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I moved here in 1985, after the Uptown had closed. Finally last Wednesday I had the chance to see the inside for the first time. I’ve seen hundreds of photos of the Uptown over the years, and none do it justice. You can’t capture in a photograph a space this grand and expansive. Even in its badly deteriorating condition, it’s awe-inspiring. Something must be done to save it. We’ll never see anything like it again.
There used to be a very clear black and white photo on Cinema Treasures of the Edens I. Anyone know what happened to it? BTW, I saw some of the Cinerama comments on here. I’m fairly certain that the Edens was not equipped with the three projector Cinerama process. 1963 was the last year of the 3 camera system and the industry had already begun to convert the old Cinerama theatres to 70mm. In 1963 “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” was the first film to be released in the new 70mm Cinerama process, which replaced the old 3 camera/3 projector system of the 1950’s. Since the Edens opened in 1963, it would undoubtedly have installed the 70mm, mag track projection system. It definitely had the curved screen also.
I saw the original 70mm Cinerama showing of 2001 A Space Odyssey at the Cinestage in 1968. It was a reserved seat showing and souvenier program books were sold. I still have my program book along with several Chicago Tribune Cinestage ad clippings. Does anyone have any interior photos of the Cinestage? I remember the design being very clean and simple, and not an extremely large looking space, compared to the sister Michael Todd next door.
The Granada Theatre was a fine example of atmospheric style movie palace architecture. Even in its later days, the theatre was in fine shape and still created the incredible illusion that one was sitting in a Spanish courtyard in the evening. While the theatre had long stopped using the cloud and star illusions on the sky dome ceiling, it was still a magnificant structure and the fact that it was torn down a terrible historical loss. The marquee and font style of the theater’s name was a smaller duplicate of Chicago’s Granada Theatre. I wish I had taken photographs of the theatre when I worked there. I could never imagine something so beautiful could ever be demolished.
I can’t believe there are no interior photos of the State-Lake? I’ve looked everywhere for them. Anyone have access to any?
Any interior shots of the United Artists?
While it was incredible that a renovation of this old movie palace ever was accomplished, it is a shame that the renovation team felt the need to alter and change the exterior marquee and entrance, going with a “modernization” look. If one is going to preserve and restore, then keep the original marquee and front of the theatre.
What you see in the Google photo BTW is the remaining exterior free standing marquee. One marquee sat on Hickory Road and the other on McKinley. While the theatre has been torn down, it looks like the exterior marquees remain. A third marquee was on the theatre building itself, and rotated inward for easy changing.
At one time very representative of a neighborhood cinema, the theatre is now damaged now beyond repair because of the desire to “modernize.” While still operating as of 2011, virtually all of the architectural deco character of the original theatre has been stripped away. The exterior art deco facade and sign are gone, and the stucco facade is now faced with paneling. The exterior box office is long gone. Virtually all the 1930’s décor has been stripped away, leaving a big ugly black box interior. To make matters worse, a long center wall was installed, splitting the auditorium into two halves, creating a long, cavernous feeling with tiny movie screens at the far end. There’s nothing left to save here. What remains might as well have been the interior of a warehouse with theatre seats.
I worked at the Town and Country Theatre when it first opened in 1970. I was a freshman at IUSB. I worked there for two years. The theater was a fine example of late 1960’s single screen theatre architecture. It was a very large single screen theatre with seating for around 1078. The theater was designed using a great deal of glass, chrome and contemporary carpeting. Colors were very typical of this period and included a 1960’s blue grand drape with matching 4” thick oversized blue auditorium seats. The lobby was done in mixtures of orange and reds. I vividly remember the orange, vinyl covered chrome leg benches located throughout the lower and upper lobby areas.
There was a small, rather odd, second level designed to be an art gallery. Many patrons entering the theatre for the first time were convinced these open stairs had to lead to a balcony in the theatre. The entire front and sides were flanked in two story glass panels, which while very contemporary looking, caused a lot of problems during the daytime because the daylight would stream into the auditorium and wash out the screen every time the auditorium doors were opened. Another unique “innovation” was that the theater had no popcorn machine. ABC Theatres, the original owners, thought it would be much more cost effective to pop all the corn a week in advance, store it in bags and then just heat it up in a large warmer at the concession stand. The result was very stale tasting popcorn. The theatre never had a 70 mm projection system, but it was equipped with 35mm mag track stereo projectors. It was also innovative in that it used the newest Xenon lamp projectors rather than the old arc lamp design. It however still employed the two projector change over system, not the platter design that would be used in theatres built the in the following years. The screen was extremely large for its day. Another unique innovation was that the theatre used an automated motorized masking and grand drape curtain system. The movie screen itself was never exposed when patrons first entered the theater, but opened at the start of the film. Unfortunately many of these innovations began to fail within the first couple years of the theatre’s operation. I wasn’t around to see the theatre chopped into bits, but it was a fine example of the last of the single screen contemporary architecture, even if some of the design elements were flawed.
The Granada was my favorite theater in South Bend. Even though looking very worn by the 1960’s, it still had the grandeur of the Spanish courtyard and created a very realistic illusion that one was looking up into the night sky inside the courtyard. At one time, stars twinkled and clouds moved across the ceiling to enhance the illusion. It stood directly across from the Palace (now the Morris Performing Arts Center). I always thought that the South Bend Granada was a mirror to the Chicago Granada, and part of the Balaban & Katz chain and used the same design as the Chicago Granada which was originally designed by Edward Eichenbaum, but the first entry on here appears to contradict this.
I can say with great certainty that the Avon was still in operation in the early 1970’s. I was a student at IU South Bend and also worked at the neighboring State Theatre from 1970 – 1972. We all had a reciprocal agreement with the other theaters that employees could see any films at any of the South Bend theatres. In the early to mid-1960’s the Avon when through a period where they showed “soft-core” European porno films, not porno by today’s standards by any means, but adult films nonetheless. In the late-1960’s they returned to showing commercial films, but with a focus on independent or smaller art films. I remember seeing I am Curious Yellow there as well as all of Woody Allen’s early films like Take the Money and Run and Bananas.
Iâ€™m not certain when it officially closed, but it was still in operation in 1972.
Does anyone have any photos at all of the exterior and interior spaces of the Paramount. It appears that all the posted links to the photos are not working any longer. Thanks!
Through the various conversions and “remodelings” to turn this into twin theaters, virtually all the exterior and interior design characteristics have been stripped from this theater. All that remains is a box with a wall down the middle. What a shame! You would never know by looking at this theater today that it once was a vintage theater.
The Edens I also had a permanent curved screen and was equipped to show 70mm prints. The Edens I typified the modern cone style post 3-camera Cinerama style theatres of the mid-to late 60’s and was probably designed with the principle idea in mind of showing the 1-strip 70mm type films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey which had replaced the three projector system.
When the theater was used for conventional 35mm standard prints, the curtains and masking were drawn on the large curved screen to reduce it to less than half its full size.
Typical of many of these “modern” theaters, the theater owners refused to do anything to keep them up and by the end of the 1980’s the carpeting was threadbare and the seats worn and broken. The last 70mm feature film ever made, Far and Away, was shown here before the theatre closed. It was one of the few theaters in the Chicago area that still had 70mm projectors and was capable of showing the 70mm print of the film.