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Vintage view of the Argmore (with a Fred and Ginger movie!) here: Argmore Theater.
View of the Mode from the 1930s: Mode Theater.
Photos of the Lakeside from 1936: Lakeside Theater.
Photos of the Sheridan from the 1930s: Sheridan Theater.
Hmmm. You’re right, it does look like it might say Carnegie. Perhaps the eBay seller got it wrong, or the original newspaper photographer? (The actual caption says the Esquire on Rush, so something is wrong.)
I purchased images from this seller before, and he told me his negatives came from the Sun-Times or the Detroit News.
That’s what the original caption on the photo says…the image came from a Sun-Times archive.
Ticket booth at Esquire, 1951: Esquire.
Exterior of Plaza on North Avenue, Chicago, circa 1964: Plaza.
Outside the Roosevelt in 1961: Roosevelt, 1961
View of the Stratford from 1961: Stratford, 1961.
View of the Howard from 1955: Howard 1955
This is Joanne at CompassRose.com. We’ve moved our office and upgraded our servers/e-mail hosting this last month. I’m sorry if we lost your e-mail. You can contact me at
Thanks and sorry for any delay.
You can visit http://www.compassrose.org/uptowntheatre/news.html for information on what’s happening with the Uptown Theatre.
Next week the City of Chicago Community Development Commission will be discussing whether they will purchase the theatre. Hopefully, this is good news. :–)
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
121 North LaSalle Street
Council Chambers, Second Floor City Hall
Special Meeting, 1:00 p.m.
[Tuesday] September 26, 2006
H. LAWRENCE/BROADWAY TIF REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT AREA
Request authority to acquire the Uptown Theater, a Chicago Landmark, located at 4816 North Broadway Avenue in the Lawrence/Broadway Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Project Area.
For those who missed the premiere of the Uptown Theatre movie at the Portage earlier this summer, the award-winning documentary is being released on DVD.
Filmmakers John Pappas and Michael Bisberg have generously agreed to donate any proceeds from “Uptown: Portrait of a Palace” to Compass Rose and Friends of the Uptown to help further promote the concept of the theatre’s renovation and reuse as an entertainment venue. Compass Rose has an extensive History of the Uptown on its Web site, and sponsors the Uptown Signature Drive to show local and international support for the theatre. You may also download a free PDF of the Opening Day Program.
The production and distribution of this DVD is an all-volunteer effort, from the graphic artist who is designing the cover to the volunteers who will be wrapping and shipping the DVDs.
To learn more and to watch the film’s original theatrical trailer, go to:
Uptown: Portrait of a Palace
The DVDs will be available soon through http://www.compassrose.org once the filmmakers take care of a few technicalities.
The turnout at the Portage was fantastic. Proceeds supported the Portage Film Forum and Friends of the Uptown; F.o.t.U are now able to purchase a power washer so volunteers can now take care of the exterior graffitti on the theatre that’s otherwise prohibitively expensive to clean off. I’ll post photos from the premiere event soon.
A friend of mine was at the opening and says the Portage has the best popcorn around.
The Portage has also generously offered to host “Uptown: Portrait of a Palace” on June 8th. This documentary on Chicago’s Uptown Theatre has already won two awards for “Best Documentary” in national and local competitions. Info can be found at: http://www.compassrose.org/uptowntheatre/news.html
I have a copy of the opening advert for the Balaban & Katz Uptown Theatre in Chicago on my Web site:
If you were at the Uptown Portrait event last summer, be sure to come to the Uptown Theatre documentary on June 8th to see yourself on the Silver Screen!
WATCH THE NEW DOCUMENTARY “UPTOWN: PORTRAIT OF A PALACE"
AT THE HISTORIC PORTAGE THEATRE IN CHICAGO
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2006. Time: 8:00 pm
Address: 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
The public debut of the short documentary film Uptown: Portrait of a
Palace will be hosted by Friends of the Uptown and the Portage Film
Forum at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 8, 2006, at the Portage Theatre, 4050 N.
Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Two additional shorts and live theatre organ
music complete the bill. The Portage Theatre has a full concession
stand. Admission is $8 in advance; $10 at the door. Plenty of parking
is available nearby at meters and a City lot. Proceeds will benefit the
Portage Film Forum and Friends of the Uptown. Call (773) 205-7372 or
visit http://www.silentfilmchicago.com for more information.
