Marbro Theatre

4110 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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BobbyS
BobbyS on June 20, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Scott, Alot of the paradise statues were saved and I saw them at a wedding in the 60’s at
a place called royal banquets. I believe it was either on grand ave or chicago ave. These were
the statues from the side of the auditorium walls and the lobby walls. I remembered them from
my movie days and couldn’t keep my eyes off of them during the wedding dinner. Joe D had
the piano, a player piano from the Marbro, in his house. Wonder where it is now? I bet the
statues also are in Limbo because I bet Royal Banquets are also long gone. Joe’s piano was in
the Marbro upper lobby, and of course like the Marbro itself was very ornate. There are parts
of the Granada facade that were saved and of course you know the twin of the Marbro and
installed in a Barrington home around the entrance door. Even the faces that were on top
of the large center window. It is quite something to see!!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 20, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Scrabble, I am amazed myself what I am remembering after so many years. I never thought
about these in years. I love this site! You and Scott are wonderful. You mentioned Goldblatts.
I watched them dig the hole for the store on that corner. Don’t remember what stores were
destroyed to make way. I was at the opening week. It was a very big deal for that shopping
district. Makes me think they thought it would always be that way. There were ballons and
celebrity guests. The building still stands, but not a Goldblatts I believe. Madigans is Diana's
now. remember the Three Sisiters store? Was kiddie-corner from Goldblatts. As far as
Polk Bros you mentioned, Yes, we went there often. They also had events to bring in the kids
who in turn brought in the parents to buy washers and dyers etc. Did you ever see Tobar the
robot? a full size robot on display that was working from a remote control, walking around the
store. We also saw Hop-a-long Cassidy, the tv star cowboy. He was either at Polks or Goldblatts.
I could have cared less, but my brothers wanted to go. In those days the family had to go together.
No buts!!!!!!!

Scrabble
Scrabble on June 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Wow, you guys have TERRIFIC memories. Thanks all.
Bobby S. thanks for refreshing my memory on the High-lo Grocery Store on Laramie. These posts are all so so interesting. Nothing like going down memory lane! Hope everyone has a great weekend.

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Scott, The name on the wrecking housing that controlled the ball
was United. I don’t know if that was the first or second company
that ws hired. Hanging oneself from a balcony is dramatic. I expected
it from a man that was destroying such a beautiful place!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 18, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Scrabbie, I was at the “High-lo” grocery store opening. It was on
Laramie but south if Madison-I know because we had relatives on
Adams st. near Laramie and we walked there. Opening week they had
“little oscar” from Oscar Meyer and his weinermobile. I got to
shake his hand and he passed out bubble gum and little whistles
in the shape of red hots. The store had a first class deli and I
remember the hot corned beef that was sliced right in front of you.
we were eating it on the way back to the relatives. There was a
beauty shop in the lower part of an apartment building on Laramie
south of the High-Lo and north of the “L”. My mother and Aunts
went there. The name was “Bobbies” I believe. The reason I remember
it was my first perm. Talk about a nightmare! They brought
out a contraption with wires hanging from it and wrapped my hair
into it. I looked like a space cadet on the screen at the Bryd
theater. The girl was doing three customers at one time and she
over-cooked mine. I could smell it. My hair was frizzy and wild
looking. I cried. The operator said we will start the conditioners
next week. I couldn’t wait to start the hair cuts. As I got older,
I went to Mr. Joseph’s on Madison St. That was a first-class salon
with alot of high-brows from Oak Park and River Forest. I loved
all the pampering and they had excellent operators!!!!!!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 18, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Scott, Yes I did sense the trouble they had taking the Paradise
down. It took forever I thought. I met Joe Ducibella watching
the project unfold. We were neighbors and you know his interest.
He was a Marbro usher in the late 50’s and told be one day the
box office took in $10,000 for the entire day (must have been a
week-end) and that was 1950’s money when adults I believe were
$.75 maybe $1.25 and children were $.50 or maybe $.75. I don't
remember. Anyway. that is alot of change don’t you think? Even
with that amount, magagement did not consider that a good day.
When I heard that, it must have been a “big nut” just to open
the front door. Electric bill alone to run all the signs and to
light the interior and to pay the staff and insurance etc. etc.
No wonder they closed it in 1964 with dwindling crowds. Someone told
me the owner of the wrecking co. that took down the Paradise took
his own life over it. Was that true? Heard he hung himself from
the balcony. At least he picked ornate surroundings!

