Des Plaines Theater

1476 Miner Street,
Des Plaines, IL 60016

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Sbilly69 on November 23, 2001 at 10:37 pm

Although I am a resident of Arizona now, I did grow up in Des Plaines as a child, and have many vivid memories of the Des Plaines Theater and have often wondered if it still existed. Many theaters have been demolished coast to coast. The last time I was in Des Plaines was 1972.

I am not only interested in old movie theaters in general, but I am also interested in the pipe organs that once graced these theaters. At one time in the 1960’s I even appeared on stage at the Des Plaines theater playing an electronic organ for intermission music, a gimmick by a local music dealer. I still have the tape I made of the event!

The manager of the theater at that time related to me that the Des Plaines theater did have at one time a pipe organ, but it was sold to a mortuary. Now if this Gulbransen Rialto analog electronic organ sounded that great, just think what a real pipe organ would sound like!

Coast to Coast, pipe organs are being re-installed in movie theaters/performing arts centers and are being used in the programs with great success!

What I am trying to say is this. If the city of Des Plaines wants to convert the Des Plaines Theater to a performing arts center, I hope that they will do it right. Such as restoring the building to it’s original splendor, (as was the case with the Orpheum Theater here in Phoenix), and since the Des Plaines theater has organ chambers, why not fill them with an organ, so the city of Des Plaines can enjoy this wonderful form of entertainment that other communities are enjoying? I often wonder if anything at all of the previous Des Plaines theater organ remains in the chambers.

If you want to see a pipe organ in a theater locally, contact members of the American Theater Organ society, or e-mail me for names in the Chicago area. I was a member while I lived in Des Plaines.

I would like some feedback. What do you think about this idea? I know of several instruments available now on the internet!

Also I was shocked to learn that the Des Plaines Theater suffered a fire that almost destroyed the building. What happened? Where was this fire? What caused it? Once again I would like feedback. I grew up with this theater!

I certainly hope that Des Plaines will use this as a performing arts center, and I certainly hope that they can transform the Des Plaines theater into a real gem, a masterpiece, and something for all to behold and enjoy! Many communities are doing this exact thing! Why? Because it is so profitable! E-mail me. Lets talk!

Bill Hagey