Marbro Theatre

4110 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 201 - 225 of 266 comments

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

jwballer on March 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm

A 5/21 Wurlitzer was installed in the theatre in 1927.
After it was demolished it was moved to the Providence Performing Arts Center In Rhode Island.

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?

Burkesniece on January 6, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Warren – thanks for info. Any idea if the pics are just of the building or perhaps some are of the performers they had over the years? I am in Texas so I won’t be getting there anytime soon. However I do have a date I can look up!

Goomba62 on January 5, 2009 at 11:30 am

Great ! Will try the THS Thanks !

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 5, 2009 at 11:15 am

I remember seeing that photo somewhere. My guess would be that I saw it either at THS or in a THS publication.

Goomba62 on January 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Does anyone have or know of a newspaper photo of a midget race car in front of the Marbro probably mid to late 1940’s ? My uncle (Lou Scaramuzzo, aka: Lou Scally), had his midget racer # 10 in front of the theater to promote a movie that was showing about midget racing. My uncle raced at Soldier field and Hammond, Indiana during the 1940’s. Any info is sincerely appreciated.

kencmcintyre on November 10, 2008 at 6:51 pm

From The Austin (IL) News, dated 10/21/64:


A Madison-Pulaski businessman made an interesting observation this week. Seems parking is still prohibited in front of 4110 Madison, site of the old Marbro theater, razed this summer. The “No Parking” signs originally served to keep the curb area in front of the theater entrance free of cars. The businessman pointed out that this space could be turned Into metered parking for the benefit of shoppers in the area.