a good book about Englewood you might like. It’s called “Chicago’s Englewood Neighborhood: At the Junction” by Maria Lettiere Roberts (Arcadia Publishers, 2003). The title is play on Englewood’s original name, The Junction. It’s very good. Covers Englewood from the beginning to the present.
But of all my Englewood memories, it was the theaters that I remember most. They, and the stores, were the linch-pins of the district. If you stood at 63rd & Halsted, there were six theaters within walking distance. Who needed a car? What a place!
After all that moving around earlier, we’ve lived in the same house in Studio City, California for 29 years. Ironically, right down the street from us, about two blocks, is the former Republic Pictures studio, where countless numbers of westerns were filmed. Now it’s called CBS-TV Studios. It was here that “Seinfeld,” “Hill Street Blues,” “The 70s Show,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Gilligan’s Island” were filmed.
Bought my first automobile in 1965 at a small used car lot, Huck’s Used Cars, next to the San Val: ‘56 Chevy Bel Air, $200.
Thanks for the response. I believe your interpretation is an accurate one. I should have emphasized more that it didn’t appear to be the Radio Theater, mainly because Halsted St. (at the 5000 So. area) was not as built up as it was at 6300 So. blocks. What threw me was the theater-type light bulb lettering on the marquee. With that in mind, I assumed it actually was the Radio Theater and concluded that that couldn’t be the L at 63rd & Halsted. I agree: Correct intersection, wrong ‘theater.’
Looked at the photo of the Radio Theater. That certainly isn’t the L in the background. Either it’s a train or that is not the Radio Theater.
Hopefully, you’re familiar with that area. I’ve been trying to locate a theater, with no luck, from there . The theater was the Arcadia, located on 55th Street, between California Ave. and Fairfield Ave. CinemaTreasures has nothing on it and I’ve search the Web—nothing. Does it ring a bell?
That’s where I found the address, causing me to ask the question. I think you may be correct. The Chicago United may have been on the spot earlier.
Thanks for answering