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Tim, I have heard that Willis Johnson has vowed NEVER to operate a theatre in the city of Chicago, mainly because of tax issues.
CF If you get a chance check out Colony Theatre facebook page and become a fan.
Okay, let me first give a little history on the Evergreen Theatre because I think I might have caused some confusion. The theatre opened in 1964 as a two-plex. When you walked into the building back in it’s early days, there was an enoromous lobby. On the right side (the southern end of the lobby) was Theatre 1. It had roughly 1200 seats (blue in color); on the left side (northern end of lobby) was Theatre 2, approx. 950 seats (orange in color). When I first went to the Evergreen Theatre in December, 1977, to see CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND in 70mm, I watched it in Theatre 1. About 6 months later, M&R added a new screen, constructed in the huge lobby area. It was called Theatre 3 and they cramned in 550 seats. In the early 1980s, the general manager decided to change the number order. The 1200 seat remained known as Theatre 1; however, the small theatre between the orginal two auditoriums became known as Theatre 2 and the 950 seat theatre became known as Theatre 3. In the fall of 1983, Theatre 3 (formerly 2) got a wall built down the middle; henceforth, they became Theatre 3 (440 seats) and Theatre 4 (470 seats). The last time I saw a movie there was in 1986. Theatre 1 was still the same and as far as I know it remained that way unti the theatre closed in 1999.
I used to work at the Evergreen, in 1983. M&R converted a section of the huge lobby into a smaller 550 seat auditorium in 1978. In 1983, they twinned what used to be called Theatre 2 and they became Theatres 3 and 4. The theatre closed in 1999 as a Loews Cineplex theatre.
Wouldn’t it be nice if an independent operator took over the theatre. Believe me, Pipers Alley used to be a half-way decent theatre. It used to have 70mm in 2 auditoriums. I think that AMC only operates it because perhaps they are stuck in a lease. I don’t know. But you are right. Let’s hope for a new tenant.
Normal, Ill. is a small town. Chicago is a big city with big taxes. The Patio has been closed for NINE years now. Nobody’s offering to re-open it. If I had money to burn, I would re-open it as a multi-purpose venue. I just don’t see it happening. Tim O'Neill
The Colony Theatre now has a Facebook page. Please become a fan.
I liked it better when it was known as A Walter Reade Theatre.
The Patio Theatre will never re-open as a full-time movie theatre ever again. Maybe it’ll re-open as a multi-purpose venue, but as a movie house, forget it. It’s been closed for NINE years now, and Alex is almost 71 years old. He’s not going to operate it again. I love the Patio; I used to moonlight there as a projectionist, but it’s never going to be a full-time movie theatre again.
Once upon a time, from 1996 until 2001, this Imax theatre had a wonderful little film series known as Late Night at the Max. It showed various films in either 35mm or 70mm. They ranged from TOP GUN to YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. They even showed a beat-up old 35mm print of Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA. For 2 or 3 weeks, they showed 2001: A SPACE ODYESSEY in 70mm. I could go on and on. Unfortunately, when Loews Cineplex decided not to renew their co-management agreement with Imax, they took the 35mm/70mm projection equipment with them. And, thus, Late Night at the Max ended. It really was a throwback to the good old days of big wide screen presentations in a downtown single-screen auditorium.
Yes, Terry, brilliant idea. QT please open up in Chicago as well. There’s an old downtown theatre called the World Playhouse, 410 S. Michigan Ave. It’s been there since 1901. It’s got a very interesting history. It’s been an orchestra house, live stage house, foreign language film house, porno theatre, and from 1982 until 2000 it was part of the Fine Arts Theatre complex. You hear about all these celebrities opening restaurants all over the place; it would be so cool if QT would open a small chain of revival theatres. Where do I send my resume?
If you check the Ramova Theatre Facebook site, there is an old picture of the Norwal Theatre.
It IS the correct year. BEST DEFENSE was a 1984 comedy starring Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy. Back in the good old days, neighborhood theatres would do stuff like that. They would play a current film doubled up with an older film, usually from the same studio. Both BEST DEFENSE and THE WARRIORS are from Paramount. Back in 1982, I worked at the Village Theatre. One Paramount double feature we had was SOME KIND OF HERO (1982) and THE WARRIORS (1979). Unfortunately, this sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore.
