Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 151 - 175 of 273 comments

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

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 25, 2006 at 12:38 pm


Not really. That is a pretty cool story about the Chrysler Building.

brenograph on August 25, 2006 at 9:59 am

I can’t find a way to convincingly tie this into the current thread, and so request your kind indulgence in this small clarification of sam_e’s mention of the Chrysler Building’s spire lighting: Although architect William Van Alen’s original plans called for such a scheme, they were never installed and ultimately forgotten for decades. It wasn’t until the late 70’s, as lore and legend have it, that the actual plans were rediscovered in a closet. The owner, quite inexplicibly since the rest of the building was left to decay and neglect, had it manufactured and installed and in 1981 the spire crown lights (DecoTubeStuds?) were lit for the very first time.
‘Nuf said – back to the Chicago…

JimRankin on August 25, 2006 at 5:11 am

“Sam_e” is quite right about Stud Lighting. The CHICAGO did/does have a wonderful display of it, and it is so called regardless of the material they are set into. As everyone surmises, they are very difficult and expensive to maintain, since not only is relamping access difficult, but in many cases the insulation on the wires has decayed and was threaded through or behind terra cotta castings and has now corroded away and must be replaced to keep new bulbs lit. In many cases this means chipping the terra cotta or brick away and removing it for access — one hopes with few pieces broken in the process! The costs for this are very high, as you can imagine! Sometimes the use of modern electronic LED cluster bulbs will allow them to use the original copper or brass sockets, if the metal is not too badly corroded, but even so, such LED bulbs with very long lifespan can apoproach $20 EACH in price, not to mention labor.

The CHICAGO’s Stud Lighting has always been there, and close observation will reveal it on many a theatre — if only as plastered over blobs as was once the case on Milwaukee’s long gone EAST Theatre. With today’s technology, many new buildings are going for ribbons or bands of color-changing LEDs for their theoritical multi-hundred year life, but others are using new, modern Neon with long lifespan to achieve a greater brilliance, but it is doubtful that such provisions would bring back the glitter of our movie palaces, sad to say. There is some hope of rewiring with new Low Voltage systems that do not require the removal of the original mains voltage (~115 volt) wiring (which is then disconnected), but such installations are quite expensive, so don’t look for routine restoration of stud lighting when some can barely afford to keep the marquee lit.

PGlenat on August 25, 2006 at 4:09 am

I believe the term used for that type of lighting is called “stud lighting”. I’ll let resident expert Jim Rankin correct me if I got it wrong. There are many examples of exterior decorative lighting that has been restored after many years of being dark. e.g. The concealed lighting in the arches at the top of the Chrysler building in NY was “discovered' and lit for the first time a number of years ago. Apparently the wiring and fixtures had been installed, but never used, during the original construction. In some cases exterior lighting was subject to blackouts during WWII so that metropolitan areas were not easily discernible in the event of a possible enemy air raid. Afterwards, for various reasons it was never restored to operating condition. More recently the practice of enhancing architectural details with decorative lighting at night has increased. Possibly another CT member knows if the lighting on the Chicago was always there or has since been added. With the advancements in lighting technology today the lamps are probably long lasting and not subject to frequent replacement.