Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 151 - 175 of 277 comments

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 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 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 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 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.

dqualley on January 14, 2007 at 10:20 pm

In the 80’s when David Letterman was at NBC, he took his show to the Chicago for a week.

CHICTH74 on January 14, 2007 at 8:01 pm

A P.S. to my post above,
The Eric Zorn web blog is “ A Change of Subject"
And the "Prince Castle Hamburgers” were square,the ice-cream was also square.
And “CockRobin” was the 2nd encarnation i think that their are still some around. Thank you for your time:)

CHICTH74 on January 14, 2007 at 7:38 pm

As Per PAUL FORTINIs comment on Jan 14th 2007 I think the name of the hamburger place that you were refering to was "PRINCE CASTLE HAMBURGERS" not "KING CASTLE" if you "Google" "Prince Castle Hamburgers" you will come a cross something from the Tribs Eric Zorn a web blog called “CHANG OF SUBJECT” he and the people who post memories of the past mention “Prince Castle”.
It was eather the 1st encarnation on the “COCKROBIN” chain or may be the 2nd i am not sure, only thing is that what i find is that the Ice Cream was square i am not sure about the hamburgers. Also could the theatre be eather the UA or the LOOP?
Thank you for your time :)

CHICTH74 on January 14, 2007 at 6:42 pm

That makes sence.

Broan on January 14, 2007 at 10:10 am

I think the writer meant to indicate (by saying “as they always can”) that Chicago being the way it is, inspectors could cite pretty much anything to justify closing it if they so desired, regardless of whether it was a real issue or not.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on January 14, 2007 at 9:18 am

Per Cinemaven’s comment of 12/16/2006.

The hamburger place you’re referring to may have been “King Castle.” I think the chain existed ‘til the early 1980s and , yes, they served “White Castelesque” burgers.

As for the State-Lake, it was never demolished. The building now houses WLS-TV (ABC Channel 7) studios.

CHICTH74 on January 14, 2007 at 3:33 am

Thank Your post, it sheds some more light on to the Rialto.
If you find out any thing else please post it.
Also did the Trib say anything in detail about the ordinance violations, their must have ben a whole bunch if it had more then the Iroquois did. I guess that thay used the Chicago as “tie in” to the name of the show. Well thank you for your time.

Broan on January 13, 2007 at 9:52 pm

Now here’s a neat fact for fans of the musical and film “Chicago”. Although the film’s big theatre scene is depicted as being at the Chicago, the real-life counterpart happened at the other end of the loop – at the Rialto. Found in a 1980 Trib article: “The only trouble with [1920 state’s attorney Robert E.] Crowe was that he kept losing cases. For some reason there was a rash of murders about that time — four or five of them — in which wives or girlfriends were indicted for killing their companions. They were all acquitted and with each acquittal the Rialto Theater, at State and Van Buren, would book as part of their show the freed and notorious woman. It was embarrassing to Crowe; his failures went up in lights. [Mayor William Hale] Thompson handled the situation. He sent a platoon of city inspectors to the Rialto; and they found, as they always can, more violations of city ordinances than were ever imagined at the Iroquois Theater. Thompson said he would have the place closed if they didn’t stop booking the women who had beaten the rap against Crowe.”

Broan on December 16, 2006 at 2:35 pm

That would be the State-Lake.

DimitriusStrong on December 16, 2006 at 2:11 pm

I remember when I was very young and I was taken to see the film “E.T.-The Extra-Terrestrial” for the first of what would be probably ten times in 1982 alone in the Chicago theater. I also remember there was a theater directly across the street where we went to see “John Carpenter’s The Thing” after “E.T.”, however I cannot recall the name of the theater which sat across from the Chicago. I also remember next to that theater was a restaurant that served White Castle-style burgers which we used to dine afterwards. I was wondering if anyone who knows could jog my memory on what theater that was across from the Chicago? I seem to remember it was one of the first of the eventually demolished downtown movie houses to go. Thanks in advance.

Broan on November 20, 2006 at 10:03 am

A 1927 video clip of the Chicago’s marquee can be seen by searching for 26130 at 1951 views by searching for 25327, 25328, or 25330. 1954 views by searching 26438 or 26439.

VintageBob on November 14, 2006 at 9:08 am

Wow! Brian, those are some fantastic pics! Thanks so much! :–)

Broan on November 5, 2006 at 3:14 pm

Here are updated links to my June, 2005 post. Plus more.

From Russell Phillips' Galleries:

1982 (pre-restoration) photos of:
Auditorium Entry and Proscenium
Men’s Lounge
Grand Stair Detail
Ladies Lounge
Foyer with Vending Machine
Stair Landing & Mezzanine
Auditorium from Balcony
Auditorium, Lower Level

Broan on November 1, 2006 at 12:20 pm

Here is another a few years later.

Broan on November 1, 2006 at 12:06 pm

Here is another from the same time.

Broan on November 1, 2006 at 11:57 am

Here is a photo of State Street in the 60s.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 9, 2006 at 2:14 pm

I remember watching Tom Gnaster play the Chicago Theatre organ at the grand reopening, which I think was in 1985. It was a great instrument and Tom was a great organist. I wish Tom were still with us today.

Broan on September 8, 2006 at 12:49 pm

Oh, they’re not mine. But it was a nice candid shot, a change from the way you usually see these. And I think it just doesn’t look busy enough to be downtown, but grant park is a possibility too. Maybe somewhere in the south loop.

Ziggy on September 8, 2006 at 11:43 am

Hey Brian,

Thanks for sharing those photos. I clicked on the “complimentary photo” link and thought that, perhaps, your grandmother and her friend are walking westbound on one of the streets that cross State Street, the reason for the lack of tall buildings in the distance could be that Grant Park (and Lake Michigan) are a couple blocks behind them.

Just a thought, and I really loved those photos.

Broan on September 8, 2006 at 10:30 am

Here is a nice 1935 personal shot on State Street