Showing 176 - 200 of 240 comments
In ChicagoLand, definitely the PICKWICK, in near-northwest suburb of Park Ridge. So, take-in a flick there, just as our (ahem) next (?) pres. did in her youth.
Technically a 4-plex for several yrs, the main auditorium is a completely separate (original) bldg from screens 2-3-4, and as such can definitely be considered a 1st-run single-screen vintage theatre (I intend to see “Juno” myself there this weekend). In their promotional material they advertise themselves as the largest auditorium of its kind in the area.
Token gripe: I’m a trailer lover, and the PICKWICK’s always been a little lean w/ the POCA’s.
I was there when the 3-PENNY ran Woody Allen’s “Melinda & Melinda” and the film jammed in the projector gate (during Bach’s beautuful Prelude #1, IIRC), and (naturally) I had to be the doofus walking over to snack counter telling them “pardon me but in theatre #3…..”. Apparently their machinery didn’t incorporate auto-shutdown if film breaks, and they never ran that title again. At least they gave me a free return pass, which I used there later for Spielbergs “War Of the Worlds”.
I admit over the years I only went to the 3-Penny because sometimes they were the only place (‘art house’) in town showing a particular film I had to see. I.E., “The Beach Boys – An American Band”, “Animal Crackers” (a very poor 16mm print I believe), “Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World”.
This place was only re-opened as a theatre (the 3-PENNY) around 1972(?), probably because business at the BIOGRAPH directly across Lincoln Ave had been better than average in the few yrs leading-up to that time; before that it had been many years since it showed films as the CREST. Under any name, it was a small venue, and that was B4 they ‘plexed’ it.
The DALE auditorium exterior is most evident even today—just turn onto Wolfram St (WB) from Milwaukee Ave and it’ll hit you like the brick wall it still is, complete w/ emergency exits that haven’t been cracked in 50+ yrs. It’s obviously ‘heythisisanoldtheaterbuilding’ time.
Never saw a film there myself, as they probably showed their final flick just after I made my debut. My Dad told me he knew this as the DALE most commonly, after being changed from the ROUND-UP. Directly across the street (Milwaukee) from DALE was the NITA, but I swear you can’t recognize the NITA now as a (former) theatre from what’s left of the old bldg—too much alteration.
P.S.: this is a very good, useful thread. Because there’re many around the country (besides Schmadrian) who’ve a yearning to visit NYC with a view to seek out what (if any) old movie palaces remain there (like myself), and could really make good use of insider tips to that end. Thank you!
Yes indeed – that ‘Fluevog’ store building has every (outward) appearance of once having been a vintage theatre of small-to-medium size, and kept-up nicely too; almost enough of an enticement for me to actually shop there. They probably don’t realize how lucky they are. The street address is just a door or 2 south of the famous ‘Flat Iron Bldg’ there.
SUPERMAN 2(1980) probably was the very last feature THE COMMODORE played, I venture to say. This because the poster for that film remained tacked-up to the doors for no less than a couple yrs after the theatre closed and abandoned.
Features I actually saw here I recall are TIDAL WAVE, DEADLY WEAPONS (w/Chesty Morgan), and THE EXORCIST.
Huh? Yes, any cave would certainly be better than a K. GORDON MURRAY film. The point is, I could tell that even as a kid in the ‘60s, and stayed away from those films in droves, even when the matinee tickets were freebies. There’s nothing more cheap and cheesy a kiddy flick than a KGM release! What in the world have you guys been smoking?
Dean. H: perhaps I knew Tony, ‘cause I went to Alpine Camera store very frequently late '60s and '70s. Bought a great seamless matte DaLite pull-down movie screen (8 ft?) from them, besides endless rolls of Super8 film. Tony was a little short, maybe wiry, but always amiable and energetic if it’s the same guy.
Valendorfs was there for a long time. I shopped frequently (w/ my parents) @ First Distributors, where you ordered primarily out of catologs I seem to recall. There was a Kresge store on the SW North/Pulaski corner where you got Hires Root Beer ‘on tap’ (The ‘K’ in K-Mart originates from Kresge, don’t ya know mon). But what was the men’s clothier just a coupla doors east of the Tiffin (later they moved the local CPL branch into it)?
I’ll remember to make another post if I observe development on the old Ferndell’s Restaurant site.
ALAMO Theatre photo, somewhat vintage, but clear w/ full vert. sign.
