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Saw many films over the years myself at STATE-LAKE, earliest I can remember being BON VOYAGE (a real yawner from Disney I think), maybe ending w/ J.Carpenter’s THE THING. Always top-notch projection—you couldn’t go wrong.
Perusing the above posts I can’t seem to find mention of one thing though (is it true?). That, entrance to the S-L projection booth was gained through a penny.
A friend of mine who worked there (early ‘70s) described a inconspicuous bit of wall ornamentation in the theatre lobby, where if one dropped in a regular U.S. cent, contact was made and a concealed doorway slid open! That led up a stairwell to the booth(s).
Can anyone confirm/refute this? Sounds neat.
Well, for someone to extemporaneously recall a trivial calendar date (+ co-feature) 27 yrs later, and be but 1 wk off (assuming M. Coates' dilligent research is accurate), can still be considered remarkably good (if I do say so). And I did say ‘probably’ in my post, anyway. So there.
Something else just come to mind about the first INDY then: there was an almost apologetic tone in the various printed press releases, that Spielberg had ‘learned his lesson’ so to speak from having wasted so much money on the unpopular “1941,” and therefore ROTLA was filmed while not on the cheap but without the benefit of a lot of expensive camera set-ups, etc. Afterwards came ET and Steven was solidly back in the publics' good graces.
The time’s now here—too bad 70mm INDY was just a rumor, but no Digital projection either, at least not in my vicinity.
Strangely the INDY bookings seem to me a little restrained, when one considers this exact weekend the competition is only PRINCE CASPIAN; IRON MAN was well received but past its peak. SPEED RACER’s still around but it turned out weakly.
Advance screening reviews I’ve browsed are almost all positive, but many seem to add the “but it’s silly” dismissal. Super-serious nor intelectual plot we certainly never were expecting, but it better not be mindless CGI dazzling either. I’m soon to find out, at a fine old theatre, and I hope your response proves the wait worthwhile.
I’m reminding myself of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, when I saw it sneak-previewed (probably also Memorial Day weekend ‘81) w/ regular feature FOUR SEASONS (Carol Burnett, Jack Weston) at the old Golf Mill (now gone and replaced by the Showplace at Golf Mill where INDY #4 will play) theatre in Niles IL. Some friends asked how I’d liked it before it opened general release, and I recall describing the scene where the sword-brandishing arabian tries to pick a fight w/ Indiana in a crowded market, and finds quite matter-of-factly he’s out-gunned. At the time another new big opening was DRAGONSLAYER (actually quite a fine film), and the fickle public proved there was only room for one.
Thanks very much to all who responded—have a great Memorial Day weekend with a movie at your local Cinema Treasure.
Found the site: www.fred.krauss.name
Look under Chicago Theaters, then Randolph St
Not much of a photo I’ll admit—fortunately there’re a number of other much better old images to peruse there however, I think.
Bob Jensen: the Chinese restaurant, extremely popular until its' block was leveled early ‘60s for the Civic (now Daley) Center, was HOE SAI GAI, address 85 W. Randolph. Until recently I could find a website w/ someones’s personal old KodaChrome images from downtown Chicago late '50s, that showed this place. Except I can’t find it now!
Nobody has anything good to say about the LW now, and unless I miss my guess, nobody had anything good to say about the LW even then.
I was there in the ‘70s and, unfortunately, can vouch for that poor estimation. I recall lumping it together w/ others of its type that didn’t even have the good sense to turn the lights way down when the picture played. And the screen might as well have been one wall painted matte white for all they cared.
The shopping center it was in took a major downturn in the ‘80s, and that probably took the LW with it. The anchor store there was a (now defunct) OMNI. But we know that shopping center has luckily rebounded since then.
The exact site of the old LW theater is where a Postal facility now stands.
A personal recollection regarding seeing a movie (the first BATMAN w/Michael Keaton) @ the PickWick;
Took my 2 young sons here and it was (almost) their first time at a theater, and what they did spontaneously and totally on their own just bowled me over.
Because I’d long since forgotten, but I did it too when I was their age—when the movie started they just got up from their seats and sat themselves comfortably right down in the aisle! (And there remained).
On a different subject: if you find yourself frustrated, even mad when you’re at one of the chain multiplex cinemas (there’re 2 not terribly far from PW) because the big blockbuster pic that just opened is seats sold-out when you arrive there, remember the PickWick is a relatively fast drive down Greenwood/Cumberland or up Touhy Aves. And they certainly won’t be sold-out in their huge main auditorium.
baslanides: I’m glad there’s someone else who remembers (and appreciates) Daniello’s restaurant you mentioned above. Their delicious, unique pizza was rectangular, and they gave out free wine samples to customers. A tiny place, that when it closed and re-opened the new name literally was ‘Hole-In-The-Wall’.
