Patio Theatre

6008 West Irving Park Road,
Chicago, IL 60634

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Showing 151 - 175 of 279 comments

aek316
aek316 on May 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Another classic I never got to go to (or if I did, I’m too young to remember). Truly a shame. I drive by this theater all the time and the marquee unfortunately looks like it’s collapsing. Looks like there may be too many roadblocks to reopen it. Really too bad in light of the Portage’s success and judging from some of the pictures, the inside of the theter looks to still be in pretty good shape-

Patiomike
Patiomike on April 22, 2008 at 7:53 am

The monsignor is somewhat mistaken. The business licence had not expired and the owner was not on vacation. A complicated dispute over the number of useable seats played a much larger part. The number of seats, among other things, determines the Public Place of Amusement License fee. Instead of resolving the dispute, the city chose to force our closure. There is only one nearby business with a parking lot. In early days, it was available to us. After a change of ownership, requests for access were refused. It always seemed strange to us, when discussing parking, to see empty buses roll by.

MKuecker
MKuecker on April 21, 2008 at 5:41 pm

This just in: According to my friend who claims to know the Montsenior at St. Pascal’s Church – just up the road from The Patio: The owner went on vacation, and the business license expired. When he tried to get it renewed, the City of Chicago said “To run a movie theatre, you need to have parking space for at least 25 cars.” Because the license already expired, he missed the grandfather clause. Now I’m sure if that’s the case: There are several businesses with ample parking just a block from the theatre that for the right price would love to hire out 25 spots, and would probably do it for the advertising alone. They should be approached. Anyone know how to Mowemy Po Polsku? :)

chgotim
chgotim on April 18, 2008 at 1:24 am

I know someone who is familiar and experienced with maintenance of old theaters. I think it would be worthwhile for Alex to ask him to walk through and take a look at things sometime. Perhaps he could advise the owner on what really needs to be done to get those matters up to snuff. He might even have a decent idea about how to do something about repairing that A/C.

ThreQtrWlf
ThreQtrWlf on April 13, 2008 at 1:58 pm

In the early 1960’s, my grandparents lived on Dakin and Marmora..about a block away from the Patio. I was about 4 years old at the time, and my grandfather took me to see “The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.” I remember looking up at the starry ceiling. It was a humid summer night, and after the movie, he carried me home. I am 48 now and that memory will always be with me.

MKuecker
MKuecker on April 12, 2008 at 10:02 am

>>>If anyone knows how to repair the cooling units used on WW2 Liberty Ships, we could get the A/C working again.<<<

Patiomike, I’m on a quest for this now!! :)
I have Navy people at my disposal that will try to go through their archives and find any blueprints, schmatics, or manuals on this type of thing. :)

MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on April 9, 2008 at 9:21 am

Well, its nice to know the theater has been maintained to the point that it could be opened rather quickly. BIG kudos to the owner for that. Too many movie palaces have been left to fall apart after the doors are closed and then the place is picked apart and anyone that would want to reopen it at a later time is left with an overwhelming task just to open the doors, much less show movies or have stage performances.

Patiomike
Patiomike on March 19, 2008 at 3:11 pm

The Music Box’s location plays a large part in it’s success. It’s much closer to a market more interested in small, independent films. Don’t forget, before video, they were strictly a revival house and teetered on the brink many times. The second screening room is a help. Plus, parking is available. The Patio’s neighbors preferred a more mainstream offering. Family friendly films made money. Anything ambitious left the room empty. The Portage is an entirely different animal. The Patio was run like a conventional movie theater. The Portage is run more like a cultural foundation. Although its present operator has made a significant personal investment similar to Alex, the theater is rented by exhibitors who are responsible for marketing their product. That shields the theater from risk somewhat. And the Silent Film Society was a going concern before moving there. The Portage Park/6 Corners area is also a darling of local politicians interested in its rebirth. They’ve provided assistance not available in the Patio’s neighborhood. Once again, available parking helps. And a first class A/C and a large stage. I’ve often wondered, if we had an unlimited supply of money and did everything we could for the Patio, would people come? Would we recoup the investment? As Alex has often said, “I bought an apartment building and the theater was thrown in for free.”

Scott
Scott on March 19, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Patiomike, thanks for the explanation. Do you have any insight as to how other theaters, such as the Music Box or the Portage, seem to be profitable?

