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That’s because they can’t make any money off of it – so out it goes!
The Gateway struck me as a smaller, plainer (cheaper) version of the Southtown. But when the Gateway in full decorative lighting is experienced, it is truly stunning.
Actually, the organ in the youtube video is the Silent Film Society of Chicago’s Allen electronic organ (now used as a traveling organ). Due to a “cultural climate change” at the Gateway (Copernicus Center) the organ was covered over by a stage extension making it unplayed and unplayable for nearly five years until its rescue by society volunteers. The organ is now at the Portage.
Actually, the Portage opened with a 3/20 Moller which was replaced by a 3/8 Wurlitzer in 1927.
The Copernicus people are embracing the theatre so much that they ordered the removal of the 3/17 Wurlitzer-Kimball. Removal was completed this week.
Organist Mark Noller did a great job accompanying the Chaplin films for the Portage Theater’s opening program to the delight of the 1,000 plus in attendance. Mark is house organist at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre and is regularly featured by the Silent Film Society of Chicago along with associate organists Dennis Scott and Jay Warren.
The Portage opens May 19th. Check out silentfilmchicago.com
To Patsy & list: The Gateway Theatre in Chicago is the sole remaining fully atmospheric Rapp & Rapp theatre. Although the exterior has been altered, the original facade stoneworrk remains underneath, rather well intact. The theatre’s original capacity was 2,045, presently it is 1,904.
The money that they’re putting into the theare is chump change compared to the eventual final sale price.
The 4/20 Oriental Wurlitzer was removed by CATOE during the summer months of 1983. In the fall of that year, the instrument was officailly presented to CATOE by Oriental Theatre owner Morrie Kalish during a CATOE show at the Chicago Theatre with the Oriental console on stage!
To: Life’s Too Short — About one third of the original lobby remains (mostly the grand staircase although its design/direction has been altered with a 90 degree turn to fit into the “new” space). The remaining part of the lobby is three floors of meeting rooms, offices, and a third floor ballroom utilizing the old lobby’s vaulted ceiling (IMHO – Good intentions/lousy result: a loud miserable space and potential fire trap).
Actually, the Gateway art deco facade (less vertical, less marquee) is intact under the “remodeling.” The new construction is essentially a “front” boxing in the original Lawrence Avenue entrance.
Oops! That verical in Bryan photo may say Embassy, but that’s not the Embassy Theatre at Fullerton & Pulaski….
I know THS in Elmhurst, IL has a wonderful exterior photo of the Commodore shortly after its opening.
Best of luck!
Actually the Commodore was far from plain. Fancy organ grilles, small performance stages ubder the organ chamber with golden lions flanking each side, plus a large dome in the auditorium. The operators always seemed to be moving the candy counter; at one time the counter was located in the store space next door and a cut-out in the wall was the access to the counter. Saw about 8 of the 13 chapters shown on consecutive Saturdays of “The Iron Claw”(1939) in the winter/spring of 1960 before the weather turned too nice to continue (for a 9 year old). Original operators were Seaver and Zahler who operated the Hedwig Theatre (storefront) one block west on Irving.
Oakbrook was the last Balaban & Katz built theatre opening in 1964 or ‘65.