Scott: while I can’t exactly speak authoritatively re. JIMMY’S H.D. (on Pulaski/Grand) ownership, my strong hunch is yes it’s continuous.
I say this ‘cause there’s a fella behind the counter who’s obviously a part of their legacy—been (working) there since the '50s (!) in some capacity. He’s got a good head of white hair but a youthful face and is soft-spoken (no names please), if you recall who I mean.
JIMMY’S H.D. retains their custom of raising their prices in like 2 cent increments. Their stand was rebuilt late ‘80s (?), transforming them from a wooden shack to a cement block shack. One side benefit of all that was it’s probably the only time they (being forced to) changed their french-fry grease pit.
But JIMMY’S obviously’s developed a thick skin to the jokes from the locals. Such as their putting their product in a constant parade of bags imprinted by competitors or any old thing actually—including ‘barf bags’ (airsickness) from airlines! (Sounds like a joke, but no I assure you it isn’t).
Now something’s started @ North/Pulaski NE corner (where was Ferndell’s)—a new foundation is poured but don’t know the destiny.
My Nov.‘07 post about Menards @ Kostner/North (where was Helene Curtis) may’ve been premature—essentially no construction activity there since that time, except to build a CVS store on the outlot (right at the intersection).
Dean H. mentioned ‘Wishniks’ (pharmacy?) in his Dec. post and been going quietly mad since trying to place it with certainty. One thing about the area that’s stayed since the ‘old days’ is the U.S. branch Post Office there on North Ave, ½ blk east of Pulaski on the south side. Also there’s of course Jimmy’s Hot Dogs on Pulaski/Grand which is an essentially unchanged link to the ‘50s.
Recently remembered, as may some other locals in my age group, that above (2nd flr) the Woolworth’s store formerly on North Ave right there was the neighborhood Junior Achievement branch, where you and your high school chums could start and run your own little company!
Ah – a common almost reliable thread is making itself apparent in your posts – that is the definite desire to see IJ#4 in 70MM out there!
I’ll go along with that hands down. CinemarkFan – I’ll 2nd your nomination myself for Kerasotes Golf Mill in 70MM. But can anyone confirm the Pickwick in P.R. has the machinery for it (it should)?
Thanks everyone for all your responses so far. I say ‘so far’ because, while I can’t speak for Paramount, the exact screens and playdates of IJ#4 may not be set in stone just yet. If they decide to do 70mm @ Cannes (on May 18) then it’s quite feasible it’ll be one of a batch of 10 or 12 large-format prints. So please continue to make your opinions known here about how best you’d like to see it wherever you are.
My heading stated 22 May which I got from the imdb.com IJ#4 website, but maybe Friday the 23rd’s a more intelligent choice.
Some of the harder booking decisions will no doubt be made in these final weeks, and will result from just how strong a summer blockbuster Paramount & Spielberg think they have on their hands. The competition I think doesn’t appear very formidable at all to me: SPEED RACER (opens a week or so earlier). What else at that time? Usually if a studio opens in blitzkrieg fashion right from the start it can cause doubts, i.e., get the best box-office take you can for those first 2-3 wks because word-of-mouth won’t help sustain it—take the American GODZILLA for example. But with US economy screeching to halt, the public usually returns in droves to see familiar faces on the big screen nevertheless.
May I ramble one last time: I think bringing back Karen Allen from IJ#1 to be just what the doctor ordered, don’t you? Simply because she’s marvelously beautiful AND already established successful screen chemistry w/ Harrison Ford who’s 9 years her senior and on the wrong side of 65. This will definately serve to blunt the popular argument that he’s too far past his prime for this type of role again (plus it doesn’t hurt that Indy, when in character, always wears a hat).
W.Huelbig: I too liked (parts of) TEMPLE OF DOOM. But not the very ghoulish, even grisly parts. I think many parents objected to having brought their young'uns to the latest Spielberg treat after ET, and it contained a long ritualistic pulling a heart out in a sacrifice sequence. Anything goes?!
CinemarkFan: I too heard of IJ#4 in 70mm @ Cannes, a coupla days ahead of the 22nd. Now I know something of ‘Super-16’ myself, but can you (or someone) give us a capsule summary of what’s ‘Super-35’ please?
uptownjen: well I snapped my figurative fingers and you came up with some parking. Of course the city’s strongly pushing that aspect, but it says ‘500 spaces’? Might need a few more than that, thank you.
Sorry for the somewhat flip attitude—you guys certainly are doing something of a great job. I shall watch carefully, even if I don’t (yet) understand .
