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Glad to help. Check out the Facets and Siskel too, they play the really obscure stuff.
The Chicago Biograph closed last week, perhaps you could contact Village Entertainment and see if they still have the screens
Morton Grove maybe?
Ah, yeah, I knew I was forgetting a couple. I saw Steamboat Bill Jr. there. Wonderful hidden treasure, that one.
Yep, Chcicago Reader’s gonna be your best bet. That said, there’s not many operating ornate theaters besides the Music Box. In the suburbs you have the tivoli, the catlow, the york, the pickwick. In the city, the Vic still shows movies, but it’s rather run down since it operates as a concert venue primarily. Beyond that there are some still operating but not in their original form- the Chicago, Palace, and Oriental are the old palaces that now show live shows, the Biograph just closed for good a few days ago, the Riviera is a live venue, the Lakeshore is legitimate, the Park West was once a neighborhood theater, the Portage is closed, twinned, and modernized, the Central Park, one of the first proper palaces, is a church, the Davis, Village and Logan were quadded, the Admiral is a gentleman’s club, the Esquire had a six-screen built where the original house was, the Century now is a mall featuring 7 new screens showing mainly art and indie movies, the Logan Square is a discount mall/flea market, then there’s the closed ones, like the Uptown, Patio, Ramova, New Regal, or last ‘movie palace’ in the city, the McClurg Court… not too many old theaters still playing movies.
Also, I believe this was a three screen, as there were only three placards and three films booked. But never having been there I can’t confirm this.
The Biograph Theater has now closed. This despite the listings showing it open today. Oh well.
A 1915 Chicago Daily News photo shows The Wide Awake Club in front of the Studebaker Theatre. I’m not sure how to explain that name at that time.
The Library of Congress site has this mislabeled as a shot of the Auditorium Theatre, but it clearly is not and matches the above shot.
A 1903 view of the third McVicker’s can be seen here
This photo from the Chicago Daily News collection of the Library of Congress, shows state street in 1926, with early marquees of the State-Lake and Chicago visible.
View link shows the address as 174-176 S. State (As well as a nice rendering of the facade), and the Bijou Dream as 178 S. State, which would indeed be adjoining properties. The 112 S. State address presumably came from View link I would attribute this error to the positions of the 7-8 and 1-2 keys on the numerical keypad. So, this entry should read 176 S. State and the Bijou Dream should read 178 S. State, and the erroneus location near Couch Street should be removed from the Bijou’s entry.
This view would be roughly from the Woods theatre, wouldn’t it? The substation, I believe, is the building with the U-shaped facade in the photo. Incidentally, this substation is, as I undersand it, a significant factor to why Block 37 has not been developed; the power to much of the loop is controlled from this building and consequently the block is snaked with power lines, the relocation of which would inevitably cause all sorts of havoc to the loop. This is a textbook example of why buildings should not be torn down until plans are absolutely finalized. Also, the text on that lobby photo page isn’t really correct in saying it was built inside an existing structure, rather it was a remodeling of a live theatre venue, correct?
You’d have to contact the owner, Village theatres. http://www.villagetheatres.com
According to their site, it was built by the Lubliner & Trinz chain, also was on the Orpheum vaudevill circuit, and went to Balaban & Katz in 1929 with the rest of the Lubliner/Trinz chain. The vertical framework is still in place, although to be honest, it kind of disfigures the ornate facade. Another prior name for the congress in its spanish-language period was the cine mexico, and these name changes presumably are why the vertical is missing and why the marquee sports a rather bizarre modern backlit/retro font look on a 60s style frame.
Some interior views can be seen at http://www.midnightmadness.org/sfa-jja00-i.htm I’m surprised nobody’s reopened this place. You’d think there would be an audience for SOME film in the loop, besides the Siskel. Obviously there once was…
This article from the Chicago’s e-mail newsletter illustrates to a degree what you were talking about. The old lower marquee area really looked much better, it’s a shame they haven’t restored that as well. Indeed, if the show begins on the sidewalk, why not bring that back to the proper splendor? Also, I recieved an email reply to some questions I had asked, which brought this information: “The marquee restoration
project was started due to structural damage found last year. The
marquee has not been changed, just refurbished and strengthened to
better reflect the original look, and to make sure it is safe. The
restoration should be complete in the coming week or two. It will
officially be re-lit at the beginning of September. ”
A couple more factoids on the Chicago, verbatim from their email newsletter:
“On the original blue prints , the theatre was not called "The Chicago Theatre.” What was the original name proposed for the theatre?
Capitol Theatre and Ambassador Theatre
Both of these names appeared on working drawings and renderings. It was common to change a buildings name while plans were being finalized or even as the building was being built.
Perhaps Balaban & Katz resisted the name due to announcements that a number of new theatres around town were also considering it. In the end, they were the only ones to actually go through with the idea.
The Chicago Theatre is actually the sixth to bear the name. The first opened in 1838, and was a small dingy theatre located at 8 and 10 S. Dearborn. Others included a “Chicago” at 614 S. State, John B. Rice’s theatre on Randolph, the Olympic theatre on Clark (later the Apollo), the Chicago Opera House, and the American Music Hall after it was taken over by the Shuberts."
I like the marquee and vertical, but they do not appear to really match the originals. Comparing the photos on this page, http://michtheater.org/theater_history.php, and http://michtheater.org/theater_today.php?id=0, the vertical appears to be somewhat smaller and lower than the original. Note that the I on the new vertical is in line with the arch, where on the original the G is in this line. Also, this entry says that the new marquee shows more of the building than the previous, but it looks to me like the current one is an adaptation of the one shown on this page, as it seems to have the same dimensions. That said, the new one does suit the facade better, and all the prior marquees for the Michigan seem to be unusually attractive, even the 1940s version http://michtheater.org/theater_history.php?id=5 This place has had an awful lot of looks! The 1950s one was pretty unfortunate, though…
I noticed in Bryan Krefft’s post on the Clark/Adelphi that the Astor is visible in the background of this photo: View link
Originally named the Lyric. I would guess this was remodeled in the 60s and 70s, from the marquee, lower facade, and interior. The house lacks any ornamentation, but I doubt there was any in the first place. It looks like a typical 60s theater inside, but nice and largish. One curious feature is a partial boat hull in the very rear. It looks as though there was originally a balcony, now used as a large projection booth. Many original details remain such as padded, brass-tacked doors and box office. I’ve never seen a theater with such legroom – you can stretch your legs completely out. It has a lot of charm. Projection looked a little fuzzy, with good sound, and apparently they still change reels, because there was a very brief intermission. Web site is www.geocities.com/tomahawkcinema . I took a number of pictures of this. Also one at View link
hmm, yes, the first one worked for me after reloading. I see what you mean. And I misspelled Joseph. Whoops. Thanks!
Ah, I see… i’d be very interested in seeing these pictures if they’re published somewhere. The chicago is what sparked my interest in movie theaters, in grade school we went to see Joeseph and were stuck in the vestibule for 3 or 4 hours after the bus that was to pick us up got in some kind of minor accident
A shot of the side of the Chicago theater, showing the painted billboard in the alley, is visible in this Chicago Tribune gallery (free registration req’d). This shot also includes a sliver of the old Loop Theater, what would have been the ‘stagehouse’, were there one
I’d never heard or seen anything about the marquee being higher up, or the canopy being different… I couldn’t quite tell from the photo chronology. Do you have any further info? Also, any idea what the recesses above the marquee were for? From the earliest picture I saw it looked like there were bushes there… but I can’t imagine why