Patiomike
Patiomike on March 19, 2008 at 12:22 pm

There are many reasons why we closed. In short, the fixed costs were just too high. Print rentals plus the box office take for the studio for one. Heating and electrical costs in the hundreds per night, no A/C, high costs for concessions, lighting, licenses… I don’t know how he was able to stay open as long as he did. We averaged about 50-60 people per night. Alex agonized over raising the box office price to $3. We had to in order to get films before they went to video. Attendance fell anyway. We tried more esoteric films but there was no interest. Studio restrictions prevented us from going first run. Local newspapers would often print incorrect schedule info so we gave up on that. Organ concert attendance began to dwindle as the audience aged. Inspite of dedicated volunteer labor, maintenance was needed constantly and was still costly. I would love nothing more than to say hi to Alex and step into the booth again. The reality of running a theater make that impossible.

Scott
Scott on March 19, 2008 at 10:35 am

It puzzles me as to why this theatre closed in the first place. I know the area somewhat, and I believe it’s fair to say that this is a densely populated neighborhood, solidly middle class, and not over-flowing with movie theatres. The Music Box Theatre on Southport, which I would say is a similar theatre in a similar neighborhood, seems to do very well. And as has been stated by others here, the nearby Portage is successful. The Patio doesn’t have much parking as I recall, but neither does the Music Box. What is working against the Patio?

Patiomike
Patiomike on March 19, 2008 at 7:42 am

I spoke to the owner last September. He keeps the theater heated in winter and does a bit of cleaning. The place is just as we left it. We could have a movie on the screen in no time at all. If anyone knows how to repair the cooling units used on WW2 Liberty Ships, we could get the A/C working again. It’s the same type of unit used to keep food cold aboard ship. A Navy vet used to keep it going but when he died he took the secrets with him.

mp775
mp775 on March 19, 2008 at 7:30 am

Here are a couple of photos of the lobby. The auditorium is reportedly in similarly excellent condition.

MKuecker
MKuecker on March 18, 2008 at 8:21 pm

I wonder what the inside looks like?

Broan
Broan on December 1, 2007 at 9:34 am

Disregard that. It’s always said that. Means nothing.

MKuecker
MKuecker on December 1, 2007 at 9:10 am

I ride past this on the bus every morning. The marquis said “renovating.” Anyone have any news?

Quadrama
Quadrama on September 12, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Very nice of Patiomike to mention that Alex will be taking part in the panel discussion (and many are very pleased Alex will be making this appearance and sharing his insights,
I have received many calls and emails about it!) However, the actual date is Saturday, September 15 at the Historic Portage Theater. This panel discussion will close the two day ‘Preserving Palaces’ Film Festival. I will not be a part of the panel, but will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the Patio Theatre, and classic movie palaces in general. My film about the Patio and Alex, ‘The Wizard Of Austin Boulevard’ will be shown that same night of the Festival. Hope to see you all at this wonderful event.
Thank You,
Louis Antonelli
Quadrama/Film

kingchaos341
kingchaos341 on September 12, 2007 at 9:52 am

Bill Morton, formerly of the Adelphi can do wonderful things. I will see if I can contact him.

Patiomike
Patiomike on September 12, 2007 at 9:47 am

Louis Antonelli informed me that Alex, the owner of the Patio Theater, will be part of a discussion panel at the Portage screening on 9/16. Bring your questions to Louis and Alex. You’ll find them to be interesting and knowledgeable characters.

CathyC
CathyC on August 27, 2007 at 10:03 pm

The film, ‘THE WIZARD OF AUSTIN BOULEVARD’ (mentioned in prior posts,), will be shown at the Portage Theater on Saturday, September 15, as part of the “Preserving Palaces” festival. For more information, go to the Portage Theater website, www.portagetheater.org Also, an entire evening will be devoted to the films of Louis Antonelli on Sunday, September 16. Just thought true Patio Theater admirers would want to know.

robabank1
robabank1 on August 2, 2007 at 11:04 am

P.S. left off my e-mail

robabank1
robabank1 on August 2, 2007 at 10:57 am

I am writing an article on old movie houses in or near Jefferson Park, Chicago; if anyone has any photos available inside or out of the building, either as the Times or the Holiday Ballroom please contact me. Also looking for photos of the Jefferson Nickelodeon, Gateway, Portage and PATIO. Were there any others nearby that I didn’t mention? I will try the Library and Historical Society files too. Roughly looking between Cicero & Austin, Irving and Bryn Mawr Ave’s.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 10, 2007 at 9:22 pm

I am curious, bing, about your client’s business plan. It is not often at all that someone wakes up one day and decides to open up a chain of theatres comprised of vintage real estate. It is even less often that they succeed.

kingchaos341
kingchaos341 on July 6, 2007 at 9:38 am

What about the guy who owns the card shop next door to the patio? I have been in there a few times(being an avid Magic player and all),I believe that is part of the building, does anybody know where he stands in all this?

CathyC
CathyC on July 6, 2007 at 9:31 am

A possible remedy for impatience – enjoy a few glasses of Dago Red while humming the tune “The Ants Go Marching.”