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I don’t think the ‘sunken auditorium’ Benjamin describes is at all uncommon- how many theatres have you been in where you have to step up into the lobby or orchestra level? I can’t think of any.
I always assumed the circle was an abc sign, I don’t know the ownership history of the Portage, though.
I suspect there’s an interesting story behind the way the State-Lake ended up today, and I believe it has carried an important historical role in the development of television. I’ve heard it said that this was Balaban & Katz' home office. Now, Balaban & Katz was purchased by the nationwide Paramount chain, which in 1949 spun off its theaters into the United Paramount chain as a result of the consent decrees. Under Paramount’s ownership, Balaban & Katz had started the early Chicago television station WBKB Channel 4 in 1939, the second electronic television station, and Chicago’s first commercial station (http://www.chicagotelevision.com/WBKB.htm). This operated out of studios in the State-Lake building. In 1951, ABC merged with United Paramount, creating the ABC Theatres chain, and getting ABC off the ground as a television station. Now, since Paramount owned WBKB 4 and ABC owned WENR 7 in Chicago, FCC regulations forced the sale of WBKB, which was aquired by CBS and renamed WBBM, and soon moved to Channel 2. Subsequently, ABC dropped the WENR call sign and renamed to WBKB 7, which moved back to the State-Lake despite the fact that it was actually a different station (the old WBKB talent stayed with WBBM, which broadcast from the State-Lake until 1956, after which WBKB returned to the State-Lake, retaining the original WBKB management, and getting much of its programming back. As far as I can surmise, in the interim WBKB operated out of its other studios at the Garrick Theatre). (http://www.chicagotelevision.com/WBKBX2.htm, http://www.chicagotelevision.com/frazier.htm)) During this time, Henry Plitt was president of ABC’s syndication and production arms (http://print.google.com/print/doc?articleid=pWCxwY097eF) and in 1973 he bought the northern ABC Great States theaters, renaming them Plitt, and absorbing the southern ABC theaters in 1978. As a building housing both television studios and a movie theatre, the state-lake provides an interesting look at the shift from movies to tv.
What are the big letter sign and clock that you refer to?
The ‘Here’s’ link is working again. http://www.chicagotelevision.com/wbkbgarrick2.jpg shows a sketch of the Marquee from the early 50s, when the Garrick was serving as Television studios for shows like Garfield Goose. This is the marquee which obscured the busts in the above photographs.
http://www.cinergetics.com/theaclosed.htm Apparently there’s quite a number of them
The Marcus Addison converted its IMAX screen to a regular auditorium. I don’t know if there are others.
http://126.96.36.199/cta/htm/cta0176.htm Here is a photo from the el station showing the side of the Howard circa 1997
http://www.trolleybuses.net/cta/htm/cta1226.htm is the new URL for that link
The first link Bryan posted is broken. The new URL is http://www.trolleybuses.net/cta/htm/cta1249.htm
That preservationist website made my head hurt.
It should be noted that Plitt was the successor corporation to ABC Great States, so the only real transfer of ownership as a theatre was from RKO to B&K.
I can’t imagine how it was voted best. I suppose he pickings were pretty slim in 1993 though. Tickets are cheap, but the slope of the floors is almost non-existant, it has no architectual flair whatsoever, even compared to other Regals, and the cleaning lights were on through all the previews. Pretty lame. What’s with Regal cranking the volume up to uncomfortable levels in all their theaters?
The Glen Art’s official website is http://glenarttheatre.com/ and includes another early picture of the theatre.
View link Shows a night view of the picture, and the ebay offerings gallery on the same page includes the above postcard and an alternate view.
The theater was built by the same firm that built the des plaines, catlow and deerpath theaters, the latter two of which share many exterior similarities. From the looks of it, I would guess the 60s modernization craze took its toll on the Glen. In the photo on this page you can see details like divided-pane windows, scrollwork over the brick, and detailed columns adding to the unusual tudor revival look. In the current photos, the brick has been replaced with plain, non-matching brick, one-over-one windows, storefronts modernized. A shame it’s lost so much of its architectual integrity.
Actually, it is. The facade has been modernized somewhat. http://www.cinematour.com/tour.php?db=us&id=6473
The bushwick? It looks entirely intact except for the circle on the point and the brick. I wonder why they got rid of that seal.
Concered Taxpayer’s comments on October 9th and December 4th on this page make reference to the theater being fenced in, for what it’s worth. I do not know if this is the same fence Bryan refers to, however.
Thanks for the link. The last article I posted was from 2002, so its information that a theater complex was no longer planned has been superceded by the 2004 announcement you have. I don’t think anyone ever said it had anything to do with Rave, but having an operators name is certainly helpful.
Concerning “College Point” I found this article; it sounds like the project is called “University Gateway” now and the theaters are no longer part of the plan. View link
I found these: View link
Unfortunately, the portion of the terazzo that was in line with the sidewalk was destroyed in 1990. The portion going into the lobby remains. I’m told that some of the terrazzo was, incidentally, salvaged and is in fact in front of a local grocer, although I haven’t seen it for myself. The Adelphi was built in 1917 for the Ascher Brothers vaudeville circuit (the name in fact means “Brotherly Love”). The lobby area recieved an Art Deco remodeling in the early 1930s, although water damage has revealed the outlines of the old beaux arts plaster that had been removed from the walls, as well as a few other decors that have been in place since. Mosaic tilework appears to exist under the unattractive, stained carpet. The men’s room has been remodeled fairly recently, but the women’s room is fairly intact, although the real estate office next door which owns the building has annexed the original stalls and the theater’s bathrooms are in the former lounge. The one-time bowling alley upstairs, although divided into studios in the 40s or 50s, retains elaborate plaster grilles in the ceiling. The auditorium was partially remodeled in a modern style in the 1940s, really just layers of drywall, plus a layer of rockwool and fabric as acoustic paneling, which unfortunately has obscured or destroyed much of the detail in the auditorium that would make it attractive to a restorer, although the theater is quite restorable. The Adelphi never had much of a stage (perhaps 10 feet deep), and seems to have been built solely for movies, as there is no stagehouse (although the fact that the auditorium does not go all the way back to the street suggests it was designed to have one), and the rear wall appears to have been popped out in the transition to sound, to have a place for a speaker. With the addition of Cinemascope more alterations came. The current screen, though very large, is about twice the width of the proscenium, which has been removed for about the first 6 feet to accomodate voice of the theater speakers. The original backstage cavity is filled with old carpet. The auditorium, although shabby looking, is restorable. It’s been covered in very cheap green paint, much of which is now peeling and taking a layer of face plaster with it, and some of which was carelessly sprayed onto the masking curtain. It’s a decent neighborhood theater with lots of character, and I hope it’s put back to use one of these days.
In 1904-1905 the Iroquois was known as Hyde and Behman’s Music Hall
Merry Christmas, Movie House.
I’d imagine they would be able to retain the name, most buildings do. Like the Sears tower for example, Sears doesn’t have a thing to do with it anymore.