Granada Theater

6427 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60626

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Showing 126 - 150 of 160 comments

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 7, 2005 at 7:33 pm

On the website that Bryan posted, there is a whole story about the Granada. The person that wrote this story also names the architect as Eichenberg. Anyway, there are lots pf photos of the Granada at that site.
Story link:
http://www.oldgranadatheatre.com/journey.html

Photo link:
http://www.oldgranadatheatre.com/photos.html

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2005 at 7:07 pm

According to the index at the Chicago Art Institute, the name of the architect is Eichenbaum, not Eichenberg.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 7, 2005 at 3:43 pm

I found some history on the Granada Theater. Before this theater was built, St. Ignatius Church was located on this site until 1923. The Church moved to 6559 N Glenwood Ave. The Marks Brothers purchased the property for $1.5 Million in 1924. Opening day was September 18, 1926. It was operated by the Marks Brothers theatre chain. The Granada was designed by Edward Eichenberg for Levy & Klein.

Fricanoj
Fricanoj on January 8, 2005 at 9:00 am

I was an usher at the Granada in 1968. the first movie I remember seeing there was “The Graduate”. I was there for about a year and rose to the rank of Head Usher. I remember the huge lobby and how it used to fill up before a show. We used to hold inspections an Saturday nights to makee sure all the ushers were looking there best. I’ve explored the theater from top to bottom. from the roof, to the “catacombs” as we used to call them under the seats in the auditorium, to the huge spiral staircase on the top level of the backstage area. The managers I worked under were Mr. Grossman who eventually went to the United Artists Theater Downtown and then Mr. Dave Klingman who wound up going to the Nortown. We did a lot of crazy things there including spending an overnight there, (we wern’t supposed to but we did anyway). I was also there as they were tearing it down and I also have a brick from the building. I think about those days constantly and remember them as some of the best times I had.
Joe Fricano

OliverQLauder
OliverQLauder on December 30, 2004 at 10:51 pm

I was a student at Loyola from 1984 to 1989.

I also “let myself in” several times in the late 1980’s as the demolition was under way. One day, someone had smashed all of the Granada’s glass doors and I just walked in one day. I have often described the interior as appearing as it had been bombed during WWII.

I will never forget walking around the rubble with little light but being amazed. The highlight of my tour was walking into a pitch black room and hitting my flash. For a fraction of a second, the entire theatre opened up. I was actually in the auditorium. I snapped away. Today, I have two pieces of ornamental plaster from the Granada hanging in my kitchen. Will never forget this place. Today, it is a shame that unless you knew it was there, there is not a trace of it today on Sheridan road.

Oliver Q. Lauder
Aurora, IL

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 9, 2004 at 6:55 am

The architect at Levy and Klein who designed the Granada was Edward E. Eichenbaum.

The original architectural drawings of the Granada are in the possession of the Art Institute of Chicago, and can be viewed there by qualified scholars. (I believe they can be seen only by appointment.)

JeffWeinstein
JeffWeinstein on October 15, 2004 at 9:19 pm

I saw “Logan’s Run” and Streisand’s “A Star is Born” in this theater in the 70’s. Years later, I attended a Cheap Trick concert here. I think the reason it ultimately closed was due to a lack of PARKING. There was NO parking lot nearby, and the residential area was (and is) VERY congested.

However, the theater also was just TOO BIG to survive. It is a shame that this is the case, but in the day and age of the 6, 12 and 20+ screen theaters, it just could not compete.

warhorse
warhorse on August 30, 2004 at 9:47 pm

Thanks, that is a relief that no bomb ever went off at OUR Granada. Even if it would have been long before most of us were around.

