Patio Theatre

6008 West Irving Park Road,
Chicago, IL 60634

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Showing 151 - 175 of 272 comments

Patiomike
Patiomike on March 20, 2008 at 11:11 am

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 20, 2008 at 10:55 am

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 20, 2008 at 8:22 am

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 20, 2008 at 6:35 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 20, 2008 at 3:42 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 20, 2008 at 3:30 am

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

MKuecker
MKuecker on March 19, 2008 at 4:21 pm

I wonder what the inside looks like?

Broan
Broan on December 2, 2007 at 6:34 am

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

MKuecker
MKuecker on December 2, 2007 at 6:10 am

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

Quadrama
Quadrama on September 13, 2007 at 3:12 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 13, 2007 at 4:52 am

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

Patiomike
Patiomike on September 13, 2007 at 4:47 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.

cpgrow
cpgrow on August 28, 2007 at 5:03 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 3, 2007 at 6:04 am

P.S. left off my e-mail

robabank1
robabank1 on August 3, 2007 at 5:57 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 11, 2007 at 4:22 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 7, 2007 at 4:38 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?

cpgrow
cpgrow on July 7, 2007 at 4:31 am

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

Quadrama
Quadrama on July 5, 2007 at 8:02 pm

Yes, I have a suggestion – ask some of the business owners located on the property of the Patio Theatre site if they have a contact number for the owner(s), or leave your number with many of them including a note to pass on. The post above by Mike is quite correct; it’s not impossible, but it will be VERY expensive to reopen The Patio Theatre. The theatre SHOULD be open, as she is one of the crown jewels of Chicago! I can tell you (first hand) that it took one man alone; a dreamer, a singular man of GREAT ingenuity, practical strength, and character to bring her back to life in the first place, circa 1987 (and keep her beautiful & open, with pride for 14 years without pause). One man alone, damning the torpedoes! I wonder how many here really appreciate what that means? I am sorry if I sound hardened, but I just don’t see another of his kind coming along to bring the kind of selfless love & devotion The Patio needs anytime soon – good intentions aside.

Who is Patiomike? (I’ll tell you, as he is too modest to give you a full picture) Mike is a terrific, warm hearted, VERY dedicated man who learned (to mastery) the craft of carbon arc projection on vintage dual Simplex E7’s, faster than anyone I ever met. He saved my a** on many occasions at The Patio when other professional business took me away (I was her chief projectionist for 9 wonderful years, & Mike was my right arm – second operator). If anyone reopens The Patio – you are an idiot if you don’t try to hire Mike, and PAY HIM WELL! I’m glad you are helping folks out with some info on this site Mike – God knows you have more patience with Cinema Treasures (Re: Patio Theatre) than I do.
Louis Antonelli

Bing00
Bing00 on July 5, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Found the number. It doesn’t work. Any other suggestions?

Bing00
Bing00 on June 18, 2007 at 5:40 pm

Patiomike, what is you connection with the Patio? Thanks for your suggestion about the number on the office. Actually, I stopped by the place tonight before I saw your post. As mentioned above, I’m sad to say it looks like the marquee has been hit by a couple trucks. Most of the neon is gone. At some point all the bulbs were removed from the underside of the marquee as well, not sure why.

I am in real estate. My interest is related to some clients who are interested in acquiring some theatres to create a chain of classic cinemas.

I’ll go back and look for the number. Thanks.

cpgrow
cpgrow on June 16, 2007 at 7:13 pm

Patiomike, That is very thoughtful of you, but I was hoping to see more interior shots of the Patio. There have been many exterior images shared on this site, but only one or two of the interior. It would be nice for those truly interested in the Patio to see what it looks like on the inside.

Patiomike
Patiomike on June 15, 2007 at 3:01 am

I don’t have photos but, I shot a brief video as a college project just before the theater reopened in 1987. Mostly pans of the interior with no script, just theater organ music. I remember the theater in its evil period. Dirty, usually closed, litter strewn… then I saw work getting done so I poked around. I met Alex and pitched the idea. Soon, I was setting up lights and lugging around a giant video camera. I don’t remember my grade but Alex was pleased with his copy. I’ll dig up the tape and make you a copy. How can I get it to you? Maybe someone can post it on this site.

cpgrow
cpgrow on June 14, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Patiomike, I’m SO glad that you have been posting to the site and have been able to share your experiences and knowledge of the Patio Theatre. Any chance you have any photos to share as well?

Patiomike
Patiomike on June 14, 2007 at 7:55 am

It wouldn’t be impossible, just expensive. The building is basically sound, the organ and projection equipment is in place and should need minimal work to get going. We had a giant ventilation motor rewired a few months before closing and the boiler was recently repaired. We also had a new popcorn machine. Updated wiring and such would help make it what it once was.