Scrabble
Scrabble on June 17, 2010 at 6:26 am

I remember the A&P Store very well. My Mom used to shop there. Also, I remember a store which I believe was called “High-lo” on Laramie and north of Madison Street — my Mom used to get cans of vegetables for 10 cents. Remember Polk Brothers on Madison Street just east of Pulaski? Also Goldblatts on the SE corner of Pulaski & Madison? Lots of memories for sure!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Scott,I think the store was a National Tea. There was an A&P store
west of the Marbro. I know that for sure because we shopped there.
I loved to pass the coffee aisle to smell the freshly ground 8 o'clock coffee. Wow!! Strange we never went to the new store on
the Paradise lot. It was not popular. A real bad move to lease
that land in 1958. Not much reshearch went in to it concerning
the amount of people that it would serve. Guess that is why it “burned” down. I am really surprised I never went in especially
since they used the lobby floor of the theater. I remember watching
the demolition from across the street days on end “with a tear in
my eye”. As far as the treats at the Byrd, all us kids rolled out
the lobby doors after seeing a double feature. I can only compare
it to eating two Thanksgiving dinners back to back! Guess I was afraid we would never go back. But then next Sat came along and we
were at one movie theater or another again!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Scott,
The Bryd, probably named for Admiral Bryd, was located near
Madison St. and Cicero. I believe there was a ballroom in the
building but I never saw it. Building razed. Went there alot
with cousins of mine. Saw alot of horror films and there were
plenty of screams and chills- all in good fun. I don’t think
there was a balcony. One of the cousins' father was a wealthy
man and we would always ask them if they were coming. We knew
if they would be there, we would all ahve a ton of candy etc.
If he drove us in his car, I would watch him give the eldest a 20
dollar bill to “treat the kids”…..And treat they did. Popcorn was
15 cents I believe and candy was the same. We made sure there
wasn’t much change to give back to Dad !!!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Scott,
The Paradise would have made an excellent church. They had the
sky and the word Paradise is the place we are all trying to get to
in the end aren’t we? Better than a bland grocery store!!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Scott,
The Paradise would have made an excellent church. They had the
sky and the word Paradise is the place we are all trying to get to
in the end aren’t we? Better than a bland grocery store!!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Scrabbie,
One of my neighbors had her purse taken while in the rest room
at the Paradise. Her and her husband had just watched the last
feature and she went in one room and he in his. A hand reached
under the stall and took off with her purse. She screamed and ran
out along with her husband and chased the bandit outside and south
on Pulaski, who disappeared between the buildings. They could not
find an usher and nobody was in the box office. They never went
again to see another movie there.

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 12, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Scott,
The West End was closed around 1953 I believe. I remember walking past it and the glass on the doors had soap on them and half the bulbs were gone from the marguee. It was not a big house. Forgot
the cross street, but was near West End. Torn down I believe before the Paradise. Too bad B&K were so quick to tear down the Marbro.
Loews in NY did the right move. They donated their palaces to local
churches for one dollar and took the write-off and the church
got a beautiful building and pain 0 property taxes. A win-win!
The Loews 175th St. was sold to Rev. Ike for $1 in the 70’s. I was
in in the 90’s and it was in perfect condition. They gave them the organ and everything. The service on a Sunday was out of this world.
Choirs etc. The lobby was all restored, new carpeting. The vertical
was repalced with a large cross covering up the LOEWS words.
The same thing happened to Loews Valencia in the QUEENS. Been there
and it looked like the Avalon here. There are about 100 churches
on Madison St. today. They should have all consolidated and take turns
having services at different hours. Who knows, maybe it would have still be there today and we could have gone to services on Sunday
and still see that wonderful temple. After all, did it not look like a church already Scott?

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Scott, Come to think about it, maybe the fires did not come
that far west. Why didn’t some organization take over the
Marbro to continue showing films? It would have been a lot
cheaper to sell that beautiful place than to pay to have it destroyed. I don’t know how much they paid in 1964 dollars, but
it did have to be quite alot and then leave a “for Sale” sign on the empty lot. You should have taken Madison St. I had relatives living on West End. Do you remember the theater called West End?
What about the Bryd? They showed alot of horror films packed with
pre-teens and teens. Saw “Them” there and it was a full house for a Sat. matinee. Lots of fun. Saw lots of friends from the neigherhood.

Scrabble
Scrabble on June 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Scott, I can totally relate. Pulaski and Lake is where I had my purse snatched while standing on the SE corner (outside the bar) waiting for the Pulaski northbound bus to take me home after working all day downtown. Also, while standing waiting for the bus, I would see folks (waiting for the bus next to me) toss their cigarette butts down on the ground, and then people from the neighborhood would start shouting and screaming at them to pick the butts up and stop messing up their corner. I witnessed so much and it was all very frightening, and believe me, this expresses it mildly.

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Scott,
Yes I have been back. Once in a while while taking the Ike west,
I take a little trip on Madison to see “what’s new” in my old
playground. I don’t stop, just continue on. I move pretty fast.
I agree with you someone or the alderman with the help of the
City of Chicago should have done much more than they did. After
all, think of all the sales taxes they were losing with the businesses being closed. They were laws on the books. Why weren't
they enforced? Also why did the Marbro not survive and the Senate
did? The Marbro was in a better location and by 1963 it was not
that bad yet. If it had however, I am sure it would have been burned
with the 1968 West Side burnings like the Senate had. I don’t know
what year the Senate closed, but I passed there in the 1970’s and
it was a burned out shell!

