Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 26, 2007 at 8:08 pm

They have to rent projection machines now. At least that was the case back around ‘91 when the building engineer gave me a guided tour. I suppose the situation could have changed since then. But it doesn’t seem like they do enough film business to make purchase worthwhile.

CatherineDiMartino
CatherineDiMartino on July 24, 2007 at 9:38 am

The basement of the theatre, where “Shear Madness” is playing, contains photos of historic Chicagoland theatres. Most of them are still extant, but no longer showing films. They include the Riviera, the Oriental (I believe), and what is now called “Appollos 2000”. I don’t recall whether or not they have photos of the Lake and the Tivoli (the one in Downers Grove).

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 24, 2007 at 7:14 am

I recall when visiting with Theatre Historical Society of America in 2003, being told that it was used for film festivals. I’m not sure if 35 mm projectors are in the booth, or need be rented.

Vito
Vito on July 24, 2007 at 5:21 am

Does anyone have an update as to the condition of the original projection toom, and is the thetare still capable of showing movies.

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on July 23, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Just some information that i have found on the Rapp Bros.

The brothers were born in Carbondale, Illinois

C.W established his own practice around 1891

George was a grad. from the University of Illinois he graduated in 1899 with a dereee in Architecture.

In 1906 the brothers founded the firm Rapp and Rapp

In 1917 thay started to design for Balaban and Katz

The firm designed more than 300 theatres

The firm was dissolved in 1965.

Just thought that some one could use this information thank you for you time. :)

CatherineDiMartino
CatherineDiMartino on July 13, 2007 at 5:53 am

I saw Shear Madness, which is playing in the “Downstairs Theatre.” This space, formerly offices, is really just a room. But I did get glimpses of the opulence of the main theater. They don’t let patrons upstairs into the main area when there’s no shows going on.

JRS40
JRS40 on May 4, 2007 at 8:28 am

Fred – I’m not sure how to answer that. As a kid I simply started writing down the bookings each week (and have several more theaters still to post)in the 70’s. As a teen I used to go to the library and one day found old newspapers and started going backwards until I got to 1964 and then I stopped going. Since you are in KC going to the library is not an option. Outside of that I can’t think of any other way since you can’t find it on the Internet (that I know of). Thanks for your kind words and look for my other listings as I post them. And good luck in your search. Should you ever find them make sure to post them!!

FredRen
FredRen on May 3, 2007 at 3:59 pm

JRS40 – Thank you so very much for your downtown theater listings!! It means a great deal to me personally. I truly appreciate the time and effort you put into it. How can I go about getting these same listings for 1959 thru 1963? I now live in Kansas City. How can I research from my end? Would appreciate any advice you could offer and thanks again for the listings!!

JRS40
JRS40 on May 3, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Archives – FUNNY GIRL played at the United Artists (check out the film schedule I have listed there as well).

Mike – With the exception of some obvious re-release double and triple features, the movies that played the Chicago were first run. Up until the mid 70’s it was almost always an exclusive engagement as well and there were even a few in the mid to late 70’s as well but the exclusive runs were phased out by studios who saw the chance to make a bigger profit by opening it simultaneously on screens in the suburbs as well.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on May 2, 2007 at 1:51 am

JRS40 Was this a first run theater or second run?

deleted user
[Deleted] on May 2, 2007 at 1:40 am

JRS40
Great historical research on the film listing! What Chicago theatre played the reserved seat engagement of FUNNY GIRL in October 1968? It wasn’t the Mike Todd as someone responded to my earlier question on this. Thanks.

JRS40
JRS40 on May 1, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Here is a list of the films that played here from 1964-1980.

