Showing 1 - 25 of 79 comments
Came across a video of someone exploring the interior here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG8im0L5FIY
Rather shocking how dilapidated the interior is. Looks like the entire roof has failed.
Thanks for uploading these photos. I was a manager here during the village’s final few years. It holds a special place in my life. We always wondered how much of the original facade was hidden back there.
It’s sad that no one was able to restore this place as a multipurpose venue I think it would have done very well. It is nice the facade will remain and finally see a restoration it deserves.
Complete tour of the Lincoln Village 6’s projection booth during its final year of operation by an employee can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfXHovgb0dE
Interesting to note that this theater had dual ports and was designed for change overs in all 6 auditoriums but I’m not sure if it ever operated with out platters.
Some VHS quality footage of the main auditorium and brief exterior footage of the Old Orchard can been seen on this news report for the Phantom Menace release in May of 1999. https://youtu.be/VcSHFMiAZng
“Going to the movies will never be the same again!” Is a bit eire considering the fate of most Cineplex odeon built complexes. They were right.
For a while after it closed there was a way in. Since then the building is fairly well secured with VPS, however one flaw in VPS’s design is it doesn’t secure weak points in the actual structure. Like dry wall surrounding door ways. I took a peak last summer and it was pretty standard for a building that just sits. There’s tagging and general debris everywhere. Projection equipment is long gone. There is a 2nd floor window that was smashed at water/snow gets in. The roof is leaking very bad in theater 6 on the 2nd floor. This was an issue even when the theater was still open, I worked there. I’m still fascinated by this place, with all the potential it had. How various corporations can simply not care. I’m betting eventually it was just be torn down. From what I’ve heard from older industry friends Cineplex was in financial trouble as this theater was being finished from their massive expansion into Chicagoland from ‘84 on. They were over budget. One of the reasons it was originally planned to be an 8 screen, but never was. Corners were cut.
Talk about a short lifespan! Besides the mall failing around, I gather this place had some serious managerial issues towards the end.
“Why would anyone go through the expense and trouble of removing seats, screens etc if it’s going out of business anyways?”
Because people like Village Entertainment (ie Ron Rooding) want to make it as difficult as possible for the someone else to come in and start it up as a theater again. Its harder and more costy to start up a theater with everything ripped out, and you have to start from scratch. I actually met with an old fellow friend, and former District manager from Village Entertainment. He told me this building structurally is in very bad shape over neglect not only from village, but every other chain that’s operated this place. Even Cineplex Odeon themselves. Lets face it, for some reason or another this complex was never really cared about. It’ll be very interesting to how the Day school does these conversions.
Some more interesting facts just revealed.
So I sent an email to the Hebrew day school regarding the water problem. Surprisingly I got an email back right away, and even a call (I include my number in emails). Turns out they new about it, and the city said they turned the water off.
We spoke briefly about the complex and apparently the school does have plans to convert it. He also informed me that the sound equipment, projectors, screens and seats have been pulled. Ron Rooding does not give theaters a chance when he leaves, and he made sure of that similar to the Village art which also had all of its guts ripped out after Village Entertainment left.
So I guess that’s all folks for the Lincoln Village as a movie theater. Amazing 3 theaters once coexisted and stood in this area. Now theirs none.
Is anyone responsible for this place right now? Get here quick! There is no power, the building isnt being heated and there is a heavy stream of water leaking out a back exit door.
Other then that, the building is still fairly secure.
Man, I wish I could buy this place before its too late.
It sure is great that we now have a vacant lot where this neat place used to be.
I’m really frustrated with the city of Evanston and that they just let history be erased.
Well said Ian. And I’m not trying to hop on the anti-chain bandwagon either. The chains simply took most the fun out of operating a theater for the staff thats involved. I’m good at running films, love the craft and providing the presentation essentials but there just isn’t work like that anymore at most theaters.
Lets take all the staff and have them work in varying areas of the theater at a time so instead of one being able to focus on specific tasks well executed you end up with a mediocre result across the board. Genius!