RobertR
RobertR on August 30, 2004 at 12:15 pm

A 50s view of Sheridan Road, showing the towering vertical sign of the Granada, can be seen here.
posted by Bryan Krefft on Apr 22, 2004 at 11:06pm

This sign was HUGE what a loss it’s all gone

warhorse
warhorse on August 29, 2004 at 9:55 pm

I, too, remember the Granada fondly. I believe this is where we first saw South Pacific and Auntie Mame. We would come to the occasional movie in the ‘50s and '60s. I guess we couldn’t wait for the movie to come to the Varsity and Valencia (they’re all gone now).

After we moved to Rogers Park in ‘70 it (and the old 400) were the closest theaters. The Granada was always preferable to the little 400.

It was a beautiful theater inside and out.

What I want to know is why it was bombed in 1928? Wasn’t that one of your photos, Brian? Was that part of the war between either the owners or projectionists or the mob or all of the above?

I have thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s comments. It brings back good memories of a wonderful theater.

And I don’t know the condition of the building at the end. It may have been in sad shape or not. But I also know that Loyola University wanted that entire area for development.

They have less people attending there every year.

markymark
markymark on July 7, 2004 at 4:54 pm

I helped clean and polished this theater’s interior in 1980/81 for the North American tour of The Rocky Horror Show. I was a regular of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Biograph Theater when I was asked to usher and hand out programs at The Granada in my costume (Eddie).
It was wonderful,I attended at least 10 performances and even made it on TV for a Fox (channel 32) show with host Mike Liederman. They intrviewed people in costume for the Rocky phenominum. I remember being at the top of the balcony at the Last,higest possible seat and looking down and wondering how anybody could see the screen,not to mention the stage actors! What a beautiful palace it was!

tdemos
tdemos on July 6, 2004 at 2:55 am

I was part of the group that put several of Three Stooges Festivals in 1980’s at the Granada. Jonathon Brandmeier was the guest/host DJ at one of these events! These were well attended and supported by the community. They featured some of the stooges more unusual works such as the wartime propaganda parody “I’ll never Heil Again” and the unusually violent “The Stooge to Conga”.

The theatre’s owner at the time was surprised that a money-making operation could actually be taking place at the theatre. The projectionist was an old-timer who had worked the Granada during its heyday and called all of Chicago’s old movie palace’s dinosuars.

All of the projection room equipment at the Granda including the Carbon Arc projectors was intact and in working condition during this period. The theatre itself was in good shape, but one problem we had during the show was that electrical wiring in the alley that supplied the theatre was only adaquate for maintenance needs, not a full blown show at night with all the lights on. No one (not even the owner) told the promoters about this. During one of the first “Stooge Nights”, the wires in the alley started smoking and the Chicago Fire Department and Commonwealth Edison were called for what looked to be an emergency situation.

The promoters feared a riot if the stooges show were cancelled but fortunately, the enterprising Commonwealth Edison Lineman pierced the smoking wire splices with a live bypass jumper. The show went on and the audience never experienced a problem.

A previous poster mentioned no heat in the theatre and this is true. I believe one of these festivals took place during a cold February weekend and the steam heating system of the theatre simply was too antiquated to work. The audience didn’t seem to mind, however.

The Granda Theatre was beautiful and mostly intact during the 1980’s and could possibly have been renovated. However, the owners of the property had other ideas for the property and the neighborhood was just a hangout for the Loyola students and (to some) perhaps did not seem suited to having a landmark status building. What a shame that what once was… is no more.

T Demos

GaryParks
GaryParks on June 17, 2004 at 4:11 pm

I too, will point out that the Granada’s facade provided visual source material for the artist who created the Styx “Paradise Theatre” album cover circa 1980. Indeed, it was this album and its concept and cover art which was the catalyst for turning me into an old theatre architecture fan, though I had always enjoyed visiting older theatres.

