Showing 201 - 213 of 213 comments
I saw the inside of the theatre after its ballroom conversion. The balcony was still intact but the floor of course was leveled. I had to beg to see the inside because no one without a jacket was allowed inside and I wasn’t wearing one. The company running the ballroom I was told had converted other theatres. A big band was playing and none of the patrons except me was under fifty. I remember as a youngster riding by the Embassy on my bicycle and being fascinated by the former ticket booth which then contained two motorized 18 inch dolls dancing. This was in the 1950’s. The seating capacity of 1400 would be about right.
The North Center was not by any means an ornate B&K movie palace but it was a comfortable theatre and part of a small chain. It seated between 1200 & 1400 people.
The balcony was small in that it had no depth — it was more like continuous opera boxes or a loge rather than a true balcony. The foyer was huge; you entered on Lincoln Ave. but could exit on Damen Ave. if desired. The theatre’s ceiling contained a rather large oval which was covered in a brown fabric. In addition to four vertical aisles there was a wide horizontal aisle right in the middle of the seating. I’m not sure what purpose it served but if you had long legs it was the place to sit. The theatre had an organ which always played before the matinees. The organ music was shear agony for most of the kids who fantasized about shooting the organist and putting on some Jerry Lee Lewis music. The theatre complex contained apartments and some retail stores including a small department store called Hurst. The bowling alley and pool hall were down the block. The pool hall was in fact where the Cruise/Newman movie “the Hustler” was filmed. The theatre complex was torn down before 1970 and probably closer to 1965. My parents won a trip to Florida during one of the theatre’s promotions in the 1950’s
I never did see the auditorium of the Manor Theatre but did look into the foyer though the glass doors after the conversion to banquet facilties was complete. It looked like the garden of an Italian villa and was a popular spot for Italian wedding receptions. I knew an Italian girl who told me there was a two year waiting list for most bookings.This was in the 1960’s but it remained a popular banquet facility for many years. Years later the marquee (it was a nice one) advertised boxing matches and later still break dancing contests. The neighborhood had deteriorated and so did the Manor’s exterior. I can’t remember the year it was demolished.
It did have a balcony but I don’t remember much else about it.
The Commodore was a vey plain theatre. They used to sell an extra small box of popcorn for 5 cents. This was its best “feature”
I attended many movies at the Bugg and fortunately it wasn’t crawling with them. The Bugg closed briefly while a Cinemascope was installed and I think re-opened with “Broken Arrow” and another feature. I was worried that the child’s admission of 17 cents would go up but apon re-opening admission dropped to 15 cents. According to the fire safety occupancy sign the Bugg seated 599. I had no balcony.
I never got inside The Vogue but remember it. A relative who frequented it told me it was fairly plain inside. Memory tells me it was demolished in approximately 1958.
I managed to see the inside of the Southtown when it was operating as Carr’s department store. It was still quite beautiful because much of the theatre was still intact. The balcony was still intact and there where lots of sculptures. There was another theatre less than a block away on 63rd but I can’t remember the name.
The Marquette was owned the same chain that owned the Hi-Way and the Colony theatres. On the north side of the city they owned the Sheridan, Patio, Vogue, North Center and possibly some others.
I was visiting Chicago during the early stages of the theatre’s demolition and went inside. I’d estimate the seating to be in the 1200 range including the balcony. The Belmont/Central area of Chicago is a nice section of the city and the theatre looked as though it had been well cared for. I have some interior pictures of the theatre which I’ll submit when the process is back online.
I was lucky enough to see the inside of The Maryland during the late 1970’s. It was beautiful inside and ideal for live entertainment. Even the last row of seats was close to the stage making it a perfect place to see the many black recording artists who performed there. Unfortunately I never did. Several years after my initial visit to the Maryland, I returned to find vandals had ruined the entire theatre complex.
The Belpark Thatre was the largest theatre built in Chicago without a balcony. It also served as a department store before becoming a banquet hall. I believe the store’s name was Steinberg & Baum.
During my last visit to Chicago I talked to one of the tennants at the Patio Theatre Building who informed me that the building’s owner is hoping to lease out the theatre. Hope someone’s interested.