1/03/1964 – CHARADE
2/21/1964 – MAN’S FAVORITE SPORT?
3/20/1964 – CAPTAIN NEWMAN M.D.
5/08/1964 – PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES
5/29/1964 – THE CHALK GARDEN
7/03/1964 – THE CARPETBAGGERS
8/21/1964 – MARNIE
9/25/1964 – THE VISIT
10/9/1964 – WHERE LOVE HAS GONE
11/6/1964 – FAIL SAFE
11/25/1964- YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE
12/25/1964- SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL
2/12/1965 – STRANGE BEDFELLOWS
3/12/1965 – DEAR BRIDGETTE
3/26/1965 – DEAR HEART
4/16/1965 – IN HARM’S WAY
5/28/1965 – MIRAGE
6/11/1965 – JOY IN THE MORNING
6/25/1965 – HARLOW
7/23/1965 – THE SANDPIPER
8/25/1965 – CAT BALLOU
10/8/1965 – THE IPCRESS FILE
11/11/1965- THE CINCINNATI KID
12/25/1965- THAT DARN CAT
1/28/1966 – MADE IN PARIS
2/18/1966 – THE SILENCERS
4/15/1966 – CAST A GIANT SHADOW
5/27/1966 – THE LAST OF THE SECRET AGENTS
6/17/1966 – NEVADA SMITH
7/15/1966 – ARABESQUE
8/12/1966 – TORN CURTAIN
9/30/1966 – AN AMERICAN DREAM
10/12/1966- KALEIDOSCOPE
10/26/1966- SECONDS
11/9/1966 – THE PROFESSIONALS
12/22/1966- MURDERER’S ROW
2/15/1967 – FUNERAL IN BERLIN
3/15/1967 – HOTEL
4/19/1967 – HOMBRE
5/26/1967 – 8 ON THE LAM
6/15/1967 – YOU ONLY LIVCE TWICE
8/23/1967 – BAREFOOT IN THE PARK
10/11/1967- ROUGH NIGHT IN JERICHO
10/27/1967- WATERHOLE #3
11/17/1967- TONY ROME
12/20/1967- THE AMBUSHERS
1/24/1968 – GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?
4/12/1968 – WHERE ANGELS GO TROUBLE FOLLOWS
5/01/1968 – MADIGAN
5/22/1968 – YOURS, MINE AND OURS
6/21/1968 – THE GREEN BERETS
7/26/1968 – ROSEMARY’S BABY
10/11/1968- BARBARELLA
11/8/1968 – SHALAKO
11/27/1968- COOGAN’S BLUFF
12/20/1968- CANDY
2/07/1969 – THE STALKING MOON
2/26/1969 – THE WRECKING CREW
3/26/1969 – WHERE EAGLES DARE
4/30/1969 – MIDAS RUN
5/17/1969 – WINNING
6/18/1969 – MACKENNAS GOLD
7/11/1969 – THE WILD BUNCH
8/27/1969 – WHATEVER HAPPENED TO AUNT ALICE?
9/24/1969 – BULLITT plus BONNIE AND CLYDE
10/10/1969- BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
12/19/1969- THE ARRANGEMENT
1/16/1970 – TOPAZ
2/18/1970 – THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN
3/11/1970 – THE LAST GRENADE
3/25/1970 – THE ADVENTURERS
5/20/1970 – THE GRASSHOPPER
6/17/1970 – TOO LATE THE HERO
7/03/1970 – CHISUM
7/24/1970 – THE OUT OF TOWNERS
8/21/1970 – EL CONDOR
9/11/1970 – WATERMELON MAN
10/9/1970 – MONTE WALSH
11/6/1970 – HOTEL
11/20/1970- DIRTY DINGUS MAGEE
12/25/1970- LOVE STORY
6/04/1971 – THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES
6/30/1971 – LE MANS
7/23/1971 – MURPHY’S WAR
8/11/1971 – THE LOVE MACHINE
9/17/1971 – NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS
10/1/1971 – LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH
10/22/1971- PLAY MISTY FOR ME
11/19/1971- SOMETHING BIG
12/8/1971 – LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
12/24/1971- SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION
1/14/1972 – SUCH GOOD FRIENDS
2/09/1972 – POCKET MONEY
3/08/1972 – PLAY MISTY FOR ME plus THE BEGUILED
3/22/1972 – THE GODFATHER
7/14/1972 – FRENZY
8/16/1972 – THE NEW CENTURIONS
10/8/1972 – BARON BLOOD plus THE THING WITH TWO HEADS
10/25/1972- LADY SINGS THE BLUES
12/22/1972- THE GETAWAY
3/07/1973 – CIN-A-ROCK (LIVE MUSIC AND FILMS)
3/14/1973 – LADY SINGS THE BLUES
4/18/1973 – SOYLENT GREEN
5/13/1973 – COFFY
6/08/1973 – TERMINAL ISLAND
6/27/1973 – THE MAN WHO LOVED CAT DANCING
7/20/1973 – JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
9/21/1973 – DETROIT 9000
10/7/1973 – HIT!
11/11/1973- SACRED KNIVES OF VEANGENCE plus FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH
11/25/1973- CLEOPATRA JONES plus SUPERFLY