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Its MARBRO, not Marlboro the cigarette!
I think I remember the restaurant on the SW corner. The violence
was taking over the West Side. It was slowly losing its “Great
West Side” namesake. Small wonder people were moving away. As
far as the ushers stopping the vandalism at the Marbro Scott,
I heard B&K were “trimming down the staff” in the 60’s due to
reasons of money..Probably also of fear for themselves too.

Scrabble
Scrabble on June 7, 2010 at 5:30 am

My Mother took my two sisters and I (we were just young children) to the Marlboro Theatre on Madison Street (located a couple of blocks west of Pulaski) to see the Movie with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason about pool and we had a most awful experience. We left the Theatre after the movie and we stopped in a small restaurant near the SW corner of Pulaski and Madison called “Good Food”. We were sitting in the restaurant waiting to be served and there were a couple of fellows standing outside the glass windows making faces at patrons inside. We paid no attention but all of the sudden a terrible fight broke out and glass was flying all over and it was like a total riot. We got out of the restaurant and my Mom hailed a cab, and we were all actually shaking. We learned later that one of the employees of the restaurant had his ear sliced off. It was one of the most horrible experiences of my life.

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Scott, A “Green River” is selzer water with lime syrub in it. Sorta
like a chocolate physfate. I am sure you had those. These were a
favorite of mine after seeing a movie—like I needed anything after
being stuffed from the treats at the Marbro! The vadalsim started
in the early sixties not just with the boxing matches. All the B&K shows
had them. That is why they removed all the furniture and paintings.
I heard from relatives of “Snow” coming down on them from the balcony
that was the stuffings from the seats being ripped open. They had to close the balcony eventually. They would still attend, but never at night. Of course they had to move away themselves in 1964 after
watching that beautiful place be demolished. I am glad you never had to witness it. But now you know…….

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Scott, I think we moved away the same year. Right after “Ben-Hur”.
I was not happy. I loved the area with all of my entertainment
venues and such. We left because my father saw what was coming. ALot
of relatives thought we were crazy to go. We would go back often
and visit and hear the “horror stories” of the Marbro. The Paradise
was dust by then of course. The relatives would tell us about the
riots in the theater, the muggings, the vadalism in the theater eg.
seats being slashed and stuffings thrown from the balcony, pictures
being slashed with knives, robbies of patrons when the last show let out and drive-bys. Hey, sounds like the 10pm newscast on any given
night today! I bet you had “Green Rivers” at the Walgreens after
a movie at the corner of Pulaski & Madison. They were great. Probably
saw you there

BobbyS
BobbyS on May 28, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Hi Scott,
Thanks for remembering the Marbro’s candy counter. It was very
wonderful and larger than the Paradise. I’m sure to serve more patrons. I enjoyed most of their treats. It was as special as
seeing the movie. I think the popcorn was better than today's
being popped. Though I am not sure. Maybe it was popped in pure
butter. I have had some popcorn in some of the chains around
Chicago and I swear they used motor oil.

BobbyS
BobbyS on May 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Scott, So glad we are keeping the spirit of the Marbro “alive”.
Com'on everyone lets add to memory lane. My first film there was
“Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” Couldn’t wait to grow up so I could bleach
my hair! The new screen was the largest one I ever saw beside Radio City in NY. It was much larger than the one at the State-Lake that
showed “The Robe” first. The screen was a little curved I think and
was very large in size. “The Robe” was magnificent. My last film before we moved away was “Ben-Hur”—and I saw everything in between.
All the big ones and the lesser ones too. Always enjoyed that palace
and all the milk duds and halloway candy I could eat.

BobbyS
BobbyS on May 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Scott, Do you remember when Cinemascope came to the Marbro?
I think the Marbro was closed for a week to put in the new screen.
“The Robe” opened in 1954 with alot of fanfare! I thought maybe
B & K should have put that massive screen in the Paradise. Maybe it
would have survived a few more years don’t you think? I don’t recall
the Paradise ever having a 70mm screen do you? Maybe they already
had intentions of closing it down. I do recall very large crowds
on the week-ends at the Marbro for these epics. So maybe they did the right move.

BobbyS
BobbyS on May 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Never went to Tiffen. Stayed on Madison St. alot. Alex, Marbro,
Crawford not too much. Went to the State alot on West Madison.
The Paradise was beautiful but never ever had a large audience I
felt. The movies were not that good I thought. Sort Of a dumping
ground for B&K. Went to State for a re-lease of “King Kong"
in the 50’s. Half way through, a kid yelled "Fire” “Fire” from
the balcony. Next thing I knew, we were out in the ally behind the
Stat. Firemen arrived and they caught the kid. He was from my
school!!!!!

BobbyS
BobbyS on May 17, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Scott, Do you remember the Crawford theater around the corner
next to the library? I remember one sat afternoon matinee,
the theater was packed with teens. The film was “Our Lady of Fatima"
The final scene when the Lady speaks to the children, there were
plenty of sobs and tears because of this beautiful story. Can
you only imagine tears and sobbing from today’s teens while watching
the newest addition of "Twilight,Vampires” or Freddie from “Nightmare on Elm Street”/ On the other hand, one might
hear sobs if their battery from their cell phone goes dead and
they cannot text & tweet their friends…………