Showing 126 - 150 of 257 comments
As one who was lucky enough to be brought downtown as a boy to either the Bismark (now Palace) or McVickers theatres in late ‘50s-early-'60s by my wonderful uncle (we called him Johnny) to see these in their original 3-strip projection format (including the CineMiracle variant), a few first-hand things I can add:
1) at the time(s) I went in those years, usually but not always Christmas, the showtimes were well attended but by no means ‘full houses’. Yes the engagements’s seem to go on forever. Considering the level of set-up engineering needed to insure a seamless picture-perfect (pardon the pun) performance for each new release, it’d seem they’d want to get the longest mileage run out of it;
2) tickets were always sold reserved seat fashion, I enjoyed it all no less from the cheapest (upper) balcony seats in any case;
3) it’s always amazed me the projectors (3) utilized ‘vibrating aperture plates’, obviously to blur the 2 hard edges between picture panels and make them less noticeable, although they always could be made out by the picky;
4) and it’s worth pointing out (maybe it’s been already elsewhere) at least one 3-strip title I know of – BROTHERS GRIMM – got printed in Technicolor’s old dye-transfer process, furthermore for the Cinerama prints only (not 35mm general release).
I just learned of this brouhaha & shuttering from my pretty friend Claire.
Wonderful disappointment Chicago Style.
At least 4 shootings resulting in deaths in the area earilier this yr. Don’t quote me on that.
I supported the foie gras ban.
ooh – why do you even say such a thing SSB about the UPTOWN (yes I know not the right place for this). You see I drove by it yesterday expecting to see some sign of change or progress since ownership and policy question resolved a few months back. And you know what I saw? A lotta nothin'.
Trolleyguy: you’re of the opinion Dillinger tossed out possible movie theatre choices based on 2 he knew to be air-conditioned, one of them being close the other distant? Besides the COVENT I’d mentioned above there’s of course also the CENTURY (maybe he wasn’t aware of those 2?) big and not far. In 1934 I’d venture to say the bigger playhouses had installed A-C like the BIOGRAPH did. The small nearby venues like the EASTERLY or PARKWAY probably not yet, and the CREST (later 3-PENNY) right across from the BIOGRAPH was (temporarily) used non-theatrical.
All things considered I still like my more sinister explanation above for the MARBRO, certainly more in character for John D. than just “where’s the air conditioning?” Not a crucial reasoning for a man who needed to lay low in the public eye after all.
I wondered about Dillingers choice of theatres because, obviously, the MARBRO ain’t nowheres near (the BIOGRAPH). If I were selecting neighborhood shows strictly based on seeing a movie per se, I certainly wouldn’t pick a possibility so distant myself. A more logical 2nd choice would’ve been the COVENT Theatre, a large place not so far.
In PUBLIC ENEMIES one of Melvin’s men correctly assumes John would not go to the Marbro based on the fact it was showing a Shirley Temple pic at the time (this we hear in the films dialogue, assuming it is a booking fact). So why then would Dillinger have even considered the Marbro, by mistake? Maybe a better theory he had some (dirty) business cooking out on the city’s west side, and the theatre locale made the 2 convenient.
PUBLIC ENEMIES – the John Dillinger movie out last week, this theatre is mentioned more than once as an alternate to the Biograph Theatre for his final nite out. Those’ve seen the movie will know what I mean, I just wonder if it has any basis in reality?
Important but: the way this theatres name’s pronounced by the players in the movie, it still sounds to me like they’re all saying MARLBORO (not just MAR-BRO). Doesn’t it to you?
you mentioned Webster Place, well they have the parking thing going on with the adjoining garage. Business there wouldn’t be what it is, facelift or not, without that parking IMO. If only P.A. could do likewise with their adjoining garage. But maybe the garage on North Ave’s too small to faciliate this?
The updates you listed above are well and good. The restrooms behind the concessions per se don’t seem problematic, it’s not like one has difficulty finding them. But it would be better if they also had restrooms up on the theatre floor level, although so many (old) theatre put their facilities down in the basement so maybe that’s being too picky?
