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The last movie shown here was in 1972, the reserved seat presentation of “Nicholas and Alexandra.”
The last day of operation was May 19,1960. It’s final features were “Masters of the Congo Jungle” plus “When Comedy Was King.”
I drive by there every so often. The last time was about two weeks ago. It doesn’t look like anything is going on. The marquee on one side has been stripped to almost nothing thanks to last winter’s brutal weather combined with age. I hope they do get the theater back up and running but I imagine because of the years of inactivity a ton of repairs will need to be done. Plus the fact they will have to convert to digital as well. It will be costly but I think the Town can be a viable theater again.
This theater has been known as the Crown since the late 1960’s. I went here many times as a kid in the 70’s and saw such films as THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and JAWS.
Unfortunately I don’t know anything about either building Joe. They appear to have been around for many, many years. There are very few theaters I have memories of in Gary….even past ones.
Joe – you are absolutely right. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that.
It was never the Ridge. The Ridge was located on Broadway at Ridge Road.
The ad in the photo section above is for the opening of the original Water Tower theaters I-IV located inside Water Tower Place. This would have been December of 1976.
The cover picture is nowhere near where the theater was. It was on the west side of Torrence Ave across from River Oaks mall. I emailed the site about this error to no avail.
If you look at the picture at the top of the page, the Chase name is in the wavy horizontal part just above the first C. I noticed it walking by the theater just the other day.
Good riddance to this dump. Hopefully someone will come in and make something special of it again.
That double feature Rich speaks of could have been at the UA Marina Cinemas. They often played double features during their brief 7 year existence. But Tim is correct there is NO WAY that was at the Woods or any other Loop palace. Please see the booking history from the mid 60’s to 1980 for further confirmation.
Ken, I don’t remember the hot dog stand. I do remember the Minor Dunn however.
Would filmgoers really suffer if there was no PIRANHA 3-D or SAW 3-D? And I agree with the above poster on animated films being in 3-D. The ONLY reason for that is the inflated ticket prices. Little kids certainly wouldn’t be aware of what they were missing in 2-D. This is just one big scam by the studios and I can’t wait for it to end. In the meantime may the studios at least have enough sense not to turn 2-D films into 3-D during post production. That just announces “Rip-off” to the public.
Mike – you’re welcome.
Greg1 since you live in the area certainly you know the theater has never had a problem showing R rated films and since XXX rated films would never be allowed in Highland on public display I think that excuse is silly. Perhaps 35 years ago but not now. And I am sure the Janowski’s could sell the theater with contractual specificities in it that would ease any worry they have. Theaters like this are too few and far between and the fact that it could go back to showing art films exclusively would undoubtedly make it a success yet again. They would be stunned at the love the people would throw their way to keep that theater going. For anything else to happen to it would be a tragedy for Northwest Indiana.
Cinemark – to answer your questions as best I can, the first photo is definitely not the 1-4 lobby. If it is River Oaks it looks like 5-6 because when you walked in and turned an immediate left, there were posters lining the wall on the right. So the pic would be from the opposite side with the entrance doors down the hall and behind the staff and off camera on the right.
As far as the Pacino poster? I would bet on SCARFACE. Remember he did very few movies in the 80’s and that would have been the biggest. The only other possibility? CRUISING.
There is no way to see what the movie on #4 is because you can’t read the sign clearly because of the angle. You can tell it isn’t A VIEW TO A KILL though that IS the poster. But back then the Now Showing Posters were outside and not in the lobby. The movie was definitely coming soon. If I had to guess as to the movie playing based on the letters of the sign it COULD be BREWSTERS MILLIONS.
Hope that helps.
Cinemark I will wait with baited breath for that glorious day when you make your annoouncement. I can’t imagine how great it would be to revive dying theaters like this one.
Timoneill – you are quite correct. I guess I was more referring to when there was still some hope for movie palaces in the city. By the time the Dearborn was opened all of the other palaces were gone save for the Woods and United Artists and those two plus the twin all closed within a year of each other.
There was talk at one time or another in the 70’s and 80’s of dividing the Chicago, the State Lake or the Oriental. Whenever this was brought up it seemed to be at a time when that particular theater was having financial woes. It was decided, though, that dividing a palace into a multiplex was basically turning one losing theater into several. It also didn’t help that ticket prices were higher in the city plus they had to pay for parking. It would have been a losing proposition all around.
Cinemark the UA was, in my opinion, the most beautiful of the loop theaters. The decor and colors were simply amazing. The fact that the theater lasted longer than all but the Woods is a miracle but I think the decor had a lot to do with it. The owners had started letting it go in the late 70’s with video games too close to the auditorium doors so you could hear them inside. And don’t get me started on the problem with mice. In that category it was the worst theater of the bunch I think. If only the owners cared enough to take better care of these beautiful theaters.
As far as these new theaters go I am highly disappointed to see that nothing is happening now. It’s in a perfect spot and traffic for it would no doubt be heavy. No theater has opened in the loop in 60 years or so, so it is about time. Interestingly when the pedway opened late last year there was a directory stating the Muvico theaters was opening soon. Odd that Muvico dropped out last June yet they kept Muvico’s name on the directory several months later when opening to the public. Perhaps to lure prospective businesses? In any case Muvico’s name is STILL on the directory. They need to remove it.
Someone needs to put a good arthouse in there and bring back the traffic that the Fine Arts used to get. Give the Century Landmark a little competition and get rid of Piper’s Alley once and for all.
Piper’s Alley is the worst theater in the city. They are understaffed at the concession stand and with ushers. If there are ten people in the theater you can bet they are all in line and there is one girl behind the stand who, it appears, has been trained to go as slow as possible. No ushers ever patrol the auditoriums and the box office is now upstairs in the building and looks pretty tacky as you walk in. They are wasting that nice, big box office on the floor below. I don’t even think they use it on weekends anymore. The bathroom doors are propped open for some reason. The theaters have broken chairs and just don’t look clean anymore. It’s a shame because this theater COULD survive because there is no immediate competition in the area. AMC needs to act like it cares or close the place down.
Jerry Lynn, the man who worked security for this theater (and occasionally the other GCC’s in the area) for the midnight shows from the theater’s inception until midnight movies became passe in the 1990’s, died Easter Sunday, April 4, at the age of 59. Jerry was a big brutish looking man who had the heart of a ten year old. He was one of the nicest men I ever knew. He would confiscate beer and then split it with the ushers at the end of the night. After the midnight show we would eat at Around The Clock or Denny’s together. Southlake Cinema wouldn’t have been the same without his presence at those shows. The worst was for AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock.” It was such a nightmare to work that GCC pulled it from any further midnight showings after too many problems nationwide occured the first weekend. We were no exception. People getting sick, threatening violence against the staff and those who didn’t get in threatening to damage the building and the cars in the lot. Jerry took it all in stride but got tough when he had to. You will be missed my friend but keep the beer cold and the cheeseburgers warm. R.I.P.
If that is the position the family has than they don’t really care about the theater. Why would they rather see it torn down than run by a true movie lover? That’s ridiculous.