12/25/1973- MAGNUM FORCE
2/08/1974 – SERPICO
4/05/1974 – THE GODFATHER plus LADY SINGS THE BLUES
4/12/1974 – THE SUPER COPS
5/10/1974 – CLAUDINE
6/21/1974 – UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT
8/30/1974 – TOGETHER BROTHERS
9/27/1974 – TRUCK TURNER plus FOXY BROWN
10/18/1974- THE FAMILY plus TRICK BABY
10/25/1974- THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
11/15/1974- THE KLANSMAN
12/20/1974- THE TOWERING INFERNO
3/14/1975 – DIRTY HARRY plus MAGNUM FORCE
4/18/1975 – THE STREETFIGHTER plus POLICE WOMEN
5/02/1975 – THE CHINESE CONNECTION plus FISTS OF FURY
5/23/1975 – FRENCH CONNECTION II
6/27/1975 – COOLEY HIGH
10/17/1975- MAHOGANY
12/25/1975- FRIDAY FOSTER
2/11/1976 – THE DEVIL WITHIN HER
4/02/1976 – THE RIVER NIGER
5/28/1976 – EMBRYO
6/11/1976 – MOTHER, JUGS AND SPEED
6/15/1976 – THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES
7/16/1976 – THE BINGO LONG TRAVELLING ALL-STARS AND MOTOR KINGS
9/10/1976 – LADY SINGS THE BLUES plus MAHOGANY
10/1/1976 – NORMAN, IS THAT YOU?
11/19/1976- PIPEDREAMS
12/22/1976- THE ENFORCER
2/11/1977 – THE SENTINEL
4/01/1977 – UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT plus LET’S DO IT AGAIN
4/22/1977 – BROTHERS
5/20/1977 – THE GREATEST
7/01/1977 – DISCO 9000
7/29/1977 – GREASED LIGHTNING
8/26/1977 – THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU
9/09/1977 – FINAL CHAPTER WALKING TALL
9/16/1977 – SCOTT JOPLIN plus HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER
10/6/1977 – A PIECE OF THE ACTION
12/23/1977- THE CHOIRBOYS
1/20/1978 – SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
2/10/1978 – BLUE COLLAR
4/28/1978 – F.I.S.T.
6/02/1978 – CAPRICORN ONE
6/16/1978 – THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY
7/14/1978 – THE SWARM
7/28/1978 – THE DRIVER
8/25/1978 – DOGS plus DAMIEN: OMEN II
9/15/1978 – THE GREATEST plus THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY
9/22/1978 – WHICH WAY IS UP? PLUS CAR WASH
9/29/1978 – ENTER THE DRAGON plus FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH
10/13/1978- COUNT DRACULA AND HIS VAMPIRE BRIDE
11/3/1978 – MESSAGE FROM SPACE plus CHAMPION OF DEATH
11/17/1978- HALLOWEEN plus THE HILLS HAVE EYES
12/20/1978- EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE
1/05/1979 – SUPERMAN – THE MOVIE
4/13/1979 – HURRICANE
4/20/1979 – LOVE AT FIRST BITE plus BLACULA
5/04/1979 – BOULEVARD NIGHTS
5/18/1979 – THE REDEEMER – SON OF SATAN plus PLAGUE
6/01/1979 – THE DARK plus THE FAMILY
6/15/1979 – BUTCH AND SUNDANCE – THE EARLY DAYS
6/22/1979 – SILVER STREAK plus MAGIC
6/29/1979 – MOONRAKER
8/03/1979 – THE MUPPET MOVIE
9/07/1979 – EYEBALL plus SUSPIRIA
9/14/1979 – LOVE AND BULLETS plus THE DEER HUNTER
9/28/1979 – WHEN A STRANGER CALLS
11/9/1979 – THE FISH THAT SAVED PITTSBURGH
12/14/1979- THE JERK
1/25/1980 – GUYANA – CULT OF THE DAMNED plus BLUE COLLAR
2/08/1980 – AMERICAN GIGOLO
2/15/1980 – CRUISING
3/07/1980 – TRUCK TURNER plus FOXY BROWN plus HELL UP IN HARLEM
3/14/1980 – DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE plus TERROR
3/28/1980 – PENITENTIARY
5/16/1980 – THE HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS
5/23/1980 – EDGE OF FURY plus THE FOG
5/30/1980 – SILENT SCREAM
6/20/1980 – THE BLUES BROTHERS
9/12/1980 – GAME OF DEATH plus RETURN OF THE DRAGON
9/26/1980 – HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE plus INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
10/10/1980- GLORIA plus WHOLLY MOSES
10/24/1980- MOTEL HELL
11/14/1980- MONKEY HUSTLE plus FOXY BROWN plus BLACK CAESAR plus TALES FROM THE CRYPT
11/21/1980- ALLIGATOR plus FADE TO BLACK
12/5/1980 – FLASH GORDON