AMC MovieWatcher in the past has sent me surveys evaluating my last P.A. experience, and the one thing I might complain about is speed of ticket purchase. Have theatre managers forgotten so many arrive just 1-2 minutes before showtime, and until automated ticket dispensing’s perfected we need and want to buy our tickets without enduring one lengthy transaction after another.
If P.A. theatre people had more than half a head on their shoulders, they’d offer a can’t-pass-this-up price break for parking at the adjoining garage. That can and will make all the box-office difference.
The parking garage however from what I’ve seen has all the business they can handle from 2nd city and other Wells St attractions, so lot full happens. It vexes me the City of Chicago monster has evolved, so much of vital commerce crucially turns on a stupid thing like parking, a thing which hardly mattered in my own youth.
Here and at other sites this place gets bad-mouthing I don’t see it deserves at all. It is just fine, and right outside the ticket-door you can scrutinize the handprints of Carol Channing, Gary Sinese, and many others.
ROUND-UP (DALE) status as of yesterday – GONE.
As alluded to in the post directly above it was demolished last week.
Everybody hurry over to get your souvenier bricks, so you can mark and display next to your LUNA and PALACE Theatre bricks.
The owner should’ve posted to this site, if he had the sensitivity much less the guts, so one of us could’ve gone inside as a representative and final photographer.
Re.: PATIO marquee –
trucks keep ramming it, can’t say why this should be a particular problem in more recent times. Someone else can speculate?
For PATIO to remain standing profoundly disused for so many years sort of tells me the owner awaits even expects the right terms to be brought them for putting it back in business. Optimism, can’t fault them for that. Otherwise it’d’ve wiped away already, right?
I think of other disused old neighborhood movie palaces that came back to life after years, but unfortunately I can think of some—Montclare is one—the owner seemed to want to but after time ultimately gave up the ghost. With that in mind what’re the realistic odds for the PATIO—there’s poor street parking and it ain’t of any architectural significance.
A Feb. post above claims LAWNDALE/RENO renovation stalled, and having driven past there last week yes—unfortunately no (outwardly) visible progress at all.
You’re on the wrong side of the street David Z., cross Milwaukee Ave to the East side. You can tell automatically by the odd-numbered address that’s the right side for the Wicker Park Theatre, the Double Door being on the even-numbered west side of Milwaukee.
Movies! return to the LakeShore, move over live theatre venue.
I just noticed Monsters Vs. Aliens (which I already saw) advertised playing here now, matinee & evening showtimes. I wonder what their pricing policy is, to take over the shuttered 3-Penny?
The last title I remember seeing here was Dead Zone w/ C. Walken, to give you an idea.
GolfGlen re-opening as a BIG CINEMAS Theatre, or so the recent sign change there says.
DavidZ: from my recollections I’d agree with your above post about OMNI. Not very long after OMNI gave it up their main competition the nearly identical CUB FOODS also entered the local history books. I sort of regard both of them as the direction generic foods, which started back in the ‘70s, took. Now we have a local chain called FOOD-FOR-LESS, the comtemporary manifestation of the old Kroger Foods stores, that’s much in the same vein as OMNI/CUB.
Getting back on movie theater topic before I say bye for now, there must be others out there who feel strongly as do I, the area of the old LAWRENCEWOOD Theatre needs and is a ripe market for positioning a new multiplex.
BWChicago: as you can see on the flyer that old photo’s printed side-by-side with the Glenview one dated 2009, and as such even if the intent is to express ABT’s age by printing 1936 over the old picture, you’ll agree most people will presume the vintage date/photo represent eachother actually.
Excuse me for appending my own entry above:
ABT claims this old photo dates to 1936 (?). Does that make sense given the film actually playing the ROUND-UP? And storefront advertising in the window of the old ABT store says “January Trade-In RoundUp”, a tie-in with their nextdoor neighbor also visible in the photo.