JimRankin
JimRankin on June 17, 2004 at 8:42 am

The first comment here describes the GRANADA’s land owner as a “land banker” which implies that he was somehow keeping something valuable in store for the benefit of the city. Nothing could be further from the truth! Cities can create ‘land banks’ due to expected expansion, but individuals are simply SPECULATORS, people who buy any land hoping its vlaue will rise so as to be able to sell it later at a large profit. They characteristically put nothing at zll into the land, so that they can rape it for the maximum profit. In a country where 99% of the people really worship money, this is considered normal. Remember that Wolf creature who did this with the UPTOWN and was profiled in “Chicago” magazine? Sad, sad!

BobHart
BobHart on June 17, 2004 at 5:30 am

Thank you to everyone who entered comments. My first job was as an usher at the Granada in 1960. One had wonderful memories of the buildint. Very sorry to see it go. But life does go on. We used to store the Pop Corn in the original Theater Managers Office on the first floor. The Organ at that time was still in the Orchestra pit and did go up and down. The Organ pipes were behind the stage and went from the lower basement and up to the sixth floor. We had pumps running all the time to keep the lake water out of the basements. The best week-end we had there was when we had ‘Pillow Talk’ and ‘Some Like It Hot’ showing together. We extended the show for an extra projection and didn’t finish that night until about 2 or 3 in the morning. Yes I did go out with one of the ‘Candy Girls’. Thanks again for all whot have provided information.

mharkins
mharkins on April 22, 2004 at 8:22 pm

I grew up in Rogers Park and rented a beautiful victorian apartment just a few blocks from the theater when I was in my early 20s (during the early ‘80s). The very first movie I ever saw in a movie theater was the Beatles’ “A Hard Days Night”. The atmosphere was electifying as thousands of young girls screamed throughout the entire movie. It was an overwhelming introduction to one of Chicago’s great architectural treasures.

I recall seeing many films there over the years and eventually attended a number concerts there in the early-mid ‘80s. Does anyone remember when Todd Rundgren performed at the Granada? I believe that it was during the early 80s.

The Granada should have been declard a landmark building and preserved for generations to come.

edward
edward on April 17, 2004 at 1:59 pm

Incredible images on the Library of Congress site. Unbelievable how large and elaborate this place was.
Was not familiar with this theatre. What a loss for Chicago.

dougiede
dougiede on April 17, 2004 at 1:21 pm

I spent many happy hours at the Granada during the ‘40s and '50s. It was one of those things that one thought would always be there — it seemed so secure! By the way, the marquee of the Granada was changed (“updated”, if you like) during the early '50s. It would warm my heart to be able to see some vintage photos (like the opening of the theater in 1926, etc.) of the theater taken at various points during its halcyon days. Any help there would be greatly appreciated!! I haven’t lived in Chicago for a great many years, but the Granada will always be the epitome of THE movie palace, at least in my heart.

Dougde

dougiede
dougiede on April 17, 2004 at 1:17 pm

I spent many happy hours at the Granada during the ‘40s and '50s. It was one of those things that one thought would always be there — it seemed so secure! By the way, the marquee of the Granada was changed (“updated”, if you like) during the early '50s. It would warm my heart to be able to see some vintage photos (like the opening of the theater in 1926, etc.) of the theater taken at various points during its halcyon days. I haven’t lived in Chicago for a great many years, but the Granada will always be the epitome of The movie palace.

Dougde

Tina
Tina on March 26, 2004 at 10:55 am

What a spendid opportunity to be able to comment on the Granada! I
looked hard a few years ago to find any pictures of it and the only
one I could find, until now, was from a book I found in the library.
It was taken probably in the 40’s or early 50’s. I have a copy of it sitting on my desk.
Unfortunately, I had to move from Chicago a number of years ago. It
saddens me deeply that the Granada won’t be there to visit when I plan to move back! The grandest memory I have is the night I saw
“Quadrophenia” there. Posters were being given away and after the
movie I asked about them. The supply had been quickly snatched up
before the film. However, thanks to the exceptional kindness of one
usher, I did get a poster and a short tour upstairs to the supply for
the next night. We walked behind that huge arched window and I remember feeling such a thrill to see different parts of such a truly magnificent and regal piece of history! I wish I could again
thank that special usher for a memory I will never forget!
I also talked to a member of the Theatre Historical Society a few
years ago who mentioned that there was going to be an auction of articles from the Granada. Did it ever happen and are there items
anywhere that are available?
A sincere THANK YOU to Bryan Krefft for posting the last images
of a place that touched the lives and hearts of so many of us!