Where? www.olafire.com website, news & photos tab, ‘happier times’ pull-down, arrive @ ‘chicago nostalgia’ photos. Voila!
TIFFIN Theatre photo, late ‘50s, albeit it’s in the distance on North Ave.
Where? www.olafire.com website, news & photos tab, ‘happer times’ pull-down, arrive @ ‘chicago nostalgia’ photos. Voila!
P.S.; the COOK BROS. store mentioned in above post is on the north side of North & Grand Aves, whereas the former Helene Curtis exploding factory site I described was on the south side of it.
I rode by it during the summer; it’s boarded-up so there’s no longer a church useage. But it’s obviously also the former theatre (building) that I saw RETURN OF THE FLY at. Up on the Roosevelt Rd side it still had something like an (old) colorful stained-glass emblem or ornamentation. I may be wrong but it appears to predate the church aspect.
Terrible outcome—I’ll miss this charming old hardtop. Took my kids there many times, even tho we’re NW Chicagoans; my oldest son was fascinated by their pipe organ. Probably saw there MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE (#1).
‘A’ is how I’d rate this new inner-city multi. This place opened for the 4th of July weekend rather unexpectedly, in a location formerly a large railroad yard (the ‘Homer St’ of the address is somewhat imaginary). It’s really off-street, with plenty o' parking. You enter off of the (recently re-built) Central Ave overpass. Needs more landscaping, apparently still in progress.
Been there many times already; just can’t beat their weekend pre-noon discount admission for 1st runs. All screens are large (enough), sound excellent, seats and line-of-sight just fine.
If there be any negative, the picture focus is typical for automated installations. That is, close but not quite 100% accurate or uniform. There’s a little ambient light spilling onto the corners of the screens from exit signs—I think could easily be corrected w/ simple shrouds. Plus a few too many commercials lead-off a showtime (I’d prefer more trailers instead).
Saved the best for last: I lost my car keys in an auditorium, and would you believe they were found and kept at the customer service desk? I had them back in but 2 days. Kudos to Kerasotes, and lucky me I had a hunch where I might’ve lost them.
NEWS, of sorts, about Pulaski & North Aves (the TIFFIN’s center-of-universe) here: the NorthEast corner of P&N now is demolished! That is, no more Ferndells Restaurant! They were still open for business there (in some form), but a few weeks back.
A few blocks west on North Ave, a Menards is now beginning construction where the old Helene Curtis factory bldg used to be (@ Kostner Ave). Do you remember when that place blew-up in the early ‘60s, shattering all local storefront windows?
Correction re. above post – 70mm STAR WARS here in Chicago area: the EDENS in NorthBrook ran it in 70mm right from the (May ‘77) start. Also they seemed to be the very last house to play it – a total of about a year.
Sorry ‘bout this, but I’ve a strong feeling the 'status’ of the PALACE is now squarely under the heading of DEMOLISHED.
Someone (besides me that is) needs to travel by and conduct and official post mortem.
On a similar note, I’ve wondered how many, and which, cinemas at one time had true horizontal (‘lazy-8’) VistaVision projectors?
This process enjoyed some popularity in the late ‘50s/early '60s, however I understand it was meant to be a 'taking’ or filming format, not actual projection. That said, it’s been mentioned over the years that a scant few premiere theatres actually projected the large-format ‘horizontal’ prints.
(Understand, this is not 70mm per se). Any ideas?
I’m not saying anything new when I tell you the TIFFIN was the mainstay of the North/Pulaski Aves neighborhood—everyone around went there, always a good double-feature. The auditorium ceiling was kind’ve an illuminated ‘dome’, orange-green colored if memory serves. Remember seeing films like PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES, or KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, or CASINO ROYALE (the Ursula Andress one), or THEY CALL ME TRINITY there. CASINO sticks in my mind for a decidedly odd reason: the projectionist would’ve been a man after my own heart, because he ran it with the framing ‘low’ (potentially trimming head tops) which served to expose Ursula’s nipples at the very frame bottom in some bathtub scene (I kid you not)! My final visit there was late ‘70s for NURSE SHERRI & IN SEARCH OF DRACULA, but the latter title was cancelled because mgmnt said the film had split lengthwise! This once popular venue didn’t adapt well with the changing neighborhood, and I imagine real estate values & heating/AC costs made it necessary to sell off to the laundromat that’s on the site now.