Referencing the preceeding ROUND-UP / DALE entry by Mr. R. Smolen:
Right now no need for me nor anyone else in this area (ABT has quite a huge database of old customers) to drive out to Glenview to see this theatre photo, because it appears re-printed right on the face of a mass-mailed flyer advertising ABT’s 73 yr. customer appreciation day sale this weekend (sorry for the unavoidable plug). And it’s clear enough to make-out now-playing film THE FAR FRONTIER (Roy Rogers 1949 – imdb) dating the image for us and in keeping with the new Westerns policy stated in the data at CT page top. Other ABT customers around here remember their 2 other store locations both in Morton Grove (the earlier of the 2 right across the street from the old Morton Grove multiplex on Dempster Ave), previous to Glenview. No endorsement intended whatsoever.
Didn’t think someone’d pounce on this very minor entry so fast!
I agree about the auditorium. From the Grand Ave front, the facade has yellow-brick funeral home all over it.
I so wish this theatre hadn’t closed when it apparently did, as it’s just a stone’s throw from where my family once lived, Dad referring to it I remember as the (former) REX.
When I see the place now – the church youth center appears closed – my distinct impression is only the rear half (against Division St) is part of original theatre left. The front half on Grand doesn’t blend at all, and later reconstruction I suspect stems from use as a funeral home in the ‘50s-'60s. I’d be interested what others may say.
Liz K; you’re on the money with every point in your post! The fire at WoolWorths really goes back but I can picture it still too. Pioneer Bank had their Safety Deposit boxes down a stairway to basement. Behind them was THE neighborhood record store which let you audition L.P.s before you purchased, and the CPL which I frequented for school projects (I attended Cameron/ Maternity BVM/ Lowell)was across Pulaski from them. The Ferndells lot has been rebuilt in what (now) appears to be a bank annex/drive-thru. Pioneer Bowl on Pulaski had a Red Pin deal, there if the #1 pin was Red and you got a strike your game was free; a couple blocks west on North Ave another bowling alley Lyons Bowl (in basement IIRC). Matthews Roofing was on corner Ridgeway where I once lived, and directly across Ridgeway from them was a dairy I brought empty milk bottles to (up until ‘59?). Dave Clark 5 made a personal appearance at TIFFIN Theatre for their film “Having A Wild Weekend”. Longtime North/Pulaski favorite GUY’S Pizza, who’d had 2 of their delivery drivers shot dead in the '80s, still exists in some fashion but now a couple doors west of where the TIFFIN once stood. Yes I can picture WISHNICK’S Pharmacy now there at SW Keystone corner – they had a row of 4 old-timey dark wooden phone-booths back of store. A neighborhood fable of questionable taste had it the reason Jimmy’s Hot Dogs french fries were irresistable stemmed from a high-school kid working there in the '50s, who had the termerity to complain about being shorted on his paycheck, and was never heard from again (destination = fry greasepit)!
Kathy L.: your above comments are very helpful in my placing things better, i.e., that soda fountain place nextdoor to Grand Theatre with popcorn overflowing w/ butter topping. The pharmacy at St.Louis & North was RexAll and on the SW corner IIRC, on SE corner was a little apparel/dept store. No? Plus the ABC Popcorn company a few doors west of there.
P.S.: trivia – St.Louis St. a decade or two earlier had a different name – Ballou St.
and in a week or so BRIAN WILSON w/ back-up band The Wondermints
The very first flick I saw there was the Beatles HELP! Even remember just what part of the film I walked-in on (w/ my friend Johnny C.) – when they were setting-up the play the song You’re Gonna Lose That Girl in the mock studio,
In 1982 at the WOODS I saw a typical exploitation triple-feature there: 10 COMMANDMENTS OF KUNG-FU, GARDEN OF THE DEAD, & GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE. Certainly the very last of the paid-admission triple-features for me (or perhaps anyone).
I wish someone could quote those 10 K-F commandments for me. They were printed on a little card that was handed-out in the theatre lobby then, and as I barely recall were hilarious.