ScottEnk
ScottEnk on December 17, 2003 at 8:49 pm

Okay, third try. Mea maxima culpa.

At the Library of Congress Web site listed above, click on “Search.” Then select “Photos & Prints.”

At the next screen, in the search box, type “granada theatre” and click the “Search” button. The second link that will then appear, the Historic American Buildings survey files on the Granada, will take you virtually there. Click on the icons noted above.

Scott Enk

ScottEnk
ScottEnk on December 17, 2003 at 8:43 pm

I just found out that the link above doesn’t work. My apologies; try this one. Try this link:

http://memory.loc.gov/

At the right side of the page that then appears, select the link for photographs. At the next screen, type “granada” in the search box. Click on the word “Search” to the right.

A series of links will then appear. Near the bottom is the one for our beloved, late great Granada Theatre.

Click on the icons for black-and-white photographs, photo captions, and data pages to see the respective materials. Brace yourself for awe—and tears at what we’ve all lost.

Scott Enk

ScottEnk
ScottEnk on December 17, 2003 at 8:33 pm

Thanks, Bryan Krefft, for that link. In fact, there are over 30 photos of the Granada, exterior and interior, available at the Library of Congress Web site at the following Web address:

View link

Most of these pictures were taken shortly before this irreplaceable treasure was torn down, so they show the theater in heartbreakingly bad shape. Nonetheless, the grandeur of the Granada shines through.

I was there only once, in November 1981 for the opening night of the Chicago International Film Festival and a showing of the classic 1924 silent film Peter Pan, complete with a live orchestra playing the original score. Steven Spielberg and Francois Truffaut were presented with awards. If I am correct, King Vidor was in the audience that night.

It was unforgettable—and so was and is the Granada.

One of the Theatre Historical Society of America’s recent annuals covers the work of Edward Eichenbaum, who designed the Granada’s interior. Does anyone know of any other sources of photographs, historical information, or other material on this theater?

In my hometown of Milwaukee,we’ve already lost many wonderful theaters of our own; the Avalon, our city’s last atmospheric theatre, is in grave danger of being gutted for offices. You can find more information about this on this Web site at its entry for the Avalon. Sad.

I second (and third) the sentiments of a previous poster. Whether or not you live in Chicago, don’t let what happened to the Granada (and what almost happened to Chicago’s Oriental and Chicago Theatres!) happen to Chicago’s incomparable Uptown Theatre!

Scott Enk

sduros
sduros on November 25, 2003 at 9:42 pm

I grew up three blocks from the Granada, and I saw many classic movies there. I saw the movie Easy Rider there, which changed my life – good or bad? – both! One flew over the Cuuckoo’s Nest premiered there, and I saw Taj Mahal and a couple of other bands there. I wax poetically about the Granada in this prose poem I wrote about growing up in Rogers Park…
http://www.sduros.com/Beaches.html

My understanding is that the Granada met its end because it was allowed to deteriorate by a known slumloard, and Rep. Dan Rostenkowski worked the ropes to get funding from Congress so that a seniors building could be constructed there. Lo, after the old Granada was torn donw, the senior housing failed and the building went to Loyola University, of which Rosty is an alum.

unknown
unknown on October 26, 2003 at 11:22 pm

I worked as an usher at the Granada in the late 60’s. What a masterpiece it was. It was once included in a list of the top 50 Balaban and Katz “Movie Palaces”. Another one that was allowed to die was the Howard, also in Rogers Park. I understand the crowds have been gone for a long time. But preservation of history has to have some priority! We must not let this continue.