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Washington Square Mall (which was across the street from a historic racetrack) was plagued by anchor closings as I remember it. Service Merchandise was close to the Diana, so when that closed it affected foot traffic in the area. When foot traffic was diminished sales did too, so the owner seemed not to re-invest in the property which as I remember it was heavily made of cinder blocks and which made the demolition process quite a challenge. I do not remember experiencing any hassles whatsoever at this Mall, but it seemed to serve as an al fresco place to hang out for many people as I believe it was a bus stop on our Chicago area PACE Bus line. Saw many a Columbia Pictures film at the red-red-red Diana Theatre. Great place to see a motion picture. Saw just one when it converted to a discount theatre. The sound and theatre were fine, it was just a very poor booking which cable probably would have rejected. Had the owner been able to sustain stores I think the Diana would have survived and not been required to convert to a sub-standard discount house. The acreage is now primarily big-box stores (Menards, Home Depot, Target and Jewel-Osco) and doing very well.
Purchased by Marcus Cinemas. I was at the AMC last summer seeing the film “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” on a Sunday afternoon. Some re-investment in the property should be forthcoming I am sure. Excellent location which should make it once it re-opens.
I believe the Studebaker is being redeveloped into a small performing arts center. Looking forward to visiting it in the future.
Given the fact that I was out of town during the majority of Marina Cinemas' era (the theatres were open from 1970-1977, and I was away from 1971-1975) it is not surprising that I never saw a motion picture there. To date I have never been in the Marina City complex. I do appreciate the descriptions provided; thanks!
Yes. I have worked in Chicago for many years (1973-to date), and the Goodman complex (former Woods, Michael Todd and Cinestage Theatres) is approximately a block from my office so I have been an interested – and concerned – observer for some time, especially during the era of the question of the future of the three theaters which extended over quite a few years. The Woods was indeed demolished, and the Cinestage and Todd Theatres gutted, with facades retained which I kept track of due to the closeness of my offices to it. It was a fascinating process to watch! I would urge theatre fans to attend an event at the Goodman Theatre to observe the end result. They have a very comprehensive webpage should you wish to investigate further.
Never visited the Woods Theatre; it is now part of the Goodman Theatre complex, hosting Petterino’s Restaurant and (this is a guess) the offices and common areas of the Goodman. Thus, in a way I finally visited the Woods after all. An unusual and successful example of adaptive use in architectural design and I think the creative people involved in the planning and design of the Woods would be happy with the way things turned out.
I was in the Goodman Theatre yesterday, seeing a production in the Owen Theatre, which was formerly the Michael Todd Theatre. Very impressed with the Owen, and looking forward to seeing the mainstage, which was formerly the Cinestage Theatre.
I saw a play at the Goodman Theatre yesterday; there are two theatres in this complex, and I was in the Owen Theatre, which is in the space that was home for the Michael Todd Theatre. Massive renovations occurred as the Todd, the Cinestage and the Woods Theatre had severe condition problems for many years. This is now a theatre in the round, to use a probably antiquated term, and a very good one at that. You can (somewhat) tell that the Owen Thatre was previously a legitimate theatre set-up that was converted into contemporary use. I am guessing that the Cinestage portion is now part of the main stage, and the common areas (I am guessing the office complex and Petterino’s Restaurant) are what were part of the Woods Theatre. Quite fascinating to see this adaptation made and in active use. I think the previous creators, stars and owners of the theatre complex would approve.
Vic: Thanks for the update on the Kimball which originally resided at the Lincoln-Dixie Theatre. The choice to repair, preserve and expand pipe organs is a great thing to do involving a lot of sweat equity. Here’s a link to a story involving the transfer: http://www.atos.org/new-kimball-theatre-organ-ashtabula-oh-high-school
I saw “Funny Girl” at the United Artists Theatre in Chicago during a road show engagement, and “Gone With the Wind” at the McVickers, also via road show. This was the booking where the film was “adapted” for wide-screen showing. Lastly, I saw “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” on a big screen (possibly 70 mm?) not in Chicago, but in Peoria, IL, perhaps at the Palace Theatre
or the Madison Theatre, my guess the latter. It was a bit easier to see first-run films or films marketed as road-show engagements in Peoria than in Chicago and the theatres there had similar state of the art technology of that era (projection and sound). I am guessing that Peoria was considered a first-run market for film booking not unlike Chicago.
Would love to visit the New Regal Theatre; an audience is definitely waiting for a resolution on this story.
I saw “Around the World in 80 Days” at the Beverly Theatre in Peoria, IL, so I cannot answer BobbyS' question. When I saw “Star!” at the Michael Todd Theatre it was shown on a very wide, crystal-clear, flat screen. If anyone out there has seen the film I believe the beginning of the film was supposed to be a representation of a show curtain in a theatre.
I saw the wide-screen re-release of “Gone With the Wind” at the McVickers on Madison Street in Chicago. The same thing happened in that theatre when Mr. Gable got his first close-up.
Never visited the Palace Theatre until it reopened as the Cadillac Palace Theatre for the show “The Producers”. Wonderful place!
Whoops: says at the top of the page that a Walgreens is on the site. That’s it.
My moviegoing years in Peoria, IL were from the early to mid-1960s. We either attended films at the Madison, Palace or Beverly – no idea why we never attended anything at the Rialto.
I’m surprised that neither theatre was kept secure. Looking forward to seeing photos of the Rialto as I never visited it. I agree with you about “Star Trek 1”; it was not a good film (“Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan” was much better).
The Majestic Theatre in Kankakee, IL has been renovated and has re-opened as a conference center. Photos from their webpage: http://www.k3majestictheatre.com show it to have been in poor condition. The Madison has National Register of Historic Places status, however, so that may affect the type and scope of renovations that can be done to it.
http://www.k3majestictheatre.com. The Majestic Theatre in Kankakee is back in business. This is their website, and of course they have a Facebook page, too.
I agree. It would be challenging to find people to do the artisan renovations, but they are out there if they worked or work on the Chicago Theatre, Oriental/Ford Theatre for the Performing Arts and Rialto Square Theatre.
I was in Peoria not too long ago after a very long absence. It was good to be back! I believe the theatre is still there, but is used for some other purpose (?). Those who live in Peoria, please advise.
This is a link to what I found in the Peoria Journal Star: http://www.pjstar.com/news/x484739208/Future-of-historic-Madison-Theater-uncertain?zc_p=0. I did watch the You Tube video. My salute to the chutzpah of the videographer and canine friend! I have visited four theatres in the Chicago Metro area which have found investors: the Auditorium Theatre; The Chicago Theatre; the Oriental/Ford Center for the Performing Arts; and the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, IL, all of which have fallen into extreme disrepair and which have been renovated. I was in the Chicago Theatre before it was renovated and it was in similar shape to what was shown on the You Tube video. I hope someday to be able to revisit the Madison Theatre. Note: as you know – but others may not – it does have a Facebook page.
Thanks! This really gives one an idea of how big the Sauk Trail Drive-In was in its heyday. There were – and are – homes to the east of the Drive-In; Once sold, a large amount of homes were built on the site, a senior center, with acreage left available. Whoever designed the new area did a good job and one cannot tell what was in the area in 1952.
I finally drove by the Glenwood Theatre today; all is down but the foundation. It really looks like it was built very well. What a shame that a better effort was made to update it and keep it going.