Mentioned once or twice in all the postings is their Screening Room “for the trade only”. Primarily in the 70s I went there on odd invitation—one entered the Chicago not off of State St but from the doors on Benton Pl, the south side of the bldg. At that entrance there’s a bank of elevators that takes one to the upper floors for that screening room; perhaps it was on flr 7 or maybe 11. Titles I saw immediatley before opening were BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY (DeNiro, Voight), and HAUNTING OF JULIA (Keir Dullea, Mia Farrow). I was with a small group of friends standing in the hallway up there when Roger Ebert walks up to us and gives us his strong recommendation to some other film.
On the CHICAGO main floor I remember seeing BARBARELLA on opening there. And all those above wracking their brains trying tom recall the name of the nearby downtown hamburger joints, will you still haven’t got it right. It was WIMPY’S—after the Popeye character.
In the mid-70s they had a re-release of SOUND OF MUSIC with the strongest (clear and resonant) magnetic (penthouse) soundtrack I’ve ever enjoyed and on a 1st class musical, with uniformly sharp 70mm picture throughout! From then on this installation couldn’t be beat for cinema quality (with one unfortunate sour note, later), proven to me again bringing my young sons on the opening of TITANIC there in more recent times.
On a Friday night late in August of 1981, having just seen CONDORMAN, while walking back to my car in the theatre parking lot off Skokie Blvd there I had my closest encounter ever with lightning.
A blinding ball struck in the middle of the parking lane between me and the theatre, during a thunderstorm of course. I was alone so every once and awhile I have to tell others about it, simply to remind myself.
The sour note was in their final years when I saw MISSION TO MARS (2000?) there, and the magnificent stereo sound system was now little more than an articulate buzz.
Yes! My (own) Dad does. He grew up in the Bucktown neighborhood, and besides the WEBSTER nearby, he says if he walked south on Milwaukee Ave you got first to the BANNER (right at North/Damen Ave), then this one the WICKER PARK (a few doors past North), then shortly thereafter the ROYAL (running the longest), and before one reached Division St. the PAULINA. All these would be to your left, or East side of street, as you continued down Milwaukee Ave. And at Division/Milwaukee you finished with the CROWN and CHOPIN (which actually still remains in some form for live theatre). So there.
This bargain venue was a favorite of mine, as apparently it also was for so many others, to the mid-‘60s. (I don’t think it made it to the '80s). Saw there HOUSE OF WAX (what a scare Vincent Price gave this little boy with that icy line “You shouldn’t have done that, my dear”), HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (with Peter Cushing, who I regarded at the time as the British Vincent Price), RODAN, and so many more. I remember the ALEX had some parking lot validation arrangement with the (formerly) nearby Goldblatts store on Madison Ave.
Sometime back in the ‘70s my cousin Bill’s wife KAREN FERET was assocaited with the THALIA operation. I was under the impression she was a manager
Yes, this was the CINERAMA place w/ 3 seperately-boothed projectors operating simultaneosly. “CINERAMA HOLIDAY” was another title, and the panorama effect one got was quite different from 70mm. You could notice a trace of the 2 picture ‘seams’, though they tried to minimize that with aperture plates in the projectors that actually vibrated. Then there was “HOW THE WEST WAS WON” where the director cheated and substituted 70mm-filmed scenes among the true 3-camera scenes (public never noticed), and from that point it was inevitable that the CINERAMA people just went to straight 70mm for their process. Hrrrumph.
A variation on the process called CINEMIRACLE, which the Bismarck also ran, put all 3 projectors into one central booth but re-directed (2 of) the lightbeams w/ mirrors I think (so one person could handle it in one place). Only one title – “WINDJAMMER”, another travelogue derivative. (Whatever became of that film?)
You probably guessed I know this place primarily as the BISMARCK. They used to have a very tall, modern-style, neon sign for the name.
Last film I saw there myself was TORA TORA TORA (1969, probably 70mm blow-up). In its' heyday, this place was obviously quite a classy joint, but for me it lacked the very ornate, romantic quality of other ‘Palaces’. Why it went unused in ‘80s-'90s is peculiar.
Ahhh….RENA (not RENO). Thanks Ken & Bryan. Could never quite put my finger on it before ‘cause this theatre did'nt have a proper AKA for search purposes.
I’m gonna go by it sometime soon.