GFeret
GFeret on April 26, 2007 at 8:17 am

Mentioned once or twice in all the postings is their Screening Room “for the trade only”. Primarily in the 70s I went there on odd invitation—one entered the Chicago not off of State St but from the doors on Benton Pl, the south side of the bldg. At that entrance there’s a bank of elevators that takes one to the upper floors for that screening room; perhaps it was on flr 7 or maybe 11. Titles I saw immediatley before opening were BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY (DeNiro, Voight), and HAUNTING OF JULIA (Keir Dullea, Mia Farrow). I was with a small group of friends standing in the hallway up there when Roger Ebert walks up to us and gives us his strong recommendation to some other film.

On the CHICAGO main floor I remember seeing BARBARELLA on opening there. And all those above wracking their brains trying tom recall the name of the nearby downtown hamburger joints, will you still haven’t got it right. It was WIMPY’S—after the Popeye character.

Roloff
Roloff on April 16, 2007 at 11:48 pm

I have a postcard for the Chicago from 1922 which claims it has 5 000 seats!
View link

GrandMogul
GrandMogul on April 10, 2007 at 10:50 am

GOSSIP COLUMN ITEMs:
Chicago Tribune, Monday, August 5, 1955, s. 3, p. 6, c. 5:
Tower Ticker, by Herb Lyon

“Jack Webb’s "Pete Kelly’s Blues” should put movie houses in the black all over the country. His personals at the Chicago theater Friday almost equaled his own all-time house record for one day and the movie has nothing but moxie. Every muckety-muck in town turned out to greet Jack and his Dorothy at the Jimmy Hart’s party in the Ambassador Sat. night. [They even let me in.]… ."


same paper, column: Thursday, August 25, 1955, s. 4, p. 3, c. 1:

“The Jotted Lyon: Producer Sam [Mr. Prototype] Goldwyn in person, will be among the celebs in town for the "most spectacular” movie premiere yet—“Guys and Dolls” at the Chicago theater Nov. 11. Brando, Sinatra, etc., are expected to join in the hijinks … Balaban and Katz, as yet, are undecided whether to drop stage shows for the extended engagement of this 6 million buck tingler … ."


