Marbro Theatre

4110 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 201 - 225 of 271 comments

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 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 on June 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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…………

BobbyS on May 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Scott, jwballer and Life’s too short, Thanks for the info and
the pix’s. I used to sneak out of the house ( not an easy thing
for a pre-teen in the 50’s to do when every move was controlled
by the parents) and walk thru alleys and gangways two blocks to
the Marbro and watch White Way Sign Co change the attraction
signs and re-bulb the burned out ones and replace if needed the
pink neon on the massive M-A-R-B-R-O veritcal. This was a ritual of mine on Thursday nights for years. And nobody was the wiser!!!!!

BobbyS on May 4, 2010 at 9:15 pm

So happy to read about my beloved Marbro Theater. Went every
time a new movie opened. Also the Paradise, but loved the Marbro.
Does anyone have a color photo either day or night of that beautiful
marquee in the 50’s. Would love to see it. It was something at night
to stand across the street. What a great west side it was!
posted by BobbyS on May 4, 2010 at 11:15pm

experiment626 on November 17, 2009 at 11:16 am

I find it cruelly ironic that the Marbro seems far closer to the model used for STYX’s Paradise Theatre album cover than the Paradise itself.

Trolleyguy on August 6, 2009 at 5:48 am

Shoeshoe, if you read the above posts from July 6-9, you’ll see that this has been discussed already.

shoeshoe14 on August 5, 2009 at 8:35 pm

This theater was mentioned in “Public Enemies”, the recent movie about Dillinger with Johnny Depp. At the end, they made mention of the Biograph and the Marbro.

Trolleyguy on July 27, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I worked at Madison and Pulaski (which my generation always referred to as Crawford) for many years in the 50’s and 60’s. The Cascade was on the south side of Madison near Hamlin. It was a great place to go bowling after work.
The Alex was on the north side of the street.

Mikes812 on July 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

In 1959 I used to live at West End and Keeler Ave. right across the street from Tilton School. The Marbro was my favorite place to see movies. The Marbro was beautiful inside and outside. People today have no idea what they have missed. The West Garfield Park and Austin neighborhoods were fabulous places to come of age.

I remember seeing Ocean’s 11 when it opened at the Marbro, also Ben-Hur. Those of us who grew up in West Garfield Park and Austin were very lucky. The Alex Theatre acroos the street from the Cascade Bowling Ally used to specialize in showing horror and B-Movies for 25 centsw admission….with 2 cartoons. Try to get that deal today!

GFeret on July 9, 2009 at 7:33 am

Trolleyguy: you’re of the opinion Dillinger tossed out possible movie theatre choices based on 2 he knew to be air-conditioned, one of them being close the other distant? Besides the COVENT I’d mentioned above there’s of course also the CENTURY (maybe he wasn’t aware of those 2?) big and not far. In 1934 I’d venture to say the bigger playhouses had installed A-C like the BIOGRAPH did. The small nearby venues like the EASTERLY or PARKWAY probably not yet, and the CREST (later 3-PENNY) right across from the BIOGRAPH was (temporarily) used non-theatrical.

All things considered I still like my more sinister explanation above for the MARBRO, certainly more in character for John D. than just “where’s the air conditioning?” Not a crucial reasoning for a man who needed to lay low in the public eye after all.

Trolleyguy on July 8, 2009 at 9:05 am

His choices of the two theaters might have had something to do with the fact that both were air conditioned in an era when most neighborhood theaters weren’t. My parents would often choose the Marbro to attend for this very reason.

I just saw the movie, and to my untrained ear, it seems that the theater is pronounced both Marbro and Marlboro at different points by different characters.

GFeret on July 8, 2009 at 7:30 am

I wondered about Dillingers choice of theatres because, obviously, the MARBRO ain’t nowheres near (the BIOGRAPH). If I were selecting neighborhood shows strictly based on seeing a movie per se, I certainly wouldn’t pick a possibility so distant myself. A more logical 2nd choice would’ve been the COVENT Theatre, a large place not so far.

In PUBLIC ENEMIES one of Melvin’s men correctly assumes John would not go to the Marbro based on the fact it was showing a Shirley Temple pic at the time (this we hear in the films dialogue, assuming it is a booking fact). So why then would Dillinger have even considered the Marbro, by mistake? Maybe a better theory he had some (dirty) business cooking out on the city’s west side, and the theatre locale made the 2 convenient.

GFeret on July 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm

PUBLIC ENEMIES – the John Dillinger movie out last week, this theatre is mentioned more than once as an alternate to the Biograph Theatre for his final nite out. Those’ve seen the movie will know what I mean, I just wonder if it has any basis in reality?

Important but: the way this theatres name’s pronounced by the players in the movie, it still sounds to me like they’re all saying MARLBORO (not just MAR-BRO). Doesn’t it to you?