Only 5 years in various booths around Chicago my self. You guys are lucky. I saw the demise of a few older theaters, even a few megaplexes that didnt even turn 20 (cineplex odeons). Its difficult these days to work just in a booth around Chicago as most of the chains rotate staff around the theater. Which frankly I cant stand. Or don’t pay a even slightly livable wage. I’m so glad for the time I got in projection booths and enjoyed every minute of it. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll get to splice, thread and fine-tune for perfection again.
CinemarkFan, we need to have a chat about this place. Please email me at
Someone should pick up this theater, the Lincoln Village 6 on McCormick, and the Village Art in Old Town and provide Chicago with an independent alternative chain operated with class, style and a local neighborhood feel. It would take hard work, quite a bit of upfront repairs, and some intuitive advertising with the communities where they reside but I know they would flourish.
I would in a heart beat, if only I had the means (and the connections) to do so.
Ok, so thats how many theaters opened with it. How many screens was it on? As many of the megas had it premier in multiple auditoriums.
We’ll see if that ever happens.. Don’t keep your hopes up guys. I’d just hate to see this place close.
If someone is interested in actually investing into this complex with the potential it has it could truly thrive again. Email me at
I currently work at the Lincoln Village. The theater is in hand off from the Village entertainment chain and FunasiA is taking over the operation.
There are talks to reopen the parking lot, give the theater a much needed update and become more community oriented.
Hello former village employee, I as well am one. I was a house manager here just before it closed. I tried very hard to breath life into this place. I can agree 100% with everything said about Village et.
The entire operation is a complete joke.
I sure do miss this place.
Old Orchard 7-13 in Skokie opened as a Cineplex Odeon back in 1996 or so and still operates today under AMC. Kerasotes operates the Rivertree Court Cinema in Vernon Hills which opened in 1988 as an original 80s decor Cineplex Odeon it all its glory.
From what I can understand most of these theaters although state of the art particularly the ones built in the late 1980s faded quickly due to a rapidly changing standard for theater environments. Digital sound became all the rage and shortly after most of the “zig-zag” era Cineplexes opened in this area and stadium seating became the norm. Other then that I believe spotty management (the union walk out) and outrages spending on amenities took the toll on Cineplex Odeon. An old friend of mine who used to manage a top CO location told me about how they would fly managers out first class to california with 4-star accommodations for “company meetings” all the time.
The music box runs most movies in Dolby Surround (analog surround) in the large auditorium which is equipped with Left,Center,Right and mono surrounds speakers. The system could use a good calibration and adjustment which would make a massive difference, as well a few minor speaker replacements. At little as three years ago the system sounded impressive for a theater of its era.
Like others here I just stopped going. Is always more frustrating then an enjoyable experience. I’m 22, used to be a projectionist for the passed five years and truly love the cinema and always will however in my opinion its being ruined by poorly operated mega-chains from up top on down that seem more concerned over this weekends promotional materials of a new show on NBC or a video game then what’s actually onscreen and going on with the customers. That tied in with NCM preshow advertising and the loss of romance without film at new digital theaters I just don’t see the point anymore.
The staff doesn’t care, none of the theaters pay well for them to care or seem to even appreciate a hard lower level (manager on down) worker basically giving up their social life for the love of cinema. At least here in Chicago presentation is usually pretty lousy at the plethora of theaters we have to choose from. Prices aside maybe my standards for what I believe the movie going experience should be are just simply too high so write me off as a complainer if you will. Let it be known at every theater I’ve worked I’ve tried very hard to revive some of the lost showmanship and just to care about the job and most of all the customer but its only been a battle and I even ended up getting fired from a bit off more then they can chew chain known as Cinemark. As much as I love this industry and what I remember of the dying age of the 2,3 and 4 screen plex from when I grew up I honestly don’t have much hope for it. But who knows that could change. I for one don’t think its the prices that are hurting theaters. People will always want to go out. Its the quality of the environment, bombardment of advertising, and the “herding the cattle” like atmosphere that most megaplexes share.
What I hope to see in the future is a return of the neighborhood theater down the street.
Another late Odeon design (and one of there last) is the Old Orchard 7-13 (Formerly just the Old orchard Gardens). Frankly the big leafs creep me out a bit.
I did this just the other day in my front yard, of corse I’m for film but everyone from the block liked watching Ghostbusters outside.
I hope to acquire this place someday, there is so much you could do with it.