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I was brave and made a trip earlier tonight to see GREENBURG. The Pipers Alley is still the same: pathetic. The staff has low morale; the presentation was lousy; the complex was empty as usual. AMC; please sell this place. You obviously don’t care about it. Sell it to Cinemark Fan; or, sell it to some independent operator who would like to return the Pipers Alley to it’s 1990s glory days. It’s amazing that this theatre is still open. It’s downright depressing.
Back in the summer of 1977, I went to the Colony Theatre to watch MURDER BY DEATH and TAXI DRIVER.
MAD MAX was intially released in the United States in 1980. Orion re-released MAD MAX in the spring of 1983. I saw it at the McClurg Court Theatre.
Oh, contraire………… The Michael Todd WAS twinned in 1986. Here’s what happened: M&R Theatres took over the Michael Todd in 1985 after it was closed for 6 years. They also wanted to take over the next-door Cinestage Theatre, but the owners of that porno palace put up a short fight. Eventually, M&R got both theatres and changed the name to Dearborn Cinemas. The plan was to twin both theatres. M&R did manage to twin the Michael Todd; however, they never got around to the Cinestage. The Cinestage side of the Dearborn Cinemas was occasionally opened, but the Michael Todd twinned side remained open until 1988. The M&R Dearborn Cinemas was a complete failure.
The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan is located in a dying downtown area and yet people go there to watch concerts and movies. People go see plays and attend live shows in Rogers Park in some pretty bad areas. People walk through some bad areas to cross over the Dan Ryan to get to U.S. Cellular Field to watch the White Sox. Yes, it’s a bad area, but I have hope for the Colony. I hope Mr. Valentine’s dream comes true. I miss going to the Colony. I haven’t been inside that theatre since 1981.
The River East 21 opened in the fall of 2002 and the McClurg Court Cinemas closed at the end of summer, 2003.
Trust me, J.W.; they’ll never come to town. I wish they would gut the inside and restore it to it’s original theatre self. Of course, they would have to do live performances there; it could never be a full-time movie house again. Can you imagine going to a concert near the lakefront? Now that would be awesome.
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.”