I’ve opened-up and carefully read the full-length Sun-Times article twice yesterday, and I simply cannot fully comprehend all that seems to be going on with the UPTOWN ownership battle. Maybe it’s just me but without a scorecard I can’t tell the players, much less their motivations, apparent or concealed. I defy, no make that challenge, someone with a good grasp to explain it all in plain English!
And I say this in all earnest, because having seen the GRANADA bite the dust I really want the UPTOWN to instead rise again. To overstate the obvious, the magic word is ‘Parking’. If we could just snap our fingers and a large off-street parking expanse suddenly would materialize a ½ blk away, then this great debate I maintain simply would not exist. In the (old) days when neighborhood theatres were common, their viability was sustained by all the locals walking in and the need for parking very rarely entered into the equation. Can’t do that anymore—have to depend on and provide for vehicles of customers. And by the UPTOWN (or the CONGRESS too) parking can be difficult. Mind you my complaint is actually not a personal one, since I also bicycle or use public transit according to the specific situation around town.
The BELPARK would be a stone’s throw from the LUNA theatre, that is when the latter was there. The old BP bldg still seems to enjoy a lot of Bingo type vitality w/ the local seniors. Next door (north)to it used to be a popular bowling alley, but that unfortunately was torn down some years ago to make way for an auto dealership (this is Cicero Ave after all), which has now vacated (that part I don’t regret).
But an earlier BELPARK post mentions the old Stienberg & Baum Dept. Store once occupying the BP bldg, which I don’t believe’s correct. The S&B store address was 3319 N. Cicero—now (and for some years) the site of the Irving Pk branch U.S. Post Office. All about ½ blk north of the BELPARK on the same side of Cicero. Recently the I.P. P.O. spruced-up their Cicero-side facade, and in doing so removed and replaced a covering over the old Steinberg & Baum store sign.
P.S.: it is true the S&B store bldg was torn down & rebuilt in the early ‘60s, but not at the BELPARK theatre site.
The HUB had one of those big long “It’s Air Conditioned COLD Inside!"
banner signs out in front I remember. I had no problems with this place the few times I attended early ‘60s, but somehow the ALVIN a block or so east on Chicago usually got my business. The unused old elevated track structure for the (now) long-gone 'Paulina St L’ used to crossover Chicago Ave just a couple doors east of the HUB.
If I thot you’re serious Giles I’d cheer you on.
I know IJ#4’s being premiered at Cannes, but the 70mm part I didn’t know. Really?
Digital projection is a step BACKWARDS technically. I will not support it myself. If I have to watch a TV, no matter the image size, I’ll do it exclusively from the comfort of my home.
This step backwards, if it becomes the dominant means, you can bet you will also pay more for.
Beware of large-scale overall changes foisted on you, to resolve problems you never even knew you had. You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.
If they’re re-habbing as you say BW it’d be very nice if they preserved this old ornamentation which may (or may not) be a genuine theater relic. Especially when you consider how long it seems to have survived, given the very deteriorated surroundings.
butternut73: there’s an old company in Glendale WI formerly called LEE ENGINEERING but now known as EM INSTRUMENTS, phone 414/247-1127, who in the past have repaired similar parts for me. Give them a call and describe the individual part repair work you require, and they’ll probably be able to give them a new lease on life. Good luck.
If the above link someone by the same name as me don’t work so hot, let that be a lesson to you: don’t let a little thing like a comma sneak into a website address.
Try instead www.forgottenchicago.com
On the website www.forgottenchicago.com, under “save these theaters” you’ll find the COLONY w/ a few photos, plus the RAMOVA, and the PATIO theaters too. I ride my bike past these places from time to time, and they all have the same sad look many of their shuttered predecessers had when the property owners undoubtedly were for years still trying to do something with them, but in the end sadly couldn’t (perhaps the prospects for the PATIO aren’t quite as grim, but no signs of life for the longest time).
WHEELING twin was the first Drive-In I took my kids to, a double-feature of GREMLINS 2 and QUICK CHANGE.
A kinduva ‘precious moment’: I’d told the boys we’re going to a drive-in movie that Sat. nite, but the expression meant nothing to them and I didn’t offer advance explanation what’s in store. So when we pulled up to a speaker post they both asked me “but Dad, where’s the theater building?” (they thot we were just parking in the parking lot). I lifted each up and sat them on the hood of our car, and pointed to the great white wall ahead, and replied “just sit here and keep looking that way”.
The above posts mention the Dancing Hot Dog intermission film clip ad: maybe not at this D-I, but I remember the same ad running somewhere that was so incredibly well-worn that the hot-dog in the cartoon had turned all green from scratches.
P.S.: the movie QUICK CHANGE I still think is an absolute riot. Now, driving out on Milwaukee Ave (Rte 21) I find it impossible to place where the old WHEELING TWIN D-I once stood with any certainty, the various new developments scrambling the landscape so.