Well, I hope that Alex has been taking care of the theatre since it closed almost 9 years ago. I think that he should re-open it as a multi-purpose venue, like the Portage. It’ll never make it as a first run theatre. Some of these film companies want you to play a film for up to 4 weeks. That’s fine if you have a megaplex with various seat counts in each auditorium; but a single screen theatre? Forget about it.
If you want to check out videotape of the Village Theatre, go to YouTube and type in “The Edet Show, Parts 1, 2, 3” and also type in “Screening Caligula”. Enjoy.
You could also try the Harold Washington Library 3rd floor microfilm room. They have rolls of microfilm of newspapers dating back to 1849. Good Luck. Let us know what you find.
Scott, you may be right, but a lot of theatre chains don’t want to operate in the city of Chicago due to excessive high taxes.
If you ever get a chance, stand on the northern portion of the southbound L platform. Now, look south on the northern side of the Vic Theatre building. If you look very carefully, you will see an old, ghost sign on the brick wall. You will vaguely see the word “photo play.”
I don’t know the Polish word for ozone; however, the Irish word for ozone is “O'Zone.”
movie534, you should check out the website www.in70mm.com I envy the people of Europe. There seems to be a lot of 70mm fesitvals going on over there. It has always been my dream to put on 70mm screenings here in Chicago, but also to take it on the road. Problem is: no bucks. If I could just meet that one crackpot millionaire out there who loves film and is willing to lose money on such a venture…
Also don’t forget the 30th Anniversary later this year of : THE SHINING; THE BLUE BROTHERS; FAME; THE ELEPHANT MAN; RAGING BULL. I remember Siskel and Ebert labeling 1980 as the worst year ever for movies. Although I think I’m old enough to admit to everyone that I saw these two movies in 70mm: CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC and THE JAZZ SINGER with Neil Diamond. Alright, stop that laughing!!!
What I don’t understand are the real FILMmakers. Why don’t they get involved and speak out against digital projection? Quentin Tarantino told Roger Ebert in an interview that he will never shoot on digital. Steven Spielberg once said that he will shoot on film until they shut down the last film lab. Oliver Stone supposedly told George Lucas that he will be remembered as the man who destroyed cinema. Most movies that come out of Hollywood are still shot on 35mm film. Heck, there are still some movies shot on 16mm. Why does this world we live in want to give up on one of the great art forms of all time?
I tip my hat off to movie534. I’ve stated this before: FILM is for the theatres; VIDEO is for television. Why can’t these studio and theatre chain executives figure this out? Imagine LAWRENCE OF ARABIA shot on video. They claim that digital will save money. Oh my, are film studios strapped for cash after a record-breaking 2009? Yeah, they’ll save money alright, but the moviegoers will be paying exactly the same, if not more.
Thank you for the photos. Hopefully, somebody can post photos of the theatre when it was open. One thing I would like to point out:
Up above in the history section, it claims that the theatre opened in 1917. I don’t think that’s accurate. I’ve seen a lot of movie ads from that period and the Marquette is never listed. According to THS the Marquette opened in 1925, that might be more accurate. The theatre did close after the first weekend of January, 1981 with it’s last movie being THE ARISTOCATS. The first movie I saw there was in the summer of 1971 and that was THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK; the last movie I saw there was FADE TO BLACK in November , 1980.
Jim, try to contact the Southwest News-Herald. I remember back in September, 1976 there was a picture on the front page with these senior citizens protesting something or another as they were marching down 63rd Street. A photographer snapped a picture of them as they marched past the Marquette Theatre. Also, in July or August, 1978, there were Polish-American protesters who were demonstrating out in front of the Marquette Theatre. They were protesting the Burt Reynolds movie entitled THE END. Maybe the Southwest News-Herald has some pictures of that situation. Also, try contacting some local tv news outlet. They might still have video tape of the Polish protest. Good Luck from Tim O'Neill