same paer and column, Thursday, July 7, 1960, s. 1, p. 14, c. 1:
“… . Sign on the Chicago theater: "Ice Palace. Cool Inside!”


same paper and column, Sunday, July 10, 1960, s. 1, p. 7, c. 4:
“… . ‘Twas Barney Balaban who launched the Chicago theater, and now his son, Burt, makes his own debut as a big league movie producer. Burt’s "Murder, Inc.” opens there Friday, tho financed by Fox, not by his dad’s outfit, Paramount. Burt, 38, and his 16 year old daughter arrive Sunday for a pre-opening buildup and to visit local Balaban relatives… . "


300bowler
300bowler on March 21, 2007 at 4:06 pm

Can someone e-mail me the bookings of the Chicago Theatre from 1964 to 1980 and if possible 1981-1985? My e-mail is

Thank you,
300bowler

Scott
Scott on March 2, 2007 at 7:10 am

BWChicago and Bryan – thanks for the photos. It’s a rather odd looking building, with that hole in the middle. And an odd name (MoMo, or Modern Momentum!) But it’s certainly better than the Walgreens building it replaced. And the addition of those condo units should only help the downtown theatre business.

Broan
Broan on March 2, 2007 at 4:41 am

Sure; a page on MoMo is here, with renderings. The building is not yet complete.

Scott
Scott on March 2, 2007 at 4:17 am

Can anyone point me to a photo of the building that was recently constructed next to the Chicago Theatre, the one that replaced the Walgreens building? Thanks.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 1, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Looks like the office space above the lobby has been renovated. Last time I saw it (probably 1990) that space had basically been gutted to the brick walls.

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on February 27, 2007 at 11:50 am

Thank you that answers a lot of questions .
thank you for your time on this matter.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on February 27, 2007 at 3:56 am

Plitt took over in the mid-60’s. Actually, the theatre was part of the ABC/Paramount chain split off after the consent decrees. Plitt worked as a circuit manager for ABC/Paramount directly under the ABC head Leonard Goldenson. The ABC owned TV station in Chicago was WBKB (Balaban & Katz Broadcasting)and the engineer who put it on the air was I. F. Jacobson, who was the technical head of the Balaban & Katz theatres. When ABC/Paramount got out of the theatre business, Plitt took over the chain. I was working part-time as a projectionist in a downstate Illinois Publix theatre (the chain had theatres under a variety of names including Paramount/Publix) at the time Plitt took over and gave circuit-wide passes to all the employees. My passes were always listed under the Plitt theatres name, and it was about that time that the top of the Chicago vertical sign was changed to Plitt.

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on February 26, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Also i also think that the high side attraction boards were removed durring the restoration, also the vertical sign is not the orginal one i think it is lighter than the first one and the marquee i think now has a sort of a piller think happing on the street level. If i rember right thire was a whole page in the Sun-Times or may be the Tribune i am not sure witch one. Thanks again

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on February 26, 2007 at 5:30 pm

I saw in the picture from the post above that the name on the vertical sign whare the B&K would be it says PLITT whan did PLITT take over from B&K?
Thank you for your time

GrandMogul
GrandMogul on February 9, 2007 at 11:46 am

When did the first Hollywood-style premiere take place in Chicago, and at what theatre?

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE gives us the answer: Thursday, October 24, 1940, p. 23, c.1 (news item):

CHICAGO’S FIRST MOVIE PREMIERE IS A SCOOP FOR STATION WGN

Chicago showed Hollywood something yesterday about putting on a real motion picture premiere—and a day early at that. But the rousing reception given the arriving “Northwest Mounted Police” stars and Producer Cecil B. DeMille was only a foretaste of what may be expected when Chicago has its first real motion picture premiere tonight.

The premiere of the DeMille technicolor production tonight is double barreled. First of all WGN, the Mutual network, and the Canadian corporation network will bring the radio premiere to the nation and to Canada. This is a scoop for WGN, for the premiere is exclusive over these networks. It will be presented from 7:30 to 8 o'clock on the regular In Chicago Tonight program under the direction of William A. Bacher.