Uptown: Portrait of a Palace was produced and directed by John Pappas
and Michael Bisberg for Debra Tolchinskyâ€™s Fall 2005 documentary film
production course at Northwestern University. A devastating hard drive
crash caused its delayed completion and release. However, the data was
recovered with the help of grant assistance and a remarkable,
first-of-its-kind (for the Uptown Theatre!) film has been released.
Progenitor of the largest U.S. movie palaces of the mid-to-late 1920s,
the Uptown Theatre, Chicago, operated profitably and survived several
shifts in entertainment and public taste before closing in 1981. Since
then, the closed colossus has been one of the biggest mysteries of
Chicagoâ€™s North Side. Though the Uptown is a popular favorite venue for
generations of Chicagoans and a City landmark since 1991, it is
increasingly threatened by its disuse and real-estate speculation.
The film explores the history of the Uptown Theatre and why the largest
and one of the most elaborate theatres in the nation has been left
vacant for 25 years. It uses interviews with eight sources close to the
theatre and breathtaking footage from inside the rarely seen venue to
invite the viewer to question what is really important in a society
fueled by money and private interest.
Is the Uptown a crumbling remnant of the long-forgotten past? Or does
the building possess the quality that Balaban & Katz (the theatreâ€™s
original owners and promoters) touted when they gave it as a gift to
their loyal cinema patrons: A theatre built â€œNot for TODAYâ€"but for ALL
Overall, the film shows how the Uptown Theatre remains an active venue
for the hopes of volunteers who support it, the factoids of historians
who have tracked it, and the dreams of a city that promotes the concept
of its renovation and reuse for entertainment in the near future.
We hope to see you there! To learn more and to download a trailer for a
of whatâ€™s in store go to
John Pappas and Mike Bisberg of Northwestern University have recently finished their documentary on the Uptown Theatre, filmed last summer. It will be shown locally sometime in May, and I’ll post the information as soon as it’s available. For now, you can download a sneak peek at: http://www.compassrose.org/uptowntheatre/news.html
David Balaban, whose family built the theatre in 1925, has written a book on the Balaban and Katz theatres. It is available as of today (Wednesday). Follow the same link to read about David and his book.
Richard Cohen and NativeForestHiller — Thanks for the nice comments and support! There are many people in Uptown who love for and take care of this beautiful old theatre, and we all hope to see her restored one day.
Rebirth — If there is a viable plan out there for the Uptown Theatre, please let us know how neighborhood advocacy groups can help. Based on the Compass Rose online and hardcopy versions of the Uptown signature drive, there are over 1500 people willing to lend a voice to back a good plan.
— Joanne http://www.compassrose.org
We’ve just updated our Web site with photos of the Uptown Theatre (including an exterior shot of the recent stabilization work) as well as old advertisements of the Uptown from its opening day. There is also information on a new documentary about the theatre that should be ready in January, and a link for more information about David Balaban’s new book on Chicago Movie Palaces. Finally, there’s a photo of the recent Friends of the Uptown photo shoot to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the theatre. You can click to zoom in and see individual faces of Uptown friends and fans. Enjoy!
Thanks for posting the link to the petition! We’ve just updated our main Uptown Theatre history pages with new photos of the theatre and information about an upcoming book and a student documentary featuring the Uptown. Visit View link and check out the “news,” “history,” and “petition” sections.
There is a new online signature drive regarding the Uptown Theatre. It is intended to increase awareness about the renovation and reuse potential of an important historic landmark and to document the public support that exists for its use as an entertainment venue. It is meant to be a friendly petition that allows signers to share their memories of and hopes for the Uptown Theatre. I welcome you all to sign it and pass along the link to your friends and family. Even if you don’t live in Chicago, consider signing the petition and let everyone know your thoughts regarding historic theatre preservation. If you have a success story about the restoration of a vintage theatre in your own hometown we’d love to hear it.
If you are interested in a hard copy version to help collect signatures of your neighbors who don’t have internet access, let me know. Just drop me an e-mail at